Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Bourbon Barrels) - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Bourbon Barrels)Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Bourbon Barrels)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

336 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 336
Hads: 956
Avg: 4.35
pDev: 7.82%
Wants: 267
Gots: 439 | FT: 46
Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

Style | ABV
Old Ale | 13.16% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerBeing on 06-03-2007

Vintages: 2005, 2009, 2013
View: Beers (25) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 336 | Hads: 956
Photo of MacMalt
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 Vintage poured into tulip glass. It pours a cola brown with a one-finger, ecru-colored head and lacing. The smell is decadant: roasted malt, caramel, vanilla, oak, dark fruit, and, of course, the bourbon. The taste really follows the nose: caramel, toffee, oak, raisin, and bourbon. There is very little hop presence. For having an ABV of over 13%, this ale is smooth as silk but definitely a sipper. It's medium-bodied, creamy, with moderate carbonation. It really drinks like a Barleywine. Overall, it is truly an outstanding Old Ale that deserves its world-class rating. I've been meaning to try this for quite awhile and I am happy to have finally done so.

 675 characters

Photo of Thirstygoat
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from 2013 I had been looking forward to drinking this for a while
Red-brown translucence brief tan head no lacing
Smell of vanilla and wood
Taste malt, alcohol, bourbon and caramel, bit of a whiskey sting on the back of the mouth
Maybe a bit thin on the mouth
Quire good

 277 characters

Photo of fx20736
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 Vintage. Served cool in a Duvel tulip.

Look: deep garnet, virtually no head or lacing

Smell: oak, sherry, red plums

Taste: caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, some oak

Feel: Medium carbonation helps with the sweetness

Overall: decent but I think I like the non BA version better

 283 characters

Photo of CoreyC
4.72/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 poured into a snifter

A - light head dissipates completely, but there is a very interesting continuous bubble flow.

S - Awesome sweet smell of candied fruit, maybe apricots.

T - Very smooth with no bite and lighter flavors of the nose, with maybe some raisons.

M - Light, nice.

O - What an awesome smooth sipper.

 322 characters

Photo of smanson56
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a dark hazy brown color into my snifter glass. The nose brings forward the barrel aging of this great beer with lots of bourbon in the nose. The taste follows the nose and as a bourbon lover this is one great beer.
Smooth Bourbon and beer it doesn't get much better than this.

 283 characters

Photo of Houser
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2009 vintage, this beer is awesome. so smooth, lots of caramel sweetness and a nice bit of bourbon to complement the flavors of raisins, plums, again, lots of caramel.

 168 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
3.81/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Brown pour, thin, weak head. Red on the side. Aroma so improved. Nice barrel and bourbon characteristics. Caramel and vanilla.

Sweet, oak, bourbon gives flavor to the manageable heat. Sticky. Toffee.

You know its funny, Old Rasputin, awesome base, gets worse in the barrel, this beer sucks base wise, and it gets awesome in the barrel.

 345 characters

Photo of LouZ
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Draft pour of 2013 vintage. Rich copper-like color, maybe a bit orange, with aroma of malt and bourbon but not super strong in this department. Taste matches and delivers a pleasant sweetness from dark fruit, maybe dates or fig. Smooth and balanced feel; medium to full body and quite drinkable. There is some alcohol burn, as expected given the ABV, but this is so smooth and clean that it's not unpleasant. That may be a result of the age. Overall, a great representation of the style and I'll need to find again.

 515 characters

Photo of Furlinator
4.7/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Toronado San Diego during SDBW 2015 on 11/13/15.
2013 Vintage. 

The taste is dominated by sweet caramel malt. Very little detectable hop presence. This tastes like soft caramel chewy candy squares. Dangerously smooth, even at 14.1%. Unbelievable!

 258 characters

Photo of allforbetterbeer
4.06/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage poured into a goblet.

Wow, one of the worst looking beers in my history. Like muddy lake water and some sickly little bubbles. Held up to light it looks slightly more amber.

The smell however, is awesome. Well aged English Old Ale/Barleywine with fruitcake macerated with brandy, stewed golden raisins, bourbon barrel, English toffee on the stove. Excellent, layered, rich, sweet.

Intense and sweet caramel sauce with bourbon and bourbon on the side. Alcohol bites, but doesn't show in the flavor. The malt almost takes on a grape-y jammy character. Not as much dark fruit as I would expect. Really, mostly caramel and bourbon, and that isn't a bad thing.

Conclusion: A very nice barrel aged strong ale. This has aged beautifully, and I am not sure it will get much better, but with all the sweetness it probably could take many more years and not get worse. Poised, rich, sweet, and distinguished.

 918 characters

Photo of Moose90
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Served on-tap, 10.5 oz pour was more than enough.

A — Pours a deep ruby hued brown into the glass, dark and rich looking, there is a caramel colored head on-top of the beer that leaves behind some really nice consistent lacing.

S — Smells rich and boozy, big hit of bourbon in the best possible way, vanilla, cinnamon, oak, caramel, brown sugar, dark fruits.

T — Taste is dominated by bourbon and oak, so delicious, great layers of bourbon flavor. Vanilla, cinnamon, oak, caramel, brown sugar, molasses, dark fruit again.

M — Full bodied, huge, rich, delicious.

O — Far and away the best Barrel Aged beer I have ever had, the barrel character on this is just out of this world.

 696 characters

Photo of nhindian
4.88/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2009 Vintage

Appearance - Old Stock doesn't have much in the way of looks. The body is ruddy and murky, and when viewed in the brownish hue it has, it looks sort of like a port wine. A khaki-colored head springs forth as it hits the glass, but fades almost as rapidly as it appears, leaving nothing but a slow trickle of carbonation to break the surface.

Aroma - Every time I smell this beer, I am hit immediately with a rich sweetness that runs the gamut from bourbon to dark fruits. Figs and raisin are the most noticeable, and the combination with the liquor makes it the perfect smell for a cold Autumn night like tonight. Toffee, caramel, and a touch of cocoa add an additional layer of sweetness as well.

Taste - The taste is a faithful representation of the aroma down to a 'T'. Each note is reproduced on the palate for the taste buds to savor and it goes over just as positively here. The first flavors are the cocoa and fig, mixed with the bourbon to give it a warming alcohol-soaked quality. It also draws comparisons to port here as well in my opinion. The finish is filled with toffee and barrel character. There is an overarching presence of alcohol heat, but it never is at the forefront or detrimental.

Mouthfeel - The mouthfeel is not as heavy as I would've expected for a beer of this size. It definitely has some meat to it, but it flows gracefully over the palate and doesn't weigh heavily on it. There is a zesty amount of carbonation that gives it a sort of cola-like similarity.

Closing Arguments - Overall this is a wonderful beer from start to finish. The flavors are deep and layered and one needs only to take a small sip to have them develop rapidly in the mouth. This is definitely a beer to cradle for an hour or so and appreciate how it changes with temperature and after the palate grows acclimated to some of the flavors that allow the more nuanced aspects rise. In comparisons to other beers, I can easily draw parallels to Samuel Adam's Utopias, with this being a more 'mild' take. Although expensive, this is a beer that would be excellent for a celebration or special occasion, or just to sit out on the porch as the weather changes and take in the world.

 2,197 characters

Photo of Chcshammonde
4.64/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage. Looks like a dark barleywine. Smell: overwhelming! Rich bourbon, a lot of raisins, sweet toffee, malt. Taste: delish. Decadent layered malts, gooey raisins, a bit of slight spice from bourbon, and some spices that I can't quite put my finger on. Feel: coats mouth but not overly thick. Overall: yum.

 324 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.46/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

at long last i finally got to try this one. what a beer, almost entirely indistinguishable from the regular old stock, the barrel influence on this is huge, and bourbon flavors abound. its deep amber to mahogany in color, with a rusty off white head on it that clings to the edges of the glass as it slowly recedes. tons of oak and sweet bourbon on the nose, mixing an already caramel forward smell with dense sweet malt. booze seems restrained for the listed abv, but that changes with a little temperature. more oak than char on the barrel side of things in smell and taste, molasses and rich crystal malt, and some semi english yeast strain thats done all it could do. impressive depth on this, and still a pretty well hidden strength, although its warming going down for sure. i get interesting flavors of cedar and even cinnamon on the tail end of this, tied up in candy sugar and corn mashed spirit. surprisingly lively on the palate, definitely coating, but well enough carbonated for what it is, especially being a 2013 bottle. looking at the page here, it looks like they do a rye, a brandy, and a wheated in this series. i loved the bourbon one, but it makes me thirsty for these others. i think this falls somewhere near the english barleywine category, but its not like any of the other special strong ales, and despite my resistance, it really is worth the price of admission!

 1,389 characters

Photo of Jwale73
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a mahogany hue with an off-white head that quickly dissipates. Clarity is mostly translucent with just a slight haze. Nose in this beer is incredible - Bourbon, figs and toffee. Taste expresses candied figs, caramel, toffee, vanilla and toasted grains. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body, with a mild, even carbonation and a trace of heat at the finish. Overall, this beer is tasting great right now. One of the more memorable beers I've had in recent memory. I wish I had a couple more bottles in the cellar, but the price point on this beer was a bit high when it came out.

 587 characters

Photo of LehighAce06
4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

My Untappd comments from at the time of checking the beer in are as follows: Very smooth, richly sweet with caramel, vanilla and toffee flavors, a touch of coffee in the finish. Strong bourbon flavor and some booze.

 215 characters

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.99/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2013 Vintage

Appearance - Pours a dark and foreboding ruby brown with very little in the way of suds. A few bubbles around the edge, otherwise it's a flat as a pond on a windless day.

Smell - Bountiful notes of caramel and toffee fill the nostrils first, while strong additions of vanilla and oak follow closely behind. Rum raisin fruitcake can be found as well.

Taste - Bourbon sweetness upfront along with a light caramel flavor. Mid-taste brings a bit of the fruity raisin character and a touch of vanilla. Sugary sweetness, akin to that found in a quad Belgian, giving a light cola . Finishes with more boozy qualties.

Mouthfeel - Medium in body with low to moderate carbonation. Sticky, syrupy texture, then a drying, belly warming boozy finish.

Overall - Very good, but I'm a bigger fan of the non-BA version. IMO, the base beer just doesn't stand up well to the BA treatment and gets overrun and buried by the bourbon qualities. I like a BA beer to have a lighter barrel influence and to compliment the qualities found in the beer; this is nearly the opposite. Despite this, I still find pleasure in drinking it.

 1,124 characters

Photo of teromous
3.78/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2013 Cellar Reserve 14.1% in a 500ml bottle

Appearance: Dark very murky brown body with fervent carbonation that tries to sustain an off-yellow head that dissipates as quickly as it forms. It leaves no head shortly after pouring.

Aroma: It has a very rich bourbon and oak aroma.

Taste: The most prominent flavor here is bourbon. A sweetness follows throughout the palate and starts with a bit of sweet caramel and ends with a very sweet alcohol flavor. It's not just the taste of alcohol but an actual sweetness.

Mouthfeel: It is a nice full bodied sipper. The beer presents a smooth and welcoming drinking experience delivering 14.1% ABV as if it were nothing more than a cream.

Overall: I didn't feel that the beer had much complexity in aroma or flavor. It relies heavily on the bourbon flavor to carry the beer. For bourbon and bourbon beer fans I would highly recommend the beer. For those looking for a complex Old Ale I would say to look elsewhere. The overall drinking experience was nice though. It is a very enjoyable beer to drink and it tastes good. In the end that is really what matters the most. The fact that they hid 14.1% ABV in this beer is truly remarkable. I recommend this as a holiday beer if you can manage to hold on to it long enough. I would buy it again, but I would probably try one of the other variants if given the choice.

 1,359 characters

Photo of zac16125
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500mL bottle into a snifter
Vintage 2013
14.1% ABV


A: Murky, nearly opaque mahogany brown with fizzy light tan head thats not even enough to cover the whole surface of the beer, and dissipates away almost instantaneously. Leaves no lacing, but some alcohol legs. Nice ruby hues when held to light. 3.75

S: Aroma is huge. Tons of dark fruits; sweet, vinous, and almost tart. Significant barrel notes with charred oak, bourbon vanilla, and a peat like character. Caramel/toffee, candied sugar, and an ethanol boozy character to round it all out. Fantastic. 4.75

T: Candied sugar, caramel/toffee, some hop-like bitterness characters although they aren’t prominent, lots of sweetness on the backend including dark fruits and a long lingering toffee/caramel finish. Barrel notes are certainly present, although not as strong as the aroma, with an oaky vanilla and bourbon booze. Great flavor with a good complexity. 4.5

M/D:Full bodied but not thick, carbonation appropriately low, very good smoothness, alcohol is noticeable but at 14.1% its exceptionally well masked. Drinkability is very good. 4.5

O: Excellent beer. Loved every drop. Highly recommend. 4.5

 1,177 characters

Photo of Suds_With_Buds
4.96/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

2011 500ml bottles, this was the highlight of the night thats for sure.

Rich decadent chocolate fruit aromas flood the nose from a good foot away.

Light carb and clear deep red appearance.

This taste is to die for, the heat from the bourbon is present but in no way overpowering, if anything it helps the very rich notes of sugary caramel and raisins explode into a wonderfully complex brew.

This is the best Old Ale I've tasted. Can't wait to try the Brandy barrel aged version. The price point is the only turn off about this beer, but the taste is unrivaled.

 566 characters

Photo of richj1970
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 500 ml bottle into Old Guardian glass. No visible bottle date.

A: Pours a remarkably clear reddish brown with two finger tan head with good retention and settled to a thin ring around the edges. Very little lacing.

S: Bourbon, raisins, dates, brown sugar, coconut, and toffee.

T: Nice bourbon bite right off the bat. Very complex flavors lying underneath. A fruity component with some raisins and dates. Some sweetness with brown sugar, caramel, and toffee. Light oaky notes. Pleasantly surprised that the sweetness is well balanced and not over powering.

M: Full bodied but lighter than I was expecting. Above average carbonation. Finish has a slight alcohol burn, and a little sweetness.

O: Fantatstic beer. I was hesitant to pick this up based on price, but very glad I did.

 806 characters

Photo of superspak
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500 ml bottle into snifter; 2013 vintage, bottled in early 2015. Pours fairly cloudy deep reddish brown color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of huge raisin, plum, fig, date, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, coconut, toasted oak, bourbon, light leather, and oak/toasted earthiness. Fantastic aromas with awesome balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of big raisin, plum, fig, date, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, coconut, toasted oak, bourbon, light leather, and oak/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate bourbon/oak spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, plum, fig, date, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, coconut, toasted oak, bourbon, light leather, and oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Incredible complexity, robustness, and and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel flavors; with a great malt/oak spice balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a creamy and lightly slick/sticky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light-moderate warmth lingering after the finish. Minimal booziness overall in aromas and flavors. Overall this is an absolutely incredible barrel aged old ale style. All around fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the huge ABV. An insanely enjoyable and delicious offering.

 1,729 characters

Photo of barczar
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 vintage.

Huge dark fruit aromas, richly sweet dates and figs, raisins, touch of bourbon, vanilla.

More raisins in flavor, light cardboard oxidation, a touch of sherry, and a hint of cocoa at the finish. Still a bit of heat, but I like the direction this is going.

 270 characters

Photo of TX-Badger
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 Vintage. Pours a nice brown color with little tan head. Dark fruits, raisins, figs, dates, bourbon, and oak on the nose; follows onto the palate. Finishes with bourbon warmth and more fruit.

 196 characters

Photo of SomethingClever
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured into Spiegelau glass 2013 Cellar Reserve

A: brown hazy brackish in appearance light off white head that is gone quickly

S: Vanilla, toffee, raisins, soft bourbon

T: big vanilla bourbon with some dark fruits figs prunes raisins some burnt sugar tastes can taste the alcohol

M: nice feel lightly viscous from the alcohol lighter than when i would have thought

O: This beer is quite good although the alcohol heat is pretty extensive this base beer is stellar aged and the bourbon is quite a welcome

 510 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Bourbon Barrels) from North Coast Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 336 ratings.