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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)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
98
world-class

533 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 533
Reviews: 278
rAvg: 4.44
pDev: 8.33%
Wants: 210
Gots: 319 | FT: 14
Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  13.16% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Vintages: 2005, 2009

(Beer added by: BeerBeing on 06-03-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 533 | Reviews: 278 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ejimhof
3/5  rDev -32.4%

ejimhof, Nov 23, 2012
Photo of WJVII
3.13/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass this brew was a muddy dark brown with a huge head that dissipated quickly to nothing. No head retention what so ever. The aroma was very sweet with strong caramel and brown sugar up front. Definitely some bourbon aroma from the aging in oak barrels. The taste was way over powering with sweetness. A strong brown sugar taste takes over. Some bourbon and slight chocolate flavor is present as well. The body was thin and lacking good carbonation. Not the best brew I have had, in fact a little disappointing.

WJVII, Aug 06, 2011
Photo of kojevergas
3.18/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

1 pint .9 fl oz/16.9 fl oz brown glass bottle coated in ceramic with hood-and-wire cap over a cork served into an EKU 28 snifter at me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are through the roof; I tried the regular version and was rather impressed. This is the 2009 cellar reserve.

A: Pours a one finger head of slight cream, good thickness, and great retention (~ three minutes maybe) for the ABV. Colour is a solid brown-black. It's generally appealing, but isn't particularly unique or special.

Sm: Bourbon, caramel, oak (up front primarily), almost a peat-like note, and cream. The main note is raisins, which doesn't work as well as it should. The oak resurges right at the finish, providing a sort of musty wood note that is more pleasant than it sounds. A moderate to strong aroma.

T: A nice little delicate blend of oak, light bourbon, some soda on the climax (which is unexpected), a hint of peat, light caramelized malts, and layered wood/oak undertones. The flavours of the regular old stock are but a shadow here, which seems to be to its detriment. The oaky complexity is nice, but the aging vessel tones seem to drown out the complex flavours that made me like the original so much. Some cream is present on the open. Sadly, some alcohol does come through in the early second act, which subtly affects the balance negatively. It remains well-balanced, but the build is far from ideal. I imagined the barrel-aged version of Old Stock would taste considerably better than this.

Mf: Smooth and wet, but coarse in the third act. It's not at all tailored to the flavours, but does manage to complement them in a general fashion. It doesn't get in the way, but it isn't helping all that much either.

Dr: For the high ABV, it's quite drinkable. But I don't know that it's at all an improvement upon the Old Stock ale, which in the Orange County store I purchased these beers at was only $3.99 compared to this version's hefty $22.95 price tag. I don't notice any benefits of aging. While overall it's an enjoyable beer, unfortunately it pales in comparison to the original. Its high price point and disappointing quality should turn off most beer fanatics. I'm regretful I took the plunge for this one, but I enjoyed it for what it was.

kojevergas, Jan 14, 2012
Photo of Lerxst
3.25/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-Pours a murky brown with some ruby highlights. Tightly knit bubbles rise up quickly and form a khaki colored head that dissipated almost immediately and left no lace.

S-Nose is very subdued. Some toffee, caramel, dark fruit, vanilla. Just a hint of bourbon comes through and I have to inhale deeply to get it. Nose needs to be much more prominent.

T-Taste is a little better. A nice mellow bourbon flavor greets me along with dark fruit, vanilla, toffee and a bit of booze heat at the back end.

M-Body is on the lighter side of medium with harsh carbonation leading to a dry finish.

O-I had high hopes for this one, but it was kind of a let down. Perhaps its because I enjoyed Fruet 2 days ago. This one pales in comparison.

Lerxst, Jan 03, 2013
Photo of SFLpunk
3.25/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

500mL painted olive green bottle that looks like it should contain myrrh. Cork is the wrong size for the bottle and is a big pain to remove. ABV is 13.16%.

Pours with a lot of crackly off-white head that is somewhat like coca-cola but with a little staying power. Color is a bit darker than the original, a dark brown/mahogany/cherry red.

Nose is dominated by rich sweet black vanilla bean and bourbon. Some faint notes of cherry juice and mulch come through. Reminds me a lot of Backwoods Bastard (Founders).

Palate is prickly right off the bat with booze. Big, fat, rich, oily, sticky, sweet, cloying, etc. This is a behemoth of a beer! The bourbon totally overrides the stock ale character. There's still a lot of raisin-y goodness in there, but it's sticky dark caramel and vanilla reduction all the way to the bank. Mouthfeel is cloying and aggressive.

Notes: You know, I really wanted this to be my new favorite. But as with most of my favorite beers, when they end up in barrels, I'm not always stoked. I wonder if the brandy barrel was better? I think I'm learning that I don't like barley-wine style things in bourbon, but do enjoy them in brandy. Hmmm....

SFLpunk, Jan 08, 2011
Photo of Hophead717
3.38/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle, poured into a CBS snifter.

A: Dark, murky brown--caramel colored sort of. No real head, what's there quickly fizzes away.

S: Alcohol and vanilla dominate. Somewhat nice. Molasses also provides sweetness.

T: Vanilla, bourbon, some dark fruitiness (more as the beer warms), and wood. Meh.

M: Super carbonated. Distractingly so. Bubbles up into creaminess mid-sip, but by that point, things are ruined mouth-wise.

O: Okay, but not very special. Definitely not worth the high price.

Hophead717, May 25, 2012
Photo of Jeffo
3.4/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Got this one from BOLTZ9555 in a recent trade. Cheers for the beers man!

From a 500ml corked and caged bottle into a snifter
Vintage: 2009
Note: Drunk right after a 2007 bottle of the base beer

APPEARANCE: Pours a small, loose, fizzy, off-white or cream colored head with lousy retention. Head fades quickly to a ring only. Seal brown body, a touch darker than the base, and no carbonation evident. No real head remains and looks somewhat flat by the end.

SMELL: Lots of bourbon, vanilla and oak on the nose. Caramel, toffee and brown sugar as well, with hints of milk chocolate. The barrel plays a leading roll here for sure. Base beer is there and competes well with the barrel.

TASTE: Bourbon, oak and caramel sweetness, with vanilla and milk chocolate flavors as well. Lots of barrel again after the swallow, though the chocolate, toffee and caramel flavors hold their own against the strong bourbon oak barrels. Very flavorful, bold and lingering finish on this one.

PALATE: Huge disappointment here. Thin body and very light on the palate. Higher levels of prickly carbonation, goes down rough and finishes somewhat sticky. A scratch at the swallow and some big heat lingers.

OVERALL: Too bad the palat was so lousy, as it really didn't support the flavors like it needed to. The base beer wasn't killed by the barrels in this one, but the palate just couldn't bring everything into harmony. The look really suffered here as well, with an unatractive and fizzy head making a lousy first impression. I'd much rather have the 2007 base beer again, though if they carbonated this one right, it'd be really nice.

Jeffo, Oct 07, 2012
Photo of alleykatking
3.43/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 375ml. 2009 bottle.

A- Pours a reddish brown color. No head showed with this beer but there were a couple bubbles and that was it. No lacing at all but this beer does show some legs.

S- Alcohol right off the get go in the aroma. Darker fruits with caramel malts come out but these quickly get masked up by bourbon and light oak. This has a light sherry tone to it as well but mixed with bourbon.

T- Sweet caramel malts in the front of the beer gets a dose of alcohol soaked darker fruits in the front. There is another alcohol like character in the middle which shows almost a sherry flavor mixed with barrel notes. Bourbon soaked fruit gives out more of strong hard alcohol flavor in the ending of the beer.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is light for the style but fitting for this beer. Darker fruits and alcohol are left on the palate. Aftertaste is hot alcohol, bourbon, darker fruits. Flavors were a little underbalanced overall in this beer. No off flavors but the barrel age could have calmed this beer down a little more. High alcohol drying on the palate.

O- This beer needs some aging on it. The ABV is high and it shows in the flavor which I didn't care for. Hard alcohol like tones to this beer should die down with some more time to it. As of now I thought this beer was a little above average but not by much.

alleykatking, May 28, 2011
Photo of ColForbinBC
3.45/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

500mL ceramic bottle poured into a snifter; 2009 vintage

A medium brown body with a small, bubbly yellowish head that rises and falls rather quickly. No lacing left behind. This is a murky beer, not very attractive.

Boozy up front with a large dose of toffee and caramel. Some vanilla and oak with burnt brown sugar around the edges. I feel like the aroma has lost a great deal of its complexity from the barrel aging. It seems much more straightforward.

More of the same on the palate. Huge amounts of toffee, burnt brown sugar, vanilla and booze. All of the fruit flavors I got in the original are nearly gone. As I stated earlier, the complexity is practically washed away/masked by booze and vanilla.

Light to medium body and light carbonation. This is a lot thinner than fellow old ales. The boozy nature of this guy and the super high abv make this guy a sipper. And while I didn't fully hate this beer, I was definitely underwhelmed. $23 for this bottle and I felt as though it was above average.

ColForbinBC, Jan 08, 2011
Photo of TheSamKuehn
3.5/5  rDev -21.2%

TheSamKuehn, Jun 21, 2014
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -21.2%

ygtbsm94, Jan 12, 2012
Photo of mcrago
3.5/5  rDev -21.2%

mcrago, Jul 27, 2013
Photo of jophish17
3.5/5  rDev -21.2%

jophish17, Dec 24, 2011
Photo of craytonic
3.5/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had some significant variation with bottles, one was delicious, one tasted like a flat rum and coke, and one was somewhere in the middle.

Appearance: brown-amber mahogany pour with a very small head

Smell: Heavy bourbon/booze up front with notes of toffee, caramel, vanilla, brown sugar and oak. Tendency for some bottles to smell too much like rum and coke

Taste: Similar to the aroma, as long as it doesn't taste like a rum and coke it is fairly tasty. Again, bourbon dominates with caramel, toffee, brown sugar, vanilla and oak following. A bit too sweet.

Mouthfeel - a touch more carbonation would have helped.

Overall - I have had one outstanding bottle, one bad bottle that was a drainpour, and one bottle in the middle. Lots of potential but a bit of a gamble.

craytonic, Feb 03, 2011
Photo of BARFLYB
3.55/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Old Stock Ale Bourbon pours a old ale reddish brown color. With a slightly hard pour no head came up just some popping bubbles. A few swirls managed to produce some small white bubbles. No lacing, pretty much what I expected.

S- Right out of the bottle this pretty much smells like alcohol and malts. As this opens up the alcohol remains but a bunch of dark fruit and caramel come out wih the bourbon not far along. Some traces of sherry and sugars are there too. A very nice rich smelling beer with dank bourbon. This needs to be room temp to fuly understand

T- As with the smell this was pretty standard cold but got better when it came to. Loads of rich sweet malts with caramel. Not much hops as they faded, nothing at all really. The alcohol which usually distracts me from the beer works well in this. Bourbon soaked dark fruit like plums plus figs and raisins. Some hard alcohol like tastes, this one is great when it is warm, pointless to drink any other way.

M- Well above medium bodied with pretty low carbonation but there is some there. This one is sweet but boozy and still a bit hot after two some years. On par with an english old ale in which I believe this was inspired by.

D- 13.16%, that is alot, and it is noted in the taste. While the ABV is high this is very drinkable although it needs to be sipped and one is plenty although I kind of want to crack another one right now. Insanely expensive, kind of a rip off.

BARFLYB, May 20, 2011
Photo of phishisphunk
3.58/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A dark clay looking bottle, corked and caged, served at cellar temp into a sniffer. A nice presentation from the folks at North Coast. Definetly something different.

A: a vigorous pour yields a transparent deep ruby red/brown ale with a short lived off white three finger head. The head recedes quickly with zero lacing left on the glass. After letting this one sit, it presents like a cognac with no legs....thin with little to no carbonation.

S: the nose presents a a bouquet of booze, toffee, carmel, and vanilla with hints of wet oak and coconut. The barrel is evident but I don't think the base holds it up enough and I'm fairly unimpressed.

T: the taste follows the nose pretty well. Vanilla, hints of coconut, with a mild tart berry like finish as it passes through the palate. The heat from the booziness is evident, but integrated well.

M: the beer feels smooth and well rounded. This one leaves you with a feeling of warmth on the inside. Overall the beer is still pretty hot.

D: I'm certainly glad to have tried and shared this one as I enjoy barrel aged beers, but something about this one didn't work for me and the old ale style. The body is a bit thin, it's pretty boozy, and the base beer feels emmacerated by the barrel. Most importantly, the hefty pricetag won't soon entice me into buying another. This one will hold up for a bit in the bottle if looking to cellar. Drink it if you must.

phishisphunk, Apr 24, 2011
Photo of OlieIPA
3.58/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Shared by Pehlman and served in a short stemmed flute glass.

A: A deep dark brown body with light tints of red and orange around the edges. Supported a brief 1-finger head, but quickly disappeared. No lacing was apparent.

S: Brown sugar, caramel, bourbon and vanilla.

T: The initial sip has a strong bourbon/alcohol presence that is followed up with molasses, brown sugar and vanilla.

M: Thin on the palate with ample amounts of carbonation.

D: Good; has some complexity to along with the big and bold flavors, but the high alcohol content creates some fatigue.

Overall: A very good beer and very similar to the qualities you would find in a Lost Abbey brew. A try it beer! Cheers!

OlieIPA, Jan 30, 2011
Photo of bennetj17
3.58/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dull, semi cloudy brown. Some soap-like bubbles arise immediately but dissipate within seconds, leaving a rather flat looking beer in the glass. The smell is at first very bourbon heavy but after a few whiffs I notice a nice balance of wood and some toffee like malt character. There isn't much potency from the alcohol fume either so I'd guess it's mellowed considerably since 2009.

There is some nice vanilla sweetness up front with a raisiny, brown sugar malt backbone. Strong bourbon character without the alcohol burn. The back end lacks a good contrast however, and is a bit cloying. For appearing flat, the carbonation is actually pretty decent. The mouthfeel seems thin though, with a light syrupy feel. It could stand to be a bit more robust, but with this much alcohol content it's expected.

This beer has a nice flavor profile up front and alot of potential, but ultimately isn't excellent all around. Perhaps I would prefer some more bitterness for balance, and the carbonation and mouthfeel also need some work. Overall a nice brew but not worth $20+ for a small bottle.

bennetj17, Apr 01, 2013
Photo of claspada
3.65/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a fairly-deep brown color with an initially spritzy head that immediately fizzled down to nothing almost soda-like.

Aromas begin with strong, smooth bourbon. Tons of sweet vanilla, wood, and caramel. The sweetness is actually quite intense. Perhaps some brown sugar is there as well, but the focus is definitely the barrel.

The tastes begin with boozy bourbon along with some caramel, molasses and a hint of burnt brown sugar. Light vanilla there as well, but the bourbon dominates the overall flavor profile.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation. Finish is a tad boozy and sweet.

Overall I cannot call this a winner in my book only because it is a bourbon bomb still after 3 years. The base beer is such a solid offering that the barrel aging totally dominates the flavor profile. The base Old Stock only acts as a canvas for the bourbon; with so much bourbon flavor, I could just drink bourbon, especially for the elevated cost/small quantity of this brew.

claspada, Aug 15, 2012
Photo of laituegonflable
3.68/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tried as a head-to-head with 2011 ordinary Old Stock.

Pours a very dark brown-red colour, little bit of cloud. Head is non-existent, really, just a rim of bubbles with mild cloud and a small bit of lace. Looks heavy, but lacklustre in all the important ways.

Massively sweet and nutty, with an effect I didn't think was possible- sharp coconut. It's coconut so pungent it assaults your olfactory in an almost spicy way, balanced with some coriander maybe? Pepper, vanilla and peanut brittle on there as well, but that coconut is iconoclastic. It makes me rethink what bourbon-ageing can do.

Taste is an impressive - for the most part - sweetness that burgeons with caramel toffee, pecan and some rye notes. Bourbony coconut comes through midway and really invades the late-mid with a hot booze that dried up on the finish, palate-wise. Kind of ends like a manufactured spirit, with the natural flavours getting soaked up by a black hole of booze, although a pinch of that coconut lingers. I don't mind it, but it's a bit hot and just short on the palate; would have liked more exploration of the complexities.

Big and full but that hot booze is a constant companion, from start to finish.

A bit too big for the container - let's just say I can see cellulite hanging out the hotpants of this beer.

laituegonflable, Jan 02, 2012
Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.7/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to Ed for this one!

Served in a tulip glass, this beer is a crystal clear amber that glows a ruby port when held to the light. Head dissipates to a thin collar quickly while micro-bubbles break on the surface.

Smells of sweet biscuits and toasted marshmallows with a strong sting of oaky bourbon. There's a dry touch of earth and leather in the background along with a nice touch of alcohol.

The flavor was surprisingly subdued considering how present the aroma was. The taste seems dominated by a CO2 numbness that dissolves into sweet touches of caramel, sweet whole grain crackers and the oaky bourbon. Upon further review, this one seems to slip right over the tip of the tongue to engage deeper in the mouth. Perhaps a less intensive sip is in order to let this one really unfold.

Feels far more fizzy than anticipated: distractingly so. There I was expecting a dense and sweet sipper, this one foams up on the tongue to the point where I couldn't at times feel the denseness of the beer. I gave this many a swirl to get the CO2 levels down so that I could actually enjoy the delicate flavors. The alcohol seems to leave my mouth a bit numb!

Overall a tasty sipper. The CO2 and alcohol presence was a bit much for me, but it's still a nice treat.

DarkerTheBetter, Apr 16, 2011
Photo of zoolzoo
3.7/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours sort of a coffee bean brown, almost red from some angles. Barely a head, reduces to nothing. No lace or residue.

S: Nice aroma...plenty of sweet bourbon coupled with some dark fruitage. Sort of astringent and sharp though, alcohol is a bit stinging.

T: Bourbon is nice and big, along with toffee and vanilla. I have to say though, alcohol cuts in really hard mid palate (doesn't bother to wait for the finish). The finish is nice and sweet, though slightly astringent as in the nose. As far as bourbon beers go, this is getting closer to sipping a really smooth whiskey, though not quite. There is perhaps some faint hoppiness in the finish, though it could be the ABV kicking in.

M: Mouthfeel is good, perhaps a tiny bit thin. Alcohol presence is evaporative at times making this a real sipper, especially approaching room temp.

O: Not the smoothest bourbon barrel beer ever, by far. Everything is just a little thin, a little sharp. Still, plenty of flavor to enjoy here. Just take your time.

zoolzoo, Mar 21, 2011
Photo of TurdFurgison
3.7/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2009 version, courtesy of AgentZero (thanks Mike!). At $26 I haven't wanted to pull the trigger myself, so I was very happy to have the chance sans charge.

It poured a dark reddish-brown with a thin foam that disappeared immediately to a delicate bubbly ring, then to nothing. Strong nose, earthy and boozy, very old ale-ish. Caramel, toffee, sweet malts and bourbon, oaky vanilla and so forth. I really liked the smell, you can tell it's gonna be a sipper.

Strong barrel components in the flavor, a lot of vanilla and bourbon making themselves known, also a mild stomache burn giving a strong ABV impression. More caramel and toffee than I get even in the standard Old Stock, although that might be because I've only had them fresh. Some dark fruits too, plums and raisins.

This was a serious sipper, a lot going on and not something to pound. Glad for the chance, although ultimately I don't think it's worth quite $26 for the small bottle. Maybe $14-15 is more reasonable based on drinker's enjoyment (not actual brewery cost issues though).

TurdFurgison, Jan 29, 2011
Photo of afausser
3.73/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: pours really bubbly and fizzy, with the appearance of soda. Head fades just as quickly, with fine and fast-moving streams of carbonation. A ring of bubbles is all that remains around the edge of the glass, and it still really has the appearance of soda. Very odd. Side by side of the non-barrel aged is, as expected, with slightly more persistent head and far less carbonation.

Smell: excellent, heavy bourbon, caramel, and nicely blended oak notes. Some expected dark fruit notes, particularly prune and raisin. Much stronger and more dominant than the non-aged version, though reminds me of the non-barrel aged with a few years on it.

Taste: Honestly it's hard to get beyond the alcohol heat and the awful mouthfeel, but caramel and dark fruit notes shine through. Obviously a fair amount of oaky bourbon, even more than in the nose. Not incredibly well-blended, and I expect better from North Coast.

The mouthfeel really just ruins the taste. Foamy and gross. Would rather just have an 07 non-barrel aged version. Awful.

This is really difficult to drink, though not ridiculously so for the ABV. If it calms down after the

afausser, Mar 23, 2011
Photo of sk8man121
3.73/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16.9 oz. bottle (on sale for $16.99 at Whole Foods in Portland, ME) poured into snifter.

A: Pours a deep shade of plum with ruby highlights. 1.5 finger tan head settles quickly into a flat slick as expected.

S: Brown sugar, vanilla, toffee, caramel. Sweetness.

T: Raison, toffee and caramel. Warmed sugar and quite a bit of alcohol make up the latter half of this one. Nice, but also quite cloying.

M: Thick and syrupy. Carbonation is low, yet it creams up nicely.

O: I'm having a hard time understanding the massive amount of praise that comes along with this beer. It's certainly a nice barley wine/old ale, but it's also quite hot and somewhat of a mess. I enjoyed it, but I have no intention on grabbing another bottle for the cellar given it's ridiculous price of admission.

Good, but over-priced.

Edit: Forgot to mention that one impressive factor of this beer is that it truly is a different animal from the original old stock. So there's that, which is nice.

sk8man121, Aug 14, 2011
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Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Bourbon Barrels) from North Coast Brewing Co.
98 out of 100 based on 533 ratings.