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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.

532 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 532
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: 532 | Reviews: 278 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Brez07
4.47/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Reviewing from notes 1 month old. Served in a snifter

A: Dark mahogany color. At first there is a 1/2 fizzy head, but expectedly this disappears within a minute. Leaves good "legs" each swirl of the glass

S: Nose consists of caramel, vanilla and bourbon. Lots of bourbon, right up my alley. Slight nuttiness. Sharp booze finish

T: Booze hits you up front but smooths right out. Lots of bourbon characteristics. Toffee, vanilla. Caramal sweetness. Slight dryness from the barrel. Some dark fruit manages to come through

M: Medium bodied. Some carbonation at first but smooths out. Woody, bourbon finish

D: Regular Old Stock is great but this one... she's a winner. I forgot all about her expensive tastes ($23/bottle) as we spent a nice half hour together. I hope she doesn't mind I have one of her twins sitting in my cellar

Brez07, Apr 11, 2011
Photo of Crosling
4.47/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark bronze colored beer. Very nice aroma showcases notes of chocolate, brown sugar, caramel, maple and sweet bourbon. Flavor is very complex, but still a touch hot and slightly too bourbon accented. Still has some serious malt depth to it, with notes of melted caramel, chocolate, cocoa and toffee. Very nice natural carbonation. These BA Old Stocks are beauties.

Crosling, Nov 26, 2008
Photo of jnn4v
4.47/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: light brown / stained hardwood color. No head at all. Some minor sediment. Translucent.

S: Amazing scent. Caramel, vanilla bourbon, shortbread, and butterscotch.

T: Clearly has a sharp edge to it with a strong bourbon taste, but honestly is very tasty to me (a bourbon fan). Cola, pumpernickel, caramel, rye, and other malty and bourbon and oak complexities all mingling.

M: Good carbonation, good viscosity, good density. All around nice texture.

O: Lovely beer with a lot of subtleties and complexity, despite the very strong bourbon flavors and 13% ABV. Seems like it'll only improve over time.

jnn4v, May 15, 2011
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.47/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clouded, dark brown body with a bubbly beige head.

Smell: Aroma drenched in bourbon with notes of caramel, oak, dark brown sugar, vanilla, fruit, and a puff of smoke.

Taste: Ah, rich caramel with a candylike sweetness you'd find in a dessert-minded liqueur. Macerated dark fruits. Full bourbon flavor with the essential hints of vanilla, wood, and brown sugar. Finishes bourbony with an alcoholic sear of success in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Lush mouthfeel.

Drinkability: A great beer and a fine offspring of the Old Stock Ale, but I gotta say the Brandy Barrel version just barely beats it out.

ChainGangGuy, Jan 04, 2008
Photo of CrellMoset
4.47/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500 mL corked and caged bottle that I had flown out to me from Southbay Drugs before I was aware that this one would be making the rounds out to my parts. Glad to give Geoi the business, anyways! Poured in to a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a deep and fairly attractively hued cola, a dark woody brown with hints of auburns and reds shining through depending upon the angle that the light hits this one. A relatively intense pour yields a relatively dramatic head that surges to a height of two fingers before - true to its cola-like hue - fading in to a fizzy collar and a few dashes of surface lacing. All remnants of the head are sustained not by virtue of any retention (most of which I imagine is killed by the spirit aging and the high abv%) but instead by a ton of brisk, large bubbled carbonation, the quantity of which is both visible around the edges of the glass but also was suggested by the loud pop that the cork made when it was liberated from the neck of the bottle.

Aroma: Nice at first, though it becomes a little too potent and astringent as it warms. At first, hints of toffee, caramel, and cocoa emerge warmly, mingling with a nice amount of raisins, plums, and figs. It's very pleasant at first, but goes downhill far quicker than the taste does.

Taste: Divine. The flavor profile of this beer suggests either that all beers aged in bourbon barrels should: a) be done so for 18 months; or b) be North Coast's Old Stock. I haven't yet decided which one it is.

Toffee is strong up front, dominant in fact, particularly while this one is still relatively chilled. It's a sweet but not overwhelmingly sweet toffee note, heavily caramelized, but with tons of raw sugar and bread notes, mildly biscuity, and a little honey-like around the edges. The more lightly roasted, sweeter sugars transition beautifully in to a few heavier notes, earthy, faintly coffee-like and with hints of cocoa nib. Fruits are gloriously vibrant, ranging from tropical fruits to stone fruits like plum, cherries, and even a hint of apricot. Dark fruits interplay particularly well with the malt base. A kiss of sour dates is even present in the finish. And faintly, darkly, in the distance, the shadow of hop bitterness of sessions past stands solemnly, quietly, faintly bitter and mildly leafy.

Then there's the bourbon. The elements present in the base beer here marry perfectly with every character brought to the party by these barrels. The estery brightness of the vanilla is strong, easily the strongest element from the barrels present here; it marries perfectly with the heavier, dryer malt notes, lending a vanilla-cocoa one-two punch that's fantastic. Coconut fruitness interplays nicely with the raisins and cherries in the underlying base beer, and a nice amount of oaky wood sugars mingle well with the toffee and caramelized, glassy sugars. And the bourbon - spicy but not prickly, warming but not hot, lightly roasted but not sweet - interplays with all of the above: the sweetness of the unattenuated malt and fruit sugars as well as the dryness of the others; the faded but still present hop notes; etc etc ad nauseum. It's beers like this that showcase precisely why beer can marry so perfectly with barrel aging, and - more importantly - how to do it right.

Mouthfeel: Somehow, the huge amount of carbonation present here manages to not disrupt the smoothness of the body. This one manages to come across as bright, lively, and elevative ... but not erratic, uneven, or rough. Even as the carbonation dies down, it dies down smoothly and evenly, though the ultimate end point of this beer is a slightly heavy one. No worries though - I had no problem with sipping this one quickly, even though my better angels were telling me to savor every last drop.

Drinkability: And savor every last drop I did. I can't rate anything sporting a 13.16% that has this abrasive a nose higher than a 4.0, but the remainder of this beer earned most every bit of that 4.0, from the taste to the mouthfeel to the continuously and visible lively effervescence. There are certainly a few process issues with this beer - it's a little too bubbly, the head retention isn't great, and it's a little harsh and chemically after it nears room temperature ... but you almost want to forgive it for what it showcases here. A truly remarkable combination of flavors that pretty much proves why certain beers belong in barrels, I hope that North Coast can gradually tweak this one as they continue to produce it to address a few of the other issues present here to make a fully well-rounded beer. If so, this one's a candidate for the top 100, if not much, much higher.

CrellMoset, Mar 21, 2011
Photo of megahurts4
4.48/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Old Stock Ale Cellar Reserve 2009

Appearance: orange-red, little lacing, and small head.

Smell: bourbon, vanilla, and malt.

Taste: vanilla, bourbon, and an odd malt.

Mouthfeel: medium-light.

This is an odd brew. The bourbon and vanilla are plentiful, but the other flavors are subtle. It has an earthy dark taste.

megahurts4, Jun 08, 2012
Photo of draheim
4.48/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500mL bottle (2009) into a snifter. Pours a rich mahogany w/ a crackling 1-finger head that dissipates almost immediately. Looks almost still but there's some pretty good carbonation rising from the bottom.

Aroma is buttery rich vanilla, molasses, toffee, caramel malt, dark fermented fruit, warm booze. Just about every ooey gooey sticky substance you can think of is in here. A nice oak presence as well.

Taste is also rich, smooth, thick, chewy. Dark fruit, molasses, vanilla, brown sugar, sticky caramel, bourbon, oak. Alcohol numbs the tongue, warms the throat. This is a sipper if I've ever had one.

Mouthfeel of course is thick, coating, sticky. Just right for a beer this concentrated and intense.

Overall, this is about what I was expecting/hoping for. Layers of richness and complexity, hopefully only enhanced by 3 years in the bottle. Not an everyday beer by any stretch but a tasty, decadent treat.

draheim, Jul 03, 2012
Photo of harrymel
4.48/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

'09 edition.

Haven't really taken the time to review this, although I've had it probably six or seven times before; I usually only open one with company and don't wanna be rude and review in front of them. This time - the bottle is allll mine!

Pours a nice amber with a fleeting finger of taupe foam - leaving an etched surface. Nose is immaculate - nougat, bourbon, vanilla, fine malt syrup, bits of toffee, some caramalized sugar (near true creme brulee toasting). Flavor is rich and decadent with some maple, bourbon, vanilla, rich malts, some really nice sugars and a caramel flavor. Medium bodied with prickly carbonation. I really dig this beer.

harrymel, Dec 03, 2012
Photo of ummswimmin
4.48/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked up this bottle about a couple years ago. I've been letting it cellar until about a week ago. I was excited to finally open this up.

This is an extremely rich smelling beer. You get tobacco, dark fruits, oakiness, and definitely the bourbon. There is a lot of heat coming off of this beer.

I love the flavor of this beer. I continue to get flavor akin to the bouquet notes. In addition, I got a decent amount of caramel. These flavors coat the mouth with each sip. I recommend this beer by a fire from a snifter. They pair very well. Don't forget the smoker's jacket.

ummswimmin, Dec 22, 2012
Photo of timc100
4.49/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Been saving this for a special occasion, so I enjoyed it with great anticipation.

A: Pours a murky, muggy brown with dark muddy ruby tinges on the edge of the glass. The head is expectably very minimal- just fizzes away within' seconds. Not the best looking beer - looks more like dirty murky brandy.

S: HUGE vanilla and coconut, caramelized/burnt brown sugar, gooey boozy caramel and raisins. There are more dark fruit notes of prunes and cherry juice that sit below the assault of boozy sweetness. Given this beer has been aging in the bottle for 2 years it's surprising how hot it still is and the booziness does get in the way some.

T: Just as big and boozy as the aroma. Rich, decadent, gooey caramel and booze soaked fruits. Sweet vanilla and some coconut as well as hints of oak. Very sweet but it balances out the abv well, though still pretty hot. Very intense

P: At first way over carbonated, but with some vigorous swirls of the glass it yields a near perfect body. Not incredibly viscous - fuller side of medium. Very smooth, allows the intense flavors to be enhanced and coats your mouth.

O: This is a stunning creation. Reminds me of the Bruery anniversary beers, but certainly it's own creation. Certainly not falling off at all, I imagine this one could cellar for another 5 years at least.

timc100, Aug 20, 2013
Photo of SkiBum22
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

SkiBum22, Jun 27, 2014
Photo of bpfrush
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

bpfrush, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of glid02
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

glid02, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of kevwcamp
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

kevwcamp, Apr 17, 2013
Photo of kevin7912
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

kevin7912, May 31, 2012
Photo of GimmeGumballHead
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

GimmeGumballHead, Dec 20, 2011
Photo of beergorrilla
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

beergorrilla, May 31, 2012
Photo of Denzo
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Denzo, Dec 21, 2013
Photo of AirborneBeer
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

AirborneBeer, Aug 05, 2013
Photo of Frosty80
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Color: pours med golden brown. sits slightly opaque (mostly clear) med brown with a ruby hue. head is pretty small and doesnt around too long. no lacing

Smell: full, bright notes of bourbon, oak, vanilla, chocolate, caramel and hints of dark fruit, all in great quantities and balance. little bit of alcohol but doesnt come close to getting in the way other aromas

Taste: slightly more alcohol presence on the palate than the nose. otherwise, good translation from aroma to flavors. lots of bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel with notes of chocolate and dark fruit

Mouthfeel: medium body with medium-high carbonation that lightens the load slightly

Notes: wonderful beer. always been a huge fan of Old Stock so naturally a little bourbon aging raises it to a new level

Frosty80, Jan 12, 2011
Photo of vrbulldog22
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

vrbulldog22, Oct 19, 2013
Photo of AxesandAnchors
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

AxesandAnchors, Jan 20, 2013
Photo of Brent
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As an initial note, if style points were an option for the bottle, this would get an A+. It calls to mind a vintage port bottle that you would find on a pirate ship (or at least what I would envision one to look like, never actually having been aboard such a ship, myself). But, I digress.

And, to digress a bit more before actually getting around to the review, this beer caused me to reflect on the whole bourbon barrel aging trend that has grown exponentially over the last few years. When the first examples hit the market they were viewed more as a novelty and, for the most part, were pretty heavy-handed. Most had one primary flavor - bourbon - like having a boilermaker. A few less than satisfactory experiences caused me to think that this was just a passing fad.

Had I sampled this beer back then, I would have been blown away. It is testament to how far the level of quality overall has grown in this style so that it now takes a great beer to really stand out from the ever-growing crowd of bourbon barrel aged beers.

Now, at last, to the beer. Smooth, well rounded and mellow, with abundant brown sugar and caramel notes, but not overly sweet. Bourbon note is modest and clean. No boozyness despite the high alchol level, and, while a sipper, surpisingly drinkable.

Brent, Feb 23, 2011
Photo of mendvicdog
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

mendvicdog, Oct 12, 2013
Photo of injuredreserve
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

injuredreserve, Jan 05, 2013
Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Bourbon Barrels) from North Coast Brewing Co.
98 out of 100 based on 532 ratings.