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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

529 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 529
Reviews: 278
rAvg: 4.44
pDev: 8.33%
Wants: 206
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: 529 | Reviews: 278 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rich bourbon aromas. Pours very dark borwn with a quick dissipitating head that results in a small topping of beige head. Carbonation is surprisingly strong for a 2009, justifying the difficulty in taking out this cork(yes I used a corkscrew and I am not a total weakling). A very special ale, rich malt and quality bourbon, with a bias towards being sweet. A nominal coconut taste and butteriness in the finish. A sipper. Thanks to my Southern trading partner. Oakiness is deep secondary and mellows and balances. Being a Canadian, I am neutral and not gaga about bourbon. Had again 5 months later and big coconut and bourbon smell. Buttery mouthfeel, full, but also with sourness from bourbon.

Sammy, Mar 31, 2011
Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

t0rin0, Dec 01, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.19/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottle pour for Best Damn Night Of The Barrels held at The Beer Company in San Diego, CA.

2009 vintage.

Pours a clear brown with a foamy beige head that fades to nothing. No lacing on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, toffee, bourbon, and wood. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick on the finish. There is a mild amount of woody bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with some great barrel aged aromas and flavors.

UCLABrewN84, Mar 05, 2013
Photo of Thorpe429
4.4/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Split with Amyliz4. Served in a Hill Farmstead glass. 2009 Vintage.

I'll start off by saying that this is the best off-the-shelf beer I have had in a long, long time.

Pours a fairly-deep brown color. Head is extraordinarily weird. It fizzes up like crazy at first and then immediately dies down to nothing. Very reminiscent of cola in that way. In color, too, I suppose. The nose leads with a strong aroma of smooth bourbon. Some molasses and brown sugar are in the background, but the focus is definitely the barrel.

Flavor is much more complex and oh so incredibly smooth. Bourbon hits from the start along with some caramel, molasses, and a hint of burnt sugar. Light vanilla there as well. Bourbon dominates. Mouthfeel is medium and beyond smooth. Simply incredible. This was a sipper, for nothing other than pure enjoyment. Huge fan and I hope they do this more often. Also, please release the brandy version again!

Thorpe429, Apr 12, 2011
Photo of zestar
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

zestar, Aug 01, 2014
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.4/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dusky ruby with maraschino cherry highlights when the glass is backlit with weak sunshine. Too bad the khaki colored crown fizzed away to near nothing inside of several minutes. The only thing left is a thin rim of bubbles along the circumference of the laceless snifter. Barrel-aged beer can often look like this, so I won't be too harsh.

The nose is an omen that good things await on the taste buds. Possibly even great things. The beer smells like Jamaican dark rum at least as much as it smells like bourbon whiskey. It features the molasses of the former and the caramelized sugar, vanilla and toasted oak of the latter. The power is unquestioned, but more depth is needed for a bigger score to be considered. Not surprisingly, that depth arrives once the beer loses its slight starting chill.

Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Bourbon Barrel) is the quintessential slow sipper of a high-powered old ale. I now wish that I had reviewed one of the several Old Stock vintages currently in my cellar to see what the barrel aging added. Or possibly subtracted, as that also sometimes happens when beer is aged in liquor barrels.

There's quite a bit of overlap between the two styles, but this could also be considered an English barleywine. It's malt-dominant, is relatively light of body, and the ingredients are all imported from England (Maris Otter malt, Fuggles and East Kent Goldings hops). On second thought, there may be more hoppiness than most British brewers would be comfortable with.

Flavors include dark toffee, dark butterscotch, bourbon-soaked raisins, crushed vanilla beans, a shot of blackstrap molasses and a double shot of tawny port. The beer's vinousness is as wonderful as it is unexpected... and I just got ouzo with that last sip. It's too bad the bottle only contains 375 ml because it's difficult to get one's palate around this much complexity given slightly more than 12 ounces of beer.

I've decided to bump the mouthfeel score up a notch because it improves a little with warming. Even though it's no more than light-medium for the style, there's a hint of oily viscosity on the finish that is, again, reminiscent of an aged port. Once a few minutes of light fizziness have passed, the carbonation is appropriately sedate.

Old Stock Ale Cellar Reserve (Bourbon Barrel) is great beer. Though I much prefer bourbon whiskey to brandy, I'm sure that Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Brandy Barrel) is outstanding as well. The neck label indicates that this offering is part of the 'American Artisan Series'. That's North Coast Brewing in a nutshell: American artisans.

BuckeyeNation, Dec 03, 2008
Photo of BEERchitect
4.53/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Impressive as hell to see what the bourbon barrels do to the ever-tasty Old Stock Ale. More caramel. More vanilla. More chocolate. Smoother taste. ...All add to the tradition and regal character of well aged English Old Ales.

Pourig a deep crimson color with near clarity, the beer portrays a very mystic hue. The familiar part-loose, part-dense bubbles that comprise the head is a direct carryover from the original Old Stock. But the fleeting retetion and low level of lace shows how the barrel changes the beer's appearance. Alcohols and barrel aging degrade the head character just a bit.

Deep and succulent aromas of toffee and molasass also share the stage with vanilla, caramel, and chocolate for a deeply desert-like scent. Enough wine-like character to resemble cognac and enough sweetness to resemble rum, the aromas are dense, robust, and refined.

Flavors closely resemble the aromas but with few exceptions. The sweetness of caramel, molasass, etc... is balanced (and perhaps overshadowed) by a highly attenuated sugary/alcoholic taste that's very good, but not as succulent as the aroma. English fruitiness of figs and dates carry a nutty undertone with mature barley, fruitcake, and chocolate. Rum alcohols made a return with a cherry-like taste and boozy overall flavor. The barrel's bourbon, vanillans, caramel, and tanins all make a posative impact in taste to elevate the natural flavor of Old Stock but to contribute strength and nobility.

Rich and succulent to start, the beer quickly ushers in alcoholic warmth that further sweetens the beer before turning warm, and then slightly boozy. Medium early creaminess is quick-lived and develops quickly to heat and semi-sweet dryness in finish.

The Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Stock definately carries a masculine bourbon, caramel, vanill, chocolate character that is very shy in the original version. Somewhat of a caramel and chocolatey port or brandy, this is definately a beer for discriminating palates.

BEERchitect, May 20, 2011
Photo of mikesgroove
4.75/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I waited a very, very long time to be able to get ahold of this one, After not being aloud to be at DLD, this year, I felt I had to open up something special to make up for it. Served at cellar temp and poured into a snifter this one was consumed on 04/24/2010.

Rich caramel colored pour with a light head of off white that caps it off rather nicely. Settling down it left a little bit of a light sticky lace along the sides. Aroma was the best I have ever come across. Rich toffee and butterscotch, tons of sweet nectar notes. Candy in all its glory. Perfectly aged with a smooth, perfect profile of vanilla, toffee, and rich butterscotch that will not let up. Rich bourbon flavor just rolls across the palate with a smoothness unlike anything I have run across before. Rich vanilla and boozy notes combine to form a perfect balance of rich sweet notes and oak soaked barrel flavor.

Incredibly complex and drinkable this was was everything I had wanted it to be and more. Quite simply one of the best beers I have had hands down. Go seek this one out now. It is dead on perfect.

mikesgroove, Apr 26, 2010
Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev -9.9%

GRG1313, Dec 19, 2011
Photo of womencantsail
4.22/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Can't recall who brought this, but thank you. Bottle from the recently released 2009 vintage.

A: The beer pours a clear amber color with almost no head to speak of.

S: Like with the 2005 version, this beer is all about the bourbon. Tons of sweet vanilla, bourbon, wood, and caramel. The sweetness is actually quite intense. Perhaps some brown sugar is there also.

T: More of the same on the palate. Lots of sweet caramel, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, and vanilla. The bourbon is almost overwhelming, but this works out fine with the flavors of Old Stock.

M: Medium to full in terms of body with a minimal level of carbonation.

D: This version seems much, much less boozy than the previous one even though it was just released. I only wish it wasn't $25+ for a 500ml bottle. Maybe then I would actually buy some.

womencantsail, Jan 14, 2011
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -21.2%

ygtbsm94, Jan 12, 2012
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 Knapp85
4.03/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I bit the bullet and bought a bottle of this beer. I love Bourbon Barrel Aged beers as long as the aging it very pronounced. This beer poured out as a reddish brown color with a thin fizzy white head on it. The head didn't leave behind much of any lacing. The smell of the beer was pretty good. There were strong aromas of Bourbon, caramel, molassas, and some faint vanilla. The taste was pretty good too. The Bourbon kicked in on the tounge for a really nice sweet flavor. The mouthfeel was a little bit on the thin side I thought. My overall thoughts of this beer were kind of on the negative end. I liked the beer essentially but the price was hardest to swallow. The beer should have been much thicker I think, which would have given it a much better mouthfeel. I don't see myself ever buyng this one again, if you knock off about $15 off the price tag it might be worth it. There are better options out there but if you have deep pockets give this one a try.

Knapp85, Jun 13, 2011
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of largadeer
4.4/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2005 edition:

Tawny in color, dense and oily, this beer appears to have a bit more carbonation than the brandy barrel version, though the head still recedes quickly. The nose is surprisingly hot despite having several years of age on it, but beneath the heat there's a lot of complexity; turbinado sugar, leather, spicy oak and boozy, caramelly bourbon. Alcohol and rich caramel hit the palate first, but it dries up a bit, allowing leather, tobacco, vanilla and fruit to come to the forefront before finishing with a resurgence of heat, tannins and caramel. Delicious stuff, though I prefer the brandy barrel version.

2009:

Dark brown, perfectly clear. Has a very pristine, filtered appearance. Pours with two fingers of fleeting tan head. Mellower than the '05, but less complex. Heavy on the oak and bourbon, feels a bit refined, but still quite good. This doesn't touch the 2005 Brandy Barrel Old Stock, but it's a good beer all the same. Probably more of an A- beer; my scores reflect the original 2005 bottling.

largadeer, Jul 31, 2009
Photo of JAHMUR
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

JAHMUR, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of nickfl
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Pours with a small head of off-white foam on top of a clear, dark amber-brown body. The head settles rapidly and leaves almost no lace on the glass.

S - A thick, sugary aroma of chocolate, raisins, whiskey, and alcohol.

T - Brown, malty notes of toffee, dark caramel, and unrefined sugar up front. Some fruity notes of raisins, caramel, and almonds come out in the middle with a bit of vanilla. Things finish up with stronger, boozy notes of bourbon, toasted oak, pepper, and a lingering alcoholic warmth the is grounded by moderate bitterness and a subtle note of pine.

M - A moderately thick body, slightly above average carbonation, and a fairly dry finish.

D - Well, this beer certainly wasn't cheap, but it sounded good and now that I finally got around to opening it, I am happy to say that it lives up to my hopes and dreams (more or less). The aroma is quite complex and really shows the benefits of the barrel aging; this beer smells more like strait up bourbon than it does barrel aged beer. In some cases that would be a word of warning (such as the beers that we have all had that just seem like someone poured bourbon in right before it was bottled) but in this case it works magnificently and manages to convey all that is good about bourbon with just a touch of moderating influence from the complex character of the underling beer. The flavor is no less excellent as the fruity notes play with the whiskey and just a touch of the intense, sweaty hop character that I remember from the unaltered base beer. Overall it is a very nice beer, and one of the better uses of whiskey barrels in brewing that I have come across.

nickfl, Apr 01, 2011
Photo of MasterSki
4.39/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Reviewing the 2009 vintage, although I've had the 2005 on a few occasions as well. Served in a DryHop taster pint glass.

A - Surprising pop when I pulled out the cork. A finger of tan foam settles to a partial cap, thick collar, and specks of lace. Dark amber-brown body that's largely opaque.

S - Lots of bourbon, brown sugar, and oak, with secondary notes of vanilla, red fruits, licorice, and a bit of chocolate. Still pretty boozy, even after two years of cellaring, but not excessively so for 13+%.

T - The taste is quite delicious, with a nice blend of caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, and more peripheral flavors of bourbon, oak, and both dark and red fruits. Alcohol is better hidden here. Not overly cloying, with good balance between barrel flavors and sweet malts. There's perhaps a faint note of smoke and light hints of raisin and toffee as well. Rich and complex.

M - Smooth, creamy, medium-full body, with some mild tannins and oak late on the palate and some mild warming alcohol as well. Pleasant, lower carbonation that is sufficiently lively for the style.

D - Drink 'em if you got 'em. Quite good, and probably not going to get any better. Whatever gains there are to be made in the aroma will probably be lost in the taste. Looking forward to the new brandy release.

MasterSki, Nov 19, 2013
Photo of drabmuh
4.3/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I drank the whole thing alone, not the brightest of ideas but I've had worse. Beer is brown and hazy with a tan head that disappears quickly, no lacing low carbonation.

Caramel and bourbon, woody and sweet in the nose. Lots of candy.

Beer is medium in body and the base beer comes through more than I expected, so that's a good thing. Overall the bourbon brightens up the forward and midpalate in complexity. The malt character from the Old Stock is present and very nice. The finish is a little dry for the style but overall it a great beer. I wish it wasn't 20$ a bottle.

drabmuh, Jan 28, 2011
Photo of oline73
4.22/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Unibroue goblet.

Appearance: Pours a dark amber with hints of red when the light hits it. There is a one finger head and the carbonation reminds me of soda. As the head fades, it leaves a ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Simply amazing! Smells like vanilla and caramel with hints of dark fruit. I can definitely pick up the bourbon. Quite sweet, but still very balanced.

Taste: A lot like the smell, but not quite as smooth. A strong bourbon presence along with some caramel, vanilla, and dark fruit notes. The finish is quite hot. This beer is delicious.

Mouthfeel: This is the only place this beer falls down for me. Too thin and the carbonation is too high given the taste. The finish is warm and a bit dry.

Overall: The taste and smell of this beer are amazing, but the mouthfeel really took away from the beer. I really liked this beer, but given the price I don't know that'd I'd pick up another.

oline73, Jul 10, 2011
Photo of mendvicdog
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

mendvicdog, Oct 12, 2013
Photo of Mora2000
4.33/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to blutt59 for sharing this bottle. This is the 2009 vintage.

The beer pours a dark carmel color with a tan head. The aroma is full of bourbon, caramel and maple syrup. The aroma is definitely that of a bourbon-barrel aged beer and is quite enjoyable.

The flavor is more of the same. I get a lot of chocolate notes and caramel malt, as well as some bourbon and maple notes. There is also a little bit of vanilla from the barrel aging process. The alcohol is detectable but is not overpowering.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Very nice.

Mora2000, Apr 29, 2011
Photo of mdfb79
4.38/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From 01/21/11 notes. Shared at a small tasting by nimbleprop; thanks Mac, another big want!

a - Pours a deep mahogany brown color with one inch of white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of bourbon, oak, caramel malts, toffee, and vanilla. Also some sweet molasses or sugar.

t - Tastes of oak, bourbon, caramel malts, vanilla, sugar, and light fruit.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Nice mouthfeel that is easy to drink.

d - I thought this was a great bourbon barrel aged ale. The nose on this one is fantastic, full of bourbon, oak, and caramel, and the mouthfeel makes it very easy to drink considering the high ABV. Would love to try again, definitely a bottle to split with a few friends.

mdfb79, Jan 22, 2011
Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +12.6%

Rochefort10nh, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of Gueuzedude
4.1/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a quickly dissipating, initially one-finger thick, tan colored head. The beer is a dark, rusted amber color, but shows a brilliantly clear, full cranberry color when held up to the light. Ample Bourbon and sharp oak notes greet my nose, but it is far more integrated and smoother than many Bourbon Barrel beers. In fact the barrel character is right on par with the Brandy barrel version; certainly dominant, but well integrated and pleasing to the olfactory senses. Notes of spicy Bourbon, vanillin, ample butterscotch laden oak, definite warming alcohol notes and a touch of spicy wood are all noticeable parts of the barrel aging. The barrel notes are well supported by a substantial, but clearly secondary, malt character; ample caramelized malt notes help to smooth out the barrel notes and especially marry well with the vanillin and butterscotch notes. Some berry-like fruitiness, a sweet nuttiness and toasty browned malts are also part of the malt profile. After my nose gets used to the aroma a bit the barrel character seems to die down a bit, but it never loses the ample warming note from the alcohol.

Sweet, but as was the sister brew, this is very light feeling for a beer of this strength. The alcohol is omnipresent and seems to quickly go to my head, though I would not characterize it as overly hot, merely substantially warming. Nutty flavors seem to accent wood derived notes of butterscotch and vanillin; the latter two being the more noticeable notes. The malt provides fruity notes of raisins and berries that, in combination with the booze, make this taste a bit like Brandy. This is clearly Bourbon influenced though as it has a characteristically spicy edge to it, especially in the finish. The barrel notes are huge here, somehow this beer holds them in check though; the base beer manages to keep the barrel from becoming overly aggressive. The Bourbon character somehow manages to be so present here in the flavor, but it still does not become disagreeable (am I becoming more used to Bourbon notes in beer, a distinct possibility, or is this just that well integrated).

Definitely harder than the Brandy barrel aged version, but not overly so and I can see this appealing more to some people. The sharper barrel notes, which the Bourbon brings out, are really nice though and make this beer different enough (in a good way) from the Brandy that I find that I am enjoying this beer far more than I thought I would. I really think that trying this beer after I sampled the Brandy one (separated by days) has made me enjoy this beer all that much more. If I had had it at the same time, or before the other one, I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much. The differences that my memory has played out seem to be the most intriguing part of this beer. What this relies on though is the fact that this beer, while clearly barrel dominated, does not allow the barrel notes to overwhelm & marginalize the base beer. In the end it is a little too alcohol accented in the flavor to be on the same level as the Brandy barrel aged old stock, but it is still damn tasty and quite close.

Gueuzedude, Feb 02, 2008
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Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Bourbon Barrels) from North Coast Brewing Co.
98 out of 100 based on 529 ratings.