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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)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

327 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 327
Hads: 916
Avg: 4.35
pDev: 13.33%
Wants: 262
Gots: 423 | FT: 43
Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

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 (29) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 327 | Hads: 916
Photo of mothman
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours no head. Color is a murky copper.

Aroma: Warming bourbon, vanilla, caramel. Creamy. All malt. Nice oak. Good -bals.

Taste: The taste reminds me of the Bruery's -bal aged beers, which I think are awesome. Bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel, and chocolate. All malty goodness. Very warming.

Mouthfeel: Warming and smooth. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends warming and dry.

Overall, this was a really nice old ale. Very Bruery0like. Good -bals. I like the bourbon flavors a lot. Solid. I definitely dark lorded this bottle.

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Photo of tjfinkle
4.36/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I enjoyed this beer from a corked bottle poured into a tulip. Appears very thin for this style of beer. Dark brown in color with some light brown lacing.

The smell is very heavy of bourbon. Also some nice sweet toffee smells that balance out the boozy bourbon smell. The taste again is heavy of bourbon, balanced with a nice sweet aftertaste. Definitely on the boozy side, but I am a sucker for that. The mouth feel is nice, but I have to admit I prefer the old ales that have been bottle conditioned. The difference in carbonation is really where I notice the distinction.

Overall a very tasty drink. I am looking forward to seeing how this ages, and I am optimistic.

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Photo of nick76
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

The aroma is rich and strong with bourbon (alcohol), oak, butterscotch, toasted malt, and brown sugar. The appearance is brown with a fizzy head. The taste is like the aroma with the alcohol well hidden. The palate is average for the style. Overall this is a great beer and I love the bourbon barrel aging.

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Photo of OlieIPA
3.59/5  rDev -17.5%
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!

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Photo of ferrari29
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer poured from bottle into Snifter glass

A - Syrup look to the body; not much head; little carbonation in this beer; almost a liquor in appearance (like a bourbon)

S - Bourbon and vanilla notes come up immediately followed by the high ABV content; once you pass the first three scents I described you get sweetness, almost like toffee or caramel; smells like a creamy Baileys Irish Cream; oak

T - Caramel and vanilla flavors are joined with some sweet toffee flavors; your palate gets an immediate kick from the high ABV as it washes over you tongue, almost like a bourbon whiskey, but disappears once the sip is guzzled down; tastes like a creamy Baileys Irish Cream

M - Thick and syrupy; slightly tart but mostly sweet; the aging process was done really well to enhance the caramel sweetness and bourbon alcohol flavors

D - Good sweet after dinner drink; smooth liquor taste; this makes a great sipping beer; I would replace my occasional port after dinner drinks with this beer every once in a while

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Photo of ZacharyJ
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Not much here. two finger head that dissipates quickly. Little lacing. Dark brown in color, amber when held up to light.

S- Exceptional. Vanilla and oak. Very earthy. The bourbon is not hiding.

T- Doesn't get much better. Candy sweet. Vanilla and biting. The booze is very present.

M- Lighter then I thought. Let it warm some.

D- A slow sipper for sure. The complexity makes you wish you had more to try, but one 375 ml bottle is more then enough for one sitting.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.69/5  rDev -15.2%
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).

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Photo of JLeege
4.19/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

'09 ~ 500 mL bottle ~ poured into a snifter.

Appearance- Pours a dark mahogany color with a bubbly one finger head. Quickly fades to virtually nothing. Active carbonation is noticed when held to the light. The initial head was quite impressive for a beer of this stature.

Smell- The nose on this is incredible. The bourbon is not messing around! Vanilla, caramel, woody, earthy. Some dark fruits as well.

Taste- Lots of sweet dark fruit on the front of the palate. Dried raison, cherry, dates. Then the bourbon hits you. Strong vanilla and caramel notes, with some chocolate, brown sugar, and maple syrup. Lingering oak and bourbon taste, with the fruit aspects still sitting on the front of the tongue. Sweet overall, but not cloying at all.

Mouthfeel- Higher carbonation than expected. But a medium, semi syrupy body. A little hot, but nothing terrible for a beer this big.

Overall- A very solid sipping beer. I wish it wasn't so expensive, but that makes this a nice treat.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

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Photo of pmlondrigan
3.9/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Old Stock Cellar Reserve pours transparent ruby/garnet red with deep brown edges and a half finger loose tan head. Head fades, but it's to be expected from such a beer. Aroma is sweet, hot and full of vanilla, oak, cherrys and candy. The flavor is the same. Sweet, hot and full of vanilla and oak. This beer is slightly cloying, and finishes sloshy. Nice and thick on the palate, the beer holds onto carbonation well for a bohemoth. It's hot period. Somehow this beer looses complexity from the barrel, the straight stuff has more depth but that isn't to say this does not taste amazing.

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Photo of ptykozoon
4.27/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a lighter color and density than expected. Head vanishes quick into an island. Color is dark brown with highlights equaling a purple color held to the light.

Mainly caramel. Honey, chocolate, ripe cherries, milk chocolate, chocolate fudge, some bourbon in the background.

All these flavors so well balanced, chocolate and vanilla mixed with bits of maple, creme brulee and a touch of bourbon. The finish is absolutely phenomenal - rich caramel.

The beer is a bit thin, a touch watery, which is quite strange for a beer of this type. Quite less dominating than expected. Gets better as it warms up. Expertly mastered for 14.6%, the aging did well.


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Photo of JayS2629
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I love Old Stock. The bourbon barrel aged is a better version of itself. I've got to say though, the cork on this one was a byotch.

A- Dark mahogany with deep ruby notes, light tan head that quickly fades and leave little lace.

S- Wow! Complex character here. Earthy vanilla oak right up front followed by smooth, sweet bourbon vapors. Notes of leather, toffee, honey and buttery tones of toasted nuts.

T- Absolutely delicious. Much smoother than expected from the nose. Mellow and sweet. Brown sugar, honey and raisins. Other dark fruit notes. Oak and vanilla, smooth bourbon taste, and sweet butterscotch flavors. Warming finish.

M- Medium body, smooth, silky with a warming finish.

D- Very delicious. Slight booze burn and high alcohol make it a sipper. Complex, smooth and enjoyable. One of my new favorites.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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Photo of corby112
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage, consumed fresh:

Pours a deep, dark ruby red color with dark mahogany edges when held to a light source and a one finger fizzy, light beige head that quickly fades into a thin ring. Not much in the way of lacing.

Amazing aroma with lots of sweet bourbon, earthy oak, vanilla and marshmallow along with lots of earthy, leathery malt notes. Hints of toffee, caramel and hazelnut sweetness along with subtle booze. The barrel aging has done wonders for the nose of this beer and instead of smelling like a complete bourbon bomb, there is a lot of complexity. I smelled this beer for several minutes before taking the first sip. Amazing!

Soft carbonation up front with a silky medium body that has a complex flavor profile, slight alcohol heat and subtle warmth in the finish. As in the aroma, the barrel aging is prominent in the flavor. Lots of earthy oak, vanilla and prominent bourbon without being hot. Although the bourbon flavor is there it doesn't burn your chest or overpower the other characteristics. Lots of earthy, leathery malt with hints of toffee, hazelnut, caramel and biscuit. Sweet alcohol and dark fruit notes, mostly raisin, date, fig and plum. As mentioned above, there is only slight heat/warmth and the ABV of this beer is incredibly well masked. At this young of an age I was expecting this to be a complete boozy, bourbon bomb. Instead, it is a complex, flavorful, well balanced and quaffable barrel aged beer. I'm really looking forward to trying the brandy version and the earlier bourbon vintage.

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Photo of BrlyHpsWtrYst
4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured into a decadance tulip

A: Cabernet red, thin quickly dissapating halo of thin bubbles. Uncorked like a champagne bottle with a huge crack

S: Massive toffee and vannila, brown sugar sweetness and alcohol

T: Smooth. melding several flavors at once. Absolutely representative of the style. All of the nose is in the flavor but almost in unison. very warming on the finish.

M: Medium, tingles slightly betraying some light carbonation, medium body.

D: Not at this price, but I have to admit it is delicious. Not quite on par with 3F 08 Behemoth or Port's Farley but very good. As a high ABV Bal aged, it is not too overwhelming.

O:In protest, this may have been worthwhile for a few $ less and about 250ml more. I have reviewed the beer itself in an unbiased manner but as a side note to NC, I feel horribly ripped off. The high price for a small serving is not worth the asking price, it almost seems as if you are just seeing if you can get away with it. I will NEVER buy another bal-aged offering from NC if it is pakaged in the save serving at the same price... NEVER. The beer was good but insulting at the same time.

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Photo of alpinebryant
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Let me start off by saying this was the toughest cork that I have ever removed from a bottle. There was a loud pop when it came off. Pours a dark clear chestnut brown with a mix of medium and small bubbles.

Aroma of tons of vanilla, bourbon, caramel and some oak. Taste is spot on with the aroma, a slight alcohol burn on the tongue and a fairly stale taste that seems to almost be a watered down version of regular old Stock. I really like standard Old stock and especially with a few years on it. This adds another layer of complexity with the bourbon flavors and oak aging. Sweetness has dropped off a little bit from the regular lineup and it is good, but it is not worth the price associated with trying this bottle I hate to say. That is unless you have to try it, like me...

As I am sure there are many other heavy fans of old stock that will need to try this, I regret to think that so many will be paying such a high price for it. I recommend picking up two four packs of 2010 Old Stock and throwing them in your cellar.
Light carbonation, light mouthfeel, but overall a tasty beer, just too much money and not enough rare in the flavor.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

appearance: Formidable deep caramel with a frothy cream head on the pour that dissipates to almost zero. No lacing.
smell: There's the bourbon. Sweet molasses and vanilla. Pleasant and complex.
taste: Oh that's good. I love me some Old Stock and the barrel aging has turned it into a better version of itself.
mouthfeel: Full and satisfying.
drinkability: Like a musclebound and sophisticated nice guy. Very smooth and mellow for such a big beer. BTW, my 09' bottle has this at just over 13% (not the 14.6 listed here).
I was hoping this wouldn't be so good so I wouldn't have to shell at $20+ for more....

Edit - 1/20/13: Sadly, i'm drinking the last bottle I stored away. Upped the overall to a 5. Amazing brew. So, mellow after 2 years. Lots of discussion around this guy being overpriced but I figure it's comparable to a great bottle of wine and in comparison it's actually cheap.

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Photo of Brad007
4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Figured I'd open this first as it seems to be the easiest to acquire if I ever want more.

Pours a very nice burgundy color with a one-finger head into my glass. Seems to be a lot of carbonation present.

Boozy in the nose with lots of bourbon character present. Not much else comes through. I don't see anything out of the ordinary.

First sip finds a strong hint of bourbon with perhaps caramel, vanilla and toffee lurking within. Rich and chewy with a decent character. Quickly warms the tummy.

The bourbon doesn't seem to linger much at the back of the throat. Lots of warmth.

I think this ale has aged well and I would definitely put away another bottle to see how it holds up after another year. It could have been a booze bomb but luckily, that's not the case. This is a sipping beer so savor every drop!

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Photo of Gfunk720
4.07/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Ambery/reddish, dark in color but a fairly clear. Some pretty good head pours, but quickly fades to nothing.

S- Really nice. Bourbon, caramel/toffee, brown sugar sweetness. Not too hot, just a nice bourbon touch.

T-Much like the smell, its a brown sugary bourbon mix. Almost has a nice creaminess to it, and a light boozy warmth.

M- Probably the weakest part of this beer. Too thin, and a little too fizzy. The carbonation prevents some of the flavor from coming through as well. I love the regular Old Stock, but this almost seems a little thinner too

D- A nice sipping beer, but the mouthfeel kinda hurts it for me. The taste is great though, and opened up a bit after some time.

Gonna throw a couple in the cellar, and see what happens. Has some potential, and hopefully some of the carbonation mellows

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Photo of steve8robin
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Found this one at Julios, glad to find it. Have heard great things and I love Bourbon Barrel aged danced beers. 2009 bottle...

A: Super deep ruby red with a 1/2 inch off white head that fades very very quickly to tiny bubbles on the brew. Good.

S: Holy bourbon burn in my nose! I get some buttery walnut and burning bourbon upfront. Some hints of dry caramel toffee in the middle with some hints of butterscotch buried in the back. Good.

T: I get some hints of faint cocoa upfront quickly buried by a bourbon booze burn. I get some faint apple in the middle with a watery walnut and toffee in the middle. Some faint grape port on the backend. Very good.

M: Medium body with a heavy carbonation feel. A dry creamy finish. Very good.

D: A hint rougher since it has a heavy booze character. Decent.

All in all, this was a great brew. Glad I got to try it. I imagine this would be phenomenal with several years of age behind it. Grab a bottle if you like BIG BEERS and let it sit for as long as you can possibly hold it.

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Photo of Urbancaver
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to ajsdaddy06 for this one.

Appearance- reddish brown with clear crisp look. A tiny bit of crisp white head

Smell- tons of bourbon and vanilla on the nose. Overpowers the dark fruity malty flavors as well.

Taste- crisp bourbon on the tongue. Lots of sweet fruit and malt. The bourbon overpowers for sure

Mouthfeel- very smooth and thick mouthfeel. Vry boozy

Drinkability- A bit too boozy to be that drinkable but very good

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Photo of womencantsail
4.22/5  rDev -3%
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.

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Photo of Frosty80
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
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

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Photo of Pahn
4.72/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

500ml bottle into a large wine glass. 2009 vintage.

Appearance: Free pour yields a one inch fizzy, popping light tan head that dissipates quickly. Pours a dark, semi-translucent red with many visible bubbles of carbonation climbing up the middle. Little to no lacing.

Smell: No effort required to take in a big, strong aroma from this beer. Bourbon, raisin, chocolate, toffee, and an interesting, uncanny aroma of birdseed. It smells like I could be in a pet shop or the grain section of a homebrew shop, and in both respects it smells comforting and good. The full, rich aroma of this beer only gets bigger (with some not unexpected booziness popping up after awhile) as the beer warms.

Taste: The first sip follows the smell almost exactly. Some rich, chocolate cake flavors quickly rise to the forefront. The bourbon influence reminds me of Bourbon County Stout.

Actually, a lot about this beer reminds me of Bourbon County Stout, all in good ways. The bourbon is deep but restrained; it doesn't feel like drinking bourbon flavored water like some BB aged beers, nor does it taste like drinking a spirit. In fact, the 13.16% ABV is felt only as a tiny solvent note in the finish and a long warmth in the chest.

After the bourbon, the flavors part ways with Bourbon County Stout, but match it in depth, complexity, and deliciousness. I can taste normal Old Stock underneath it all, with it's strong raisiny component, but there's so many more flavors, roasty and rich. The balancing act carried out by these bold, decadent flavors is outstanding.

Mouthfeel: At once on the light side of medium bodied but with a strong, creamy chewiness. For several sips it strikes me as distractingly overcarbonated, but the feel eventually balances out and is almost perfect. The "chewy" aspect of the feel never makes it all the way to "sticky". This is a bit hard to express, but it's a positive thing (it's not like peanut butter, it's like a thick but well-made chocolate cake--but light side of medium bodied... it's weird).

Drinkability: I normally keep price out of "drinkability", but paying $25 for a 500ml bottle makes me want to slam Old Stock Cellar Reserve for being so expensive... but I just can't. Frankly, I loved this beer. I was sad when it was done, and immediately wished I had bought more.

What can I say? $25 is just too much for a 500ml bottle of barrel aged old ale. There's no way around the fact that I would be significantly more comfortable paying $15 for this, and regardless of the cost to the brewery, I really can't condone the product. And yet... It's just so good.

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Photo of billshmeinke
4.27/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation is quite nice. Corked and caged brown painted glass bottle. The beer pours a very dark brownish ruby amber into my Bruery tulip. The ruby amber is mainly only at the outer edges and so dark it's almost black in the middle. A finger and a half of off white fizzy head that fairly quickly dies down to a ring of foam aroun the edge of the glass. Nice sticky legs left behind, no lacing though. The nose is of maple syrup, toffee, molasses, vanilla, some oak, and even hints of truffles. A very sweet and decadent aroma. Tastes is mostly the same plus there are notes of chocolate and the truffle notes are stronger. For the most part it's maple syrup, molasses, toffee, and brown sugar. Then oak and bourbon notes hit leaving a lasting bourbon laced truffle flavor lingering on the palate. The mouthfeel is on the low end of full bodied. In fact, it's surprisingly light in the mouth. The carbonation is quite high and assertive and creates a fairly dry finish. It's somewhat hot and warming going down. The carbonation is honestly a bit distracting. I don't mind the warmth and the alcohol being present. It's nice on a cold night, but the carbonation could have been toned down a bit for sure.

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Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Bourbon Barrels) from North Coast Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 327 ratings.