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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.

542 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 542
Reviews: 280
rAvg: 4.44
pDev: 8.33%
Wants: 212
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: 542 | Reviews: 280 | Display Reviews Only:
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 zchall23
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

zchall23, Jul 02, 2012
Photo of Gmann
4.23/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 vintage, with a side by side of the 2009 standard old stock.

Pours a flat honey brown color, with a chocolate hue. Not much to say since it is very flat looking but it is a couple of shades darker than the standard, which is also flat.

The aroma is of a mellow sweet bourbon, vanilla and caramel. Some real nice toasted toffee notes, excellent. Quite smooth on the nose. Velvety. A much richer aroma than the standard, which pretty much just highlights the caramel and toffee.

Nice mellow bourbon flavor, with vanilla and caramel providing some dessert flavors. Raisin pound cake with rum drizzle. The carbonation is actually still prickly and distracts the flavors. The ABV is still a bit noticable. The standard is much more one dimensional with caramel and toffee but no noticable ABV notes and the carbonation is soft.

The feel is moderate and quite prickly. Sweet dominates the palate and again some ABV burn. The standard is not as thick but much smoother. I wonder if the cork helped preserve the carbonation???? Overall a tad rough.

A very good old ale, perfect for bourbon aging. Still a little hot and carbonated after the past 3 years. The flavors are top notch. Seems that this bad boy can age a little longer.


Gmann, Jun 30, 2012
Photo of SpdKilz
4.73/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

[edit] Last week I opened a 2005 version of this. Holy hell. My original review was: 4.5, 4.5, 4.5, 4.5, 4.0. This batch was one of the highlights of the day at a bit "rare" beer tasting. I enjoyed this immensely. I am ISO of another.

Kevin (kzoobrew) has been egging me on to try this for the past few weeks. I gave in tonight.

Just like to say I was on "facetime" with my brother-in-law and fellow beer geek while I was trying to open this and looked like a fool. The cork was freaking hard to get out, haha.

Appearance - Pours into my badass Surly Darkness tulip with a dark mahogany color. When held up to the light there is just a hint of light that gets through. About half a finger of tan head is achieved with a moderate pour, and dissipates relatively fast leaving slight lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell - Wow. Bourbon, oak, heavy vanilla, toffee, molasses. This thing smells great.

Taste - Even better than the aroma. As I sit outside, out of the rain in Southern California, and in 40 degree weather, I can't help but think this beer was meant to be drank tonight. Just loads of vanilla up front which melds with the oak and bourbon. A thick sweetness comes through, tasting of caramel, slight bittersweet chocolate, and toffee. This beer tastes freaking great.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, creamy mouthfeel, medium to lower carbonation. Appropriate.

Drinkability - Well damn, for how high ABV it is, and how "fresh" I opened this bottle, I could drink this all night. I am very impressed by this. Yes it cost a freaking ton, but I am glad I have another. Surprisingly easy to drink, surprisingly worth the cost. Well done.

SpdKilz, Jun 25, 2012
Photo of Cowcakes
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Cowcakes, Jun 24, 2012
Photo of bluesplit63
5/5  rDev +12.6%

bluesplit63, Jun 16, 2012
Photo of BostonHops
4.63/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml corked & caged bottle served in a snifter.
2009 vintage.

FWIW, review #250.

pours a translucent chestnut/mahogany tone with ruby red highlights; yields a rapidly lapsing 1" foamy tan head. a bit of patchy lacing but really nothing to write home about on that front. nose though is fantastic; a no holds barred bourbon bomb - clearly the centerpiece here, with everything else being almost complementary. secondary notes of brown sugar, vanilla, and molasses.

mmm, taste follows the nose well, imparting huge flavors of the bourbon, brown sugar, butterscotch, vanilla, and a touch of molasses. wow, pretty amazing stuff... dare i say exceptional. the finish is a bit boozy but at north of 13% ABV i think that's got to be expected. medium plus bodied mouthfeel with carbonation that is slightly above average for the style.

overall this is a truly outstanding beer. fairly cost prohibitive at ~$24 for the 500ml bottle, but if you're looking for a special occasion brew, this one will not disappoint.

originally reviewed: 04-05-2011

BostonHops, Jun 13, 2012
Photo of PhineasGage
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

PhineasGage, Jun 12, 2012
Photo of Cremba
3.98/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As an underaged college student, with such a pricey beer, I had to steal this bottle from safeway. It was well worth the swoop! I really enjoyed the savory bourbon flavors. Everyone wanted a sip from this bottle but it wasn't available for sharing. I would definitely take this bottle from Safeway again.

Cremba, Jun 12, 2012
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 BarryMFBurton
4.03/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

300 reviews – perfect excuse to buy a beer that’s more than a dollar an ounce. I’m hoping to cap off this wonderful experience with a beautiful beer, and I’m sure North Coast is up to the challenge.

Brewed three years before the date of this tasting – this is the 2009 vintage, emblazoned right on the front of the bottle.

A: The body pours muddy-water-brown, with that old ale cloudiness I know all too well. The head is all fizz, a collection of bubbles that fizzle and pop, dropping dramatically from one inch to nothing at all. No lacing; this beer is, very expectedly, wet and oily.

S: Everything you want from an old ale, and more – a profile that enthusiastically bellows toffee, maple, raisin, and dark, peaty malts. The barrel, though, adds a fundamental vanilla aroma, with a thick, musky oak backdrop. Touch of smooth, intensely woody booze, too.

T: A velvety smooth, dark ale – a palate that stands heavily on pedestals of thick brown sugar, cinnamon-raisin, maple syrup, chocolate malts, and toasted wheat. Sweetness lingers throughout, confirming residual sugars as this brew’s main mode of operation. Still, there are a ton of barrel tastes that come through with vanilla and smoky wood flavors, filling out a decadent bourbon profile. Spiced and astringent with its alcohol. Aftertaste consists of coffee bitters and a slightly tannic malt base.

M: Creamy and smooth, though a little thin. It hits all the right spots with its subtle creaminess, but lacks the thick, full-bodied nature to make this unquestionably satisfying at every sip.

O: I thoroughly enjoyed this beer, hands down. I love every little bit of complexity it evoked as it delved into my new favorite style, especially its emphasis on barrel flavors. But man, that price tag is killing my wallet. I think the next 300 beers need a spending limit…

BarryMFBurton, Jun 06, 2012
Photo of mjpolzin
4.2/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My guess would be this is the only time I will have this beer because even if North Coast makes it again, the barrel aging process will be different than it was in '09. The price tag was pretty hefty but I finally bought it after seeing it sit on the shelves for almost a year. I saved it for the night I got home from coaching my athletes at the State Track meet.

The beer was a nice dark brown color but the carbonation was a bit too much for me. I am not sure why but I don't like my beer looking like a soda.

The smell and the corresponding taste was awesome. It smelled and tasted very similar to Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barleywine but it wasn't quite as good. The scent and taste was of bourbon, vanilla and some fruit but there was "hard to put my finger on" sharpness that downgraded the beer for me a little bit.

This was a great beer but with the price tag, its hard to say it was worth it. Knowing that it tastes similar to the barleywine I referenced and knowing I can get that for a little bit cheaper price and can get it once a year, I may remember this old ale fondly but it won't quite go to the top of my list.

mjpolzin, Jun 03, 2012
Photo of FosterJM
4.23/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

1324th Review on BA
Bottle to Excelsior Tulip
500ml C/C

Purchased at Bevmo Chino Hills for $22.99

App-  A deep deep garnet red mixed with a burgundy color. Around the edges you get a small bit of gold mixed with brown. A two finger head that was khaki in color that receded quickly with only a ring of bubbles.

Smell-  A really aromatic old ale. Huge amounts of bourbon and just a touch prickly on the nose. A lot of creamy vanilla with a lot of barrel on the nose. A bit sweet at times as it warms and even like JW lees and collage a bit of a sherry note.

Taste- A really delicious beer. The old ale is a great base beer which to add onto. The bourbon adds a few layers of flavor with vanilla, oak, cherrys and a slight malt. A good balance without being overly sweet or prickly.

Mouth- A semi medium body with a prickly medium carbonation. Prevelant booze is quite residual. This is my knock on this beer. The body and finish.

Drink- Highly drinkable with a lot of layers going on. Malty, vanilla, oak, bourbon. Glad I finally got one.

FosterJM, Jun 02, 2012
Photo of SnatchyMcPants
5/5  rDev +12.6%

SnatchyMcPants, Jun 02, 2012
Photo of beergorrilla
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

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

kevin7912, May 31, 2012
Photo of Jakers90
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

Jakers90, May 26, 2012
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 Rhettroactive
4.38/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

From 500mL ceramic bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 5/22/12
*From notes

Vintage 2009

A: Murky apple butter brown in hue. As you'd assume, it's not what Charlie Sheen would call, "winning". A hard pour yields an extremely loose one finger head that fades almost immediately, and leaves no collar or lacing or lacing behind.

S: Holy Jesus, does this smell good. Kill me now and I'll bet you heaven smells just like this. Over a year in my cellar has done nothing but wonderful things for this beer, as it's overflowing with creamy vanilla, melted caramel, a bit of residual sugar, coconut shavings and some really top shelf bourbon. I can't think of a single thing I would change about this magnificent bouquet.

T: Luckily this beer tastes a whole hell of a lot like it smells. Sweet and boozy, yet it's in no way cloying. Toasty bramble, a touch of medium malt and plenty of wood and dark spirits. As it warms, I get a lot of high end apple brandy, and even some 20 to 30 year old tawny porto. Seeing how sturdy this is now, I guaran-damn-tee you this will continue to hold up for years to come.

M: Just not doing it for me. The bubbles are annoying, and it gets in the way of the beautiful flavor profile here. It just feels...I don't know...cheap, maybe? Swirling this with force in my glass really does help to alleviate some of this, but it's first impression was really weak.

O: Delicious. What a spectacular beer. Sure this was a bit pricey when I purchased it - I think around $18-20. But I'll be damned if I didn't have to pick my jaw up off the floor. A superlative achievement that reaches the lofty heights of the style. A round of applause for North Coast and this mammoth creation.

Rhettroactive, May 23, 2012
Photo of Zaphog
4/5  rDev -9.9%

Zaphog, May 22, 2012
Photo of Romulux
4/5  rDev -9.9%

Romulux, May 20, 2012
Photo of AgentMunky
4.35/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a gorgeous half-litre bottle into a Koningshoeven chalice. 2009 vintage.

A: Dark blood-red. The perfect mixture of translucent and opaque.

S: Deep sugars and stale yeast (which I've come to associate with old ales). Sweet vanilla, touch of bourbon, basic (boring?) beer.

T: Hm. Good beer. It reminds me of the Rasputin XIV. Soft-sweet bourbon vanilla and not much else...This has perhaps added complexity and a sharp alcohol dimension.

M: Thick-sweet and pleasant. Dry and almost roasted aftertaste.

O: An exceptionally good beer. Highly recommended. Worthwhile, but not worthmoney. Would drink again.

I was reviewing this beer more vigorously until I saw the BA description and realised the Old Ale write-up was a spot-on review of this beer...
"Rich dark amber in color to a very dark brown; near black. Tamed aromatics. Although bittering levels can greatly vary, expect common fruity, vinous, intense malts, and sharp alcohol characteristics. The often racy but mellow attitude of the beer may also include acidic notes, raisins, and black currants. Vintage varieties may have a low level of oxidation. Stronger versions may have similarities to a port wine."

AgentMunky, May 17, 2012
Photo of billab914
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage poured from a 500ml bottle into my CBS snifter. It poured a dark caramel brown color with a thin tan head mostly sticking to the sides of the glass. A steady stream of carbonation bubbles rises from the bottom of the glass.

The aroma really brings together the bourbon barrel and Old Stock flavors well. I get the bourbon, brown sugar and oak at first but as it warmed more of the caramel and dark fruits of Old Stock started to come out. It really comes together well and has a great range of flavors to it.

The taste also really brings all the flavors together very nicely. Bourbon, brown sugar, oak, dark fruits, caramel all compliment each other perfectly. A little bit of a bitter, balancing hoppiness is in the finish along with some brown sugar and bourbon lingering. It feels very well balanced for the style.

The mouthfeel is is on the heavy side and a little chewy. Carbonation is high for the style and gives it a bit of a silky, bubbly feel. I prefer much lower carbonation in the style, but it didn't detract from it that much.

Overall, it was a great beer. The barrel aging was really well done, it stands out but doesn't completely dominate. The bourbon was very flavorful and smooth and was the perfect compliment to the base beer. It had some great flavors to it and I really enjoyed sipping on it this evening. I'd say it deserves to be mentioned with the best of the style.

billab914, May 13, 2012
Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.15/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2009 Vintage

Pours a dark brown color, huge big bubbled fizzy tan head, the bubbles pop quickly with quite the sound, leaves no cap or lacing but not surprised.

Smell has a strong amount of vanilla, good oak bourbon aroma, lots of dark fruit like plum.

Taste starts out with a boozy warmth, vanilla and dark fruit hit first followed by a subtle oak woodiness, bourbon has a large presence throughout, tad on the sweeter side but the strong booziness masks it, carbonation is a bit on the high side but at least this isn't Lost Abbey.

deltatauhobbit, May 12, 2012
Photo of theminutemen
4.75/5  rDev +7%

theminutemen, May 09, 2012
Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Bourbon Barrels) from North Coast Brewing Co.
99 out of 100 based on 542 ratings.