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Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Bourbon Barrels) - North Coast Brewing Co.

Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Bourbon Barrels)Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Bourbon Barrels)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

497 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 497
Reviews: 275
rAvg: 4.43
pDev: 8.35%

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)
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Ratings: 497 | Reviews: 275 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of mjpolzin


4.2/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-03-2012 04:24:32 | More by mjpolzin
Photo of FosterJM


4.23/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2012 02:23:01 | More by FosterJM
Photo of Hophead717


3.38/5  rDev -23.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2012 02:22:07 | More by Hophead717
Photo of Rhettroactive

District of Columbia

4.38/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2012 22:16:41 | More by Rhettroactive
Photo of AgentMunky


4.35/5  rDev -1.8%
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."

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2012 07:58:01 | More by AgentMunky
Photo of billab914


4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2012 02:03:05 | More by billab914
Photo of deltatauhobbit


4.15/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2012 23:12:18 | More by deltatauhobbit
Photo of homebrew311


4.33/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a deep auburn, minimal head and a small amount of lacing nice clarity

S: ripe oak up front with notes of maple and molasses, some leather and earthiness comes in next, highlights of vanilla come in towards the end, some cherry fruitiness as well. The aroma is very complex and different notes come to the forefront each time I smell.

T: the taste starts with mellow coconut and vanilla with bourbon oozing at the seems, quite a bit of sweetness which is nicely countered by a bit of earthiness. This is delicious.

MF: thick body, mild carbonation

O: this is a delicious and well balanced behemoth of a brew. The price tag is definitely hefty but it is worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2012 07:01:04 | More by homebrew311
Photo of Drinkerofales


4.55/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage

Thanks to Johnny for talking me into this purchase, ouch, my wallet, good thing I bought two.

Dark brown, beautiful clear garnet in the light. A dirty tan hand quickly dissipated to a ring constantly supplied by lively bubbles up the side of the snifter.

Smells of bourbon-y goodness, oak, vanilla, candied plums, booze, and malts.

A nice bourbon flavor leads off the tastes, and moves towards some candied malt sweetness. Pungent dark fruits are present, and a smooth bourbon finish lingers for some time.

Feels medium bodied, leaning a hair toward light. Bubbly carbonation makes it feel a little lighter. Incredibly smooth, yet leaves a nice coating on the tongue.

I was hoping for a little more viscosity, but other than that, a stellar beer. I could have smelled this all day, but gave into the temptation to actually drink this, and was not disappointed.


Serving type: bottle

05-04-2012 19:46:48 | More by Drinkerofales
Photo of EgadBananas


4.18/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Looks pretty much as it should. dark mahogany, with a tan colored head, started at a finger and dissipated quickly to a bubbly ring.

Bourbon, oak, toasted malts, vanilla, fruity esters, caramel and molasses comprise the aroma. While there's a lot of good things going on, the aroma comes off as a bit disjointed.

Nothing disjointed about the taste! Rich toasted woodiness, caramel, bourbon, dark fruits, hints of maple, chocolate and vanilla. The alcohol is nicely tame, merely warming the back of the throat.

The feel is thick, with good substance and a slightly sticky body.

I don't think this is quite as good as the regular, but it's still quite the treat!

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2012 23:56:08 | More by EgadBananas
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT


4.51/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to ChefBergo for this bottle in a trade! Thanks Shawn!

2009 vintage beer in cork and cage format 500ml bottle poured into oversized snifter. Really nice "pop" when the cork was removed.

Appearance: dark brown to light black bodied beer that has a red hue when held up to light. Surprisingly the beer has a nice clarity to it and you can see through the beer when the beer is held up to light. A large 2 fingers of whispy and eppervescent head that reminds me of a cola resulting from an aggressive pour. It drops down immediately to a thin white ring around the outside of the glass.

Smell: First thing your nose detects is a spicy bourbon and cinnamin mixture. The malts add a slight sweetness, but its buried in the spicy bourbon of this beers nose. I also get mild vanilla, brown sugar, and maple notes.

Taste: Bourbon forward old ale right here! Starts of with a really smooth bourbon then you get the malts. Its loaded with caramel, toffee, vanilla, butterscotch, and brown sugar. I also get the cinnamin that I could smell in the nose of the beer. Then some oak sneaks in and blends nicely with the bourbon and malts to break up the sweetness of this brew. The beer finishes with some sherry notes and raisins. Great complexity and depth in this beer!

Mouthfeel: Full bodied beer with low carbonation. Alcohol is only noticed as warming and mildly spicy. The carbonation is fairly dead in the glass, but has a nice tingle when it hits you toungue. Its like the beers carbonation comes alive with each sip you take. The beer has aged and held up very well!

Overall: Great malt profile on this beer that is perfectly complimented with near perfect barrel aging! This is hands down the best bourbon barrel aged Old Ale that I have drank. North Coast really does barrel aging well. Old Raspy Anniversary beers are top notch just like this beer. I only wish that North Coast would drop the price a little bit on these beers because they are quite expensive!

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2012 01:57:48 | More by 4DAloveofSTOUT
Photo of sulldaddy


4.8/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sampling a cellar temp bottle provided to me by my bro-in-law.
Poured into a snifter the beer pours a deep mahogany hue with fizzy, frothy beige head of 1 cm that recedes rapidly to the thinnest of edge layers. Aroma is deep bourbon and vanilla notes with molasses and some maple syrup sweetness. All big malt with no real hop presence to speak of on this brew.
First sip reveals gentle spacious carbonation, almost like a cask with very little fizz on each sip.
Flavor is what the nose advertised with all sweet malt from start to finish. Brown sugar and molasses start this off but bourbon and vanilla pick up the middle and the finish is the flavor of doing a shot of Jack without the heat. This beer is 13%??? I dont get any booziness on the nose or flavor which could make this beer a little dangerously drinkable.

This is a big malty beer that I am enjoying a lot as I empty my glass. Definitely worth a shot if you see a bottle.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2012 04:07:12 | More by sulldaddy
Photo of SummitVA


4.43/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Bottle opens with a loud pop. Beautiful auburn pour. Carbonation puts up a 1/2" head that falls away quickly.

S - Sweet caramel backed by burnt sugar; fig and molasses; vanilla, coconut, and harsher oak character; a little cellar mustiness initially; bourbon lingers.

T - Sweet vanilla and coconut opens to plum and dates; caramel, oak, and a pleasant heat in the finish. Smallest hint of sherry sweetness from oxidation. Booze is well integrated into other flavors.

M - High end of medium bodied, but remains nicely drinkable.

O - Fantastic barrel aged old ale. Flavors really well integrated with barrel character. It's hard to get past the unfortunate price tag, I know, but if you've seen this lingering on the shelf for the past year and a half and have been tempted, pick one up--you won't be disappointed.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2012 00:25:50 | More by SummitVA
Photo of Sunhunters


4.65/5  rDev +5%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving type: 500mL 2009 Reserve Bottle (corked w/cage) into Bordeaux-style stemware.

Appearance (3.0) - Deep amber, translucent. A dirty gold at the very edge when held at a steep angle in the glass. Thin, unimpressive head that dissipated immediately.

Smell (5.0) - The initial gasses that escaped as the cork came loose were yeasty and hot with alcohol. In the glass the aroma is still very boozy and warm, with an aggressive and unmistakable bourbon-ness. On the back side of the nose are subtler notes: sassafras, sugar cookie, plump golden raisin, cola... perhaps a tiny hint of very ripe banana bread.

Taste (5.0) - Semi-sweet, strong sweeps of raisin, molasses, Madagascar vanilla. Subtler notes of cola and sassafras (as in the aroma). The beer leaves the tongue bathed in a musty, sugary goodness that is forcefully reminiscent of dried Medjool dates. The boozy heat that held sway over the aroma is very diminished on the palate. The bourbon and oak influences are detectable, but only to a lesser degree, lending a good dollop of sweet grain and mild spice to the tail end of the flavor.

Mouthfeel (3.5) - The viscosity of the alcohol does little to augment the medium-thin body of this beer. Though big enough to satisfy, the body falls short of my expectations for such a deep, rich, and flavorful composition. The carbonation that was conspicuously absent in the pour is unpleasantly willing to show its face in the mouth. With mild agitation the beer becomes champagne-like on the tongue.

Overall (4.5) - The 2009 Old Stock Cellar Reserve loses points in my book due to its absent head in the glass, as well as its bizarre willingness to carbonate to excess in the mouth. Beyond that, this is one of the finest tasting and overall best strong (old) ales that I have ever enjoyed, and is certainly a world-class offering. My hat is off to North Coast for improving upon their already top-shelf Old Stock Ale. If you have a taste for strong ales, barrel aged ales, bourbon, or barley wines, then you are doing yourself a disservice if you haven't tried this magnificent beer. It is certainly worth the sticker price here in Cali (only $15.99 at my local booze-of-all-kinds-bazaar).

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2012 07:57:35 | More by Sunhunters
Photo of thedoubler55

New Jersey

4.43/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into Tulip.

A: A weird brown, almost purple hues are seen in this one, a very wild color. Almost no lacing or head at all.

S: Bourbon right away, sweet fruit, dark fruit, vanilla, wine, lots of stuff in this one.

T: Just like the nose, a mixture of bourbon, wine, chocolate, very crazy tasting but bourbon is most present.

M: Smooth but high amount of carbonation like white wine.

O: Took me a while to finish the bottle of this stuff, a very unique taste and special brew. I aged my bottle for two years was well worth it.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2012 19:59:07 | More by thedoubler55
Photo of Holland


4.43/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: pours a deep brown/orange and slight reddish color with a decent khaki head.

S: a bit boozy, but the balance of character is amazing. I can smell the dark fruits and excellent bourbon smells of vanilla, oak, and sweet caramel.

T: taste is much the same as the smell, with more focus on the bourbon, especially in the aftertaste. A bit alcoholic when it warms, but that's where the flavor really comes out.

M: medium carbonation and medium-heavy body makes this excellent tasting, adding to the burn of the bourbon and alcohol on the back end.

O: can't believe I let this sit on shelves for as long as I did. Excellent beer overall, even at $21 for a 330ml bottle or so.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2012 01:59:52 | More by Holland
Photo of zaphodchak


4.8/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009 vintage

Caramel color and legs instead of lace. Some slight foam that subsides quickly.

Thick bourbony nose.

Magnificent richness, full of bourbon, vanilla, oak, and everything I might ever ask for. Super warming.

Nice and smooth, supports the powerful flavor.

This is fantastic, probably not worth the price, but pretty great. Excellent pairing with aged gouda.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2012 01:28:21 | More by zaphodchak


4.23/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500mL corked and caged bottle to oversized snifter. 2009 Vintage. $26.00 for the single. Sampled 3/6/12.

A: One finger of light to medium brown head bubbles up quickly, settles into loose film, and fizzes away rather quickly. The body is a murky shade of dark chestnut brown and has the smallest degree of opacity. Semi active effervescence keeps the fizzy film and collar alive. A tilt of the glass reveals sluggish legs, but no lacing to stick.

S: The big bourbon presence impresses upon the nose first while rich malt aromas of rendered caramel and cookie lay the backdrop. Toasted toffee, toasted, dusted chocolate, mild earth and leather come through in the deepest layer.

T: While the nose was very good, the flavor is even better. The bourbon dimension remains a fixture yet the malt flavors are deeper and richer than the nose suggested. Excellent integration. As a bonus, buttery caramel and vanilla work their way onto the back end of the palate.

M: Medium bodied. And less viscous than I prefer. In fact, just a tad over-carbonated, but the bubbles keep the beer rolling swiftly over the tongue. The lightly biting carbonation is reminiscent of the finish of a jack and coke. And, of course, the flavor promotes this aspect as well.

O: Great beer, but damn, $26 for a 500mL bottle is steep. And very few beers are actually worth that price tag. Not having had this beer before, I was happy to make the purchase, but would be reluctant to make it a repeat unless it were in the $15 range.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2012 01:43:33 | More by FeDUBBELFIST
Photo of Chico1985


3.93/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to me for this. I've always wanted to try it but the price was always a huge deterrent, finally bought one for myself for Christmas. 2009 vintage 500ml.

Cork comes off with a loud pop and some smoke, surprising. Pours dark red, some floating sediment but still translucent. Beige head quickly turns to a ring.

Kinda plain scent at first, improves alot with warmth, very deep caramel malts, cocoa, light bourbon.

Just like the scent, some warmth really opened this up. Lots of caramel and vanilla, light and extremely balanced bourbon and oak, some cocoa and dark fruit. You definitely feel that Old Stock base, really seems like it's drinking well at this point.

Very nice mouthfeel, extremely smooth, alcohol well-buried. A 500ml I think would be no problem solo.

Won't lie, this is a great beer, but it's hard to justify the price.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2012 17:24:13 | More by Chico1985
Photo of cbutova


4.23/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 generously shared by Chico. Review from notes.

A- Dark red brown body poured into a pint glass with an unexpectedly large off white head The cap fizzes out fairly quickly and a cloud remains, not much lace.

S- Opens up with a pretty big deep caramel nose and some subdued whiskey and oak notes,  nice vanilla and sugar maple hints.

T- Intense raisin spice flavor builds with the classic old stock caramel backbone, bourbon and oak comes and goes but adds nice oak, whiskey and vanilla notes.

Mf- Surprising fizzy foamy high carbonation, oily and fairly warm.

Really opens with warmth, oak and Bourbon and caramel syrup, love old stock and with bourbon it's pretty awesome.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2012 17:14:29 | More by cbutova
Photo of dbossman


4.22/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Cloudy, dark brown with a foamy, quickly dissipating head and little lacing--very still

S: This has loads of bourbon, vanilla, oak coming through; sweet yummy maltiness

T: Bourbon, of course, but also dark fruits: cherry, plums, etc.; oaky with some vanilla; this is delicious and surprisingly simple

F: A touch thin but fairly nice medium body with a nice amount of carbonation--especially considering how still the beer looks

O: A boozy bourbon bomb but still warms you on a cold day--quite the beer

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2012 01:14:07 | More by dbossman
Photo of TAMU99


4.33/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this at Meridian Pint (Wash DC), shared with friends.

Uncorks like a champagne bottle. Poured into a snifter. Thick, crystal clear amber color. Little head or lace. Scent is intoxicating - like caramel vapor. Tasted like oaked candy with caramel notes and a nutty undertone - almost a tawny port feel. This is a tasty after dinner beer. Certainly not a session-type beverage, but well worth the price of the bottle. Feel was smooth and clean. Overall, I'd have this again and recommend keeping a few bottles in the cellar. Very nice beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2012 15:31:46 | More by TAMU99
Photo of Damian


4.45/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 500 ml/ 1 pt. 0.9 fl. oz. (16.9 fl. oz.) corked and caged bottle purchased at Berman's Wines & Spirits, Lexington, MA
2009 vintage
Served in a snifter

The beer poured a translucent, rusty-amber color and was topped by a thin film of tan bubbles. Within a few seconds, the bubbles dissipated and left behind a ring of froth.

The aroma was spectacular. Bourbon notes came through front and center. Loads of vanilla and toasted coconut. Super strong dark fruits. Raisins and dried figs were quite apparent. Lots of brown sugar sweetness. Hints of blackstrap molasses. Rich and malty. I could hardly stop myself from smelling this brew.

The flavor profile was nearly as impressive as the nose. Bourbon again played a major role. Vanilla and dark fruits came through strong on the front end. Raisins were quite noticeable. Lots of rich caramel maltiness and dark fruit sweetness. Very port-like. Notes of leather appeared in the center. The finish was dry, oaky and slightly tannic with a good dose of booziness. Nevertheless, for a 13-plus percent ABV beer, the alcohol heat was well contained.

Aside from the lackluster appearance, the only other aspect of this beer that did not impress me was the mouthfeel. The liquid was lighter bodied with a crisp, zippy, fine bubbled effervescence. For a 2009 vintage barrel-aged beer, I was expecting something with minimal carbonation and would up getting quite the opposite. As the beer sat, the carbonation settled down to a more appropriate level.

Twenty-three dollars is a lot of money to spend on a 16.9 fl. oz. bottle of beer, but my girlfriend and I thought that Old Stock Cellar Reserve was well worth the price of admission. This is barrel-aging at its finest.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2012 05:54:55 | More by Damian
Photo of kojevergas


3.18/5  rDev -28.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2012 02:11:29 | More by kojevergas
Photo of mikehblack


4.78/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Dark hazy brown/red. Small off-white head quickly dissipates. Tons of alcohol on the glass.

S- Bourbon, raisins, vanilla. Some alcohol.

T- Vanilla, molasses, bourbon, toffee, raisin, fig, brown sugar.

M- Medium mouthfeel, hardly any alcohol burn. This beer is amazingly smooth.

O- I've been wanting to try this for a long time and it has definitely lived up to my expectations. Really shows how taking an already great beer and throwing it in a barrel yields phenomenal results. North Coast succeeds again with this bourbon barrel offering.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2012 02:41:30 | More by mikehblack
Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Bourbon Barrels) from North Coast Brewing Co.
98 out of 100 based on 497 ratings.