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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

643 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 643
Reviews: 114
rAvg: 4.49
pDev: 7.8%
Wants: 437
Gots: 178 | FT: 24
Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  15.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerBeing on 06-03-2007

Vintages: 2005, 2011
View: Beers (20) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 643 | Reviews: 114
Reviews by jeezie:
More User Reviews:
Photo of barczar
4.41/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Aroma is rich, with big nutty toffee notes, rich, buttery caramel, and molasses, the combination of which gives a perception of fudgy brownies. Brandy and oak are prevalent throughout. Hints of dates, raisins, and figs pale in comparison to the booze and caramelized malt notes.

Flavor is very rich and sweet, with dark fruit opening up the profile, providing contrast to prevent the initial taste from becoming cloying. The finish is dry and fairly woody. Raisins and prunes fade to fig sweetness that lingers throughout. Subsequent sips reveal an almost vinous oxidation that opens the stage for vanilla to shine through. Exceedingly complex beer. The finish still has a very hot character to it, but the sweet molasses and treacle notes redeem. The interplay of flavors comes across differently with every taste. I only wish there were a bit more body to make the malt flavors linger a bit more.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.87/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Finally decided to crack my lone bottle on Christmas with my dad. Pours a deep dark brown without much light getting through. Small bubbles of carbonation and alcohol swirls on the side of the glass. Aromas of deep caramel, fruits and nuts. Rich sweet malts with a vibrant brandy and oak accent. Brown sugar as well. The barrel has integrated with the beer flawlessly here. Sublime.

First sip is smooth caramel and dark fruit drenched malts. Toffee, brown sugar and nuts with a spicy oak kick. Brandy shines through but it is never overpowering. A bit of warmth on the way down with vanilla throughout. Amazingly well balanced and delicious. Quite honestly a masterpiece.

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied . Luscious and complex. This is simply an amazing brew and I must say Old Stock lends itself beautifully to well cared for barrel aging. One of the best beers I've had the chance to sample to date.

Photo of tjthresh
4.48/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What a nose!!! Black grapes, blueberry, light oak, warm alcohol, and sweet toffee and chocolate. Fantastic. Not all that impressive looking though. The pour is brown with some red hues, and a quickly fading soapy tan head. Wonderful flavors. I've always thought brandy barrels are the way to do with barley wine, and this is the best example. Great grape, wood, toffee, chocolate flavor with a bit of warm alcohol to make sure you know what you are drinking. Medium body. Mouth filling. Average carbonation. Just enough to be a complement. Average finish. I'd like it to hang around for a bit longer. Really though. I really can't think of what else I'd want in such a beer. Its a damn shame that its so difficult to come by.

Photo of IntriqKen
4.97/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Oh my lord.
I know I'll be prejudice because I love old ales and North Coast may be my favorite anyway, but oh, what they have done with this one!
2005 Vintage aged in Brandy Barrels.

What does that do to it?
Deep amber almost black in the glass with a smallish head that is indicative of high ABV brews.

Aromas of milk chocolate, dark, dark raising, prunes, dark cherry and a touch of brandy. Additionally, I can definite sense Oak in the aroma. Absolutely delicious. Decadent.

Taste is again milk chocolate...very sweet...and very sweet dark raisins...this is almost like a candy bar. Aftertaste as you swallow is reminisent of chocolate covered raisens....but enjoyed at a great movie. Only a bit of alcohol warmth as you swallow but you can definitely feel it later.

I LOVE North Coast.
Thank you for this offering.

Photo of nickd717
4.49/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

375ml bottle generously shared by dbuckingham. David was awesome enough to bust this out at a tasting, bumping me up to 93/100 in my ticker-like quest to drink all the top 100 beers on BA.

Pours a murky dark amber-brown color with a small light beige head. Some decent legs on there.

Aroma is pretty amazing. The great caramel and toffee notes you get in regular Old Stock blend seamlessly with brandy, oak, and sherry. Some dark fruits in there as well.

Flavor is excellent. Caramel and toffee, brown sugar, figs, prunes, and dates, as well as very nice -bal aging flavors: oak, vanilla, brandy, and sherry. Really complex. The brandy character is a little more pronounced than I'd like, but that's probably the only minor flaw in this amazing beer.

Very full, smooth, and creamy on the palate with soft carbonation. Not much booziness at all for a beer of its strength.

Pretty good drinkability. I mean I'm not going to chug something like this, but I wouldn't have any problem polishing off (that is, drinking, not cleaning) a bottle.

Photo of Alieniloquium
4/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2011 bottle.

Appearance - Deep nutty brown. Small khaki head that diminishes quickly. Nothing after a while.

Smell - Fruity brandy aroma. Lots of vanilla. Caramel malt. Buckets of vanilla, though.

Taste - Even more vanilla. Brandy is quite nice. Normally I'm not a huge fan of brandy, but this really works. Oaky with a hint of astringency. Dark fruits and caramel.

Mouthfeel - Medium body with medium carbonation. A little boozy,

Overall - The barrel is very nice. Vanilla is one of the best components of the brandy barrel and it augments this beer well.

Photo of Kegatron
4.52/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

375 ml corked & caged bottle into a couple of snifters. 2007 release.

Pours a deep clear ruby, with a very thin looking head of light mocha head. This retains with some equally light ringing around the edges of the glass and some gentle spotty lacing. The aroma smells of cocoa powder, molasses, dark fruit, charred wood, vanilla, and a little spicy warmth. This has a nice flavorful silkiness to it in the nostrils.

The taste is similar, with notes of chocolate, molasses, a touch of dark fruit, and still a faint bit of green hops left in here as well. There is also definitely a dark presence that seems to be maybe coming from equal parts malt and barrel. The finish is dry and oaky with a lingering mix of char and sugars. The mouthfeel is full bodied and a little prickly on the tongue, with more of a slick tannic creaminess across the back. There is some alcohol warmth to this which mostly comes out with some spice in the finish but there is absolutely no way that I would think this is near 15% ABV. Maybe 10% or around there but man, this is SUPER smooth for the size!

This was another treat from the cellar that I was finally able to get around to and share. There was a little oxidation present in the nose and taste but it seemed to mostly mingle well with that sweet and smooth mix of Old Ale and brand barrel and I can’t stress enough how damn drinkable this was for the size! I really hope that they make this again, as I’d probably even be willing to pay the high price that North Coast now charges for their special release beers.

Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.77/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a C & C bottle to a snifter, the liquid is a dark brown with good carbonation. The head is dark tan and leaves just a bit of lace.

The smell is great! The excellent OS smell coupled with the brandy is just excellent.

I totally dig this brew, OS is an excellent choice for a BA brew the this delivers with all kinds of great complexity of flavor. The bracdy is big as well as the serious malt. I specially like the mix of both vanilla and chocolate notes.

The mouthfeel is very good, a velvety smooth brew, great body and excellent carbonation for a BA brew.

The drinkability is Excellent, If this is all I could every drink I would be fine.

Prosit Und Zum Wohl, MK

Photo of KYGunner
4.46/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

It was a real treat to get to try this superb brew. The nose is a firmer fuller version of the flavors with peanut brittle, heavy molasses, maple, solid brandy tones, caramel, toffee, port wine, grape must and oak. My only complaint was after 6 ounces it really started to dry out my palate and saturate it with a liquor aftertaste.

Photo of akorsak
4.27/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Deuane for bringing this one home from a CA trip in 2007. Surprisingly, I've never had the original Old Stock ale.

A: The ale has a dark red hue that could pass for a glass of cabernet. Without any outside influences, the ale looks black. An off-white head sits in a thin band at the top of the beer.

S: A heavy grape presence indicates the brandy barrel, rich and boozy it doesn't pull any punches. Toffee and molasses are strong, big enough to get through brandy.

T: A malty delight wrapped in the delicious strength of a brandy barrel. Let's start with the brandy, bold and warming. A red grape profile, fortified to astronomical proportions, really jumps out of the glass. A distinct vanilla flavor also springs from the barrel. The ale behind the barrel is thick and malty. Toffee is prevalent but the rest of the body is nicely hidden behind the barrel.

M: The brandy is hot, burning the tongue with each sip. Behind the burn, the brandy is pleasant and multi-dimensional. The late rush of vanilla is a nice aspect.

D: The ale is hot but never reveals its ~15% price tag. The brandy really works amongst the malty depths of the Old Stock.

4.49/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Head quickly jumps to a three finger carmel grouping of very active bubbles and then fades just as quick leaving not a trace of those bubbles. Body is a very deep dark brown and quite consistant like molasses, but not nearly as thick. Nose is big and full of rich bourbon, sweet toffee, buttered rum and hot carmalized malts. Alchol is very evident as you take first sip, its not overly harsh just a little warm and tingley. Toasty layers of carmalized malt, toffee, overly ripe dark fruit, molasses and black vanilla are all over the palate. A bit of spicy coco is there too. Alchol is warm on the palate and the belly. The more you drink, the more you pick up the oak character in the palate. Mouthfeel is like sucking on a piece of butter rum candy. Oh so good after dinner sipper. Why do these one time release beers have to be so good?

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.61/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle shared by myself last night, received in a trade recently.

This one pours a dark, copper brown, with a half inch head, and not a whole lot of lacing.

This one smells pretty dreamy, tons of dark fruit, raisins, toffee, caramel, and toasted bread.

With the time on this, it seems the brandy character has diminished a bit- it's still there, but very mild. There's some great vanilla, a bit of coconut, with the aforementioned strong toffee, raisin, and caramel. The flavors are super intense and really nice.

This is medium bodied, with a slightly creamy mouthfeel, and a fairly low level of carbonation. It's really drinkable.

This lived up to my expectations. It was excellent.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.95/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I was simply floored to come home today to find a bottle of this in the mail. I have been dreaming of trying this one for as long as I can remember. Old ales have become a favorite of mine, and from what I hear it really does not get better then this. Served at cellar temp and poured into an oversized wine glass, this one was consumed on 01/23/2009.

In a word perfect. This beer was soo sublime in every way it is hard to put into words. The pour was wonderul. From the rich caramel color that came out of the bottle to the nice puff of off white that graced the top, it was just spot on for the style. The aroma was loaded with brandy and vanilla notes. Hints of oak and rich toffee notes are just all over this one. Smooth as could be with hardly a hint of alcohol even as it approaches 12 percent, is an achievment in of itself. The vanilla and toffee notes in here were sublime. Perfect balance here of flavors as the I sat and enjoyed this one till almost 2 am at this point and I still have a half glass to go. This was exactly what I wanted, just what it should be, and well, well worth the wait.

Photo of Bierguy5
4.77/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12.7 oz., 14.7% ABV. Hazy chestnut color. Thin head disappears almost immediately. No lace at all.

Nose full of candied fruit, figs, vanilla, brandy soaked figs, caramel, wood and a bit of alcohol. Great things going on in the nose here. I could sniff this for such a long time.

As in the nose, there is an abundance of flavor going on here. Nice caramel, fig malt background with some vanilla, oak, brandy and butterscotch. A bit of of a drying note from the wood near the end.

Maybe a bit thin. Lots of warming, lingering alcohol. Still manages to not be boozy or overly hot. This is a fantastic beer, with so much complexity. Very well made.

Photo of scottoale
4.62/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005 Vintage 375ml.cork finished brown bottle courtesy of a great beerman, Skye. Thanks man! Not much of a pop from the cork, yet it pours a fairly lively dark copper-brown with a bubbling 1/4" of beige foam. The head recedes leaving no lace behind.

The smell is of sweet caramel, toffee, molasses, vanilla and you guessed it, alcohol. Alcohol like a very big brandy sort of alcohol, but in a most pleasing manner. This is truly the smell of the type of beer that crave most...mouth watering.

The flavor exemplifies the smell in a big way, like amplification in fact. Big rich sweet malty intro that fills the palate with all of the above mentioned. Big, rich, malty and chewy thick flavor. And well balanced in it's own way with oak tannins and some charcoal character. Damn fine warming finish as well.

Big chewy body with complimentary carbonation and a boatload of warming alcohol give this brew a to die for drinkability in my book. This brew is the closest thing to Angel's Share and that's a great thing. Seek, savor and enjoy this big ass brew if given the opportunity...serious stuff!

Photo of largadeer
4.76/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Chestnut body with a thin layer of tan foam. The head recedes to a thin ring pretty quickly, but the legs on this beer are outstanding. Incredibly viscous stuff. The aroma is a melange of toffee, dates and vanilla. Brandy is readily apparent and lends a slight booziness that compliments the dark malts nicely. As it warms up, I get red grapes, brown sugar and a hint of sweet soy sauce. On the tongue it's rich, full-bodied and sweet, with flavors of brandy and oak supported by a huge caramel malt backbone. Light fruitiness mid-palate leads to a semi-sweet vanilla finish. Tannins add just the right level of balance, preventing this from becoming cloying despite the richness and high ABV.

Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.67/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to CoolJosh for bringing this one out for the Philly Beer Tasting of the Ages. This was the seventh beer consumed on the first night, and it definitely stole the show on Saturday. Thanks again, Josh! Bottle from 2005.

The color is similar to that of regular Old Stock, hazy nearly-opaque brown with some lighter hues as if there is some peachy color mixed in with the brown. There is no head to speak of, but at nearly 15%, what the hell would you expect? The edges of the beer turn maroon and amber when held to the light.

The bouquet of this beer is absolutely phenomenal. My nose is inundated with brandy, toffee, brown sugar, and the vanilla oakiness that I love in barrel-aged beers. This beer's aroma is absolutely phenomenal. When sipped, the spectacle continues, adding to the legend of this beer. Bandy, oakey vanilla, and those nice caramel and toffee flavors balance out beautifully and completely mask the alcohol until the finish where it is a pleasant taste. Dyan told me that this beer is nearly 15% and I almost fell out of my chair. The only hints of alcohol presence are the sherry-like aromas produced by the brandy barrel aging process. This is one helluvan experience.

The feel is thick but smooth. The warm finish and nice toffee sweetness are truly an accomplishment for a beer this big. The balance is absolutely insane, and I really would like to have another shot at this one.

Photo of weeare138
4.37/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Much thanks to egajdzis for sharing this one. We opened side by side with a regular Old Stock Ale from the same vintage...
Appears a dark brown with crimson edges when held to the light. The head of foam slowly fades into a small, light tan cap and collar. Spotty lacing quickly slides back into the glass.
Smell is of vanilla, brown sugar, caramel, with more complex aromas highlighted by oak and ripe, dark fruit.
Taste is of sugar, maple, vanilla, and melon.
Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, hot on the palate with booze, brown sugar, and vanilla.

Photo of papat444
4.24/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

***2011 Vintage***

Pours a leathery brown color with a thin head. Rich aroma of brown sugar, mix of mustiness and brandy in the flavor. Surprisingly drinkable given the high ABV.

Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.79/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a murky, cloudy brown in color. There is just a hint of froth that comes from a pretty aggressive pour. The head is gone quicker than it had formed.
The smell is absolutely top notch. Dare I say heavenly. Brandy, caramel, toffee, vanilla, all there. And if the smell wasn't enough, the flavor was even better. A truly decadent sipper. The vanilla flavors are just absolutely wonderful. When you start with a base beer that is as incredible and strong as Old Stock only good things can happen from imparting some barrel influence. Incredibly full and creamy in the mouthfeel, this is a definite sipper. At the same time, you really don't get taken back by the high ABV. I was afraid that there would be a lot of heat, or a very noticeable alcohol flavor to this. But yet again, it doesn't disappoint.
Why oh why has this not been brewed and barrel aged again?! I'd much rather have the Old Stock in either the brandy or bourbon barrel aged as an option over the BA Rasputin. It's time to get those barrels going at North Coast and make this a annual release.
I realize this is getting harder to come by if not impossible to get. If you have one, consider yourself lucky, find some friends and share the bottle.

Photo of Desp59
2.75/5  rDev -38.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Boozy but pretty good. Still not really my thing though.

Photo of jwolfie70
4.97/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I cracked open a bottle for Valentines day, and have to say that this beer is drinking sublimely right now. If you have any bottles, I would recommend opening and drinking. I have been feeling lately that (while good) I haven't had a beer lately that has blown me away. This beer did.

Pour: The bottle popped with a dull plup, and after soo many Lost Abbey flat bottles lately, my heart sank. Fortunately, the beer poured a deep amber with an inch of thick white head.

Smell: Deep caramelized sugar, brandy, malt, alcohol.

Taste: A sublime and incredibly smooth mixture of carmel, brandy, vanilla, malt sweetness, with just the right amount of alcohol kick to keep it from being cloying. This is what barrel aged perfection tastes like.

Drinkability: Incredibly drinkable for such a high alcohol content. You definitely want to sip, but I could sit their for a week straight sipping this beer.

Photo of alcstradamus
4.37/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I half-expected this one to be flat but was greeting with a nice half finger of head on top of a deep caramel brown body. In low light it appears nearly black.

The aroma is an other-worldly mix of strong caramel sweetness and layers of complexity underneath. Coconut, oak, cocoa, resiny and citrus hops, booze, vanilla, and lots more sit underneath that caramel. Very deep and evolving. The 14% ABV still makes itself well known in the aroma, even after a few years of mellowing. Definitely exceptional.

The flavor an absolute rush of caramel sweetness and booze. Wow. The brandy barrels definitely imparted quite a bit of flavor into the Old Stock base. Underneath the caramel is a hefty dose of floral hoppiness, coconut, and lots of vanilla.

The body is on the full side of medium. The carbonation is low and appropriate. A warm burn on the back of the throat follows every sip.

This one is most definitely a sipper that shows every bit of its high ABV. The flavor profile and complexity present here are outstanding. I wish I had some notes to compare this to a fresh bottle, but this is the only time I've tried it. I can't see why this one wouldn't continue to mellow and improve for years to come.

Photo of kdahnke123
4.27/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2011 Vintage poured into a snifter at room temperature.
L - Poured a medium amber color with lots of carbonation but not head or lacing.
S - Smells of bourbon, caramel, leather and malt.
T - Tangy initially with caramel, bourbon, malt and coconut.
F - Heavily carbonated, with light mouth feel and a dry tangy finish.
O - A middle of the road bourbon barreled ale. About what you would expect for their base beer after some time in a bourbon barrel. A little pricey for a 500ml bottle.

Photo of Mark
4.42/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A big enjoyable potent beer for a cold night. Deep and dark copper, a tan head disappears instantly. Sharp aroma of brandy is strong but not off putting, this is still a beer. Very smooth, with just the right amount of balance between the regular profile and brandy addition. Full bodied yet not filling. A great sipper for after dinner enjoyment and as a night cap. Outstanding beer from North Coast.

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Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Brandy Barrels) from North Coast Brewing Co.
99 out of 100 based on 643 ratings.