Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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

Not Rated.
Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Brandy Barrels)Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Brandy Barrels)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

115 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 115
Hads: 700
Avg: 4.51
pDev: 7.76%
Wants: 471
Gots: 194 | FT: 25
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 (26) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 115 | Hads: 700
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.75/5  rDev -39%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Sampled at the Extreme Beer Fest on 2/15/08: Aroma/taste of heavy alcohol, raisins, sweetness. I thought there was too much brandy here. A disappointment (for a supposed top 50 beer).
Aroma: 6/10
Appearance: 3/5
Flavor: 6/10
Palate: 3/5
Overall: 13/20

 257 characters

Photo of SportsandJorts
3.78/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: pours a black cherry to light mahogany color. a finger of a tan head with decent retention. dark but has some clarity to it. alcohol legs as it swirls around the glass.

Smell: caramelized malts, dark fruits, and boozy brandy.

Taste: opens with some strong booze, develops into a sweeter malty to dark fruit base with hints of plums and black currants along with strong caramelized malts. end makes a return to the brandy barrels along with some wooden qualities.

Mouthfeel: boozy light feel, strong alcohol warmth and bite.

Overall: a sweet and boozy beer, pretty good too.

 591 characters

Photo of jrallen34
3.89/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Sean(I think) for this one. Drank and compared side by side with the bourbon version. The bourbon was clearly superior to me, and I believe that was the consensus among the group as well... The aroma on the bourbon is awesome, dominates the brandy, vanilla, wood, dark brown sugar. The brandy is harsher, more bitter acohol..The taste is alcoholic brandy, just doesn't work that well. A little caramel and chocolate.

 426 characters

Photo of cpetrone84
3.93/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Kevin for sharing this one!

A-pours a cloudy dark brown color with a darker tan colored head.

S-the nose is rather strong, sweeter brandi with notes of dark wood, lots of raisins with hints of tobacco. Carmelized brown sugar towards the back with hints of sweet sherry. it may be a touch oxidized.

T-the taste is strong, the brandi and wood are up front, sweet brandi, juicy raisins, toffee and sweet brown sugar, the tobacco is light in the back and almost not there. Sheery in the back, maybe some sweet cardboard, again might be oxidation or just the sweet brandi with hints of heat in the finish.

M-full bodied, chewy and thick, syrupy texture and very viscous with a hint of driness in the finish and well carbonated.

D-decent and reasonably balanced. it is very sweet and might be slightly oxidized. solid flavors that blend together, love the raisins. decent stuff and goes down smooth with the huge body.

 931 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
4/5  rDev -11.3%
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.

 598 characters

Photo of sleazo
4.03/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Shared this one with Rblwthacoz last night, thanks for sharing this one.

A_Brownish red, sligtly cloudy with a small tiny head. Looks thick.

S_Boozy and sweet with some fruit to it. The alcohol scent is fairly overpowering.

T_Much less alcohol than the smell would indicate. Without knowing that this was brandy aged, I thought Port immediately upon first sip. Pretty sweet and sticky but not too much for me. There are notes of wood, vanilla, grape, and honey. Not as overpowering as I thought it would be as it is surprisngly smooth for such a strong beer.

M_There is a good carbonation here that really makes this lighter than it should be. While still syrupy it doesnt just cling to the mouth.

D_Very nice sipper here. The potency limits how often I would drink but it is one I would seek out again. This would be nice in front of a fire after a day of cold weather activity.

 884 characters

Photo of AgentZero
4.12/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Sean for pulling this one out.

A - Golden brown colored beer with a tan head that left some nice stick on the sides as I drank this.

S - Dark fruits, caramel, brandy. There's some vanilla, the brandy on this is pretty subdued, smells good.

T - Really nice mix of caramel, brandy, vanilla and wood. Great dark fruit, not too hot. Really nice taste on this. Drank it next to the bourbon version, very different beer. Think I prefer the bourbon version a little bit better, but this is nice.

M - Medium bodied, lower carbonation, pretty smooth.

O - Good beer. Not hot at all, dangerously drinkable. Would like to see them make some more of this.

 657 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.12/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage.

Pours a hazy dark orange with a foamy tan head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, caramel, toffee, bread pudding, brandy, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with brown sugar, toffee, and brandy flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of wood bitterness and an alcohol kick on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with absolutely phenomenal brandy barrel aged aromas and tasty flavors that unfortunately don't match up to the smell.

 681 characters

Photo of Sean9689
4.12/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shard w/ the Chicago crew on a random Sunday and drank right next to the bourbon version.

A - Pours a dark brown, very little carbonation, some bubbles here and there. Very "sticky" looking and there's a brown hue on the sides of the glass after swishing it around a bit.

S - Chocolate, dark fruits, brandy, burnt sugars. Maybe a little too much brandy (still) so I think this could age even longer.

T - Similar to the nose. Lots of brandy, chocolate, caramel, and a touch of barrel/oak. I think this one still has some hotness and can benefit from some more aging (unlike the bourbon).

M - Medium bodied, maybe a bit thin, but still rich.

D - Very good but didn't blow me away. This one was out-shined by several other beers we had during the night. I think some more cellar time would do this one good while the bourbon version seems ready to drink now.

 867 characters

Photo of MasterSki
4.14/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this a long time ago in a trade with KAME - looks like he hasn't been online for a few years, but I'll give him a shout out all the same. Served in a Hill Farmstead glass.

A - Quick-dissolving thin tan foam settles to a big-bubbled ring, leaving a few spots of lace. Dark brown body with some reddish highlights to it. It's about what you'd expect from a 15% old ale.

S - Oak, brandy, brown sugar, raisins and other dark fruits, pleasant oxidation, a hint of smoke and tobacco.

T - Sweet brown sugar, bread, dark fruits, mild port-like oxidation. Alcohol is extremely mellow for the ABV. Tastes like an old old ale. Lightly oaky finish, and less brandy character than in the aroma.

M - Creamy, full-bodied, low carbonation, minimal alcohol heat. I keep returning to mellow as a descriptor.

D - I've had this a few times over the years, and it's never blown me a away. I certainly don't think it's improving, but it doesn't seem to be falling off precipitously either. North Coast - please make a new batch. Pretty drinkable for the ABV, and a moderate improvement over regular Old Stock.

 1,096 characters

Photo of Ohiovania
4.17/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The nose was absolutely fantastic but when it came down to taste and mouthfeel i was a bit disappointed. The alcohol didn't seem to be cohesive with the beer as a whole and i wish it would have been a bit thicker. It was at a tasting so my palate may have been a little worn out so hopefully i will get a chance to try it again someday.

 336 characters

Photo of hoppymeal
4.17/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy dark amber to brown in color with a small light tan head that recedes to a ring. Strong brandy aroma immediately wafts up, alcohol, apples, raisins and prunes mix together in the aroma. A sweet sugary caramel rides behind the dark fruit aromas, hints of leather are noticeable as well. Taste is similar to the aroma in that the brandy is big and right up front in the taste as well. When mixed with the sweet malts it lends a coconut-y flavor, sweet, nutty dates towards the finish. Large bite of alcohol in the finish as well. Mouthfeel is medium in body, thins towards the finish as a drying alcohol warmth burns at the back of the throat. Very good beer, it's been a while since I sampled the bourbon, but I believe I preferred that one, though the brandy ageing shines through quite well in most aspects of this sample. A delicious beer for a goodnight night cap.

 880 characters

Photo of ppoitras
4.18/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml bottle obtained via trade with unclejedi. Thanks for the opportunity... Corked & caged.

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a 3/4" tan head above the cloudy, barely translucent dark reddish brown brew. Head dwindles rather quickly, but still a standout for a BA old brew, with ample slow-falling lacing. Aroma is dark fruity alcohol with leathery maltiness. Taste follows the nose, the malt sweetness upfront, quickly falling to the prevalent alcohol. Not much room for the fruitiness or brandy character with all the alcohol numbing the mouth and throat. Mouthfeel is a bit harsh, but not so much for the BA old ale arena, and drinkability is good as well. Glad I got to try this one.

 696 characters

Photo of Jonada
4.19/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

2011 vintage. 15.2% ABV

500ml bottle served in a snifter

Appearance: Pours a dark, murky red brown color with very little tan head that dissipates quickly to nothing. Body is opaque with only a small amount of light penetrating the edge of the glass.

Smell: Caramel, toffee, oak, vanilla, boozy brandy, red wine grape and fig.

Taste: Sweet caramel and toffee, that carries throughout, but is balanced more towards the finish with a warm booziness. In addition to caramel and toffee are notes or dark fruit and oak which yield to a strong hot brandy character that comes through in the finish and lingers well into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Not necessarily thin, but not quite as full bodied as I'd be looking for in a beer this big.

Overall: A really great beer. It's definitely drinking hot right now, though still excellent. This will only improve with some age.

 913 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.2/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A careful pour produces a frothy, fairly large bubbled, dirty, light amber tinged, tan colored head that dissipates fairly quickly. The beer is a concentrated, rich amber color, but shows a brilliantly clear, bright red, cranberry color when held up to the light. As I pour this beer ample notes of buttery oak greet my scent receptors. Upon closer inspection it is confirmed that the oak plays a major role here; ample butter oak notes dominate, but aromas of vanillin, deeply caramelized wood & malt, intermingling though somewhat subtle fruit and berry notes, as well as lightly spicy oak towards the end. Wow, the aroma is really growing on me; at first I was disappointed that it was so barrel influenced, but the particular barrel influence here is so smooth and enjoyable. The base beer definitely plays a supporting role here in the aroma (really contributing to the substantial caramelized notes), but this is the most fantastic smelling, barrel dominated beer I have ever experienced; I cold go on smelling the beer for quite some time.

Chewy, substantial, but not overly viscous, for a beer of 14.7% alcohol this is down right light in body. A carbonic bite yields to a substantial fruity caramel not, which then moves to a spicy, clearly barrel influenced shot of Brandy character in the finish. Sweet flavors are here, but not in a sticky manner, in fact this is even a bit dry. Up front flavors of caramelized raisins and berry notes mix very well with oak components of butterscotch and vanillin. The finish is definitely quite warming in character (warm hues radiate down my throat after each sip), but not overly hot or aggressive. Brandied grape notes are definitely quite noticeable at times, but seem to mix / meld into the caramel / toffee and butterscotch notes pretty well. The hop character, that is so scathing in fresh samples of the normal Old Stock, plays a surprising mellow role here. The hops contribute a soft bitterness in the finish that is barely noticeable under the alcohol and barrel flavors, while the normally pungent hop flavor is all but a part of a movie extra here; hints of citrus, and a touch of pine is about it. This still has that leathery, substantial malt depth that I love in the original, in fact it is this malt character that really allows the Brandy barrel to really shine here.

The mix of caramelized malt / wood notes and butterscotch oak character in the nose is incredible. The barrel influence here is huge, but amazingly it marries extremely well with the base beer, or at the least it is not a harsh, overwhelming barrel character. Visually this beer was a bit disappointing with the quickly disappearing head, but when you take into account the alcohol percentage the head was actually quite substantial. I really like that the body of this brew is not overly thick, though this is most definitely a sipping brew; it could use / stand up to a bit more residual malt character though. This really is such a great, flavorful beer, but in the end it is the lack of extra malty oomph that keeps this from being the perfect marriage between barrel and malt. Still a fantastic brew, but at times it can even be a bit thin when compared to the ample brandy barrel notes. Don't get me wrong though, this is a fantastically tasty brew. The fact that the flavors from the barrel are so well integrated and somehow not overwhelming despite being dominant really makes this an incredibly enjoyable brew (pick up the base beer flavors a bit and this would be perfect).

 3,521 characters

Photo of Furlinator
4.21/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Toronado San Diego on 11/13/15.
2011 vintage.

Sweet caramel malt, subtle accents of dark fruit. Sweetness and hints of fruit provided by the brandy barrel as well. Mild alcohol presence.

 199 characters

Photo of papat444
4.24/5  rDev -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.

 179 characters

Photo of mdfb79
4.25/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Big thanks to BeerLawyer85 for sharing this. Have wanted it for years but never had it. 2011 vintage.

Pours a depe murky brown with a few off white bubbles and low carbonation evident. Caramel, bready malts, toasted malts, sweet bourbon, very oxidized. Thin body and low carbonation.

Overall much like the BA Old Rasputin's I think these fade after a few years...this one was good but way past its prime. Don't hold on to their Cellar Reserve beers for more than 1-2 years IMO.

Still very good but goes from very good, to great, and then back to very good.

 559 characters

Photo of ryan1788a5
4.26/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Very deep purple color. Very much the color of brandy. Bubbly tan head sputters out almost immediately. No lacing. Very leggy. This is all excusable due to the strength and time in the barrel.

S: Brandy is very forward on the nose. Blackberry jams, black currants, dark grapes, dried figs. Malts bring caramel chews, blackstrap molasses, and black cocoa. Some wet paper oxidation and mild spicy alcohol as well. Woods influence itself is not readily apparent on the nose.

T: Dark grape, juicy blackberries, dried cherries, plum, black currants- the brandy barrel influence is front and center. Subtle woody oak. Rich brown caramel chews. Molasses. Maple. Pecan turtles. Hint of salty soy. Vinous. Spicy alcohol builds toward the back. Rich and sweet throughout. Wet brown paper bags from the oxidation (normal). Brandy lingers in a long sweet finish.

M: Heavier body. Slick and coating with a syrupy texture. Little to no carbonation. Big alcohol warmth, but not heat. Drinks very much like a brandy.

O: While barrel aging has been all the rage in the Craft beer segment for years, finding a brandy barrel aged beer is still very much a rarity. It's a welcome change of pace from the ubiquitous bourbon barrel aging. In this case the brandy flavors are the focal point of a beer whose base flavor profile complements them most graciously. The sweet, sticky, malty, and vinous flavors of the old ale are a perfect springboard for a dominant brandy barrel character. This is a gratifying and complex sipper that offers a very unique experience. It has an upper-class air about it. I actually prefer it to bourbon barrel aged old stock. Worth the high price tag.

 1,704 characters

Photo of akorsak
4.27/5  rDev -5.3%
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.

 1,159 characters

Photo of kdahnke123
4.27/5  rDev -5.3%
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.

 489 characters

Photo of Rizzy17
4.28/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: A dark burgundy with a fizzy head that dissipates quickly.
S: Straight up brandy.
T: Sweet upfront that fades into hints of raisin and followed up by molasses. Brandy is very apparent.
F: Very smooth. The brandy is there but there's no alcohol burn. Incredibly drinkable for how boozy it is.
O: This beer really surprised me. I was unsure about the style, but it's very interesting and enjoyable.

 402 characters

Photo of kkipple
4.29/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

*2005 vintage

Had at the Sexual Chocolate pre-release party. Pretty sure KP brought this one, whoever it was, thanks!

A. Pretty much exactly like the other Old Stock Ale. Hazy red-gold, darker in the center (weird), very small head, poor retention.

S. Goodness. My notes read "Booze X3!!". Not the most eloquent way to put it, perhaps, but this is a seriously boozy beverage, simply exploding with oak, lush caramel, vanilla and sugar. Woody and roasty, the brandy really shines through. This in all honesty smells like poor man's Utopias. Delicious, complex, intriguing and strong.

T. Very hot alcohol immediately, but gives way to a thick rich toffee flavored beer, dripping with aggressive oak, vanilla and roast malt notes, finishes with a big sugar kiss. Think old JW Lees, or Thomas Hardy's on its best day. This is fresh and yet remains wonderfully delicious.

M. Average carbonation, thankfully. Finishes dry and hot with a medicinal booze kick.

D. Drinkable? Not in quantity, but this brew makes up for that in deliciousness and complexity. This is one of the best American Old Ales I've had. If you can't afford the $200 for Jim Koch's finest, this is a good second bet. High praise.

 1,198 characters

Photo of AgentMunky
4.29/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a half-litre bottle into a wine glass. Vintage 2011. Purchased from the brewery earlier this week.

A: It's a flat, dark, muddy brown.

S: This is boozy as hell. Really sweet and rich. Very 'old ale' with dead yeast and such.

T: That...is chewy. Processing that in the mouth just takes ages. Vanilla. More dead yeast (kinda dig it). Dates. Brown sugars. Oxidized, fermented grape juice.

M: Flat and smooth.

O: This is a truly excellent beer. Highly recommended. Sublime.

 485 characters

Photo of Ineedabeerhere
4.32/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Mikey! From notes, nov 20th.

Deep mahogany pour with a touch of amber highlight. Small head, very little to no lacing.

Great aroma, just awesome rich caramel, vanilla, toasted oakiness...yada yada yada (see bourbon old stock review). I found this barrel treatment to be a bit better- it wasn't sweeter per se, but has a bit of a brighter feeling to it through a slightly more vibrant fruitiness... caramelized pears? And just overall came across as a bit more complex and "well-rounded" as mikey said. Both barrel aged versions of this beer are just excellent and I would gladly drink them again.

Edit: Review 300.

 626 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Brandy Barrels) from North Coast Brewing Co.
99 out of 100 based on 115 ratings.