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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.

111 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 111
Hads: 676
rAvg: 4.53
pDev: 7.06%
Wants: 462
Gots: 187 | 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 (25) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 111 | Hads: 676
Photo of costanzo_mike
4.55/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very hazy brown color, no head. Smell has a gorgeous brandy, dark fruits and oak. Taste is very smooth with the same flavors coming through. Light carbonation which I always appreciate with this style. Excellent beer overall (232 characters)

Photo of neurobot01
4.63/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

2011 vintage into a snifter at cellar temp.

Look: pours a very nice reddish-brown with very little head, but some carbonation evident.

Smell: holy wonderful hell. Smells like straight grapey boozy cognac. Molasses, tobacco, leather, and maybe some very mild hops. I want to smell this forever.

Taste: much like the smell. Actually, halfway between the smell and several-year-aged Old Stock. Up front, lots of grape and mild tobacco; gives way to more pronounced caramel and possibly hop notes. Finishes clean, with a good lingering sweet grape and booze.

Feel: medium bodied, but feels light, if that makes sense. Alcohol is present, but not unpleasant. Not especially dry.

Overall: I don't actually know how this beer could be improved. It's not that I think it's perfect, it's just I don't know what I would do to make it better. As it is, it's very good. And the nose... yeesh. (885 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
4.25/5  rDev -6.2%
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 papat444
4.24/5  rDev -6.4%
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 KYGunner
4.46/5  rDev -1.5%
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. (332 characters)

Photo of barczar
4.41/5  rDev -2.6%
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. (901 characters)

Photo of lupercmda
4.89/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

WOW. A nice thick brown pour. Smells of the toffee and caramel and the brandy barrel. Nice thick mouth feel is immediately felt. Tastes of the caramel, toffee and molasses with a hint of figs and raisins. A sweet beer that oozes the wonderfulness of the apple brandy barrel. Almost perfect beer!!! (297 characters)

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.61/5  rDev +1.8%
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. (689 characters)

Photo of Houser
4.81/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Almost the perfect old ale. Looks like it should, ruby with some haze. Smells great, caramel, vanilla, sweet. Taste is much the same with backend booziness. Just ever so slightly undercarbed in my opinion, but can't complain. Great beer. (237 characters)

Photo of AgentMunky
4.29/5  rDev -5.3%
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 kdahnke123
4.27/5  rDev -5.7%
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 Damian
4.54/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 500 ml/1 pt. 0.9 fl. oz. (16.9 fl. oz.) corked and caged bottle purchased at Redstone Liquors, Stoneham, MA
2011 vintage
Served in a snifter

The slightly hazy mahogany liquid was topped by a frothy, fizzy, near one-finger tall, ecru colored crown that quickly fell than a thin collar. Within minutes, the head disappeared entirely and the resulting liquid looked nearly flat. Almost cordial-like in appearance.

The aroma was simply amazing. Dried fruits, including figs, raisins and prunes, came through strong. Oxidative notes, along with an oaky, aged quality, gave the beer an intense port or sherry-like character. Really grape-y and vinous. Loads of maple and brown sugar sweetness. Toffee was also noticeable. Super boozy, but in a pleasant and warming sort of way. Fantastically interesting and complex.

Rich, boozy, port-like notes came through big time in the flavor as well. The hints of oxidation added some interesting complexities. Raisins, figs and plums were apparent. Loads of toffee and sticky pudding. Touch of maple. Quite sweet overall. The finish was boozy, although I doubt I would have guessed this to be 15+% ABV. Quite rummy. Dry, oaky, tannic notes helped balance out some of the sweetness on the front end. As the beer warmed, the alcohol became more prominent, especially on the finish.

The mouthfeel was perhaps the only disappointing aspect of this beer. It was thinner bodied for the style and contained a lively, spritzy carbonation. Frothy and fluffy on the palate. A bit strange for a beer of this magnitude. The sweet, slightly syrupy liquid left a sticky film on my lips.

I find North Coast's Old Stock Ale to be really raw and boozy, but this brandy barrel-aged version transformed the base beer into something magical. I look forward the next release of this, whenever that may be. (1,837 characters)

Photo of BrotherDylan
4.68/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

500 ml, 2011 at 15.2% abv

It is the most complex and rich beer I have had. It has cellared phenomenally well. I'd buy more to age for another 1 to 3 years. The barrel character, in both flavor and tannic mouthfeel, really come through strong.

It pours with a some head that quickly disintegrates into the viscous, yet not opaque liquid below.

It tastes like a burnt carmel apple liqueur. There are an abundance of dried and caramelized fruit flavors with a strong vinous kick. It tastes like flakey crust powdered with cinnamon sugar.

The mouthfeel is spot on. Its just the right amount of thick. The carbonation is surprisingly high for such a viscous beer. I would prefer it to be flatter but the carbonation helps lighten such a thick body.

Overall its a world class beer. There are few, if any, better examples of an old ale, let alone one aged in brandy barrels. The brandy character is incredibly unique which makes this beer truly one of a kind. If you see it, get it immediately. If you have one, drink it. If you have two, let the other one sit for 1 to 3 years for this beer to reach its potential as a never before seen animal. (1,147 characters)

Photo of Ohiovania
4.17/5  rDev -7.9%
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 JohnnyHopps
4.71/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - The deep was a deep copper color with a moderate head crowning the beer.

Smell - The brandy really shines in the aroma. This is a case where the aroma really makes the drinker look forward to the first drink.

Taste - Brandy makes the initial impression, but there is so much more. Nuts, maple oatmeal, and dark fruits are followed by warming alcohol in the aftertaste. This is really good.

Mouthfeel - The low carbonation allows the beer to be smooth and perhaps even sticky.

Overall - This is a top of the line Old Ale. (537 characters)

Photo of Guinnesswasmyfirstlove
5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked up a 2011 vintage from the brewery in Ft. Bragg. Had to convince my girlfriend it was worth the purchase. It definitely was... (And she agrees!)

L: Dark, velvety red copper with almost no head after a vigorous pour

S: boozy and port

T: caramel, port, sweet, strong (in a good way), vanilla, COMPLEX

F: creamy, full, alcohol

O: Wow this one is special. Easily one of the best beers I've ever had. I would buy again in a heartbeat. (445 characters)

Photo of MattSweatshirt
4.54/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draft pour

Deep dark red body with pretty much no head by the time it arrives to me.

Smells like boozy dessert. Rich caramel and toffee. Coconut from the barrel.

Taste is huge and warm and a little boozy but that totally works here. Super rich malt, coconut, vanilla.

Smooth, velvety and thick with low carbonation.

What a treat. (334 characters)

Photo of Wameron
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

500ml pour into New Belgium globe glass. Pours a dark cherry. Very little head that dissipates quickly. Smell is boozy with notes of dark fruit, some vanilla and caramel. The first sip is full of brandy flavor that leads to a mild caramel taste. Due to the strong boozy taste after the first sip I was unsure if I was up to drinking the whole bottle but after a few sips the drinkability improves. Overall a fantastic beer, I found it at a bottle shop in rural New Jersey and am very glad with the purchase. A very complex and enjoyable beer that I would certainly try again. (576 characters)

Photo of beb86
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

So we had the chance to purchase a 1/6 bbl at the restaurant I work at for a reasonable price of $439 for 1/6bbl ...to keep our cost under 30% we would have had to charge $25 for a 10oz pour!!!! hell even Dogfish 120 or WWS is less than $200 for a 1/6 barrel (258 characters)

Photo of SportsandJorts
3.78/5  rDev -16.6%
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 cvm4
4.57/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Cellar Reserve bought in 2014.

L - Muddled/ruddy brown to burgundy body with a fizzy khaki head that dissipates quickly. No real retention or lacing.

S - So much vanilla, brandy, caramel and molasses. Smells so chewy on the nose. Odd to say.

T - The taste follows the nose. Goodness abounds. In your face, chewy caramel, brandy, vanilla and sweet molasses.

F - Perfect... Heavy body, low carbonation. Has a svelte body and wet finish. Well hidden abv.

O - One of the best beers I've had in a while. So much depth and complexity with this beer. (553 characters)

Photo of soughtbygod
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Pours a dark brown almost purple, head disappears quickly,
aroma is amazing, vanilla, figs, chocolate
the taste comes through leaving sweet caramel coffee notes on the back of the tongue that linger and present vanilla as it sits
as it warms it becomes less syrup and more buttery, has almost a barley wine character to it and at 15% the alcohol is very well hidden in the layer, presenting only a pleasant heat, not overwhelming
the mouth-feel is sticky and coats the mouth very well, it is much better than many BA stouts that I have had, i hope to get this one again. (571 characters)

Photo of thebigredone
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Absolutely delicious. Great barrel flavors, dark fruit, just the right amount of sweetness, goes down incredibly smooth.

Tough to beat this as a sipper on a cold, rainy day. (174 characters)

Photo of ryan1788a5
4.26/5  rDev -6%
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 FosterJM
4.37/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

1802nd Review on BA
Bottle to NC Tulip
500 ml C/C

2011 Vintage

App- Out of the bottle this was more of a crimson and ruddy brown mix of colors. A solid depth of highlights on the outside but the inside was a big deep red chasm. A solid 1-1/2 inch head of tan bubbles with some pretty good cling down the glass.

Smell- On a big first woft you get a ton of rootbeer aromas. The oak and vanilla and sweetness of the brandy come together quite nicely. As it warms more of the caramel from the old ale comes out with a malty dark fruit aroma.

Taste- I enjoyed this. The big aromatics came across on the flavor profile and played nicely together without being overly dramatic or one flavor taking over the palate. I enjoyed the opening sips of the base beer beer shining with some deep caramel and a little bit of booze on the flavor. A little warmer more of the classic brandy flavor with some oak and tannin flavor came in.

Mouth- A solid medium body with a creamier medium carbonation with a good amount of residual bubbles to coat the tongue. The residual flavors that I get are more of vanilla and brandy on this one. The base beer doesnt carry through much.

Drink- I was surprised I didnt have to trade for this one. Was great to finally find a top 250, just sitting on the shelves. Would love another bottle to hold onto for a couple years. Was a layered and pretty complex drinking BA beer. (1,398 characters)

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Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Brandy Barrels) from North Coast Brewing Co.
99 out of 100 based on 111 ratings.