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

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

Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 15.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Vintages: 2005, 2011

Added by BeerBeing on 06-03-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 119 | Ratings: 714
Photo of beb86
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%

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

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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.

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Photo of cvm4
4.57/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

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Photo of soughtbygod
5/5  rDev +10.9%

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.

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Photo of thebigredone
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%

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.

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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.

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Photo of FosterJM
4.37/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

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Photo of bowzer4birdie
4.94/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2011 vintage. First time having this and I am so pleased to have come across it. Deep brown color with moderate carbonation. Head dissipates completely in approximately 60 seconds. Dark fruits, sugary sweetness! Nectar of the Old Ale gods! The taste is so balanced with the brandy influence definitely there but refined and subtle. Absolutely perfect drinking experience and I must have this one again!

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Photo of anteater
4.59/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Brown, semi transparent, thin white head that disappeared quickly

S: Molasses, vanilla, caramel, oak

T: More of the molasses, vanilla, caramel, oak, a touch of alochol burn and brandy. These flavors are so incredibly smooth though, I am amazed at the 15.2% alcohol.

M: Not too thick, not too light

O: Probably the best beer of its style that I've had. It's similar to Bois, Arctic Devil and Mother of all Storms but so much smoother. Such a freaking good beer!

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Photo of maximum12
4.32/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer had been on my wants list longer than any other brew & it apparently showed up in the Twin Cities without fanfare. I hunted it down & paid the big price tag. 500ML bottle split with my wife after a pair of disappointing beers.

Pour is 3.6% more than dead flat, but even that bit quickly circles the drain. Looks like flaking rust. Huge brandy notes whitewash whatever else might plink the nose: maybe some toffee, & after it warms a bit, there are hellacious wood notes.

Old Stock Cellar Reserve - Brandy Barrel Aged is hot with brandy & standing straight under the Granite Pack of my expectations. SIp after sip brings quick jabs of brandy, gorgeous brandy. Boozy vanilla lounges with high-end toffee (where is good toffee made, anyways?). Lower levels of oak/wood, sherry, brown sugar, plummy dark fruits. Complexity is oozing out of my pores just being in close contact with this beer, & the relative lack of bubbles doesn't hurt it at all.

A sipper & I keep sipping & sipping & wishing this came in a 750ML bottle. North Coast has certainly nailed the art of the hellaciously expensive beer that sticks around due to the price tag - but is ultimately worth it once as a treat. Would I buy another? No. Am I happy I danced for one? Yeah. Excellent beer.

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Photo of mothman
4.52/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage

This beer has been on my wants list for nearly 6 years. I finally am getting to try it for my b-day. This marks my 2500th beer on BA.

Pours a fizzy cola head that settles to nothing. Color is a dark brown nearing black.

Flavor profile: Oddly enough, it has a cola/dr.pepper flavor to it. The nose is all brandy and oak. Some molasses and dark fruit shows. Perfect aroma. Very rich and complex. The taste has a lot of brandy with a little bit of heat. Raisins, molasses, toffee, caramel, chocolate, dark fruits all show in the taste. A fair amount of oak.

Mouthfeel: A bit spritz/bubbly. Lower carbonation, but it works with this beer. Ends a bit dry. Might be the only flaw in this beer.

Overall, this was a very good beer and I am happy I finally had it. It's very complex and has a lot going on with it. The barrel flavors are incredible. I wish I could have this more often.

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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.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.47/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle into a tulip. 2011 vintage

dark brown pour with a slight head. smell of brandy and sweet alcohol. taste is very sweet...but as intended with the brandy barrels. vanilla and caramel are dominant flavors as well. extremely smooth. as it warmed up it become much more alcohol apparent. very full bodied and definitely a sipper. carbonation low.

overall extremely enjoyable for experienced craft beer drinkers. loved it.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.59/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a rich dark brown color with a surprisingly full one finger khaki colored head. Given the ABV, wasn't expecting a lot in the looks department, but this is surprisingly attractive.

S: Right away, you're hit with a good amount of brandy. It's not hot and sharp, but it's still full and inviting. A good amount of toffee and raisin skin aromas mixed in there as well, with the darker fruit notes coming through more as this warms. Brown sugar, sea salt caramel, prune and some oak.

T: Pretty sweet upfront. Brown sugar, vanilla, toffee and burnt caramel. The toffee is probably the strongest note I get here and it slowly fades into a burnt raisin skin note near the middle. The beer gets drier and drier as it goes, finally ending in a slightly hot finish with big notes of brandy, maple syrup and pronounced oak. There's a good amount of carbonation in here, leading me to want to assume this beer is far less than 15%. A quick attempt to get out of my chair leads me to believe otherwise, though. Ridiculously well done.

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Mahogany deep amber with a light head. Still as can be.

S- Oh my! Can smell the brandy, sugary molasses and charred caramel from a ways away (despite the lingering cigarette smoke on the jacket of the patron next to me). Hints of wood barrel and vanilla.

T- Follows nose really well. Lots of depth to this one. Brandy gets things kicking from the start. Lots of vanilla and cream. Syrup like dark fruits. Finishes warm. So intense.

M- It's strong as can be and it lets you know it from the get go. Some burn on the way down and a lingering dryness that leaves you smacking. I do enjoy the full, creamy feel though. Soft carbonation.

O- very impressed. Gets better with each sip (which is the only way it can be consumed) as it is so rich and succulent, but maybe that is the 15.2 talking. Would love to have a full bottle on a special occasion...too bad I can't afford that. Easily the best I have had of the style. A true "wow" beer.

$12 for an 8 ounce pour. Yeah, it's a swift kick in the nuts, but one that I would probably ask for again.

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Photo of DovaliHops
4.52/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage. Pours a nicely carbonated dark, brownish red color with a small, off-white head. Scent is STRONG in booze. A ton of hot brandy and other whiskey aromas. Tons of dark fruits with a whole lot of malt. Lots of vanilla and a hint of toffee. More sweet brandy...this beer smells spectacular. Taste is just as good as the beer smells. Boozy brandy and oaky barrel flavors up front. Sweet brandy and vanilla flavors. Lots of dark fruits...plums, raisins, prunes, and dates. Wow, this thing is boozy. Lingering maple syrup on the tongue. Mouthfeel is a bit over-carbonated...but doesn't lose points for this. Very full-bodied. Drinkability is high, but a sipper. Overall, this beer is fantastic! Very hot, but I can't wait to see how this ages over the years.

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Photo of Dope
4.36/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2011 batch.

A: Pours dark, dark, dark brown with maybe some red? Tall, fluffy and very fizzy light brown head. Head fizzes out like soda in just a few seconds. Almost no head retention and zero lacing. Looks almost still in the glass.

S: Huge, sharp and boozy fruity aroma. Sweet cherries, grapes, raisins, prunes, you name it. I don't know how long this was aged for but it's not far from sniffing plain brandy. Sugary and stinging.

T: Welp, as you can probably guess - brandy and lots of it. Stinging, sharp brandy. A plethora of fruit flavors, very similar to the aroma. Syrupy sweet raisins and prunes accompanied by cherries and grapes again. Prunes are probably the most prominent along with the cherries, in my opinion. But with some grape jelly. Interesting. Sugary sweet maltiness with some brown sugar and breadiness in the finish. Fruitiness is drier in the finish, with the booziness amplifying the drying effect. Lingering delicious brandy that warms the belly between sips.

M: Low carbonation with a heavy body lends to a syrupy mouthfeel. Big barrel presence helps cut it a lot, however.

O: One big, stinging, fruity old ale. Sharp, sharp strong flavors and borderline overpowering booziness. I am well accustomed to boozy brews but this one is serious. A true sipper; 500ml is almost too much (thankfully it's not a 750, are you listening The Bruery?). Seriously big and seriously good. One of the very best Old Ales out there. I will also note that this significantly better than the bourbon barrel version, in my opinion.

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.62/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from the grocery store. Very excited to find this one. Corked and caged 500 ml 2011 year poured into my FW Teku glass on Feb 1, 2014. Pours dark brown with a slight red hue and a one finger yellowish brown head. Big time sweet brandy aroma with lots of nuttiness and brown sugar, maybe a little cocoa. Very much like a pralines smell. Big bold brandy flavor with plenty of nuts and brown sugar. Caramel, marshmallow, toffee wow. This is impressive. Lots of sweet brown sugar but balanced by some nutty bitterness. Body is heavy and slightly boozy but lightened by a surprisingly large amount of carbonation. I recently had Bois (bourbon) and this beer reminds me a lot of that, albeit with less vanilla flavors. A very nice after dinner treat.

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Photo of chrisp450
4.63/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

2011 Brandy version, 500 ml bottle served in a snifter. Cooled slightly, allowed to warm to room temp.

Appearance: Brown almost cola colored but slightly opaque. Light comes through on the edges while tilting the glass. Head comes and builds for a moment, disappearing just as fast as it came. A fair amount of carbonation fizzle as the head vanishes. Leaves a clear syrup on the glass after drinking.

Smell: Brandy, brown sugar, vanilla, almost butterscotch like smell. I get the booze/sugar soaked raisin smell the deeper I go.

Taste: Unbelievable. Butterscotch, sweet toffee, vanilla, brown sugar soaked raisins, almost maple syrupy ale and brandy, Sweet, sweet brandy. Damn this is tasty. 500 ml is not enough, even for one.

Mouthfeel: It tingles the tongue with a carbonated feel. Not ridiculously thick, but has a slight syrupy feel.

Overall: I was very pleasantly surprised with how good this was. Would love to try this with a bit more age, but already great. Wow, very good.

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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.

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Photo of chanokokoro
4.66/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage, poured from a 500ml formerly corked and caged bottle into an Old Stock Ale branded long-stemmed chalice

Pours a very dark amber highlighted with ruby hues capped by a one and half finger beige head that dissipates fairly quickly. Little to no lacing. Huge vanilla notes, oak, butterscotch, and booze on the nose. Opens with vanilla, butterscotch, brown bread, general nuttiness, hints of toffee and leather, as well as dates and dark fruit midpalate. Finishes with oak, accents of fig, strong brandy booziness, and vanilla. Fairly syrupy smooth full body, very low carbonation. Wow, brandy barrels and Old Stock Ale are as solid a combination as one might expect. Absolutely exceptional.

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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.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.93/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The beer is a deep, dark, chestnut hue with a soft, fluffy beige head. The aroma is wonderful, offering scents of toffee, caramel, oak, booze, vanilla. Wow, what flavor! A delightful beer to sip. Brandy character comes in late, lingering on the palate between drinks. Although there is certainly an alcohol presence, this beer is silky smooth and elegant. 15.2% and something I could sip on for hours. Wonderfully complex, delicious, well-balanced. A world-class beer.

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Photo of Impfan
5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've waited seven long years to try this masterpiece, and I wasn't even slightly let down.

Beautiful dark ruby pour with a very minimal, fleeting off-white head.

Aroma and flavor of dates, figs, persimmons, walnuts, raisins, caramel, toffee, toasted coconut, leather, tobacco, honey, brown sugar brandy, apples, pears, kumquats, breadfruit, canned peaches, starfruit, casaba melon, white grape, mandarin orange/tangerine, with almost a mentholated, extremely long finish.

Yup, this was definitely worth the wait.

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Photo of leroybrown10
4.53/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy amber-brown. Just a few hints of white bubbles that vanish instantly.

Aroma is brandy and caramel. Oak, plum, figs, and raisin. Light, sweet molasses. Vanilla. Seems like first the one thing is dominate and than another. Ends up very well balanced.

Big brandy and grape flavors. Sweet notes abound. Caramel, toffee, molasses, and brown sugar. Dark, overripe plums. Raisins, dates, figs, and a hint of cherry. Oak and vanilla barrel notes come through at the end.

Rich, sticky mouth feel. Low carbonation. Sweetness lingers. Warms the chest even though there is no hint of the 15% abv.

Such a complex beer. Big flavors with great balance. Sweet and fruity with underlying barrel notes. Good as a sipper, as a dessert beer, or as a pairing for a rich dinner like steak or stroganoff.

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Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Brandy Barrels) from North Coast Brewing Co.
99 out of 100 based on 119 ratings.