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)
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Old Ale
Ranked #3
Ranked #376
4.41 | pDev: 7.71%
North Coast Brewing Co.
California, United States
Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Bourbon Barrels)Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Bourbon Barrels)
Notes: Vintages: 2005, 2009, 2013
View: Beers
Reviews: 384 | Ratings: 1,137 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of vette2006c5r
vette2006c5r from Minnesota

4.08/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Old Stock Cellar Reserve pours brown, with no head. Rich aroma, sugary sweet, with lots of bourbon. Flavor is sweet, sugary, sharp malty flavors, and noticeable bourbon flavors, with a warm finish. Good body and feel. Overall, very rich, candy sugary flavors, with bourbon. Great to sip.

Aug 03, 2020
Photo of 57md
57md from Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2017 Cellar Reserve, so this baby was nearly three years old when I opened it.

Pours a lovely brownish copper color with honey edges and over a finger of head. The nose is malty, bready and biscuity. The flavor follows the nose but it is more muted than I expected. No bourbon flavor was discernible. Perhaps this sat a wee bit too long.

The alcohol has certainly been tamed by the long dormancy.

May 01, 2020
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KRug from Massachusetts

4.62/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage, 14.1% abv

Pours a deep murky mahogany with a small tan head that reduces to a ring quickly, some particulate floating about

Aromas of chewy caramel malts, figs, dates, dark roast coffee, light bourbon punch. Boozy and sweet, highly intriguing

Deeply complex in flavor, this evolves throughout each sip and even in the middle of a sip. The big dark fruit presence starts it off before a huge wave of toffee, brown sugar, and molasses rush over the tongue with a bit of stinging barrel wood to back it up. The finish brings it back to that dark fruit, chewy with a chocolate like sweetness, long and contemplative, amazing

More carbonation than I would've expected, but this is a full bodied babe right here. It's heavy and finishes sweet and robust, just as a beer of this size should

Despite the less than stellar looks, this thing amazed me. So full of flavor and character, I would love for them to brew this again so I can try it fresh, as opposed to having 7 years on it. It is the oldest beer I've ever had up to this point by a long shot, but it's crazy how well this has held up. Absolutely worth the $7 price tag and I would gladly pay more, I wanna pick more up for special ocassions

Mar 28, 2020
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StoutElk_92 from Massachusetts

4.68/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2013 vintage -

Pours amber red with a light khaki colored foam head that eventually dissipates. Smells fruity, light and sweet, like dried fruits and bourbon. Tastes sweet upfront and ends fairly dry with notes of dried fruits, apricot, fig, prune, yellow raisin, cherry pit, red plum skin, light red grape, woody oak barrel, smooth bourbon, some marshmallowy vanilla, caramel, fruity molasses, toasty toffee, hints of chocolate, cedar, mild spice, leather, tobacco, cigar box, with earthy leafy hops. Feels medium-fuller bodied, thick, slick and smooth with moderate carbonation. Overall a real nice bourbon barrel aged old stock ale.

Feb 05, 2020
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Thomas_Wikman from Texas

4.55/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a truly wonderful slow sipping beer. Like good raisin bread it is heavy but so difficult not to sip more of. A great dessert.

Look: Murky dark brown with a finger thick off-white head

Aroma: raisin bread and whiskey

Taste: The flavor is sweet raisin bread, caramel, and lots of whiskey.

Body/Overall: medium to full body

Jul 24, 2019
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hman43 from North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look: It is brown with a bit of hazing. It has a tan head with no head retention.

Smell: The initial aromas are of toffee and molasses with bourbon notes mixed in. The alcohol is noticeable in the aroma with some sherry like elements. There are very low notes of dried fruit.

Taste: The initial flavors are highlighted by bourbon mixed with molasses and toffee. The alcohol is very noticeable in the flavor. There is a background flavor from chocolate and dried fruits. It also has a slight sherry like quality to it.

Feel: It has a full body, but it is not quite chewy in texture. The alcohol is slightly hot on the palate. The carbonation is very low.

Overall, a complex array of flavors and aromas that blend well together.

Jun 08, 2019
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BeerNinja007 from New Hampshire

4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 version, paid $19.99 for a 500mL bottle at Prost in North Hampton, NH. ABV 14.1%

Served slightly chilled in a tulip while grilling a fat steak.

L: A gentle pour gives 1 finger of taupe fizz which dissipates quickly on top of a clear tawny brown brew which displays ample carbonation.
S: It smells old. Similar to the aged oxidized sugar smell from aged madeira or dry sherry. Alcohol is fairly apparent but not unwelcome. Some notes of fresh cut oak.
T: Toasty tawny oxidized sugars, vanilla, EtOH spiciness, oaky bourbon and vanilla notes long in the finish.
F: A great balance between sugary thickness and sharp carbonation.

O: Refined and bold. A great sipper to keep me warm outside in front of the grill on this blustery winter evening. However I think it may be beyond peak age. Complexity is lacking and the sugars are thoroughly oxidized. Your mileage may vary depending how your bottle was stored and cared for. Mine was directly from the store today, so I have no insight on this point.

Mar 03, 2019
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hopley from Massachusetts

4.54/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 version, 14.4% ABV, drank February, 2019.

Look - dark brown with a bit of tan head, a tiny swirl that lasted.

Smell - Bourbon and alcohol, hits you in the face right after you pop the cork out.

Taste - Bourbon and alcohol complemented with toffee, brown sugar and figs. Not bitter, more on the smoother side of things as it warms.

Feel - The slight burn kinda masked any real feel, but I'd give it a medium mouth feel.

Overall - Really nice sipper. Psyched that this beer held up so well as I've been keeping it in not the most optimal conditions over the years.

Feb 24, 2019
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TreyIsWilson from Michigan

4.46/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark reddish brown with a one finger off white head. Light amount of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is caramel, toffee, vanilla and bourbon.

T - The taste is caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, plums, figs and bourbon.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Soft mouthfeel with a dry finish.

O - This is a killer BBA Old Ale. This is deceptively drinkable at 14.1%. A nice slow sipper,

Oct 21, 2018
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Harrison8 from Missouri

4.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

2013 reviewed in late 2018.

Pours a dark, nutty brown with half a finger of khaki fizzy head. Head is fizzy and dissipates quickly. Aroma is bourbon, char, caramel, toffee, burnt sugar and roasted, caramel, and toasted malts. It smells decidedly dark, with the bourbon hitting the nose first, and is immediately followed by complex and twisty sweet and bitter notes. It's like a SWAT team kicking down the door to aggressively deliver a hearty glass of bonded bourbon. The stage is set for a big, big flavor profile. Flavor profile is decadent, encompassing several levels. First, it hits notes of sweet caramel, toffee, molasses, and light burnt sugar before fading slowly into slightly bitter roasted, toasted, and caramel malts. Bourbon is running the mixer board, slowly cranking the bourbon from 1 at the start to 10 at the finale. It's smooth throughout the entire flavor profile. A little bit of char kisses the back of the throat and is mellowed by a soft caramel candy note. Decadent and dynamic. Mouth feel is medium-thick with a surprisingly smooth feel (although this bottle has been well aged). It slips down smoothly, with the loaded ABV tucked cleaning into bed. Overall, superb, splendid, and supreme. This drinks smooth - dangerously smooth. This bottle has aged beautifully, which is a compliment both to the quality of the beer, but also the quality of the packaging. Magnificent.

Served in a 12oz snifter from a 500mL bottle.

Sep 20, 2018
Photo of dafla67
dafla67 from Pennsylvania

4.46/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown color. The aroma is quite nice - bourbon, brown sugar, fruits & malts. The taste is incredibly smooth and a great balance of caramel, brown sugar, malts and bourbon. The feel is medium body. Overall - really good

Jun 11, 2018
Photo of kevanb
kevanb from Illinois

4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

500ml bottle, 2013 vintage, poured into a 14oz snifter glass.

The beer pours a deep brown color, burgundy hues, thick and fairly opaque with a finger of bone colored head that has no retention and yields only a spot or two of lace. The aroma is nice, tons of caramel, brown sugar, smooth bourbon, nice charred oak barrel, light vanilla, stone fruits and tons of rich grain. The flavors are spectacular, super smooth and decadent with plenty of brown sugar and caramel, ample dark grains, bourbon barrel is great, smooth and with a nice oaky profile, light char and roast but there is a beautiful marshmallow and vanilla layer that lingers well. The mouthfeel is very good, heavy medium body, coating and smooth with a nice lively carbonated texture and a warm but easy finish.

Verdict: A very good Old Ale from North Coast. The bourbon really brings out some great nuances in the base beer and the balance of flavors is superb. Perhaps one of the all time sleeper beers, so delicious.

Mar 10, 2018
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stevoj from Idaho

4.18/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle share at BitterCreek, 2009 vintage. Mahogany pour,small thin head. Bourbon, boozy aroma, some vanilla and molasses. Taste comes on sweet, rich malts, caramel wooden barrel flavors. Big, bold, boozy classic old ale.

Mar 06, 2018
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craftbeersweden from Sweden

4.41/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This has been resting for a while in my beercellar.

Clear mahogony colored beer with a thin head.
Nose: Bautiful! Bourbon barrel, oak, raisin, plum, ripe fruit, nuts, vanilla, caramel malt and dark syrup.
Taste: Fudge, vanilla, bourbon, oak, nuts, marzipan and brown sugar.
Mouth: Full body. Light carbonation.
Boozy and warming. A great sipper!

Feb 15, 2018
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smbslt from Illinois

3.94/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2013 version
L - Red walnut with ruby highlights. Not much of a head but the few nucleation points released strands of carbonation replenishing the one bubble wide ring. No lacing but created wine legs
S - Bourbon wafts at arms length, with raisins and charred wood filling in the gaps.
T - Bourbon with a little resinous - seems to lack (or lost its) complexity.
F - Very smooth with the alcohol creating a cozy warm glow.
O - Rare treat at this end of the spectrum.

Jan 14, 2018
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bobhits from Kentucky

4.07/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Speed review on this.

2013 bottle had December 25th 2017.

Pour is brown, aged, old ale look. Dense without being syrupy and not much carbonation.

Old ale smell with vanilla and burnt caramel notes. Fruity, cognac, perhaps even a touch of sherry.

A mix of sherry, cognac, burnt caramel, vanilla, and a lot of old/dark fruits that haven't turned just yet.

Drinks far smoother and faster than it should.

Anyway this is a nice beer, at 23 or so it's pushing it. I wouldn't buy again, but it was nice to get this with some age on it. I would not want too much more age, another year max before it'll turn a bit imo.

Dec 26, 2017
Photo of Jaypeajus
Jaypeajus from Indiana

3.84/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Amber color, no head. Smells like toffee and maraschino cherries over southern comfort. Taste follows my nose plus a dash of prune juice. Dry at front, Mild tartness and then a thick malt coats my mouth, smooth finish. Overall I had higher hopes...but it is really good.

Aug 23, 2017
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bbtkd from South Dakota

4.03/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

North Coast Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Stock Ale 2013, 13.16% ABV. Pours medium viscosity and deep brown, with a half-finger off-white head. Nose is sweet, malty, and bourbony. Taste follows, with very little bitterness, some oaky dryness, and moderate alcohol heat. Excellent mouthfeel, overall outstanding. I liked regular Old Stock Ale, and this is certainly a step up.

Jun 18, 2017
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jrenihan from Canada (ON)

4.16/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage. Nose is nice, though bourbon heavy. Some molasses and leather beneath. Flavour is similar, sweet bourbon with oak, caramel and vanilla. A decent amount of alcohol heat, though not that much considering the abv. Very old, though the bourbon overtakes any "old ale" flavour. It may as well be a stout, though with more caramel.

Mar 13, 2017
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ccg from Virginia

4.21/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage, opened 2017-03-10 after a year or so in the cellar.

It pours dark brown but not opaque. A surprisingly fizzy head dissipates in a matter of seconds. It does briefly show some lacing before the head completely disappears. After a couple minutes, it looks completely flat.

For an Old Ale, the smell is excellent. There is tons of malty caramel and brown sugar and some yeastiness. It also has a strong backbone of oak. I think that the bourbon characteristics blend so well with the sweet malty caramel of the Old Stock Ale base that the oak from the bourbon barrel comes across as a separate note.

The flavor is similarly dominated by malty caramel, oak, vanilla, and bourbon. To me, it comes across as just a bit cloying. The flavor has a bit of a overly sweet, syrupy characteristic that's not quite as pleasing as the smell. Nevertheless, it's still a sweet, delicious, bourbon and caramel treat.

The mouthfeel is the one place where this beer falls short. It feels very thin, especially for something that tastes so syrupy and that has a 14% ABV.

Overall, it's quite a nice beer and an interesting twist on the base Old Stock Ale. However, at ~$25 for a 500ml bottle that comes across as thin and a bit cloying, I think the base Old Stock Ale is still the way to go. You get the same characteristics with less overpowering sweetness and alcohol and at a much more reasonable price. It's a great beer that's worth trying once, but probably only once.

Mar 11, 2017
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jmdrpi from Pennsylvania

4.48/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle - 500ml corked and caged - poured into a snifter

muddy dark brown in color, small white head that eventually fades. heavenly aroma of rich bourbon - boozy vanilla, toffee, raisin, fig. taste is similar flavors - extremely bold yet drinkable. sticky mouthfeel, coats the tongue.

tasting great at 3-4 years old.

Mar 08, 2017
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Mindcrime1000 from South Dakota

4.18/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

This is the 2013 vintage--consumed in early 2017. From the caged 500 mL bottle.

Pours a very cloudy, in fact rather murky, brown. Very little head that quickly dissipates. Viscous, with persistent sticky lacing throughout.

The age has tamed the bourbon barrel aroma, but it is very present. The aroma is very sweet, and the base beer old ale aroma is not overwhelmed by the vanilla and whiskey notes. Molasses and burnt sugar put their fingerprints all over this.

The flavor of the base brew comes through quite well, doubtless because of the aging, which has tamed the "burn" that barrel-aged offerings of this and other styles might otherwise impart. As a result, the bourbon/vanilla provides a pleasing sweetness that matches well with the innate sweetness of an old ale. However, this borders on cloying on the "sweetness" end of the spectrum.

The mouthfeel is nearly sticky and fairly heavy--which is somewhat surprising given that bourbon-barrel aging will often "thin" and "burn" the base. The "lean" provided by the 13% ABV and potent and lasting carbonation are welcome--otherwise this brew would simply be too sticky and heavy.

Overall, this is a well-done, if somewhat overpriced, barrel-aged old ale. It's just a little too sweet and cloying. Given the choice between this and the "base" North Coast old ale (Old Stock Ale), I would probably choose the base brew instead.

Mar 05, 2017
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CaptainHate from Ohio

4.69/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had this on tap at burger in Santa Cruz. Have been a big fan of aging regular Old Stock and having one around New Years. This was a 2014 vintage and had a very rich dark color to it with the small head dissipating over the gradual sipping of this. Lots of bourbon and molasses in the smell. The bourbon, while complimentary to the taste, was just a wee bit too overpowering for me to give this a perfect score. But make no doubt about it; this is an outstanding beer and is very much worth seeking out.

[edit] Subsequently had a bottled 2013 and the extra year plus diminished the bourbon to a more appropriate level. According to the people in the beverage place, North Coast chose to age them on site and release them now; I don't know if that was all or only part of the complete stock. The price was higher than I prefer to pay but due to the positive earlier experience I took the plunge willingly.

[edit]Revisiting this bad boy plus another year. It still smells and tastes great, with maybe more molasses and dark fruit coming forward while the booze and barrel are still there although diminished to a more reasonable level. Maybe I've been spoiled since the last time I've had this but the mouthfeel is less substantial than what I was expecting. There's a local bottle shop with a 2012 for sale; I'm not sure how much they're charging but I'm guessing it's more than I want to pay. I've got 3 non barrel aged from 2012 in my cellar, and lots of subsequent years, so I'll probably stick with those. But that doesn't take away from this being a great experience.

Feb 27, 2017
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jngrizzaffi from Texas

4.26/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Cloudy rust colored. Finger width foamy head. Mild retention and decent lacing. Mild chocolate and raspberry aroma with a lot of molasses. Strong alcohol. Big alcohol flavor with molasses and mild raspberry. Heavy bodied with moderate carbonation. Very good but cannot drink a lot.

Jan 29, 2017
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Zythophile from District of Columbia

4.1/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle Date: 2013 edition
Palate Contaminants: none

Appearance is a murky, toffee brown.

The smell is moderately rich. It has lots of molasses, and overall is like a Tootsie Roll. Sarsaparilla, too. There's more sweet wood as it warms up.

The taste is not as sweet, but the flavors from the nose are still present. However, the wood is very present up front. There's some heat in this, too, both the straight-up capsicum and the alcohol burn. Sweet bourbon grain is absolutely in the mix, as well. It's a sipper.

The feel is the weakest part, mostly because of the alcohol burn. It's slightly thin for the type, and the carbonation is prickly. I really would have thought that the years in the barrel (and one in the cellar) would mellow it out, but that's not the case for my bottle.

Jan 28, 2017
Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Bourbon Barrels) from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 1137 ratings