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

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

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

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.16%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Vintages: 2005, 2009, 2013

Added by BeerBeing on 06-03-2007

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Reviews: 363 | Ratings: 1,080
Photo of jrenihan
4.16/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

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Photo of ccg
4.21/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.48/5  rDev +3%
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.

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Photo of Mindcrime1000
4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

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Photo of CaptainHate
4.69/5  rDev +7.8%
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.

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Photo of jngrizzaffi
4.26/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

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Photo of Zythophile
4.1/5  rDev -5.7%
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.

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Photo of JackRWatkins
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a near opaque, muddy brown color, with no real head to speak of and almost no apparent carbonation, alcohol clings to the glass
S: Holy shit that is a lot of bourbon on the nose, notes of caramel and wood, very nice but quite dominating, there is a touch of a cheese-like pungency there but I suspect that's just the alcohol
T: bourbon, alcohol, caramel and some dark fruit, and butterscotch (maybe) with hints of coffee quite hot as a beer more so than stronger beers that I have had, quite sticky and a tad bitter, (though that could just be the astringency of the alcohol), the bourbon and caramel/butterscotch sweetness are definitely the dominating notes here
M: not nearly as sticky as you would think, but then again the mouthfeel is the only thing about this beer that is not heavy as hell
O: Holy shit this beer is heavy, I've had heavier beer that didn't feel this heavy, it's quite hot too. I don't mind boozy beer, but they don't do much to mask it and I think they might could do a little bit more. That being said, it is very good and worth a drink, bit I feel like it's missing something, not quite sure what. It is very good though, but a bit over priced.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.46/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage
500ml cork & cage bottle poured into a snifter

A- pours a deep ruby-amber color with a thin foamy off-white head that has short retention

S- aroma opens with sweet toffee, caramel & molasses with undertones of chocolate and wood. Hints of rum-raisin, brandy & leather.

T- sweet vanilla whipping cream opens up front with toffee and brown sugar. Notes of fig and date give a fruit cake-like flavor, along with rum-like notes due to the sweetness interplaying with the barrel. The finish gives notes of cherry and bourbon, with lingers of brown sugar & toffee

M- medium body with low carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel that continues into a slightly warming finish, abv hidden well, drinks nowhere near 14.1%

O- a few years of age has produced a mellow flavorful beer that his intermingled with the barrel very well

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Photo of Jadjunk
4.01/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"Old Stock Cellar Reserve is a small batch, limited release that has been aged in oak bourbon barrels. The aging process gives this world-class beer an added layer of complexity. A memorable drink that should be enjoyed as a completely unique offering." Brewed in the style of an Old Ale, aged in bourbon barrels, available in 500ml. bottles and on limited draft.

Poured from a 500 ml. bottle to a tulip glass.

(Appearance) Pours a crisp, fizzy head of a medium tan color over a deep cherry cola body with moderate carbonation. Retention is below average and lacing is light and patchy. 3.5

(Smell) Rich, caramelized malts and bread malts with undertones of dark fruit, raisins and molasses, teamed with the complexity of bourbon undertones, vanilla and toasted oak tannins, a smooth graininess and delicate alcohol. Potency is moderate. 3.75

(Taste) Rich, toasted caramel bread and dark fruit viscosity, molasses and undertones of bourbon grain. Rich, viscous and deceptively drinkable. 4.25

(Mouthfeel) Texture is slick, resinous and softly chewy, medium dry. Carbonation is modest, generating a medium frothiness and a modestly crisp finish. Body is medium/heavy for the style, short of heavy overall. Balance is nearly even viscous sweet to grain alcohol. Alcohol presence is light and there are no off characters. 4

(Overall) Very solid, rich bodied Old Ale with a very enjoyable impact of bourbon. 20 bucks is a bit steep but the overall impressions were positive; 2009 in particular was a solid vintage of this ale and I wouldn't mind seeking it out other vintages. 4

North Coast Brewing Co.'s
Old Stock Ale 2009: Cellar Reserve

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Photo of Mongrel
4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Smell is out of bounds - like bourbon cherry pie, with brown sugar and spice really rounding out the aroma.

Palate has plenty of that bourbon/cherry profile, plus distinct notes of grapes, raisins, dates, brown sugar, jam, pepper... the list goes on. There's a sturdy spiced bread type of malt backbone holding things together. Bourbon is prominent but mellow - not hot. Really refined and nuanced all around.

Feels almost like a good Belgian quad, just slightly less carbonated. A little wheaty, boozy and sweet, but ultimately finishes really long and dry.

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Photo of Abbbp
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just an old school solid enjoyable brew. Of course easy to come by, and often times overlooked, glad I got to try it, albeit wish I had waited for warmer weather.

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Photo of lbloom
4.77/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

2013 vintage, drunk in July 2016. Purchased from the brewery store, drunk out of a tulip glass.

Wow. I've been privileged enough to have some fantastic beers in my lifetime. This might be the most unique. And possibly one of the best. A truly brilliant beer. A beer that doesn't get much buzz, but a true whale worthy of finding and conquering.

A: Dark brown. Not much carbonation or head. Maybe a half inch of soapy tan head dissipates after 10-15 seconds. No lacing. Reminds me a bit of a strong ale. Looks mysterious. Not an especially pretty beer, but you can tell by looking at it that it means business.

S: An extremely complex bouquet of preserved fruit and malt. Figs, raisins, plums, brown sugar, molasses, sticky malts, spices, vanilla, wood, bourbon. Smells I associate with fireplaces and snowfall. Somehow nostalgic and familiar, but definitely unlike any other beer I've ever experienced.

T: Wow. Incredible. So complex. An assault of dark fruit, holiday spices, burnt sugar, and barrel. Booze hits quickly, but it is pretty subdued, just giving heat and warmth to the whole mix. This is a beer that makes me want to cuddle up around the fire with a blanket over my legs. Hard not to wax poetic about this one. Transportive. This is truly a beautiful taste. Sweet without being overpowering. Overwhelming complexity. Soft barrel notes warm and smooth out the beer. This tastes soothing and beautiful.

M: Rich and heavy. Carbonation isn't overwhelming, but is definitely present. Reminds me a great deal of the feel of strong ales. Works well with the taste. Not sticky, but definitely a full bodied beer.

O: Beyond complex. Drinking this is an experience. It reminds me of my youth, but in a way I can't quite describe. Warm nights by the fire, eating dinner around the table with my family, watching snow fall onto our deck. Sweet and decadent without being syrupy or overpowering sweet. A beautiful mix of dark fruits, preserved and candied. I will buy this whenever possible. A beer for special occasions. Rare and beautiful. I can't emphasize enough how spectacular this is.

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Photo of RAlmeida77
4.17/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: pours a murky brown with minimal head
S: bourbon, raisins, figs...lots of dark fruit
T: similar to the nose. smooth bourbon with dark fruits prominent
F: med carbonation and very smooth.
O: considering I'm not typically a fan of the style, I really enjoyed this.

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Photo of pagriley
3.81/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

500ml into snifter. 2013 Bourbon barrel aged

Having this side by side with a 2013 regular.

Pours dark mahogony with no head or lacing
Earthy, dark dried fruits and musty old cellar
Sweet, dried fruit, oxidized sherry
Thick and creamy - lightly carbed

Overall good, but frankly almost indistinguishable from a regular 2013 with the exception of a bit of harsh alcohol heat. I will be picking up a 4 pack of regular from now on and aging that - for the price the bourbon barrel isn't doing much and for a 500ml this beer is substantially overpriced

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Photo of dazedman
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500 ml bottle 2013.
So good
Like putting your nose in a glass of fresh pecan pie
The taste has hints of toffee and caramel
Alcohol hits but fades fast
Really a great beer. I'll buy another bottle if I can find it.
Wonder what 5 or maybe 10 years would do to it!

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Photo of Trevor11
4.9/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This Old Ale tastes very much like a wine or a barleywine. However, the bourbon characteristics come through immensely. I had the 2013 vintage a week ago and it truly blew me away. It doesn't really even taste like a beer. Lots of molasses, dried fruit, smells and tastes of bourbon, thin body but strong kick at 14.1% abv

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Photo of yesterdayfaraway
4.19/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

L: pours rusty brown with no head
S: nice sweet bourbon, dark fruit juices.
T: just like the nose. Sweet smooth bourbon really stands out.
F: smooth, but very carbonated. Tingly bubbles that I'm not a fan of.
O: a good beer for sure, but not better the ba raspy

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Photo of Abe_Froman
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage poured in 2016.

Pours dark raisin brown. when held up to the light it becomes a hazy dark amber.

A warm alcohol nose with hints of dark fruits, cherries and raisins.

Hits the tongue with a bit of thickness and sweet. Cherries and raisin flavors fill the mouth with hints of oak. Afterwards there is a slight bourbon burn with hints of Carmel and vanilla. A warm sweet bourbon flavor with fruit notes lingers on the tongue.

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Photo of wisrarebeer
4.01/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 vintage. Pretty boozy with strong alcohol noticeable. For my taste not well-balanced with bourbon taste and bourbon dominated. I acquired this in a trade but I wouldn't go out of my way to purchase this with the price point.

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Photo of wellsnb
4.46/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This one is the 2013 vintage. The smell is all bourbon and barrel. Taste is a bit thin. However, the taste is not nearly as strong as the nose would indicate. This has an astringent bourbon warming, then dissipates immediately to an almost cola finish. Good stuff.

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Photo of buckeye1275
4.99/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2013 Vintage
It is expensive compared to regular Old Stock? Yes. Is it worth it? Hell yes! I loved this beer. It is the perfect blend of the base Old Stock and that bourbon-barrel flavors that I really love. The aroma of bourbon and dates followed by the rich velvety, smoothness that comes with good barrel-aged beers and then a finish of the sweet caramel I love from Old Stock. If I can still find it, I will definitely buy a few more.

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Photo of jneiswender
4.73/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

poured out of a 500 ml bottle in to a mug.
Nice cola body and mocha head that dissipates quickly
nice carbonation for such a heavy beer.
overall. really nice.. If you like a beer that tastes as advertised, this is it. I would drink again

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.75/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a snifter. 2013 vintage.

2.5 A: Murky plum color. Less than one finger of foamy beige head. Retention is poor, but this beer is big so that is expected. No lacing left. Medium sized particulates floating throughout.

3.75 S: Boozy bourbon kicks this off. Lots of leather, toffee, prune, date, fig, and black currants. Raisin and tobacco with toffee and caramel on the second tier. Oak and vanilla on the third. It smells pretty good, and it has the requisite aromas, but it's missing that x-factor, whatever that means.

4.0 T: Raisin and tobacco gain some strength in the taste. These are quickly followed by the fruits mentioned above and the leather. Oak and vanilla without any tannic astringency. Sticky toffee then some layers of caramel. For a beer this big with so many flavors going on, it is drier than expected. Still, tastes pretty good.

3.5 M: Heavier body. Low moderate carbonation. Light stickiness and just the slightest velvety texture, but lacking creaminess.

3.75 D: It's good, but it's criminally overpriced, which is the norm for NC. It's not good enough to buy another.

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Photo of Chris_Huston
3.18/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

After a number of BA beers, I've finally realized it's not my thing, and it's practically impossible for me to be objective about it, but I do my best at it. In the better BA beers, you still get a good taste of the base brew, and that's where this one falls short(er) for me. The base beer is a beautiful caramel, not-too-sweet ale that bears many revisits, but I get virtually none of it here. It's overtaken by the barrel. If you like a bigger barrel presence in your BAs, this is a fair choice, but to my taste it takes over too much.

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Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Bourbon Barrels) from North Coast Brewing Co.
4.35 out of 5 based on 1,080 ratings.
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