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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: 354 | Ratings: 1,058
Reviews by CrellMoset:
Photo of CrellMoset
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500 mL corked and caged bottle that I had flown out to me from Southbay Drugs before I was aware that this one would be making the rounds out to my parts. Glad to give Geoi the business, anyways! Poured in to a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a deep and fairly attractively hued cola, a dark woody brown with hints of auburns and reds shining through depending upon the angle that the light hits this one. A relatively intense pour yields a relatively dramatic head that surges to a height of two fingers before - true to its cola-like hue - fading in to a fizzy collar and a few dashes of surface lacing. All remnants of the head are sustained not by virtue of any retention (most of which I imagine is killed by the spirit aging and the high abv%) but instead by a ton of brisk, large bubbled carbonation, the quantity of which is both visible around the edges of the glass but also was suggested by the loud pop that the cork made when it was liberated from the neck of the bottle.

Aroma: Nice at first, though it becomes a little too potent and astringent as it warms. At first, hints of toffee, caramel, and cocoa emerge warmly, mingling with a nice amount of raisins, plums, and figs. It's very pleasant at first, but goes downhill far quicker than the taste does.

Taste: Divine. The flavor profile of this beer suggests either that all beers aged in bourbon barrels should: a) be done so for 18 months; or b) be North Coast's Old Stock. I haven't yet decided which one it is.

Toffee is strong up front, dominant in fact, particularly while this one is still relatively chilled. It's a sweet but not overwhelmingly sweet toffee note, heavily caramelized, but with tons of raw sugar and bread notes, mildly biscuity, and a little honey-like around the edges. The more lightly roasted, sweeter sugars transition beautifully in to a few heavier notes, earthy, faintly coffee-like and with hints of cocoa nib. Fruits are gloriously vibrant, ranging from tropical fruits to stone fruits like plum, cherries, and even a hint of apricot. Dark fruits interplay particularly well with the malt base. A kiss of sour dates is even present in the finish. And faintly, darkly, in the distance, the shadow of hop bitterness of sessions past stands solemnly, quietly, faintly bitter and mildly leafy.

Then there's the bourbon. The elements present in the base beer here marry perfectly with every character brought to the party by these barrels. The estery brightness of the vanilla is strong, easily the strongest element from the barrels present here; it marries perfectly with the heavier, dryer malt notes, lending a vanilla-cocoa one-two punch that's fantastic. Coconut fruitness interplays nicely with the raisins and cherries in the underlying base beer, and a nice amount of oaky wood sugars mingle well with the toffee and caramelized, glassy sugars. And the bourbon - spicy but not prickly, warming but not hot, lightly roasted but not sweet - interplays with all of the above: the sweetness of the unattenuated malt and fruit sugars as well as the dryness of the others; the faded but still present hop notes; etc etc ad nauseum. It's beers like this that showcase precisely why beer can marry so perfectly with barrel aging, and - more importantly - how to do it right.

Mouthfeel: Somehow, the huge amount of carbonation present here manages to not disrupt the smoothness of the body. This one manages to come across as bright, lively, and elevative ... but not erratic, uneven, or rough. Even as the carbonation dies down, it dies down smoothly and evenly, though the ultimate end point of this beer is a slightly heavy one. No worries though - I had no problem with sipping this one quickly, even though my better angels were telling me to savor every last drop.

Drinkability: And savor every last drop I did. I can't rate anything sporting a 13.16% that has this abrasive a nose higher than a 4.0, but the remainder of this beer earned most every bit of that 4.0, from the taste to the mouthfeel to the continuously and visible lively effervescence. There are certainly a few process issues with this beer - it's a little too bubbly, the head retention isn't great, and it's a little harsh and chemically after it nears room temperature ... but you almost want to forgive it for what it showcases here. A truly remarkable combination of flavors that pretty much proves why certain beers belong in barrels, I hope that North Coast can gradually tweak this one as they continue to produce it to address a few of the other issues present here to make a fully well-rounded beer. If so, this one's a candidate for the top 100, if not much, much higher.

 4,657 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of uvachief
4.46/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle drank in April of 2015. Poured from a 500ml bottle into a brandy snifter. Aggressive pour resulted in a full finger of head that quickly dissipated. Golden orange brown color that is more orange than brown. Light penetrates it. Lots of carbonation appears present. Smells of bourbon, mild malts and dark fruit. Taste is very very complex. Bourbon whiskey (not true KY straight bourbon) then dark fruits like raisins, plumbs or dates. Then hints of caramelized sugars with malts, vanilla, oak and a host of other subtle flavors. Big boozy burn going down. Burn is significant but beer is smooth. Powerful ale. ABV is huge. But the complex flavors help beat it down. Finishes with dark fruit and bourbon. After one glass, you feel it. Don't drink and drive on this one. Now I know why it is a 500ml bottle. 6-8 oz pours would make a lot of sense. Feel is pretty thin - it is an ale - but it does have an odd lingering chewy taste. An EXCELLENT ale aged in bourbon barrels. Can't wait to try the one aged in brandy barrels.

 1,053 characters

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

at long last i finally got to try this one. what a beer, almost entirely indistinguishable from the regular old stock, the barrel influence on this is huge, and bourbon flavors abound. its deep amber to mahogany in color, with a rusty off white head on it that clings to the edges of the glass as it slowly recedes. tons of oak and sweet bourbon on the nose, mixing an already caramel forward smell with dense sweet malt. booze seems restrained for the listed abv, but that changes with a little temperature. more oak than char on the barrel side of things in smell and taste, molasses and rich crystal malt, and some semi english yeast strain thats done all it could do. impressive depth on this, and still a pretty well hidden strength, although its warming going down for sure. i get interesting flavors of cedar and even cinnamon on the tail end of this, tied up in candy sugar and corn mashed spirit. surprisingly lively on the palate, definitely coating, but well enough carbonated for what it is, especially being a 2013 bottle. looking at the page here, it looks like they do a rye, a brandy, and a wheated in this series. i loved the bourbon one, but it makes me thirsty for these others. i think this falls somewhere near the english barleywine category, but its not like any of the other special strong ales, and despite my resistance, it really is worth the price of admission!

 1,389 characters

Photo of RoyalT
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - This is a dirty brown in color with light orange highlights and a head that can't possibly keep up with the booze factor of this ale.

Smell - There's a huge cask nose here that is extremely woody. This is more like a fine aged bourbon than a beer. The whisky-like booze is prominent.

Taste - This really is like sipping bourbon. The rich American oak permeates the entire flavor profile and there is a musty aspect of this booze that reflects long cellaring. The malt is straight Kentucky bourbon and there's a rich cherry condition that begs for attention.

Mouthfeel - This is medium-bodied with a big alcohol presence that is somehow inviting.

Drinkability - I felt like a king sipping this ale. It is so well done and so incredible that you forget how hard it is.

 783 characters

Photo of DanGeo
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of t2grogan
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of tbryan5
4.51/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of SanFranJake
4.91/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of SkiBum22
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

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

Photo of johnny_chimpo
4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of sabitu
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.17/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a really nice beer. I'm just not sure it was worth $25 for the 500ml bottle.
In a snifter the beer was a ruby red color with just a rim of head.
Nice aroma of toffee, dark fruit, vanilla, and whiskey.
The whiskey aroma disappeared in the taste. Toffee and raisin. Kind of musty.
Very smooth. Didn't notice the alcohol at all, as contrasted with the regular Old Stock.
Very drinkable, but expensive.

 407 characters

Photo of DaftPatrick
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of JakerLou
4.11/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of megamass
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of aquazr1
4.51/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Mora2000
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to blutt59 for sharing this bottle. This is the 2009 vintage.

The beer pours a dark carmel color with a tan head. The aroma is full of bourbon, caramel and maple syrup. The aroma is definitely that of a bourbon-barrel aged beer and is quite enjoyable.

The flavor is more of the same. I get a lot of chocolate notes and caramel malt, as well as some bourbon and maple notes. There is also a little bit of vanilla from the barrel aging process. The alcohol is detectable but is not overpowering.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Very nice.

 556 characters

Photo of chossboss
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

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

Brown pour with a generous amount of head with decent retention. Sweet and syrupy, very heavy on the bourbon, with additional notes of vanilla, maple syrup, some coffee, dark fruit and cherries.

 194 characters

Photo of Prospero
4.64/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Justin8mypants
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of MicroBeerMan1980
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Franziskaner
4.1/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark brown in color with a massive amount of murkiness. There's just a trace of beige head around the rim of the glass. I smell a massive amount of sweet bourbon and light malt. The flavor is a massive amount of sweetness from the bourbon and loads of light malt. The mouth is thick and sticky.

 298 characters

Photo of bpfrush
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

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Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Bourbon Barrels) from North Coast Brewing Co.
4.35 out of 5 based on 1,058 ratings.
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