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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: 1,060
Photo of Brent
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As an initial note, if style points were an option for the bottle, this would get an A+. It calls to mind a vintage port bottle that you would find on a pirate ship (or at least what I would envision one to look like, never actually having been aboard such a ship, myself). But, I digress.

And, to digress a bit more before actually getting around to the review, this beer caused me to reflect on the whole bourbon barrel aging trend that has grown exponentially over the last few years. When the first examples hit the market they were viewed more as a novelty and, for the most part, were pretty heavy-handed. Most had one primary flavor - bourbon - like having a boilermaker. A few less than satisfactory experiences caused me to think that this was just a passing fad.

Had I sampled this beer back then, I would have been blown away. It is testament to how far the level of quality overall has grown in this style so that it now takes a great beer to really stand out from the ever-growing crowd of bourbon barrel aged beers.

Now, at last, to the beer. Smooth, well rounded and mellow, with abundant brown sugar and caramel notes, but not overly sweet. Bourbon note is modest and clean. No boozyness despite the high alchol level, and, while a sipper, surpisingly drinkable.

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Photo of Drazzamatazz
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice lively pop to the bottle. First pour created a lot of fizz that quickly fades away to nothing, pretty expectable there. Beautiful glowing mahogany hue.

S: Lots of toffee and caramel in the base. Bourbon is very present along with vanilla from the wood. I'm getting some brown sugar and raisins. It smells almost like English bread pudding....yum. One of the most inviting noses I've experienced in awhile.

T: Bourbon is much smoother than expected here. Getting even more brown sugar and raisins than I did in the nose. Vanilla in toffee pop up right alongside one another. There's a lot of bourbon going on throughout the entire palette, but it never seems to overpower some of the more subtle flavors going on like maple syrup and ever so slight tobacco. Its just what you'd want from a barrel aged Old Ale; sweet, malty, complex, lots of bourbon and definitely wood presence.

M: Carbonation seemed like it was going to be prickly at first, but this one is intended to be sipped and once it opens up it mellows out perfectly. Medium body and definitely warming with each sip.

O: I hate to say it, but this one is worth the tall price and I'm definitely planning on going to get some more. A great base beer handled beautifully to create one of the most complex yet balanced bourbon barrel aged ales I've ever had. I can't wait to see how this one might age...and I feel like I won't be able to wait either.

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

2009 vintage. This is the one beer that pissed me off more than any other because of the price. I love Old Stock, but had no plans to overpay for this one. My wife, however, had other plans, and picked this one up for me in San Diego as a gift for passing the bar.

This beer was awesome. Poured a beautiful dark red color with a little tan head. Aromas of bourbon, raisins, vanilla, alcohol and a little caramel. Medium to full bodied, with flavors of bourbon, vanilla, maple syrup, dark fruits, toffee, oak and alcohol. An excellent beer, but way overpriced.

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Photo of tbrown4
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shared this bottle with my buddy Greg to celebrate a special occasion.

Duvel tulip

A - Murky dark brownish red. Very thin white head. Lots of carb streams. Looks a lot like cola.

S - Woody, bourbon, caramel sweet, strong alcohol

T - Savory, wood notes, obvious bourbon notes. Same caramel sweetness but with a rich sour & tart middle. Surprisingly finishes very clean with not much of an aftertaste.

M - Thin, fizy, light warmth

O - Very nice treat. This is a special beer. Very nice unique flavor profile for the style. It's easy to sip and I'm sure it'll develop and mellow out even more over time. It's quite pricey.

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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 CampusCrew
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: darkish brown with nice head retention

smell: loaded caramel/vanilla, sublte bourbon

taste: slight nutty, balanced, low hop profile, smooth with hints of caramel and bourbon. Not over bb aged

mouthfeel: medium to full bodied

drinkability: this was a rare treat and worth the money

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Photo of jrallen34
4.51/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Sean(I think) for this one. Drank and compared side by side with the brandy version. The bourbon was clearly superior to me, and I believe that was the consensus among the group as well... The aroma on the bourbon is awesome, dominates the brandy, vanilla, wood, dark brown sugar...The taste is alcoholic bourbon vanilla, but it still works. A little caramel and chocolate too....So smooth and easy to drink.

A great beer, better than the regular and better than the brandy.

Re-review of the new bottle.

Tons of prune graham crackers which are awesome on the aroma and taste. A little sweet right but in time will be unreal.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a corked and caged 500ml bottle into two St. Bernardus goblets. Thanks to HollyAnn for the assist!

2009 Version
ALC./VOL. 13.16%

A: Pours a clear mahogant/caramel brown with russet tinting. A thin, off-tan layer of foam quickjly spreads out on top before completely evaporating away to a thin, bubbly collar. No lace.

S: Fantastic aromas of buttery caramel, barrel char, brown sugar/molassas, pan roasted nuts, cherry, toffee, maple syrup, and marshmallow.

T: Exactly as above. No joke.

M: Silky and slippery. Sweet, sticky, and coating. Excellent layer of spicy/peppery alcohol heat that tied everything up into such a fully realized package. Perfection!

D: What a treat, even though the cost per oz. was a little hard to swallow. That, of course, wasn't figured into the drinkability score. Has to be tasted to be believed!

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

8 oz. Draught served in a snifter.

Appearance: Dark brown body. Head was creamy two fingers deep. Lacing was absent.

Smell: Bourbon, barley malt, wine-like.

Taste: Alcohol is present. Bourbon, brandy, barley malt, caramel.

Mouthfeel: Sweet and thick. If not for the alcohol it would be smooth.

Overall: For a strong ale it is good. Another one that could benefit from cellaring.

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Photo of zac16125
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500mL bottle into a snifter
Vintage 2013
14.1% ABV

A: Murky, nearly opaque mahogany brown with fizzy light tan head thats not even enough to cover the whole surface of the beer, and dissipates away almost instantaneously. Leaves no lacing, but some alcohol legs. Nice ruby hues when held to light. 3.75

S: Aroma is huge. Tons of dark fruits; sweet, vinous, and almost tart. Significant barrel notes with charred oak, bourbon vanilla, and a peat like character. Caramel/toffee, candied sugar, and an ethanol boozy character to round it all out. Fantastic. 4.75

T: Candied sugar, caramel/toffee, some hop-like bitterness characters although they aren’t prominent, lots of sweetness on the backend including dark fruits and a long lingering toffee/caramel finish. Barrel notes are certainly present, although not as strong as the aroma, with an oaky vanilla and bourbon booze. Great flavor with a good complexity. 4.5

M/D:Full bodied but not thick, carbonation appropriately low, very good smoothness, alcohol is noticeable but at 14.1% its exceptionally well masked. Drinkability is very good. 4.5

O: Excellent beer. Loved every drop. Highly recommend. 4.5

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Photo of vfgccp
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 bottle, opened in September 2012.

A - Loose, soda-like, khaki head settles quickly into a medium halo leaving trace amounts of lace. Cherry wood body.

S - Bittersweet chocolate, white chocolate, light booze, old wood, raisin, vanilla extract, toffee, butter scotch.

T - Milk chocolate, raisins, plum, soft boozy oak, cherry cordial, toffee, caramel, pumpernickel bread.

M - Full body, incredibly smooth, appropriately low carbonation, and nice staying power.

O - Great age. The integration, complexity, booze, and fruit are spot on.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this 375ml bottle because I won a raffle contributing to a very worthy cause. The generous and inspiring BA that is behind all this? Tayner. Thanks Dana!

It's caged an corked and has some blue tape wrapped around the C&C.

A light pop when I removed the cork, it pours a realy dark brown, looked a colour of rust when pouring, with a 1 finger head of off white foam.

The smell is really nice. I smell some big notes of bourbon and caramel malt that bring a lot of sweetness but no really alcohol tones. Yeah, this is a *big* brew weighing in at an intimidating 14.6%abv but it doesn't come close to smelling boozy for how strong it is.

The taste is the...Wow! Bourbon and cararmel malt working in perfect unison. Some dark fruitiness follows, some toffee, a bit of chocolate like sweetness in the flavour, some spiciness but it is very light, no bitterness that I can detect....and yeah, quite a bit of warming from the alcohol but mostly after the swallow where it needs to be. The foam has disappeared now except for a ring around the glass but I'm more into tasting and enjoying this sucker than looking at it. What an Old Ale! I know I'll be sad when the last drop hits my gullet.

It has a medium body with light carbonation and it finishes with a nice last hit of bourbon goodness.

Drinkability? The abv will hold it back some but...really...for a beer this strong, I'm very impressed with how easy it goes down. North Coast, what can I say? Other than I love this brew! And to Tayner....thanks so much for the opportunity. If there's a brew you'd like to try, send me a BM and I'll do my best to find it for you.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage

A - Pours a crystal clear deep burgundy color with light carbonation and a very thin lacing ring around the top.

S - Molasses, brown sugar, figs, dates, raisons, very delicate bourbon notes.

T - Lots of layers going on: Raisons, figs, light molasses, sweet caramel/toffee, vanilla, cherries, oak, and the bourbon almost comes across as "Rum-like".

M - A definite alcohol presence with warming on the way down

O - Wonderfully deep and complex, time has served this vintage well, glad I sat on this bottle and wish I bought more but it came with a hefty price tag. No regrets, though!

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Photo of LehighAce06
4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

My Untappd comments from at the time of checking the beer in are as follows: Very smooth, richly sweet with caramel, vanilla and toffee flavors, a touch of coffee in the finish. Strong bourbon flavor and some booze.

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Photo of ZacharyJ
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Not much here. two finger head that dissipates quickly. Little lacing. Dark brown in color, amber when held up to light.

S- Exceptional. Vanilla and oak. Very earthy. The bourbon is not hiding.

T- Doesn't get much better. Candy sweet. Vanilla and biting. The booze is very present.

M- Lighter then I thought. Let it warm some.

D- A slow sipper for sure. The complexity makes you wish you had more to try, but one 375 ml bottle is more then enough for one sitting.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Impressive as hell to see what the bourbon barrels do to the ever-tasty Old Stock Ale. More caramel. More vanilla. More chocolate. Smoother taste. ...All add to the tradition and regal character of well aged English Old Ales.

Pourig a deep crimson color with near clarity, the beer portrays a very mystic hue. The familiar part-loose, part-dense bubbles that comprise the head is a direct carryover from the original Old Stock. But the fleeting retetion and low level of lace shows how the barrel changes the beer's appearance. Alcohols and barrel aging degrade the head character just a bit.

Deep and succulent aromas of toffee and molasass also share the stage with vanilla, caramel, and chocolate for a deeply desert-like scent. Enough wine-like character to resemble cognac and enough sweetness to resemble rum, the aromas are dense, robust, and refined.

Flavors closely resemble the aromas but with few exceptions. The sweetness of caramel, molasass, etc... is balanced (and perhaps overshadowed) by a highly attenuated sugary/alcoholic taste that's very good, but not as succulent as the aroma. English fruitiness of figs and dates carry a nutty undertone with mature barley, fruitcake, and chocolate. Rum alcohols made a return with a cherry-like taste and boozy overall flavor. The barrel's bourbon, vanillans, caramel, and tanins all make a posative impact in taste to elevate the natural flavor of Old Stock but to contribute strength and nobility.

Rich and succulent to start, the beer quickly ushers in alcoholic warmth that further sweetens the beer before turning warm, and then slightly boozy. Medium early creaminess is quick-lived and develops quickly to heat and semi-sweet dryness in finish.

The Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Stock definately carries a masculine bourbon, caramel, vanill, chocolate character that is very shy in the original version. Somewhat of a caramel and chocolatey port or brandy, this is definately a beer for discriminating palates.

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Photo of Alpar
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Trappistlover for this tasty treat!

I hate to keep giving the beers I've been reviewing such high marks but they, to me, are all top notch beers. With that said her we go!

A: Somewhat murky ruby with a head that dissipates quickly.

S: Yup, that is a damn fine beer. Smells like bourbon and candy. Very sweet smelling but with a bit of bourbon.

T: WOW! This has to be one of the best beers I've tasted. Almost like a barleywine. Kind of reminds me of 09' Gratitude but with less citrus in the mix. Very pungent vanilla taste a bit of oak from the barrel as well. Strong but smooth bourbon and hint of the base beer but not so much.

O: For $25+ a bottle this better be amazing and it is! Worth trying once and buying another to age. Thanks again to Dave for this!

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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 xnicknj
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5


hilariously overpriced bottle poured into snifter - thanks cjo!

Pours a brilliant cherry amber color with some bright golden hues. Thin beige head fades out, leaving a collar of film around the brew.

Whoa - explosive nose with a multilayered assault of complex, rich malts and impressive barrel character. Caramel, bready, honey, and syrup followed by lovely oak barrel with vanilla, leather, and bourbon. Some dark fruits with raisin and dates. Maybe a bit of burnt sugar too.

Annnd we have a winner. The nose translates right into the taste, beginning with a kick of booze tempered by some dark fruit sweetness. Raisin and dates with a candied sweetness and burnt sugar. Vanilla, oak, and bourbon run throughout with some significant warmth. Layered roasted, rich malts with bread and caramel - a bit syrupy and coating on the tongue. Finishes with more barrel character and boozy heat.

Fuller body, slightly lower carbonation (no, it's not flat), coating and sticky on the tongue. It's pretty rare that when I smell and taste a beer, it leaves me going "Whoaaa." The price point for this is still atrocious, but I can't deny this is one of the better old ales I've ever had.

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

2013 Edition poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: Murky brown. 1.5 finger off white head makes a cameo appearance and quickly dissipates into nothingness.

S: Plenty of bourbon. Toffee. Hints of caramel.

T: Big bourbon flavor up front with hints of toffee and sweet malts in the middle.

M: Medium body. No alcohol bite for a 14.1% abv monster. Smooth finish.

O: Is it worth the hefty pricetag? Probably. It is so well made. Not exactly flying off the shelves like most limited release BA beers, so I'll probably grab another to cellar for a couple of years.

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Photo of Beersnake1
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from fridge temp to tulip. Dark brown with good carbonation. Smell was out of this world. Beautiful hints of caramel, vanilla, dark fruit, and bourbon. Reminded me of a world-class BA barleywine (e.g. Sucaba). Blew me away. The taste followed nicely, which was nice. Similar attributes as the nose. Feel was very nice, giving an overall stellar beer. I am extremely happy to have tried this!

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.56/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2009 bottle purchased and poured at The Porter Bar in Atlanta on 11/23/14. Pours deep dark brown with no head at all. Beautiful aroma of vanilla, caramel, lots of smooth bourbon still present, oak, toffee, marshmallow. Flavor follows with a big bourbon punch that is very mellow, sweet brown sugar and caramel, vanilla marshmallow notes, a hint of chocolate, smooth oak. Wow this is good. Chewey body with low plus carbonation, coats the mouth. This was really nice and the bottle was clearly well-kept for the past few years. Just a really nice beer.

Updating with a 2013 edition and the fresher bottle is superior and world class. Just delicious. Get as many of these as you can find.

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Photo of akorsak
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Deuane for picking this up for me several years ago.

A: The cork opened with little fanfare. Poured into a snifter, the old ale is dark, nearly black. A tan colored head of nearly half a finger boldly bubbled up on pour before disappearing quickly.

S: The bourbon is intensely strong. Heavy notes of vanilla, brown sugar and wood provide one hell of a punch. Caramel and darker malt aromas also come through.

T: The old ale is incredible. Bourbon flavors leap off the page with each sip. Dark sugars, vanilla and brown sugar all scream bourbon barrel. The flavors are intense and concentrated, completing integrated into the old ale. Caramel and darker malts, along with mild hops, mark the old ale aspect. Those flavors are nicely interwoven with the bourbon. A thick sweetness arises near the end of each sip, caramel and bourbon, what a way to end each sip!

M: Smooth bourbon, treacly caramel, extended time in a barrel. A triple threat that leaves me begging for more.

D: I'd never guess that this is almost 15%. The bourbon barrel has imparted one wicked flavor on the ale. Well done!

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Photo of JayS2629
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I love Old Stock. The bourbon barrel aged is a better version of itself. I've got to say though, the cork on this one was a byotch.

A- Dark mahogany with deep ruby notes, light tan head that quickly fades and leave little lace.

S- Wow! Complex character here. Earthy vanilla oak right up front followed by smooth, sweet bourbon vapors. Notes of leather, toffee, honey and buttery tones of toasted nuts.

T- Absolutely delicious. Much smoother than expected from the nose. Mellow and sweet. Brown sugar, honey and raisins. Other dark fruit notes. Oak and vanilla, smooth bourbon taste, and sweet butterscotch flavors. Warming finish.

M- Medium body, smooth, silky with a warming finish.

D- Very delicious. Slight booze burn and high alcohol make it a sipper. Complex, smooth and enjoyable. One of my new favorites.

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Photo of Drinkerofales
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage

Thanks to Johnny for talking me into this purchase, ouch, my wallet, good thing I bought two.

Dark brown, beautiful clear garnet in the light. A dirty tan hand quickly dissipated to a ring constantly supplied by lively bubbles up the side of the snifter.

Smells of bourbon-y goodness, oak, vanilla, candied plums, booze, and malts.

A nice bourbon flavor leads off the tastes, and moves towards some candied malt sweetness. Pungent dark fruits are present, and a smooth bourbon finish lingers for some time.

Feels medium bodied, leaning a hair toward light. Bubbly carbonation makes it feel a little lighter. Incredibly smooth, yet leaves a nice coating on the tongue.

I was hoping for a little more viscosity, but other than that, a stellar beer. I could have smelled this all day, but gave into the temptation to actually drink this, and was not disappointed.


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Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Bourbon Barrels) from North Coast Brewing Co.
4.35 out of 5 based on 1,060 ratings.
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