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: 1,079
Photo of sweemzander
4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500mL corked and caged bottle. 2009 Vintage. Huge thanks to cjacobsen for sharing!

(A)- Pours a deep dark toasted brown caramel color that produced some off-white to tan froth that dissipated quickly.

(S)- A really nice dry oaky bourbon aroma up front. Lots of rich caramel, toffee, fig, and bits of a charred wood and almost sings of some dark-ish fruits. Plenty of bourbon in the smell, but I like it.

(T)- Very similar to the smell. Lots of rich and sweet caramel, toffee, fig, and a nice dry toasted oak nuance. Fairly bourbon forward being this fresh, but still meshes well.

(M)- A surprisingly higher carbonation level for the style, but it helps this out alot. Very rich and bourbon forward, but it fits well and does not throw its hefty ABV around.

(D)- A fantastic sipping old ale. The bourbon really enhances this well without completely taking over the beer. If this was cheaper, I would be all over lots more of this for longtime aging; I can see this getting even better in a few years.

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Photo of KAP1356
4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a really cool looking cork and caged 500 ml dated 2009 into a Weyerbacher tulip...

A - Cork was one of the hardest that I have ever had to get out of a bottle. Poured a very nice clear dark ruby red/brown color. Reminded me a lot of a rich dark toffee color. A sizeable bubbly eggshell white color head forms and moderatley recedes to a cap of the same color.

S - Wow. Smells very rich and inviting. Lots of dark toffee, caramel, brown sugar, vanilla and bourbon. One of the most borubon forward noses I have ever experienced; cask like and a nice wood note. Extremely nice.

T - Sweet Mother of Mary. Awesome, awesome flavors here, and that was just the first sip. Sweet caramel, brown sugar, toffee and molasses. At the same time the bourbon is so prominent it really reminds me of sipping a sweet bourbon. There are some fruit like flavors that come out as well which are really quite nice; cherry and raisins being the most significant standouts.

M - Medium bodied beer with a moderate carbonation. I cant get over how despite the heavy flavors, there is a light feeling on the palate; much like a fine bourbon. There is obviously a warming heat to this one; and at 13.16% its to be expected. Alcohol really compliments everything else going on.

D - While I don't appreciate the $26 i paid for this bottle, this beer is...WINNING! The first barrel aged beer that was so reminiscent of the liquor that was previously in the barrel. For a bourbon lover, this was absolutely epic. Extremely enjoyable and I can't wait to have this again...just not paying the price.

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

Pours a murky-brown with nice carbonation - not the prettiest looking beer but appropriate for an old ale. Smells of dark fruits, reminds me of a barleywine. Tastes very good, lots of sweetness up front, dark fruits, and booze is present but not too forward. Could sip on this all night, delicious.

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Photo of nickfl
4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Pours with a small head of off-white foam on top of a clear, dark amber-brown body. The head settles rapidly and leaves almost no lace on the glass.

S - A thick, sugary aroma of chocolate, raisins, whiskey, and alcohol.

T - Brown, malty notes of toffee, dark caramel, and unrefined sugar up front. Some fruity notes of raisins, caramel, and almonds come out in the middle with a bit of vanilla. Things finish up with stronger, boozy notes of bourbon, toasted oak, pepper, and a lingering alcoholic warmth the is grounded by moderate bitterness and a subtle note of pine.

M - A moderately thick body, slightly above average carbonation, and a fairly dry finish.

D - Well, this beer certainly wasn't cheap, but it sounded good and now that I finally got around to opening it, I am happy to say that it lives up to my hopes and dreams (more or less). The aroma is quite complex and really shows the benefits of the barrel aging; this beer smells more like strait up bourbon than it does barrel aged beer. In some cases that would be a word of warning (such as the beers that we have all had that just seem like someone poured bourbon in right before it was bottled) but in this case it works magnificently and manages to convey all that is good about bourbon with just a touch of moderating influence from the complex character of the underling beer. The flavor is no less excellent as the fruity notes play with the whiskey and just a touch of the intense, sweaty hop character that I remember from the unaltered base beer. Overall it is a very nice beer, and one of the better uses of whiskey barrels in brewing that I have come across.

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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.

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Photo of richj1970
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 500 ml bottle into Old Guardian glass. No visible bottle date.

A: Pours a remarkably clear reddish brown with two finger tan head with good retention and settled to a thin ring around the edges. Very little lacing.

S: Bourbon, raisins, dates, brown sugar, coconut, and toffee.

T: Nice bourbon bite right off the bat. Very complex flavors lying underneath. A fruity component with some raisins and dates. Some sweetness with brown sugar, caramel, and toffee. Light oaky notes. Pleasantly surprised that the sweetness is well balanced and not over powering.

M: Full bodied but lighter than I was expecting. Above average carbonation. Finish has a slight alcohol burn, and a little sweetness.

O: Fantatstic beer. I was hesitant to pick this up based on price, but very glad I did.

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Photo of Frosty80
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Color: pours med golden brown. sits slightly opaque (mostly clear) med brown with a ruby hue. head is pretty small and doesnt around too long. no lacing

Smell: full, bright notes of bourbon, oak, vanilla, chocolate, caramel and hints of dark fruit, all in great quantities and balance. little bit of alcohol but doesnt come close to getting in the way other aromas

Taste: slightly more alcohol presence on the palate than the nose. otherwise, good translation from aroma to flavors. lots of bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel with notes of chocolate and dark fruit

Mouthfeel: medium body with medium-high carbonation that lightens the load slightly

Notes: wonderful beer. always been a huge fan of Old Stock so naturally a little bourbon aging raises it to a new level

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

A: ruby brown ale with a finger of tan foam; left a vague sheen down the glass

S: lightly boozed fruits, sweet resin and brown sugar syrup; vague booze

T: dark fruits like date and fig, bourbon barrels contribute vanilla and wood; something herbal and leathery, hints of shellac

M: medium-light and smooth, slick and slim; slightly sticky finish with an elegant drying

O: an epic ale done right by bourbon barrel aging - pricy ($20+/bottle) but worth it for fans of the brew or bourbon barrels and old ales...

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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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Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Bourbon Barrels) from North Coast Brewing Co.
4.35 out of 5 based on 1,079 ratings.
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