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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 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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Photo of ajm5108
4.59/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours like a cola, both in color & in the fact that it has a persistent carbonation but no head. Aroma is outstanding, full of decadent toffee, caramel and vanilla. Lots of sweet malt aroma and it compliments the bourbon notes exceptionally, with very little "booze" on the nose. A little more heat & alchohol on the tongue, but it is blended and balanced well with notes of toasted butternut toffee, more caramel malt and some delicate oak. Mouthfeel is thick & coating but not sticky. Personally I think old ales & bourbon compliment each other phenomenonally (more so than the ubiquitous stouts cluttering shelves) and this is one of the very best.m

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

2013 Vintage poured into tulip glass. It pours a cola brown with a one-finger, ecru-colored head and lacing. The smell is decadant: roasted malt, caramel, vanilla, oak, dark fruit, and, of course, the bourbon. The taste really follows the nose: caramel, toffee, oak, raisin, and bourbon. There is very little hop presence. For having an ABV of over 13%, this ale is smooth as silk but definitely a sipper. It's medium-bodied, creamy, with moderate carbonation. It really drinks like a Barleywine. Overall, it is truly an outstanding Old Ale that deserves its world-class rating. I've been meaning to try this for quite awhile and I am happy to have finally done so.

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Photo of Thirstygoat
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from 2013 I had been looking forward to drinking this for a while
Red-brown translucence brief tan head no lacing
Smell of vanilla and wood
Taste malt, alcohol, bourbon and caramel, bit of a whiskey sting on the back of the mouth
Maybe a bit thin on the mouth
Quire good

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Photo of fx20736
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 Vintage. Served cool in a Duvel tulip.

Look: deep garnet, virtually no head or lacing

Smell: oak, sherry, red plums

Taste: caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, some oak

Feel: Medium carbonation helps with the sweetness

Overall: decent but I think I like the non BA version better

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Photo of CoreyC
4.72/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 poured into a snifter

A - light head dissipates completely, but there is a very interesting continuous bubble flow.

S - Awesome sweet smell of candied fruit, maybe apricots.

T - Very smooth with no bite and lighter flavors of the nose, with maybe some raisons.

M - Light, nice.

O - What an awesome smooth sipper.

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Photo of smanson56
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a dark hazy brown color into my snifter glass. The nose brings forward the barrel aging of this great beer with lots of bourbon in the nose. The taste follows the nose and as a bourbon lover this is one great beer.
Smooth Bourbon and beer it doesn't get much better than this.

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

2009 vintage, this beer is awesome. so smooth, lots of caramel sweetness and a nice bit of bourbon to complement the flavors of raisins, plums, again, lots of caramel.

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

Brown pour, thin, weak head. Red on the side. Aroma so improved. Nice barrel and bourbon characteristics. Caramel and vanilla.

Sweet, oak, bourbon gives flavor to the manageable heat. Sticky. Toffee.

You know its funny, Old Rasputin, awesome base, gets worse in the barrel, this beer sucks base wise, and it gets awesome in the barrel.

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Photo of LouZ
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Draft pour of 2013 vintage. Rich copper-like color, maybe a bit orange, with aroma of malt and bourbon but not super strong in this department. Taste matches and delivers a pleasant sweetness from dark fruit, maybe dates or fig. Smooth and balanced feel; medium to full body and quite drinkable. There is some alcohol burn, as expected given the ABV, but this is so smooth and clean that it's not unpleasant. That may be a result of the age. Overall, a great representation of the style and I'll need to find again.

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Photo of Furlinator
4.7/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Toronado San Diego during SDBW 2015 on 11/13/15.
2013 Vintage. 

The taste is dominated by sweet caramel malt. Very little detectable hop presence. This tastes like soft caramel chewy candy squares. Dangerously smooth, even at 14.1%. Unbelievable!

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Photo of allforbetterbeer
4.06/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage poured into a goblet.

Wow, one of the worst looking beers in my history. Like muddy lake water and some sickly little bubbles. Held up to light it looks slightly more amber.

The smell however, is awesome. Well aged English Old Ale/Barleywine with fruitcake macerated with brandy, stewed golden raisins, bourbon barrel, English toffee on the stove. Excellent, layered, rich, sweet.

Intense and sweet caramel sauce with bourbon and bourbon on the side. Alcohol bites, but doesn't show in the flavor. The malt almost takes on a grape-y jammy character. Not as much dark fruit as I would expect. Really, mostly caramel and bourbon, and that isn't a bad thing.

Conclusion: A very nice barrel aged strong ale. This has aged beautifully, and I am not sure it will get much better, but with all the sweetness it probably could take many more years and not get worse. Poised, rich, sweet, and distinguished.

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Photo of Moose90
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Served on-tap, 10.5 oz pour was more than enough.

A — Pours a deep ruby hued brown into the glass, dark and rich looking, there is a caramel colored head on-top of the beer that leaves behind some really nice consistent lacing.

S — Smells rich and boozy, big hit of bourbon in the best possible way, vanilla, cinnamon, oak, caramel, brown sugar, dark fruits.

T — Taste is dominated by bourbon and oak, so delicious, great layers of bourbon flavor. Vanilla, cinnamon, oak, caramel, brown sugar, molasses, dark fruit again.

M — Full bodied, huge, rich, delicious.

O — Far and away the best Barrel Aged beer I have ever had, the barrel character on this is just out of this world.

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Photo of nhindian
4.88/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2009 Vintage

Appearance - Old Stock doesn't have much in the way of looks. The body is ruddy and murky, and when viewed in the brownish hue it has, it looks sort of like a port wine. A khaki-colored head springs forth as it hits the glass, but fades almost as rapidly as it appears, leaving nothing but a slow trickle of carbonation to break the surface.

Aroma - Every time I smell this beer, I am hit immediately with a rich sweetness that runs the gamut from bourbon to dark fruits. Figs and raisin are the most noticeable, and the combination with the liquor makes it the perfect smell for a cold Autumn night like tonight. Toffee, caramel, and a touch of cocoa add an additional layer of sweetness as well.

Taste - The taste is a faithful representation of the aroma down to a 'T'. Each note is reproduced on the palate for the taste buds to savor and it goes over just as positively here. The first flavors are the cocoa and fig, mixed with the bourbon to give it a warming alcohol-soaked quality. It also draws comparisons to port here as well in my opinion. The finish is filled with toffee and barrel character. There is an overarching presence of alcohol heat, but it never is at the forefront or detrimental.

Mouthfeel - The mouthfeel is not as heavy as I would've expected for a beer of this size. It definitely has some meat to it, but it flows gracefully over the palate and doesn't weigh heavily on it. There is a zesty amount of carbonation that gives it a sort of cola-like similarity.

Closing Arguments - Overall this is a wonderful beer from start to finish. The flavors are deep and layered and one needs only to take a small sip to have them develop rapidly in the mouth. This is definitely a beer to cradle for an hour or so and appreciate how it changes with temperature and after the palate grows acclimated to some of the flavors that allow the more nuanced aspects rise. In comparisons to other beers, I can easily draw parallels to Samuel Adam's Utopias, with this being a more 'mild' take. Although expensive, this is a beer that would be excellent for a celebration or special occasion, or just to sit out on the porch as the weather changes and take in the world.

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

2013 vintage. Looks like a dark barleywine. Smell: overwhelming! Rich bourbon, a lot of raisins, sweet toffee, malt. Taste: delish. Decadent layered malts, gooey raisins, a bit of slight spice from bourbon, and some spices that I can't quite put my finger on. Feel: coats mouth but not overly thick. Overall: yum.

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Photo of JLaw55
3.75/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is boozy. No, seriously. Like drinking Bourbon boozy. This has more in common flavor wise with Bourbon than with beer. It's the reason I couldn't rate it any higher, because outside of the booziness, the flavors are quite nice.

It is a dark slick brown color, with no head or lacing. It is dominated by caramel with layers of dates, raisins, oak, and nuts in the background.

Would not revisit. Just not my thing, even though it was well made for what it is. This is straying pretty far from what I would consider beer to be.

Would Drink Again: No
Would Purchase Again: No

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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!

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Photo of Jwale73
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a mahogany hue with an off-white head that quickly dissipates. Clarity is mostly translucent with just a slight haze. Nose in this beer is incredible - Bourbon, figs and toffee. Taste expresses candied figs, caramel, toffee, vanilla and toasted grains. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body, with a mild, even carbonation and a trace of heat at the finish. Overall, this beer is tasting great right now. One of the more memorable beers I've had in recent memory. I wish I had a couple more bottles in the cellar, but the price point on this beer was a bit high when it came out.

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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 TheSixthRing
3.99/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2013 Vintage

Appearance - Pours a dark and foreboding ruby brown with very little in the way of suds. A few bubbles around the edge, otherwise it's a flat as a pond on a windless day.

Smell - Bountiful notes of caramel and toffee fill the nostrils first, while strong additions of vanilla and oak follow closely behind. Rum raisin fruitcake can be found as well.

Taste - Bourbon sweetness upfront along with a light caramel flavor. Mid-taste brings a bit of the fruity raisin character and a touch of vanilla. Sugary sweetness, akin to that found in a quad Belgian, giving a light cola . Finishes with more boozy qualties.

Mouthfeel - Medium in body with low to moderate carbonation. Sticky, syrupy texture, then a drying, belly warming boozy finish.

Overall - Very good, but I'm a bigger fan of the non-BA version. IMO, the base beer just doesn't stand up well to the BA treatment and gets overrun and buried by the bourbon qualities. I like a BA beer to have a lighter barrel influence and to compliment the qualities found in the beer; this is nearly the opposite. Despite this, I still find pleasure in drinking it.

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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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