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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
Photo of CptBlackBeerd
4.89/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009 Release - 16.9 oz corked and caged bottle poured into an 8 oz snifter.

First of all the packaging is unique and beautiful with the khaki coated champagne bottle and red metal North Coast cork topper.

A - Appearance is dark rich mahogany with a short lived airy tan head. Little to no lacing.

S - Wow, barrel aging at its finest. Lots of bourbon, brown sugar, caramel, toffee, vanilla and oak. It gives off great vapors and a very nice scent.

T - Absolutely delicious. Sweet malt with bourbon, toffee, crème Brule and some dark fruits. The alcohol is warming but so well masked that it is not overpowering. The long aging process really shows here in the complexity.

M - Nice smooth medium mouth feel, low carbonation, rich but with lightness not usually associated with such high apvs. And there's a pleasing slightly sticky finish.

D - Very, very drinkable considering its 13% apv. It is a sipper, but yes, it is worth the price of admission. I'm going to grab a few more before they disappear.

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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.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.27/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jeremy (JAXSON) for this one. Poured from a ceramic 375ml corked and caged bottle into a Darkness snifter. This is the new 2009 release.

A: Cork is near impossible to get out and robs me of my manhood as I struggle with it. Standard pour yields a .5 finger coarse, slightly grainy light caramel head with moderate retention. Beer is an attractive, clear dark amber. Lacing is spotty and with no cling. Great legs though. An attractive brew overall but nothing over-the-top.

S: Nose reminds me why I loved barrel-aged beer so much. Subtle notes of caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, and sweet booze. Super appetizing and makes me salivate a little. Very rich.

T: Opens sweet caramel apple, brown sugar, molasses, and toffee. Dates and figs come in towards the middle and serve to sweeten an already candy-like brew. Vanilla notes linger in the background with the bourbon barrel-aging providing a bit of spice. Flavors integrate extremely dry. End is brown sugar and caramel with a syrupy, maple finish and a sweet light caramel aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied and moderately carbonated. Silky and smooth in the mouth but the bubbles make this seem thinner than it really is. Slightly abrasive going down. Heat is present but subtle. Finish is slightly dry and short with a lingering aftertaste. Could be a bit flatter but impressive overall, especially considering the high abv.

D: Can't believe I'm saying this but this beer is worth its ridiculous price tag. Barrel-aging is very subtle hear and well done so it doesn't crush the complexities present, but rather serves to enhance them. Worth picking up to see how it'll evolve and perhaps get better with time.

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

Poured from a bottle into a New Belgium goblet. The beer pours a nice dark mahogany with ruby edges and a frothy white head that quickly fades to a tight ring, leaving almost no lacing behind.

The smell is very nice. Toffee, caramel, brown sugar, vanilla and leather. The bourbon and oak are strong, but not too boozy.

The taste is just as good as the smell. Toffee, vanilla and brown sugar are sweet and strong, but they are nicely balanced by the oak and bourbon. There are slight hints of dark fruits, mostly raisins, that accents all the other flavors nicely.

The beer is well carbonated, has a nice full mouthfeel and the alcohol heat compliments the flavors nicely. This is insanely drinkable for 13% abv.

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Photo of cdkrenz
4.71/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I brought this $23.00 bottle of beer home with me from a recent trip out to Southern California. For the price I paid, I'm expecting something pretty special.

A - All 16.9 ounces poured into the depths of a 36 ounce snifter. It has a light, airy, rather quick-lived, medium tan colored head that started out around 1.5 inches tall. It stalled as it began revealing the body at the surface. The color of the brew is a deep purple nearing bold brown. It does allow a bit of light through which aids in some of the different hues showing up. This is decent looker despite the fast paced and airy head.

S - Plum, alcohol, molasses, Worcestershire, banana bread, brown sugar, and a hint of bubble gum. The aroma is bold and doesn't leave much for assumption. The scent says if you're going to drink this, be ready.

T - The flavors are direct descendants of the aromas this brew offers. Pungent plum flavors, molasses, raisins, and hint of Worcestershire.

M - Certainly warming, this is to be expected with the ABV surpassing the 13% mark. There's also lightness to the feel that makes as if it's simply evaporating away right in my mouth and throat. It leaves a trace of stick along my lips and tongue too. Very nice feel.

~ The weightlessness of this brew makes for a very drinkable beer despite the huge ABV. While it is certainly that of the sipping realm, it goes down easily and without any coarseness. This is definitely a beer I will recommend to a friend. In fact, I brought one home for a friend. He has a birthday coming up, and this is his gift. We'll see if he reads this, if he does, no biggy, he'll still be pleased because the gift is not in the surprise with this beer; the gift is in the bottle. I say it's worth the price tag.

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Photo of djmichaelk
4.72/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Very pretty 500ml corked & caged bottle into a snifter.

A - Pours a rich, translucent brown, almost like maple syrup. I managed a finger or so of head, with very little retention or lacing, which is not surprising given the abv.

S - Plenty of bourbon to go around here, but not so much that it comes across as boozy. Brown sugar and toffee, some vanilla, and a slight nuttiness. Excellent.

T - Vanilla wafer, almond, toffee, and bourbon immediately jump out at me. The bourbon is exceptionally well-integrated, at once both obvious and subtle. I was going to mention peanut brittle but I've seen creme brulee in some other reviews, and that sums this up perfectly. Awesome tasting brew.

M - Great carbonation, with a rich, creamy feel. While it's a very strong beer, at over 13%, there's little to no burn.

D - It's always tough for me to rate a beer this strong highly in the drinkability category, but this one deserves it. I could go on drinking this until I fall over. And then drink some more from a sippy cup. The only problem is...

O - ...is the price. This is a phenomenal beer, and I'd love to have more of it. But at the price, I doubt I'll buy more than another one or two. Even at the lowest price that I've seen of $22, it's hard to swallow. Then again it's probably the closest I'll get to the brandy version from a few years ago, so I might grab a few more.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.07/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Old Stock Cellar Reserve, bottle bought at New Beer Distributors in Manhattan for $25.00. Beautiful design!

Caveat: regular Old Stock is one of my favorite beers of all time.

"Aged for 18 months in oak Bourbon barrels"

Appearance: Served in a Sierra snifter, it pours very smooth but vigorous, with a heavily carbonated head that dissipates quickly, leaving some bubbles and a white rim around the glass. Color is dark-brown, mahogany, very opaque.

Smell: Very nutty, candied walnuts, cream sherry aromas, burnt sugars, caramel, creme brulee, booze. Vanilla and bourbon, but the bourbon here is very subtle, unlike most barrel-aged beers where the bourbon is just all over and crazy.

Taste: Follows nose, but not as spectacular. A little thin. More caramel/toffee, vanilla, some wood overtones. Nice splash of bourbon at the end, spice and dryness. Burnin' booze as it warms up! Tastes like those "Cuba Libre" (rum-and-coke) candies we got as kids in Spain.

Mouthfeel: As with taste, thin. Very thin! Low body, medium flavor, medium carbonation. Burnin' hot, lingers around, burns the esophagus. Slightly chewy. Disappointing feel overall.

Drinkability: Superb! Oh my, hard to tell this is 13.16%. I pounded this thing like nothing else. Very smooth. It is funny because this beer disappointed me a lot but at the same time, and because of it, I wanted more. I would have loved to have a second bottle.

But it was not up to expectations and price, though, and I will take regular Old Stock anytime over this.

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Photo of 05Harley
4.59/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage, corked and caged

Purchased through Westlakeview Liquor's, Chicago, Illinois

Price - 24.99/bottle

Appearance: Pours ruby red with a 1 inch soda pop head that fades fast. No legs to speak of. In fact in a matter of minutes there's no sign of any bubbles ever being present. Upon close inspection one can see tiny bubbles streaming from the bottom of the glass and burst at the surface.

Smell: Pop the cork and BAM! Big hit of chocolate and bourbon immediately hits the nose followed by caramel and wood. This beer's aroma screams "enjoy me"!

Taste: Starts out sweet and quickly reveals the complex character it truely is. vanilla, raisins, caramel, ripe fruit and a touch of brown sugar. A gentle taste of bourbon rounds it out.

Mouthfeel: Smooth with a medium to syrupy feel. No carbonation but it suits this one. A pleasent burn going down with a nice warming sensation. My taste buds just keep begging for more.

Drinkability: Delicious and well done. A beer I would shoot pool with in a bar on a Friday night. I would definitely not hesitate to finish a 750ml if it was offered. And probably stupid enough to try a second. My only complaint is the price and size...

Enjoyed another bottle of this the summer of 2014 with my son Bryan along with Firestone Walker 14, Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout, Bourban County Stout and this one blew his mind.

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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 BZero007
4.16/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle, picked up a Total Wine for $22.
Heard the great reviews about the brew while its fresh, so picked up another bottle as well. Poured in to a tulip glass. Pores a extremely dark amber hue color. Holding it to the light the drink is crystal clear and looks great. Head easily forms with no help what so ever. I am extremely surprised that the head formed great from a high abv barrel aged beer. Lace was left all over the glass and looked great. The aroma was of a lightly sweet malt flavor with a bourbon background. The flavor is similar but the brew is much hotter than the smell. The sweet malt is mixed excellently with the bourbon and neither over powers the other. Which is very interesting again for this kind of brew. I feel like I'm going to say that through out this review. The brew warmed your belly like a strong drink would so this is a sipper by far. The amount of carbonation through the drink is again surprising. I highly recommend this drink fresh to anyone.

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Photo of heysuz
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Intro: 16.9 oz. poured into large snifter glasses.

Appearance: Dark rich mahogany color with a medium thick brown head and lacing that disappears quickly.

Smell: Pronounced bourbon smell with hints of toffee and vanilla. Pretty complex layered aroma. Very enticing. Given the hype of the high price point, the smell makes you eager to taste.

Taste: Malty with toffee notes and slight bittersweet chocolate. The strongest influence is the bourbon flavor but surprisingly no real alcohol taste, very crisp and clean. Definitely think this is the best attribute of the beer although it has an outstanding aroma too.

Mouthfeel: Clean strong flavor without an aftertaste that has a smooth almost creamy feel.

Drink: Even though it has a strong bourbon tone it is very easy to drink because of its clean and crisp flavor. I could easily drink a couple more.

Conclusion: Pricy but very enjoyable. While trying not to justify the cost, it is very clean, rich, dessert type ale rather than a football session chug-a-lug beer. Everyone should try it.

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Photo of ratedz
4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle @ $25/bottle. 2009 vintage.

Pours a hazy dark brown with thin off-white colored head. The head had faded to nothing by the time I walked from one room to another and set it down. Some bubbles are visible climbing up the side of the glass.

The nose is full of sweet caramel, vanilla some raisins, and a strong, but not overwhelming, hint of bourbon.

The taste starts off with some sweetness, vanilla and toffee, before some raisin flavor comes into play. I'm typically not a huge fan of a lot of raisin flavor, but it blends in with the beer very well and is not off putting at all. The bourbon flavor/heat comes in at the tail end and remains for a little while after the finish. A very complex, yet amazing, tasting beer.

Medium body and a slightly above average amount of carbonation. Smooth and slick.

This is crazy drinkable for a 13% beer. There is so much complexity to this beer that it hides the alcohol very well. There has been a lot of discussion on the price tag of this beer, but I definitely enjoyed it and am glad I was able to try it.

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Photo of Stunner97
4.72/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance- dark brown to dark copper with rapid fast carbonation off the first pour, head quickly fades,

Smell- very sweet malty nose, loads of vanilla and oak with slight touch of bourbon, raisins and sweetness present very strong on nose, enticing smell

Taste- wow really unique flavor on this beer really like nothing I have ever tasted before, just really rich and sweet malty ale, tons of vanilla and caramel being pull in off the oak, bourbon flavor is there but really more of the vanilla and sweetness really pushing through from the oak, very enjoyable long malty finish, just extremely complex with so much going on, reminds me in some ways of a fine 10 plus year tawny port just so rich and delicious

Mouthfeel- medium bodied with light carbonation after its original opening, good smooth mouthfeel

Drinkability- Really scary drinkable, the alcohol is just so well hidden and integrated into this beer, its really like I said an extremely unique beer that is like none other I have ever had before, really reminds me of a fine port or desert wine in alot of ways, a master piece of a beer to me that actually lived up to the high price, one to search out for sure,

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Photo of John_M
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Actually brought this back from my recent trip out to Ft. Bragg. Turns out I needn't have bothered, as the beer seems to be readily available in the DC and Baltimore areas. Oh well, at least it was a bit cheaper at the brewpub.

The beer pours a fairly dark amber color with pretty good head retention and fair lacing. On the nose I get a huge blast of vanilla, brown sugar, prunes and bourbon, with some underlying dry sherry as well. The flavor profile tends to replicate the nose pretty closely in this rich and intensely flavored beer. Mouthfeel is full with a long, sweet finish, though there's enough underlying hoppy bitterness to buoy the sweetness. As a result, drinkability isnt' too bad in this 13% abv. beer, as it's not at all cloying or heavy on the palate. Still, a little bit of this goes a long way, and I was very glad I had two friends to help me with my 500 ml. bottle.

A very nice beer from North Coast, though I'm not sure the $20 plus price tag is justified. Would have to think twice before buying another bottle of this.

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Photo of ChrisPro
4.64/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

500 mL bottle, 2009 batch.

After a long fight with the cork, managed to pop the top

A - Pours a clear dark ruby with some light tan bubbly head. Managed to get a finger's worth, but it dissipated quickly.

S - Bourbon definitely hits the nose, but not in an overpowering way. Some nice toffee aromas, along with caramel and big fig. This is a great complex nose

T - Very sweet rich caramel, then a nice balance of bitterness to just barely cut the sweetness. The bourbon lingers on the finish for a while leaving great vanilla.

M - Very sharp carbonation on the tongue. Actually feels thinner than regular old stock and I'd say medium body. A nice buttery slickness as well.

D - Hands down one of the best bourbon aged beers I've had. So well balanced and sickenly drinkable. This is incredibly drinkable and hard to not just gulp it down.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.89/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for sharing this, John! 2009 edition

Mildly hazy ruddy brown with a dense light brown head that recedes leaving no lacing, this is decent. Unlike the 05 release, I don't pick out impressive legs here. The nose has plenty of brown sugar, vanilla, bourbon and boozy heat. Mildly prune and raisin like, I'm surprised by how sherry/port like this is. Excellent stuff.

Opening with a big raisin and prune character, there's plenty of vanilla and bourbon present with rather excellent balance. Definitely hot, but not on this winter day, this is quite enjoyable. Drying and alcoholic on the finish, this is boozy with brown sugar, vanilla and bourbon. Medium-light in body with rather high carbonation, especially for the style, this aspect is rather disappointing. Almost juicy in its oxidation and fruitiness, this is thoroughly enjoyable, though at its price, a little disappointing.

If this beer was priced at half the going rate, it would have gotten an A-/A, but at the going price, I can not give this a higher grade. Sue me if you will.

**Edit 04 May 2012**
Drinking my sole bottle of the 2005 vintage (2007 release?) that I received from Solomon420. Thank you, Damian. 14.6% ABV

A rapidly receding brown head caps this ruddy brown beer, with nice legs too. The nose is pretty excellent. Rich, fruity oxidation with prunes, raisins, an outrageously good bourbon character, with vanilla, oak and a nice heat. Wonderful malt character from the base beer carries forward, with leather, tobacco, brown sugar, almond liqueur. Really exceptionally balanced. As it breathes, the nose gains a mildly jammy character (which, at the level present, is thoroughly enjoyable)

The palate opens with a blend of candied dark fruits (raisins and prunes with brown sugar and vanilla), a nice oak presence (bittering tannins), a definite almond-like nuttiness (almond skin). It does bring to mind King Henry but with less prune, and the Bruery 100% Barrel aged anniversary beers (minus the excessive sweetness). Unlike the 09 vintage, this feels fuller on the palate, leaving a nice sticky coating.The alcohol is quite wonderful. It straddles the line of lending a bite, lightening the palate, and lending warmth, in a way I don't see too often in a beer this high in ABV. Medium in body with the alcohol providing the lightening of the palate, this beer is mildly carbonated and really good. Oak tannins, toffee, burnt sugar and dark fruits linger on the finish. Fantastic stuff.

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Photo of comfortablynumb1
4.16/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.75

Let me start this review by saying the olive green color of this bottle is awesome. The cork on the other hand, was a major pain. Way to big for the bottle...

Poured from a corked and caged 500ml bottle into a North Coast pint glass...

A - Pours a dark mahogany with light brown hues and a one finger tan head that dissipates almost immediately. Not much lacing to be had here...

S - Vanilla, bourbon, molasses, and caramel. This one just smells smooth. No scent is over the top or to prominent. Very nice...

T - Amazing. Molasses, oak, vanilla, and caramel. Ends on a smooth bourbon note. Finish has a butterscotch taste that melds really well with the rest of the flavors. Really well balanced. For the abv, this one is really smooth...

M - Probably one of the downfalls on this brew in my opinion. I was expecting a more viscious mouthfeel. Instead, it tastes a little watered down. Also one can argue that there is a little to much carbonation. Really bubbly...

D - Took off a point for the high price tag. Nonetheless, this is a steller brew, and is probably one of the better tasting beers I have tried. Extremely tasty. Definitely something I would be interesting in trying again...


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Photo of ppoitras
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle purchased at Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA. Corked & caged.

Poured into a DFH snifter, formed a 1" dark tan head above the cloudy burgundy brew. Head recedes sedately, with leggy slow-falling lace. Aroma is leathery sweetness with vanilla and coconut. Taste follows the nose, sweet to start, deep chocolatey tannins in the middle, and closes with boooze character and some warmth. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is quite good for a sipper. Good stuff, although not sure if it's $20 good. Anyways, a nice treat for a cold night.

1/16/08 - 4.5/4.5/4.5/4.5/4.5
375ml bottle obtained via trade with unclejedi. Thanks for the opportunity... Corked & caged.

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a 1/2" tan head above the cloudy, barely translucent dark reddish brown brew. Head falls gradually, with lasting lace. Aroma is leathery dark malts coupled with lightly fruity alcohol. Taste mirrors the nose, rich aged maltiness coupled with dense but not overpowering alcohol character. Bourbon comes through in the warming aftertaste. Mouthfeel is smooth, but the warming is a bit intense, and drinkability is very nice. An impressive nightcap, for sure.

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Photo of jjanega08
3.8/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 Cellar Reserve 13.16% ABV

A= A vigerous pour reveils a nice large three finger head with large bubbles that fall fast with little lacing. The color out of the bottle is rather light but in the glass it looks a dark brown almost black color. The heads color is an off white color.

S= The taste is huge toffee and sweet caramel. Not caramel malt but candy caramel. There is a good vanilla aspect to it and a little oaky wood. Not much heat coming from it. Actually smells a lot like sticky toffee pudding. Really nice smell. Makes my mouth water.

T= The taste is very reminicent of a vanilla coca cola. Tons of cola flavor. Not much head coming from it at all which is suprising because I've heard this is rather hot. There is a good bit of vanilla and toffee but mostly cola. I'm actually finding it difficult to move past the cola taste. There is a bit of straight bourbon on the finish with an exhale. The exhale reminds me of a sip of a bourbon and water.

M= A little too high on the carbonation I would day. It's not bad at all and in a way it's actually plesant. Just a tad too scrubby. Also maybe a tad to dry.

D= This is a very interesting beer. Very very much like cola with a touch of bourbon. I've never had the regualr old stock but this has inspired me to check it out. A tasty beer that I found maybe a little boring.

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

2009 500mL bottle served in Bruery tulip.
Pours a dark, slightly hazy brown that barely allows light through it. Decent sized tan head disapaits quickly leaving a tiny tan ring around the glass. Smells like bourbon heaven, including nice vanilla and oak, mixed with some dark fruits. Barrel aging has done something very nice to the nose of this beer. Creamy vanilla and oak bring this already excellent old ale to life. The booze is well hidden, popping up only a touch in the finish and in the warmth as it goes down. Otherwise, the characteristic flavors of dark fruits, rum raisins and maybe even a touch of leather appear underneath the star of the show- bourbon. Not the most balanced barrel aging, such that if you arenot a fan of bourbon, you are unlikely to like this beer. Regardless, the old ale seems to be a pretty good palate to cover in bourbon here. The mouthfeel has big carbonation, though not over the top and a small amount of creaminess is nice. Not overly thick or sweet. Hard to talk about the drinkability of a 14% bourbon bomb, but it is pretty smooth for the aforementioned characteristics and is not overly boozy. Altogether very tasty.

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Photo of foogerd
4.59/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500 ML dark khaki/brown ceramic bottle.

A- Dee p mahagony opaque body some tan head which dies out and leaves a bit of lacing.

S- Smells like the Gods of bourbon left me an early christmas present. Theres tons of this sweet delicious bourbon character that takes on so many forms. I get chocolate bourbon, vanilla,melted milk chocolate and raisins soaked in bourbon. The nose is definitely a harbinger of great things to come.

T- Much sweeter than I expected, but a huge wave of sugary sweet bourbon hits you. Totally balanced nothing out of whack here. I even taste some smokiness and wood character, I would imagine thats due to the barrel aging. Alcohol is not harsh here at all, it does let you know its there but in a way that complements the bourbon. I really dont see room for improvement this totally sold me.

M- Definitely a bit of thick chewiness character here but not in any way comparable to a bourbon barrel aged stout. Very smooth on the palette a pleasure to drink.

D- Yes the abv is high but its totally drinkable. This one is going to hurt your wallet I picked it up for 23.95, but it is something that has wowed me for the first time in a long time. Worth seeking out.

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Photo of kzoobrew
4.59/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served at cellar temperature and poured in a snifter. Deep ruby red body. Very fizzy carbonation, one of the first beers in a long time you could hear the bubbles pop to clearly. Even after the head fades you can hold your ear to the glass and it sounds like rice krispies. One finger sandy white head fades nearly instantly, a scant ring is left around the glass.

A heavy handed dose of caramel and brown sugar greet the nose. The bourbon is assertive but not dominant, to be honest the booze takes of more of a spiced rum aroma. Oak and vanilla are strong through out. Absolutely a beautiful smelling beer.

Sweet caramel and brown sugar come across the front of the palate with a soft creaminess. Darker raisin and molasses flavors lay across the midpalate. Bourbon and oak flavors come in to focus near the back of the palate. This is not to say the bourbon was not noticed previously, the flavor is just so well integrated it does not stand out til it reaches the back of the tongue.

Medium bodied, the bodied is a bit lighter than I anticipated. The lighter body should not be held against it, I feel it is quite appropriate and enhances the experience. The carbonation fade quickly, I am pleased with a semi still beer in this instance.

Tremendous beer, very impressed with the product. The alcohol is masterfully masked. For a beer that should be a sipper, it can be difficult not to sip rather quickly. The price may deter some, but those who bite the bullet will be rewarded. Glad to have had the chance to try this one.

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Photo of Avagadro
4.84/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep mahogany in color, with garnet highlights when held to the light. Its body is crystal clear topped with a kakhi froth. It doesn't stick around long, but that's not surprising given that this brew is 13.6% abv.

S: I knew from the second that I popped the cork, which was no small feat I might add, that this was going to be an amazing brew. How you ask? I could tell because the second that cork left its bottle I was bombarded with the aroma of dark rum, figs, raisins, creme brulee, cinnamon, and dulce de leche. This brew has a lot going for it in the aroma department.

T: The flavor follows the aroma, with additional notes of Pedro Ximenez, toasted coconut, and molasses. This brew is only slightly sweet, which makes these flavors all the more enjoyable. I am absolutely floored by the breadth and the the depth of the flavors in this brew, all perfectly balanced in a harmonious fashion.

M: Full bodied, with a touch of stickiness. This is quickly remedied, though, by a torrent of bubbles to scrub away only the stickiness, leaving the delicious flavors to linger between sips.

D: This is the most enjoyable beer I have had since Canadian Breakfast Stout has graced my lips. It is delicious through and through, and is truly unique in its flavor profile. As a frequent consumer of Bourbon, I was a touch disappointed that there wasn't a more overt bourbon presence, but what is there is absolutely divine. Regarding the first question everyone asks when they pick up this bottle, "Is it really worth the money?" I can say with the utmost confidence, "It's a bargain; this beer has flavor and balance that rivals any $40 bottle of port."

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Photo of caskstrength
3.88/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

25 dollars for 500ml of an interesting brown bottle. Bourbon barrel aged old ale, which sounds pretty, pretty good.

Pours dark brown/red. Fizzy quickly receding bubbles. Looks exactly like Mother of All Storms, which is fine by me.

Bourbon barrel barleywine on the nose, but there's an odd woody and musty vibe here. Brown sugar and bourbon domintate overall. Very inviting if you like the bourbon barrel thing.

Bourbon forward on the tongue. Proper wood/barrel notes. Not much else shines through, things are pretty straightforward in the flavor department. Minimal fruit, minimal alcohol (at 13 percent?)
Bourbon, carmel, wood....more bourbon, some wood, lots of carmel. Tobacco and leather, but I'm searching hard. Brown sugar, definitely brown sugar. Butter? Yeah, maybe some butter with the bourbon and wood and brown sugar/carmel. (Toffee!)
It's quite sweet, but it works.

Mouthfeel is thinner than expected, but doesn't detract.
Good carbonation, which one can't assume for this type of thing.

This is fun to drink. "'Tis a woody bourbon libation, say I! Drink up, be merry!"

I also say I will never be drinking it again, if drinking it again means I have to open up my wallet for the privilege.

Aw, screw it. I'll buy another bottle or two probably. F-you, North Coast.

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Photo of craytonic
3.5/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had some significant variation with bottles, one was delicious, one tasted like a flat rum and coke, and one was somewhere in the middle.

Appearance: brown-amber mahogany pour with a very small head

Smell: Heavy bourbon/booze up front with notes of toffee, caramel, vanilla, brown sugar and oak. Tendency for some bottles to smell too much like rum and coke

Taste: Similar to the aroma, as long as it doesn't taste like a rum and coke it is fairly tasty. Again, bourbon dominates with caramel, toffee, brown sugar, vanilla and oak following. A bit too sweet.

Mouthfeel - a touch more carbonation would have helped.

Overall - I have had one outstanding bottle, one bad bottle that was a drainpour, and one bottle in the middle. Lots of potential but a bit of a gamble.

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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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