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)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co.
California, United States
northcoastbrewing.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
363
Ratings:
1,076
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
7.82%
 
 
Wants:
277
Gots:
451
For Trade:
40
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Reviews: 363 | Ratings: 1,076
Photo of superspak
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500 ml bottle into snifter; 2013 vintage, bottled in early 2015. Pours fairly cloudy deep reddish brown color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of huge raisin, plum, fig, date, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, coconut, toasted oak, bourbon, light leather, and oak/toasted earthiness. Fantastic aromas with awesome balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of big raisin, plum, fig, date, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, coconut, toasted oak, bourbon, light leather, and oak/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate bourbon/oak spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, plum, fig, date, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, coconut, toasted oak, bourbon, light leather, and oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Incredible complexity, robustness, and and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel flavors; with a great malt/oak spice balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a creamy and lightly slick/sticky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light-moderate warmth lingering after the finish. Minimal booziness overall in aromas and flavors. Overall this is an absolutely incredible barrel aged old ale style. All around fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the huge ABV. An insanely enjoyable and delicious offering.

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

Appearance: Pours a clouded, dark brown body with a bubbly beige head.

Smell: Aroma drenched in bourbon with notes of caramel, oak, dark brown sugar, vanilla, fruit, and a puff of smoke.

Taste: Ah, rich caramel with a candylike sweetness you'd find in a dessert-minded liqueur. Macerated dark fruits. Full bourbon flavor with the essential hints of vanilla, wood, and brown sugar. Finishes bourbony with an alcoholic sear of success in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Lush mouthfeel.

Drinkability: A great beer and a fine offspring of the Old Stock Ale, but I gotta say the Brandy Barrel version just barely beats it out.

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

Dusky ruby with maraschino cherry highlights when the glass is backlit with weak sunshine. Too bad the khaki colored crown fizzed away to near nothing inside of several minutes. The only thing left is a thin rim of bubbles along the circumference of the laceless snifter. Barrel-aged beer can often look like this, so I won't be too harsh.

The nose is an omen that good things await on the taste buds. Possibly even great things. The beer smells like Jamaican dark rum at least as much as it smells like bourbon whiskey. It features the molasses of the former and the caramelized sugar, vanilla and toasted oak of the latter. The power is unquestioned, but more depth is needed for a bigger score to be considered. Not surprisingly, that depth arrives once the beer loses its slight starting chill.

Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Bourbon Barrel) is the quintessential slow sipper of a high-powered old ale. I now wish that I had reviewed one of the several Old Stock vintages currently in my cellar to see what the barrel aging added. Or possibly subtracted, as that also sometimes happens when beer is aged in liquor barrels.

There's quite a bit of overlap between the two styles, but this could also be considered an English barleywine. It's malt-dominant, is relatively light of body, and the ingredients are all imported from England (Maris Otter malt, Fuggles and East Kent Goldings hops). On second thought, there may be more hoppiness than most British brewers would be comfortable with.

Flavors include dark toffee, dark butterscotch, bourbon-soaked raisins, crushed vanilla beans, a shot of blackstrap molasses and a double shot of tawny port. The beer's vinousness is as wonderful as it is unexpected... and I just got ouzo with that last sip. It's too bad the bottle only contains 375 ml because it's difficult to get one's palate around this much complexity given slightly more than 12 ounces of beer.

I've decided to bump the mouthfeel score up a notch because it improves a little with warming. Even though it's no more than light-medium for the style, there's a hint of oily viscosity on the finish that is, again, reminiscent of an aged port. Once a few minutes of light fizziness have passed, the carbonation is appropriately sedate.

Old Stock Ale Cellar Reserve (Bourbon Barrel) is great beer. Though I much prefer bourbon whiskey to brandy, I'm sure that Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Brandy Barrel) is outstanding as well. The neck label indicates that this offering is part of the 'American Artisan Series'. That's North Coast Brewing in a nutshell: American artisans.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.26/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes. Love the bottle, too bad the price is so high.

A: Pours a dark ruby/brown color with a small off-white head forms, comprised of rather large bubbles, and dissipates rather quickly. Very thin lacing forms, but does not last.

S: Really great bourbon aroma, lots of vanilla and caramel. Slightly sweet with some brown sugar and a hints of wood.

T: Similar to the aroma, brown sugar, vanilla, caramelized sugar, and some molasses. The bourbon comes through very nicely.

M: Medium to full bodied, but not overly thick. Drinks smooth.

O: A very nice beer, not hot or boozy. Like the BBL version much more than the regular version. Too bad the beer is so expensive. Love the cool bottle...but have to assume that it adds to the price..so why bother?

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Photo of billab914
4.46/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage poured from a 500ml bottle into my CBS snifter. It poured a dark caramel brown color with a thin tan head mostly sticking to the sides of the glass. A steady stream of carbonation bubbles rises from the bottom of the glass.

The aroma really brings together the bourbon barrel and Old Stock flavors well. I get the bourbon, brown sugar and oak at first but as it warmed more of the caramel and dark fruits of Old Stock started to come out. It really comes together well and has a great range of flavors to it.

The taste also really brings all the flavors together very nicely. Bourbon, brown sugar, oak, dark fruits, caramel all compliment each other perfectly. A little bit of a bitter, balancing hoppiness is in the finish along with some brown sugar and bourbon lingering. It feels very well balanced for the style.

The mouthfeel is is on the heavy side and a little chewy. Carbonation is high for the style and gives it a bit of a silky, bubbly feel. I prefer much lower carbonation in the style, but it didn't detract from it that much.

Overall, it was a great beer. The barrel aging was really well done, it stands out but doesn't completely dominate. The bourbon was very flavorful and smooth and was the perfect compliment to the base beer. It had some great flavors to it and I really enjoyed sipping on it this evening. I'd say it deserves to be mentioned with the best of the style.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.77/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I waited a very, very long time to be able to get ahold of this one, After not being aloud to be at DLD, this year, I felt I had to open up something special to make up for it. Served at cellar temp and poured into a snifter this one was consumed on 04/24/2010.

Rich caramel colored pour with a light head of off white that caps it off rather nicely. Settling down it left a little bit of a light sticky lace along the sides. Aroma was the best I have ever come across. Rich toffee and butterscotch, tons of sweet nectar notes. Candy in all its glory. Perfectly aged with a smooth, perfect profile of vanilla, toffee, and rich butterscotch that will not let up. Rich bourbon flavor just rolls across the palate with a smoothness unlike anything I have run across before. Rich vanilla and boozy notes combine to form a perfect balance of rich sweet notes and oak soaked barrel flavor.

Incredibly complex and drinkable this was was everything I had wanted it to be and more. Quite simply one of the best beers I have had hands down. Go seek this one out now. It is dead on perfect.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.22/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Can't recall who brought this, but thank you. Bottle from the recently released 2009 vintage.

A: The beer pours a clear amber color with almost no head to speak of.

S: Like with the 2005 version, this beer is all about the bourbon. Tons of sweet vanilla, bourbon, wood, and caramel. The sweetness is actually quite intense. Perhaps some brown sugar is there also.

T: More of the same on the palate. Lots of sweet caramel, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, and vanilla. The bourbon is almost overwhelming, but this works out fine with the flavors of Old Stock.

M: Medium to full in terms of body with a minimal level of carbonation.

D: This version seems much, much less boozy than the previous one even though it was just released. I only wish it wasn't $25+ for a 500ml bottle. Maybe then I would actually buy some.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From 01/21/11 notes. Shared at a small tasting by nimbleprop; thanks Mac, another big want!

a - Pours a deep mahogany brown color with one inch of white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of bourbon, oak, caramel malts, toffee, and vanilla. Also some sweet molasses or sugar.

t - Tastes of oak, bourbon, caramel malts, vanilla, sugar, and light fruit.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Nice mouthfeel that is easy to drink.

d - I thought this was a great bourbon barrel aged ale. The nose on this one is fantastic, full of bourbon, oak, and caramel, and the mouthfeel makes it very easy to drink considering the high ABV. Would love to try again, definitely a bottle to split with a few friends.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.86/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle shared by jayhawk73. Thanks Jeff!

2009 vintage

The beer is a crimson / brown / ruby color, with just a fleeting glimpse of a head. The aroma is simply fabulous. Delectable bourbon, oak, malt. Perfect blend of flavors. This beer tastes amazing. Incredibly smooth, time has served this old ale very well. The $20+ price tag is a bit steep, but wow, this beer delivers. Alcohol presence is completely unobtrusive. I highly recommend this beer. A must try.

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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 Alieniloquium
4.36/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2009 bottle.

Appearance - Pours with a surprisingly large khaki head. Reddish clear brown body. No head after a little while and then it's mostly lifeless.

Smell - Oh nice. Strong bourbon aroma. Lots of oak. Lots of vanilla. Lots of toffee. Lots of awesome.

Taste - Slightly less awesome than the smell, but still fantastic. Bourbon is sharp but the caramel and toffee back it up. Fruity taste from the malts reminiscent of the base beer. Oaky flavor builds into a somewhat overpowering finish.

Mouthfeel - A little over carbonated. Not as boozy as I would expect, but it has a bite. Slow drinker. Lots of oak in the finish that I don't really love.

Overall - Everything I love about Old Stock with bourbon. Can't beat it.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Reviewing the 2009 vintage, although I've had the 2005 on a few occasions as well. Served in a DryHop taster pint glass.

A - Surprising pop when I pulled out the cork. A finger of tan foam settles to a partial cap, thick collar, and specks of lace. Dark amber-brown body that's largely opaque.

S - Lots of bourbon, brown sugar, and oak, with secondary notes of vanilla, red fruits, licorice, and a bit of chocolate. Still pretty boozy, even after two years of cellaring, but not excessively so for 13+%.

T - The taste is quite delicious, with a nice blend of caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, and more peripheral flavors of bourbon, oak, and both dark and red fruits. Alcohol is better hidden here. Not overly cloying, with good balance between barrel flavors and sweet malts. There's perhaps a faint note of smoke and light hints of raisin and toffee as well. Rich and complex.

M - Smooth, creamy, medium-full body, with some mild tannins and oak late on the palate and some mild warming alcohol as well. Pleasant, lower carbonation that is sufficiently lively for the style.

D - Drink 'em if you got 'em. Quite good, and probably not going to get any better. Whatever gains there are to be made in the aroma will probably be lost in the taste. Looking forward to the new brandy release.

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Photo of SadMachine
4.78/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Reviewed from notes from 1/19/13

A- Pours a deep mahogany with ruby hues. A larger head and carbonation than expected considering the age, but it disappears quickly. Lots of alcohol legs.

S- The aroma is the thing dreams are made of! Big bourbon right off the bat, ripe prune, bourbon-soaked raisins, smokey oak, vanilla, perhaps a little banana, and did I mention bourbon?! Super complex, and I'm honestly a bit lost in it and can't decipher some of the aromas!

T- The flavor is nearly identical to the nose. The smooth bourbon and sweet, over-ripe dark fruits reign supreme, and balance each other well. Figs and maybe even a little apricot make their presence known. A hint of dark chocolate/cocoa make an appearance, and perhaps cherries. Alright, enough analysis, I just want to enjoy the rest of this wondrous brew!

M- The mouthfeel is creamy as velvet, with the slightest tingle of carbonation and heat from the alcohol.

O- This is without a doubt one of the best beers I've ever tasted! Absolutely astounding complexity and balance in the flavor, and an aroma that I'd love to be able to smell every day of my life! Please release another batch of this ASAP!!

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Photo of drabmuh
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I drank the whole thing alone, not the brightest of ideas but I've had worse. Beer is brown and hazy with a tan head that disappears quickly, no lacing low carbonation.

Caramel and bourbon, woody and sweet in the nose. Lots of candy.

Beer is medium in body and the base beer comes through more than I expected, so that's a good thing. Overall the bourbon brightens up the forward and midpalate in complexity. The malt character from the Old Stock is present and very nice. The finish is a little dry for the style but overall it a great beer. I wish it wasn't 20$ a bottle.

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Photo of aasher
4.76/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I decided to open one of these to celebrate my engagement yesterday. 2009 vintage. It's also fitting that this is my 500th bottle review.

It pours a nice mahogany in color, between light and medium in body, with a slight beige lacing around the glass. The aromas are of candied sugar, caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, bourbon, and oak. If you let it decant and swirl it about a bit you get some really elegant brandy notes, even some apple brandy. It smells great. It tastes of vanilla, cream, brown sugar, oak, cherries, port, brandy, bourbon, and has a superb smooth creamy finish. It is as if all of my tastebuds stood up to applaud. It instantly makes your mouth salivate. It drinks so smoothly and definitely makes you pay attention. This is a superb old ale, and a phenomenal barrel aged beer, period. I knew this one would be pretty stellar but it still surprised me. What a phenomenal beer, phenomenal.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured dark brown in color with ruby highlights that had a thin frothy head and left some good lacing sticking to the glass. Some very nice vanilla bourbon aromas are pretty strong on the nose alongside mild oaky, cocoa, and toffee notes. You could definitely smell the booze but its not overwhelming whatsoever. The vanilla and bourbon also dominated the palate with toffee, oaky, and cocoa accents but had mild butterscotch notes as well. There was lots of bourbon character but it was not hot at all, the booze was pretty well hidden. The brew was medium to full in body with a very pleseant amount of carbonation which had a sweet, bourbon, oaky, very mild boozy, and silky finish that lingered on the palate. Regardless of the ABV it drank better than I thought and was even more tastier than I thought. Very glad I got the chance to try this gem.

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Photo of liamt07
4.36/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Jason, 500ml cermaic bottle into some snifters. Thanks for saving this one dude.

Poured a dark reddish-mahogany, big bubbles are formed and compromise a transient off-white head that fades to a thin collar. No lacing or real retention to speak of. Nose is caramel, gentle bourbon notes, butterscotch and hints of dark fruits in the periphery. Some alcohol notes too, a general sweetness is found throughout the nose. Taste is rich in caramel, butterscotch, vanilla and bourbon, although the bourbon presents itself in a harsher way than found in the nose. More alcohol and leather notes. Mouthfeel is medium-heavy, rich and relatively sweet. Medium-low carb, but on second pours this appears to be much lower than I initially gathered. Great drinkability, a true sipper. Decadent, and something to really be savoured.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

'13 vintage, purchased at Premiere Gourmet in Buffalo, NY.

This one pours a murky brown, with not much in the way of head or lacing.

This one smells awesome, tons of brown sugar, molasses, caramel, and bourbon, just exploding out of the glass.

Once you get to the flavor though, there's some unmistakably strong coconut flavors. It's amazing how they can get such a strong coconut flavor without actually adding any. Magic of the barrels, I guess. This one is a malty dream, so much caramel and brown sugar, with a really rich bourbon flavor folded in. The bourbon is not super strong, and doesn't stand out compared to the other flavors in this one. It's just a nice component. This is definitely sweet, but is elegant enough to never be cloying.

This isn't syrupy, which is nice, it actually has a decently creamy mouthfeel, with a lower level of carbonation, and a pretty thick body.

I think this is a slight bit better than the brandy variant, but both are fantastic.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks goes out to cyrusthepup for this brew.

16.9 oz.
Caged/Corked
Tan Bottle
2009 Vintage

Poured into a Westy chalice a very nice brownish color, very nice carbonation (HUGE POP), nice one-finger fizzy/foamy off-white head, with some nice small islands and sticky lacing left behind. The nose is sweet, malty, with some raisins, figs, plum notes, very nice touch of oak/bourbon, slight ABV note. The taste is absolutely amazing, sweet, malty, some very nice dark fruit notes, bourbon, oaky, slight cherry note. Medium Body, theres a nice lightness to this brew on the tongue, ABV is hidden very well. This is one amazing brew. Glad I finally got a chance to try it. Thanks Chris!

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

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

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

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

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Very nice.

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Photo of dar482
4.77/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

The beer comes in a rich dark copper color.

The aroma is wonderfully sweet of brown sugar and caramel with lots of sweet vanilla and bourbon.

The flavor follows with that caramel sweetness, but without much chewy qualities. The bourbon drives throughout and there also is an apple pie spice throughout.

There's a medium mouthfeel and the alcohol is extremely well hidden.

A pleasant surprise as the beer has wonderful complexities and drinkability.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.55/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Old Stock Ale Bourbon pours a old ale reddish brown color. With a slightly hard pour no head came up just some popping bubbles. A few swirls managed to produce some small white bubbles. No lacing, pretty much what I expected.

S- Right out of the bottle this pretty much smells like alcohol and malts. As this opens up the alcohol remains but a bunch of dark fruit and caramel come out wih the bourbon not far along. Some traces of sherry and sugars are there too. A very nice rich smelling beer with dank bourbon. This needs to be room temp to fuly understand

T- As with the smell this was pretty standard cold but got better when it came to. Loads of rich sweet malts with caramel. Not much hops as they faded, nothing at all really. The alcohol which usually distracts me from the beer works well in this. Bourbon soaked dark fruit like plums plus figs and raisins. Some hard alcohol like tastes, this one is great when it is warm, pointless to drink any other way.

M- Well above medium bodied with pretty low carbonation but there is some there. This one is sweet but boozy and still a bit hot after two some years. On par with an english old ale in which I believe this was inspired by.

D- 13.16%, that is alot, and it is noted in the taste. While the ABV is high this is very drinkable although it needs to be sipped and one is plenty although I kind of want to crack another one right now. Insanely expensive, kind of a rip off.

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Photo of biegaman
4.7/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2009 Vintage - sampled 26/10/11.

I was surprised by how loud a 'pop' I got prying out the cork; while the head itself didn't last long, bubbles continue spew atop the surface like it were the Stromboli volcano. It's no shocker that at more than 13% alcohol lacing fails to stick to the glass, although a piano could stand on the legs left. Like its ceramic bottle, the beer's deep chestnut-y coloured body is opaque, revealing nothing to the light.

There's no mistaking the bourbon in the aroma - it's as Ann as the nose on plain's face - but a particularly dark wild honey does come over the senses, with the raisin, brown sugar and resiny, bitter hops of standard Old Stock Ale not far behind. Of course, digging your way through the vanilla - not that you'd want to - requires a drilling rig and there's enough wood spice to make you sneeze. But that's all part of the charm.

Book it boys, this flavour is 5-oh. I'm no sucker for big bourbon flavours - in fact, a regrettable experience involving far too much of it and an 18 hour overnight bus trip without water makes me rather sensitive to the stuff - but even me (and my occasional gag reflex) must concede that North Coast has found the perfect balance of gooey heated butterscotch, vanilla bean, and malty-rich old ale.

Usually a beer with this much alcohol would upset even those with a cast iron stomach but despite the tremendous presence of bourbon flavour, the amount of perceivable alcohol is shockingly low. This is a sipper, to be sure, but less out of necessity than of just not wanting the glass to run empty. A *pint* of near 14% beer sounds ridiculous, but this is a bourbon-barrel aged beer I actually can (and want!) to drink in a 500ml serving.

Old Stock Cellar Reserve has all the flavours and complexity of bourbon but with the drinkability and thick, malty body of beer. It is, for my money ($25 dollars), one of the best bourbon-barrel aged beers I've ever tried, hands down. You get what you pay for; this has definitely been an out-of-the-ordinary experience. It is every bit as good as people say it is. A wonderful testimony to the American craft beer revolution!

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a quickly dissipating, initially one-finger thick, tan colored head. The beer is a dark, rusted amber color, but shows a brilliantly clear, full cranberry color when held up to the light. Ample Bourbon and sharp oak notes greet my nose, but it is far more integrated and smoother than many Bourbon Barrel beers. In fact the barrel character is right on par with the Brandy barrel version; certainly dominant, but well integrated and pleasing to the olfactory senses. Notes of spicy Bourbon, vanillin, ample butterscotch laden oak, definite warming alcohol notes and a touch of spicy wood are all noticeable parts of the barrel aging. The barrel notes are well supported by a substantial, but clearly secondary, malt character; ample caramelized malt notes help to smooth out the barrel notes and especially marry well with the vanillin and butterscotch notes. Some berry-like fruitiness, a sweet nuttiness and toasty browned malts are also part of the malt profile. After my nose gets used to the aroma a bit the barrel character seems to die down a bit, but it never loses the ample warming note from the alcohol.

Sweet, but as was the sister brew, this is very light feeling for a beer of this strength. The alcohol is omnipresent and seems to quickly go to my head, though I would not characterize it as overly hot, merely substantially warming. Nutty flavors seem to accent wood derived notes of butterscotch and vanillin; the latter two being the more noticeable notes. The malt provides fruity notes of raisins and berries that, in combination with the booze, make this taste a bit like Brandy. This is clearly Bourbon influenced though as it has a characteristically spicy edge to it, especially in the finish. The barrel notes are huge here, somehow this beer holds them in check though; the base beer manages to keep the barrel from becoming overly aggressive. The Bourbon character somehow manages to be so present here in the flavor, but it still does not become disagreeable (am I becoming more used to Bourbon notes in beer, a distinct possibility, or is this just that well integrated).

Definitely harder than the Brandy barrel aged version, but not overly so and I can see this appealing more to some people. The sharper barrel notes, which the Bourbon brings out, are really nice though and make this beer different enough (in a good way) from the Brandy that I find that I am enjoying this beer far more than I thought I would. I really think that trying this beer after I sampled the Brandy one (separated by days) has made me enjoy this beer all that much more. If I had had it at the same time, or before the other one, I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much. The differences that my memory has played out seem to be the most intriguing part of this beer. What this relies on though is the fact that this beer, while clearly barrel dominated, does not allow the barrel notes to overwhelm & marginalize the base beer. In the end it is a little too alcohol accented in the flavor to be on the same level as the Brandy barrel aged old stock, but it is still damn tasty and quite close.

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Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Bourbon Barrels) from North Coast Brewing Co.
4.35 out of 5 based on 1,076 ratings.
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