Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Brandy Barrels)
North Coast Brewing Co.

Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Brandy Barrels)Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Brandy Barrels)
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Old Ale
4.52 | pDev: 7.52%
North Coast Brewing Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Brandy Barrels)Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Brandy Barrels)
Notes: Vintages: 2005, 2011
Reviews: 128 | Ratings: 741 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of john_science

5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Absolutely delightful. Strong enough, and expensive enough, that this is a "sometimes treat". But it is the benchmark against which all other beers are measured.

I loved this so much.

Each year is slightly different. They all age wonderfully, but also slightly differently. I think the Brandy barrels are my favorite, and I think 2013 was my favorite around 2018.

In some ways, this is hardly a beer: it's not highly carbonated. But, god, I love this stuff.

Jul 30, 2021
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Treyliff from West Virginia

4.54/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage
500ml cork and cage bottle poured into a snifter

A- pours brown in color with a bit of a ruby hue, one-finger foamy off-white head that has short retention

S- huge brandy notes on the nose, with aromas of raisin, figs, prunes, black cherries and dark grapes. Maple and toffee sweetness, along with brown sugar, peppery oak, toasted pecans and raisin bread. Has an overall port-like aroma

T- as with the nose, brandy dominates the flavor up front; a plethora of dark fruits including figs, dates, raisins and black cherries. Mid-palate gives notes of butter toffee, brown sugar, an umami-like soy, as well as a bunch of sherry and port-like notes. The finish gives notes of pipe tobacco, cherries, sharp oak and cracked pepper. Long linger of brandy

M- medium body with low carbonation leads to an almost flat mouthfeel that continues into just a hint of foam into a warming, silky finish

O- at nearly 10 years old, the complexity of this beer is through the roof. The brandy barrel takes front stage and compliments the base beer brilliantly

Feb 07, 2021
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rand from California

4.55/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500 mL bottle into a whisky glass
2011 batch (I think this was the only year this was brewed?)

Dark brown, high viscosity, almost no carbonation. Hefty grape essence in the nose, warming alcohol, vanilla and caramel.

Drier on the palate than the aromas - nice oak aging. Still, decadent desert flavors abound with sweet brandy essence combining with the stodgy malty character of Old Stock Ale. Nuanes of raisins, carob, vanilla. Thinner mouthfeel than expected ushers in a medium finish.

Nov 29, 2019
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

4.5/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage; drank 6/25/14 @ the Kid's.

Muddy purple/brown/orange hue.

No head; no lace.

Caramel, oak, dried figs, plums & slight booze heat in the nose.

Thick mouthfeel.

Caramel, oak & dried figs mark the flavor; a strong brandy note emerges as this warms. Almost no booze heat, incredibly!

This has aged into a hall-of-fame after dinner treat. Masterful.

Jun 18, 2019
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Beersnake1 from California

4.49/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 poured in May of 2019. Nice pop when the cork came out. Pours a gorgeous dark brown with little head. Nose is brandy, port, raisins, oak, and maybe a touch of spice. The taste is great. Tons of flavor exploding on the first sip. Lots of brandy - the most I have tasted on a beer aged in brandy barrels. Lots of grapes, oak, candy, toffee, bread, and leather. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, and the alcohol is well hidden. This beauty has aged gracefully over 8 years.

May 26, 2019
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wbartolomie from California

5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Opened my 2011 NC old stock 7/13/18. It was cellared at 55 degrees since 2011. Best beer I have had the pleasure of drinking. If you can find it. Its a must buy.

Jul 14, 2018
Photo of rjp217
rjp217 from Massachusetts

5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2011.... Unbelievable barrel depth on this beast. Vanilla, toffee, maple, caramel. Oxidation is nonexistent on this bottle. Minimal carb as well. This beer pushes any boundaries I've seen out of barrel aging, just brilliant.

Feb 12, 2017
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scottfrie from California

3.64/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

500ml bottle into snifter. 2011 cellar reserve.

A: Pours a deep raisin color with a thin and short lived dark tan head that quickly faded into nothing.
S: Oxidization sticks out to me the most on the nose with dominating notes of cardboard followed by slight sherry and slight soy sauce. I also get tons of leather, caramel, and brandy, with hints of toffee, and raisin.
T: Rich and complex notes of sweet brandy over flavors of powdery chocolate, leather, toffee, tobacco, musty cardboard, and just a touch of soy. The finish is full of toasted marshmallow and raisin, and I get lingering flavors of oxidization and brandy in the aftertaste.
M: Thick body, heavy and slick mouthfeel with a kick of booze. Soft and fairly smooth carbonation. Flavors are intense and potent overall, with a bitter and boozy finish and tingly aftertaste.
O: I wish this had held up a little better. Still despite the strong oxidization, the flavors in this were very rich, complex, and smooth.

Sep 29, 2016
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wordemupg from Canada (AB)

4.43/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

500ml corked and caged 2011 bottle poured into tulip 26/5/16 big thanks towards billverstien for sending the want my way

A slight haze in a reddish brown body, angry pour pumps out a short lived finger of foam that leaves no lace but to be expected, thin legs running down the side

S caramel, molasses, brandy with the booze included, tobacco, figs and raisins, vanilla, faint leather, heaps of maple, maybe a little oxidized but it works with the style, hard toffee and more barrel, smells impressive really

T more booze and barrel, lots of burnt brown sugar, dried sugar coated fruit, more brandy, shes big no doubt but but I don't think I'd guess its over 15%

M syrup but not overly thick, numbs the lips, slick in the mouth but my lips are stuck together, there's heat going down but its smashing my chest and brain for the most part, has raisin and brandy going long on the finish

O I can't imagine how intense this stuff was fresh, shes drinking mellow but still has booze written all over it and could probably go another 5 years with no problem

A five year old bottling that could easily sit down for another 5-10 years with no problem, even with 5 years on it you can still tell its a little rough around the edges. World class stuff that's truly meant to go the distance under the stairs

May 27, 2016
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Stevedore from Oregon

4.49/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 cork and caged 500ml bottle. Served in a snifter glass 5 years later.

Pours a dark caramel brown body, half finger white head, short retention, some lacing. Looks hefty and substantial as it comes out of the bottle. Smell is caramel, molasses, dark fruit, sweet brandy, oak, even a touch of chocolate. This is crazy complex. Flavour is similarly complex with tons of honey, molasses, dark fruit and caramel, with lots of big brandy presence. At first it's got no booze and lots of complexity to it. As it warms, more caramel and heat comes out. Mouthfeel is full bodied, slick, viscous with a nice sweet molasses and brandy warmth on the finish. I can't believe I haven't had this so far, but this is a ridiculously good barrel aged old ale that nobody should sleep on.

May 20, 2016
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Resuin from Massachusetts

4.62/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 500 mL bottle into a snifter. This is from 2011, so 4-5 years since bottling.

A: Pours a hazy dark brown and leaves a finger of light tan head. Looks a bit murky, which makes sense. (4)

S: Sugar coated figs, oak, grapes, toffee, chocolate. (4.5)

T: Oak, grapes, caramel, figs, plums, grapes, big toffee finish. Superb balance and blend of flavors. I figured this for 11 or 12%. Perhaps time has mellowed it, but it's drinking great. (4.75)

M: Medium to full body with low to med. carb and just a touch sticky.

O: Some great flavors in here - sweet and delicious. This beer has held together very well. (4.75)

Jan 07, 2016
Photo of Josh012012
Josh012012 from Minnesota

4.52/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Not much head. The beers age is beginning to show but still delicious. Still has good brandy presence in the nose. Taste is smooth and sweet. Extreme ABV is barely noticeable

Dec 17, 2015
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Furlinator from California

4.21/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Toronado San Diego on 11/13/15.
2011 vintage.

Sweet caramel malt, subtle accents of dark fruit. Sweetness and hints of fruit provided by the brandy barrel as well. Mild alcohol presence.

Nov 14, 2015
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Rizzy17 from Pennsylvania

4.28/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: A dark burgundy with a fizzy head that dissipates quickly.
S: Straight up brandy.
T: Sweet upfront that fades into hints of raisin and followed up by molasses. Brandy is very apparent.
F: Very smooth. The brandy is there but there's no alcohol burn. Incredibly drinkable for how boozy it is.
O: This beer really surprised me. I was unsure about the style, but it's very interesting and enjoyable.

Oct 15, 2015
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mig100 from Texas

4.7/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a thick burgundy with about a 3mm head and slight swirl, which quickly fades to almost nothing. Smells incredible... apples, brandy, toffee, raisins, figs... wow. Taste is an apple-brandy explosion with full and rich caramel and toffee notes. Incredible drink down and mouthfeel for 15.2% as well.

Overall, this puts the bourbon barrel aged version to shame. If you didn't like that version and you see this on the shelf, do not hesitate to buy it. This is a world class and decadent brew, and the best old ale or brandy-barrel beer I've ever had.

Sep 28, 2015
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jvillefan from California

4.76/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

L: A hazy deep golden brown color, with no head. What you would expect an old ale to look like.

S: It smells like dessert. There is deep caramel flavors. There are obvious hints of brandy here as well.

T: Nearly perfect for an old ale. This is an after dinner beer for sure. There is toffee, caramel, biscuit, and plenty of brandy and vanilla from the barrels.

M: Thick bodied with minimal carbonation.

O: Amazing beer. Well done North Coast. The only old ale that I've had that is beer is Utopia and it's very very very close, except Old Stock is way cheaper. For the price the best old ale out there.

Sep 08, 2015
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costanzo_mike from Massachusetts

4.55/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very hazy brown color, no head. Smell has a gorgeous brandy, dark fruits and oak. Taste is very smooth with the same flavors coming through. Light carbonation which I always appreciate with this style. Excellent beer overall

Aug 30, 2015
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neurobot01 from California

4.63/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

2011 vintage into a snifter at cellar temp.

Look: pours a very nice reddish-brown with very little head, but some carbonation evident.

Smell: holy wonderful hell. Smells like straight grapey boozy cognac. Molasses, tobacco, leather, and maybe some very mild hops. I want to smell this forever.

Taste: much like the smell. Actually, halfway between the smell and several-year-aged Old Stock. Up front, lots of grape and mild tobacco; gives way to more pronounced caramel and possibly hop notes. Finishes clean, with a good lingering sweet grape and booze.

Feel: medium bodied, but feels light, if that makes sense. Alcohol is present, but not unpleasant. Not especially dry.

Overall: I don't actually know how this beer could be improved. It's not that I think it's perfect, it's just I don't know what I would do to make it better. As it is, it's very good. And the nose... yeesh.

Aug 23, 2015
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mdfb79 from New York

4.25/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Big thanks to BeerLawyer85 for sharing this. Have wanted it for years but never had it. 2011 vintage.

Pours a depe murky brown with a few off white bubbles and low carbonation evident. Caramel, bready malts, toasted malts, sweet bourbon, very oxidized. Thin body and low carbonation.

Overall much like the BA Old Rasputin's I think these fade after a few years...this one was good but way past its prime. Don't hold on to their Cellar Reserve beers for more than 1-2 years IMO.

Still very good but goes from very good, to great, and then back to very good.

Aug 07, 2015
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papat444 from Canada (QC)

4.24/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

***2011 Vintage***

Pours a leathery brown color with a thin head. Rich aroma of brown sugar, mix of mustiness and brandy in the flavor. Surprisingly drinkable given the high ABV.

Jun 05, 2015
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KYGunner from Kentucky

4.46/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

It was a real treat to get to try this superb brew. The nose is a firmer fuller version of the flavors with peanut brittle, heavy molasses, maple, solid brandy tones, caramel, toffee, port wine, grape must and oak. My only complaint was after 6 ounces it really started to dry out my palate and saturate it with a liquor aftertaste.

Jun 03, 2015
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barczar from Kentucky

4.41/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Aroma is rich, with big nutty toffee notes, rich, buttery caramel, and molasses, the combination of which gives a perception of fudgy brownies. Brandy and oak are prevalent throughout. Hints of dates, raisins, and figs pale in comparison to the booze and caramelized malt notes.

Flavor is very rich and sweet, with dark fruit opening up the profile, providing contrast to prevent the initial taste from becoming cloying. The finish is dry and fairly woody. Raisins and prunes fade to fig sweetness that lingers throughout. Subsequent sips reveal an almost vinous oxidation that opens the stage for vanilla to shine through. Exceedingly complex beer. The finish still has a very hot character to it, but the sweet molasses and treacle notes redeem. The interplay of flavors comes across differently with every taste. I only wish there were a bit more body to make the malt flavors linger a bit more.

Jun 02, 2015
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lupercmda from North Carolina

4.89/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

WOW. A nice thick brown pour. Smells of the toffee and caramel and the brandy barrel. Nice thick mouth feel is immediately felt. Tastes of the caramel, toffee and molasses with a hint of figs and raisins. A sweet beer that oozes the wonderfulness of the apple brandy barrel. Almost perfect beer!!!

Apr 04, 2015
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.61/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle shared by myself last night, received in a trade recently.

This one pours a dark, copper brown, with a half inch head, and not a whole lot of lacing.

This one smells pretty dreamy, tons of dark fruit, raisins, toffee, caramel, and toasted bread.

With the time on this, it seems the brandy character has diminished a bit- it's still there, but very mild. There's some great vanilla, a bit of coconut, with the aforementioned strong toffee, raisin, and caramel. The flavors are super intense and really nice.

This is medium bodied, with a slightly creamy mouthfeel, and a fairly low level of carbonation. It's really drinkable.

This lived up to my expectations. It was excellent.

Mar 15, 2015
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Houser from Pennsylvania

4.81/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Almost the perfect old ale. Looks like it should, ruby with some haze. Smells great, caramel, vanilla, sweet. Taste is much the same with backend booziness. Just ever so slightly undercarbed in my opinion, but can't complain. Great beer.

Mar 10, 2015
Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Brandy Barrels) from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 99 out of 100 with 741 ratings