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

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Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Brandy Barrels)Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Brandy Barrels)

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

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 15.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Vintages: 2005, 2011

Added by BeerBeing on 06-03-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 121 | Ratings: 724
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.93/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The beer is a deep, dark, chestnut hue with a soft, fluffy beige head. The aroma is wonderful, offering scents of toffee, caramel, oak, booze, vanilla. Wow, what flavor! A delightful beer to sip. Brandy character comes in late, lingering on the palate between drinks. Although there is certainly an alcohol presence, this beer is silky smooth and elegant. 15.2% and something I could sip on for hours. Wonderfully complex, delicious, well-balanced. A world-class beer.

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

I've waited seven long years to try this masterpiece, and I wasn't even slightly let down.

Beautiful dark ruby pour with a very minimal, fleeting off-white head.

Aroma and flavor of dates, figs, persimmons, walnuts, raisins, caramel, toffee, toasted coconut, leather, tobacco, honey, brown sugar brandy, apples, pears, kumquats, breadfruit, canned peaches, starfruit, casaba melon, white grape, mandarin orange/tangerine, with almost a mentholated, extremely long finish.

Yup, this was definitely worth the wait.

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Photo of leroybrown10
4.53/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy amber-brown. Just a few hints of white bubbles that vanish instantly.

Aroma is brandy and caramel. Oak, plum, figs, and raisin. Light, sweet molasses. Vanilla. Seems like first the one thing is dominate and than another. Ends up very well balanced.

Big brandy and grape flavors. Sweet notes abound. Caramel, toffee, molasses, and brown sugar. Dark, overripe plums. Raisins, dates, figs, and a hint of cherry. Oak and vanilla barrel notes come through at the end.

Rich, sticky mouth feel. Low carbonation. Sweetness lingers. Warms the chest even though there is no hint of the 15% abv.

Such a complex beer. Big flavors with great balance. Sweet and fruity with underlying barrel notes. Good as a sipper, as a dessert beer, or as a pairing for a rich dinner like steak or stroganoff.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.65/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Intensely brandied and with the firm foundation of Old Stock Ale, this ale zings with savory, spicy and sweet flavors that carry a seriously adult attitude.

Brandy-Barrel Cellar Reserve Old Stock Ale kicks off with a creamy brandy pour- its color is a tawny ruddy brown with dark crimson threads. Mostly clear, its brandy and port influences reign even more true. Its part-froath, part-spritzy head is tarnish and only hangs around for the first few minutes of the session as the beer's alcohol has certainly compromised its foam character to further reinforce its brandy, cognac or sherry-like appearances.

Its incredible aromas are poignant, succulent, sweet and powerfully complex as the malt opens up with toasted maple and butter pecan notes. Its fruity follow-up includes all things dark and dried fruit- cherries, dates, figs, raisins, plumbs prunes and stewed red grapes. As the alcohol intensifies, the scent of undeniable brandy comes to mind, but so do more savory and sweeter alcohol is port wine, sherry, rosey and with cognac-type spice.

And then to taste, much of the same transpires as the malty sweetness of toffee, maple, butter, nuts and toast saturate the taste buds. As the complex alcohol flavors fold in, the sweetness turns to savory flavors of sherry, umami-rich soy, light sauce, light tar and an almost salty-meaty combination rises. The brandy influences are dense and condensed allowing the grape to turn more plumby, raisiny and rich with dates and figs. A tinge of cherry and oak signal a turn to closure while sharp peppercorn, cognac, and lacquer.

Its full, yet understated body is dense and creamy-sweet early while the malts and alcohol sweetness blankets the mouth, but its relatively moderate attenuation dries the beer's finish into a semi-drinkable, feathery texture that gives greater rise to the impressions of alcohol to really spice things up as the beer closes. Its long, spicy and savory finish is the perfect after diner digestive- paired with nuts, blue stilton and great company.

The beer is incredibly complex and it reveals a lot of aromas, tastes and texture in short order. It's put together beautifully as all the flavors strike the right place on the mouth and at the right time. The fruitier and spicier taste from brandy barrels give the ale something unexpected and truly majestic!

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

Poured into FW snifter.

Pours a murky mahogany color with fizzy active tan head that dissipates quickly to a small ring around the edge of the snifter. Nice carbonation bubbles coming up from the bottom. Looks inviting!

Aroma is a beautiful Brandy infused dark fruit and caramelized sugar mix. Oak, brown sugar, vanilla, Cabernet, chewy fig, dates, molasses, peloncillo, old raisin, leather, burnt marshmallow, and it goes on and on.

On the palate the Brandy elevates the base beer (already a top tier beer for its style) to a class in of its own. Big grape, plum, sweet red wine, date, brûlée winter fruit, adjoins molasses, agave, brown sugar, coconut rum, vanilla, maple syrup, and just enough leather and dark bread to round things out gorgeously!

Mouthfeel on this is perfect for an old ale and/or barleywine. Surprisingly plenty of carbonation that gives the body a heavy side of medium illusion when in reality if you took some of that carbonation away it would be in the light medium range. Just silky and brings out the flavors in the best way possible.

Overall, this is one of the best beers I've EVER had. Served in a snifter is the best way to enjoy this. The Brandy in this is just KICKIN! A sipper in every sense of the word, a beer to be enjoyed during the cold months, paired with a fine cigar, or as a digestif after a gourmet dinner. Absolutely marvelous.

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Photo of sukwonee
4.56/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


It's expensive for sure... and misleadingly sized bottle (looks like a 650 or 750ml but it's only 500ml) but this time it's worth the price tag. I didn't like North Coast's BA Rasputin but this one is fantastic.

Lots of sherry like aroma, dark fruits, caramel, brandy (yes you can actually detect brandy), it's a tad bit sweet, but it hides the alcohol completely (alcohol is not detected).

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Photo of impending
4.77/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75


500ml into a chocolate milk glass, perfect dimension for a brew of this size. Pours a deep walnut chestnut, light passes given the chance, brief large bubbled froth settles quickly, a good sign.

An intoxicating aroma, sweet rich dessert style brandy goodness. Wonderfully thick and fresh, I think I dreamed of this aroma as a kid, beautiful adult candy. I would love a woman to secret this scent.

An explosion of flavors, everything you want is here. A review listing 87 descriptors for taste, I understand. The caramel goodness, the expressive alcohol brilliantly used as a flavor component allows for many flavors to ride it's back, zero harsh. Tiny sips contain the whole vibrant deep and complex flavor.

Easy to incessantly tiny sip, provides a stunning flavor/mouth/tongue reaction, very pleasurable. Aftertaste never really leaves before your next sip, you don't let that happen.
Wonderful, excellent. you pay attention.
spectacular at room temp
perfect thickness but not nearly a pancake topper, perhaps yes, a perfect sweetness, no guilt

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.64/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5


Thanks to Pacamacca for 2011 vintage of brandy Old Stock!

500ml C&C bottle poured into tulip glass.

Vintage 2011.

Tonight we drank 2011 Old Stock Cellar Reserve (aged in brandy barrels) side by side with 2009 Old Stock Cellar Reserve (aged in bourbon barrels) and a bottle of the base beer: North Coast Old Stock Ale. It was epic!

Appearance: murky brown bodied beer with a full finger of whispy head that drops to no head at all fairly quickly. 3.75

Smell: Huge brandy notes and dark fruits. Caramel and toffee. Big oak presence. This beer smells great, but slightly boozey. 4.75

Taste: Brandy barrel forward Old Ale is my immediate impression upon first sip. Lots of dark fruits and brandy influence. Brown sugar, toffee, maple, and butterscotch. Lots of oak goodness. Flavors are very robust and will only get better with time as this beer mellows. 4.75

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer that is almost a full bodied beer. Low carbonation levels that almost reach moderate carbonation levels. Warming alcohol and slightly boozey fresh, but it does not hinder this beer at all. I would honestly say that its ridicously smooth for an over 15% abv beer. 4.75

Overall: I really liked this beer fresh; and its fantastic with age. Its probably one of the best bandy barrel aged beers that I have drank. No doubt this will cellar well, just like the bourbon old stock does and has proved to me. North Coast has a world class barrel aging program; especially giving reguards to barrel aging old ales. Glad I have a few more bottles of 2011 brandy Old Stock they drink great fresh of with age! 4.5

Score: 4.64


huge thanks to sean9689 for trading this bottle!

375ml C&C bottle poured into tulip glass.

Vintage 2005.

Appearance: dark brown bodied beer with a thin cap thats almost a full finger of light brown head resulting from a hard pour. Head drops quickly down to no head at all. 3.0

Smell: This smells awesome! Nice sweet notes are smelt without even putting my nose into the glass. Caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and dark fruits(big raisins, figs, and dates)! Such big coconut notes! Also wood and sweet boooze that smells like its really smooth. Little hint of oxidation. 4.75

Taste: Its a well balanced barrel aged beer. Dark fruits, caramel and boat loads of raisins. Hints of coconuts, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, and molasses. Getting some decent oak notes as well. Also a bit of a vinous note and a hint of oxidation. The aftertaste is both oaky and full of raisins. 4.5

Mouthfeel: high end of a medium bodied beer almost a full bodied beer with low carbonation levels. Thick and viscious beer that does get to be syrupy or cloying at anytime. The low levels of carbonation are just the right amount that keeps the beer from feeling too thick on the palate. Just a nice warming booze here thats really effortless to sip on and enjoy. Not harshness from this beer at all. Great sipping beer on a cold winter night. 4.5

Overall: The barrel and malt profile really strikes a nice balance. Its still gotta a nice amount of carbonation. 4.5

This is the highest rated beer made by North Coast. This is without a doubt the oldest beer that I have ever drank; its 8 years old. It has held up very, very well. I gotta say I very am impressed at how well that this beer has aged. I do enjoy the Bourbon Old Stock a little bit more, but the bourbon was vintage 2009 and isnt as old as this bottle of 2005 Brandy Old Stock. Maybe I will hold on to a bottle of 2009 Bourbon and see if it is as good as the Brandy when it reaches 8 years old...I wish that I could have a chance at trying this beer fresh, sooo... North Coast you guys should really brew this beer again! Not many Brandy barrel aged beers out there and I think that I would like to see more of them!

Score: 4.49

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Photo of Treebs
4.4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Huge thanks to funkel81 for getting this to me. Been a long time want for me. 375 ml bottle C&C bottle served in a Half Acre tulip.

A: Pours a dark brown color with a stillness to it. Very low carbonation with no real head forming on the pour besides some small off-white wisps hovering around on top.

S: Toffee sweetness with some dark fruit flavors. Toasted malts with raisins, figs and some earthy dates. Caramel as well.

T: Burnt sugars with some caramel covered raisins. Heavy malt sweetness with a touch of light cardboard. As it warms it takes on a light earthiness with more sweet toffee and a fudge characteristic as well. Dark fruits on the finish. No noticeable booze at all.

M: Medium bodied with a slightly syrupy mouthfeel. Low carbonation level.

O: Letting this sit around warm up to room temperature really opened up a great bouquet of flavors. The minimal oxidation gave it a sherry like flavor to it and a nice sweetness as well. Most personal whales disappoint, this did not.

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Photo of stakem
4.35/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks go to Kegatron for sharing this long-time want with me. Poured into a tulip, the brew appears an amber brown with some ruby clarity through the body. When held to the light, there id almost a green and yellowish hint around the edges. A very mild amount of carbonation produces a few bubbles across the top and lega of alcohol stream slowly down the wall of the glass.

The smell of this brew is sweet and boozy but not overdone to the point where it burns the nostrils. Despite having a solid booziness to the nose, it is quite inviting with some toasty notes of barrel, caramel, raisins and some more woody quality towards the back.

The taste is strikingly full of barrel presence. A minor note of oxidation is there but it isnt distracting, it lends a pleasant depth and change of character like a very old JW Lees offering. A hint of sweetness is there like raisins, molasses and toffee. A bit of moist wood from the barrel aging coupled with oxidation. The alcohol is the last impression left on the palate that tastes quite fortified but balanced and enjoyable.

This is a medium to full bodied brew with a mild level of carbonation that really worked in this offering. The ~15% abv is masterfully hidden. It wasnt until I finished my glass and stood up that the strength really hit me. For that reason, coupled with such a low level of carbonation being very enjoyable, I have to give this a perfect "feel" rating. This was a solid experience that I was very appreciative of. I am a big fan of the base beer and this was quite a treat. Big thanks to you Heath despite making my face numb with this treat right at the start of a tasting.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.52/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

375 ml corked & caged bottle into a couple of snifters. 2007 release.

Pours a deep clear ruby, with a very thin looking head of light mocha head. This retains with some equally light ringing around the edges of the glass and some gentle spotty lacing. The aroma smells of cocoa powder, molasses, dark fruit, charred wood, vanilla, and a little spicy warmth. This has a nice flavorful silkiness to it in the nostrils.

The taste is similar, with notes of chocolate, molasses, a touch of dark fruit, and still a faint bit of green hops left in here as well. There is also definitely a dark presence that seems to be maybe coming from equal parts malt and barrel. The finish is dry and oaky with a lingering mix of char and sugars. The mouthfeel is full bodied and a little prickly on the tongue, with more of a slick tannic creaminess across the back. There is some alcohol warmth to this which mostly comes out with some spice in the finish but there is absolutely no way that I would think this is near 15% ABV. Maybe 10% or around there but man, this is SUPER smooth for the size!

This was another treat from the cellar that I was finally able to get around to and share. There was a little oxidation present in the nose and taste but it seemed to mostly mingle well with that sweet and smooth mix of Old Ale and brand barrel and I can’t stress enough how damn drinkable this was for the size! I really hope that they make this again, as I’d probably even be willing to pay the high price that North Coast now charges for their special release beers.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.12/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Sean for pulling this one out.

A - Golden brown colored beer with a tan head that left some nice stick on the sides as I drank this.

S - Dark fruits, caramel, brandy. There's some vanilla, the brandy on this is pretty subdued, smells good.

T - Really nice mix of caramel, brandy, vanilla and wood. Great dark fruit, not too hot. Really nice taste on this. Drank it next to the bourbon version, very different beer. Think I prefer the bourbon version a little bit better, but this is nice.

M - Medium bodied, lower carbonation, pretty smooth.

O - Good beer. Not hot at all, dangerously drinkable. Would like to see them make some more of this.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.14/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this a long time ago in a trade with KAME - looks like he hasn't been online for a few years, but I'll give him a shout out all the same. Served in a Hill Farmstead glass.

A - Quick-dissolving thin tan foam settles to a big-bubbled ring, leaving a few spots of lace. Dark brown body with some reddish highlights to it. It's about what you'd expect from a 15% old ale.

S - Oak, brandy, brown sugar, raisins and other dark fruits, pleasant oxidation, a hint of smoke and tobacco.

T - Sweet brown sugar, bread, dark fruits, mild port-like oxidation. Alcohol is extremely mellow for the ABV. Tastes like an old old ale. Lightly oaky finish, and less brandy character than in the aroma.

M - Creamy, full-bodied, low carbonation, minimal alcohol heat. I keep returning to mellow as a descriptor.

D - I've had this a few times over the years, and it's never blown me a away. I certainly don't think it's improving, but it doesn't seem to be falling off precipitously either. North Coast - please make a new batch. Pretty drinkable for the ABV, and a moderate improvement over regular Old Stock.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.39/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

375 mL bottle, 2005 Vintage,

A: Pours a murky brown with a light white head, mild lace.

S: Very grapey, armangnac like, spiced bread.

T: Lots of malt with not a hop to be found. Molasses, raisins and Pedro Ximinez sherry, very tasty.

M: Full-bodied, quite smooth and well balanced, never cloying.

O: This is certainly holding up well, and I am very happy I got to try this rare bottle.

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Photo of jethrodium
4.39/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

375 ml bottle. 2005 vintage. Big thanks to Mark for opening this one up. Pours a dark caramel color with pretty much no head and no lacing on the glass. A few big bubbles can be seen at the edge of the glass. The aroma is big brandy with notes of plum, raisin, and vanilla. Hints of coconut and oak as well. A little bit of alcohol, but nothing overwhelming. The taste is sweet with brandy and grape, followed up by some vanilla, coconut, oak, caramel, and some raisin. A bit of brown sugar as well. A bit of alcohol warmth on the finish, as expected for a nearly 15% ABV. Medium body. Very low carbonation, but it certainly works well for this beer. Overall, an amazing beer and I am glad to have tried it.

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Photo of joshuaseresse
4.89/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle shared by brian23456 and myself at our epic battle of the 12ozers tasting. A big, special thanks to ebay for providing this bottle... Split with some other upright BAs. Poured into snifter:

A - Nice dark brown with caramel ruby hues. No lacing, no head. Flat. What I expected.

S - Brandy, bourbon, maple syrup, caramel, brown sugar, toffee. Really smooth and delicious. You can tell this brew aged very well.

T - Follows the nose. Great taste. Sweet caramel and brown sugar. No burn from the barrel. The brandy mixes really well, but tastes a bit bourbony.

M - Just a tad of carbonation, but pretty smooth. Really no burn or heat from the barrel.

D - Went down really easy. Candy booze. I had to restrain myself just downing it. Really well aged and delcious. Wish I had a bottle of my own or they made more. A must try.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.93/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Kevin for sharing this one!

A-pours a cloudy dark brown color with a darker tan colored head.

S-the nose is rather strong, sweeter brandi with notes of dark wood, lots of raisins with hints of tobacco. Carmelized brown sugar towards the back with hints of sweet sherry. it may be a touch oxidized.

T-the taste is strong, the brandi and wood are up front, sweet brandi, juicy raisins, toffee and sweet brown sugar, the tobacco is light in the back and almost not there. Sheery in the back, maybe some sweet cardboard, again might be oxidation or just the sweet brandi with hints of heat in the finish.

M-full bodied, chewy and thick, syrupy texture and very viscous with a hint of driness in the finish and well carbonated.

D-decent and reasonably balanced. it is very sweet and might be slightly oxidized. solid flavors that blend together, love the raisins. decent stuff and goes down smooth with the huge body.

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Photo of Ineedabeerhere
4.32/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Mikey! From notes, nov 20th.

Deep mahogany pour with a touch of amber highlight. Small head, very little to no lacing.

Great aroma, just awesome rich caramel, vanilla, toasted oakiness...yada yada yada (see bourbon old stock review). I found this barrel treatment to be a bit better- it wasn't sweeter per se, but has a bit of a brighter feeling to it through a slightly more vibrant fruitiness... caramelized pears? And just overall came across as a bit more complex and "well-rounded" as mikey said. Both barrel aged versions of this beer are just excellent and I would gladly drink them again.

Edit: Review 300.

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Photo of Jmoore50
4.49/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I received a call from my buddy James saying that we need to drink the Brandy and Bourbon Old Stocks. After I changed my pants I rushed over and split these bottles with him. Brandy is better than the Bourbon.

The appearance on this one is a thick hazelnut color with lighter edges. It still has a very good carbonation and when poured produces some good bubbles. It leaves a very thick leg on the glass.

The smell is outstanding, it is dominated by Brandy smells and flavors. I am actually not the largest fan of regular Old Stock, so I was a bit skeptical going in to these. Well this smells like chocolate, vanilla, brown sugar, toffee, and booze. I couldn't stop sniffing it.

When served it was straight out of the cellar, so it was on the cooler side. On first sip we were both pleased by what we were tasting, lots of strong barrel flavors accompanied by vanilla, toffee, cocoa, caramel. As the bottle and glass warmed up the Brandy started to come out more and reveal a strong alcohol presence. The liquor that was held in these barrels before the beer was complex, and it carries over into this beer.

It was heavy on the palate with a higher level of carbonation for this style. I was pleasantly surprised when I heard a 'pop' from the cork. As this beer warms it starts to turn into a liquor more than a beer with the alcohol becoming very apparent. With that said, I do have to say that I would not guess that the beer comes in at a 14.7% ABV.

A sipper, but when consumed it was colder and a perfect beer for a Saturday afternoon. Delicious.


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Photo of jrallen34
3.89/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Sean(I think) for this one. Drank and compared side by side with the bourbon version. The bourbon was clearly superior to me, and I believe that was the consensus among the group as well... The aroma on the bourbon is awesome, dominates the brandy, vanilla, wood, dark brown sugar. The brandy is harsher, more bitter acohol..The taste is alcoholic brandy, just doesn't work that well. A little caramel and chocolate.

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Photo of JAXSON
4.32/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark reddish brown with a small ring of bubbles that are not as fine as I expected. Big, big nose on this one. Good amount of leather and leafy tobacco, sweet brandy, nice charred oak, raisins. Sharper carbonation on the tongue than I had expected. Very rich, focused on that old tobacco, leather, kind of a nice sweet brandy. Delicious. Mouthfeel is strange -- it's quite thick and almost syrupy but has really pringly carbonation, seems like around the edges. One of the better barrel-aged barleywines I've had for sure.

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Photo of Sean9689
4.12/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shard w/ the Chicago crew on a random Sunday and drank right next to the bourbon version.

A - Pours a dark brown, very little carbonation, some bubbles here and there. Very "sticky" looking and there's a brown hue on the sides of the glass after swishing it around a bit.

S - Chocolate, dark fruits, brandy, burnt sugars. Maybe a little too much brandy (still) so I think this could age even longer.

T - Similar to the nose. Lots of brandy, chocolate, caramel, and a touch of barrel/oak. I think this one still has some hotness and can benefit from some more aging (unlike the bourbon).

M - Medium bodied, maybe a bit thin, but still rich.

D - Very good but didn't blow me away. This one was out-shined by several other beers we had during the night. I think some more cellar time would do this one good while the bourbon version seems ready to drink now.

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Photo of Arbitrator
4.97/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Lightly chilled bottle into a glass. Thanks David.

After the disappointing lineup at T23 and realizing that I had missed all the good stuff in a bottle share later on, I thought, "F*** it" and shared this with my girlfriend and a friend in Berkeley. It redeemed the evening.

A: Pours a very dark, but still clear against the light, maroon body. Pulling out the cork produced just a small pop, and the head is consequently weak, composed of mostly large bubbles that quickly die off. Even the Duvel tulip etching doesn't bring out much carbonation. However, the beer doesn't need it. And at almost 15%, I'm certainly not going to expect more than what I got.

S: Even the bottle gives a strong whiff of grape / port before I've poured it. The beer is aggressively brandy-dominated, with strong notes of caramel, raisin, oak, dates. Even a touch of tobacco. Coconut and vanilla are noted. Still a small amount of booze, but nothing that singes the nose hairs, only imparts warmth. Outstanding.

T: While this is very barrel-defined, it's not barrel-dominated. That makes the difference for me. The base beer is (at least when young) fairly sweet and one-dimensional. The age has brought out some complexity, and the barrels amplify that in a very integrated way. Brandy, coconut, vanilla, dates, and raisins are all noticed immediately. Rather than producing cloying sweetness, they work with the tannins and tobacco-ey flavors to balance the beer. I pick up brown sugar, caramel, and honey (shut up, Arne). The finish has some heat to it and carries lingering brandy and barrel flavors.

M: While this beer has heat to it, I think it's just the right amount for a 15% beer. It's not solventy or even hot, just slightly warm. It's not particularly viscous or bursting with sugars; its viscosity is medium-full, though it is decidedly full in flavor. Pretty much the sweet spot of my palate.

D: The girlfriend wasn't a big fan of this, so I wound up enjoying most of her pour, too. I had no trouble putting down a lot of it, though obviously it's big beer and not something I SHOULD be drinking a lot of. If it came out again, I'd get it, no questions. Hopefully they won't charge $20 a pint or whatever they were asking for Old Rasputin XII.

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Photo of alcstradamus
4.37/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I half-expected this one to be flat but was greeting with a nice half finger of head on top of a deep caramel brown body. In low light it appears nearly black.

The aroma is an other-worldly mix of strong caramel sweetness and layers of complexity underneath. Coconut, oak, cocoa, resiny and citrus hops, booze, vanilla, and lots more sit underneath that caramel. Very deep and evolving. The 14% ABV still makes itself well known in the aroma, even after a few years of mellowing. Definitely exceptional.

The flavor an absolute rush of caramel sweetness and booze. Wow. The brandy barrels definitely imparted quite a bit of flavor into the Old Stock base. Underneath the caramel is a hefty dose of floral hoppiness, coconut, and lots of vanilla.

The body is on the full side of medium. The carbonation is low and appropriate. A warm burn on the back of the throat follows every sip.

This one is most definitely a sipper that shows every bit of its high ABV. The flavor profile and complexity present here are outstanding. I wish I had some notes to compare this to a fresh bottle, but this is the only time I've tried it. I can't see why this one wouldn't continue to mellow and improve for years to come.

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Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.67/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to CoolJosh for bringing this one out for the Philly Beer Tasting of the Ages. This was the seventh beer consumed on the first night, and it definitely stole the show on Saturday. Thanks again, Josh! Bottle from 2005.

The color is similar to that of regular Old Stock, hazy nearly-opaque brown with some lighter hues as if there is some peachy color mixed in with the brown. There is no head to speak of, but at nearly 15%, what the hell would you expect? The edges of the beer turn maroon and amber when held to the light.

The bouquet of this beer is absolutely phenomenal. My nose is inundated with brandy, toffee, brown sugar, and the vanilla oakiness that I love in barrel-aged beers. This beer's aroma is absolutely phenomenal. When sipped, the spectacle continues, adding to the legend of this beer. Bandy, oakey vanilla, and those nice caramel and toffee flavors balance out beautifully and completely mask the alcohol until the finish where it is a pleasant taste. Dyan told me that this beer is nearly 15% and I almost fell out of my chair. The only hints of alcohol presence are the sherry-like aromas produced by the brandy barrel aging process. This is one helluvan experience.

The feel is thick but smooth. The warm finish and nice toffee sweetness are truly an accomplishment for a beer this big. The balance is absolutely insane, and I really would like to have another shot at this one.

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Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Brandy Barrels) from North Coast Brewing Co.
4.52 out of 5 based on 724 ratings.
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