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 | website

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: 119 | Ratings: 716
Photo of Thorpe429
4.79/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big, big thanks to mcallister for hooking me up with this one. Shared with bmanning, Amyliz4, and Heather at a recent tasting.

Very slight hiss as I popped the cork out. Poured into a Portsmouth tulip.

A: Pours a very dark bronze with a miniscule tan head that ends up sticking around of the edge of the glass the entire way down.

S: Very complex. Lots of dates, caramel, and dark fruits. Almost a strong Belgian dark without the standard yeast. Great old ale scents, alongside hints of brandy and a god amount of vanilla. Nice raisins and a bit of butterscotch and toffee as well.

T: Beautiful notes of sherry, vanilla, dark fruits, raisins, and bits of butterscotch. Notes of sweet brandy make their way in as well, although after five years in the bottle, this isn't too hot.

M: Medium bodied with very low carbonation. Minimal alcohol heat, given that this one is almost fifteen perfect.

D: Absolutely incredible. Big thanks again to mcallister for getting this one out to me. Fairly low alcohol on an extremely complex beer. This has aged wonderfully, and I would be very happy to try it again in the future.

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Photo of CoolJosh
4.97/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Shared with good friends Treyrab, Nittanybeerfan, Dyan, randawakes, and ashherb17 at the most Epic F'ing Tasting Ever!"

Poured into a snifter. A gorgeous aged brown with burgundy hues. No head upon pour, but come on it's an old ale that's been sitting for over 4 years...

Absolutely F'ing tremendous. Unbelievable butterscotch, toasted pecan and toffee, vanilla, super sweet caramel and some very subdued sour notes. I can not stress how incredible this beer has aged. So mellow and balanced. God, I need more of this beer. Beermails sent.

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Photo of tpd975
4.42/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to the one and only daknole.

A: Pours a dark brown with a small off white head. Lite retention and no lace.

S: Aromas of brown sugar, caramel, oak, vanilla, and chocolate.

T: Sweet malts, chocolate, and dark fruit up front. Hints of brandy in the middle and then the barrel kicks in. Mild oak, coconut macaroons, vanilla...mmm good.

M: On the fuller side of medium, smooth soft carbonation.

D: Crazy good. Dakine I have a man crush on you.

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Photo of nickd717
4.49/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

375ml bottle generously shared by dbuckingham. David was awesome enough to bust this out at a tasting, bumping me up to 93/100 in my ticker-like quest to drink all the top 100 beers on BA.

Pours a murky dark amber-brown color with a small light beige head. Some decent legs on there.

Aroma is pretty amazing. The great caramel and toffee notes you get in regular Old Stock blend seamlessly with brandy, oak, and sherry. Some dark fruits in there as well.

Flavor is excellent. Caramel and toffee, brown sugar, figs, prunes, and dates, as well as very nice -bal aging flavors: oak, vanilla, brandy, and sherry. Really complex. The brandy character is a little more pronounced than I'd like, but that's probably the only minor flaw in this amazing beer.

Very full, smooth, and creamy on the palate with soft carbonation. Not much booziness at all for a beer of its strength.

Pretty good drinkability. I mean I'm not going to chug something like this, but I wouldn't have any problem polishing off (that is, drinking, not cleaning) a bottle.

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Photo of jwolfie70
4.97/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I cracked open a bottle for Valentines day, and have to say that this beer is drinking sublimely right now. If you have any bottles, I would recommend opening and drinking. I have been feeling lately that (while good) I haven't had a beer lately that has blown me away. This beer did.

Pour: The bottle popped with a dull plup, and after soo many Lost Abbey flat bottles lately, my heart sank. Fortunately, the beer poured a deep amber with an inch of thick white head.

Smell: Deep caramelized sugar, brandy, malt, alcohol.

Taste: A sublime and incredibly smooth mixture of carmel, brandy, vanilla, malt sweetness, with just the right amount of alcohol kick to keep it from being cloying. This is what barrel aged perfection tastes like.

Drinkability: Incredibly drinkable for such a high alcohol content. You definitely want to sip, but I could sit their for a week straight sipping this beer.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.87/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Finally decided to crack my lone bottle on Christmas with my dad. Pours a deep dark brown without much light getting through. Small bubbles of carbonation and alcohol swirls on the side of the glass. Aromas of deep caramel, fruits and nuts. Rich sweet malts with a vibrant brandy and oak accent. Brown sugar as well. The barrel has integrated with the beer flawlessly here. Sublime.

First sip is smooth caramel and dark fruit drenched malts. Toffee, brown sugar and nuts with a spicy oak kick. Brandy shines through but it is never overpowering. A bit of warmth on the way down with vanilla throughout. Amazingly well balanced and delicious. Quite honestly a masterpiece.

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied . Luscious and complex. This is simply an amazing brew and I must say Old Stock lends itself beautifully to well cared for barrel aging. One of the best beers I've had the chance to sample to date.

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Photo of lhaqq
4.52/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Coffee like body, though more syrupy and thick.
S: Chocolate, figs, sherry. Smells a little bit like a candy store at the end.
T: Rich. Lots of caramel at the beginning, some dark chocolate, raisins and a milk chocolate finish.
M: Coats the mouth as it goes down.
D: A friend aged it till 2009; really smooth given the abv. Great beer overall

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Photo of largadeer
4.76/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Chestnut body with a thin layer of tan foam. The head recedes to a thin ring pretty quickly, but the legs on this beer are outstanding. Incredibly viscous stuff. The aroma is a melange of toffee, dates and vanilla. Brandy is readily apparent and lends a slight booziness that compliments the dark malts nicely. As it warms up, I get red grapes, brown sugar and a hint of sweet soy sauce. On the tongue it's rich, full-bodied and sweet, with flavors of brandy and oak supported by a huge caramel malt backbone. Light fruitiness mid-palate leads to a semi-sweet vanilla finish. Tannins add just the right level of balance, preventing this from becoming cloying despite the richness and high ABV.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.72/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours dark amber with a small, wispy, off white head. The reddish tinge is highlighted when held to light. The head quickly recedes, yielding a thin ring of lingering froth around the edges. It took me 10 minutes, but I finally noticed the substantial legs on this beer.

The vanilla is very strong in the nose. The brandy is unmistakable, and accompanying it is some brown sugar. The alcohol is well masked for near 15%. Some toffee is apparent, with more subtle notes of caramel, and a hint of oak. I get a lot of dates, and to a lesser extent, dried figs and other fruits. I'm blown away by the aroma. This is easily the best nose I've beheld on a brandy aged beer.

The taste is immediately of vanilla and toffee, with brown sugar sweetness. I half expected this to be cloying, but it's nowhere near so. I actually pulled out some dried dates to compare and this smells remarkably like them: brandy soaked dates. Figs are also noticeable. The alcohol is apparent in the taste, but the heat is complimentary, and it doesn't seem anywhere near 15%. The finish recaps each flavor, with lingering brandy soaked dates, vanilla, and tannins. The alcohol is warming near the end.

The beer is medium bodied. The carbonation is low, but I think it's near perfect for the style and ABV. The mouthfeel is silky smooth with some viscosity. The drinkability is very good and while I was enjoying this I had to fight the urge to gulp my 6.34012925 ounce pour.

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Photo of joepais
4.64/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Solomon420 for this longtime want. I do belive this was a 2005 bottle. Bottle poured into a challis produced a slight off white head that faded fast to nothing. The body of the brew was a dark caramel brown in color with light tan colored highlights.

The aroma made this brew it was incredible brandy and woody fragrances filled the air never mind my head. I noticed the smell of caramel and toffee and molasses as the beer warmed this brew is a sipper as you could guess

The flavor of the brandy barrels come through first then as the brew warms you start to get some awesome old ale flavors of caramel, and other flavors involved with the sweet malts. It felt nice and thick in my mouth with some awesome syrup stickiness from all the sugars in the brew. Not a trace of alcohol flavors in this brew at all

Great Old ale I do really appreciate the style more and more. I had an awesome time celebrating the 4th while sipping away at this great American brew. I would defiantly seek out another I think it was well worth the price

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Photo of akorsak
4.27/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Deuane for bringing this one home from a CA trip in 2007. Surprisingly, I've never had the original Old Stock ale.

A: The ale has a dark red hue that could pass for a glass of cabernet. Without any outside influences, the ale looks black. An off-white head sits in a thin band at the top of the beer.

S: A heavy grape presence indicates the brandy barrel, rich and boozy it doesn't pull any punches. Toffee and molasses are strong, big enough to get through brandy.

T: A malty delight wrapped in the delicious strength of a brandy barrel. Let's start with the brandy, bold and warming. A red grape profile, fortified to astronomical proportions, really jumps out of the glass. A distinct vanilla flavor also springs from the barrel. The ale behind the barrel is thick and malty. Toffee is prevalent but the rest of the body is nicely hidden behind the barrel.

M: The brandy is hot, burning the tongue with each sip. Behind the burn, the brandy is pleasant and multi-dimensional. The late rush of vanilla is a nice aspect.

D: The ale is hot but never reveals its ~15% price tag. The brandy really works amongst the malty depths of the Old Stock.

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Photo of scottoale
4.62/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005 Vintage 375ml.cork finished brown bottle courtesy of a great beerman, Skye. Thanks man! Not much of a pop from the cork, yet it pours a fairly lively dark copper-brown with a bubbling 1/4" of beige foam. The head recedes leaving no lace behind.

The smell is of sweet caramel, toffee, molasses, vanilla and you guessed it, alcohol. Alcohol like a very big brandy sort of alcohol, but in a most pleasing manner. This is truly the smell of the type of beer that crave most...mouth watering.

The flavor exemplifies the smell in a big way, like amplification in fact. Big rich sweet malty intro that fills the palate with all of the above mentioned. Big, rich, malty and chewy thick flavor. And well balanced in it's own way with oak tannins and some charcoal character. Damn fine warming finish as well.

Big chewy body with complimentary carbonation and a boatload of warming alcohol give this brew a to die for drinkability in my book. This brew is the closest thing to Angel's Share and that's a great thing. Seek, savor and enjoy this big ass brew if given the opportunity...serious stuff!

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.79/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a murky, cloudy brown in color. There is just a hint of froth that comes from a pretty aggressive pour. The head is gone quicker than it had formed.
The smell is absolutely top notch. Dare I say heavenly. Brandy, caramel, toffee, vanilla, all there. And if the smell wasn't enough, the flavor was even better. A truly decadent sipper. The vanilla flavors are just absolutely wonderful. When you start with a base beer that is as incredible and strong as Old Stock only good things can happen from imparting some barrel influence. Incredibly full and creamy in the mouthfeel, this is a definite sipper. At the same time, you really don't get taken back by the high ABV. I was afraid that there would be a lot of heat, or a very noticeable alcohol flavor to this. But yet again, it doesn't disappoint.
Why oh why has this not been brewed and barrel aged again?! I'd much rather have the Old Stock in either the brandy or bourbon barrel aged as an option over the BA Rasputin. It's time to get those barrels going at North Coast and make this a annual release.
I realize this is getting harder to come by if not impossible to get. If you have one, consider yourself lucky, find some friends and share the bottle.

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Photo of tjthresh
4.48/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What a nose!!! Black grapes, blueberry, light oak, warm alcohol, and sweet toffee and chocolate. Fantastic. Not all that impressive looking though. The pour is brown with some red hues, and a quickly fading soapy tan head. Wonderful flavors. I've always thought brandy barrels are the way to do with barley wine, and this is the best example. Great grape, wood, toffee, chocolate flavor with a bit of warm alcohol to make sure you know what you are drinking. Medium body. Mouth filling. Average carbonation. Just enough to be a complement. Average finish. I'd like it to hang around for a bit longer. Really though. I really can't think of what else I'd want in such a beer. Its a damn shame that its so difficult to come by.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.82/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Split this 2005 bottle at cellar temp with Stopper. Poured into an SA "pint" glass. the beer pours a clear chestnut hue with minimal beige head foaming up and fading to an edge layer.
Aroma is toffee, vanilla, baileys cream, caramel, brown sugar and some booze, not really heat or fusol, more like a rich sherry nose.
First sip reveals a silky smooth texture with minimal almost non-existent carbonation and fairly chewy texture.
Flavor is vanilla, caramel, brown sugar and some toffee, no hops to be found. Only a little bit of warmth making this a dangerously easy 14.7% drinking beer. I really enjoyed this and wish I had another, but wouldnt drink more than one in a setting and was glad to split this one with a friend.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.95/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I was simply floored to come home today to find a bottle of this in the mail. I have been dreaming of trying this one for as long as I can remember. Old ales have become a favorite of mine, and from what I hear it really does not get better then this. Served at cellar temp and poured into an oversized wine glass, this one was consumed on 01/23/2009.

In a word perfect. This beer was soo sublime in every way it is hard to put into words. The pour was wonderul. From the rich caramel color that came out of the bottle to the nice puff of off white that graced the top, it was just spot on for the style. The aroma was loaded with brandy and vanilla notes. Hints of oak and rich toffee notes are just all over this one. Smooth as could be with hardly a hint of alcohol even as it approaches 12 percent, is an achievment in of itself. The vanilla and toffee notes in here were sublime. Perfect balance here of flavors as the I sat and enjoyed this one till almost 2 am at this point and I still have a half glass to go. This was exactly what I wanted, just what it should be, and well, well worth the wait.

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4.49/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Head quickly jumps to a three finger carmel grouping of very active bubbles and then fades just as quick leaving not a trace of those bubbles. Body is a very deep dark brown and quite consistant like molasses, but not nearly as thick. Nose is big and full of rich bourbon, sweet toffee, buttered rum and hot carmalized malts. Alchol is very evident as you take first sip, its not overly harsh just a little warm and tingley. Toasty layers of carmalized malt, toffee, overly ripe dark fruit, molasses and black vanilla are all over the palate. A bit of spicy coco is there too. Alchol is warm on the palate and the belly. The more you drink, the more you pick up the oak character in the palate. Mouthfeel is like sucking on a piece of butter rum candy. Oh so good after dinner sipper. Why do these one time release beers have to be so good?

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.39/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Turbid cherry tobacco that looks darker and less lucent than the bourbon aged version from several days ago. Unfortunately, this one had the same sort of fizzy, gone-within-a-minute crown of beige colored bubbles. Spotless snifter then... spotless snifter now.

Even though bourbon is at the top of my 'most favored liquors' list (along with Scotch), and brandy doesn't even make the list, the aroma is just as wonderful with respect to this ale. Let's chalk it up to an outstanding base beer. Dark caramel, brown sugar and vanilla are beautifully accented by brandy.

Drinking Cellar Reserve (Bourbon) alongside Cellar Reserve (Brandy) would not have been smart given their generous ABVs (which are hidden very well, by the way). That's the only way I could have picked a winner, though, because they taste similar. Old Stock Ale is the (probably) delicious common denominator. While I haven't yet had the pleasure, I have no doubt that OSA will be right up my old ale alley.

This beer is just as well-integrated, if not even more so. The vinous fruitiness of the brandy complements the remainder of the flavor profile in outstanding fashion. Dark toffee and dark butterscotch are still present, as is the ouzo/anise/black licorice that was appreciated in the bourbon version. There are sherry notes as well, which is odd.

The body/mouthfeel is similar in that it's a wee bit lighter than I'd like. Warming helps to some extent and the laid back bubbles are just what the doctor ordered. Besides, liquor is thin and it delivers loads of flavor.

In the final reckoning, I'm unable to pick a winner between bourbon-aged Old Stock and brandy-aged Old Stock. They're both fantastic and they both deserve to be released again. Consider yourself fortunate if you were able to lay your hands on either one. Thanks to the incredibly generous Talisker for providing me with both.

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Photo of gford217
4.97/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle courtesy of Solomon420 poured into a snifter.

Pours a hazy caramel brown with amber showing through. The head was surprisingly active given the age and bubbled up to a one inch tan head before quickly receding to a thin ring.

The aroma is unbelievable. It starts with the brandy but then opens up to dark fruits with raisins and figs mainly and tons of caramel and brown sugar sweetness. There are hints of vanilla and wood as well.

The taste is just as spectacular with a huge sugary caramel sweetness of the base beer that underpins everything else. The dark fruits are complemented by hints of vanilla, toffee and chocolate with wood and brandy in the finish.

The mouthfeel is very smooth with good carbonation and has a dry boozy finish.

This is a great, great beer and very drinkable for the ABV. Quite simply, one of the best beers I've ever had. Can't thank Damian enough for this rare gem.

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Photo of Overlord
4.32/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a ruby brown. Smells ... boozy, but with dark fruits, caramel, and vanilla.

Taste is, again, boozy, but with a definite sweet undercurrent of dark fruits, vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, and a definite port quality. I'd say this was like drinking a marvelously complex port.

Delicious, nice creamy mouthfeel.

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Photo of hopdog
4.62/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle with big thanks to Ty!

Poured a deep reddish-brownish color with a small sized off white head. Aromas of vanilla, wood, brandy, dark fruits, caramel, and a little nutty. Very nice aroma. Tastes of dark fruits, vanilla, brown sugar, oaky woodiness, and tobacco. Medium alcohol burn in the finish (but not 14+%). Very nice!

Notes from and tasted on 4/27/08

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Photo of Viggo
4.79/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to fartingdog for cracking this one open when we visited San Fran, I've been looking to try this one since it came out.

Pours a hazy reddish brown, caramel coloured, thin tan head forms, settles to a medium ring around the glass, drops some decent lace spots on the glass. Smell is wow, brandy, thick toffee, cake, alcohol, lots of fruit, raisins/figs, wood, vanilla, port, very rich, fantastic. Taste is amazing as well, figs and rum raisins, buttery toffee, oak, brandy, dark fruits, alcohol, very intense and rich flavour, touch of vanilla, wood and brandy in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation, some warmth going down but the ABV is well hidden. Reminds me a lot of the brandy barrel Angels Share. This is insanely good stuff. I would kill to get more. Thanks a ton Dave, you're the man!

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Photo of hoppymeal
4.17/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy dark amber to brown in color with a small light tan head that recedes to a ring. Strong brandy aroma immediately wafts up, alcohol, apples, raisins and prunes mix together in the aroma. A sweet sugary caramel rides behind the dark fruit aromas, hints of leather are noticeable as well. Taste is similar to the aroma in that the brandy is big and right up front in the taste as well. When mixed with the sweet malts it lends a coconut-y flavor, sweet, nutty dates towards the finish. Large bite of alcohol in the finish as well. Mouthfeel is medium in body, thins towards the finish as a drying alcohol warmth burns at the back of the throat. Very good beer, it's been a while since I sampled the bourbon, but I believe I preferred that one, though the brandy ageing shines through quite well in most aspects of this sample. A delicious beer for a goodnight night cap.

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Photo of Crosling
5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of, if not the best beer I've had in 2008. Incredibly complex aroma that gives notes of raisins, figs, caramel, toffee from the base beer as well as added dimensions of brandy soaked wood, vanilla and coconut from the oak. Flavor consists of chocolate, caramel, brandy, coconut, vanilla, dark fruit. Port-like character. Chewy and beyond rich. This beer is amazing and a total jaw dropper. Thanks to Steve for sharing.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.53/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sweet fiery gold of amberJACK
the firefly he brings me back
the head is small but full of life
Can I take this brew, for my wife ?

Bready, brandy, cherry, booze
So many aromas from which to choose
Sweet and boozy dreamy fun
Clearly this is number one

Malty sweet boozy taste
flavor lingers not in haste
brandy cherry wood and hop
It sweeps my palate like a mop

I love this old stock in its natrual state
but these barrel ages are extra great
trade for some if you've got the nerve
Tis' one of the best, this cellar reserve

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Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Brandy Barrels) from North Coast Brewing Co.
4.53 out of 5 based on 716 ratings.
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