Sunday, December 4, 2011

Beer Review: Cellar Reserve Old Stock Ale (Aged In Bourbon Barrels)

Reviewing the Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Bourbon Barrels) from North Coast Brewing Company.
Score: 94

2009 bottle served in a brandy snifter glass at room temperature.

Appearance: Pours a translucent maple syrup color with one finger of fizzy head that quickly disappears. A nice vapor mist comes out of the bottle when you pop the cork, releasing delicious aromas. No lacing. 4/5

Smell: Bourbon and vanilla up front. Some red grape and brown sugar sweetness. Lots of caramel. A little creamy milk chocolate and lots of vanilla extract (akin to what I smelled in the Scotty Karate) when swirled. Some dark fruits and cherries. Light booziness. 4.5/5

Taste: Very balanced and complex. Robust flavors, but no particular flavor-element really sticks out. Molasses and brown sugar sweetness hit first. Lots of caramel sweetness too. Then some vanilla extract and oak. Some grapes, figs and dates as well. Strong bourbon flavors on the mid-palate. A little alcohol burn. Finishes with bourbon-caramel sweetness and a warming alcohol sensation. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, a little syrupy and oily. Almost no carbonation after you pour it. Finishes sweet and sticky. 4/5

Overall: Surprisingly smooth and drinkable for a 13.2% ABV beer. Definitely a sipper, though.

Recommendation: This beer might be a little too strong and bourbon-forward for casual beer drinkers, but beer lovers will revel in the complexities this one has to offer. Definitely overpriced, however.

Pairings: Steak.

Cost: $24.99 for a 500 ml bottle.

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