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Third Coast Old Ale - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Third Coast Old AleThird Coast Old Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,831 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1831
Reviews: 956
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.19%

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
From Bell's website:
"Third Coast Old Ale is a cellerable American-style barleywine that has notes of dried fruit and caramel embedded in a rich malt background that will grow more complex over time."

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-28-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,831 | Reviews: 956 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of TreyIsWilson


4.09/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Pours a murky reddish brown with a one-finger foamy white head. Light amount of sticky lacing.

S - Lots of booze, caramel malts, and light dark fruit.

T - Taste is a nice blend of sweet dark fruits, caramel malts, molasses, and alcohol. Finish has a nice earthy hop bite.

M - Medium bodied with low carbonation. Nice creamy mouthfeel.

O - A really nice Barleywine with a nice balance of flavors. A nice sipper.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2014 01:32:19 | More by TreyIsWilson
Photo of StLeasy


5/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled September 10th, 2013. Halfway through, about an hour and a halfway after pouring, so it's ~60*F and IMO, at its most flavorful prime. (March 9 2014). Poured into a 16oz tulip.

Appearance- Poured aggressively, a deep brown with two fingers of brown head.

Smell- Grassy caramel.

Taste- Sweet, burnt, caramel, dark fruits, then pine. Crisp resiny aftertaste. Very little alcohol presence

Mouthfeel- Slightly thin for the style.Creamy at first, but quickly thins as it warms and oxidizes. Almost watery as I'm writing this, but that is expected 90 minutes after pouring.

One of my favorite beers in one of my favorite styles. Very sweet and malty with a bitter finish. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys strong ales/barleywines, or scotch ales.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2014 08:20:57 | More by StLeasy
Photo of brutusmuktuk


4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown ale with an off-white head. Has a pleasant, sweet aroma characteristic of barley wines. Taste is caramel, and towards the end of the beer there’s a stronger hint of sweet fig and syrup. There’s a touch of bitterness to further add to the complexity. I enjoy this, and I wonder how it will be after aging.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2014 19:59:17 | More by brutusmuktuk
Photo of Tsar_Riga


3.94/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottled September 2011, drank February 2014.

A - Dark, nearly opaque brew, with a mild, light tan head that produces minimal lacing.

S - Strong, very strong hit of malt and alcohol, with powerful notes of dried fruits. Particularly prunes. My wife, who was sitting next to me on the couch when I was drinking this, complained that the smell was less than appetizing. I don't agree, but it was somewhat overwhelming.

T - A spine of alcohol and malt runs throughout. with a decently balanced hit of dark fruit, raisins and prunes foremost, very sweet, but not cloyingly so, combined with a closing solid bitter note, making this something you can swallow, not just sip.

M - The real trick here is that Bell's managed to prevent this old ale from blanketing your mouth with a cloying sweetness. Each swallow runs its course and leaves your mouth ready for more.

O - I can recognize that this brew is a top notch barleywine. I cannot imagine how hot it would be fresh, but with 2 1/2 years on it, things have settled in nicely. I am not a huge fan of the style, but I recognize the talent exhibited here. Another fine brew from Bell.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2014 03:17:47 | More by Tsar_Riga
Photo of BierJager89


4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Very dark brown, practically black, with a tan head.

S: Old wet malt, some dark fruits and a touch of orange in the nose. Typical of an old ale.

T: Pine, raspberry, strawberry, fig, plum, malt, orange peel and nutmeg.

M: Full bodied and a touch harsh, but pretty good.

O: A delicious old ale. I've only had a few of this style, but they tend to be very good, especially when aged in bourbon barrels. I'd love a taste of a bourbon barrel aged version of this.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2014 06:48:05 | More by BierJager89


4.48/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle to snifter. Packaged on 10/12/12, Batch number 11400.

[A] Pours dark mahogany brown with low visibility showcasing amber edges and a degree of transparency, The head is light tan in color and modest in size, but the retention is longstanding in half collar form and there is a light amount of lacing that grabs the glass.

[S] Over ripe, bruised and beaten stone fruits mixed with an entire jar of molasses and set on the stove to simmer. Lots of dark, toasty bread crust aromas waft from the glass as well.

[T] Deep, dark fruit, molasses, leather and burnt sugar. Light notes of oxidation coming across like an aged port or sherry. Complexity is fantastic as each lingering moment on the tongue reveals a new dimension to the flavor. Plum, fig, prunes, raisins and more.

[M] The mouthfeel is spot on for my tastes. Thick, luxurious body. Low carbonation. The bitterness is perfectly balanced with this brew which is sweet on the end and sticks to the tongue and doesn't let go.

[O] Forget about the 10.2%. You wouldn't ever guess it. Third Coast Old Ale is very, very enjoyable. Especially at this age. I wouldn't mind having a few more of these bottles lying around.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2014 23:18:20 | More by FeDUBBELFIST
Photo of JamesShoemaker


4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter and stemless wine glass. Bottling date of 9/13/13. I picked this up from the Triple Deuce in Mount Pleasant for only $9.99/sixer. Obviously it was an error in my favor!

A - deep, dark browns, semi-translucent. Not unlike a Scotch Ale, very reminiscent of BBA brown ales or Wee Heavys, Backwoods Bastard, CW, etc. The color isn't particularly appetizing, and the appearance isn't particularly striking. Some foam lingers on the side of the glass, a little haze and carbonation on the top, but otherwise pretty tepid. I swirl the liquid around in the glass and the carbonation bubbles rise in disturbance.

S - a lot of peaty malt on the nose, sweet stickiness, caramel, butterscotch, meat, smoked malt, toffee, and caramelized onions. A deep whiff yields booze at the end, burning the nose. Again, not unlike a BBA Scotch Ale or Wee Heavy, but more interesting because the ingredients are dynamic. A lot of sweetness pervades, but there's a savory element too that's just touched upon.

T - again, sweet and savory. The taste is especially complex, a good balance between sticky candies (butterscotch and toffee) and the savory elements (smoke, beef, peat, etc.). I'm really in disbelief, because TCOA tastes like it's been whiskey barrel aged, but obviously it hasn't. A very complex level of taste produced by a non-BBA beer. Impressive.

M - quite smooth, despite the high alcohol content. The sweet notes in the taste make this beer frighteningly drinkable; the bitter elements don't play a role at all in the MF.

O - I'd be interested in aging one of these (inexpensive) bottles for a short period of time, otherwise I can tell that TCOA is going to fall off with prolonged age. Bell's has really achieved something pretty great here with a composite style that mixes elements of BW with stouts, Scotch, brown, and old ales.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2014 00:25:57 | More by JamesShoemaker
Photo of Flopjack


4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle into snifter

Appearance - Rich mahogany, has an amber glow to it, nice white head that settled quickly leaving a ring around the glass , intricate lacing.

Smell - Predominantly malts, bread, slight roasted coffee, caramel sweetness.

Taste - Roasted malts, and coffee flavors at the beginning of the taste. Roasted hoppy bitterness toward the middle of the taste. Burnt bread notes and alcohol towards the end. Slight woodiness as it warms.

Mouthfeel - Medium carbonation and full bodied. Can't label this one as refreshing, rather, more on the warming, thick, blanket like side.

Overall - Good beer. Lots of roasted, and burnt notes. Has some stout characteristics, and a beautiful dark rich woody color.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2014 22:19:03 | More by Flopjack
Photo of lochef81


4.36/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This ale pours a rich copper brown color which is quite cloudy with visible sediment in the glass. There is virtually no head but just a slight amount of tan lacing. The nose of this beer is deep and malty. Some hoppiness but it is definitely overwhelmed by the aroma of sweet roast malts and a little alcohol on the end. The beer sips chewy and coating. Medium bodied with a lasting bitter mouth coating. The flavors are awesome. Lots of malt; sweet and rich. There is a little hoppy bitter essential and citrus notes by they are mostly overwhelmed by the sweetness of the malt. There is an alcohol bite but it is well balanced and very enjoyable. This is my first experience with this style of beer but I definitely look forward to trying more. Excellent offering. Can't wait to try the other ones that I cellared.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2014 04:03:34 | More by lochef81
Photo of jhawth


3.99/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured from bottle into a snifter. Pours a deep, translucent ruby with a finger off-white head.

Aroma: Predominantly musty, earthy malt notes, with some rich, candied fruit aromas. Slight caramel, slight toffee. Faint whiff of alcohol.

Taste: Sweet, rich fruit notes lead to caramel notes, followed by earthy, herbal hop bitterness. Sweet, toffee-like malt notes return for relatively long finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-to-full bodied, light carbonation.

Overall: Very nice barleywine, excited to see how this one ages.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2014 23:55:26 | More by jhawth
Photo of weltywm


4.43/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Dark ruby red to almost black, with about a finger of tan foam that quickly dissipates, leaving a little bit of lacing on the glass.

Smell: Warm alcohol, spice, caramel sweetness and fruit.

Taste: This is good: warm alcohol, red fruit, spice. There's some subtle hints of cocoa and an almost cola-like quality. Balancing everything out is caramel sweetness, vanilla, and bittersweet hops.

Mouthfeel: Really nice carbonation, especially for an old ale. The finish is long and sweet.

Overall: A really good old ale. I'm savoring it while watching a Breaking Bad marathon, and it is perfect.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2013 05:17:47 | More by weltywm
Photo of charlzm


3.79/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

consumed December 24th, 2013 from a bottle labelEd 11419 PKGD. Poured into a Triple Petrus tulip.

Beer looks brown until held to light; when light shines through it, is a deep, rich amber. One finger off-white head becomes a minimal sheeting on sides of glass.

Boozy aroma of dark, pitted fruit and cinnamon bread.

Flavor is similar to smell with the addition of peppery spice. Sweet. More bitter than anticipated on the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied and slightly creamy with some alcohol burn and a little tingle.

Over two and a half years age on this bottle and it still has some bite. Might want to leave the next one cellared longer.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2013 02:50:12 | More by charlzm
Photo of RedMosquito1

South Carolina

4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bell's has really created a masterpiece here. Barleywine, it's great to meet you.

A: Deep red color. Head and lacing are nil.
S: Alcohol is definitely apparent in the nose, but not overpowering. Not roasty, not floral, but mildly sweet, like a caramel.
T: Again, the alcohol level is apparent, but not at all dominant. The front, mid and end are very complex, with some vanilla, caramel and woody notes evident in each. I wish that I had purchased a few to age, because this one challenges you with every sip.
M: Very soft and silky, which is to be expected. A beautiful mouthfeel.
O: A unique taste for me, as I've never had anything like it. The unraveling of its complexity is part of the fun here, as it has a great range of taste notes. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2013 03:23:33 | More by RedMosquito1
Photo of Cylinsier


4.19/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz.

Pours a dark hazy nut brown, off-white lacing for a head.

Smells of cinnamon, molasses, and a hint of cherry. Maybe some licorice in there too.

Tastes of cinnamon, molasses, nutmeg, and a bit of black pepper.

Medium body with sharp stinging carbonation on the tongue.

A good spiced ale, nice flavor, hides its strength well and goes down easy. Very enjoyable and definitely worth trying.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2013 23:01:08 | More by Cylinsier
Photo of don1481


4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into my standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a very dark red. Through a glass, darkly, indeed. Half inch of foam lasts but doesn't overwhelm.

Smell: Sweet smell. Cognac-ish. Definitely boozy. Little hints of fruitiness, but nothing that's particularly close to matching the booziness.

Taste: Sweet, slightly boozy, yet with a surprisingly hint of bitter to the finish. It masks the 10.2% ABV quite well.

Mouthfeel: Sticky, but not obnoxiously so. The bitterness definitely lingers in the mouth well after each sip. Maybe a sort of clay-ish aftertaste.

Overall: Yes, this is something that I'll age in my basement. It's pretty darn good, but I wonder how it'll be in a year or even 6 months. I look forward to revisiting it.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2013 02:40:27 | More by don1481
Photo of BeerNutz324


4.26/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle into a chalice

Ap- pours a dark reddish brown mahogony type color with 3/8 inch off white had that doesn't last too long. The head clings to the glass pretty nicely though.

Ar- dark malts, cherry, figs, cognac, plums, figs,

T- Not as hop forward as other BW's but still there and is balanced almost perfectly with the dark fruited malt. Te alcohol is there but at 10.2% it's hidden fairly well.

M- perfect carbonation for this style, a tad sticky, medium-thick bodied and the alcohol definitely warms the mouth on the hold

O- a really solid barleywine, very balanced and a great sipper. Maybe the best BW I've had

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2013 18:31:03 | More by BeerNutz324
Photo of Abinlp


4.6/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - a somewhat hazy, opaque reddish brown. Nice color really. Tight and lacy, but minimal head, which I like. It disappears quickly

Smell - a sweet aroma. Very malty, caramel nose. Almost cognac or sherry scented, as someone else noted on point. Which is surprising because I don't notice the alcohol in the nose as you'd expect given the ABV.

Taste - Dates, fruit, caramel, and malty. I don't detect the bitterness and hops that others do. But enough to even out the taste almost perfectly.

Mouthfeel - Its viscosity is just right for the style. The alcohol doesn't overwhelm as one would expect.

Overall - The beer rocks. Its definitely an aperitif sort of drink. Sipped slowly and savored. I think the balance is spot on. For the style the beer is, if not truly a characteristic example, an outstanding representation. I love it

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2013 23:50:15 | More by Abinlp
Photo of MDDMD


4.14/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A-red amber color with a nice light tan head and decent lacing

S-caramel, toffee, dark fruit, hint of spice, biscuit

T-caramel malt, toffee, figs, raisins, toasted bread, mild bitter finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth

O-smooth and easy drinking, enjoyable sipping BW! Good value.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2013 00:02:12 | More by MDDMD
Photo of LI_PO12


4.21/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle Into tulip

Appearance- dark reddish/brown, light tan head, good lacing

Aroma- Deep malts, toffee, sherry, apples, dark fruits of fig/dates, some caramel and toasted bread, gets better as it warms

Flavor- sweet but not overbearing, toffee, toasted malts, apples but more of a cooked apple, figs/dates, sherry notes still present, warming alcohol, a sipper for sure

Mouthfeel- medium/heavy, lower end of carbonation, warming alcohol

Overall- One of my favorites, not hoppy like many 'merican barelywines, and I agree with calling this an old ale. I look forward to it every year and grab at least 2 sixes. Finally gonna lay one or two down this year and see what some age does to it.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2013 04:27:16 | More by LI_PO12
Photo of Rimbimhoot


3.44/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Bottled 4/6/12 and poured into a Bruery snifter.

Appearance is dark ruby, mahogany, translucent. No head.

Smell is toffee, caramel, light chocolate, raisin, dark fruit, light alcohol.

Taste follows the noise with toffee, caramel, chocolate, raisin. There is a decent bitterness to counter the big malt sweetness. The alcohol comes through slightly.

Mouthfeel is medium. Light carbonation.

Overall I'm not feeling this at the moment. I think I've enjoyed this more at other times. The bitterness and sweet malt don't compliment each other for my taste. Also the alcohol peeks through a little too much

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2013 04:15:20 | More by Rimbimhoot
Photo of Sludgeman

District of Columbia

3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a chalice. Packaged on 11/14/12. Purchased at Total Wine for $3.49/12oz.

A sipper. Good but not great. 4

A – Pours an opaque (-) reddish brown with a one-finger tan head that dissipates quickly. Good carbonation. No alcohol legs. Nice lacing. 3.5

S – Dark fruit, faint spiciness, tinge of alcohol (vodka). 4

T – Rich and very malty,dark fruit/raisins, some licorice, plenty of herbal bitterness in the finish. 4

MF – Full bodied, very dry finish, warming. 4

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2013 01:21:42 | More by Sludgeman
Photo of HattedClassic


4.24/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The beer pouts a decent amount of head before quickly dissipating. The head was a slight off-white color and creamy. Also, lots of lacing. The beer itself is s dark brown with hints of dark ruby. The beer has a clean appearance but obscure and difficult to see through.

The beer has a nice caramel and malty smell to it. The smell tends to gravitate between fruity and caramel but the smell is definitely sweet. In addition, the beer also appears to have a slight hint of alcohol.

The beer has a very sweet taste to it. In addition, there are notes of malty roast and caramel malts with a hint of alcohol but the alcohol taste is barely noticeable.

Thick and creamy and almost velvety. Very little to no carbonation.

A very good English old ale and one that I plan to come back to every fall/winter.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2013 00:23:19 | More by HattedClassic
Photo of Qbdoo


3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm drinking this fresh but my sense is that I should have let this sit. It's delicious but it seems it might be more promising over time. Color is dark amber and scent is pretty much alcohol, which I'm fine with in this style but you may not be. The mouth feel has the kind of dense oily quality I love in barleywines and old ales. I really like the taste - a combination of booze and candy caramel - but my sense - let's wait and see - is that it will gain in complexity over time. A really good beer for the style. Next time, though, I'll set it aside for a while.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2013 03:59:20 | More by Qbdoo
Photo of schepelz


4.01/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into snifter. Bottled 8/07/13

A - Brown/red/caramel color. Minimal head on pour

S - Big sweet malt. Caramel, milk chocolate, figs, cherries. Slight vanilla/cream smell. Buttery smoothness

T - Taste definitely follows the smell. Strong presence of sweet malty flavor. Almost a bread-like quality to the taste. Dark fruits...raisins, plums, cherries. All followed by a nice bitterness of hops that makes this a really well balanced beer IMO

M - Quite surprised by the amount of carbonation present. More than I anticipated. Nice think, smooth mouthfeel. Definite sipper

O - One of my first of this style, so take this review as you will. Very much enjoyed it. Started a bit colder than I probably should've but the flavors really came to life as it warmed a bit. May be a bit sweet for my tastes but I know this style will grow on me

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2013 01:33:22 | More by schepelz
Photo of ONUMello


4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, bottled 4/6/12, poured into a pint glass
A: Deep mahogany color with a one-finger head and a fair amount of sediment
S: Very pleasant aromas of fig, caramel, vanilla, bourbon
T: Largely matches the nose. Tastes perhaps a bit over the hill but that may be warm storage as I got this off the shelf at my local shop which I usually have no troubles with, but still enjoyable
M: Fairly full-bodied, the alcohol is well hidden
O: Well-made, I'll get more of a recent bottling and will be curious to try it fresher but follow it aged with known storage

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2013 05:46:12 | More by ONUMello
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Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
92 out of 100 based on 1,831 ratings.