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

Not Rated.
Third Coast Old AleThird Coast Old Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,238 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,238
Reviews: 997
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 10.22%
Wants: 218
Gots: 351 | FT: 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-28-2002

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,238 | Reviews: 997 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Ale_Dog
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This will warm you by the fire

Photo of rangerred
3.53/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a very dark brown with a tiny light tan head. Some splotchy lacing on top but good foam around the edge of the glass.

Aroma is dark fruit and burnt sugar. A touch of pine and oak notes but it is all very weak. I was really hoping the aroma would pop a little more than it does.

The flavor has a huge shot of hop bitterness right off the bat. The hops really overwhelm whatever subtle flavors might be present. As the beer warms, some more dark fruit and oak comes through but it is still hampered by the bitterness. Sweet and pretty thick mouthfeel with some alcohol warmth on the finish.

Overall, I had very high hopes for this beer and feel a bit let down. Maybe a couple years on this will ease the bitterness but I feel like there are some really good flavors buried in there.

Photo of Ri0
4.41/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

poured 12oz bottle into snifter, Bottled October 2014.

A - A murky brown/maroon with a thin 1 finger sand colored head. Spotty lacing and a thin ring form on the glass.

S - Wonderful aromas of sweet malts and dark sugars. Dates, raisins, brown sugar, caramel, toffee meld perfectly with mild hops.

T - It packs a good punch of sweet malty sugary sweetness, but the hops come in to give it a slight bitterness. Plenty of brown sugar, caramel and dark fruits. The hops are lightly citrus and bitter, just enough to keep this from being a sugar bomb. ABV is hidden.

M - Medium bodied, nice carbonation, a bit syrupy on the finish.

O - The flavor in this is remarkable and one of the best BWs I have had when fresh. Feels like it has 1-2 years already on it. Not nearly as hoppy compared to other American BWs. Highly recommend.

Photo of John_Beeryman
3.15/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Hot, boozy and harsh. Not recommended.

Photo of afsdan
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Brandonparrent
4.19/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of gobuccos
4.44/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Amedlin18
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of paresis
4.21/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of tourdot
4.21/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Alextricity
4.33/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

$3.29 single bottled 9/5/14 and poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint 1/22/15.

Appearance: Pretty much beer bottle brown -- turns hazy red/orange when held to light. A quarter inch of head floats atop the beer, and there's some patchwork lacing down the glass.

Smell: Classic sort of dark fruit, caramel malt, and brown sugar sort of aroma going on. There is a fair amount of alcohol in the aroma too, which also seems pretty common in the style. There seems to be a freshness seemingly of hops in there, but I could just be confusing that with the dark fruit and brown sugary aroma. Very nice smelling beer.

Taste/feel: The bottle says Old Ale, but BeerAdvocate says American Barleywine... I guess I can see the confusion. Alcohol, dark fruit, and hop bitterness (without so much hop flavor) are there immediately. Throughout the sip, it's almost nothing else but alcohol and dark fruit until the finish, where there's a caramel kind of maltiness with the warming alcohol. Finish is dry, but also juicy... seems different each sip. The feel on this beer is extraordinary, with a silky smooth full body and subtle prickly carbonation... just perfect, to me.

Very well done Old Ale. The bitterness gives the American Barleywine vibe, but it's certainly an Old Ale in my mind, despite what Bell's description is. A great Autumn/Winter sipper.

Photo of HobbNobber
4.67/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of msscott1973
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of wollefdoogylloj
4.06/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of pagriley
4.37/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of beardown
3.71/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Phoneguy
4.29/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 9/19/13. Poured into a Duvel tulip glass. Beautiful reddish brown hue which is more red than brown when held in the light. One finger of head which faded quickly but never completely disappeared. Wonderful smell of malty sweetness, butterscotch & alcohol. Tastes of dates, alcohol. Initially sweet and finishes slightly dry. Light syrup mouth feel, low carbonation but not flat. Excellent Old Ale/Barleywine. I'm going to let the other 5 bottles age a few months to see how it mellows and probably pick up another six pack to age long term. Good show Bell"s!

Photo of jtholst66
4.36/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tastes like a strong Belgian ale. Brown sugar is the predominant flavor but the beer is not too sweet

Photo of prisdefer
2.95/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

ABV too obvious for my taste.

Photo of JGam115
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Maroon with laced off white foam. Candi sugar, crystallized caramel, toasted lucky charms. Light syrup mouthfeel, booze, well balanced.

Photo of mamj89
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Yummy. Good kick back sipper

Photo of greeniedgator
4.75/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of alexsergio
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Sazz9
3.87/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Chaz
4.32/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours what appears to be a jet-black to the eye, and what is in fact a clear deep, ruby color when held up to a direct light. Topped with a nice couple fingers of densely-packed bubbly foam for a head, and exhibiting most excellent lacing when that head recedes.

Nose is an explosion of rampaging malts and hops! Seriously, it is dense. Dark fruit and tropical fruits mixed with boozy rum and vegetal phenols, combined with anise and fennel and dark chocolate and mint - OH MY! Seriously, it's good. Jam-my. Plum-my. Red and blue grapeskins and yeast and raisins and a bit of toffee, too.

It is by no means as hop-forward as many of today's American-style barleywines, but it is very consistent with the beer I drank in the prime of my drinking years (circa the early Oughts), and it is a good example of a traditional aromatic profile for such a beer.

Holy sweet, booty-plundering and rampaging MALTS on the first sip, Batman! This is even better than I remember it. Brisk, scrubbing carbonation*, and an absolutely palate-coating presence. This beer has taken up residence and it don't want none of your organic Balinese java, or 'Uncle Chaz's Miracle Supper' (burned no less than fifteen minutes ago, dammit) to interfere!

Dates, plum, raisin? Check, check, check. There's another dark-skinned fruit in here and it is eluding me, but the anise/fennel seed combo (did I ever tell you that I like fennel seed thanks to my Italian-adopted Ma? It's true!) is all up in this hizzouse like there's no tomorrow, and I am loving it.

Some tart cherry, a little bit of citrus (orange rind/marmalade... ), and something akin to "Hi-C" tropical fruit punch goin' on in here. And if that latter descriptor makes you a bit concerned for the silverware and jewelry you keep on you nightstand, never you mind, I'll be washing it all down with some White Castle sliders, later tonight.

Mouthfeel? This one grabs ahold of you and don't let go until it's throttled the last bit of pork rind, shredded carrots, and (what the hell else did I put in that Fricassee?) organic brown rice from your memory. If "Heavier-bodied" is an adequate descriptor, then consider this the Webster's definition. It is a bigm rich, pungent beer, and the mouthfeel follows. It is not as dangerously-drinkable as some of the lighter-yet-stronger offerings I've had lately, but is definitely drinkable if a heavier, boozier concoction with a lot of character is up yer alley -- and I think that Third Coast Old Ale might be up yer alley!

In short, this is a good beer. I haven't sampled it in close to ten years, now, and I have never rated it beyond some scribblings on a napkin that I had at the bar with me on one particularly cold night in Minnesota winter when I spilled a full Libbey pint on Mr. Larry Bell while drunkenly gesticulating my day on the sales floor at the Polish Liquor Barn. Alas and alack!

Like I said: I think this beer might be for you...

*Bottle coding places this at September or October 2014. I forget the exact date, and the bottle's already clear across the living room, smashed into a million pieces next to the recycling bin. HUZZAH!

P.S. Thankstomodernchemistrysleepisnowoptional.

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Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
92 out of 100 based on 2,238 ratings.