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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.

1,828 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1828
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: 1,828 | Reviews: 956 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Top of its style. Cloudy auburn brown with lots of foam. Hopped up with Cookie dough, mint, rum, dates and fig, ice cream mouthfeel, a little hop bitterness. Complex real flavours that overcomes alcohol. Citrus and vanilla aromas. Mint vanilla aftertaste.
Had a 3-year old aged bottle about 7.5 years later and its very mellow and nice.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2004 05:16:23 | More by Sammy
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.38/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Thanks to drewone for sharing this one at his place.

Bottled 11/14/12.

Pours a hazy reddish-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small streaks and dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, fruits, and alcohol. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but it's quite strong and boozy in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2013 06:20:40 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.53/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cranberry red with a wee splash of orange juice. The honeyish beige crown is whipped creamy and filled almost half the snifter on the pour. Great longevity and an impressive amount of lace are icing on the old ale cake.

The nose is akin to a golden barleywine. Maybe a hint of caramel malt, but nothing darker than that. Here's hoping the expected complexity appears as the beer continues to warm. The short version is assorted fruits soaked in brandy, though ethanol notes are minimal.

Third Coast Old Ale is one of those beers that I've purchased several times in the past, but have always sent in trades, never cracking the crown for myself until today. Although it's a fine effort, it's still disappointing relative to expectations. Not because it isn't well-crafted, but because of my old ale/barleywine preferences. Bottling date was September 5, 2008.

Light and mid-range malts don't provide much flavor, it doesn't tastes like there's much hop character, and ale yeast is notoriously bland. The result is a big beer that lacks complexity and depth. Flavors include apricots macerated in brandy and a handful of caramel-dipped nuts. A surprising amount of bitterness and a fraction too much unmasked alcohol result in a finish that is surgically clean and drying.

The body/mouthfeel is lighter than it should be and the carbonation is more active and more sharp-edged than it should be. I keep hoping things will settle down. It hasn't happened yet and I'm now into the bottom half of the bottle.

This is the biggest shocker of the past several months. I fully expected to love Third Coast Old Ale because I'm a huge fan of Bell's Brewery. Again, the relatively low score probably has more to do with my flavor preferences than it does with the beer itself. For whatever that's worth.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2009 14:54:38 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

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

I actually picked this to have with dinner last night, go figure. Though as it turned out it was a great decision. Poured a thick deep dark brown with a small tan head. Very thick looking with a somewhat reddish tint to it. Lots of side glass lace as well as a rich foamy layer left on top. The smell was very full, lots of roasted malts and caramel with an odd sort of sweet hoppiness melded into the back end of it. The feel was great, very full and creamy with a great residual smoothness to it. Huge sweet caramel and sugar flavor that was folded over with hints of chocolate and even a roasted coffee. This was a very fine strong ale, which gives really no hint of the ABV at all. I could have almost made a session ale out of this, it was just that good. I would take another one of these any day, just a great sipping beer with a good depth and a nice long lasting finish. Definitely a quality choice.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2007 00:19:16 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of womencantsail


4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to both Michael and Mark for sending me bottles of this in recent trades.

A: The pour is a slightly cloudy mahogany color with very little off-white head. It ends up being a thin ring around my snifter.

S: Plenty of brown sugar, caramel, and toffee right off the bat. A little bit deeper there are plenty of dark fruits such as plums, cherries, and maybe some figs.

T: A toasty malt and sugar flavor with a moderate bitterness. A good bit of brown sugar and toffee along with a mixed bowl of dark fruit flavors. Really well balanced between, overall.

M: The body is medium to full with a slight warmth to it. The carbonation is low to medium.

D: Though this definitely packs a punch, this is a dangerously easy to drink old ale. I'm happy to have another bottle of this to stash away.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2010 06:03:34 | More by womencantsail
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Arrives at the table with a hazy dark amber color and a beige head that leaves lots of lace

Smell: Caramel and earthy hops compete and there is definitely some alcohol on the nose

Taste: Caramel base up front that is joined by a growing earthy bitterness that turns slightly harsh at the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Complex ale, with sweet and bitter elements and a long-lasting finish

Serving type: on-tap

03-10-2007 19:39:09 | More by brentk56
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (thanks to Hogtownharry for this one): Poured a murky brown color ale with a medium foamy brown head with great retention. Aroma of sweet caramel malt and light bitter hops is very well balance. Taste is a mixture between dry figs, sweet caramel malt with a nice hops finish that is more subtle then what I was expecting based on some previous rating. Body is full and it seems like the beer had not been filtered, which is always a big plus. Alcohol was well hidden. Overall, this is probably one of the finest American barleywine that I have had the chance to try.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2006 17:02:17 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of BEERchitect


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

This is a real test for the palate. It has aromas and flavors all over the place. Much like a barleywine, just not quite as strong in malt or hop profile. Colors that display yeast, wheat, barley and darker malts. Flavors of all the dark rich fruits, candies and syrups, spices and herbs, hops and alcohol. I think I even tasted a kitchen sink...It's all in there! But the question is, "how well do the flavors meld together"? For me it's nice, but it's a bit overwhelming, aggressive and abrupt, although I do enjoy it. It will be fun to see how this one ages.

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2005 17:59:30 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of Thorpe429


3.75/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours mahogany win a slight off white head and not much of any lacing. Nose brings sweet bread and caramel along with dates, brown sugar, and some generic sweetness. Taste is quite boozy with brown sugar and rum-soaked dark fruits. Medium body with low carbonation and booze. Drinks well, but is definitely a sipper.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2010 11:50:49 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of metter98

New York

4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear but very dark amber in color (brown when viewed from afar) and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high tan head that slowly died down and left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of caramel, toffee and fruits in the nose.
T: The taste shares some similarities with the smell but isn't quite as complex, having mainly flavors of caramel malts and notes to hints of alcohol along with a light to moderate amount of bitterness.
M: It feels full-bodied and a little sticky on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There is some alcohol warming towards the finish and dryness in the aftertaste.
O: This beer is a good barleywine but seems that the taste really needs some aging to develop the same amount of complexity as the smell.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2012 20:51:54 | More by metter98
Photo of ChainGangGuy


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

Appearance: Pours a dark amber body with a small, creamy off-white head.

Smell: Dark fruits and crème caramel with notes of cinnamon and molasses backed by a hefty whiff of booze.

Taste: Brown sugar and dark fruits, particularly grapes, smothered in a sweet caramel sauce. Hint of molasses and cinnamon spice. Slight earthy bitterness. Long, hot finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Coating mouthfeel. Warming alcohol presence.

Drinkability: A pretty good barleywine and another fine beer from Bell's.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2008 17:57:37 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

4.45/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby red with a creamy,sticky head,aromas of dried fruit and of brown sugar a nice robust aroma.Wow what a nice rich complex beer flavors of fruit and dough with some big alcohol notes as this beer warms.A big hearty beer meant to be drank to warm you up,big and chewey just awesome!Thanks AKSmokedPorter for this great brew from the home state.

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2004 02:43:34 | More by oberon
Photo of TMoney2591


3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

I'm from Illinois...we only have a third OF a coast. Damn Michiganders and their snobbery and braggadocio! This bit of evidence pours a very dark ruby brown topped by a tiny layer of ecru bubbles. Some minor particulates congregate at the base of the snifter. The nose comprises maple syrup, molasses, oak, and black cherries. The taste holds notes of everything just named, along with brown sugar, red apples, and a bit of leather. The body is a light heavy, with moderate carbonation and a surprisingly watery feel (I expected something thicker). Not bad at all for an old ale, especially one so readily available.

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2010 06:42:56 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of NeroFiddled


4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Carefully poured from a long-standing bottle it's a crystal-clear deep-ruby with an orange cast. The creamy off-white head drops slowly to a thin surface covering that holds throughout the glass. A simple swirl of the glass will bring it back up in size; yet it leaves little lacing about the glass (probably due to the high level of alcohol present). A rich caramel malt resides in the nose; accentuated by spicy, floral, citrusy and herbal hops; as well as a bit of alcohol and some mild fruitiness. The body is full and creamy in the mouth with a very fine, natural carbonation that gently caresses the tongue. All of the elements found in the nose are carried over into the flavor plus more. It starts with a gently sweet and lightly fruity caramel malt that expresses a gentle nuttiness and an occassional mild note of vanilla. More fruit (dates, raisins) and a light touch of citrusy and piney hops becomes apparent across the middle along with a solid bitterness. It finishes with some lingering malt and a burst of citrusy/piney hops amongst a rising bitterness. Quite nice! Seemingly more of a barleywine than an old ale, but enjoyable nonetheless. Well worth trying, and a good addition to anyone's cellar.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2003 18:54:31 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of feloniousmonk


4.83/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Perfect dark violet/burgundy color, with an impressive, thick cocoa/tan head. Aroma is majestic, and rich with flavorful connotations: sweet, sharp, and fruity, suggesting cherries, grapes, port wine, brandy, with a hint of anise, and chocolate. Mouthfeel is dazzling in complexity, full, rewarding , and greatly alcoholic, taste is magnificent, dark, sweet, profound, and strong, accompanied by a lively hop ride on the tongue, awash in sweet, liquory flavors. Alcohol content is not given on the label, but it has to be formidable, for a burnt quality lingers in the finish, and hangs around the mouth. Wonderfully warming, expertly crafted, another prodigious acheivement from Larry Bell & Co.
All larger praises must be rescinded, as we hail the king of American barleywines!.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2003 11:48:42 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

3.73/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch #8135, acquired via trade from feloniousmonk so a big “Thank You” goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep reddish brown color, with a short thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, brown sugar, dark fruit and a little bit of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of brown sugar, dark fruit and caramel. Then there is a bit of alcohol sting and a hearty malt character. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings a decent balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and a little crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down dangerously easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, there are better choices in the style but this is still a solid stronger beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2011 03:03:50 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of emerge077


4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A perfect nightcap, best one at a time.
Allowed to warm to a cool temp., maybe 50-55º.

Pours a deep mahogany, spotty lacing flecks the rim of the glass.

Aroma of burnt malt, caramel, and sweet liqueur.

Taste is rich, toffee and malt mostly. Hops linger in a ghostly bitter finish. What takes centerstage is the velvety butterscotch mouthfeel that wraps you like a blanket with every small sip. Every time I drink one, it takes at least 30 min. to finish. The alcohol is apparent, but well integrated into a heady, intoxicating liquid. Voodoo in a glass...

Can't wait to try one aged in a couple years.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2006 02:35:01 | More by emerge077
Photo of russpowell


4.45/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one from batch 7695 comes courtesy of BARLEYWINEO, cheers

Pours chesnut/mahogany with 2+ fingers of mocha colored head. Just hints of lacing & head retention

S: Oak, vanilla, raisins & general bourbon scents

T: Dry, intense malt, slightlty charred oakyness, a little boozey warmth & vanilla up front. Leafy hops, raisins, & bitter chocolate as this warms. Finishes a touch too dry for my liking, with leafy hops, raisins, toasty malt & some more booozey warmth

MF: Rich, chewy, low carbonation & a general boozey feel

Drinks good for the abv & chewyness, just too dry to attempt session on. Very good old ale

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2007 17:28:27 | More by russpowell
Photo of WesWes

New York

4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a deep, dark brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great! It has a warm, malty scent that screams burnt toffee and an elevated abv.. The taste is good. It has a smooth, malty flavor that goes down slow and warm with a sweet burnt toffee finish. This is one tastey beer. It's highly complex and full of flavor. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn fine beer. It's got it all. The aroma is addicting and the taste really comes through. Nice job guys.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2007 03:44:15 | More by WesWes
Photo of drabmuh


4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A bottle shared by Matt, kind of an older bottle, 4 or 5 years old? I didn't write it down. It was old. This beer is on the medium list for me and I was excited to try it.

Beer is dark brown and hazy, some floaties got in my half but that's fine. Head is thin the bubbles are off white / dark yellow. Carbonation is low. Looks good.

Aroma is sweet and some dark fruits, also a mild alcohol. Its smells good.

Beer is medium bodied and still slightly hot. I would be interested in trying a "new" bottle of this to see how hot it is to start out. Despite this mild heat, its caramelly, pretty smooth, and finishes nicely without an aftertaste. I'm liking more and more old ales lately. An interesting departure for me. I would definitely have this in the future. Its a good ale from Bells, another one.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2010 14:27:03 | More by drabmuh
Photo of zeff80


4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a cloudy, dark burgandy color with a small, short-lived, tan head. Left some soapy trails of residue.

S - It smelled of alcohol, caramel and rich malt.

T - It tasted very sweet and of rich caramel malt. The alcohol taste was also quite present.

M - It was very soft and smooth, almost port-like. It was medium to heavy-bodied.

D - This is a great ole ale. I'm glad I grabbed 3.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2008 19:45:55 | More by zeff80
Photo of Gueuzedude


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

Pours a muddy amber color. This is lightly carbonated and has a wispy amber-brown head. There are thick juicy aromas of aged malts, figs, raisins, and a bit of alcohol at the end. This has a medium body up front, which leads to a fuller mouthfeel in the finish, it almost coats my mouth. There are lots of dried fruit notes here (fig, and raisin predominantly), but a huge malty contribution is here as well. The malt goes from a sweet caramel note up front, right through to a dry toasted malt finish. The hops in this are somewhat restrained, but there is a definite contribution in the flavor, and a hint of bitterness in the finish. The dry maltiness in the finish is quite intriguing, it is what really jumps out for me. Right now this beer is a malt lovers dream.

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2004 20:17:21 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of Knapp85


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

This beer poured out as a dark brown color. The head was pretty big but settled quickly. The lacing wasn't too bad leaving some bubbles down the glass. The smell of the beer was earthy, toasted and a little sweet. There is a some booze on the nose too. The taste of the beer has a sweet start to it with some burnt bitter flavors in the end, all that mixed with some caramel and booze. The heat on this beer is give the mouthfeel a big warming aspect to it. It's not overly heavy at all but it still feels like a big beer. Overall the beer was pretty good, I'd be willing to drink it again sometime.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2011 15:58:59 | More by Knapp85
Photo of RblWthACoz


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

Pours a murky brownish with a sizeable light tan head that has some very good staying power. Nose is nice and malty with a woody sweetness and a level of complexity that speaks volumes that you hope the flavor can back up. Flavor is beautiful. Nice deep complexities. Touch of alcohol is there for sure. One thing that comes to be after contemplating it for a while is a hint of almonds. Mostly though there is the wood and the "old" malty character. Feel has a good level of carbonation and the liquid is just right. In a far stretch of a way, this is like drinking a sherry or Madeira that has yet to be ages to perfection, but is almost there. I like it.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2008 03:38:17 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of WVbeergeek


4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a beautiful chestnut appearance, just awesome seems Bell's lives by their slogan "if beer was meant to be filtered we wouldn't have kidneys" on this one. Cream colored foam forms nice and thick billows out of my tulip shaped chalice leaves collar of lacing and continually with each sip completely coats the glass. Aroma: Pine cone scented touch of hops rich in alcohol and fruit combo, hints of chocolate and bready yeast make for a complex session for the senses. Taste: I am guessing the hops were even more influential in the overall flavor profile early one in it's conception, however now the mellow balanced blend and pure drinkability is insane. This beer is beefy a nice smooth piney bitterness and sweet loads of malt are magnificant. Mouthfeel: Succulent beer like a prime rib, full bodied and full flavored smooth mellow carbonatiobn nice. Drinkability: For nine percent alcohol by volume and this much flavor here, I can't believe how incredibly drinkable this beer is. Thanks to aaronh for bringing it into my grasps, wow.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2004 01:03:43 | More by WVbeergeek
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Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
92 out of 100 based on 1,828 ratings.