1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

Not Rated.
Third Coast Old AleThird Coast Old Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,935 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,935
Reviews: 964
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.19%
Wants: 193
Gots: 262 | FT: 16
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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Third Coast Old Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,935 | Reviews: 964 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of klikger


4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle served in a Duvel tulip

A - Dark brown with some red, good lacing, decent off-white head which shrinks quickly.

S - Brown sugar, raisin, toffee.

T - Brown sugar on the front --> prunes, raisins, tobacco --> cinnamon, pepper, and warm alcohol --> piny hops, licorice, molasses. Complex, always tasty beer. One of my favorite Bell's beers for sure.

M - Pretty thick, good carbonation

D - A sipper, but a very enjoyable one. Not hard to down a bottle myself.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2010 22:40:40 | More by klikger
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 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 dpnelson1978


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

12 oz. bottle into glass snifter.

$15.99 / 6-pk.

A: Bright brown body with garnet tones topped with a small creamy tan head that dissipates quickly leaving moderate lacing, and only a ring of cover.

S: Sweet malt aroma with strong raisin, and molasses character. Noticeable alcohol, but not overpowering or distracting.

T: Sweet molasses and raisin flavors over a toffee backbone. Hops are subdued and leave little aftertaste. Noticeably hot, but fits the style.

M: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation. Chewy and possessing noticeable warmth on the palate.

D: Despite the 10.2 ABV, this beer has an attractive flavor profile, and smooth clean finish. Enjoy it slowly over the evening and you will have no complaints.

O: One of my favorite old ales.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2010 04:09:08 | More by dpnelson1978
Photo of codewarrior

New York

4.55/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz from a 6 pack, poured into a snifter. Bottle reads 8943.

Got this as part of a trade with 7ways, and I have to admit I'm a bit biased towards this beer. This beer, Kalamazoo Stout, and Three Floyds Alpha King were my introduction to craft beer. There are many emotions involved.

A: Rich deep mahogany. Pours half finger of head. Creamy.

S: Sweet and caramely and old, like a worthers original, only boozey ... really boozey.

T: Smooth malts roll up and over the palate, fading into a sweet caramel booze, which lingers.

F: Rich and smooth.

D: mmm

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2010 08:18:14 | More by codewarrior
Photo of SiepJones


4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter. The beer is a 2003 vintage.

A: Pours a deep mahogany with no clarity through the middle. A inch tall layer of creamy brown/white head sits on top of this beer.

S: I'm picking up lots of flavors on this nose, the most prominent are caramel and prune. The scent is rich with a bittersweet finish.

T: Grainy/bready malt flavor up front, with a hint of caramel on the finish. I am surprised that I am not noting as much of the dark fruit flavor that I smelled on the nose, although there is a very strong alcohol presence on the finish.

M: Slick mouth with plenty of carbonation, and a tongue numbing alcohol bite at the end.

D: Good flavor, with high ABV make this an excellent sipper, which warms the stomach on every taste.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2010 01:23:27 | More by SiepJones
Photo of BrewCrew2010


3.1/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: The body of this beer pours deep mahogany color with some visible carbonation, chunks, & little to no head. What head I have is just a pin stripe that's a off white color.

S: I had the glass a good 12 inches away and could get a strong aroma of brown sugar and caramel malts. Once I really got into the glass I was able to pick up figs, nuts, floral hops, and a slight hint of cocoa. Reminds me of my wife's sweet potatoe casserole.

T: Maybe I got a bad bottle, but this beer is way more boozy then I expect a beer to taste like. Kind of burned as it went down. Put that aside and I was able to get a strong molasses flavor as well as brown sugar, dates, and bitter hops. Reminded me of a strong port.

M: Heavy on the palate with a full body and little carbonation.

D: Maybe I don't like this style (this was my first old ale so I have nothing to compare this to), but I thought it was too boozey. I don't see myself drinking this again, and what I have I will definitely be sipping (my husband gave his away because he hates the date flavor).

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2010 00:29:38 | More by BrewCrew2010
Photo of SpdKilz


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

A huge thanks to steelersxl for this great extra. Cheers!

Appearance - Pours a dark brown color, almost reddish. About two fingers of head that dissipates relatively fast, though it leaves great lacing.

Smell - Caramel, brown sugar, booze, dark fruits.

Taste - Similar to the nose. Heavy booze flavor, brown sugar, heavy spices, molasses, and heavy dark fruits such as plum and raisins.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, creamy, decent carbonation.

Drinkability - Relatively easy to drink, though a one and done. Glad I was able to try it.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2010 03:05:20 | More by SpdKilz
Photo of RunForYourBeer


3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from batch 9525

A: Pours a light brown with about a half inch of head that quickly goes away.

S: Smells of molasses with a bit of alcohol.

T: Tastes much like the smell. Starts with a sweet, syrupy molasses flavor with a bit of alcohol warming.

M: A bit syrupy.

D: High abv hurts it.

This is the first Old Ale I've had and I enjoyed it. The alcohol content hurts the drinkability but its a great sipping beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2010 23:47:55 | More by RunForYourBeer
Photo of hawks10


3.83/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle - Batch #8723 - Bottled September 5th, 2008 - Poured into my Bell's tulip...just past this beers 2 year anniversary, been stored properly by me that whole time...

Pours a dark crimson, gorgeous color with a two finger, thick, light tan head which lasts forever...

Aroma is very sweet, tons of caramel and toffee. Has the dark ripe fruit characteristic of a quad, no trace of hop bitterness remains in this beer. Bready, thick, there is a bit of an aged barleywine aroma going on here...and maybe a slight bit of oxidation...

Taste is complex and strong. Initially very warming from the alcohol, this one is definitely a sipper. Although there were no signs of hop bitterness in the aroma, there is still some bitter hops presence in the taste. Otherwise this beer is all about sweetness...tons of caramel and toffee malt flavors mixed in with brown sugar and ripe dark fruits...

Heavy bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Fully flavored and still somewhat hot...

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2010 23:38:09 | More by hawks10
Photo of ptykozoon


3.13/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours brown with a red hue, nice head at first, but then dissipates ultra fast.

Hops upfront, hints of fruits, cherries, grapes.

Tastes of the nose, strong hops and light sweet fruit flavors, this beer is simplistic, nice but highly forgettable.

Somewhat dull mouthfeel, not too much going on.

Not my favorite beer, but not bad. This beer was fresh and with some age on it I'm sure it would be significantly better.

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2010 22:01:39 | More by ptykozoon
Photo of zoso1967


3.68/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks you TCgoalie for picking out this beer for me.

Third coast old ale pours a ruby dark amber with low carbonation. It has almost no head, but what little foam there is has a light tan color and leaves decent lace.

The aroma is predominantly malty with caramel and toffee, as well as a considerable amount of alcohol and some dark dried fruit. The booziness gives it a real rum like character, and if I dig in deep I can also detect some earthy hops.

The flavor is malty and fruity, with a decent amount of bitterness. Toffee and prunes mingle with caramel, brown sugar and some nuttiness. The alcohol comes through pretty strong at the end of each sip. All the flavors are pretty good, but it seems that this beer lacks a bit of the complexity I was hoping for.

The mouthfeel is on the thicker side of medium and is less smooth than one would expect with such a low carbonation level. The finish is pretty well balanced with a sweet, then dry lift off that keeps it from being too heavy on the palate.

This is a sipper of a beer, and one that I wish had just a bit more going on so that it was more enjoyable to savor. Well made and solid, just like nearly all of Bell's other beers, but in the end it is just nothing all that special.

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2010 17:53:17 | More by zoso1967
Photo of Vdubb86


4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass

This was my first old ale. It pours a nice deep red color with barely any foam of which to speak. The smell is of rum, cherries, raisin and oak with what might be a hint of caramel or brown sugar in the back. The taste is quite nice with there being a rum-raisin sweetness with the bitterness that the alcohol provides. It's almost like drunken raisinettes. I honestly really enjoyed sipping this one for quite some time it's just as good at room temperature as it is cold. The syrupiness seems quite appropriate for the style and actually makes it more enjoyable as a sipping beer. It has many characteristics that I would personally seek out in a Port. Dear god sip it, but I promise you it's really good. It makes me want to try more old ales.

Serving type: bottle

09-16-2010 00:37:08 | More by Vdubb86
Photo of TheHoppiest


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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter. Made sure to let it warm well before drinking.

Pours a mahogany brown, with very little head - just a thin sheen of tan in the middle, with a line of tan aroud the edge of the glass.

Has a barleywine smell; roasted malt, thick bready yeast fills the nose.

Taste is slightly bitter, warm with alcohol and nicotine, balanced by sweet moloasses and burnt toffee. Ends bitter, with a lingering tingling on the tongue and a wamth in the belly.

Mouthfeel is medium to thick.

A drinkable, sippable beer, but definitely intense enough that you'll have one and be done a while.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2010 16:26:21 | More by TheHoppiest
Photo of CampusCrew


4.63/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: very dark brown, great head and lacing down the glass

smell: caramel, sublte chocolate from sweet malts

taste: loads of brown sugae and caramel malts flavors. fantastic hop presence. finishes dry and very balanced beer

mouthfeel: full bodied, high carbonation for style.

drinkability: Close to the best Bells beer Ive had and thats saying alot.

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2010 17:56:47 | More by CampusCrew
Photo of koopa

New Jersey

3.63/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Vito at the Copper Mine Pub thanks!

Appearance: Pours a mahogany to garnet with a 1 finger khaki crown that shows moderate retention and lace.

Smell: Deep dry caramel malt and a hint of peat. Not complex at all.

Taste: Same as nose.

Mouthfeel: Light side of medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Thinner than I'd expect considering the style and abv.

Drinkability: Went down fairly smooth but I'm just not getting much from the flavor profile or mouthfeel.

Serving type: on-tap

08-29-2010 02:45:29 | More by koopa
Photo of Phelps


3.55/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 9458

Looks: overpopulated. A smooth, glug-less pour begets a tan head about half a finger in height. It's tightly-packed, but gone quickly, leaving just a thin ring populated by sticky foam gripping the sides and forming webbed lacing. The liquid is a deep cherry brown, hazy and chock-full of floaters. I'm amazed this much yeast even fit into that 12-ounce bottle.

Smells: unchallenging. Lightly toasty, with notes of caramel and cocoa, balanced nicely by sweeter flavors of currant, plums and cherries, with grape juice and vinegar. A good aroma, if a little uncomplicated.

Tastes: at times, like dark chocolate-coated acai berries. Letting this one warm, the fruity flavors become more pronounced and balance the acrid flavors of dark malts. It's port-like, with notes of cocoa, currants, figs, a bit of caramel and some bread. A bitterness builds between sips and a blast of alcohol flames the throat at the swallow.

Feels: like decomposition. At first smooth, with a velvety medium body, a medium carbonation soon tickles the tastes buds and breaks apart the beer in the mouth.

Drinks: forgettably. I'm usually a fan of old ales, but Third Coast didn't impress. I'd like a little more complexity.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2010 06:58:14 | More by Phelps
Photo of BenZ


3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm usually not a huge fan of Old Ales (not hoppy like a BW, roasty like a RIS, or complex like a quad), but 3rd coast may have made a convert of me.

This beer is like the best non-hoppy BW mixed with a belgian strong dark. There is a lot going on here! If it wasn't quite so sweet (it's not as sweet as some anyway) and a little less hot (could improve - this bottle is young) it could make my top 15. It's an absolutely beautiful beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2010 23:57:36 | More by BenZ
Photo of WeezyBoPeep


4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay chalice. Is that the right way to consume this one? Do I care?

A: Pure chocolate brown with floaties, thick and dark with little to no head.

S: Dark fruits, almond butter, smokey malt and sharp cheddar cheese hit the nose in a wave of bizarre, intriguing me to sip, so I do...

T: Malty with a thick and rich mouthfeel immediately. Tons of dark fruits- prunes, figs, stewed apples, black cherries and burnt brown sugar.

D: I feel like I could drink too many of these at over 10% alcohol.

Value: You get what you pay for with Bell's.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2010 14:25:18 | More by WeezyBoPeep
Photo of AventinusCam


4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Found this one day rummaging around in a small beer store around the University of Pittsburgh. I was surprised I saw an old ale there and decided to give it a try.

A- Slightly dark copper color.
S- Malts, alcohol, and spices...and lots of them.
T- I was so surprised how good this beer is. So many damn flavors going on it is almost hard to pinpoint them. Very complex. Extremely delicious.
M- Thick to say the least. It has the consistency of syrup and you can certainly feel it on your lips after a sip. Tremendous.
D- I could MAYBE put two of these down in a night. A long night. It is just too rich and complex to do anymore than that. It would be gluttonous.

Overall...I truly enjoyed this beer. I was expecting a good beer, but I got a fantastic one. Gotta love bottle shop surprises.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2010 18:41:06 | More by AventinusCam
Photo of kbutler1


4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Draft. Stopped in the brewery and had a little sampler of several beers. Darker reddish amber color with a tan head. Sweet dark fruit aroma. Taste transitions nicely to a hoppy finish after the sweetness. Medium mouthfeel. Lingering taste. Very tasty.

Serving type: on-tap

08-19-2010 18:28:26 | More by kbutler1
Photo of Lerxst


4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours a hazy copper with a 1/2" khaki head that has fair retention and leaves a lot of sticky lace.

S-Dark fruit, brown sugar, molasses, a bit of booze, toffee.

T-Rich caramel malt, dark fruit, a bit of spice, brown sugar and molasses, but its not overly sweet at all.

M-Full bodied, creamy but with a crisp carb bite.

D-For a big brew, this one goes down easily.

Another job well done from the fine folks at Bell's.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2010 00:39:06 | More by Lerxst
Photo of beerdrifter


3.43/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up at Save-On, a great beer store in Mentor Ohio. Deep dark brown-red pour with quickly fading head and decent lacing. Earthy, herbal nose with lots of dark fruits, molasses and alcohol. The taste is much the same with the dark fruits being the star. Rasins, dates, prunes along with molasses and brown sugar. If there was an attempt to hide the alcohol it failed. It warms from start to finish. Between the alcohol and the syrupy mouthfeel, it's not all that drinkable. With that said, it's another decent beer from Bells, but just a bit too sweet for me.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2010 17:09:26 | More by beerdrifter
Photo of innersanctum


2.53/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

My neighbor was awfully kind to offer me a bottle of BB's old ale, "Its like an amber ale on steroids!".

Let me offer the fine folks at Bell's the dignity they deserve and mention this just isn't my type of ale. Mouthfeel on this one had a definate sense of burnt carmel and raisin with lots of alcohal. The lack of head and lacing did not bother me, but it might bother you. Sediment is very obvious at the bottom of the bottle.

In all fairness, Bells recommends aging the ale so that could have voided the warranty right then and there, but I did sleep very well last night. Also, pay attention to the review conducted by Alström Bros and suggest following their leed, after all I did drink this at the end of a hot August day so a little bit of willpower could have helped.

This one is my own damn fault, and oh neighbor please don't forget about me with your wonderfully aged old ale in the depths of winter.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2010 14:37:59 | More by innersanctum
Photo of Snamnoum

District of Columbia

4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - its a very murky reddish brown with tons of sediment, not much head and loads of sticky lace.

Smell - molasses, alcohol, tobacco, smoke, yeast, fruit, and dark malt.

Taste - much like it smells, sweet brown sugar/molasses maltiness right upfront, by followed dried fruit (raisins) and then bitter hops for the finish. Alcohol seems to peak right in the middle at it is very present and fairly liquor-like (whiskey/bourbon)

Mouthfeel - Fullbodied with moderate carbonation and chewy feel.

Drinkability - while I would definitely get this again its not my favorite style and I find more than one of these in a night to be taxing. That said, I'm cellaring 4 of these and believe that will make a huge difference as it will help mellow out the alcohol and therefore allow the other flavors to come through. Seeing as how Bell's recommends this themselves on the bottle its kind of a no brainer

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2010 05:49:53 | More by Snamnoum
Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
92 out of 100 based on 1,935 ratings.