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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.

1,934 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,934
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: 1,934 | Reviews: 964 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of vdread


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

my bottle of Third Coast Old Ale is a little over three years (10-26-06) old. the design on the bottle is brilliant. it pours dark brown with a thin tan head that lingers reluctantly, eventually winding down to a thin collar. huge chunks of sediment float throughout.

smell is rich with caramel and dark fruit like raisin and cherry.

taste is rich, smooth, very sweet/syrupy with notes of bitter cocoa powder, brown sugar, plums, and raisins. alcohol is present, but not hot. hops are slight, but still hanging on after all this time. hints of sourness surface every once in a while. when warm, rich, bready tastes become more apparent.

mouthfeel good, full, low carbonation. leaves notes of dark plum and a slight alcohol burn.

+ definitely a keeper. beers like this make me love Bell's and wish that it were distributed in Texas. one of the better old ale/barleywines i've had.

thanks JDV for the chance to try this beer

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2010 20:38:13 | More by vdread
Photo of WeedKing4

Ontario (Canada)

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

Bottle pours a dark amber brown that is slightly clear. Smells of strong beautiful beer, but the taste isn't strong at all. It tastes of caramal dark fruit in a way, and its quite smooth. No hint of the 10.20% at all. A very good old ale overall and glad I got to try this one finally.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2010 03:07:23 | More by WeedKing4
Photo of BeerAdvocate


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

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine March 2007

One of the brewery's biggest beers, and a cold-weather beer for sure. They dubbed this one a "brandy of ales" and suggest that you cellar it.

The viscous liquid pours slow and the tiny bubbles roll to the top to form a stellar tan head. Deep-brown color with garnet edges shows clarity; the yeast was not the least bit disturbed and stayed in the bottle. Very sweet aroma; a tad boozy with slight sherry and fig undertones. Brown bread and baked apples in the nose towards the back. Lush, creamy, smooth mouthfeel with a semi-syrupy body. Caramel sweetness to start; suggestions of burnt raisins, ripe dates, black currants, and cocoa powder come to mind. Modest hop bitterness, there to help balance. Some warmth from the alcohol adds a bit of spice, middle to end. Finishes sweet, with dark malt and ripe fruit.

We couldn't think of another beer to have during a chilly, single-digit winter night. It's definitely a warmer, and certainly a beer that has a lot of cellaring po- tential. We intend to do just that, though our willpower will be tested. A simple Danish blue cheese with figs was a superb pairing.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2010 18:45:06 | More by BeerAdvocate
Photo of Beerandraiderfan


4.4/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Good dark brown appearance, red hue in the light, tan/beige head, average, compact lace.

Aroma is sweet alcohol. Good hop presence in the nose.

Taste, boozy and hoppy. A very complimentary barleywine in the Bigfoot tradition. . . malty, sweet, bitter, hoppy, alcohol. Mouthfeel a little more complex than Bigfoot, but easier to drink. Something makes it smoother, vanilla, maybe cinammon, I dunno, but this beer gets easier to drink. Might even be thicker malt wise than Bigfoot. Seems expensive, but upon reflection of how big of a beer it is, quite affordable.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2010 21:41:27 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of BravoTwo


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

A - Deep brown, with tinges of red. Very minimal tan cream head that minimized down to almost nothing but a light film on the very edges of the glass.

S - Dark, dried fruit, spice notes with a very complex nose

T - Fruitcake fruit, dark candy, figgy with spicy notes. Edges of vanilla at times with darker, caramelized malt. No noticable hops presence. Big flavor.

M - Thick and viscous, slick and oily on the tongue.

D - For a 10.2% beer, this beer is deceptively drinkable. Balanced and drinkable for a strong old ale.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2010 21:15:23 | More by BravoTwo
Photo of Sallerj


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

This beer is dark reddish brown, without much head. It smells like cherry, cocoa, and apple. It has a complex and surprisingly mellow flavor with lots of bitter fruit and dark sugar. Everything fits together very well, and it goes down very easily for such a strong, flavorful beer. Delicious.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2010 04:36:17 | More by Sallerj
Photo of billab914


4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. Poured brown, slightly ruby in color with a thin scattered white lacing on top of the beer.

The aroma is sweet with caramel malt and dark fruit really coming through. A small amount of alcohol is present but not as much as I expected. The taste is full of dark fruits, with some raisins, plums and figs all present. It has a warming alcohol finish to it with some hints of vanilla.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with below average carbonation. Drinkability is pretty good, it has some very good flavors to it which really helps the drinkability. A very nice slow sipping beer that I really enjoyed after dinner.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2010 23:52:49 | More by billab914
Photo of katan


3.83/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz into a snifter. the first review generated as a result of the Iowa beer equity law

A- Pours an amber, to almost brown color. Very opaque. Head formation is strong, appearing off white to brown. Retained at a film.

S - A very potent sweet smell of raisins, orange, and some bready yeast notes. Some phenolic notes are present.

T - Starts off very sweet, malty as heck. Some yeasty notes mid-stream, a light amount of hops. Finishes with a hefty phenolic tone, and some very bready almost starchy sweet malts. A bitter aftertaste lingers on the tongue.

M - Very thick and creamy. Sugary, clinging and sticky. Not much carbonation bite- but the body is present.

D - A dessert beer would be my best description of the drinkability. One and done - too sweet for a session. ABV is obviously strong. Not too filling.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2010 02:00:42 | More by katan
Photo of kirkpjr


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

Reviewed from notes.

Batch 9385. Reviewed this one alongside one aged for a year. The review is of the fresh one

A: Pours a half finger head. Deep copper/amber color. Very little lacing.

S: Dark fruits and candied malts. Belgian yeast scents. A hint of alcohol. Fruits open up more as it warms.

T: A very bitter front end. Dark fruits bring up the end and stick in the aftertaste. Very boozy. Fruits open in the taste as well as it warms.

M: Moderate carbonation. Mild hops stick to the tongue. Hotness stings on the way down.

D: Thick, boozy beer. It was a very tough task to try and finish both of these versions side by side.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2010 01:15:00 | More by kirkpjr
Photo of BeerGodz

New Jersey

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

Look: Dark brown color, medium head with decent retention & good lacing

Smell: Dark fruit, sweet malt, caramel

Taste: Up Front: All kinds of dark fruit. Finish: Malt, booze

Mouthfeel: Full body, low/medium carbonation, thick & creamy

Drinkability: Just a little on the sweet side, which was more of an issue as it got warmer

Overall Impression: One of the few ales that I enjoyed less as it approached cellar temp. Still enjoyable though.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2010 11:37:45 | More by BeerGodz
Photo of scottyshades


3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is going to be my first review with an oversized wine glass, so I'm hoping it won't throw me off my game.

A: Pours a dense and opaque "stained mahogany" color. The tan head is fluffy and retains for a little while before dissipating, leaving nice blankets of foam along the glass. Very beautiful looking beer.

S: Surprisingly complex nose, there is a lot going on here. Strong dark fruit aromas greet the nose at first; fig, raisin, plum, pear, and some light apple. Next there is an underlying caramel and chocolate malt base that lends a bready and doughy aroma. Residual sugars are notable along with a healthy dose of alcohol. The yeast provides some spicy characters as well (almost yields a Belgian resemblance) with notes like spearmint.

T: As soon as the first sip went down, you get that warming sensation in your chest from the alcohol. Interesting flavor profile that seems to separate itself from the nose a little bit. I did not get vanilla in the nose, but I taste flashes of it occasionally. There is a strong presence of burnt notes; burnt malt and burnt sugar. Caramel, sour rum-soaked raisins, figs, dates, toffee, a little espresso, and a big bitter bite. There seems to be a decent rum or brandy character in this brew, and as it warms, alcohol becomes apparent making it a little boozy at the end.

MF/D: Thick, viscous, and creamy feel. Lingering sour/very bitter mid-palate and finish.

Overall, complex and tasty, but a little too intense for my palate. I'm not sure what exactly happened, but this brew became very sour and bitter and almost undrinkable as it reaches warmer temperatures. I will still keep one for the cellar and be faithful for a few years.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2010 22:30:08 | More by scottyshades
Photo of Daniellobo

District of Columbia

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

A nice old ale, a bit rough around the edges, but very pleasing.

Presentation: 12 oz bottle. Simple front label design with a black and white forest illustration. Back label includes a minimal narrative noting main intent and cellaring ability. Shows bell batch number (9385, which as per their website is bottled on October 14, 2009). Notes Alc. by Vol. (10.2%) Served into a snifter.

A - Amber brown pour with a short ecru head, low retention with a surface memory a little lacing.

S - Sweet and fruity smell. Malt notes, and an orange-clementine solvent whiff coating it all. There is something else in that orange solvent and nice touch that is so familiar and yet I can´t put the memory to it.

T - Taste picks and expands the nose impression with a sweet caramel range and a rich fruitiness with a distinct tangerine, boozy, and almost solvent like touch.

M - Full body, fairly smooth an creamy with an alcoholic final texture woven with good carbonation

D - A rather nice sipper, works well for the style and has an stimulating range to go along.

Notes: A bit brash around the edges but this could really take an extraordinary shape with some aging.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2010 05:16:25 | More by Daniellobo
Photo of BamaBeerBuff

North Carolina

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

A: Pours a very deep red/brown color with a very creamy and milky head produced by fine-bubbled carbonation. Retention is good but lacing is minimal (presumably due to ABV).

S: A boatload of caramel malt and a fair presence of citrus-oriented hop presence and some alcohol, but it's lacking the fruitiness and delicacy of some of the better old ales.

T&M: Bitterness is a little bit harsh, with a large malt presence to boot. Hop flavor isn't as strong as say a barleywine, but the attending bitterness is there. Burnt caramel and brown sugar malt flavors are well appreciated, but with perhaps a touch too much hop presence and alcohol burn. A heavy body and creamy, full mouthfeel are appropriate and welcome.

D: Bell's old ale is a good beer, but it seems more to me like a hybridized old ale/barleywine than purely an old ale. I think a year or two in the bottle could do it some good and I've socked away a 6 pack for this purpose.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2010 01:05:21 | More by BamaBeerBuff
Photo of SFLpunk


4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz brown glass pry-top. Back label is number 9358. Brought this back in my suitcase from Chicago earlier today. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Pours thick and dark mahogany, very little light penetration. Thin creamy tan foam. Nose is rich and sweet smelling. Lots of dried fruits, figs, dates, dark brown sugar, malt extract and vanilla beans. Palate is sharp and prickly with alcohol. Sweet, rich and thick. Flavors are focused on caramelized malt tones and less of the dried sticky fruit. That vanilla bean flavor is prominent with tanned leather notes and some light citrus hop notes on the finish. The flavor is a lot like plum shisha tobacco.

Tasty and would love to see this with 2 years on it, but alas, I only have one bottle and now I have none.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2010 03:38:04 | More by SFLpunk
Photo of bluemoonswoon


3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a New Belgium tulip glass.

A: Deep dark ruby brown, topped with a quarter inch of silky sandy brown head. No lacing but some decent looking legs.

S: Bits of cherry, loads of raisins and spice, nutmeg chief among them. Almonds work their way in here as well.

T/MF: Almonds, cherries covered in brandy, more raisins some soft boozy heat. Mouthfeel is quite slick and coating but leaves the tongue only the least bit sticky after the beer is gone.

D: Interesting beer, not quite on bar with is comparable North Stock cousin, but a decent beer nontheless.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2010 04:38:11 | More by bluemoonswoon
Photo of cindyjeffsmith


4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bell's Third Coast Old Ale purchased at Boo's in Columbus, Ga.
appearance: reddish brown with a creamy tan head.
smell: buttery rum, some fruit in there. Some nose on this one.
taste: Similar to the nose but not up to expectations. Still very nice.
mouthfeel: creamy, med full with some carbonation.
A few of these are going in the cellar. Wonder what this'll be like with some age. Good to great?

3/7/13 Update: Just popped my last 2013. At 3 years this is a different beer. Just outstanding, rich, mature, balanced. My 2011's will be sitting for at least another year.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2010 00:13:33 | More by cindyjeffsmith
Photo of jsh420


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

batch 9385 - bottled 10/14/09

pours dark brown with red hightlights 2 finger off with decent retention left some spotted lacing

smell is out of this world - very malty fruity malts apple figs rasins - i also pick up some marshmallow

taste - much like the nose is great - aweet friuty malts nutty chocolate brown sugar

mouthfeel - medium body low carbonation but just enough to give it some life - smooth and creamy

drinkability is good but i doubt i would ever drink more then a bottle in one session

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2010 02:54:16 | More by jsh420
Photo of pzrhsau

District of Columbia

3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: very much a rich dark brown color that lets no light through. Great measure of head.
Smell: Malty and sweet with a hint of the alcohol. Also takes on sort of an oak character to it.
Taste: Tangy bready feel to it. Really smoothed out aftertaste. Sweet and some nice rich fruit undertones to pair well with the weight of the alcohol.
Drinkability and Mouthfeel: Very smooth and drinkable, i would have liked to see a little more carbonation to give it more depth on the tongue. But its a strong ale that seems like it would mature well.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2010 01:18:22 | More by pzrhsau
Photo of rajendra82


4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The burnt umber colored body was topped with a small, one finger thick head. There was a lot of yeast chunks floating around, so next time I'll have to pour more carefully. The smell was bready, raisiny, and very malty, with just a hint of hops. The taste was rich without being neither overly sweet nor brazenly bitter. Very well balanced for such a high strength beer, with the alcohol not very evident either. A lot of raisin and apricot notes in the flavors, which were accentuated by a hint of sourness in the finish. A very satisfying heft to this beer as it traveled down the tongue. Not a coating nature, but not slippery either. Just a textured caress all the way through, somewhat similar to an orange juice with pulp in this matter. The finish is where the hops shined the most in their spicy herbal bitterness. Finish was pretty dry and warming. Quite easy to drink, considering what it is. Just got better and better, the more I took in.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2010 06:11:07 | More by rajendra82
Photo of goldbot

District of Columbia

3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, batch 9385, bottled on 10/14/09. Review from notes on 2/24/10.

Pours chocolate brown with reddish amber highlights. Thin, off-white head that dissipates quickly and leaves spotty lacing.

Lots of dark cherry aroma with other fruit notes like raisin and a bit of grapes. Ample caramel malt, and some alcohol aroma toward the end.

Loads of strong malt flavor of caramel and bready notes. Plenty of fruit flavor as well - cherry, raisin, and other dark fruit. The alcohol hits pretty hard at the end, but it is rather subdued for such a high ABV. Moderate sweetness; finishes with a bitter character.

Thick, creamy feel and substantial body. Definitely on the sweeter side but not overly so. Definitely drinkable for such a big, complex beer, but a sipper for sure. The flavors are all pretty attenuated and well balanced throughout.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2010 02:24:48 | More by goldbot
Photo of THORN


4.7/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 Fl. Oz. bottle poured into Duvel snifter. Served 50-55.
A: Dark mahogany black, cannot see through, and there is suspended particles throughout snifter. Pours thin layer of creamy bubbly head.
S: Caramel, chocolate, and sweet fruit.
T: Toasted and caramel malts. Body is nutty and bitter. Hops are very strong. Blueberries and melon are very subtle. Bitterness lingers.
M: Medium on tongue. Warmth sweeps across mouth.
D: Big beer. Very well balanced and hides alcohol very well.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2010 08:02:26 | More by THORN
Photo of sullenbee


3.75/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I have yet to acquire the patience to cellar beer, so here goes. Batch 9458, bottled November 20th, 2009. Poured into a tulip, and allowed to warm for 30 minutes.

A-Dark brown, murky depths. An uninviting mud puddle. Head quickly dissipated into a faint collar. Color wasn't rich or pure, but cloudy, and a bit dull. Not a particularly pretty beer.

S-Raisins, molasses, prunes, figs, followed by a hint of bitter cherry.

T-Bitter, dark fruits. Very warming. A perfect sipper for a Michigan winter evening by the fireplace. Hint of molasses, slightly sweet, but not overwhelming. Bit of caramel in there too.

M- Light carbonation, sort of syrupy sweet.

D-One is enough, and it is definitely a sipper. Would like try again, if I ever get the patience to age a beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2010 04:49:22 | More by sullenbee
Photo of Stonebreaker


3.55/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Maybe I'm unfairly hard on this brewery for some reason but if so I don't know why. It looks gorgeous, a very dark thick amber but the weak head dissipates fast and leaves no lacing on the glass.

Smell: Smells delicious, while the foam is around, all caramel raisins and chocolate.

Taste: The taste is very strong bitter chocolate, a little caramel and hot alcohol.

Mouhtfeel: Very creamy, swishes around to a foamy bliss.

Drinkabilty: Not an easy beer to drink, though with 10% alcohol I'm forgiving, It'd be a good pairing with some strong pungent blue cheese or some other moldy cheese.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2010 22:59:13 | More by Stonebreaker
Photo of Evocatus


4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Is a dark brown-red when poured. Head was thin and dissipated rather quickly. Aroma was a mix of semi-sweet malts and fruits, but not of the citrus variety. Taste was initially fruity, with some malts and alcohol. The alcohol started to become more apparent as the beer warmed. Good amount of thickness, warms the body on a cold day. Overall pretty damn good taste and drinkability, especially considering that it has a 10% ABV.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2010 16:49:43 | More by Evocatus
Photo of kalkavekkian


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

Had a bottle in the fridge left over so heres what i found. 12 oz. bottle (batch 9358) poured into a wine glass a dark, chocolaty brown with a light, thin head and minimal lacing.Smelled of malts,fruits, slight hops. Tasted rich and malty and not overly heavy. Much fuller and tastier than the regular 3rd coast ale (as expected). Booze was more apparent as the beer warmed. I could feel the effects after a bottle! I like this beer and the drinkability is good for a strong offering. Much harder to get than 3rd coast and a lot of other Bell's brands for some reason.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2010 19:08:17 | More by kalkavekkian
Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
92 out of 100 based on 1,934 ratings.