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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.

2,126 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,126
Reviews: 973
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 10.46%
Wants: 206
Gots: 308 | FT: 17
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: 2,126 | Reviews: 973 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bpfrush
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

bpfrush, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of doughanson78
3.38/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Purchased from the Bells General Store. Bottled 9/14/2011. Reviewed in the bathroom stall at O'Hare in Chicago.

A: Very deep redish brown.one finger tan head with decent retention and good lacing.

S: Very boozy. Under all the booze is lots of dark fruits. Raisins, figs, plums, dates. A very light toasted caramel coming through. Did I say lots of booze?

T: Very sweet caramel upfront. Translations to the dark fruits nicely. With the booze coming in the finish. Alcohol doesn't burn like the nose would suggest.

M: Full bodied. Very creamy. Lower carbonation. Warming alcohol in the throat and stomach.

O: A decent Barleywine or Old Ale. Nothing special now, but seems like with some age it could have potential. Luckily I've got a bottle in the cellar with a year or two on it already.

doughanson78, Nov 09, 2011
Photo of MacQ32
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

**A full year old**

A - Pours a cloudy amber ruby into my snifter, plenty of sediment floating still in the brew. Little less than a finger of tan head, nice retention, decent lacing

S - Brown sugar, caramel, toffee, sweet roasted malts, dark fruits, maybe molasses?

T - Dark fruits, bready, caramel/sweet malts, semi sour, kind of a sweet tootsie rollish type flavor, slightly dry finish

M - Medium bodied+, pretty light for the abv, fairly drinkable. could get in trouble with these. little carbonation but appropriate for the profile

O - Pretty tasty, drinkable for the abv. solid

MacQ32, Nov 05, 2011
Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.53/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Pint glass.
Batch 10672 Bottled 9.14.11

A - Pours a very dark amber with a one finger tan head.

S - Roasted malts, sweet smelling. Not much here.

T - Sweet dark roasted malts, that is about it.

D - Low carbonation, average body. Sweet with mild flavors.

O - Not bad, but nothing special.

HuskyinPDX, Nov 04, 2011
Photo of dbossman
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark ruby-brown hue with a steady head, lots of bubbles, a good amount of sediment, and great lacing

S: Roasty, slightly burnt malts: brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, caramel with a touch of woodiness too; no booze to speak of--quite mellow

T: Lots of sweet bready malts--a touch burnt--with some dark fruits, vanilla, caramel, and toffee; really bready and dry with fruit undertones; a touch of alcohol presence but quite mild; also, an odd peppermint and chocolate presence especially on the back end

F: Such a pleasant thick, chewy, body--nice to see the mouth feel complement the bready chewiness so well

O: Such a mellow (this does have a year on it) old ale; bready and malty and pretty darn delicious

dbossman, Oct 31, 2011
Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.73/5  rDev -9.2%
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.

TheManiacalOne, Oct 27, 2011
Photo of kawilliams81
3.58/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a 16 oz. snifter.

A- Dark amber, almost brown. Light tan 1 finger head with very little lacing on the glass.

S- Sweet malts and dark fruits.

T- Sweet candi sugar, amber malts. Dark fruits are there with a very slight hop bite at the finish.

M- Full body, creamy and a little syrupy.

O- Not sure if I would call this a barleywine, especially not an american barleywine! Does not have that hop presence like most barleywines do, but it is a good old ale with lots of sweet malts.

kawilliams81, Oct 23, 2011
Photo of DBoone
3.35/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle with 9458 stamped on it. Bought this beer about 2 years ago @ Chevy Chase liquors in DC area.
A Poured in small snifter very little carbonation ie head. Nice dark brown mahogany color.
S Figs, raisins, molasses, chocolate alcohol, good.
T Chocolate on the back of palate, maybe some figs? No alcohol noticed in taste.
M Thin, light
O Glad I tried, might buy again if available, not something I would search for to have again.
Wonder if aging helped or hurt this barleywine?

DBoone, Oct 19, 2011
Photo of climax
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bought a six pack of these, going to try to withhold from a couple and age them. This one is fresh and poured into a snifter like the bottle suggests. It comes out a rich chocolate brown with a finger of tan head. The retention is pretty good, as with with constant ring of bubbles.

Buttery biscuits, granola malt, and a load of roasty pecan nut flavors fume from the beer at first whiff. More raisin and fig fruity esters come through on top of a bagel-like backbone. Complexity is modest which is somewhat of a let down, but it is definitely a pleasure to take in. There's evidence of the 10.2% alcohol, but no real drama involved.

Pronounced fig, sugary raisin, brown sugar, and brandy kick the mouth in the uvula upon entry. Everything as whole turns into a roasty pecan pie. The hops deliver nothing more than a phantom dry bitterness of earthy nature. The overall flavor is good, but lacks bold hoppiness.

The thickness of this is immense, as it is almost a challenge to direct it to the throat. Carbonation is mellow but sufficient throughout. It is marvelously smooth and leaves the mouth with a jacket of film long after the beer has lazily slid it's way down the hatch. All eventually leaves the party, leaving the host with a slightly dry feeling.

Everything here is done well. The body, feel, and drinkability of this beer are spot on. However, the flavor leaves something to be desired. The hop intensity seems dim for how fresh I am sampling it. It's a solid beer, but for me doesn't live up to the hype. With Bell's logo I wonder what they could have made it, perhaps I'll find out when I break one out a year or so from now...

climax, Oct 18, 2011
Photo of PokerGod
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

First off, I'll be the first to admit, I do not have a ton of experience with Barleywines so I'm going to try to be as objective as I can. I hear this is a good one.

Appearance- Dark, caramel, slightly transparent. Muddy looking like a good Scotch Ale. I love a good Scotch Ale so hopefully thats a good sign. Not much for head, but great lacing left over on the glass.

Smell- Sweet, inviting, caramel, candy. Love the smell. yet some bready malts with maybe a hint of alcohol scent.

Taste- Again I have very little experience with barleywines, but it tastes like a doppelbock to me. Malty bready with a strong alcohol bite in the taste. A very lingering taste with a sweetness to it as well.

Overall- A very pleasant drink, that I really enjoyed. I would have again for sure. A great beer for sipping and enjoying.

PokerGod, Oct 17, 2011
Photo of tykees88
3.33/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark ruby red brown color. No head. Alcohol legs is all I get for lacing.

S- dark fruity smell and a booze smell.

T- Taste a little hoppy up front. There is an apparent raisin flavor and a plum sugar flavor followed by a hard booze flavor that I don't care for here.

M- It's medium bodied, it's slightly chewy, but it's pretty good.

O- It's ok, but just pretty average I think

tykees88, Oct 13, 2011
Photo of shortbus7
3.98/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark red amber color with a non existant head.

S: Raisons, figs, and alcohol.

T: Dark fruit with an alcohol finish.

M: Very thick and smooth, slightly creamy.

O: This is a fantastic beer. Great taste and great mouthfeel, the only thing lacking is the smell. Wish the smell was more apparent.

shortbus7, Oct 09, 2011
Photo of jzeilinger
3.98/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a deep cherry mahogany color with some deep copper amber. The cream colored lacing is minimal and very thin. Carbonation is nill and the appearance is semi-hazy.

S - The nose pretty much sucks for a beer of this stature, get absolutely nothing! Either it's the beer or my nose, wish I had more to report here.

T - Wow! This just makes up for the lack of nose. Very complex with big oak, mild booze, creamy, bread crust, figs, sherry, raisins, and a semi-dry wood-like character.

M - Heavy medium body, lip smacking sticky, and somewhat chewy.

O - One of the more easy drinking barleywines I've ever had. Very drinkable and creates an "experience" for the drinker, well brewed. Now go out there and do something about the lack of aroma, Bell's.

jzeilinger, Oct 06, 2011
Photo of shangwang
4.4/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From Batch 9958- bottled August 25, 2010. Been aging this for several months after a friend traded it to me. Poured into my DFH snifter.

Poured with virtually no head, and what little there was looked patchy. Deep mahogany color and cloudy character. Very boozy nose with smells of cherry, toffee, and brown sugar. From the smells I expected a sweet taste with an eye-watering amount of alcohol punching through. Instead I got a much more subdued profile, in fact it was more bitter than sweet, and if I didn't know the ABV I would have guessed it was half of the actual number. Hints of fruit, dark bread, and vanilla in the taste. Great mouthfeel- a little zip with a medium body. Very satisfying with a little tingle as I swallowed it.

Definitely enjoyed this one- perfect brew for a cold fall day, and I loved the complexity of the smell and taste. I'd love to try a fresh one for comparison, but this one is a winner in a style that I love.

shangwang, Oct 04, 2011
Photo of lovindahops
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a- ruby red with admirable lacing along the glass. Almost looks velvet

S- raisins, dark fruit, prunes, and ALCOHOL. It warms on the scent and makes me want to make sure my nose hairs are still there

t- dried fruit that is spike inside a bottle. Heavy and filling at once. Slaps you

m- full bodied

0- third coast is a powerful barley wine that packs a punch. It will warm you up in the winter. I need to find more somehow in upstate NY

lovindahops, Oct 01, 2011
Photo of hdelavega
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice ruby red with a thin light khaki head. There is a little Bit of sediment floating around with a small amount of visible carbonation.
Lots of dark fruit, cherry, plumb, sweet roasted malt, caramel, finished with a bit of booze.
First sip you get allot of sweet on the front of the tongue and the bitterness follows at the back. The taste really stays true to the nose. Lots of dark fruit, sweet malt, caramelized sugar, and a nice hop finish accompanied by booze.
Mouthfeel is super smooth, leaves a silky feel over the entire mouth. The bitterness of the finish really sticks around on the palate while the alcohol warms on the way down.
Overall I am surprised I have not heard more about this barleywine. I will defiantly be buying more.

hdelavega, Sep 26, 2011
Photo of GallowsThief
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received from ChugginOil in trade (thanks bro!). Poured out of a 12 oz bottle into am Allagash snifter.

A – Poured out a caramel brown with slight cloudiness. Small head of off white formed but left quickly. Spotty lacing.

S – Light smeller with some apple like qualities. Cinnamon? Slightly sweet as well. Alcohol smell comes through.

T - Nice and sweet upfront with a dark fruit flavor. Big malty flavors. Caramel sweetness. Has some nice bittering hps flavors that come neat the end. Warming alcohol booziness at the end that leaves a nice warm feeling in your chest.

M – Medium bodied with medium to low carbonation. Smooth and creamy indeed.

O – Really solid barleywine. Im a bit sorry I didn’t cellar this one awhile. Will need another to lay down.

GallowsThief, Sep 18, 2011
Photo of tedmerk
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first barley wine:

Pours a dark reddish amber hue with a slight carmel color head and no lacing.

Smells like candy: Apricot, Chocolate, Fig, Quite sweet smell

Tastes exactly how I expected a barley wine to taste: A very malty start followed by some spicy hopps, then a very sweet syrupy finish (There's my crystal clear hindsight for ya)

The mouthfeel is my favorite part: Feels like chocolate melting in your mouth. Not much carbonation, but this beer flows over your tongue like the murky Mississippi River.

Overall, a very drinkable beer when considering the amount of alcohol present. Again, this is my first barley wine so I can not compare it to anything else in the old ale or barley wine class. I love the style and will be back for more.

tedmerk, Sep 16, 2011
Photo of mdvatab
4.4/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Been wanting to try this one for quite some time! Bought a single 12oz bottle from Payless Liquors (Fishers, IN) to find out what all the talk is about.
Bottle code says 9970. Bell's website says since 4/2011, regular MM/DD/YY codes have been used. The website's "Batch Finder" wasn't working, though, so I just know it was bottled pre-4/2011.
Poured from bottle into snifter.

Aroma: Carmelized brown sugar, peach nectar, cooked apples, and cream sherry. Sweet, boozy goodness!

Appearance: Clear, ruby/amber body. 1 finger head falls to a thin layer of foam with a thicker island of bubbles in the middle. Nice legs, but minimal lacing.

Flavor: Clean, sweet, carmelly, and malty up front. Some raisin and date-like fruity esters. American Barleywine bitterness rises up through the middle to provide balance, then sweetness fades for a prominent, bitter finish. The transitions through the flavors is very smooth.

Mouthfeel: Medium-low carbonation, medium-full, chewy body, and an overall smooth, coating mouthfeel.

Overall: Definitely an A-class cellerable brew! Delicious maltiness and fruity esters. The bitterness is definitely there, but the brewer did not go overboard for the sake of saying "This is an American barleywine"! My best analogy for this one is from music, where the sweetness handles trebel and bitterness is the bass. The flavors work together extremely well. Highly recommended!

mdvatab, Sep 11, 2011
Photo of afdempse
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours super murky and dark brown. Lots of yeasty floaties suspended in glass. Thin wisp of a head.

Aroma of tangy-sweet dark raisins, figs, caramelized malt. Floral/resiny hop character. Thick, dextrinous liquid with multiple layers of dark bread & fruit. Definite sherry character. Pronounced bitterness, but with a deliciously smooth edge. Rounded, resinous hop flavor. Fig bars in the finish, with a touch of burnt sugars.

Slick, silky smooth mouthfeel with low-medium carbonation. Very balanced & drinkable. Alcohol nicely masked, and mingles with the flavors in perfect harmony.

Dangerously drinkable strong ale that goes down like a session beer. Bravo, Bell's.

afdempse, Sep 11, 2011
Photo of JohnnyChicago
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a stemless snifter.

A: Pours a deep reddish-brown with a finger of off-white head that leaves some lacing.

S: Lots of typical barleywine scents. Sweet toffee and dark fruits, strong spicy hops and booze.

T: Follows the nose. Toffee, coffee, hops and sweet booze.

D: It tastes appropriately boozy for the strength. I had no problem finishing this however.

Overall: This is a straight middling American Barleywine in my opinion. Nothing really pops out and screams "original", but a good beer nonetheless. I'm putting a few of these in the cellar, I heard they really improve with some age.

JohnnyChicago, Sep 06, 2011
Photo of GoldenChild
5/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the best barley wine that i have had to date. Poured into a chalice.

Nice Dark red color with a big off white frothy head.

Smells like caramel and toffee.

Taste like a yummy, sticky, malt bomb
Caramel and toffee.

Have some in my cellar and i need to buy more as im typing this.

If you love barley wines this is one to try.

GoldenChild, Sep 02, 2011
Photo of rwathree
3.98/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours nearly still (as it should), caramel color, deep brown at the center and slightly lighter at the edges. Little bit of sediment, but it's hard to see since the brew is more or less opaque.

S: Sweet brown sugar, not nearly as boozy as you'd expect for the high abv. Vine fruit, too, though I can't be more specific than that. Very inviting.

T: there's that booze, right up front. Not too aggressive though, more like the sweetness in bourbon. There's a nice, dry bitterness that kicks in to neutralize any burn. I'm impressed by the balance provided by the hops. Slight aspirin aftertaste, but it's not too offensive.

M: with that aftertaste comes some grittiness, and I don't love that. I also find this surprisingly thin. On the other hand, there's no lingering burn (see above).

O: this is a surprisingly - scarily - drinkable beer for almost 11% abv. It's a bold beer, and by that I mean that its best qualities appear up front; it's beautifully presented and pays off immediately. Some of the finer points need refining, but all told this is a quality offering, typical of Bell's.

rwathree, Aug 30, 2011
Photo of Gushue3
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- comes out a medium brown from the bottle and looks hazy mahogany brown. 1 finger head with less than average retention and some lacing left around the glass

S- BIG sweet malt thats all over the place. Some sweeter dark fruit are there and make it a nice scent.

T- sweet upfront with darker fruits, heavy malt, and candied sugar. Sweet but not too crazy. Nice blend of sweet tastes are accompanied by some slight alcohol burn, small but there.

M- medium mouthfeel thats somewhat syrupy and has a smaller to medium amount of carbonation. Feels smooth and creamy.

O- really nice beer thats a little too sweet for me but absolutely enjoyable. Im about to pour a little bit of 12 year old Canadian Club into the remaining few ounces and see how it tastes.

Gushue3, Aug 28, 2011
Photo of GregSVT
3.7/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a snifter - Batch 9958

A: Pours a light brown with barely any head that fades to a ring and leaves no lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is lots of caramel, buttery toffee, and sweet malt. Pretty darn good but I don't get any hops.

T: The taste definitely has hops. I am picking up pine and a bit of citrus along with some bready and caramel malt. The year of age hasn't tone down the hops as much as I thought it did after smelling it.

M: The feel is medium bodied with just enough carbonation.

O: This is a very middle of the road barleywine/old ale. Good for tick but not sure if I would search it out again.

GregSVT, Aug 17, 2011
Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
92 out of 100 based on 2,126 ratings.