Third Coast Old Ale - Bell's Brewery, Inc.
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Ratings: 1,964 | Reviews: 965 | Display Reviews Only:
4.22/5 rDev +2.4%
12 oz. bottle poured in 4 oz. increments into my DFH signature glass.
A: Clear medium amber beer that becomes hazier, due to sediment, during second and third pours. I should have decanted this beer or poured more carefully. Not an impressive head or lacing, which is understandable, considering the style, age, and abv.
S: Delicious. Big caramel up front mixed with dry fruits, especially raison, and sweet maltiness. A little boozey in the nose, too.
T: Lucious caramel and raisiny sweet malts that give way to some leathery and earthy notes. A little bitterness at the end, but it elevates everything to a crescendo. Long, malty finish and a bit warming.
M: This beer is a little over a year old, and is still well carbonated, a little too much for my liking, but it does pop the flavors. Full mouthfeel.
D: TCOA goes down the hatch too easily to allow me to call it a sipper. The only thing slowing me down is my appreciation for its complexity.
I've always been struck by how well and how quickly this beer ages. Qualitative difference between a new bottle and one aged one or two years. Required brew for beernuts into cellaring.
01-20-2010 02:50:09 | More by Wadsey
3.7/5 rDev -10.2%
This is an interesting beer to say the least. Nice appearance w/ dark brown hues and nice head and lacing. The smell wasn't weak, just wasn't into it. Lots of sweet raisins and plums. This reminds me more of a barleywine than an old ale. Thankfully it doesn't taste like it smells and has a nutty flavor to it. Very sweet! I wouldn't recommend drinking more than one of these. Just what you would expect from a big Bells beer. This makes a great sipper.
If you are a barleywine/old ale fan, I would definitely seek this one out.
01-18-2010 20:34:57 | More by BB1313
4.75/5 rDev +15.3%
This bottle is a year old, give or take… I think the mellowing effect of the aging (even a year) is slightly detrimental to this beer, as the big bold flavors found in the fresh bottling need not be tamed.
A – Golden-ruby-amber, slightly opaque but not cloudy, with a sudsy tan head and a bit of lacing. Nice.
S – Compared to the fresh bottling, the caramel malt and the roasted tones are more prominent, and the sharp, bitter hops have gained a subtlety. There is still a good booziness and oldness, but those are a bit resigned too.
T – It tastes very bitter-hoppy at first, then hot, old and boozy, then finishes with notes of dried dark fruits and golden tobacco. Nice malt sweetness present as a balance throughout.
M – Thin / viscous and lightly carbonated; pretty standard, but good.
D – This is at the top of the heap for me in terms of delicious sippers.
01-18-2010 11:42:44 | More by ktrillionaire
4.38/5 rDev +6.3%
Bell's Third Coast Old Ale (Batch #6722-January 13, 2005) pours up with just enough effervescence to create a thin, fizzy tannish-beige head that halos above the bright burnt orange-mahogany body. Great depth of color, but the head retention is quite poor probably due to the higher alcohol. The aroma is rich & bold with burnt sugars (caramel, molasses & toffee/treacle) and ripened fruits (caramel apple, candied orange/ginger) creating a fruitcake-type effect which combined with a touch of sherry-like oxidation, malts and alcohol creates a wonderful complex character. The flavor is quite rich with apparent kettle carmelization and becomes almost cloying before the underlying bitterness catches-up to bring balance to this wee malty beast from the Third Coast. The finish is "warm & inviting as your favorite blanket." TCOA is a completely different experience with some cellar age and is not unlike some of the very best barleywines that I've had from across the pond. I invite you to try your patience at aging a few bottles, as you'll surely be rewarded. Here's to crew from Kalamazoo & their Third Coast Old Ale.
01-17-2010 07:17:33 | More by Beertracker
4.43/5 rDev +7.5%
This bottle is last year's(2009).
A- Pours amber/light brown into my snifter. Light head that is gone within minutes.
S- Sweet, malty, sugary smell, which is good because I do not smell very well.
T- Very well blended. Complex flavors of caramel, vanilla, toffee, and burnt malts that are warmed well by the 10% alcohol. I like it a lot.
M- Not over sugary/sticky, which is common with these beers. Light to hardly any carbonation.
D- I could drink this on any cool night.
01-16-2010 01:27:56 | More by jbone78
4.28/5 rDev +3.9%
Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.
A: Pours to a thin bubbly head that dissipates rapidly, disappearing within the first minute. Color is a rich and dark toffee, with a dense center. Sediment is visible throughout. Light lacing at first.
S: Pungent. Striking sour apple nose up front, caramel hint, with a hint of alcohol at the back.
T: Sugary, spicy and very fruity; not as apple-centered as sensed with the nose, and a little plum on the backend. High ABV is translated into a strong alcohol kick in the finish.
M: Syrupy and full. A surprising lack of carbonation in the mouth--appears to be much more to the eye.
D: Not a session beer, but certainly a tasty, high gravity old ale.
01-15-2010 18:19:44 | More by Heavenisbeer
4.43/5 rDev +7.5%
Poured from the bottle into a Dogfish Head chalice. I'll note that this is one of my first attempts to be less subjective and instead review based on what I understand the style guidelines to be.
A: A beauty! The color is deep and rich, with dark orange, cherry red, and apricot tones. The ale is fairly hazed, and there appear to be some dark particles in the glass, even though I attempted to leave any sediment in the bottle. The head is thin, but the carbonation level is very appealing. If it didn't have the sediment it would be nearly perfect.
S: Mild notes of sparkling cherries and rich malts appear with time, as it warms I picked up some dried fruit, almost portish aromas. Not sure if the aroma is too tame on this, but it fits the style. I wish the aromas rose out of the glass with a bit more vigor, but when you pick them up they are quite nice.
T: A complex brew, for sure. It's big, very big, with all sorts of chewy dried fruit flavors meandering across the tongue. The malts are rich and sweet, which add to the complexity. There is maybe a hint of chocolate behind the fruit. The finish is long, lingering, with a hint of pleasant bitterness and a smidge of oxidation, which is fine for an old ale. It's a fantastically integrated group of flavors, and it makes me wonder just how old this "old ale" actually is. I want to put a few years on this and see how phenomenal it can get.
M: Fantastic. It's huge and chewy, with a great level of carbonation to keep it lively on the tongue without adding any bite. Perfection for an Old Ale.
D: Again, I am forced to ask, what does "drinkability" indicate? Would you session a 10% Old Ale? No? Do I want to keep taking more whiffs and more sips, trying to get every nuance of this beer? Yes, yes I do. A phenomenal effort by Bell's, showing a deep knowledge and appreciation of the style.
01-14-2010 03:27:45 | More by Telix
4.1/5 rDev -0.5%
Wow. Incredibly smooth, luscious caramel with the hop bitterness fighting through the malt and offering a fairly intense bitter finish. Lots of lace with each and a collar of foam enhance the experience. Lots caramel and toffee along with a bit of wood and leather in the aroma of this old ale. An excellent blend of caramel malt and spun sugar sweetness, intense bitter hops and yeasty earthiness exists in this tasty ale. Packaged on September 5, 2008. Last reviewed this beer (same batch) on Dec 1, 2008. It has certainly improved since then so I would definitely recommend cellaring this beer.
01-13-2010 03:43:38 | More by marcobrau
4.33/5 rDev +5.1%
Head comes off initially very heavy, with a red hue to it. The bubbles are quick to collapse into each other and the head will begin to flatten in the center.
Smell is very malty, and in a way, almost smelling like how it looks. Being unfiltered, there are vivid flakes of sediment that are suspended all throughout the drink.
First taste gives a very assertive hoppy kick. Although that is quick to add on a sweeter, fuller body of flavors, some being syrupy and sweet, others being dry and sour.
Overall, this is a beer that is both bitter and sweet at the same time, without being extreme amounts of either. It's very very nice in that aspect. Definitely a beer worth trying for yourself.
01-13-2010 03:00:29 | More by techfed87
3.33/5 rDev -19.2%
Jan 7, 2010
12oz bottle, batch 8943, bottled on Jan 28, 2009.
Pours reddish copper brown with almost no head, just a light whispy covering. Couple of spots of lacing and a lot of floaties.
Aroma is pretty subdued, some caramel malt and a little cherry cola.
Flavor is sweet and malty, caramel, some citrus and bitterness on the finish.
Mouthfeel is sticky but not too thick, low carbonation.
Pretty good but a bit underwhelming.
01-11-2010 05:30:11 | More by elgiacomo
4.22/5 rDev +2.4%
Poured from a 12oz bottle to a pint glass at Monks Belgian Cafe in Philly.
Dark black color with a thin tan head that thins out, not much lacing on the glass. Smelled sweet and rich. Tasted of sweet malts with some caramel and butterscotch, sweet dark flavors. Incredibly smooth drink, went down so easy, not heavy or think. A perfect pairing with a burger... I could have a couple of these.
01-08-2010 02:23:28 | More by nrpellegrini
3.5/5 rDev -15%
12 oz bottle poured into my snifter.
A- Body is a beautiful translucent medium mahogany hue that pours with a minuscule off-white head that dissipates so fast that I can't recall the exact color. Small white particles can be seen floating throughout as well as some yeast.
S- Molasses and caramel malt come through first in this brew with a hint of phenols. I'm picking up something else but I can't tell quite what it is as I am not too familiar with this style of beer.
T- The flavor upfront is mild and I notice a hint of barley as well as caramel malt initially. A hint of molasses and sweetness is there as well. A sharp phenolic bitterness comes through at the end then the sweetness quickly soothes this and a nice balance of heat and sweetness come through much like a bourbon.
M- Medium to high carbonation. Body has a moderate phenolic acidity to it that is the highlight but not cloying.
D- This is a complex and interesting brew that I can't quite get my palate around. I'm pretty inexperienced with the Strong Ales (Barleywines, Old Ales, other Strong Ales) and I tend to shy away from them- because they aren't really my thing. The character to this one is phenolic for sure as it is a relatively fresh bottle, but it also has a distinctive sweetness to it and good complexity. I would like to try it once it has some age behind it. Its fun to venture to a style I am less familiar with none the less.
01-06-2010 07:14:10 | More by PittBeerGirl
3.95/5 rDev -4.1%
Looks nice, deep dark cherry redish brown,bit less then a finger head that disolves into a nice cap that stays a quite while. Gives that look of "settle down,grab a book, stay a while".
Smells sweeter, a bit yeasty, and of dark fruits. makes me think of hardwood like mahogany. the 10% doesn't show itself to me.
Tastes like dark,dark cherries, raisons,figs and other dark fruits, malty sweetness, and just a bit of hop to round this one out.
Juicy,oily,with a bit of carbonation and hops, very nice and enjoyable. flavor doesn't leave you quickly as it coats the palate, stay a while why don't ya.
I could drink this most every night in the colder months. how many i drink depends on how long i get sucked into my book,or conversation, but i could have a couple and not long for a different beer.
It's winter. i'll be keeping this on hand.
Just wish i had a fire place.
01-04-2010 05:54:06 | More by ChadQuest
2.9/5 rDev -29.6%
A: Pours a nearly opaque reddish/brown color. A large beige head forms with good retention. The foam gently recedes to leave some sticky lace.
S: Musty, dank, and metallic. Sweet caramel malt, bread light chocolate. Fruity hops are a bit to prevalent. Hot alcohol.
T: Again, a metallic twang up front. Light toasted caramel malt and chocolate. Bitter hops show itself towards the end, and takes over a little to much for my tastes (especially for the style). Again, hot alcohol.
M/D: A medium to full body. Crisp, but smooth. Way to much alcohol for this to be enjoyable. It is hard to finish the bottle.
I am really not impressed with this. A sub standard Old Ale that lacks substance and subtleties. Not bad, but not something I would recommend.
12-22-2009 04:57:56 | More by champ103
4.08/5 rDev -1%
A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a cloudy consistency. There was a big, foamy, long-lasting head and very good lacing.
S: Smelled of malt, caramel, a little fruit and a definite alcohol presence.
T: Flavor consisted of roasted malt, dark fruit, caramel and a pretty big dose of booze. A very warm and toasty beer.
M: A decent amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.
D: A drinkable, well-constructed Old Ale. Good drinking for the winter.
12-17-2009 14:57:30 | More by avalon07
3.95/5 rDev -4.1%
12 oz bottle poured into a Nonic. 10.2% ABV, Batch # 8727 (Sept. 25, 2008).
Thanks to Onenote81 for this aged old ale!
A - It pours a murky amber brown color with a dense cream head. Great retention and some sticky lace left on the sides.
S - The aroma is very sweet. Sweet, bread-like malts with honey, toasted caramel malt notes, candi sugar, and fruity sweetness all blend well. Strawberry, mango, and most note-worthy, raisin, all add notes of complexity to this beer. No alcohol nose and a lack of hops make it lop-sided but good.
T - A warm and slightly fusel alcohol starts it off and coasts merrily along through the flavor getting stronger with each sip. Lots of malts make the flavor incredibly rich. Candied sugar and toasted caramel join happily with a biscuity honey flavor. Some hops appear in the flavor but work their magic in the background as bittering agents adding only a pinch of crisp, floral character. Again, there are some big fruit notes among the many other flavors. Raisin being the predominant one followed by a little mango.
M - A ridiculous amount of malts give this beer a robust, full body that's chewy and very soft. The smooth feel combines well with a little carbonation finish and a crisp end to the flavor.
D - A sipper I should have enjoyed from my snifter. A wonderful winter warming brew that'll surely warm you up in a hurry which is my primary reason for picking it on this 12 degree day. An enjoyable old ale I hope I can try and compare on cask again (thanks GLBF!).
12-16-2009 00:00:49 | More by BeerFMAndy
4.25/5 rDev +3.2%
12oz bottle poured into a snifter.
Pours thick with a wispy brown head and a very slight lace. Brownish-red tinged in the light, nearly opaque. Aromas of nuts, chocolate, herbs, anise, meaty spices, wood and booze.
Taste is quite boozy off the top, then extremely herbal and licoricey. Hop bitterness compliments, with a huge malty backbone of chocolate and buttery caramel. Not extremely complex but the flavours compliment themselves very well. Mouthfeel is oily and thick and rich and a little syrupy, but just right for a beer of this strength. Drinkability caps at one, that's it, I'll just sip it all night. Very enjoyable brew.
12-15-2009 03:27:21 | More by trevorwideman
3.78/5 rDev -8.3%
Received as an extra in a recent trade. No vintage listed, doesn't that defeat the purpose of an Olde Ale? Oh well. Poured in a snifter because I do what the label tells me.
Pours a very dense medium brown color. Looks a little like a Belgian Dubbel. Forms a minimal khaki head. Leaves some filmy lacing as I drink it. Small amount of sediment made it into the glass.
Smells of molasses and port wine with suggestions of figs, apricot, fresh bread, yeast, and a hint of brandy.
Fruit continues on the palate with more figs, sweet dates, and raisins. Bready malts are very strong on this, probably the most bready Olde Ale I've tried. I let this warm for about a hour before tasting but as it makes it all the way to room temperature it gets even sweeter. Dark fruits mentioned before become more intense along with a brown sugar character.
Alcohol burn is noticeable but not bad for the style. ABV is actually fairly well hidden for 10.2. What really hurts drinkability is the intense sweetness, can't imagine wanting another bottle.
Overall not bad but I tend to have high expectations for this style and there are better ones out there.
12-07-2009 03:28:36 | More by berkey
3.7/5 rDev -10.2%
Brown like mahogany furniture from NC and tinged red like MI cherries, this appears like the perfect brew for my Heels-MSU matchup this evening. Even have the balance of a MI beer poured into a DR snifter. It's really a cherry brown, and very much lookin' like an old style ale. CO2 bubbles cling to the sides, and the only thing lacking is the heady top's significant staying power.
It smells old and musty-like, without the normal dreaded association. It's like bark and barley with hoppy roots, tart cherries, and Angstrom bitters. It smells old yet powerful--like dad strength. There really is a cherry background that's subtle and masculine, reminiscent of Brut cologne or a a cigarette pack folded underneath a white T-shirt sleeve. It's got a woody, cigar-like character, with the feel of a bourbon barrel. Among the most masculine beers I've ever whiffed.
The taste is old and strong. Civil War Generals drank beers like this. Problem is, I'm a spoiled Generation Y-er with Google access and citrusy IPAs. It's got a neutral, chalky feel indicative of baking soda. Combined with a Bud Light, this old brew would be like your parents mixing baking soda with your toothpaste: tasty enough to be palatable, yet strong enough to be effective. Granted, the strength AND taste come from the same thing here, but it's as if this beer tastes too powerful. It could pass for 15+%! What else could comprise the beverage ingredients? Chocolate, malted barley, grass and tree bark remnants in creek water--I can't stay serious or normal with this one. It tastes old and strong--it is what it is.
The feel is heavy and thick, oily and greasy. It's tough like old-school, real metal cars. This is a Greaser's beer. It's not hoppy--is that why it's an old style ale? The malted barley feels intense on the cheek linings. Perhaps the most feminine quality I detect is a little cinnamon on the palate...must've been washed into the creek in a storm.
I've gone downhill as I analyze this brew, but it's an enjoyable beer. Probably a relatively difficult style for noobs like myself to fairly evaluate. Since it's a well-synthesized beer from such a proficient brewer, it's gotta be among the best old-style beers around. As such, it drinks good.
12-02-2009 02:58:23 | More by marvin213
4.13/5 rDev +0.2%
"An ale for those who appreciate complexity and vintage character. Fill a snifter and enjoy it now or commit some bottles to the cellar to test your patience"
Cellaring is for punks so this one will be poured into a tulip (all the snifters are broked :/) and enjoyed.
A: Dark Brown/Cranberry hued with a rising bubbling head that sticks. Lacing is clingy and desperate but there. An aesthetically pleasing sight indeed.
S: Malty goodness, established cherries, spice, and mint toothpaste?
T: Big malty body on this one, so big it cloaks a lot of the alcohol. The scent of cherries that I got in the nose comes out in a variety of dark fruits with a tinge of spice. The finish on this beer is slightly roasted with a whisper of sourness, but this is no big American barleywine, the hops make the finish rather modestt. Very into these big alcoholic beers, but this one lacks the complexity I was anticipating.
M: Medium bodied, slides down the sides of the tongue nicely.
D: It's winter warm me up ASAP. Alcohol is big, but not noticable. I can say this is another great Bell's beer, just didn't have as strong of a flavor profile that I was expecting. Old Ale/Barleywines are winning me over this November.
11-24-2009 10:54:00 | More by MPLS
3.85/5 rDev -6.6%
Pours a dark brown orange color that settles to mostly brown. Decent size head with slight lacing.
Smell has strong characteristics of a porter...or an old ale mixed with a porter/stout. Smell a little caramel and smokey sweet malts.
Very sweet at first, smooth...complex...finishes a little bitter like a stout(which isn't a bad thing). Malt-y...a little boozy...but very tasty! Another good brew from Bells!
11-16-2009 20:06:44 | More by ShadesOfGray
4.22/5 rDev +2.4%
Poured from the bottle into a snifter. Batch 9358 (packaged 9/23/09).
A- Pours a dark brown, but the stream leaving the bottle has a distinct red hue. Very small bone white to tan head that dissipated quickly leaving minimal lacing.
S- Sweet caramel and butterscotch, with a definite, but unidentifiable (at least to me) spice to it. Some booze coming through on the nose as well, but not much for a 10.2% old ale. Some dried rigs and raisins. A review I read earlier today (though I forget who wrote it) identified the nose as rum-raisin, which I think is spot on.
T- Raisin followed by alcohol is the most predominate flavor with a noticeable hop bitterness out of left field (that is, I didn't get this in the nose in the slightest.) I detect a slight metallic tinge in the finish, but it is too faint to consider a major flavor (not there in every sip either, just calling 'em as I see 'em.) I want to say the spice I mentioned in the nose comes through as cinnamon in the taste, but I can't really pinpoint it because it melds with the booziness in the finish.
EDIT: I always let my beers warm as I drink them and review them allowing enough time to change, but this one really improved even after 30-40 minutes, so after an hour-70 minutes I had to come on and bump the flavor up from a 4 to a 4.5. The flavors really come together, the spiciness that was once slightly out of place melds well with the dark fruits and raisins. Some of the booziness disappears. Really noticeable improvement. I suggest taking this one out of the fridge an entire hour before opening and then letting it warm up while you drink it over the course of another 30 minutes or so.
M- Slightly over-carbonated for my liking considering the style, but not so much so that it ruins the beer by any means. I love the feeling of the finish down my throat. It has the warming and coating qualities of a brandy, port or some other dessert liquor/wine.
D- I'm obviously not slugging this back, but as an old ale is usually meant to be sipped on and is by no means a session beer, it is quite good.
11-16-2009 01:36:15 | More by mbudner
4.33/5 rDev +5.1%
Bottle (Batch ID 8863) poured into a tulip glass.
A- A less than gentle pour left a thin khaki head that quickly bubbles to a moderate lace. The body was a murky brown/bronze with medium-light carbonation. Due to the quick pour there was a good deal of sediment floating around while even more was left in the bottle. Nice sticky spots were left behind which I really enjoyed watching as they slid down the glass.
S- It had a very nice, sweet aroma that reminded me of something like a brandy or sherry. It had a touch of caramel and bold cooked fruit (figs or raisins perhaps). The hops add a spiciness to the aroma. Warmth brought out a honey-like aroma to add to the impression of stewed stone fruits.
T- It was on the sweet, malty side intitially. There was a complex mix of cooked/stewed fruits and a touch of lemony hops. It had the slightest, pleasant alcohol finish. Some warmth brought a buttery, toffee flavor.
M- It was fairly viscus with light carbonation. Hops provide bit of a bite and a touch of alcohol warms the tummy.
D- What a great way to finish the night. I had this one on an unseasonably warm fall evening after a day spent moving. It's even better come the long cold winter nights of MI.
11-15-2009 21:15:46 | More by GRPunk
4.43/5 rDev +7.5%
A=pours a hazy deep amber color pretty looking indeed. The head on it is about one and a half fingers that leaves great lacing and has pretty good retention. The heads color brings attention to me however, maybe its the light I'm in but it looks like it may have some green color to it or some red from the beers color to it. Either way the color of the head is unique.
S= smells sweet I guess. Not too sure how to describe it. Toffee I suppose maybe. There's a slight alcohol aroma to it as well.
T= the taste is really light and calm for the amount of alcohol in this bad boy. Most bigger alcohol beers also have bigger flavor which sometimes keeps you from drinking too much but this one is so mellow its scary. The flavor that is there is sweet malts. Soo good with caramel and toffee yet so smooth and mellowed. It almost has a really nutty taste to it. There's a small amount of alcohol which I expect will diminish with a little age.
M= really smooth and light. Coating is a good word for this one. Really sweet and sticky at times.
D= great. Really out of the ball park on this beer so much so that its scary. The light smooth flavor leads me to a scary night if I had just this stuff. An awesome beer from bells again. Why this isn't in the top 100 I have no clue.
11-15-2009 06:35:38 | More by jjanega08
4.05/5 rDev -1.7%
Thanks to mmrmnygjckt for the bottle.
Pours a nice dark ruby amber color, deep blood red with an off white/light tan head that retains pretty well and leaves ok lacing.
Nose is full of caramel, toffee, and deep sticky sweet malt, like an old american barleywine.
Taste is pretty nice. Alot of deep sugary malt, caramel, and barleywine like stickiness. Some alcohol heat lingers on the finish, along with the profound sweetness.
Mouthfeel is slightly too thin, but i mean very slightly. Carbonation is ideal for the style.
Drinkability is alright, but your not gonna be drinking more than one or two of these without going into a diabetic coma. The presence of the abv is right where it should be.
Overall, really a nice old ale. I'd love to put some age on a few of these, and kill someone, maybe even a close family member, to try the bourbon aged version. This is definitely one i would recommend to those looking to explore the style (or specifically american brewed old ales) Old Stock (of all varieties) and Kuhnhenns 4th dementia still beat it, as far as US brewed old ales this one is right on their heels. A very nice beer.
11-09-2009 05:36:04 | More by AKBelgianBeast
Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
92 out of 100 based on 1,964 ratings.