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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.

1,913 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,913
Reviews: 963
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.19%
Wants: 191
Gots: 256 | 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: 1,913 | Reviews: 963 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BuckeyeNation


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2009 14:54:38 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of joehop67


4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This barlywine beer presented itself to me in a totally unexpected manner. The pour was thick with not much head. Retention was virtually nonexistent but a small swirl of the glass would bring the head right back.
The scent was of caramel and molasses with some slight fruit undertones, maybe cherry or figs.
The creamy texture was so pleasant it virtually eliminated the high alcohol flavor you would expect from a 10+ABV beer.
The flavor itself is deep caramel, roasted nuts, and an underlying sweetness. I did not find this too sweet which was very suprising to me because I am a self-proclaimed hop-head. Yet, this brew had virtually no hoppiness at all. Rather, it was extremely malty both in texture and flavor.
Definitely a brew I'll drink again but not more than one or two in a sitting because it was a 10+ABV beer, and it kicked like one. Too many and nitey,night.
Overall, an excellent sampling.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2009 20:56:53 | More by joehop67
Photo of LilBeerDoctor

New York

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

Bottle. Pours a super cloudy brown with a small ring of white head. Aroma of super sweet malt, raisin, apple skins. Typical barleywine aroma. Flavor is quite malty with light fruits and raisins. Certainly very sweet but not bad actually (considering that barleywines are not my favorite style). Heavy though.

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2009 18:10:24 | More by LilBeerDoctor
Photo of KickInTheChalice


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

Served on tap at the Eccentric Cafe.

Appearance: A caramel copper color with a thick creamy head. Leaves some lacing down the side of the glass.

Smell: Dark fruits, cherries, caramel, and molasses. A very strong, sweet smelling ale, although I would expect this from a barley wine.

Taste: Strong rasien and fig flavor throughout. Firm molasses malt taste carries most of the sip. A light bitterness lingers in the mouth, but not much of a hop presence. My only criticism of this one would be how sweet it is.

Mouthfeel: Even more noticeable than the taste is how creamy of a feel this has. Very smooth, to which the self-replenishing head will testify.

Drinkability: Definitely a sipper. The sweetness lends it to be a beer best served with dessert or after dinner. A nice, strong flavor masks the ABV, but I will definitely still not be putting too many of these down in one sitting.


Serving type: on-tap

07-14-2009 07:09:01 | More by KickInTheChalice
Photo of cdpike


4.68/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into tulip.

Pours very dark amber with no foam. Nose is thick, chewy, caramelly, maple sweetness with just a touch of alcohol. Hits the mouth with a robust softness in the flavor. Dark roasted caramel (if there is such a thing) taste wrapped in dark chocolate and notes of maple. Thick, full bodied, and CHEWY. Lightly present bitter finish, feels WONDERFUL on the way down. I've never had an old ale that is this pleasant. Great beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2009 18:56:17 | More by cdpike
Photo of UA8


3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a ruby color with a thin off white head. Has the look of a an oily and potent beer, yum.

S- Smells of bourbon soaked cherries and released alcohol.

T- Leads with sweet roasted caramel malts, kinda sweet tart cherry thing, finishes big and bold with a warm alcohol burn and a light herbal bitterness. I'm really interested to see how this one ages.

M- Syrupy and very little alcohol.

D- A solid beer within the style however due to the strength and pungent alcohol it would be rough to drink more than a couple of these.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2009 03:38:39 | More by UA8
Photo of Anthony1


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

bottle poured into a snifter.

pours a dark, dark, almost black with a very thin tan head. the head settles pretty quick, but stuck to the rim the whole drink.

smells mostly of a rich, roasted caramel and coffee with hits of alcohol and some dark fruit. tasted similarly as deep and roasted. stronger taste of coffee and malts. full bodied with minimal carbonation. very smooth pour.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2009 20:38:32 | More by Anthony1
Photo of kels


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

Had this one on tap at the Indy Beer Sellar's Bell's tasting last night. Slowed the evening down a bit...

Appearance: Pour is super-hazy, cloudy, toffee brown with tremendous sticky lacing and a skim of head that hangs around. The beer just looks thick, syrupy and viscous.

Smell: Not nearly as overpowering a smell as i expected. Sweet, syrupy and malty tones dominate the nose in line with the style.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Feel is pure, slick, viscous syrup with a touch of carbonation to keep it from fully sinking in the mouth. Taste has a good balance of warming alcohol, sweet malts and bitter citrus (surprisingly). There is a lot to taste in this beer, and I'm pleasantly surprised that the alcohol doesn't cover it all up or overpower it as in many old ales.

Drinkability: Moderate to high for style - unusually balanced and mild.

Serving type: on-tap

06-23-2009 22:02:55 | More by kels
Photo of Cyberkedi


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

Aroma is strong but soft, malty and yeasty with an earthy undertone. It pours a dark clear amber brown with not much of a head. Flavor is malty, earthy, slightly hoppy, with smoky undertones and just a hint of cloves. Texture is fairly tingly and edgy, but also smooth and soft as a kitten.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2009 01:14:07 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of sweemzander


3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle poured into a Duvel glass. Batch number reveals it was bottled on 9/25/08.

(A)- Pours a murky brown amber. Luxurious head formation with good retention but dissipated after 10 min.

(S)- Intense brown sugar malts. Vanilla, mocha, and molasses. Really sweet smelling! Root beer-ish.

(T)- Rich brown sugar and coffee nuances with neutral cocoa and caramel. Almost butter-ish in flavor.

(M)- Slightly hot from the alcohol. Very rich and sweet but silky in texture. Coats the mouth.

(D)- Very rich and sweet flavors. The alcohol of 10.2% makes it a bit hot, but still very enjoyable. A good sweet sipper as dessert after dinner. I would be excited to see how this would taste after a few years of aging.

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2009 21:08:45 | More by sweemzander
Photo of LauraAlberts

South Carolina

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

Appearance: Hazy Amber - very little head retention

Smell: Alcohol, Caramel, oatmeal, hazelnut, ripe grapes, raisin

Taste: caramel, alcohol, hazelnut, hint of citrus, ripe fruit, banana, ripe apple, raisin

Mouthfeel: soft - citrusy - dry

Drinkability: This beer is hard to drink. It's a sipper - and one for a cold night. It's packed full of flavor, depth and complexity. I enjoyed it at the time but will definitely pick it up for the right occasion. A campfire, night cap, winter warmer type beer meant for the occasion and to create an experience not enhance one.

I recommend this highly complex beautiful beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2009 02:55:54 | More by LauraAlberts
Photo of jdubjacket


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

Picked up a sixer of this at a Duluth, GA liquor store. Got a good deal - $9.99 for a six pack. Cracked one open tonight after work. Poured into my Stone Old Guardian glass. Pours a deep brown with slight amber hues. Very little head and a moderate amount of lacing. If angels' tears had a scent, it would be this beer. Sweet fruit - raspberry namely - is the most prevalent. Citrus, honey and caramel are also traceable. Taste is very complex - starts off sweet, which is likely the alcohol, and ends very malty, with bread/biscuit undertones. Good amount of carbonation for an Old Ale. Tough to drink more than one due to the ABV. Overall, a very good brew.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2009 23:37:33 | More by jdubjacket
Photo of wnh


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

12 oz. bottled poured into a snifter.

Pours a slightly cloudy chestnut brown with an orange/yellow tint. Not much light coming through. Two fingers of light tan, frothy head on top.

Nose is dark fruit, cherry, brown sugar and warm alcohol all duking it out up front, with some vanilla sweetness hiding just underneath. Everything is melded together wonderfully, and I'm having fun just trying to pick it apart.

Taste approximates the nose, with dark fruit and notes of something reminiscent of oak. Brown sugar and sticky molasses hit my tongue next. There's a relatively subtle buttered toast flavor underneath it all, and a lingering bitterness on the finish. Deep and complex on the whole; I'm having a difficult time hashing it out. Alcohol is clear and noticeable, but not as big as I'd expect at 10%.

Thick and sticky on the tongue, and slightly syrup-like. Almost overly sticky, which I don't particularly care for, but it fits the beer. Third Coast Old Ale is certainly a beer to be sipped, but drinkability is high considering. The flavor profile is sweet on the whole, but the bitter finish brings it back into balance and prevents it from being overwhelming.

Serving type: bottle

06-07-2009 20:49:14 | More by wnh
Photo of mjl21


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

Acquired via trade...thanks Josh! 12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter. Part of batch 8863 and was packaged on 12/4/08. Comes in at 10.2%.

A-Pours a dark, murky amber. Has virtually no head and leaves an extremely tiny tan ring. Bubbles can be seen rising from the bottom of the glass.

S-Lots of sweet caramel malt and orange citrus are at play.

T-The sweet caramel malt hits throughout. On the first sip a tad bit of alcohol is detected on the tongue, but this goes away quickly. The orange citrus flavor from the hops picks up after it has gone down and leaves a nice level of bitterness. The hops do wonders for this beer.

M-Thick and chewy. It is perfectly carbonated and leaves a sticky feeling on the lips.

D-The abv is well hidden and it has an amazing amount of hops. The high abv does limit this one to a nice, long nightcap.

Another great one from Bell's. I would love to see how this one tastes with some age on it.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2009 17:26:05 | More by mjl21
Photo of cnally


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

poured this one in a glass to find a decent tan head and a hazy amber coloring in the beer.

a sweet malty scent that is very underwhelming in the best possible way. a mellow hint of hops in the background.

damn, hops! a shock in an old ale, this one has got a very balanced bitter hop flavor up front. the malty caramel flavor slides in behind it, dominating the aftertaste. there is enough of a flavor of apple in there to notice.

good, slightly dry on the tongue and almost thick and a bit sticky.

I think this should be a sipper. but, it is so tasty that keeping me off the glass in damn near impossible.

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2009 01:31:56 | More by cnally
Photo of Reagan1984


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

Wow, this has an incredibly aggressive head rise from within the beer. Lots of structure and beige in color. The beer is a deep amber. O carbonation. Clear but a deep rich color. The retention on the head is quite impressive. Good looking beer. Clumps of sticky lacing.

Aroma is of rich, thick caramel. Sweet malt. Smells a touch like wort.

Wow, really a deep and complex flavor. Their website says this is a barleywine, while the web site has it listed as an Old Ale. Heck it's called an Old Ale.. Deep fruit and chewy caramel. Bitterness towards the end. A touch of alcohol. Actually well balanced...

Thick and persistent mouth feel. This is a slow sipper. You can almost chew on this beer.

Really enjoyable. I like this beer.

I have to grab some to age....

Well done Bell's!

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2009 23:05:27 | More by Reagan1984
Photo of TheBierBand


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

Picked up a sixer of this up in Gaylord, MI (Dang! $15.99). Oh well, ya only live once! (Yes, I know there was that pesky MI Bottle deposit add-on...).

This was Batch #8863. I poured it into the closest thing to a beer glass at my parents-in-law's house... which was a tall juice glass. I was a little over-agressive with the pour because it quickly rose to 2-1/2" and began to overflow the glass. A quick foam slurp and disaster was averted. The head disappeared within minutes leaving very little lace on the glass. The color of the beer was dark/deep amber and slightly cloudy.

Smell: Malty goodness, with hints of dried fruit. Rather subdued.

Taste: Very complex! Sweet toasted malt with a decent bitter hop back-up. The sweetness hits you first. Mostly a malty taste with maple syrup with hints of mixed fruit. Then the bitter hops finishes you off and lingers.

MF: Nice and rich. Thick-ish and chewey... good body.

Drinkability: Let this warm to bring out the intense flavors. This is a sipper (at 10.2% abv) But good drinkability for a beer of this character. Nothing off-putting about this. RECOMMENDED for the "seasoned" beer Advocate.... not for beginners.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2009 14:21:01 | More by TheBierBand
Photo of barnzy78


4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz/Batch 8863. Poured a rusty brown color with nearly no head to speak of. Aromas were simple - malty caramel, brown sugar. Mouth-feel was thick and syrupy; nice feel. Initial tastes were ripe fruit - raisins and prunes with hints of apple. Alcohol is present and warming. Slight bitter hop finish adds to balance. As the ale warms to room temperature, fruity esters contribute to the complexity of the ale with notes of ripe cherries and vanilla. Oak and alcohol are on the finish with the bitter hops. As I drank this it got better and better. I was disappointed at first, but as it warmed, the complex flavors kept improving! Nice surprise given the start.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2009 02:17:06 | More by barnzy78
Photo of abecall98


3.65/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received this bottle in a trade. Thanks to Jerk44 for this wonderful extra.

Poured a 12 ounce bottle into a naked pint glass.

A - This beer is cloudy, light headed, dark amberish. Not the most pleasant looking beer.

S - This beer smells like autumn and fruit. I can smell the sweet scent of cherry, apple, and sugar. I don't know if those fruits are actually in it, but it has that smell. It is very nice.

T - clocking in a 10.2 ABV, this beer is sweet, malty, and has a slight alcoholic finish as it goes down. The tangy sugary taste is very very pleasing however.

M - Carbonation is smooth. The beer is thicker than your average brew, leaves a sticky feeling in your mouth, and finishes with alcohol.

D - this beer is not the easiest to drink. The first taste was great, but it gets harder and harder to down after every drink. This beer is best reserved as a sipper, and no more than one during a given session.

Overall, for my first old ale, this beer is delicious. I was expecting an oaky burnt flavor, but got sweet goodness. It is something I would desire again for a cold night.

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2009 03:23:23 | More by abecall98
Photo of BierFan


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

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a flute. Batch number of 8863 on the back label informs me that it was bottled on December 4th, 2008.

Small tan head on top of a reddish brown body. The aroma is sweet and syrupy, prunes, some faded hop aroma in the background. The taste is much like the aroma. All the flavors combine to create one very drinkable and smooth old ale.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2009 19:46:25 | More by BierFan
Photo of webmanspidey


4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber color poured into a snifter. Light tan head. Smell is sweet caramel and some form of wood.

Taste is very malty and sweet. Caramel with a slightly bitter hoppy finish. Alcohol is noticeable but not overwhelming.

Very malty with a slight mix of other spices, this is very well put together beer good for slow sipping. Mouthfeel is medium to thick, reminiscent of many stronger ales or barleywines. Regardless, I believe this is one of the better beers I've had from Bell's.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2009 04:40:02 | More by webmanspidey
Photo of CHSLBrew


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

Poured into a snifter.

A-Tannish head, 1.5 cm off the pour, then recedes pretty quickly. Tops a delightfully dark ruby brew, slightly hazy, and a bit too dark to allow much light through, resulting in brownish highlights.

S-Outpouring of hops, oh my gohsh. Thick with resiny, herbal hop aromas.

T-Bready, choco malts try to start the flavor off, but they're quickly overtaken by dank hoppiness. The hops character receds into an assertive bitterness, opposite a slightly chocolatey, mostly bready and toasty malt. Alcohol comes through in the end. Finally, finishes bitter, hoppy, and warm.

M-Full body. Medium-low carbonation. Feels heavy and solid in my mouth.

D-Moderate. Good flavor and character for the style, but also a very trying, uphill battle of a beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2009 21:17:49 | More by CHSLBrew
Photo of roadhouse


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

12 oz. bottle into a snifter

Batch 8863, bottled Dec. 4, 2008

Pours a dark reddish brown, ruby in the light, with a one inch off-white head. Falls to a skim and

Aromas of caramel, toffee, raisin, molasses, cherries, and a light whiff of alcohol.

Taste starts off sweet and caramelly with raisin, figs, and cherries. Much like some port wine. It gets slightly bitter towards the finish with some earthy, spicy hop flavors.

Mouthfeel is medium-full, creamy and smooth.

I had this one back in October, a bottle from September and it was way too hot. This one has been in the bottle almost five months and it has improved quite a bit. I will be saving some more bottles of this for the cellar for sure.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2009 05:21:17 | More by roadhouse
Photo of dmfrench


3.65/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Very serious Barleywine. Watch out for CHUNKS!

A: Beautiful deep cider color, a fairly persistent 1.5 finger head laces the glass, but large, unappealing CHUNKS! spoil it all for me. Particles are fine; chunks are gross.

S: Raisins, prunes, some kind of spice. Not really smelling any alcohol.

T: Sweet rotting prune, salt, a certain spiciness, and a dry hop finish. The alcohol is well disguised, and it really helps the flavors completely take over your whole mouth.

M: Like milk or port.. very nice.

D: Not sure what score to give... If I drank more than one I'd surely hurl, but not from any fault of the brewer. I suppose that points to a 3.0?

Barleywines and fruity beers in general are not my thing at all, but I'm glad I expanded my horizons with this one.



Serving type: bottle

04-28-2009 21:19:25 | More by dmfrench
Photo of carlborch


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

Deep, rich malty notes, restrained hops, hints of coffee and oak. Dark, clear, redish amber, with a dense toffee-colored, lingering head, almost like the crema on my espresso. Moderate lacing.Sweet, heavy palate with medium-bitter notes. Great length. Powerful. Warmth, chocolate, Umami! Full bold body with silky lingering and very long finish with low note-bitter tones. An excellent ale! Heady. Best suited for colder months and rainy days. Can certainly be celllared to watch it develop. Multilayered, complex beverage. Wonderful match for rich foods witn seet notes, such as BBQ (Batch 8863)

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2009 01:26:46 | More by carlborch
Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
92 out of 100 based on 1,913 ratings.