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

Not Rated.
Third Coast Old AleThird Coast Old Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,243 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,243
Reviews: 998
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 10.22%
Wants: 218
Gots: 354 | FT: 20
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-28-2002

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,243 | Reviews: 998 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bigaltemple
3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle from batch 9970 poured into snifter

A - Pours what at first glance appears to be a cola color, but when held up to the light a really nice, rich red appears. Very small head appears for a quick second but is gone in an instant. Some good looking lacing though.

S - Deep, dark caramel malts are really prevalent. Strong sense of raisins. Also picking up some figs and dates.

T - Sweet caramel, with some hints of toffee. Mild alcohol burn , but not overpowering. Slightly bitter on the back end as it gets warmer.

M - Medium body with very light carbonation. Kind of creamy.

O/D - Rather enjoyable. Looking forward to sitting on the other bottle until a much cooler night.

Photo of hardy008
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy reddish brown with a small light tan head, with good retention.. The aroma has figs, dates, raisins, caramel, and alcohol. Seems like a great beer for a cold winter night, but it is hot and summer. No problem, the air conditioner is running.

The flavor is just like the aroma suggests. Sweet, and a little boozy, with figs, dates, raisins, caramel, and alcohol. A nice beer to sip.

Medium to full bodied, average carbonation, the alcohol is somewhat noticeable, but not overpowering. A nice beer from Bell's. I will have to drink this for sure when the cold weather returns.

Photo of beenitty
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glad to try this as part of a nice array of extras recieved from schultz22

A- Pours cloudy copper, red. Very Nice Lacing and sizable off white head. Looks great.

S - Mmmm. Booze and Booze roaked fruits. Intensifies as it warms, smells like a barleywine, which is good for me

T- Malt, dark fruit notes, finishes with slight cherry after taste. I love it. This is dried fruit that is spiked in a bottle. It's filling and hearty at once. Good flavor

M- Nice body, more kick as it warms

D - Medium, had one. Could probably have another but after that it'd be interesting to see what would happen.

O - Great offering by Bells. I dont really have much experience with Olde Ales besides Kuhnhenn 4d. Even though that one has bourbon and this one doesnt, I found this to be more enjoyable and drinkable. With some age I'm sure the Kuhnhenn would be less boozy, but this one is definitely a great introdution to the style if someone out there is looking for a place to start with olde ales, excellent offering.

Photo of zaphodchak
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Bell's Tap Takeover at Mellow Mushroom in Charlottesville, VA.

1.5 fingers of tan head-- brownish, ruddy and hazy, laces a ton.

Nose is tart, spicy, some malt and caramel. Some booze and maybe malty peach?

Taste is potent. Malty but heavily hopped, some caramel.

Mouthfeel is nice, standard.

Slightly bitter for something so malty. Aging would help a lot with this one.

Photo of woodychandler
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally, something out of that cellar of mine that has a chance! Many of the beers down there have been marginal at best and some have been post-prime drainpours. I assure you that once the purge is completed, this is not going to happen again.

From the bottle: "Perfect for your cellar, TCOA is strong and rich. Its caramel malt and long, slow finish create an experience as warm and inviting as your favorite blanket." Dang, no bottling date or batch, though!

Once more, I employed a slow, gentle pour so as not to stir up any lees. In spite of this, I still got 1/4 of light-tan head that quickly became mere wisps. Color was a deep cola brown with NE-quality clarity. Caramel malt, indeed! The nose smelled like liquid toffee with a bit of pine resin mixed in. Mouthfeel was medium and the heat was the first thing that I noticed. This is no playing around, even after all of this time. As the heat subsided, it tasted heavily of mentholated tobacco and toffee. Wild. Finish was warming with the caramel/toffee up front and the mentholated tobacco lingering well after the swallow. I may need to lay down with my favorite blanket after this!

Photo of 1Adam12
3.92/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours almost a light purple. Darker than most of the barleywines i've drank. Smells sweet. Smells of fig and burnt sugar. Tastes quite the same, very sweet, but good. Noticeable alcohol, but barely. I swear I taste a bit of maple syrup. Maybe a bit of raisin. Pretty decent balance between the flavors and the alcohol. Mouthfeel isn't as creamy as I would've liked. Moderate carbonation. Overall this is something I might like to age with hopes that the alcohol flavor goes away. Very nice.

Photo of TheBear11D
4.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16oz draft beer at Bell's on 7-8-11

Pours a deep amber red to auburn brown with a beige head that lasted a good while and leaves plenty of lacing.

Citrus hops are the most prominent in the nose with caramel also present.

Good balance of hops and malts. The citrus hops are again the standout here, but not for too long as the caramel malt shines and provides a great blend of flavor.

This is a thick beer and that makes me happy.

Overall this is a beer one should try if one is a beer drinker. The high ABV is fairly well hidden and the beer is well done all the way around.

Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a dark brown color. The head was pretty big but settled quickly. The lacing wasn't too bad leaving some bubbles down the glass. The smell of the beer was earthy, toasted and a little sweet. There is a some booze on the nose too. The taste of the beer has a sweet start to it with some burnt bitter flavors in the end, all that mixed with some caramel and booze. The heat on this beer is give the mouthfeel a big warming aspect to it. It's not overly heavy at all but it still feels like a big beer. Overall the beer was pretty good, I'd be willing to drink it again sometime.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a cloudy brown/mahogany with very little head and no lacing.

S: Lots of caramel, brown sugar, and some toffee. Dark fruits develop as it warms with some plum and raisin. Also get a slight hint of citrus.

T: Heavy malt flavor profile, brow sugar, lots of caramel, and some toffee. Extremely sweet with heavy dark fruit flavors in the middle. Little bit of maple syrup shows up at the end.

M: Medium to heavy bodied, rather rich and sweet. Low carbonation lends to a slightly creamy mouthfeel.

O: Pretty good beer, thought it was an old ale, but classified as an American barleywine. Either way, very nice, in a style that I typically am not a huge fan of. Pretty drinkable at such a high abv.

Photo of tobelerone
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found this beer in Florida along with a variety of other Bell's products...can't get these at all at home in NJ/NY/PA, at least as far as I can tell. So I was pretty stoked.

I really enjoyed this beer, a great example of an old ale/barleywine. This was my nightcap as I lounged around the pool at midnight, and it definitely sent me off to sweet dreams. Based on what I have read here I and the bottle numbering I believe this beer was about a year old. I wasn't about to pack it into my luggage so down the hatch it went.
Dark brownish color with low carbonation and head, minimal lacing. The smell of toffee, prunes, raisins and booze waft up at you and continue as you taste it. There's an appealing and stylistically fitting mustiness here. Finish is dry enough and doesn't overstay its welcome. The booze is there but there's very little burn. This is obviously a sipper, I had a bit of trouble finishing the bottle but then I'd had quite a few before I got to this one.

If you're a fan of this style I think you may like this one quite a bit. Really wish I could get these at home and stick some in the cellar. One day, perhaps!

Photo of scottfrie
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into Portsmouth snifter. The code on the bottle isn’t working on Bell’s website but this bottle is at least a couple years old.
A: Pours a very dark brown mahogany with a finger of dark tan colored head that faded into a wispy film leaving some thin lacing down the glass. There’s a good amount of white chunks at the bottle of my glass.
S: Big sweet and syrupy malt notes with a touch of caramel, molasses, and overly ripened fruits and berries.
T: Notes of molasses, caramel, pine resin, orange zest, vanilla and a hint of chocolate. The finish is sweet and honey like, and the aftertaste is lightly bitter and full of tobacco.
M: Thick body, syrupy smooth mouthfeel with low carbonation and almost no alcohol presence.
O: Really rich and flavorful and for 10% this beer is very smooth. I would definitely drink this again.

Photo of devilben02
3.37/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a drab, opaque mahogany color with a modest, creamy, sand-colored head. The fragrant aroma is rich with characteristics of cherries, prunes, and some brown sugar. The flavor is not quite so sweet, with caramel and raisins being contrasted by a woodsy hop bitterness that I can best compare to pine bark. Both the bitter and sweets sides are presented in big doses along with an alcohol warmth that is noticeable without being overpowering. The fine, tingling carbonation keep neither adds nor detracts from the experience. Overall, the dense, robust combination of flavors is challenging without being difficult (if that makes sense), but there really isn't anything that truly sets this beer apart from any other reasonably well-made old ale/barleywine.

Photo of SWMeyer4141
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My first Barleywine in a while.

2011, poured into a snifter

Appearance-Dark brown with a beige head, not much retention. One finger of head. Tons of carbonation on the side of the glass.

Smell-Very sweet. Rum soaked cherrys. Brown sugar/molasses.

Taste-Sweet malts and some nice bitterness. Lots of dark fruits and booze. Lots of spices as well. Very intense and rich, I like it, but doesn't wow me.

Mouthfeel-Full bodied. Nice carbonation, a little prickly

Overall-Kind of a hybrid between an english and american barleywine. Some hop bitterness, but not as hoppy as most American Barleywines. Glad I tried one fresh, but would like to try it with some age as well.

Photo of JayQue
4.32/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Its June but the air conditioning is kicking in good and its just right for a barleywine nightcap. Pours a clear brownish color that glows ruby red when held to a light. Nice size light tan/dark off white head with good enough retention for this octane level. Light lacing.

Smell is USDA Prime Barleywine. Caramel malt, spices, dark fruit. Rich and inviting.

Taste is the same. Strong spice presence, big caramel malt profile and raisins, cherries, figs. Moderate hops presence kicks in at the end.

Mouthfeel is good. The spices tickle the tongue. There is an alcohol presence, but it serves to warm rather than offend. This is a rich and smooth barleywine even though it is fresh.

Overall this is a good, solid barleywine and I'm sure I will be getting more for the cold weather.

Photo of sixerofelixir
3.92/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle with batch code on back label, easily looked up on their website.

Pours a dark, dirty, clouded brown. A tan, pillowy head settles down to a clumpy ring after a bit. Smell is rich in everything, dark fruits and dark grains. Taste is a big kick of molasses and raisin, mostly. Dark cacao folds into pungent, soothing hops, with a definite kick of alcohol oomph, but not enough to detract. Very suitable in everything for the style. The hops finish long on this one, along with a caramel feel. Very nice beer.

Photo of BBP
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours dark brown with a yellowish white head. Slight lacing.

S- Large amounts of hops and caramel. Slight candied sugars.

T- Large hop presence. Caramel sweetens it up, but it's still all about the hops. Pungent bittersweet taste. Nice flavors, but it lacks a certain smoothness that many barleywines have. I think drinking it fresher or with more age would only help it's cause. (6 months old)

I found it to be more harsh and potent. That being said, it's still quite enjoyable, and somewhat enjoyable only due to that reason.

M- Full, smooth, and creamy. Carbonation is just right. Nice and thick.

O- Very drinkable. ABV is far from your attention. The bitterness is actually more likely to slow you down. I need to try this again with different ages.

Photo of markaberrant
4.44/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch #9958 (bottled Aug 25, 2010, so 10 months old at time of review)

A - pour into the middle of my snifter yields a thin splotchy head with large bubbles around the edge, deep mahogany red, hazy, about the only so-so component

S - clean bready malt, rich candy carmel, not much for hops, maybe adding some background earth/spice notes, no hot alcohol, smells damn good

T - intense, deep, rich malt, huge bread crust, huge carmel, hops are not prominent, but bitterness provides a firm balance, long lingering spicy malty finish

M - well attenuated, but still rich and full bodied, very smooth body, alcohol is drying but the warmth is oh so smooth, very well hidden, luxurious

D - HELL YA!!!

This is a very fine barleywine. Like an english barleywine, but bigger, cleaner and more focused. A malt bomb to be sure, but it isn't a syrupy mess by any means. Superb malt character, love it. Closest comparison would be Brooklyn Monster, but it pales in comparison to this.

Photo of devilishprune
4.04/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured appropriately into a Bell's tulip.

A. Pours a mahogany brown color. Clarity is below average. The pour yields about a half inch of tawny head that doesn't stick around for long. Lacing is non-existent, but a thin island of foam sticks around in the center of the tulip glass.

S. Nose is very heavy on dark, rich caramel. Perhaps a touch of molasses. Also smells a bit smokey and woody, with a hint of vanilla.

T. Caramel flavors are much more pronounced in the taste.The taste begins with figs, followed by more dark fruit flavors and is punctuated by a sweet and slightly warming alcohol taste. A bit of lingering bitterness.

M. Carbonation is very appropriate for the mouthfeel, which is very viscous. Not too spritzy, and yet not too still.

Overall, this beer is one that I would definitely purchase again. I would love to lay half a six-pack down for a few years and see how the flavors change. Keeping several shouldn't be too hard, especially considering that I doubt that I would be able to finish more than one in a session. If you can find this beer, then definitely pick at least one up.

Photo of wampahoofus
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the review of a beer brewed in November '09 and consumed in June '11. I have 11 more aging so will submit every 4 to 6 months as I decide to consume one.

A - A nice hazy dark brown. Not a whole lot of head and some lacing.

S - Lots of brown sugar and vanilla.

T- Lots of brown sugar and caramel. The hops have not yet mellowed int the background and there is still a bit of a snap on the finish.

M - The rich thick, creamy quality that I was expecting has not yet settled in but is starting to come on.

All in all, this beer is slowing setting up to become something good. I think is has a little way to go. I will check back in 6 months and try again. My expectation at this point is that I have another year to go.

Photo of EgadBananas
4.07/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My recent trade pandemic has left many hauls overlapping, so I can't recall specifically who sent me this wondrous want. (However, my gut is saying JJFoodie...) Cheers which every way the dice rolls!

Pours a dark auburn/copper color, small head of the light tan variety. Sporadic foamy lace. Aroma is really malty with lots of caramel, smoke, nuts, and dark juicy fruits.

Real rich malty taste, and a hint of chocolate and roastedness. Lots of dark friends and a touch of booze.

The fell is medium to full in body, slick and creamy.

Big beer, tasty, filling, but excellent for the style.

Photo of JayS2629
4.42/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great example of its style. It pours a muddy chestnut mahogany brown with a thin tan head that fades fast and leaves spotty sea foam lace.

The aroma is of honey, brown sugar, rich toffee and a touch of chocolate with a kiss of orange zest and booze.

The taste is malty sweet with dominate honey tones, brown sugar and deep toffee. Dark fruit, figs, dark cherries, butterscotch and caramel. A grassy, citrus bite at the end with hints of orange and pepper, and cinnamon. Woody, nutty notes in the aftertaste.

Nice boozy burn that isn't overpowering but adds complexity. Complex, full, rich, smooth and syrupy. Great example of its style. Delicious sipper.

Photo of GrindFatherBob
4.24/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Live review 12oz bottle poured into Delirium Tremens tulip

A-Murky brown with almost soda like tan head that dissipated rather quickly into a thin ring.

S- Big caramel notes with a faint floral/citrus scent rounding out the nose.

T- Caramel, metallic, alcohol, floral, slight bitterness

M- Juicy, bitter and crisp, yet sticks around for quite a while.

O- This is a fantastic barley wine I will be trading for more of it to cellar.

Photo of jsanford
3.85/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Bell's Tulip Glass. Batch 9958, so bottled on 8/25/11.

A - Pours a dark mahogany with a thin ivory head that recedes to a slight haze and ring.
S - Very sweet nose of dark toffee/caramel malt, raisins, figs, and a touch of dark chocolate. Sweet is the key word here, this smells like a candy of some sort.
T - Wow, again very sweet and malty, with huge flavors of dried stone fruits, toffee, chocolate, and perhaps a touch of caramelized orange peel. Borders on being cloyingly sweet, but as is it makes for a very nice sipper.
M - Thick and syrupy, with a full mouth-feel and lowish carbonation. The +10% ABV is surprisingly well hidden, with the only evidence being a slight warming sensation in the chest.
O - A very nice late-evening sipper, I sampled this before and really disliked it so I'm glad I gave it another shot. I may have to pick up a few more of these to put away for colder Winter months.

Photo of arizcards
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a single from the Via Linda AJ's in late February 2010 for $2.99. Batch 9458 bottled November 2009.

Beer poured a chestnut brown with a decent tan head that is hanging around.

Nose is raisins and sweet malts.

Taste is very well balanced, sweet malt base, raisins, caramel, with a fair amount of hops.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth.

Overall this has aged quite nicely. Another quality brew from Bells!

Photo of BigDRS
4.14/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 9970 - bottled on October 15th, 2010.

A - Color is a very deep copper. I only get a smidgin of head, just a bit lingers. No lacing on this one. If I swirl the beer around in my glass there's quite a bit of bubbly action on the sides of the glass - makes it look really syrupy.

S - The sweetness in the nose is almost overpowering. I get some dates, figs, cherry, and maybe a little bit of chocolate in the back.

T - Again, the sweetness is near over the top. I get assaulted with all sorts of sweet fruit flavors from the front of my palate all the way to the back. There's a warming sensation that sticks around for a bit, not surprising at 10%+ ABV.

M - It's quite syrupy towards the end of each taste. Mouthfeel is pretty smooth and carbonation levels are decent.

O - I can see how this would be enjoyable on a cold winter night. I picked up a six pack of these - I'm going to try and hang on to a couple to see how this one ages ....

Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
92 out of 100 based on 2,243 ratings.