1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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 ByTor2112

North Carolina

3.48/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a muddy brown with some reddish-orange hues coming through with the light. the color of iced tea. Zero lacing on my glas.
Aroma-dried fuit, figs, malty and doughy with a whiff of alcohol.
Mouthfeel-medium carbonation delivers amostly malt flavor profile. Alcohol is present and warming. This almost has an english barleywine feel with very little hops. Dried fruit flavors of figs and a froth on the palate releases some more alcohol. This is not aggressive but would probably age well.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2007 03:37:47 | More by ByTor2112
Photo of bboven


4.45/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep dark hazy brown varnish body, thick rocky head with spotty but cemented-to-the-glass lacing.

Aroma is huge figgy malt, sweet with a definite alcohol presence.

Taste is sweet with cherries and a bit of darker fruit with a distinctly medicinal bitterness at the end.

Very coating and sticky with mild carbonation once it breathes a bit.

A great one. As this is a young beer right now, I will be aging these to see how this one changes. I'm hoping for a bit more mellowness, but great stuff.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2007 00:18:58 | More by bboven
Photo of CWiggins

North Carolina

2.88/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is one of the six Bell's taps at Tyler's Taproom in Durham. I've now sampled them all! Old Ale is one of my favorite styles; I try each new version I come across. Bell's Third Coast is served in a Bell's tulip glass with approximately ten ounces at a time.

It's dark brown with nut-brown highlights, and the foamy head is tan and short-lived. Aromas of dark, sweet fruit and roasted malts rise up from the brew during a deep sniff. The flavor is sweet and malty with a surprisingly hoppy finish. Upfront, the malts are heavy and complex, and the fruity esters are certainly noticeable. When those characters mellow just before the finish, hops takes over and provides a very bitter finish. The mouthfeel is thick and a little chewy. This makes for a great stand-alone drink for a cool/cold evening.

My only complaint about this brew is the intense hops at the finish. I prefer Old Ales that are malty, smooth, and well-balanced.

Serving type: on-tap

12-19-2007 22:55:27 | More by CWiggins
Photo of mmmbeer


4.75/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. brown bottle. Batch 7695 - packaged October 24, 2006, sampled nine months later. It pours an opaque deep mahogany, almost black, with a finger of yellowed-khaki head. The bouquet is wonderful. Smells a bit like a stout with the chocolate, coffee, caramel and Chambord notes, but there are vinous and red berry malts that contribute another pleasant dimension. Bready/biscuity grains and rich vinous malts on the palate, along with molasses, caramel, coffee and chocolate. Also, there are dark fruits (blackberries) and piney/citric hops, a hefty bitterness, and a big pecan kick. The body is full and smooth from the start, drying, backed with tame carbonation and imparting a long finish. Overall a tasty, big-ass beer that is a treat to quaff and probably ages quite gracefully.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2007 20:11:25 | More by mmmbeer
Photo of Traquairlover


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

12-oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

A = Pours a cloudy, oak brown. Very slight tan head quickly dissipates. No real lacing of which to speak.

S = This is one of the best smelling beers I have smelled. Nice earthy, fruity smell. Hints of cherries, roasted nuts, marzipan. Incredible.

T = The alcohol is a little too upfront. It has a good taste of malt and dried fruits, but it is not as well balanced as I would have liked.

M = Medium bodied, slight carbonation, coats the tongue well but is not cloying after swallowing.

D = This definitely drinkable. It has a very piquant taste given the alcohol, but it also has some good tart bitterness and some sweet maltiness.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2007 02:59:42 | More by Traquairlover
Photo of meatyard


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

Appearance is a hazy, orangish, amber with a nice tan head that quickly falls to the surface leaving a bit of lacing.
The smell is of prunes and fig with a small amount of alcohol.
The taste starts off with noticeable alcohol then some more of the prune & fig plus some malty sweetness. There is quite a bit happening in the taste at the end and with the aftertaste-interesting.
Mouthfeel is medium thick and a bit oily.
Drinkability is very good. It's a bit potent for drinking a lot but very good for sipping and enjoying.

I like this and other old ales because of the maltiness and the smell and taste of dark dried fruits. Worth trying.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2007 01:25:09 | More by meatyard
Photo of timtim

District of Columbia

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

high marks across the board!!! dark reddish ambery(???) with lighter feet. tannish head that goes away after a minute or two and leaves a good deal of lace. head actually sticks around longer than most other old ales i've tried. nice. nose is caramelly malty sweet, roasty and hoppy with a faint booze hint in the background. maybe some toffee and fruit as well. very complex and interesting. taste is very well balanced, exhibiting many different tastes. the caramel, toffee and roast flavors are like some that i've only experienced in really good stouts. hops are there too, and provide a great backbone for the rest of the flavors to ride on. booze is well hidden, and flavors mix well. full bodied and creamy. i'll let a few of these sit to see what happens after some more time, but it is beautiful as is. not a session beer for sure, but lovely on a nice, cold day. thanks again larry!

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2007 19:04:36 | More by timtim
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.6/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I actually picked this to have with dinner last night, go figure. Though as it turned out it was a great decision. Poured a thick deep dark brown with a small tan head. Very thick looking with a somewhat reddish tint to it. Lots of side glass lace as well as a rich foamy layer left on top. The smell was very full, lots of roasted malts and caramel with an odd sort of sweet hoppiness melded into the back end of it. The feel was great, very full and creamy with a great residual smoothness to it. Huge sweet caramel and sugar flavor that was folded over with hints of chocolate and even a roasted coffee. This was a very fine strong ale, which gives really no hint of the ABV at all. I could have almost made a session ale out of this, it was just that good. I would take another one of these any day, just a great sipping beer with a good depth and a nice long lasting finish. Definitely a quality choice.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2007 00:19:16 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of arguemaniac


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

The palate features sweet and smooth raisin fruitiness, roasted and burnt notes, a nice toffee malt character and a rich, assertive citrus hop spice. The lengthy finish offers more of than hoppy bitterness.

Rich yet very balanced, though it’s hard to call it an authentic old ale because of the intense but enjoyable hop spice. Nonetheless, it was delicious.


Serving type: bottle

11-19-2007 02:58:47 | More by arguemaniac
Photo of BradLikesBrew


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

From www.bellsbeer.com:
"The Batch ID that you entered '7695', is a Third Coast Old Ale.
Your Third Coast Old Ale was packaged on October 24, 2006."

a: Pours a hazy and very dark amber brown with suspended sediment. Light tan head quickly fades.

s: Sweet malts in the nose as well as brown sugar, caramel and alcohol.

t: Noticeable acidity, nice hop bitterness, with plenty of alcohol in the finish.

m: Full body, not much carbonation, sort of oily with a very dry finish.

d: Not too sweet or thick, hops balance well. Its a sipper that works great as a winter warmer. Need to purchase a few more and do some cellaring.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2007 03:51:07 | More by BradLikesBrew
Photo of thisisbigrob


2.98/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle poured into an oversized wine glass.

A: Poured a hazy brown with very minimal white head that quickly disappeared leaving a tiny ring around the edge of the glass.

S: Smell is satisfyingly sweet but not very strong. Can't pick up any hops or alcohol.

T: Sweet and not very hoppy. A definite alcohol kick. There is a definite twang to the flavor that I'm not completely down with. Something about this beer reminds me of brandy.

M: Carbonation is a little heavy. Alcohol is strong. Not very smooth.

D: A struggle from the start, but gets a little easier as the alcohol starts to hit you. Wouldn't drink more than one in a night, if I ever get around to another one.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2007 03:01:42 | More by thisisbigrob
Photo of sauron681


4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours thick, hazy brown and tannish colored head. The head was barely there without the continual swirling. Sticky lacing with very slow carbonation. Very creamy, and thick in the mouth.

The smelll was that of burnt caramel with brown sugar and nothing more. The taste was very pleasent: sweet, malty, caramel, and chocolate notes. Very strong tasting. A celebration beer if you will. Have one and call it a night, or switch to something else.

To me, this is a quite unconventional old ale. Its to thick, sweet, malty, and chocolatelyto be such. It has all the characteristics of a good stout. If I were to rank this as an ale, it would have been very low.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2007 00:50:16 | More by sauron681
Photo of PhageLab


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

7800 stamped on the back of the bottle under the cash refund section.

A - Very deep, dark chestnut color with nearly no head at all, minimal lacing, and a chunky swirling current of yeast bites. I'm will go on a long shot here and say that this is unfiltered. Very impressive presentation.

S - Roasted malts, cedar chips, and alcohol. The sweetness of maple syrup also comes through. I do not have the best sense of smell, but this really cuts in, must be rather potent to someone with a delicate sense.

T - Unlike most brews where taste comes before alcohol, this is the complete opposite. Immediately the alcohol taste burns, but it's the aftertaste which brings the complexity of sweetness and bitterness together. I don't feel worthy to consume this.

M - Incredible! Full bodied, minimal carbonation, and instant warmth.

D - The ABV causes a hit here, otherwise I would drink this all night long. I said I didn't feel worthy because I am positive there is far too much going on here for my palate, I will definitely revisit this one after I have done more training. Overall a very impressive brew.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2007 02:16:57 | More by PhageLab
Photo of sweetkness


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

Definitely a "winter warmer". This is really a beer to drink outdoors, when camping, etc. Has a real feeling of coming right from the earth.

Poured with a small head which settled quickly. Lots of yeast sediment in left in the bottle. Had a lovely cloudy brown/plum color. Deep, caramely, malt aroma along with dark dried fruits. Sweet tasting, but not in a sugar kind of way. Complex malt profile ending with the taste of dark fruit. Medium-High body with low carbonation, creamy. I have to say, for this type of beer, it went down quickly.

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2007 03:58:24 | More by sweetkness
Photo of bluejacket74


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

12 ounce bottle, batch 8135, 10.2% ABV (from Bell's website) packaged on September 7, 2007. Served in a Sam Adams BL Glass the beer pours a hazy dark brown with a small half inch (if that) tan head. Head retention is low, lacing is OK. The aroma is malty and sweet, it smells like brown sugar, vanilla, nuts and molasses. It tastes like vanilla, brown sugar, chocolate, nuts and some booze/alcohol. Mouthfeel is medium/full, it's rich and a bit thick with low/medium carbonation. Drinkability is good, but would be better if the alcohol wasn't so noticable. With that being said, I think it's a pretty decent old ale. I couldn't down a six pack at once, but having 1 or 2 as a sipping beer it's a good choice.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2007 01:33:06 | More by bluejacket74
Photo of crwills

Ontario (Canada)

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

My second Bell's of the night at Beerbistro, and I definitely made the right choice for an after-dinner beer with my cheese plate. Dark, cloudy, woody brown with very little head in a small glass. Fairly sweet aroma with hints of brown sugar, vanilla, and maybe a little bit of chocolate or molasses. Well-balanced flavour, with the sweetness in the aroma balanced out with some good, solid earthy/woody hops. Oily mouthfeel and low carbonation, paired with the sweetness (which increases as it warms) make it great for pairing with dark fruits like candied figs, as well as stronger cheeses. Alcohol is warming, but well-hidden.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2007 21:32:14 | More by crwills
Photo of Minkybut


2.9/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I poured this stiff brew into a tumbler at 50 degrees. The beer was cloudy with a tan head that was decent enough. The beer smelled bready or yeasty. The tast of the beer was rather bitter with a slightly nutty finish. Therre was alo an acrid aftertaste that might have just been from the high alcohol content. I will not buyy again.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2007 17:58:32 | More by Minkybut
Photo of wspscott


4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle in Sam Adams glass (thank SA)

A: Dark brown, only a hint of light get through. Thin tan head with no lace.
S: Piney hops and sweet malts
T: Reminds me of an american barley wine. Very rich/sweet and very highly hopped.
M: Not thick but "creamy" very full texture. The hops come across as a drying sensation, not in a bad way though
D: This is a great dessert beer, perfectly balanced between hops and malts.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2007 01:10:49 | More by wspscott
Photo of guinnessfan


3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 7236 bottled Feb 8, 2006, making it 1 yr and 7 months old.

A: Reddish brown/dark amber color with a minimal, tan head. No lacing nor retention. Tons of floaties, in suspended animation.

S: Molasses, vanilla, oaky, sweet and malty.

T: Bitter start, finishing sweet and slightly boozy but smooth. Seems like a hop prominance, with a sweet dark fruit undertone.

M: Slight carbonation, silky smooth slickness.

D: Despite the ABV, this beer is pretty smooth and easy drinking. Nice style.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2007 01:55:54 | More by guinnessfan
Photo of drseamus

New York

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

Served at the brewpub. This slightly dark amber beer has a surprisingly thick one finger dark off white head. I'm not used to old ales having that. The aroma is sweet and malty with almost no hop aroma at all. The flavor equally malty but with a surprising amount of hop bitterness. It is medium to heavy bodied, which is right in line with an old ale. It was a bit tought to drink in the summer, but I think this would make a great winter beer.

Serving type: on-tap

09-21-2007 13:58:15 | More by drseamus
Photo of ryanismean


4.53/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 7695. I've had this sitting in my cellar for a few weeks, but I could resist the temptation no longer. Pours a syrupy chocolate brown, with a thick tan head that recedes to about 1/8" but with a constant layer of foam lacing the surface.

Aroma is boozier than I expected, with strong vanilla and caramel notes. The vanilla is reminiscent of oak barrel-aging, but less pronounced, with roasted hazelnut and almond characteristics.

Flavor brings the hops, but not in any great quantity. There is a touch of bitterness on the back side, which is mostly overwhelmed up front by the huge, lingering malty sweetness and its sticky caramel toffee and roasted nut characters. In an odd way, this tastes a lot like what I would imagine a glass of good dark porter wort would taste like if you dropped in a shot of bourbon.

Mouthfeel is thick and sticky, like drinking a liquid version of a heavily caramelized, slightly bitter nut candy. Divine, in my opinion, and justifying the relatively steep price tag more than the high ABV.

Unfortunately, the drinkability suffers due to the booziness and the sticky sweetness. Despite tasting as good as a beer can taste, and being all-around excellent, I can't keep drinking it. After a few sips I am done. It's sort of like appreciating any amazingly constructed art--it is so overwhelmingly good that more than a small dose begins to overload the senses with its awesomeness. Also, in this case, you might begin to see double. Or maybe I'm just not worthy.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2007 04:38:02 | More by ryanismean
Photo of russpowell


4.45/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one from batch 7695 comes courtesy of BARLEYWINEO, cheers

Pours chesnut/mahogany with 2+ fingers of mocha colored head. Just hints of lacing & head retention

S: Oak, vanilla, raisins & general bourbon scents

T: Dry, intense malt, slightlty charred oakyness, a little boozey warmth & vanilla up front. Leafy hops, raisins, & bitter chocolate as this warms. Finishes a touch too dry for my liking, with leafy hops, raisins, toasty malt & some more booozey warmth

MF: Rich, chewy, low carbonation & a general boozey feel

Drinks good for the abv & chewyness, just too dry to attempt session on. Very good old ale

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2007 17:28:27 | More by russpowell
Photo of ndekke39


3.25/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 12 oz bottle of this into my Mikasa ale glass. Comes from batch 7800, bottled on January 31, 2007. Looks like an apple cider with a thin, white head. Lots of sediment at the bottom of the glass - makes it look even more like cider. A little bit of retention. Smells like apples, brown sugar, caramel. Tastes of the same: some apples, caramel, but with a burnt center, almost like burnt toast. It's a little bit off-putting. Bit of bite from the alcohol at the back of the tongue. Fairly thick mouthfeel. Alcohol is pretty well hidden, so be careful when drinking this. The dark, sugary flavors mask the booze. The flavors seem a little unbalanced in favor of the dark, burnt notes, which makes this an okay beer, but not the best Ole Ale I've ever had.

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2007 00:30:32 | More by ndekke39
Photo of bort11


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

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. Head stand about a fingers width leaving some chunky sticky lacing. Color is a deep dark brown, almost purple.
Smell is very bold with lots of dried fruit, raisins, caramel, and some toffee. Taste follows smell, and finishes with a warm boozy heat.
Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, great viscosity.
This is a really great sipper. Get it while you can.

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2007 11:54:55 | More by bort11
Photo of Risser09


4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

North Coast Old Ale 2007: on tap
Appearance: Pours a cloudy brown, murky and dark. This beer is opaque with a tan head that overflowed the glass. Patiently the bartender filled the remaining empty space in the glass.

Smell: Nutty with almond and pecans. Malt and rotten plums, raisins. Complex, even though the glass is so darn cold.

Taste: Pinchy with alcohol bite. Roasted almonds and charcoal fill the palate. An alcohol burn gives way to some pleasant hoppiness and a juicy finish. Complex and worthy of some serious aging.

Mouthfeel: Alcohol and flavor burst is immediate and is followed by a full bodied beer that is smoothe and juicy. The finish is a warming belt in the throat and stomach that lasts quite awhile. I will have to drink some water before hitting the road. Quite nice. Complex.

Drinkability: Great, provided you can survive the alcohol blast. This would be well paired with a very rich main course of meat, because it could cut through the protein flavors with it’s alcohol content. Also, it would follow through well to dessert and even serve as a dessert itself. Very good and worth trying and cellaring.

Serving type: on-tap

08-22-2007 15:26:13 | More by Risser09
Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
92 out of 100 based on 1,913 ratings.