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

Not Rated.
Third Coast Old AleThird Coast Old Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,038 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,038
Reviews: 968
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.44%
Wants: 207
Gots: 289 | FT: 17
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
From Bell's website:
"Third Coast Old Ale is a cellerable American-style barleywine that has notes of dried fruit and caramel embedded in a rich malt background that will grow more complex over time."

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-28-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,038 | Reviews: 968 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of PlaywrightSam
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle into snifter. A: Pours very thick, big head with lots of lacing. Color is a deep brown, VERY cloudy, little chunks of sediment dancing around making it look like apple cider fresh off the press. S: Malts, honey, apples, maybe grapefruit. T: Caramel up front with the hops following close behind. Alcohol taste is pretty pronounced. A piney sort of bitter finish. Also a really spicy edge to it, like single-barrel bourbon. M: Thick, though not too heavy. Malt is balanced well with the alcohol. D: All around very nice, though I imagine with some aging it’s even better.

PlaywrightSam, Apr 11, 2007
Photo of dogger6253
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Dark, dark brown in color with a huge, tan head. The head takes its sweet time to fall, leaving chunks of gooey lace around the glass. Beautiful.

Very vivid aroma; caramel-like sweetness alongside of dark, roasted malts. Dark fruits (raisins mostly) are hidden underneath notes of alcohol. Also present are scents of chocolate and nuts.

A lot of the scents come through in the flavor, mostly nuts actually. There are tads of caramel and molasses, raisins, and prunes coming through too. Heavy, heavy alcohol taste throughout each sip.

Overall, the beer is pretty biting from the alcohol. It makes it hard to drink. The mouthfeel is very syrupy and thick with some mild carbonation and a slightly dry finish.

dogger6253, Apr 10, 2007
Photo of Braudog
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle at the venerable Brickskeller, Washington. Dark crimson with a light tan head. Dark chocolate-cherry aroma. Chewy raisin, dates, molasses, flowery bitterness. Big chewy caramel malt. Warming brew. good warmer for a cold weekend in Washington. (#2774, 4/6/2007)

Braudog, Apr 09, 2007
Photo of soupyman10
4.43/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this one on-tap at Ashley's in Ann Arbor, MI. Pours a nice dark amber/brown color, good head and fairly solid lacing throughout. Incredible nose. Lots of malt comes through first, with some spiciness, fermented fruits, and then a dose of light hops as well. Taste is excellent, incredibly complex with flavors hitting you from all over the place. Again, solid caramel malt base, but with surprising spices. Some breadiness as well, which helps the beer have a unique 'old' style texture. Spicy hops are mild, but do come through as the beer goes on. Feel is very good, creamy and fairly full bodied. A really excellent beer, overall. Unique and tasty. Aside from the Expedition Stout, might be my favorite of the Bell's offerings I've tried so far.

soupyman10, Apr 04, 2007
Photo of BMoney575
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on 3-30-07
Batch 7695
Bottled on 10-24-06

Pours a very deep reddish-brown, with a thin but lasting tan head.

Smells of dark fruits, slightly smoky with faint grassy hops.

Taste is interesting. Same dark fruit as the smell, but in a more fermented way. Very wine-like. Alcohol warmth followed by a surprising hop bitterness. Maybe some slight oxidation.

Mouthfeel is good, very creamy.

Drinkability suffers some, as the alcohol is there, although well masked. Strong flavors build up on the palate.

Overall, a very well-defined old ale. I'm surprised the hops have lasted, and it has definately started to take on some of the characteristics of aging.

BMoney575, Mar 31, 2007
Photo of weasbri
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Recommended to me by BG, who is nostalgic for Bell's Eccentric Cafe in Kalamazoo.
Bit of a cloudy deep red color with a slow building head to it. Definite malty tones to the aroma with some raisin or wine like qualities.
Good sweet malt and raisin flavor continues at the front, which is quickly dispatched by a hoppy bitterness tinged with alcohol. I was going to mark it down a tad for the bitter aftertaste, but as I was typing I realized that it actually fades quite a bit, leaving the mouth clean and dry. A nice brew for (hopefully) the last day of winter.

weasbri, Mar 21, 2007
Photo of stereosforgeeks
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A cloudy dark brown with a modest head that leaves a thin film at the top of the beer.

Smell: Nice rum soaked fruits, grapefruit, and English toffee.

Taste: A nice caramel covers the palate and the raisins seep in. There was a nice touch of bitterness in the middle, which finishes dry.

Mouthfeel: Thick and silky smooth. Little carbonation with a little alcohol on the finish.

Drinkability: Quitedrinkable for a 9%. I'm impressed.

stereosforgeeks, Mar 18, 2007
Photo of jeffmonarch
3.6/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle in a pint glass.

A - This is very dark ale with a caramel color head.

S - Slight fruit smell.

T - Starts really sweet. Some raisin flavors with a subtle tart finish.

M - I would say it has a medium body with a lot of flavor.

D - Very good beer, because of the ABV it is definitely not one I would have a few of in a single sitting.

jeffmonarch, Mar 17, 2007
Photo of brentk56
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Arrives at the table with a hazy dark amber color and a beige head that leaves lots of lace

Smell: Caramel and earthy hops compete and there is definitely some alcohol on the nose

Taste: Caramel base up front that is joined by a growing earthy bitterness that turns slightly harsh at the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Complex ale, with sweet and bitter elements and a long-lasting finish

brentk56, Mar 10, 2007
Photo of wcudwight
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark caramel color with a quickly recedeing tan head. Each sip leaves a rim of lace but that's about all there is to the lacing. Lot's of sediment in the pour when held up to the light.
Sweet caramel in the nose with some roastiness. Alcohol makes it's presense known as well.
Flavor is much like the aroma. Just much more pronounced. Lot's of caramel malts. Dark fruits and some roasted flavors. Nice bitter alcohol finish. Taste a lot like an English Barleywine.
Feels great in the mouth. Thick chewy and creamy. Alcohol provides both warming and some burn in a pleasent way.
This one is a sipper for sure. It's a much bigger beer than I expected. ABV is not on the bottle but I now see here that it's 9%.
I received this one in a trade from Dertbert. It's been in the cellar for awhile now I assume it's well over a year old.

wcudwight, Mar 08, 2007
Photo of brdc
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a very dark brew, with some violet overtones, and a luscious light brown head.
A powerful, delicious nose of fuits, chocolate, sugar and alcohol announces this full bodied ("corpulent", as it was mentioned during this tasting session), complex ale with multiple flavors including fruits, burnt malts, chocolate, warming alcohol and some hops to balance it.
This was had on the same tasting session as Theakston's Old Peculier, and it is remarkably more powerful and complex.
A great beer that deserves more in the future, although is fully satisfying one beer at a time.

brdc, Mar 08, 2007
Photo of dedrinker
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep mahogany color, nose of stewed dark fruit and caramel malts. Flavor is caramel malts and boozy fruit with a little astringincy from either the hops or alchol - maybe both. This beer was telling me to save a few bottles for sampling once a year for up to six years. I enjoyed mine with brownies and French vanilla ice cream.

dedrinker, Mar 07, 2007
Photo of neonbrown82
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a good beer, from batch # 7695 (October 2006). Somewhere in between an American barleywine and an old ale. Has the nice, rich malt profile of an old ale and the intense hops of a barleywine. Very good.

The beer pours to a dark amber color, almost brown. It is clear, but too dark to see through. No apparent carbonation, though it pours with a huge off-white head. Good retention with a washy lacing.

The smell is probably the weakest part. Has a light sticky sweet malt profile with a sharp metallic aroma of iron, similar to what one would find in blood. The hops also peek out, but overall the aroma seems very muted. Odd considering how hoppy it is, as well as the complexities in the malt.

The taste is the best part, as it should be. Starts off with a sweet malty profile. Biscuity and bready with some rum and raisin flavor. This fades into a nice hop bite that seems like a mix of c-hops, namely chinook from the rough piney bitterness and grapefruit bite. The finish is actually quite chocolatey with a hint of wood. Some great malt complexity with a very good backing of hops.

The body is very thick and full. Has a mild tinge of alcohol in the finish with a warming feel in the stomach. The carbonation is very mild. Great lingering aftertaste. Quite drinkable considering its high ABV, rich sticky malt profile, and its abundance of hops. It would be difficult to drink more than one or two in a sitting.

neonbrown82, Mar 06, 2007
Photo of bluegrassbrew
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was my first old ale, so I was a little unsure about what to expect. From a 12oz bottle, this brew pours a deep mahogany with absolutley no head and no lace. The smell was of caramel and peppermint. Taste is very minty and has a strong caramel malt backbone. Fills the mouth well. This could be a suitable beer to keep you warm on a cold winter night, but not something I would go out of my way to get. Which is a bit of a suprise because every other beer I've had from Bell's has been superb. Oh well, maybe it's the style. I'll take another look at this one after I've sampled some more old ales.

bluegrassbrew, Mar 05, 2007
Photo of nriech
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark mahogany brown with orange highlights. Slight light colored head. A bit of remnants in the bottom.

Smell: Wood, earthy, a different alcohol like maybe aged rum.

Taste: Similar to the Raison D'Etere from DFH. Of cours a bit of raisin, a bit of leather. Kind of sharp on the hops once it warmed. Sticky fruits like plum mixed with vanilla. Sweet but not overboard. Good balance on the malts.

Overall a good strong old ale. Good balance but sways a bit from too much alcohol to too dry. Sip as a night cap as a good decadent complex beer. Wont rush out to buy more but would drink it again if the mood was right.

nriech, Feb 28, 2007
Photo of brewcrew76
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 7124

A - Pours a deep ruby brown with a thin off white head.

S - Sweet with drak fruits, rum soaked raisins and prunes, caramel.

T - Sweet toffee and caramel, raisins, a hint of bitterness and a slight hint of alcohol.

M - Thick with light carbonation.

D - A tasty Old ale.

brewcrew76, Feb 26, 2007
Photo of alysmith4
2.45/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Not uaually a fan of the Old Ales, and this beer just confirms that. Very syrupy sweet and thick with low carbonation. Lots of cherry flavors came through, and it reminded me of a cough syrup I used to have as a kid. Similar medicinal notes as well.

I only had one, but it was hard to finish. The high ABV set the night off right, and made it easy to graduate to a lighter, more complex beer. Would not try this one again though.

alysmith4, Feb 25, 2007
Photo of RedHaze
4.53/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 7124, bottled on November 14, 2005.

Pours a dark mahogany, with a thin layer of foam that fades quickly to a thin ring. The lacing is very minimal, but it is very sticky.

Smell; lost of dark rich malts. Toffee and and molasses mix with with plums, dates and raisins. Floral and citric hops are present as well, along with a bit of spiciness in the background.

Taste; this is a bit more fruity in the flavor than I was expecting. The plums and dates are present, but there's also hints of cherries and figs. A rich malty toffee and molasses, with a bit of vanilla, fill out the middle, and the finish is bitter, floral and citric hops.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability; the mouthfeel on this is very full bodied, and silky smooth from a relatively low carbonation. As far as the drinkability goes, the only thing holding it back, for me, is the high abv. If it weren't for that I could drink this all night long.

I've had many different batches of this beer, and it never disappoints. I jst wish that I could have this available to me all of the time, instead of just on my winter trips to Michigan.

RedHaze, Feb 23, 2007
Photo of BeerHonky
4.7/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a medium sized, bulbous wine glass. Unforutately the vintage is unknown, however, the bottle was covered with a bit of old dust. My guess is that this bottle is around one or two years old, but that is a complete uneducated guess. It does feel as if I have discovered a piece of Bell's history. Pours a wonderfully solid, opaque, burnt umber. Nice light tan head that dissipated rather quickly to a thing lace around the edges. Smells of sweet, roasty malts. Maybe some dark fruit in there too, such as raisins and dates. You'll really need a big whiff to get to the fruit. On to taste...is this a barelywine? The carmel malt and roasty flavors make me think a little of Heavyweight's Old Salty. However, this has definitely mellowed out after some aging. The balance of flavors and smooth, creamy mouthfeel is just exceptional. There is also a nice noticeable balance of hop flavor and bittering at the end. Man, this is just almost perfect in my mind. Wish I could get my hands on more of this.

BeerHonky, Feb 18, 2007
Photo of brewandbbq
3.73/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours muddy, dark amber, with a tan, somewhat dense head of medium duration. A few streaks of lacework remained as well as a film of bubbles on the surface. Quite a bit of particulates floating about and looking very murky.
Aromatics are malt-laden, with caramel undertones and tinged brown sugar. A faint citrus profile along with raisin pulp adds some complexity.
The mouthfeel is sticky, slick, and somewhat grainy.
Pallet is pretty staightfoward, with carmelized malt and sugars. Barely a hint of any vineousity leans in the "old ale" direction, with the profile being more along the lines of an american strong ale.
Bitterness is slightly heavy-handed, and helps combat the residuals nicely.
Finishes with a husky coarseness, scortched sugars, and a lingering warmth.

brewandbbq, Feb 14, 2007
Photo of Jessefive
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass, this beer had virtually no head. Very dark in color. The flavor was roasted malt and chocolate. There was very little carbonation. The body was very full and thick. There was a little bit of a tangy alchohol bite to the flavor. This was my second beer from Bells, and so far I'm very impressed.

Jessefive, Feb 13, 2007
Photo of xav33
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bell's Third Coast Old Ale
12 oz bottle
Medium pour in an English pint.
Packaged 11/05, unwrapped 02/07

Poured a hazy ruddy brown with an average beige yellow frothy somewhat diminishing head with fair lacing.

Smelt of sweet sweet caramel with moderate lemon citrus undertones.

Taste was upfront strong roasted grain and moderate spruce bitterness with light caramel and orange sweetness followed by a strong bitter toasted whole grain bread taste and cedar with with a light sweet caramel on a long finish. Palate was medium bodied, oily, lively carbonated, strongly astringent and slightly alcoholic.

Overall, an old ale that showcases the grain perfectly after over a year in a bottle, with hops still present and supporting the whole beer.

xav33, Feb 02, 2007
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.43/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in an American pint glass)
date code 7124

A- This beer has a densely hazy warm walnut brown body with a light amber glow at the base. There is a gentle carbonation with a thin ring of light tan head around the glass. There is a flurry of small particles floating around in the body.

S- This beer has a smell of sweet caramel, dark toasted sweet malt with a gentle note of black malt hints.

T- The first flavor of this beer reminds me of free suckers from the bank with that white sugar corn syrup goodness followed by a soft coffee/dark malt bitterness in the finish. The note of caramel sweetness and white sugar have a hint of cardboard which is very pleasant. There is a note of dark port and light honey in the body that come through when it is warm. The notes of pine hops with a slight grapefruit note come through when the beer is pretty warm.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel that is really lightened up by the alcohol heat that is soft but really keeps the malt in check.

D- The smooth complex malty notes makes this a true malt monster with a nice pine hops note that comes through more and more as it warms to slay all that savage malt.

rhoadsrage, Jan 29, 2007
Photo of Truh
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Checked the lake out with this one on 1/14/2006. 12. oz. bottle (batch 7236) poured in a Northampton Brewery shaker glass.

Pour produces a light sheen of head, really just a wispy lace that curls and smokes around the surface. As the volume diminishes, very little stick is evident. Hue is a muddy orange, verging on brown. Tough to see if there is any continued carbonation present. Prunes, raisinettes, cumin, black pepper, and light oak char mix on the nose, a redoubtable alcohol spicing things up. Fruit punch slam on the mouth, with a freshly cut orange rind tanginess that masks some of the alcohol, though it is plainly still there, happily so. As the pour warms, the tangy character settles down a bit, to be replaced by a silky malt core.

A very nice brew that I was able to sample thanks to the generosity of Warriorsoul!

Truh, Jan 14, 2007
Photo of Metalmonk
4.68/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 7695. Which means I didn't have the self-control to cellar it very long. And hot damn, am I glad I opened this now--it made my day.

What a beautiful color, a deep, deep caramel-brown with an extremely creamy head that lasted much longer than I would expect from a 9% beer.

Woody aroma, some chocolate-covered caramel. In a blind test I'd guess by the aroma that it was a barleywine. It's nice, but I expected more in this area.

Oh wow...what an absolutely beautiful-tasting beer. Caramel, molasses, maple, butterscotch, Hall's cough drops...while somehow avoiding any kind of overbearing sweetness. That's the beauty of this beer: its overriding elements are sweet (with a little mustiness from the yeast) but it's completely mellowed by the magicians at Bell's by whatever process they've used to brew this baby. I imagine even those not usually into sweet beers would love this, because the sweetness merely accents all the other stuff going on. It's also rather port-like as it warms. Very complex, and rather than slamming you with obvious flavors, this beer just GLOWS.

The finish is amazing, extremely earthy and spreading out forever. A thick, hearty mouthfeel is just perfect for the flavors, leaning toward syrup, and it would be incredible on pancakes if thickened up somehow.

Phenomenal. A sipper for sure, given it's thick mouthfeel, high alcohol content and ridiculous complexity. Bell's has another winner here.

Metalmonk, Jan 08, 2007
Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
92 out of 100 based on 2,038 ratings.