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.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

2,185 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,185
Reviews: 979
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.19%
Wants: 209
Gots: 314 | FT: 18
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:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Third Coast Old Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,185 | Reviews: 979 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TonyT
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip glass.

The color was Dark amber/medium brown. I was a little reckless on the pour, so there were flakes of yeast hanging a third from the bottom.
Nice smooth front end with caramel and spicy taste that pulls into the back end. There is a subtle citrus hop taste that hits in the back.

The alcohol taste holds throughout but is balanced by the woody "cask" taste.

The word for this beer is smooth. Very drinkable. This is the first time that I've ever had this beer. Bell's never disappoints.

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

A-Reddish amber w/nice head and beautiful lacing.
S-Sweet malt, esters, including raisin, grape, fig, and apple, and light citrus hops.
T&M-Sweet malt and esters matching those in the aroma. Aftertaste is sweet and hoppy w/oily texture that coats the back of the palate and leaves an agreeable citrus sensation.
D-Quite good. Alcohol is apparent initially, but rapidly disappears into the body, even though you know it's still there.

Photo of Strix
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber with good lacing.

Smell is complex, raisin, alcohol, booze, and wood

Very raisiny, also with boozy wood, molasses and a sort of buttery finish that knocks this down half a step for me.

Mouthfeel slick and appropriately carbonated, but doesn't stand out.

High ABV and sweetness hampers drinkability a bit.

This was solid, but didn't really turn me on like some of Bell's stouts have.

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

Twelve ounce bottle, pours red/orange tinged darker amber, fairly, though not completely clear, long lasting light mocha head and splattered fine lace left behind upon a moderate swirl. Malty, ripe fruit, and some wood in the nose. Rich and tasty creation, Molasses, wood, light smoke, vanilla, ripe fruits all found intermingling on the palate. 10.2% (according to the rear label) nicely hidden in the rear. Fine after dinner sipper/night capper. Still more high test brew from Bells.

Photo of hellomcfly
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Attractive deep brown color with nice tan head and good lacing.

S - Malt, caramel, raisins, soy sauce

T - Big malt flavor. Dark fruits, brown sugar. Slight hop balance.

M - Full, thick, and creamy.

D - Fairly easy drinking for the ABV but big in flavor to want to down several of these.

Photo of Proteus93
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep rusty reddish brown, some ruby highlights. Wonderfully creamy and hilly golden brown head.

S: Dark fruits (some raisin and plum), some ripe fruit (apple), sugars, warm malts, and notes of citrus hoppiness. Complex and lovely.

T: A huge roasted malt, some toffee, some sugary goodness. A touch of bitterness, light molasses, and a note of slightly tart, over-ripe dark fruits.

M: Thick, rich, big-bodied with a creaminess and nice coating. Mellow carbonation, as if tapped from a fresh cask.

D: A big sipper. While the site lists it at 9%, the bottle listed 10.2. Alcohol warming is there, but the spicy heat has settled on the drinking side of things to make it a reasonably drinkable brew. Very nicely done, and among my favourite Bell's offerings, I'd say.

Photo of Revvy
5/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Note- Poured into Belgian Goblet for Tasting Purposes.

Appearance- Poured a quarter inch head which rapidly dissipated. Small amount of lacing. It is a dark Mahogany in color, like an old leather journal found in a curio shop. There is some yeast in suspension which may have been more a result of my pour than a true reflection of the beer.

Aroma - Cold, there is a strong coffee and toffee aroma with hints of oak and smoke (very reminiscent of Stone's Oak Arrogant Bastard Ale). Also Molasses and brown sugar.

There is no hop aroma in evidence.

As it warms the complexity increases. soy sauce, smoke, caramel, toffee, leather and tobacco all come through.

There is a distinct alcohol nose to it.

And, at it's warmest there is a hint of cherry buried deep.

Mouthfeel- This is silky, with a hint of effervescence, as well as a noticeable alcohol bite on the tip of the tongue and the back of the throat. It is silky but it doesn't linger in the mouth, like honey. The surprising carbonation seems to cut through any cloying and carries it down the throat.

Taste - The complex aromas match with the flavors; coffee, toffee, hints of oak and smoke, molasses, brown sugar, Soy Sauce, smoke, caramel, toffee, leather and tobacco all come through. They are present cold and only increase in strength as the barleywine warms, although the coffee notes seem to take a backseat.

There is bitterness reminiscent of burnt toast that cuts through any sweetness.

Buried deep in the complex flavors, and released as it warms, are the flavors of chocolate and cherries, reminiscent of Liquor filled Cherry Cordials with dark chocolate.

And, in the final swallows the flavor of figs comes to the forefront.

Overall- This is a very complex and serious Barleywine. Very reminiscent of Oaked Arrogant Bastard by Stone in may ways, only with less oakiness and smoke and much more complexity of flavors. These flavors grow more varied as the ale warms, some come to the forefront as others recede. Each sip brings more and more surprises.

Third Coast Old Ale is the leather armchair in your favorite uncle's study. The uncle who died childless and left his vast fortune to you. It has absorbed decades of rich pipe tobacco fireplace smoke and the fumes of 100 year old brandy; it envelopes you in comfort and grandeur as you both grieve and bask in your good (and new) fortune.

Grade- A+

Photo of SpecialK088
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter

A-Cloudy brown small head but decent retention small but thick lace down the glass.

S-Sweet malt, fig with alcohol notes a well

T&M-Thick and i mean real think sweet malty taste, clove with a nice alchol finish little over carbonated but still nice and smooth.

D-Not very drinkable for day to day but would like to set a few back and see the diffrences as it ages.

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

burnt orangey-brown decent head retention large bubbles in the head.

Smells of hops and sour apples, slight pear and fig notes. sweet and delightful

Tastes of heavy malts, extremely heavy and earthy. again notes of sour apple and slight pear taste

heavy and thick

This got a good drinkability because (style in mind) I wouldn't want to drink more than one. I would feel that I insulted this beer drinking more than one.

Photo of DunesBrewer
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Out here in Indiana I'm graced with two locations for Bell's beers year round and this is certainly one of the best from Kalamazoo.

Serving type: 12 oz. bottle, dusty, aged a little bit in the grocery store (yes, grocery store!) where I bought it.

Appearance: Pours dark, amber/ruby colored into a snifter, small head, great retention.

Smell: malty, sweet, vanilla, clove, rich.

Taste: fantastically strong; the malt hits right up front, but is balanced out with just enough hops to create a nice place where one can appreciate the complexities in this beer. Not too boozy although, being an Old Ale, one can hardly expect zero alcohol taste. In fact, I'd say the alcohol blends nicely with the malts and hops.

Mouthfeel: smooth baby, smooth. Like malt flavored ice cream.

Drinkability: I guess you should savor this beer once in a while, on a cold winter's night, next to a fiery hearth, with fresh snow outside under the bright, cold moon...or drink it as I am on a hot August night in NW Indiana. This beer is great. Does it matter when it is consumed? I've got a six-pack, too; my night might be long...

All in all, thanks Bell's and keep up the good work!

Photo of johnd513
4.68/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours brown in color with a small head that quickly disappears. This beer smells of alcohol, sweet malt and dried fruit. The alcohol in this beer is upfront but not necessarily in a bad way. Tastes of dried fruit and caramel. This beer is way too drinkable for its 10.2 abv. There is just so much going on here. I stuck a six pack in the cellar and can't wait to crack one open in a year or so.

Update: Wow. This one just gets better and better. This could very well lead to a cellaring addiction.

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

Pours ruby brown in color. A nice half inch of head on the pour. Looks delish. First sip is very nice. Just the way I like'em. A smooth, port-like, english barleywine. Not hopped to hell and back. After just the initial taste, I'm imagining how incredible this would be to have aged at several years. Full and creamy on the mouthfeel. I guess I'll have to start aging these next to my Expedtion Stout!

Photo of Brad007
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It appears that the ABV in this beer has increased to 10.2% based on the label.

It pours a mild brown color with a decent one-finger head and decent carbonation.

The aroma is strong and somewhat boozy upfront with a decent hint of brown sugar and raisin in the nose. The alcohol tends to stick out the most.

The taste is very strong upfront with the raisin and brown sugar flavors sticking around, followed up by the warmth of the alcohol. Seems more like a barleywine than an old ale here. Not cloyingly sweet here.

Mouthfeel is mostly warmth from the alcohol with some subtle raisin hints. I've noticed that it's also somewhat bready.

Drinkability is decent at best. It should be cellared but if you have the patience to drink it fresh, do so. It reminds me more of a barleywine though. The color isn't quite what I expect from an old ale but other than that, it should keep well for a few years. I like it.

Photo of Tilley4
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow, this is one amazing brew....its almost like a mixture between a barleywine and an Imperial Stout...

This pours out very dark and murky...not black, but very dark brown with a creamy tan head....

Huge citrusy hop aromas mingled with a dark chocolate maltiness...it seems tinged with some dark fruit and its also laced with booze...smells very interesting...

Delicious blend of hoppiness and chocolate malts with the dark fruit in the background that seems to enhance the malts... Very barleywine like...

This is one delicious old ale.... Not quite as good as the Ola Dubh family but its still better than most...

Photo of donteatpoop
3.35/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Medium brown color with tan head and nice lacing.

The scent is molases, alcohol, and oak.

Solid ale taste, the molases and alcohol seem to dominate.

Feels like chaos in my mouth, sweet then bitter then sweet then dry.

Pour me one, please. Just one.

I'm going to age the other bottles of this to see how time improves them.

Photo of abcsofbeer
4.7/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The label says user a snifter, so I poured into one. The appearance is reddish brown in color and is topped by a nice one finger tan head. The lacing and head retention are both very good.

The aroma is very nice and abundant. It smells like sweet malt and caramel along with a mix of fruits.

The taste is excellent: fruit and nuts. There is a small alcohol flavoring that accompanies the good malt/hop balance. The hops fall into place on the backend of the taste.

Mouthfeel is potent and full bodied with some winelike characteristics. As it warms the flavors intensify.

Another excellent choice from one of my favorite breweries.

Photo of templar316
4.58/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a beer!

It's been in my cellar for a year and keeps getting better with age, although the head doesn't rise quite as high it still bubbles throughout. Tiny bubbles leave a waterfall lacing on the glass. The nose is out of this world. Malt, Malt and more malt, caramal, figs, subtle alcohol tones. From the first hit to the tounge, you know it's strong... I dronk it more like burbon now then beer. It's potent heavy and thick so I don't think I could do a whole six pack. But you can taste the 12 kinds of malt and savory the flavor for hours.

Photo of Donnie2112
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

reddish brown hazy but no cloudy thein film rather then any sizeable head

sweet raisins, mollasses, brown sugar malt aromas

very sweet molasses malt, lots of brown sugar that then rolls into a lot of alcohol spiciness and a nice dry bitter bit of hops at the end.

very heavy bodied and quite carbonated polishs off very dry and astringent which I find quite nice

the only thing I'm not real big on is how spicy this is, I could see drinking this on a regular basis because it's really a solid beer but that said there are a few other Old Ales that I would generally reach to first.

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.63/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle > Snifter

Deep, dark ruby-hued amber color with a multi-layered, dense but bubbly tan colored head that crowns at about 2" high and is a very slow mover. Major sticky lacing everywhere and leaves a solid foamy cover at all time's. wicked.

The complexity of the aroma is mindbending! Massive, sweet...think: Sugar Daddy's, brown sugar, molasses and wood-aged caramel, figs, toffee, buttery maple syrup in the malt with smokey herbs and pepper. Whoa!!

I love a bold Old ale and that is exactly what this is, the complexity is blackhole size! The malt has a thick ,heady, brown sugar, molasses ans caramel edge and amazing herbal, spicey, peppery hop balance. The heat rides in with the yummy earthy flavor's and adds warmth and depth. The malt also has a very bourbon-barrel aged effect with woody and cedar note's and a very sublte sour-doughy yeast. i love the overall effect and balance.

a full feel, thick, smooth, creamy and sticky.

I'm not sure it gets any better or more complex for a malt bomb like this. Mucho repsect for the folk's at Bell's!

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

9% in my face maltiness. wow this beer appears to be ranked 2nd in class on here. thick supa lacing. complex caramel, alcohol well blended into the flavs. slightly acidic, but in a good way??

batch 8211

kick ox barleywine. reminds me of dogfish head raison d'extra

Photo of nrbw23
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a deep amber color, solid off-white head with light lacing.

S- A sweet caramel malts, a solid nutty aroma with some interesting spiciness. Dark fruits come through too with some plum and raisin.

T- Deep hoppiness and heavy caramel malt with alcohol presence very solid. I was surprised to see this is listed as an Old Ale I would of said Barleywine.

M- Thick, low on the carbonation very solid again.

D- At 9%, it's strong, but not very noticeable. Overall, very solid offering from Bell's. Recommended.

Photo of zeff80
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a cloudy, dark burgandy color with a small, short-lived, tan head. Left some soapy trails of residue.

S - It smelled of alcohol, caramel and rich malt.

T - It tasted very sweet and of rich caramel malt. The alcohol taste was also quite present.

M - It was very soft and smooth, almost port-like. It was medium to heavy-bodied.

D - This is a great ole ale. I'm glad I grabbed 3.

Photo of becktone
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Eye: Bell's does it again, you can't ask for more. Perfect creamy tan head with great retention, and very nice lacing as well. Color is brown with red highlights, and is clear.

Nose: Full aroma but rather weak. Chocolate, dark malts, and some dark fruit are present as well as alcohol notes, warmth. Something dark and sweet that is very familiar, yet I just can't put a finger on it. Not much more.

Tongue: Strong beer, yes this is a strong beer. Okay, so in the finish, after I've gotten over the initial shock that I knew would be there(this is the second to the last of the sixer)with the first sip of a strong malty and highly alcoholic brew, I get some chocolate notes. Alcohol is apparent. Dark fruit flavors are in this brew. It warms as it goes down, alcohol plays a big part in the flavor of the beer, giving it a warm bittering and astringent taste that would be perfect on a cold winter night whilst sitting in front of the fire. Hard to describe other than that, big dark malts, dark fruits, and sharp alcohol.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability: Full bodied and heavy on the palate with low levels of carbonation...any more carbonation that what is here and this would be very strange, any less and I think that it would have more of a liquor character. Flavor lingers on the palate long after it has been swallowed, somewhat of a burnt flavor-dark and alcoholic. This is a perfect cold weather beer, during the summer...uh not so much so. This is one that I'll definitely be buying and drinking once the cold and snowy winter weather hits....the perfect drink to warm up with after shoveling snow or trekking through it.

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

Pours a deep ruby color with a nice full caramel colored head. Head falls rather fast, minimal lacing.

Sweet malt aroma, brown sugar, caramel and a bit like brandy.

Sweet full flavor. Nice sweet malty flavor up front with the taste of raisons and a warming alcohol middle (not too powerful though) finishing in mild sweetness. Wait long enough and your left with a slightly bitter hoppy flavor in the mouth.

Full bodied, thick and smooth in the mouth with a sight alcohol feel and moderate carbonation.

Very nice. Think I'll stash one away and let it age a few years (if I can wait).

Photo of robbyc1
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This bottle was packaged November 9, 2007. Pours a nice amber, small head. Deep looking.

Yes, this smells like a brandy, with a bit of hops, deep dark fruits, and a bit of alcohol. Beautifully balanced. Tastes just like the nose, very deep malt, bit of hops, easy sipper. Would love to find a six pack of this, maybe not this late in this year. Lovely, one to keep.

Update: Oct. 2008, found a six pack at a Binny's! Several tastings confirm my rating. Balanced on the finish, neither sweet nor bitter, just right.

Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
92 out of 100 based on 2,185 ratings.