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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.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

1,972 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,972
Reviews: 966
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.19%
Wants: 197
Gots: 268 | FT: 15
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: 1,972 | Reviews: 966 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of hanco005
hanco005

Minnesota

4.1/5  rDev -0.5%

12 oz bottle of batch 7124,poured into a pint glass

A—pours murky raison brown with a ½ inch tan fizzy head, stays around for 10 minutes or so, spotty lacing is produced as I drink it

S—sweet, overripe fruit, candy, plum, brown sugar, maple

T—buttery, brown sugar, maple, some fruitiness, alcohol is very present, warms the throat as I drink

M—a bit slick, medium bodied, mild carbonation

D—a sipper for sure, warm and welcoming, another good nightcap brew.

07-26-2006 17:22:26 | More by hanco005
Photo of PorterLambic
PorterLambic

Florida

4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

A first for me, a review entered as I drink the brew! Yippee.

This is a fabulous brew, no doubt.
Pours a rich, dark brown, almost completely opaque with light coming through at the edges only. A huge, dense, long-lasting tan head leaves sheets of lacing.

Smell is rich, dark, invigorating and seductive. Oak, rich toasted malts, dark, alcohol-soaked fruitcake fruits (cherries, plums, dates, raisins), molasses, wheat, brown or maybe cane sugar, caramel,too.

Taste is spot-on to what the nose was promised. Toasty, malty, rich (like a library in a mansion complete with old leather chairs and acres of wooden shelves), a touch nutty, the whole fruitcake-in-a-glass thought just running laps in my head (I like fruitcake) and everything I said for smell.

Smooth, rich, it just flows across the palate & tongue. Alcohol is noticeable but not overpowering at all. this is almost a sipping beer but the ABV isn't that high. Still, don't rush it. Lightly carbonated and nicely warming from the back of the tongue down. Full-bodied. One of the most complex and well-balanced beers I have ever had the pleasure of drinking.

This is why I like to drive instead of fly. No way to bring back cases of fine beer like this on some cattle-plane. Now leave me alone, I have half a beer left to lose myself in.

07-26-2006 03:01:04 | More by PorterLambic
Photo of nvsblman
nvsblman

Arizona

4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Deep brown with tinges of red with just a slight head. Big fruity aroma, especially raisins, with some with some cinnamon and alcohol and a nice hopiness. Full malty flavor. Lots of caramel, molasses, raisins, and chocolate and a little nutmeg and cinnamon. Nice hop balance. Very drinkable with a well hidden alcohol presence. Every sip brings something new, this is a beer I will definitely seek out again.

07-21-2006 03:24:10 | More by nvsblman
Photo of kirok1999
kirok1999

Ohio

4.45/5  rDev +8%

Holy crap, what an amazing brew! Thanks to Ryan P. for suggesting I try this one.

Appearance- Dark copper/bronze with a minimal head and almost no lacing.

Smell- Sweet fruity goodness. I'm fairly assaulted with fruit, raisins, cherries, caramel, roasty malt goodness.

Taste- Better than the smell. Same notes yet much more pronounced. The hops are there but the ripe fruit kick them around your mouth. Very mild carbonation allows this one to flow down and every flavor dances on your tongue.

Mouthfeel- Thick and slippery, the mild carbonation lets it slide.

Drinkability- Absolutely fantastic, so much going on it's an adventure to try to identify the taste elements. Try it, love it.

07-14-2006 21:24:12 | More by kirok1999
Photo of mcallister
mcallister

Ohio

4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Had this on draught at bell's brew pub. Have reviewed the bottled version but wanted to compare the two.

Deep mahogony with scarlet hues. What little head was there left significant amounts of sticky lacing.

A spicey, toffee, fig, dried fruits, caramel malt, aroma. Little hop shows through with tidbits of alcohol.

Deliciously malty, complex and balanced. Dried fig, toffee, caramel layered malt, milk chocolate, heavy cream, dried fruits with a slight alcohol burn but nothing that hurts this masterpiece in any way. Love this beer!

07-09-2006 16:43:42 | More by mcallister
Photo of goodbyeohio
goodbyeohio

Oregon

4.35/5  rDev +5.6%

courtesy of 2mbbif.. fall '03 vintage, possibly 02.

sits clear and browny-red in a rapscallion chalice. haze swirls of tiny bubbles linger on the surface, and some bubbles cling to the glass' edge. otherwise, this beer is like dark apple juice suspended in time.

amazing fruity aroma of overripe goodness.. apricots, plums, cherries.. all soft-skinned and ready to rot. sweetness to the point of fermentation. carrot cake carries wafts of alcoholic port wine. this beer smells of age, clean age. what a nice evolution on old ale.

first thing i taste is confused hoppiness layered over tangy-yet-creamy, melty caramel goodness. lemon rind bitterness evolves from what's left of the bittering agent, and alcohol follows strong through the finish. 9%? this beer drinks like a 40% whiskey. the taste is complex and layered.. begins with natural fruit sugars and segways quickly into earthy bitterness. takes you on a big beer ride. for an aged beer, this soldier has not given up the fight.

really not too 'drinkable,' but enjoyable for its explosive flavor and unique sippable take on old ale. the complete 180 opposite beer from southamptons belgian, desserty style. this beer has balls, and i like it. maybe i like balls? probably not.

07-06-2006 05:29:09 | More by goodbyeohio
Photo of ElGordo
ElGordo

Oregon

3.55/5  rDev -13.8%

Thanks to thefatkid13 for the trade. Pours a turbid orangish brown color with almost no head. Aroma of rich fruity malt, raisins, allspice, and a good bit of alcohol. Palate is lots of sweet caramel malt offset just slightly by some mellow bittering hops. Notes of sweet dark fruit and nutmeg are detectable underneath the huge alcohol finish. Body is fairly thick and not very carbonated, appropriate for an old ale. It took a few sips for me to get into it, but this is a fairly tasty beer. I only with I had saved it for a cooler day, as it's not exactly the thirst-quencher I want at the end of June.

07-01-2006 06:15:15 | More by ElGordo
Photo of klewis
klewis

Ohio

3.43/5  rDev -16.7%

Batch 7124

A: Pours a dark hazy brown with a reddish tint. A miniscule head quickly subsides to a ring around the snifter.

S: Full smell of caramel malt. A slight hint of alcohol in the bouquet, but you really have to search for it.

T: Sweet and quite cloying with flavors of maple sap, molasses, and caramel. Again, the alcohol is well-hidden.

M: Though full bodied by beer standards, I find it a bit lighter in heft than other old ales. Still, the texture is good with a nice stickiness and gentle carbonation.

D: Considering that many old ales will cost almost twice as much as this, it's a good beer. However, this would not be my first choice for the style if price was not a factor.

06-18-2006 01:00:29 | More by klewis
Photo of beermanbrian
beermanbrian

Pennsylvania

3.63/5  rDev -11.9%

Really excited to be able to buy this one in central PA now. This is one that I've been targeting for a while.

Pours an opaque dark brown red. Poured two of these at the same time. One gave a huge frothy head and kept a nice foamy film all the way down. The other one had no head at all. One left fantastic spiderweb lacing, the other left nary a trail. First sniff gives me a huge burst of raisins. Other dark fruits come through but raisin the dominating scent. Taste follows suit, with a huge burst of raisin up front. Flavor turns in to a bourbon note on the back end. Also a strong note of very dry English hops - reminds me of a hoppy esb. Overall this gives me the impression of a barley wine. By the end you know you've had a powerful beer, it carries a heavy kick. Very full heavy mouthfeel. Overall certainly a very nice beer but not at all what I was expecting.

06-16-2006 00:57:46 | More by beermanbrian
Photo of PeatReek
PeatReek

California

4.33/5  rDev +5.1%

This was my first favorite beer back when I lived a mile from the brewery. This bottle was came to me via a rendezvous with a k'zoo friend in Vegas.

It pours a deep, bold red color with hints of sienna-brown. I think it's clear but the glass is sweating so I can't quite tell. Virtually no head to speak of. Smells deeply sweet; port and raisins and caramel, with just a hint of sharpness that reminds me of a mellow, mellow whisky. All those and more in the taste -- hints of mandarin orange, raspberry, and a mild smooth bitterness. Definitely balanced toward the malt; no hop flavor to speak of. The body is thick and chewy, feels like malt syrup going down with just a hint of heat to remind me that it really packs a whallop. For all that, it's eminently drinkable; I could sip Third Coast all night (until I fell off my stool, anyway).

06-04-2006 05:22:48 | More by PeatReek
Photo of gmcfarre
gmcfarre

Colorado

4.2/5  rDev +1.9%

Poured into Sammy Smith pint glass from 12 oz bottle
Batch 7124 - packaged on Nov. 14th, 2005

A - Pours a deep & dark brown with ruby highlights. Head grows to about 3/4 inch then dissipates quickly to leave behind a thin head. Lacing is moderate.

S - Strong sugary malt presence, with alot of help from raisins. Alcohol provides a sharp spicy aroma with woody scents, and there is also a biscuity thing going on.

T - Wow, this is full and sugary. All those left over dextrins make for a filling and satisfying experience, with plenty of complexity to keep it interesting. Biscuity malt is the most dominant, with a hint of the woody alcohol presence. The sugars meld into a dark fruit taste, but I'm not sure how much of that is just the intense sugars.

M - Smooth and fairly thick, with a good mouth coating effect.

D - Alcohol is slightly present in taste, but not overpowering in feel after you quaff this one. Still, this is probably a sipper and a treat every now and then.

05-27-2006 02:22:41 | More by gmcfarre
Photo of Prufrock
Prufrock

Massachusetts

3.95/5  rDev -4.1%

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

slightly hazy light amber with a touch of off-white head. some rising bubbles and a touch of lace.

thickly sweet caramel aroma. cherries, port and honey as well, with a few floral hops hiding behind the malt.

richly sweet flavors, but not cloying. medium carbonation with a syrupy mouthfeel. caramel, honey, and a finish that's sweet, slightly hoppy, and a touch medicinal. alcohol mostly hidden but you can tell it's there in the finish. complex and enjoyable, if not hugely drinkable.

05-26-2006 02:45:17 | More by Prufrock
Photo of aforbes10
aforbes10

Iowa

4.03/5  rDev -2.2%

One of two bottles from the general store up in Kalamazoo. The other one we're cellaring for later. Reddish brown with no head. looks very good. very sweet odor, the whole thing reminds me of maple syrup so far. taste is bitter at first and then mellows out as drinking continues. very tasty with most of the experience being sweetness and some kind of fruit taste (pomegranetes?) very sticky mouthfeel. overall like a well aged barleywine...im not sure if i need to let that other bottle cellar but i will anyway.

05-12-2006 14:27:40 | More by aforbes10
Photo of blackie
blackie

California

4.13/5  rDev +0.2%

Can't believe I've never rated this, as it is one of my all time favorites.

appearance: The pour off the sediment creates a sparse white head that soon becomes just a ring around the glass and a thin, swirling layer of bubbles on the surface. The beer is a nice, rich mahogany in color with a few floaters in suspension.

smell: Nice, green yet aged hop aromas upfront. Just behind is a big caramel malt aroma. Hints of toffee, dark fruits, and buttery baked goods can be found under the hops. Considerable ethanol aroma, that and the fruitiness reminds me of a brandy.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is on the upper half of the low range, and is composed of small, smooth bubbles. The body is full and heavy, with a smooth, slick quality on the tongue. Pretty much perfect.

taste: Big caramel malt flavors bring hints of fruits with a slick malty sweetness. The malt is soon overshadowed by hop flavors and a considerable bitterness...the hops seem to kill some of the complexity on the tongue.

drinkability: A great beer that is pretty easy to drink, though the ABV is pretty evident on the tongue and nose. I started feeling it before I was halfway through.

No Batch # on the back label, but I do know that this bottle came from South Bend around early May, 2005. Cellared since then.

2-21-07: Same batch as above. Sparse head, and the beer is a gorgeous dark cognac color. An awesome beer with age, as the hops have died back a bit. Very malty with a nice hop kick in the finish. Complex as ever. Has picked up a tiny metallic note.

2-11-08: Essentially all malt at this point, and the alcohol presence has been completely smoothed over. Somewhat vinous with port-like prune, dried fig, and heavy golden raisin aromas under the sweet, husky caramel malts. Rich malty flavors of grainy caramel. Oxidation seems light, and the carbonation is largely intact.

bottle dated 09.19.13 consumed 12.06.13 - the final in a 6/6 exploration of my favorite bell's beers from the early days of my crafting - deep, rich amber in color, loaded with caramel and toffee sugars, dates and raisin, mildly hopped with a gentle bitterness, alcohol coming as it warms, touches of roast on the background, a very nice, complex, traditional old ale

mouthfeel taken down from 5 to 4.25

05-01-2006 03:23:49 | More by blackie
Photo of rrwiltse
rrwiltse

Colorado

4.35/5  rDev +5.6%

One of my favorite beers from Bell's. Pours a striking reddish brown, very unique. No real head to speak of. Aroma very close to that of a port. This ale bubbles with a bite down the tongue and throat, likely the high alcohol making itself known. Nice caramely, raisin maltiness, followed by a bitter bite at the end. An interesting old ale for sure, but reminds me also of a barleywine. Warms you up for sure!

04-25-2006 04:10:19 | More by rrwiltse
Photo of grub
grub

Ontario (Canada)

4.72/5  rDev +14.6%

pours a nice reddish gold colour, with a thin white head.

great aroma. sweet, and slightly fruity. noticeable but not overpowering alcohol presence. hint of raisin. rich, bready malt character.

taste is all about malt. very rich and malty, but no sticky sweetness. good, balanced bitterness. noticeable alcohol presence, but it's not overpowering and balances well against the bitterness and maltyness.

overall another great beer from bell's. really liked this one, and wished i didn't have to drive so i could have had more!

04-21-2006 14:43:11 | More by grub
Photo of ColoradoBobs
ColoradoBobs

Colorado

4.38/5  rDev +6.3%

Holy maltness, shbobdb! That's malted malt on malty maltedness! And . . . THAT'S what I'm talking about!

12 ounce bottle -- thanks to shbobdb for hooking me up with this over-the-top malt-bomb.

Appearance of opaque dark cider and port wine under a generous off-white head that fades to a solid ring, and leaves heavy thick lacing.

Smell of thick malt, sweet and vinous, with only a back-note hint of hops.

Taste is more of the same -- sweet, thick, heavy malt, lightly toasted with buttery smoothness.

Great mouthfeel -- thick, round, full.

What a great beer!! Bell's has hit another grand slam.

NOTE: At 9.0%, this SHOULD be classified as an American Barleywine. It fits the style MUCH better than Old Ale. Compare:
American Barleywine http://beeradvocate.com/beer/style/19
Old Ale http://beeradvocate.com/beer/style/79

04-16-2006 00:08:20 | More by ColoradoBobs
Photo of hoppymeal
hoppymeal

Michigan

4.43/5  rDev +7.5%

Sweet vinuous aromas are present as the beer is poured. A very inviting caramel raisiny smell faintly like a tawny port. The beer is a dark copper to brown and burnt orange around the edges in the light. A medium to heavy body is full of more sweet caramel malt flavors with the same prune-like vinouous qualities. The alcohol is quite prominent in the taste, but not in an unpleasant way. In fact, for as strong as I can sense the alcohol in the taste, I am enjoying it quite a bit. An outstanding old ale that always calls me back for more.

04-06-2006 23:58:12 | More by hoppymeal
Photo of GnomeKing
GnomeKing

Pennsylvania

3.43/5  rDev -16.7%

This is like badass candy: it has a Tootsie Roll color and two of the most prominent flavors are root beer barrel candy and werther's butterscotch candy. And oh, yes, there is alcohol. The alcohol taste comes through strongly--this brew will appeal to quad lovers.

I like quads and other strong beers, but this one didn't blend its flavors as well as I would have liked and the tastes were a little off. Try it, nonetheless.

04-02-2006 16:56:43 | More by GnomeKing
Photo of scruffwhor
scruffwhor

Illinois

4.13/5  rDev +0.2%

When I entered the batch id number into the batch search engine, it told me my six-pack was bottled on 1-13-05. So this beer is over a year old!!! What a pleasant surprise. Batch #6722.

Appearance- Pours only a brief film o' foam and leaves a rinf o' foam for about one and a half minutes. Color is a deep amber mixed with earthen clay.

Smell- Very molasses like sweetness. Somewhat surprised I could detect some strong toasted malting.

Taste- Flavor start out like a cooked apple, more liek well warmed. This then leads into a fruit cake covered with some VSOP brandy. The dark fruits then duel with teh established malts and then a light bitter finish mixed in for extra complexity.

Mouthfeel- Pretty pillowy. The sweetness mixed in with some pronounced malts and a little hops is very nice. This beer is an awesome nightcap. Great for sipping and thinking.

Since this beer is already one year old, I will age two from my six pack and hope this beer ages like wine...hahahahaha

03-29-2006 06:05:33 | More by scruffwhor
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Bottle (thanks to Hogtownharry for this one): Poured a murky brown color ale with a medium foamy brown head with great retention. Aroma of sweet caramel malt and light bitter hops is very well balance. Taste is a mixture between dry figs, sweet caramel malt with a nice hops finish that is more subtle then what I was expecting based on some previous rating. Body is full and it seems like the beer had not been filtered, which is always a big plus. Alcohol was well hidden. Overall, this is probably one of the finest American barleywine that I have had the chance to try.

03-27-2006 17:02:17 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of ahking
ahking

Michigan

3.9/5  rDev -5.3%

Note, I am reviewing a two and a half year old bottle of Third Caost Old Ale. I have to say this beer holds up most excellent and is worth cellaring a bottle or two for 1+ year. Rich caramel color with a thin white head. Aroma is full of hop spice, plums, raisins, and alcohol. Flavor is characterized by roundness, juicy plums, piney hops. Great mouthfeel. Drinkability is a bit lower due to high ABV.

03-14-2006 00:07:16 | More by ahking
Photo of sopor
sopor

Oregon

4.38/5  rDev +6.3%

Batch 6722 bottled 1/13/5, drank 3/3/06. Blessed wonderful at a year old!

Pours thickly, a mahogany tinted amber with a thin yellow/tan head. Lots of sediment swimming around, but no complaints from me!

Almost cloying sweetness with tangy raisin notes are noted in the smell. A very good indication of what's to come!

Pleasantly cloying sweetness of long boiled amlts comes onf rist, added to by flavors of black cherry, raisins, and touches of molasses. Hops bitterness is there, but well-balanced to the super sweet maltiness. Flavors od roasty and slightly coffee-like malts make an appearance in the pleasantly dry, slightly bitter aftertaste. Alcohol is barely noted, but obvious after a couple of drinks.

Body is full, but no "heavy". Carbonation is light but stings the tongue under the liquid velvet of this beer.

Be careful with this one, very drinkable for how high the abv is. You notice the alcohol, but this stuff goes down smooth anyway!

03-10-2006 14:38:55 | More by sopor
Photo of jlh8643
jlh8643

Indiana

3.83/5  rDev -7%

Pours a deep copper color with sediment floating around. A small light tan head that disappears to almost nothing. The aroma is malt dominated. Plums, raisins and figs mix it up with a fair amount of bitter hops. The alcohol just about jumps up and grabs ya. Malty sweet almost cloying. Would like to see a bit more balance between the malts and hops. The alcohol is quite prevelant too. I would probably only drink one of these at the end of a session and be done.

03-07-2006 02:53:45 | More by jlh8643
Photo of Zorro
Zorro

California

4/5  rDev -2.9%

Sampled through the efforts of Murrayswine and UTBIF.

Pours an amazingly clear and copper red colored ale. No real head formation though.

Smell is malty and smoky very much like a Scottish ale. Additional aromas of toasted wheat bread, figs, raisins, soy sauce, black pepper and mushrooms? Sniffing hard for fruit scents I can detect cherries and brown sugar, not a super fruity version of the style.

Taste is fairly sweet and very malty with a strongish taste of dark molasses. This is a beer that gets sweeter and more bitter as you drink it, a novel effect. There is a soy sauce taste to this that I normally consider a flavor defect. After a while this gets a spicy taste that I can't quite describe correctly; think very green and fresh black pepper.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Not a bad ale here but not outstanding either. If you see it on the shelf go ahead and try it but don't put a lot of effort in too getting this one.

03-05-2006 23:48:27 | More by Zorro
Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
92 out of 100 based on 1,972 ratings.