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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.

2,122 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,122
Reviews: 973
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 10.46%
Wants: 206
Gots: 308 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Third Coast Old Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,122 | Reviews: 973 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of david131
4.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a review of a bottle that is slightly over two years old.

A- A dark amberish brown liquid with some sediment floaties in there. A small off-white head forms but settles out to a few splotches.

S- Cherries, brown sugar, cotton candy, figs. Very complex. Everything seems to be blending very well together.

T- Some cherry, a little nutty, brown sugar. Very malty with some slightly apparent alcohol, but it is not offensive in any way. This is coming along very nicely.

M- Sticky but very smooth. The carbonation level is very good. Slightly drying on the palate.

D- A wonderful sipper that is complex but not overly rich. I enjoy these much more with some time on them, but they are above average fresh too.

david131, Mar 17, 2008
Photo of tgbljb
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep-reddish-brown color with minute white head. No lacing evident.
Smell is significant for strong notes of alcohol, which seems to dominate everything else.
Taste is rich and malty, some dark fruits, and a slowly developing intense dryness.
More drynees at the finish, with the alcohol easily detectable.
Was drinkable, but just not to my liking.

tgbljb, Mar 16, 2008
Photo of sholland119
3.85/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a Stone RIS snifter (cause why not).

A-Pours a deep hazy amber with a small tan head that quickly dissipates.

S-Lots of caramel and some toffee. Nice.

T-Lots of caramel on the front, some fairly prominent alcohol on the finish. A little hoppiness at the end/

M-Very rich and thick on the tongue, mild carbonation.

D-A little too much alcohol for me to enjoy more than one but one is nice.

A very nice old ale. Barleywines and old ales are not my favorite styles but this is a pretty good one. Nice toffee and caramel flavors but a little too much alcohol is present for me to really enjoy.


sholland119, Mar 13, 2008
Photo of CrazyMacHarris99
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep reddish brown with a one finger off white head. Smelled of sweet caramel malts thats strong with a little alcohol and something funky. The guy below me said old socks but its more like a chlorine smell like when you walk into a indoor pool. Taste was a huge sweet malt bomb with a slight bitterness. Some vanilla and molasses come out in the finish. The mouthfeel is velvety and smooth and there is not a huge alcohol presence for being 10.2%. It is a little strong for me but I have 5 more that I think I will let mellow for awhile.

CrazyMacHarris99, Mar 11, 2008
Photo of timmlimestone
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I have been leaving this in my fridge for quie some time. It aged pretty well, but I still have one more to save for another year or so.

Apperance - This is an old ale.

Smell - Somewhat reflective of old socks, but intoxicating all the same.

Taste - Strong, powerful, straight to your head, and blistering in its intensity.

Mouthfeel - Like the bastard son of $3000 Whiskey it makes you love it even if you dont want to .

Drinkability - I have to knock it down a bit, because it can not be more than two before you fell like you can answer to the name "GNU"

timmlimestone, Mar 09, 2008
Photo of AleDrinkToThat
4.43/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Reddish copper hue, opaque with some cascading sediment. Short, one finger beige head.

Smell: Delicious smell of caramel malt, subtle fruit[?], and toffee.

Taste: Sweet and malty. Yum. Caramel malt hits immediately, opening up into a toffee flavor and I could definitely taste some kind of fruity esters. The hops were *just* present enough to provide a subtle, dry finish. Alcohol was well concealed.

Mouthfeel: Sweet and chewy. The alcohol never really got anywhere close to hot until the very last sip, but I expected that.

Drinkability: Love it. Delicious aged ale. I had it at room temp. in an oversized wine glass, so I was expecting the miniscule heat toward the end. As barleywines and old ales go, this one's already a new fave.

On this page, the ABV percentage is listed as 9%, but mine was 10.2%. Yay for me.

AleDrinkToThat, Mar 06, 2008
Photo of Lothore
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Old Ale on a monday night? Why the hell not.

A- Pours a nice reddish orange color, fairly clear with a very small head that goes away as quickly as it came.

S- Ahhh heres the old ale smell I love. I still feel tricked by adam. Oh well. This one is big and caramely with small alcohol notes.

T- Starts off deep caramel as in the nose and moves to a huge alcohol flavor that is so prevalent it's hard to detect much else under it. Definitely a small hop bite at the end. Even though this one is a little hot I still like it.

M- Thick, low on the carbonation, excellent for the style.

D- I love old ales more and more the more I try, this one is no exception. Not the best i've had but it's definitely worth a try if you like old ales.

Lothore, Mar 04, 2008
Photo of Atron67
3.78/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- poured a pretty dark foggy brown with a nice tight knit off white/tan head that fell slowly and left, well maybe not lacing but a good residue of stickiness

S- kinda weak scents mostly malty, some dark fruits, maybe a raisen, plum type character, hops present as well

T- slow onset of big maltiness befitting of an old ale, fruitiness comes midway and is nice and smooth, then fades slowly with a strong bitterness.

M- thick full body, and seemed to be a strong carbonation but didnt last long, turned into a medium light carbonation, that i felt fit it better at the end.

D- pretty nice and well worth it at 2 a bottle

Atron67, Mar 02, 2008
Photo of homebrewhawk
4.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle served in a brandy snifter. Batch 7695. Bottle conditioned with plenty of sediment. Pours a deep mahogany with a quickly dissipating off white head. Rich caramel malt aroma with butterscotch and molasses. Massive chewy body. This thing is a malt bomb. Some fruity flavors. There are a pretty good amount of hops that keep it from being cloying. I don't know why it took me so long to try this beer, but I'm kicking myself, because it's fantastic.

homebrewhawk, Feb 26, 2008
Photo of MmmIPA
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Another Bell's beer,Im a total fan boy of this brewery.Poured into a snifter.

Reddish/brown colored body with a small white head that fell fast to a solid ring.Sitting in my glass,it looks like hard liquor

The smell is sweet,like the guy below me said,it does smell like raisons.You can smell malts.I think I smell chocolate also.There also is a apple smell.

Raisons and caramel malts are the most pronounced taste.Cant really taste the hops in this one but something does leave a dank taste on the back of your tongue.There also is a apple taste.

I love the carbonation in this bad boy! Very lively.The abv. makes its pressence.

Another great beer from Bell's that I need to find another bottle of and cellar for next year.Very tasty.

MmmIPA, Feb 25, 2008
Photo of bozebus17
3.18/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to my buddy Cosmosys for giving me this bottle to take home and try.

Poured a deep reddish mahogany into my goblet. There is a small off-white head. It hangs around for quite a while but leaves no lacing.

The aroma is very sweet. There are notes of toffee, molasses, and a hint of alcohol.

The flavor is much like the scent. There is a lot of sweetness. Caramel, toffee, and some bitterness come through. There is also some fruitiness, it reminds me of raisins. The bitterness doesn't seem to be sufficient to counteract the immense amount of sweetness in this brew. The mouthfeel is full and creamy. It goes down about as easy as most beers of the style.

Overall I found this beer to be okay. I really had my hopes up but found it to be a bit sweet for my tastes.

bozebus17, Feb 24, 2008
Photo of mwilbur
3.05/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from bottle into cervoise.
A: Nice dark, cloudy crimson. Thin light tan creamy head.
S: Sweet caramel and malt. Nice aroma.
T: The high ABV is clearly apparent. Much more hops than malt doesn't help mask this. Some caramel, but taste doesn't hold up to the promising smell. Stong hop bite at the end.
M: Sharp on the tongue. Medium body. Decent mouthfeel.
D: Honestly, I was excited to try this, but I came away disappointed. To give it a second chance, I'll put a couple away to age and see what happens over time.
I love high ABV brews, but the flavors in this beer didn't complement the ABV well. There are better old ales out there.

10/9/09: Revisited this one. The hops and feel have softened a bit, but this is still not well balanced and alcohol is too apparent. Still lacking.

mwilbur, Feb 19, 2008
Photo of charlesw
3.45/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Well. Interesting. Really. Like a baby barleywine, kind of. A bit light on the color and too tangy in the nose for me, but, well. Interesting. Definitely interesting. I should have listened to spacecoyote... He told me to sit on it for a while. That would surely take some of that tang away and make this into a very decent old ale. But... Why not just make it balanced and drinkable to begin with?

charlesw, Feb 15, 2008
Photo of neenerzig
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a 6 pack of this recently from Warehouse Beverage. A 12 oz bottle poured into a wine glass. This beer pours a fairly cloudy dark copper color with an off-white head 1/3 inch thick when poured. Settles rather quickly to a fairly thin surface layer with a nice thick off-white colored ring lining the inside of the glass. Pretty good lace here. Has a fruity, malty aroma with hints of browns sugar, caramel and cherry. Sweet, malty, fruity flavors are present up front with hints of spiciness and alcohol. Followed by some hop bitterness. Has a good crisp, smooth, and frothy full bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Very good drinkablility for a barley wine indeed. Another very good beer from Bell's and a great overall representation of the barley wine style ale.


neenerzig, Feb 13, 2008
Photo of prototypic
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It's a hazy, reddish-amber color with a two finger off white head. Very good retention and a solid coat of lace lined the glass.

Smell: Caramel malts initially give it a sweet smell. Hints of dark fruit (raisin and plum) and light citrus scents are present. Hops are not noticeable in smell. Very faint alcohol presence. Syrupy or molasses type smell on the tail.

Taste: Caramel malts and light citrus flavors indeed provide a very sweet taste. Dark fruit flavors blend well and add depth. Light hop flavor adds a little bitterness and balance. Slight biscuity taste wraps it up.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's medium bodied to thick. Very well carbonated. It's very smooth, but its strength limits drinkability. At 9%, it's strong, but not very noticeable. Overall, very solid offering from Bell's. Recommended.

prototypic, Feb 12, 2008
Photo of NCSUdo
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle, batch 8211

P: Pours a deep mahogany under a small off white head. No lace, close to no retention.

S: Very nice fruity nose. Mix of cherries and maybe some sweet strawberry type aroma, some caramel malt thrown in.

T: A spicy, sweet fruitiness reminiscent of the nose. A little bit of alcohol, ending in a decent hop bitterness. Really a pleasant taste.

M/D: Full bodied, carbonation can be felt, slightly creamy. Very much a sipper. Alcohol can be felt but goes well. Overall a good beer to pour into a snifter and enjoy.

NCSUdo, Feb 12, 2008
Photo of papat444
4.4/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to oakbluff for this one.

Poured from a 12oz. bottle.

Paired with cheese fondue and oka & brie cheese.

Appearance: Dark brown, almost black body with a nice light brown head & cascade of bubbles heading down. Very nice.

Smell: Slightly bitter, dried fruit aroma.

Taste: Rich & full-bodied, smooth & creamy, more fruit (berries?) & slight bitterness

Mouthfeel: Alcohol is felt but very pleasant. Feels a bit like a Barleywine & as it warms, becomes sweet & malty at the end.

Drinkabilty: Yes! I'd have another in a second.

Overall: Perfect ale for a cold winter night, comforting & to quote the label, "like having a warm blanket" A must!

papat444, Feb 11, 2008
Photo of rodrot
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an inviting dark brown color with a half inch head that dissipates slowly. Aroma was very malty with a good dose of brown sugar and molasses. Taste was of warming alcohol up front, malty sweetness in the middle and finishes with another dose of boozy warmth. Mouthfeel was medium to full, making this beer a sipper for a cold February night. Not bad at all, but I'm thinking some aging is required to mellow this one out a bit. As a side note, I noticed this year's bottling lists the ABV as 10.2%.

rodrot, Feb 10, 2008
Photo of Redwood21
3.83/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: this is a very dark beer, brown almost black like stained wood the head is short and short lived
S: very estery and sweet, very barley wine like but alcohol is by far very apparent
T: also reminded me of a barley wine mixed with a very well aged ale (think Thomas hardy type) there is oaked tastes there is an undercurrent of fruit in the taste it has a major tongue of alcohol though, very apparent for the 10.2% this is a sipping beer, that doesn't have to be but is probably best enjoyed in that manner

Redwood21, Feb 10, 2008
Photo of EliteDigger
3.8/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a review of this years ('08) vintage...
A-Pours a pale cola brown with a nice cream colored head that swifly disappears.
S-Sweet malts and an underlying booziness with a super faint herbal hop backdrop.
T-Some buttery caramel with nuts and toffee get followed by a nice hoppy bitterness that grows more pronounced as it warms. A slight hint of alcohol warming rides along the wave.
M-Thinnish medium thickness, creamy, and well carbonated.
D-Decent with the taste but not great with the ABV.
I put a few of these in the cellar as I had one from 2 years ago aged that was much mellower and smooth. Tasty!

EliteDigger, Feb 09, 2008
Photo of JDV
3.58/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottles courtesy of for9719 and gregis on RB, shared during a tasting. Thanks!
Pours a rich dark caramel color with a yellowish beige head. Taste is rich dark caramel and almost orange creamy citrus as well. More than ample finishing hops to balance and a lingering very mild sweetness and alcohol flavor at the end. This was a pretty good beer and a nice example of the style.

JDV, Feb 04, 2008
Photo of Biscuit033
4.55/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Mahogany with a thin cream colored head and some lacing.

S: Candied sugar and dried dark fruits.

T: Raisins, dates, fig. graham craker, caramel, and toffee. The more I search the more flavors I find.

M: Creamy and dry with a nice long finish.

D: This is a nice beer to enjoy alone on a Friday night. And I will. The alcohol warmth is there but no strong alcohol flavors.

Biscuit033, Feb 02, 2008
Photo of HardTarget
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle Inspection: Perfect for your cellar. While that's nice, a vintage or abv. or ingredients or... something would be nice.

Aroma: Toffee malt, autumn leaf, earthy hop all with a perfumed alcohol.

Appearance: Copper brown, some hazy, a fair dusting of particulate floaties, with a thin halo of bubbles that don't lace.

Flavor: Buttery toffee malt quickly melts away to a full grapefruit pith flavoring hop. I'm drinking this shortly after acquiring it, so I'm assuming it's fresh, and the bottles right, this should age and blend nicely. A warming alcohol starts to grow toward the end of the glass.

Mouthfeel: A bit oily in texture, medium heavy body with a little chew.

Overall Impression: In some ways, it already tastes like an aged Bigfoot. A serious beer, great winter sipper, glad I got one.

HardTarget, Jan 31, 2008
Photo of CoSMoSYS
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks again to my buddy Bryan for picking this up for me.

Pours an cloudy orange crimson with little to no head whatsoever. No lacing but there are definite carbonation bubbles visible.

First thing I noticed was the the sweet malt. Then I picked up on the sweet sweet caramel. There was also a bit of sugar cane in there as well.

I can taste the sugar cane right off the bat. I almost want to describe it as a deep dark sugar taste. Alcohol is more apparent. This one is a sipper for sure. Aftertaste is somewhat hoppy. Over all, this is a pretty balanced beer.

Very creamy rich and somewhat smooth. The harshness gets you at the back of the throat during the aftertaste which lasts a good long while.

My first trip into this style and I have to say I am impressed. This one has to be drunk slowly as to enjoy the full effect.

Thanks Bell's!

CoSMoSYS, Jan 28, 2008
Photo of rallison
4.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks limesmut for this one!

Upon the pour, this appears a cloudy dark reddish amber color with a 1/2 finger white head that recedes a bit and leaves just a touch of lacing. The smell is delicious - raisins, dark fruits, caramel, touches of molasses and the like. Smells great!

First taste is impressive. The smells translate nicely into the flavors. Those flavors are also nicely balanced by just enough of a hoppy bite to keep things interesting - and not too sweet. Nice balance here I must say. Alcohol presence is just the right amount to be nicely warming.

Mouthfeel is rich and coats the mouth pretty well with the carbonation nicely riding things out. A touch of lingering sweetness - a nice amount. Very enjoyable mouthfeel.

Drinkability is indeed good. I wouldn't session this of course, but it has good drinkability for such a style.

rallison, Jan 23, 2008
Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
92 out of 100 based on 2,122 ratings.