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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.

1,935 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,935
Reviews: 964
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.19%
Wants: 193
Gots: 262 | 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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Third Coast Old Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,935 | Reviews: 964 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of walleye


4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured a cloudyreddish brown with a tan head. aroma caramel, sourness, honey, alcohol, molasses, raisins. flavor the 1st thing that got my attention was the smoothness and the great mouth feel, the flavors are just like the aroma with a touch of bitterness at the finish. I have to say that for me this is one of the better bells that I have had and so far my lowest rating is a 3.1 so they do it again for me

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2005 01:52:14 | More by walleye
Photo of whynot44


4.6/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Full bodied, beautiful hazy red/copper colored brew with very small head that disappears quickly leaving only a trace of lacing. A few yeast "floaties" but mostly just hazy.

The aroma is sweet malts, caramel, raisins, maybe some plums with a spicy clove and alcohol accent.

The taste is along the same lines, starts out caramelly sweet, maybe a touch of molasses or brown sugar, raisins, plums, then cloves kick in. The finish is slightly sour, yeasty, a little lactic, with a lingering clove and citrus aftertaste with a very definite but pleasant alcohol warmth. (I'm sure I've left something out, the flavor is complex and just about every sip brings something new.)

This would be great as a winter warmer, but will also work well after dinner anytime.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2005 05:58:15 | More by whynot44
Photo of longarm


3.78/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: A relatively clear brew with dark reddish, orange hue. Head retentention poor, likely due to high alcohol content. It dissipated quickly, but left a nice ring around the glass after subsequent sips.

Aroma: A healthy dose of candied sugar, very mild green apples perhaps due to aceteladehyde, but it's not bad. Something close to vanilla appears there as well. A noticeable amount of sherry is evident, possibly indicative of oxidation, but it's certainly not a detriment in an Old Ale. Overall it has a very appealing smell.

Flavor: A little spicey with subtle hop bitterness and moderate alcoholic heat at the finish. A little sour as well. Otherwise quite difficult to pin down flavors. Complex and bold, it still leaves me somewhat confused and desiring something more to balance it out.

Mouthfeel: A little cloying...the lack of carbonation leaves it a little sticky for my preferences. Probably the weakest part of the beer.

Drinkability: I've tried this beer twice now and generally enjoyed it both times. It's obviously not a session beer, given the alcohol content and cloying nature, but it's still a good brew. A strong cheese might help balance things-out. Definitely worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2005 21:56:37 | More by longarm
Photo of Star80


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

Pours out a deep, copperish red color. Head dissipates and leaves a thin lace on top. Smells like molasses, dark ripe fruits, and vanilla. Tastes very balanced, but hops still have a say in the flavor. I really wonder how old this beer is, or how long it was aged before it was bottled...always a mystery with Bell's. At any rate, all the flavors seem to come together well and this is one of the better balanced beers I've tried. The initial strong sweetness gets beat out by the bitter aftertaste. Mouthfeel is fine. This beer reminds me of an American Barleywine; Old Foghorn to be specific. Has less citrusy hops, but the smell and taste is quite similar to me, and of course this is not a bad thing!

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2005 22:27:13 | More by Star80
Photo of beveragecaptain

New Jersey

4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a dark reddish brown color. There is a nice head initially, but it quickly fades. The aroma is very malty, like caramel and toffee. There is also a bit of a funky smell, a little like cheese, but that makes it sound unpleasant when it's really enjoyable. The flavor is very sweet and malty at first, like a barley wine. Some dark fruitiness. The finish is spicy, and there is a burn from the alcohol. Very complex flavors. Full mouthfeel. I don't know if I could drink more than one of these, but it's hard to look at this as a fault, since that one is so good. Great beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2005 21:51:24 | More by beveragecaptain
Photo of blitz134


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

I’ve had this one for quite a while (nearly 2 years), it’s a hold over beer I’ve been saving from when I spent some time up north. I’d been saving it for something and that something came out to be just because. But I digress…

I’m unsure what else you could ask for in the look of an old ale. This beer looks like someone dumped some dirt in a glass and swirled it around with its mud brown color and some relatively large chunks floating around in perfect suspension, barely kept aloft by a little carbonation. Little head, but that was to be expected.

The smell is sweet with malts and a sugary caramel and some apricot hints with a slight musty smell. Nothing over powering. Taste has a bit of alcohol sting to it, that definitely hasn’t gone away over the last two years. Slight hoppy bitterness still lingering around as well. A bit of spiciness stings the tongue and finishes with a yeast flavor. I really enjoy the complexity of this one as it is slightly different that the other barleywine style brews I’ve had.

Mouthfeel is slightly oily but isn’t overly heavy. Drinkability is brought down a bit by the overly warming effect of the alcohol. This is a good beer but not more than one in a night for me.

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2005 05:06:27 | More by blitz134
Photo of BeerFink


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

Filling my glass with this murky brownish red brew, a thin off white head forms. Lots of malt in the nose, sweet caramel and alcohol, along with some citrous hops. Malty smooth taste, caramel with molasses kicks up a sweet note. Complexity is added with cloves and other spices mixed with alcohol. Citrous hops finish it off with a nice dry bitterness which mingles well with the alcohol. Alcohol produces a pleasant warming of the face as this ale is digested. Tight carbonation rounds out a good mouthfeel and balance the big malts. Definitely a great winter beer, but I would enjoy this all year round.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2005 22:01:31 | More by BeerFink
Photo of mattcrill


4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to BA brother cmaruschak for the chance to sample this beer.

Appearance: Deep, dark crimson with little yeasties in it. Thick fluffy head that fades to little islands of tan carbonation.

Smell: Plums, carmel, a whiff of alcohol. Definitely amped up on the malt end of things.

Taste: Plums, carmel, candy corn follow the smell. Some cloves and pepper in the middle. A drying and powdery finish with maybe a brush of alcohol. Yeast notes pop up here and there.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy. Coats the palate. Almost syrupy but not in a bad way. The carbonation tempers this.

Drinkability: Pretty big so drink slowly. A nice sipper and a great night cap.

Thanks again to cmaruschak for the chance to sample this.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2005 03:21:03 | More by mattcrill
Photo of mntlover


4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a redish dark brown color, almost a mahogany with a small tan head
that falls to a ring of bubbles that leaves some sparse lace.
Aroma is dark rum soaked fruit floating in dark caramel malt with alcohol and hints of hop resin mixing with some yeasties.
Taste is quite nice malt mixed with mollasses, caramel, even some maple some alcohol that reminds one of spiced rum. Finish is bitter some hop resins mixed with some peppery spices for a little kick that mingles with the alcohol flavor and ends with some earthy yeast flavors sticking to the tounge.
Man this is a big tasting full flavored brew that goes down smooth and quick very nice. Mouthfeel is medium full very nice feel in the mouth while drinkability remains great goes down smooth and fast hard to just sip this one. Many thanks to merlin48 for this sample it is a winner.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2005 19:39:21 | More by mntlover
Photo of malty


4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 12 oz. long neck - no freshness date.

Pours a murky copper/orange with multi-sized bubbles that comprised a 1/4 in. head - nice lacing.

Scent is carmel apples drenched in brandy.

The taste first of all is WARMING. Robust heavy malts balanced nicely with a dry hoppy ending. Kind of like a nice (hoppy) dopplebock with a more kinetic body. Alcohol warms right through to it's long finish. Carmel once again then prickly hops - nice.

Mouthfeel is quite perky given the high alcohol. Medium carbonation with a full body.

Drinkability is well above average due to it's nice balance of malt/hops. Again, the alcohol isn't shy - but masked well with the hearty ingredients.

Overall a nice fall/winter ale that's definitely not shy. I really dig the solid hop backdrop that accompanies this strong ale. It comands a $13.99/6 pk. - but it's meant to be savored (I guess). Nice job Larry & gang!

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2005 20:53:08 | More by malty
Photo of gimmehead


4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an amber brown with a thin beige head. Not much lacing. The aroma is of big caramel malts, strong fruity esters and yeasty bread. As it warms it gives off a sweeter, raisiny aroma. This beer has one of the best noses I have had the honor to appreciate. The flavor is very good, but doesn't really mirror the nose. It's more malty, tasting of caramel and cereal grains, slightly resinous. I also pick up clove and a growing raisiny taste. Spicy. Underscored with a bitter pine hop balance. Brandy-like alcohol finish. Full bodied and very mouthcoating. This beer will warm your innards. The only "problem" I noticed is that the raisiny sweetness tends to be a bit cloying after two or three. Overall, a tasty brew that I highly recommend.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2005 02:48:25 | More by gimmehead
Photo of Shultzerdugen


4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a hazed amber with not much head to mention.

The nose and the taste of this beer don't match up completely, but I found that enjoyable. Buttery maple syrup, rich caramel in the smell.

Then assertive piney hops in the front of the first taste, with malt characteristics matching the nose: i.e. caramel, maple syrup. Alcohol lends a spiciness, and a slick mouthfeel. Dry finish. A little sticky.

A nice surpise, and one I'll be sure to pick up again.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2005 17:42:01 | More by Shultzerdugen
Photo of karst


4.43/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A barley wine with deep amber color with orange-brownish inclusions that separate from the surface and swarm in the bottom 1/3 of the brandy sniffer. Described as brandy of ales, this beer has vintage character and will mature in the bottle at cellar temperature for years.
Original Gravity: 1.098 yields an Alcohol by Volume: 9.0% got to respect these big numbers.

Overwhelming aroma of butterscotch/toffee brought back memories of candy making at my Aunt Fern's in the '50's. Huge malt flavor dominates the majority of the taste curve finally dropping abruptly as hops clean the palate.

Wow - another favorite for my cellar.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2005 00:04:26 | More by karst
Photo of santoslhalper


4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearence: Pours an exceptional reddish amber with a creamy off-white head.

Smell: The smell is mostly caraml popcorn. Strong, powerful caramel popcorn.

Taste and Mouthfeel: The taste is a wonderufl mix of oak and caramel, with deep, subtle complexities. The flavor last for so long, but continues to keep my interest forever. As the beer warms, the flavors become more pronounced and robust. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth.

Drinkability and Overall: A wonderfully rich and smooth Old Ale. Powerful as all hell, but still smooth and well rounded. I can't wait till the other one in my cellar has about 6 years of aging. Yumm... Anyways thanks to PatYoda for the bottle. God bless this beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2005 08:16:54 | More by santoslhalper
Photo of Gaisgeil


3.18/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I had such high hopes for this brew! I've heard many a great and wonderous things locally about it, as if it were some legend or myth from the days of yore. Now I'm left wondering why it's so highly regarded. Maybe my palate just isn't read for the flavor profile here.

Pours a murky brown in color with a thin off-white head. Nose is fruity and very strong in the hop department, quite piney, roasted malts and very rich in alcohol. Taste is really very powerful, but not in a particularly good way. There is a strong sourness going on here, combined with the strong pine hop character and the alcohol bite this brew makes my whole face pucker. I had a hard time throwing back the whole serving. On the positive side, it had a very fresh character to it and was quite smooth in the mouthfeel department. I also enjoyed the piney flavor, especially where it was present in the aftetaste.

I concede that it's possible I'm just not ready for this brew, but all in all it really does nothing for me in the least. Maybe I'll return at some later time and find out for sure. Until then, more for everyone else!


Serving type: bottle

03-03-2005 20:30:56 | More by Gaisgeil
Photo of meathookjones


4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Old Ale is definitely a style I should have more. The good ones are so complex and tasty and this was no exception. Pours out a ruddy brown color with sediment floating about and a half-inch tan head slowly forms on top. No lace and minimal head retention. Aroma is a mix of ripe sweet fruit and a bit of smoke. Some chocolate and roasted malt were noted as well. A really a strong pleasant smell begging you to take a sip. Sweet caramel malt and a light fruitiness start off the taste. There is a strong smokiness throughout the flavor that adds great depth to this. Finishes with a sweet caramel malt. Some alcohol was detectable at times but never enough to detract from this tasty brew. Mouthfeel is thick, creamy and a bit sticky. This stuff is so rich and smooth I could sip on it for hours if I had enough bottles. Definitely one I wish I could get locally because it is such a treat. Many thanks goes to nogoodreason for this gem.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2005 17:57:46 | More by meathookjones
Photo of LuckySevens82


4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle courtesy of feloniusmonk.
Pours a murky apple cidery color. Very small head, but what is there created some pretty impressive lacing.
Smell is ripe fruit (apples, pears, plums), caramel, and a bit of toast. There is a noticable alcohol presence in the nose.
Taste is bready malts, a little fruit, a slight hop bitterness, and a whiskey-like alcohol kick.
Mouthfeel is slick and smooth, the beer coats the tounge and I can't say that this is a bad thing. This is a fine beer to have on a cold night, or any night for that matter.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2005 23:18:18 | More by LuckySevens82
Photo of ypsifly


3.75/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz with no dates into a goblet. Brown with dark amber on the edges with a small white head that quickly fades. I've dealt with this one before and knew a forced pour was needed to get some froth. Some lacework happening here.

Smells of caramel syrup, lightly roasted malt and citric hops. Alcohol is there the whole time. Not a turnoff, but it let's you know you're in for a ride. There's some notes of yeast and more alcohol as it warms.

Starts off sweet with a building dryness that almost turns sour. The alcohol makes things a bit awkward. Has that characteristic Bell's hoppiness. I like the dryness, as specially as it builds towards the finish, but the booze throws you off for a second. I can see why cellaring this one is recommended on the back label. I bought this as a single but am now considering going back for a sixer to stash and sample every few months or so.

Nice full mouthfeel on this one. Not chewy or very carbonated, but perfect for the style.

The 9% abv lowers the drinkability score for this beer. One could get too 'faced too fast.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2005 05:54:50 | More by ypsifly
Photo of SupaCelt


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

This stuff poured out like syrup into my glass. Highly viscous like 10w30 or some sh*t. Half a pinky's worth of head was just blown away into a whirling dervish by the alcohol vapors. Whoa! Floatation devices cloud the mixture's deep amber body. I love the dirty looks this beer is giving me.

The smell throws off some serious caramel. Alcohol is detectable as well. Not a turn off by any means, just a preamble of sorts. Smell's like a fermented caramel apple with most of the emphasis on the caramel twangs.

The body of this old ale is surprisingly the most notable aspect. The flavour seems to follow the lead of the texture and mouthfeel. Like brandy and cream. Very pleasing. The warmth is a great effect. Perfect for a cold winter night. The taste is quite a bit of caramel. Dark roasted and alcoholic. Rich and savory. This stuff moves like gelatin; it has wonderous thickness.

Drinkability is something I am not really looking to test too thoroughly. I could easily see things getting out of control with this one. This is a recipe with the power to transform you into that infamous drunk uncle at the family Christmas party. Really nice stuff.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2005 02:04:07 | More by SupaCelt
Photo of chugamugofsud


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

This beer poured a cloudy amber with a medium head that faded into yeast wisps. The smell was very caramel/malty with a light note of some roasted nuts. The taste covers the alcohol well but the beer needs to be drank while cold, it becomes offenseive to the mouth after warming (the aftertaste becomes foul).

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2005 03:43:00 | More by chugamugofsud
Photo of whartontallboy

New York

4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Contrary to other reviews, my bottle poured with no head. Looks like a melted caramel, and smells about the same. Fruit, malt, and some piney notes are in the nose as well. The taste is about what the smell would lead you to believe, lots of malt and caramel with the high ABV really coming through in the finish. Some smokey flavors couple well with the candied fruit. Very nice! Mouthfeel is a little lacking; like I said, this bottle had very little to no carbonation, so I might need to try again. Overall, though, a very tasty sweet high ABV winter seasonal that I won't mind drinking again to "research the carbonation."

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2005 00:55:44 | More by whartontallboy
Photo of RonfromJersey

New Jersey

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

Secret Santa 2004 #4

A very fizzy sounding pour.

A solid finger of flat top beige foam rests upon a cloudy light brown-red body. Sediment abounds.

A very strong and sweet aroma, like walking into a candy shop (but not a chocolate shop).

Taste is delightfully malty, rich and sweet but not at all cloying. Liquid caramel. It hits the tongue and slowly seeps to every corner of your mouth, coating everything and ever so slowly fading away. A very mild and comforting sense of warmth (particularly on this single digit night), but no alcohol burn.

Mouthfeel is dead perfect for the style, full and solid.

Good drinkability, not a strong ale which twists your face after a sip, this you can take a healthy pull on.

Another very good beer from Bells, they continue to impress me. Michiganers have it good.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2005 06:39:59 | More by RonfromJersey
Photo of crookedhalo


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

Pours a cloudy copper-to-mahogany brown with a light tan colored head. Caramelly and malty with maple syrup notes and a cedary hoppiness. Predominantly sweet, yet hoppy, there is a complex burst of different flavors ranging from blood orange to pine sap. Quite nice. It has 100% of what I'm looking for in an old ale; High malting levels and high hopping levels. Better at cellar to room temperature.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2005 06:57:35 | More by crookedhalo
Photo of skybluewater


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

Pours a murky reddish brown, apple cider color. Smells of caramel, as well as a touch of that "special" Bell's smell. Taste is like a malt bomb going off in my mouth, one with hops on the inside to slay my tongue with. There's a bit of woodiness, and some caramel as well. This is a highly drinkable brew for ABV level.

Wow, another Bell's beer I like. Never thought that would happen. Indeed, this is a very tasty brew, one that warms me up on a cold winter's night.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2005 04:07:36 | More by skybluewater
Photo of trancefishy


4.55/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a review of a TCOA that has been cellared for 2 years now. served at cellar temp, 48-52 degrees, and warming.

appearance is much like that of the younger beer, deep nutty brown, nutty head with tight bubbles and nice lacing.

aroma is knock your socks off thick. definately the smell of a boiling vat of carmelized brown sugar, really pungent and sweet smelling.

taste is incredibly sweet and resinous. the malt is the key player here, with it's brown sugar taste, but you still have hop action, but in form of something that reminds me of sticky pine sap. there is a nice piney aftertaste as well, which tastes like eating gingersnap cookies followed by some butterscotch ice cream topping.

mouthfeel is you know, not remarkable, but fits the beer. drinkability is, well, i wish this came in 750s.

i'm glad i put these suckers away. this is the first tasting, and i'm certainly glad i have more tucked away :-)

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2005 22:46:31 | More by trancefishy
Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
92 out of 100 based on 1,935 ratings.