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

Not Rated.
Third Coast Old AleThird Coast Old Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,278 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,278
Reviews: 1,007
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 10.22%
Wants: 224
Gots: 372 | FT: 23
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-28-2002

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,278 | Reviews: 1,007 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Martin2D
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark burgundy with a surprisingly large tan head for such a low carbonated beer

S - Alcohol on the forefront with almost a barrel wood smell

T - Pretty indescribable for me, but there's a slight hop presence. Tastes like an aged liquor, pleasant alcohol

M - Low carbonation, pretty full in body

D - Pretty drinkable for the style, a slow sipper, but still delicious and drinkworthy.

Photo of mpyle
3.62/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

App - Amber color, a bit of cloudiness. Pours a small whitish head with limited retention, as expected for a stronger ale.

A sweet, fruity, prune-like aroma, alcohol apparent on the nose. Slightly musty.

Taste - huge malt presence, sweet with a bit of caramel. Turns bitter, with much of the bite apparently from alcohol. Flavor doesn't have the estery complexity indicated by the aroma - closing my eyes feel I could be drinking a barleywine. Not a bad tasting beverage, just not a great old ale example.

MF - Big, chewy body, relatively low carbonation, both in line with the style. No astringency, but some nice alcohol warming.

D'ability - Definitely a sipper, and not a session beer. The alcohol isn't overly hot or overpowering, but definitely a heavyweight of a beer.

Photo of tigg924
3.2/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: redish brown, medium head, medium carbonation

Smell:hops, grapefruit, pine, malt, sugarcane, and raisin

Taste: hops, grapefruit, pine, malt, sugarcane, honeydew melon, and raisin

Mouthfeel: sweet throughout-almost syrupy, medium bodied, with a bitter finish

Drinkability: This is a bit hoppy for an old ale. I do think Bells makes better beers and there are better in this style. Not for me.

Photo of BarrelO
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a goblet. Batch 8863, packaged on December 4, 2008.

A: Dark reddish brown with a medium-sized white head that quickly dissipates.

S: Cherries, sugar, wood, and alcohol.

T: Rum-soaked fruits, burnt sugar, and woodiness. Hops kick in toward the end. Bready aftertaste. Alcohol burn comes and goes.

M: Thick, but smooth.

D: A gigantic sipper. Best when close to room temperature and accompanied by a good book.

Photo of Soneast
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a brown color with amber edges. Some sediment is evident in the beer. The 2 finger, light brown colored head is thick and creamy, gradually receding to mat of creamy bubbles.

The aroma has a lot of heavy malt and brown sugar character, as well as some grains with a hint of alcohol on the back end.

Very strong malt presence on the tongue, finishing somewhat bitter, without much hop flavor, but leaving a strong alcohol presence on the palate, with a lot of dark fruits to fill the voids in between.

Pretty heavy beer with medium carbonation to compliment it's ABV. The hop presence is quite noticeable in the bittering effects, however I don't pick up that much hop flavor. On that note, I found this to be very well balanced due to bitterness helping to tame the initially sweetness and alcohol presence.

Photo of jera1350
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- deep murky brown, tan one finger head, minimal lacing that fades fast.

S- sweet, bready, molasses, some alcohol present.

T- rich, toasted malt, bit of molasses, decent amount of alcohol to finish. Complex taste.

M- full bodied, smooth, nicely carbonated, warming sensation going down.

D- this is definitely a sipper. high alcohol content and you can taste it. Great winter beer. I would love to cellar this for a couple of years.

Photo of gofreaksgo
3.51/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into room temp tulip glass.

A: Deep amber in color. Two inch thick off-white head dissipates very slowly. Good lacing. Never quite loses it's head.

S: Slightly sour aroma. Malty sweetness. Very subdued. Aromas get stronger as the beer warms.

T: Very big. Hits the back of the throat. Very malty with a bitter backend. Sweet with a bitter that is not from hops. Bitterness hangs around in the mouth and throat for long after.

M: Very carbonated. Keeps the saliva flowing. Kind of thick.

D: Definitely not a gulper. Slow drinker. Have early in the night. One would be enough.

I'm a big Bell's fan but I don't think this is one of their best. Slightly above average representation of style.

Photo of paulthebeerguru
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: snifter. nice tawny colored brew, slightly opaque. nice khaki colored head. decent retention. mild lacing and some sediment.

S: nice warming malts. solid fruit aroma. some figs and pears.

T: great flavor out of this old ale. pears, figs, some apples. awesome citrus hop flavors. light spices from the yeast.

M: very warming. solid carbonation. wonderful palate for a "barleywine/old ale". medium bodied. great bite.

Photo of riboflavin88
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a rich oak-mahogany color primarily copper and brown. Head was thick and white, lacing all the way to the end.

S: I got caramel, malts, and rich fruits (plum, raisons, and fig). Alcohol was definitely present as well.

T: Breadiness up front with caramel and a cherry sweetness. I also tasted bourbon and spices in the background.

M: Soft and smooth with a syrupy consistency.

D: With a 10.20% ABV I could drink one or two in a sitting, but nonetheless a great tasting beer. I can imagine drinking one of these in front of a fire during late fall while smoking a nice cigar.

Photo of coldmeat23
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

GLASS: Oversized Wine Glass
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees
BATCH #8727 (September 25, 2008)

Man, I love Bell's Brewery, and I'm glad to finally get the chance to try this one. Super thanks go out to VandenBossche for hooking me up with this.

Pours a hazy, medium/dark brown color. A lightbulb will get the edges to show a golden glow, but little else. One-finger head od truly tan colored foam. Retention is okay. Lacing is spotty, but fairly decent.

Nice level of maltiness comes through, surrounded by a big presence of breadiness. Raisins and dark fruit jamminess. Slight earthiness mingles with a nice hint of maraschino cherries (!). Loads of sugarey sweet caramel notes. Definite brown sugar notes.
Smells like a decadent dessert brew.

Butterey french toast, covered in cherry syrup.
Big yeasty bread notes, nice sweet caramel presence, slight hints of warming spices and a top-off of sweet cherry flavor.
A different taste than I'm used to expecting from an Olde Ale, but I certainly like it.

Smooth and creamy, which is nice, but I expected it to be a bit more 'lush'. Especially after the nose. (Yum!) So, it could have done better, here.

The ABV is undetectable, by me, so I'd say, drink 'em if it suits ya'. It suits me quite nicely, thankee sai.
I just wish I had regular access to Bell's and didn't have to rely on trades, or out-of-town trips, to aquire them.

Photo of Atricapilla
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice. A thin one finger foamy tan head laced away on top of the walnut colored liquid bread. The aroma was of yeast and malt, slightly musty. Taste was slightly nutty, lots of bread and malts. The ethanol was also quite noticeable....so was my inebriance after a few of these....

Photo of Blakaeris
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours cloudy mahogany brown with a great deal of tan yeasty sediment floating around. Head is initially a thick white mass that leaves sheets of sticky lacing.

Aroma is sugary caramel malt, dark fruit, and subtle chocolate. Woody and earthy. Definite alcohol presence.

Taste is initially roasted, almost burnt maltiness, brown sugar and molasses. Then the smokey bourbon oak and tobacco make their presence known. Very complex. Plenty of dark fruit - plum, fig, and cherry. Hops are earthy and piney in nature, offering a leafy green bitterness. Finishes with vague spices and lingering alcohol warmth.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy. Very pleasantly soft.

This is a very complex and interesting treat.

Photo of BeerSox
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into 8oz snifter. Batch 8863.

Cloudy and nearly opaque deep red hue with a one finger light tan head that settle to a bubbly rim.

Light hints of caramel and molasses, along with a strong amount of hops for the style which provide citrus and a little cherry.

The hops seem to speak loudly in this one, more than I can remember for any other Old Ale. The hops provide slightly tart dark fruit and, along with the alcohol, a light spiciness. The malts provide a little bit of a nutty flavor in the background along with a slight toastiness. A light creaminess comes in toward the middle and lingers for a bit. Full bodied.

Very drinkable considering its alcohol content. Overall, I'd say this is one of the hoppier Old Ales I have tried, usually these are overwhelmingly malty. Very complex, and like the bottle, has some vintage flavors. Recommended.

Photo of TexIndy
3.53/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brought back from Indy during Xmas. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Batch ID on back label that you can check on website (Sep 08 packaging date so fresh). It was a cloudy amber color with tons of floating bits. Had a large carb geyser in center. No lasting lace. It had a big off white head that slowly settled into a think foam and collar that was constantly fed by the geyser.

The aroma malty, dark fruit and earthy hops. Good aroma but I would have preferred a little less on the dark fruit. The taste was pretty good but had a bit too much alcohol in it. That probably would fade well over time but decided to drink this one now and find another later to age. Something about the taste just didn't grab me. It wasn't bad but just didn't say keep drinking me or go get another.

Overall, a good but not great beer. I'm new to this style and have been hit or miss on it so may be more me and not the beer itself. Would like to try an aged one though.

Photo of littlekidlover
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this halfway up a wine glass. I got just a slight quickly disappearing white head. Color is a deep cloudy brownish amber. Smells of alcohol, raisins, citrus hop. The taste is similar to the nose, but it brings up more caramel, and Christmas spices. This reminds me of what I remember Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine tasting like years ago. Very solid old ale. I would like to lay a couple down to see how it tastes when the alcohol mellows.

Photo of bbothen
4.09/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass.

Pours a nice dark caramel color with a small i finger deep nunnly tan colored head.

Nice soft caramel malt aroma with some hints of brown sugar, some fruitiness, raisin, toffee. Smells like a delicious caramel candy dessert.

The big caramel sweetness is up front with some hints of apple, earthy hoppiness, slight booziness, some spice, baked cinnamon bread.

Full bodied, thick, smooth, chewy, slight carbonation.

Drinks fairly easy for a big ass 10+% brew.

Nice sipper for a cold day. Or any day for that matter. Enjoyable.

Photo of Naugled
3.94/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, unsure of vintage.

A-Straw brown slightly rocky head, hazy light brown color. Avg for style

S-Sweet caramel and dried fruit aroma

T-Thickly sweet, raison plum tones. Candy flavors come through, butterscotch mostly. Needs more hop flavor. A little hot but not out of style,

M-Very full mouthfeel with some late bitterness that becomes more pronounced as it warms. Sweetness lingers.

D-Good drinkability for an old ale.

I would think this is a good aging beer. It lacks complexity at this stage, aging may help that.

Photo of Gehrig
4.6/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Muddy mahogany body with a thin, durable finger of light tan froth; nice lacing on the Duvel tulip. Rich, malty nose full of fruit, roasted caramel malt, chocolate, vanilla, and berry. The taste offers so much--sour, sweet, fruit, spice. Berry emerges more than I expected, with ample caramel, chocolate. Just great old ale. It's very smooth, creamy, rich. The high ABV (10.2%) catches up halfway through, but this is really delicious, enjoyable old ale, maybe the best I've had.

Yet again, Bell's has produced a gem. This takes a solid place next to HopSlam and Two Hearted as the very best from Bell's.


Photo of djeucalyptus
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a dark, woody, earthy mahogany with a dulce de leche colored dense one-finger head with impressive retention. It slowly fades to a ring, leaving ample sticky lacing down the glass.

Heavy sweet mapley caramely malt, golden raisins, cherries, dark wood, a touch of smoke. peat and tobacco, and more fruit - pears and apricots. a hint of spice and a touch of herbal hops.

Taste is really sweet up front with burnt caramel and maple syrup. Hefty roasted malt backbone, and a pleasant hop bitterness. Alcohol is subtle and just a touch warming. Dark fruits. raisins, dates, cherries. Woody, smoky, leathery. More sweet than the average old ale, and also more of the heavy dark wood/leather. A bit light on the floral/hops.

mouthfeel is impressive. smooth and clean, with an unexpected hint of crispness. a nice touch of hop bitterness and a slightly dry alcoholic finish. Not syrupy, chunky, or astringent as some old ales tend toward.

This is definitely a standout. A bit sweeter and a bit toward the barleywine side of the Old Ale spectrum, but a solid example of the style none the less. Definitely need to seek out a few more bottles of this one.

Photo of farrago
4.27/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Real solid one to two finger head, languidly takes its time resolving, leaving lots of sticky lacing in its wake. Cloudy chestnut brown in color with a tint of red or burnt orange at certain angles, fully opaque. Viscous texture in the nose, warm honey and molasses, scones, dates and golden raisins, rum cake, spice jars which have sat in grandma's cabinets since the 70's, outside of a touch of grapefruit zest the hop presence is indistinct, if not absent for it. Full-bodied, clings to the palate like a life raft, yet, somehow avoids heaviness. Much more milk chocolate and carob here, plays well with the sugariness in the cherry, plum, raisin, date flavors. Licorice and baked cinnamon spice play a role as well. The carbonation content in its support, breaks up the clinch like a boxing ref. Just as in the nose, the hops exert their presence through the finish but do not necessarily coalesce into distinct qualities. This allows for a cleaner finish while concurrently not staunching the sweet fruitiness, which remains its primary attribute.

Photo of optiontwo
3.7/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle poured into snifter Batch 7695

Appearance: Dark glowing ruby, almost brandy colored. Quarter inch off-white head with decent retention and a bit of lacing.

Smell: Malts. Sweet, thick, sugary malts. I'm taking into account that this bottle is probably a year or more old and I have had a fresher version but now that this has aged a little bit it's malt city. Lots of sweetness, some bourbon like aromas, and a bit of woodiness and floral.

Taste: Bitter caramel, burnt sugar, maple syrup, anise, and a background of sweet cherry. Those seem to all come through at once, not in that order. The taste lingers in the mouth and throat, with a definite warmth from alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Thick and syrupy with a long finish and some hot alcohol.

Drinkability: One is enough for me, not because of the high ABV but because it's so thick and sweet.

Overall: For some reason I was under the impression that this brew was a barley wine but now I know in fact it is an old ale. A style which I've only had a couple of but would now like to try more. If you feel like drinking something burly, go for this.

Photo of mnstorm99
4.32/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

As I pour this nice dark cloudy amber brew into my Darkness snifter I notice the single finger white head that forms. Sit the glass on the counter and take a look as the head seems to stare at me as if it says "WHAT"? I bring the glass to my nose, but not too close as the head makes it hard for me to really get in there, I notice mostly floral aromas from the hops, but this one has a definate carmel and biscuit charater to it. The beer whispers, give me a try...so I do. The taste is nice and malty up front, similar to an english BW, but there is a bigger hop presence. Spicy, floral hops play slightly with my palate, with a full bodied mouthfeel and an oily coating going down. This brew is way too easy to drink at 10%+ ABV, but a little too thik to sip all day.

Photo of JasonA
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks marvin, been looking for this one a while!

Pours a deep carmel with just hints of reddish tint on the edges of the glass. Virtually no head, islands forming on the brim.

Deep medium malt. Barrel aged? Smells bourbon almost. Slightest hop character. I swear there is oak in there.

Deep. Yummy. Bitter and not quite sweet, but warming. I need a class on identifying Old Ale characteristics.

Full bodied, deep warm and smooth. Amazing balance for 10% ABV. I could drink this warm ... I just might ;)

I just love Old Ale's. I dont think there is a better brew. This one is by far my second favorite, only to Hardy's. Definately want more.

Photo of argock
4.37/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear oversized wine glass. Single purchased from Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $2.60.

A: Very dark mahogany with impressive 1-finger beige head with surprisingly good retention and lacing for a high ABV beer.

S: Delicious aromas of fig, date, rum, toasted caramel malts, and floral and leafy hops are most prominent, but some berry-cherry, vanilla, and black licorice aromas are there too.

T: A real belly-warmer and for the barleywine lover who really like a phenolic, alcoholic brew. I really enjoyed this super malty, dark fruit flavor laden brew. Raisin, current, and fig/date soaked in rum are followed by vanilla and strong hops bitterness with both a floral and herbal, minty finish.

M: Exceedingly smooth with superb carbonation, malty aftertaste lasts for a very long time.

D: A delight as it is complex yet drinkable due to its exceptional mouthfeel. It does have some harshness in the alcoholic nature of the flavor and aroma, but embrace it and you will love this brew.

Photo of Tone
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy, deep amber color with lots of suspended yeast apparent. 1/3 inch head of an light yellow color. Decent retention and decent lacing. Smells of sweet malt, hops, some fruit, and possibly some raisins. So far it fits the style of an Old Ale quite nicely. Smooth and slightly thick mouth feel with an average carbonation level preset. The hop bitterness is noticeable up front and adds a nice initial kick to the brew. The sweet malts come through strong and then the raisin flavor mellows out the alcohol to create a smooth finish. There's a definite dryness in the aftertaste, due to the alcohol. As you progress through the beer it become even more drinkable and smooth. The hops also come through a little in the aftertaste. Overall, a complex flavored beer with quickly changing flavors and a smooth drinkability. Whoa, this is worth a try - yum.

Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
92 out of 100 based on 2,278 ratings.