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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.

2,049 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,049
Reviews: 970
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.44%
Wants: 209
Gots: 292 | 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
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Ratings: 2,049 | Reviews: 970 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nriech
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark mahogany brown with orange highlights. Slight light colored head. A bit of remnants in the bottom.

Smell: Wood, earthy, a different alcohol like maybe aged rum.

Taste: Similar to the Raison D'Etere from DFH. Of cours a bit of raisin, a bit of leather. Kind of sharp on the hops once it warmed. Sticky fruits like plum mixed with vanilla. Sweet but not overboard. Good balance on the malts.

Overall a good strong old ale. Good balance but sways a bit from too much alcohol to too dry. Sip as a night cap as a good decadent complex beer. Wont rush out to buy more but would drink it again if the mood was right.

nriech, Feb 28, 2007
Photo of brewcrew76
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 7124

A - Pours a deep ruby brown with a thin off white head.

S - Sweet with drak fruits, rum soaked raisins and prunes, caramel.

T - Sweet toffee and caramel, raisins, a hint of bitterness and a slight hint of alcohol.

M - Thick with light carbonation.

D - A tasty Old ale.

brewcrew76, Feb 26, 2007
Photo of alysmith4
2.45/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Not uaually a fan of the Old Ales, and this beer just confirms that. Very syrupy sweet and thick with low carbonation. Lots of cherry flavors came through, and it reminded me of a cough syrup I used to have as a kid. Similar medicinal notes as well.

I only had one, but it was hard to finish. The high ABV set the night off right, and made it easy to graduate to a lighter, more complex beer. Would not try this one again though.

alysmith4, Feb 25, 2007
Photo of RedHaze
4.53/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 7124, bottled on November 14, 2005.

Pours a dark mahogany, with a thin layer of foam that fades quickly to a thin ring. The lacing is very minimal, but it is very sticky.

Smell; lost of dark rich malts. Toffee and and molasses mix with with plums, dates and raisins. Floral and citric hops are present as well, along with a bit of spiciness in the background.

Taste; this is a bit more fruity in the flavor than I was expecting. The plums and dates are present, but there's also hints of cherries and figs. A rich malty toffee and molasses, with a bit of vanilla, fill out the middle, and the finish is bitter, floral and citric hops.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability; the mouthfeel on this is very full bodied, and silky smooth from a relatively low carbonation. As far as the drinkability goes, the only thing holding it back, for me, is the high abv. If it weren't for that I could drink this all night long.

I've had many different batches of this beer, and it never disappoints. I jst wish that I could have this available to me all of the time, instead of just on my winter trips to Michigan.

RedHaze, Feb 23, 2007
Photo of BeerHonky
4.7/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a medium sized, bulbous wine glass. Unforutately the vintage is unknown, however, the bottle was covered with a bit of old dust. My guess is that this bottle is around one or two years old, but that is a complete uneducated guess. It does feel as if I have discovered a piece of Bell's history. Pours a wonderfully solid, opaque, burnt umber. Nice light tan head that dissipated rather quickly to a thing lace around the edges. Smells of sweet, roasty malts. Maybe some dark fruit in there too, such as raisins and dates. You'll really need a big whiff to get to the fruit. On to taste...is this a barelywine? The carmel malt and roasty flavors make me think a little of Heavyweight's Old Salty. However, this has definitely mellowed out after some aging. The balance of flavors and smooth, creamy mouthfeel is just exceptional. There is also a nice noticeable balance of hop flavor and bittering at the end. Man, this is just almost perfect in my mind. Wish I could get my hands on more of this.

BeerHonky, Feb 18, 2007
Photo of brewandbbq
3.73/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours muddy, dark amber, with a tan, somewhat dense head of medium duration. A few streaks of lacework remained as well as a film of bubbles on the surface. Quite a bit of particulates floating about and looking very murky.
Aromatics are malt-laden, with caramel undertones and tinged brown sugar. A faint citrus profile along with raisin pulp adds some complexity.
The mouthfeel is sticky, slick, and somewhat grainy.
Pallet is pretty staightfoward, with carmelized malt and sugars. Barely a hint of any vineousity leans in the "old ale" direction, with the profile being more along the lines of an american strong ale.
Bitterness is slightly heavy-handed, and helps combat the residuals nicely.
Finishes with a husky coarseness, scortched sugars, and a lingering warmth.

brewandbbq, Feb 14, 2007
Photo of Jessefive
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass, this beer had virtually no head. Very dark in color. The flavor was roasted malt and chocolate. There was very little carbonation. The body was very full and thick. There was a little bit of a tangy alchohol bite to the flavor. This was my second beer from Bells, and so far I'm very impressed.

Jessefive, Feb 13, 2007
Photo of xav33
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bell's Third Coast Old Ale
12 oz bottle
Medium pour in an English pint.
Packaged 11/05, unwrapped 02/07

Poured a hazy ruddy brown with an average beige yellow frothy somewhat diminishing head with fair lacing.

Smelt of sweet sweet caramel with moderate lemon citrus undertones.

Taste was upfront strong roasted grain and moderate spruce bitterness with light caramel and orange sweetness followed by a strong bitter toasted whole grain bread taste and cedar with with a light sweet caramel on a long finish. Palate was medium bodied, oily, lively carbonated, strongly astringent and slightly alcoholic.

Overall, an old ale that showcases the grain perfectly after over a year in a bottle, with hops still present and supporting the whole beer.

xav33, Feb 02, 2007
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.43/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in an American pint glass)
date code 7124

A- This beer has a densely hazy warm walnut brown body with a light amber glow at the base. There is a gentle carbonation with a thin ring of light tan head around the glass. There is a flurry of small particles floating around in the body.

S- This beer has a smell of sweet caramel, dark toasted sweet malt with a gentle note of black malt hints.

T- The first flavor of this beer reminds me of free suckers from the bank with that white sugar corn syrup goodness followed by a soft coffee/dark malt bitterness in the finish. The note of caramel sweetness and white sugar have a hint of cardboard which is very pleasant. There is a note of dark port and light honey in the body that come through when it is warm. The notes of pine hops with a slight grapefruit note come through when the beer is pretty warm.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel that is really lightened up by the alcohol heat that is soft but really keeps the malt in check.

D- The smooth complex malty notes makes this a true malt monster with a nice pine hops note that comes through more and more as it warms to slay all that savage malt.

rhoadsrage, Jan 29, 2007
Photo of Truh
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Checked the lake out with this one on 1/14/2006. 12. oz. bottle (batch 7236) poured in a Northampton Brewery shaker glass.

Pour produces a light sheen of head, really just a wispy lace that curls and smokes around the surface. As the volume diminishes, very little stick is evident. Hue is a muddy orange, verging on brown. Tough to see if there is any continued carbonation present. Prunes, raisinettes, cumin, black pepper, and light oak char mix on the nose, a redoubtable alcohol spicing things up. Fruit punch slam on the mouth, with a freshly cut orange rind tanginess that masks some of the alcohol, though it is plainly still there, happily so. As the pour warms, the tangy character settles down a bit, to be replaced by a silky malt core.

A very nice brew that I was able to sample thanks to the generosity of Warriorsoul!

Truh, Jan 14, 2007
Photo of Metalmonk
4.68/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 7695. Which means I didn't have the self-control to cellar it very long. And hot damn, am I glad I opened this now--it made my day.

What a beautiful color, a deep, deep caramel-brown with an extremely creamy head that lasted much longer than I would expect from a 9% beer.

Woody aroma, some chocolate-covered caramel. In a blind test I'd guess by the aroma that it was a barleywine. It's nice, but I expected more in this area.

Oh wow...what an absolutely beautiful-tasting beer. Caramel, molasses, maple, butterscotch, Hall's cough drops...while somehow avoiding any kind of overbearing sweetness. That's the beauty of this beer: its overriding elements are sweet (with a little mustiness from the yeast) but it's completely mellowed by the magicians at Bell's by whatever process they've used to brew this baby. I imagine even those not usually into sweet beers would love this, because the sweetness merely accents all the other stuff going on. It's also rather port-like as it warms. Very complex, and rather than slamming you with obvious flavors, this beer just GLOWS.

The finish is amazing, extremely earthy and spreading out forever. A thick, hearty mouthfeel is just perfect for the flavors, leaning toward syrup, and it would be incredible on pancakes if thickened up somehow.

Phenomenal. A sipper for sure, given it's thick mouthfeel, high alcohol content and ridiculous complexity. Bell's has another winner here.

Metalmonk, Jan 08, 2007
Photo of Wasatch
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another awesome brew from BuckEyeNation.

Batch 6722

Pours a cloudy brownish color, nice carbonation, nice little off-white fizzy head, some lacing afterwards. The nose is of sweet malts, hops, nice caramel, maybe some spices. The taste is sweet malty, with a chewy mouthfeel. Medium body. Very drinkable, a nice Old Ale from Bell's, highly recommended.

Wasatch, Jan 07, 2007
Photo of peabody
3.7/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours out very very dark with a finger of tan suds with lots of nice lacing around the pint glass.
Smell is cherry and walnut and mabey a chocolate strawberry sunday.No strong yeast but the Malt is the star here. There is grape and raisin here. Great smelling beer.
Taste is a malty cherry cordial with a bitter bite. Coffee or burnt toast.Sweet and malty with lots of alcohol to warm the head.
The mouthfeel is very malty and warm. Sugar is present here but subdued by the alcohol. Very warm drink. Recommended for a cold winter's night.
One might be enough.

peabody, Jan 05, 2007
Photo of bjohnson
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Unfortunately I've forgotten who aided me in acquiring this fine brew. Thanks to one of those stellar mid-west traders for the chance to sample this.

A: Pours a muddy rust almost brown color. A bit too red to be just brown. Expresso like cream colored head that has nice retention.
S: Raisins, figs, dates, and prunes. Sweetness that balances out the fruity notes. Nutty maltiness comes with a swirl of the glass. Also an interesting soft floral aroma.
T/M: Nutty, raisins, prunes, and sweet caramel topping flavors. Pretty hefty bitterness stings the palate and leaves it dry in the finish. Boozy spicyness is present here. Quite balanced considering the hefty malt profile. Thick and coating. Above average body.
D: An interesting old ale--a sipping beer. Nightcap worthy. Does Bell's make a bad beer? High abv is noticeable, but only subtle spicyness informs you of it's strength.

bjohnson, Dec 31, 2006
Photo of foureyedgeek
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 7236, packaged February 8, 2006. Poured in to a pint glass.

Dark mahogany brown with orange highlights when held to the light. Small finger and a half of tan head that fades quickly to a ring of bubbles, only light lacing, kind of a disappointment in looks..

Smell is sweet, earthy and woody, with notes of molasses and raisin, an obvious whiff of alcohol.

Tastes of rich malts,more molasses, just a slight bitterness in the finish. Dark fruits abound and a touch of booziness present, too. Complexity develops as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel is thick and 'chewy'. Drinkability is ok, though the big character of this beer, combined with higher ABV limit me to one at a time.

foureyedgeek, Dec 24, 2006
Photo of kenito799
4.68/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a goblet

Pours a rich dark brown, transparent with a few little yeasties a-floating. Tan 1 inch head, recedes leaving creamy lacing along the side of the glass.

Aroma warm and malty, caramel and chocolate, and more subtle, complex winey aromas. Soft carbonation, smooth, (wow how nice this would be from a cask!)...Flavor emphatically states that this is a premium, expertly crafted brew. Lovely balance of caramelized malt, floral hop aroma and bitterness, sweetness and bitterness doing a long long tango in the finish, neither predominating, the taste goes on and on, and so drinkable: you can't wait for the next sip. 9%? Undetectable. Beautiful effort.

kenito799, Dec 24, 2006
Photo of Ego
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2.8.2006 batch

good solid 1 finger of off white head, lots of stuff floating around in there (drunk sea monkies I suppose), lacing is very good, head retention is decent, deep brown with glowing ruby tone, a nice looking beer.

dark almost chocolate covered wood aroma, a good amount of earthiness, the alcohol is detectable but melds nicely into the aromas here, adding a compliment, not a detraction here. the smell is deep and intense, maybe even a little splash of dark rum in there, again the beer scores well here.

taste etc...
somewhere between raisins and prunes in the flavor, the alcohol has more of a warming effect than a flavor effect (although you do sense it), a nice layer of cocoa powder-esque flavor coats the toungue in the aftertaste, the mouthfeel is nice and full, and the carbonation is spot on, it carries the beer enough but yet is not jumping up and down yelling "I am carbonation hear me roar". This is quite good.

great. I'll have to age some and see how it does, as far as being a "young" old ale I would prefer this to Old Stock Ale from North Coast. Try this as a digestif after a nice holiday meal.

Ego, Dec 11, 2006
Photo of Osiris9588
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle witht he batch ID of 7236, brewed on 2/8/06. Pours a muddy mahongany with rusty, ruby undertones. The Offhead head is quite creamy, showing decent retention and leaving some thin wisps of lacing.

The aroma is very malty and yeasty, with distant notes of black currant and cherry, along with a bit of caramel and smoke. The flavor follows the aroma, along with strong candied notes, some figginess, flutters of nuttiness, and a phenolic bitterness.

The mouth is medium-bodied, and quite complex and bold, a nice balance of sweet and bitter aspects. It's not overly phenolic or astringent as some Old Ales are want to be. The balance makes it rather drinkable, yet still not a brew that one might down more than a couple of during an evening.

Another winner from Bell's.

Osiris9588, Dec 08, 2006
Photo of seebus
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - served in a 12oz bottle with a picture on the label of a chilly winterscape. pours deep brown with ruby hues and a pancake batter-colored head that disappeared within minutes.

S - smells like a rich, heavy fruitcake (think positive).

T - almost candied fruit sweetness. toasty maltiness is in the background as it goes from sweet to a lightly hoppy and alcoholic finish.

M - good body. at first it seemed on the thin side, but that was just with respect to my expectations.

D - it's a little raw. with the high alcohol, i would like it a little more mellow.

i'm going to throw 4 of the 6 in the basement and let them relax a bit. i would buy this again.

seebus, Dec 05, 2006
Photo of Darkale
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Dark, cherry brown body, mocha head that bursts out and then fades to a thin skim. Aroma is nutty and sweet. Thick and chewy in the mouth - one can definitely understand the allusions to barley wines in previous reviews. Coffee and acrid chocolate mix with sweet, cool malt. Hops tingle as you swallow. Powerful sipper. Marvelous. Is it a barley wine? Is it an old ale? Compared to other old ales that I have seen reviewed, I'm tempted to say old ale... but a marvelous cold weather beer in any event. Well done.

Darkale, Dec 03, 2006
Photo of gmfessen
3.65/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Paid $2.49 for a single bottle, beer pours a dark amber/mahogany color with lots of yeast floaties. Beer has minimal thick head with lacing that coats the glass. Smell is slightly sweet and is of chocolate, raisins and a very slight tinge of alcohol. The taste is initially very pleasing, fruity with a nice hop balance... but then the alcohol taste takes over and leaves a burning sensation both in the mouth and throat. The 9% is pretty apparent. Tongue feels slightly numb. The mouthfeel is full bodied, chewy, with very little carbonation. Overall I would have to say this is a beer to be drunk in moderation.

gmfessen, Dec 01, 2006
Photo of akorsak
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bottle received in a trade with Phatz.

A: THe ale is a deep red-brown color, muddy and murky with some ruby red highlights. The head came in at 1.5 fingers but quickly reduced to a small white ring.

S: The nose is a bit of a disappointment, as it yields only a brief hint of malty boldness.

T: The ale has a big strong malty taste, thick with chewiness. The malts are concentrated, giving the ale a grainy sweetness that sticks in the mouth. The maltiness gives way to a strong alcohol content late in the sip. Mixed in with the alcohol is a strong hop bitterness that flourishes just after the alcohol.

M: A great deal occurs tastewise, especially as the ale warms up. The malt strength gives way to a nice hop and alcohol mix that packs a wallop.

D: The 9.00% abv is tough to swallow, hurting the drinkability. The hop flavors, as they emerge, redeem it.

akorsak, Dec 01, 2006
Photo of phisig137
3.73/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep mahogany brown, almost black until held to the light, with red highlights. One finger head with little retention falls leaving nice lacing.

Aroma is full of alcohol, as well as some leather and chocolate. Very alcoholic nose hampers it a bit though.

Flavor is tasty, yet a bit retrained. Tobacco and leather combine with a slightly vinous character, and finish fairly bitter for an old ale. Sherry notes are present as well, despite this being a new bottle. Warming from the first to the last sip. Mouthfeel is a little thin for the style, but drinkability is quite good.

This old ale does not have the same complexity or concentration as others out there, such as Old Stock, or Thomas Hardys, but it is still a damn fine beer. This one should age quite well, especially once the alcohol presence falls a little. Another great beer from Bell's.

phisig137, Nov 28, 2006
Photo of IntriqKen
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks melbatoast93 for this trade.
I love Old Ales...even if some start to blend with others and even when some seem like nothing else.
This one pours a very dark amber with a moderate white head that melts to a ring of sticky lacing.
Aromas are typically dark fruits...raisins, plums, prunes, and caramel.
Taste is again caramel and raisins with a bit of sharp, bitter, hops on the end which serves to clean the palette and dry the mouth rather than leaving it cloying.
No sense of alcohol in either the taste nor the swallow.
Probably only in the after effects.
Nice warm old ale.
Like it.
I am told this one is at least a year old because the label still says Kalamazoo Brewing. It has held up marvelously and is a wonderfully smooth old ale.

IntriqKen, Nov 27, 2006
Photo of mjc410
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pour into my La Moneuse glass raises a one finger tan head that quickly falls to surface lacing. The glass lacing is thick, but, alas, slick. The beer's body is a deep, nearly opaque red-brown, with noticeable floaties here and there. The nose, which forces itself upon me from a foot away, is heavily laden with caramel, sugar, juicy dark fruits, spicy alcohol, and perhaps a bit of citrusy hops. The taste is very herbal and orange-flavored, with some mild alcohol bite. Also, notes of pine. It seems I'm picking up some cranberry and cherry, as well. Ends with a dry bitterness. The mouth is quite full, and the carbonation smooth and light. Quite a nice ale!

mjc410, Nov 27, 2006
Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
92 out of 100 based on 2,049 ratings.