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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.

2,189 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,189
Reviews: 980
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.19%
Wants: 209
Gots: 318 | FT: 19
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: 2,189 | Reviews: 980 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Monkeyknife
3.75/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle a dark ruby brown with a very thin cap of beige for a head.

Aroma of malts, caramel, dark ripe fruits, and booze.

Taste is initially bitter with dark ripe fruits, caramel, and a sharp astringent punch from the alcohol.

Medium mouthfeel, quite drying, and moderately carbonated.

A nice Old Ale from Bell's, but a bit more of a hop presence would have been nice IMO. Definitely worth a try if you get the chance.

Photo of JamesS
3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a very nice brown color with good head and decent lacing. Nice aroma, thick and malty, but not as strong as I like. Excellent taste, a nice thick beer with good balance, nice maltiness, and a slighlty tart aftertaste. Goes down pretty well, too. Well worth a try.

Photo of Ysgard
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I love my malt bombs, and have been looking forward to cracking this open all week, expecting as much from some of the other reviews. This is probably the first beer calling itself Old Ale I've had.

Poured thick from the bottle, with no head, even after changing to a rougher pour when it was noticed the head was not devoloping. The bubbles came up to the surface and took their time coming through the almost syrup body. There was white debris in suspension, something I've only ever noticed before in a Stone Imperial IPA. Was this dry hopped? Is it protein precipitate?

The smell is caramel and dark fruit, with only a touch of floral warning of hops to come. I do not notice the alcohol.

The taste starts malty, with caramel being the big flavor, supported by the dark fruit flavors. It immediately moves to an almost grapefruit bitter, the hops finishing each sip.

Although I am not a big fan of highly hopped beer(I define high as >35 IBU), when I come across one inadvertantly, as I did this, I don't hesitate to try and learn from it.

The Hops made for a pretty nice balance to the sweet frontend, and this ended up being surprisingly drinkable ale for someone who avoids hops.

I'm happy.

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

This s fireside beer. As in, bust out your favorite tulip or chalice and get comfortable with this one. It's probably the most balanced and least cloying old ales I've encountered. In fact, it reminds me more of a barleywine, like a not-so-hoppy Rogue Old Crusty.

The flavor is of very smooth, slightly sweet malts with a subtle mix of caramel and fruity malts. For such a big beer, the flavors actually seem a touch muted. The aroma is similar with mellow sweet and bready malts. This is a 9% beer, I expect some bigger flavor. Still, overall it's pretty tasty and very drinkable.

Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.4/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to dyan for this extra from Bell's.

Pours a murky brown/red color with a small head and no lacing.

Smell is of malt and caramel with a strong alcohol tone.

Taste is surprisingly hoppy at first considering I picked up little hop aroma, lends some immediate bitterness on the tongue and mouth, the caramel and malt presence becomes more noticeable later on, an astringent alcohol tone is noticeable almost throughout the entire beer.

This seems almost like a cross between a barleywine and an DIPA, an interesting brew although a bit off-putting at the same time.

Photo of Greggy
4.68/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

bottle #7695
October 24, 2006 vintage

Appearance- Pour's a nice solid 2 finger head into an oversized reidell bordeaux glass. Nice sticky lacing clings after the first sip. Slowly, the thick head recedes down into the Deep ruby/black body. Nice thick sediment stays in suspension in the glass.

Smell- Very nice hop aroma reminiscent of a barley wine hits the nose right off the bat. A huge chocolate covered cherry component is obvious as well. I get a nice light flour scent in addition to a butterscotch and huge caramel aroma. A bit of doughy bread and banana is as in there. A very sweet cream/coffee hits the finish.

Taste- Initially, a very buttery, thick viscous syrup comes through with some nice dark fruits. Notes of cinnamon, brown sugar, light pinneaple, and other ripe fruits are there.

Mouthfeel- Very full, viscous, syrup, thick feel in the mouth with low to no carbonation. With a thick full body like this, though, carbonation isn't needed.

Drinkability- This is a great thick, full body, and filling, old ale. This will be a great brew to reach for when I'm after, "just 1."

Photo of Neehan
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle to pint glass results in a dark copper with a thin, offwhite head. Little retention. Oily, malty smell. Most notable is the rich plum-like malts that have a very well-combined flavor of sweetness with a bitter finish. Very smooth and drinkable for a beer of this complexity. Clearly a good candidate for aging.

Photo of bgramer
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pouring into a beer mug, the head rises quickly and takes a while to subside. It has a reddish deep mahogany body - like barleywine. Very malty and caramel-brown with dark fruits and a heavy earthy body. the lacing is mild as I drink it down. It's a heavy beer but very drinkable - I like it!

Photo of botham
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter. pours a reddish caramel brown color with a finger of light brown, thick head. moderate lacings.

aroma is of rich malts with a notable alcoholic character. an earthy base gives rise to notes of dark fruit, caramel, and a bit of roasted malts. reminiscent of an eisbock.

taste is more of the same, almost barleywine like in body with a profile bursting of malt character. the same earthy tones and dark fruit notes are here as well, only more pronounced. finishes on a grainy note with residual caramel and alcohol.

mouthfeel is slick, with a heavy body and a somewhat sharp finish from the alcohol.

drinkability is moderate. this is a rich and filling brew that pounds the palate with malt flavors and complexity. very bold and flavorful brew that remains refined in its proportioning. cheers!

Photo of Pencible
4.7/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2007 vintage. This poured a hazy brown with thin tan head. It smelled incredibly delicious, like brown sugar, toffee fudge, and roast malt. It tasted delicious too, like roast caramel malt with cashews and some floral hops. It was thick with no carbonation and had a slightly bitter, clean aftertaste. Overall this could have stood to be slightly more bitter (perhaps aging would help), but it was still very rich and delicious.

Photo of wagenvolks
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a Chimay chalice.

A vigorous pour fills the glass with a dirty, mahogany core encompassed by a less hazy, amber shell. A thin tan head builds to half an inch in height before quickly receding and leaving little lacing. The aroma is full of sweet, dark fruit & syrupy malt. Plum, strawberry, dark cherry, a light tart note, and candied sugar all make an aromatic appearance.

The tastebuds detect notes of prune, abundant booze, candi-malt, spicy hops, and a kiss of sourness. Mouthfeel is luxurious and rich-bodied for an Old ale, and well carbonated to boot. Alcohol really pulls through on the finish, but it's a happy, warming note...not one that repulses the senses. Overall, this is a very solid Oldie, and I can't wait to see how it cellars. I'll be purchasing a sixer of this every year from now on.

Photo of IBUnit63
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Rustic, bountiful frothy head with deep, dark mahogany body - looks like very nice stuff.

A little skunky aroma, sort of like raw dough or sourdough - interesting

Deep hoppiness and heavy caramel malt with alcohol presence - balance is not an issue

Bitter mouthfeel but it coats nicely

Good stuff - of course it's rather heavy

Photo of ewpgolf2
3.75/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch 8211 w/ no bottle date. Poured into a snifter to enjoy the aromatics-and there certainly was! The color was a deep burnt copper with a thicher malty head. The head dissipated rapidly down to about 1/8" in. and stayed there throughout. Tilt the glass and see how the head reacts on the sides! First smell is of molasses with carmeled wild cherries and then the 10.2% kcis in!
This Old Ale is potent even after a big meal with the warming effects like that of port or cognac. The mouthfeel was oily a little like glycerin and had lingering alcohol. It started to get a bit syrupy at the end but it still finished well. I would break this out as a digestif' and enjoy it very slowly. I'll buy a few more of these and store them for a "snowed-in" day!

Photo of number1bum
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Part of NEPA BC split #12.

Pours a somewhat murky caramel-like brown. Very nice rich and creamy khaki colored head fills the pint glass, a solid inch and a half, and recedes slowly. Great retention and nice stick.

Smell is sweet and malty, lots of caramel, some floral and lightly fruity hops, as well. Very nice.

Taste is big and malty up front, loads of sweet caramel malt especially. There is a nutty flavor, too, and some fruitiness from the hops. Dark fruits, especially, like maybe some raisins. Noticeable alcohol is present with a mild astringent burn. Ample hop bitterness balances it out through the finish. Maybe a little bit of a roasted flavor is aiding the bitterness, too.

Mouthfeel is rich and full, chewy for sure. Soft carbonation makes it smooth on the palate, very creamy.

This one is a bit of a slow drinker due to its heft, but it's very tasty and something I'd definitely come back to.

Photo of skizziks
3.63/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle, no discernable date. Kinda odd for something that is recommended for cellaring.

1/2" tan head that quickly falls to a few bubbles. A little sticks to the glass, not much. The beer is a pretty clear deep amber. SHould be more clear but I accidentally dumped some of the yeast slug intp the glass. Would be nice to get a big reminder on the bottle about that.

Aroma of cinnamon bark, nutmeg, some medicinal phenolics. It's nice but I wish there were more of it.

Intense hopping on this. Immediate intense bitterness with flavors correspondent to the aroma peeking out from underneath. A little cherry in there too. Citrus and piney hop comes back as it heads into the finish which lingers, warm and bitter with a nice bit of spice cake.

Full body, moderate carbonation. Sticky. Almost astringent in a woody kind of way but that's alright with me.

Not especially drinkable and I don't see any reason why it should be. A very good beer that is nearly great. Possibly very variable by bottle, I'll be happy to investigate further.

Photo of ArrogantB
3.48/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Batch 8211 which was packaged on 11/9/07 so this is about four months old. The color is a dark red and the smell is strong fruits like grapes and then fumes from the alcohol. The flavor is definitely more malty than hoppy and the alcohol is slightly present to the tongue. Overall, decent barleywine.

Photo of morimech
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours cloudy and dark copper/amber/brown with a small head that settles to a thin cap. Heavy lacing left on the glass.

Smell is mainly caramel malt. A touch of toffee and fruit is also detected.

This is a sweet malt bomb in flavor. A bit of toffee, caramel, and fruit make up the subtle flavors. It has a touch of hops to give a slightly bitter finish. Has a dry mouthfeel to go along with the heavy body and relatively low carbonation. Alcohol is present but not hot. Not the easiest beer to drink but it has good flavor. The $14+ for a six pack will make this a one time purchase. Wouldn't mind trying this on-tap though.

Photo of david131
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

Photo of tgbljb
3.75/5  rDev -9%
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.

Photo of sholland119
3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
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.


Photo of CrazyMacHarris99
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

Photo of timmlimestone
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
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"

Photo of AleDrinkToThat
4.43/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

Photo of Lothore
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

Photo of Atron67
3.78/5  rDev -8.3%
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

Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
92 out of 100 based on 2,189 ratings.