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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.

2,323 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,323
Reviews: 1,017
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 10.22%
Wants: 225
Gots: 387 | FT: 24
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: 2,323 | Reviews: 1,017
Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.82/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12oz. brown bottle

Appearance: Slightly hazy dark amber brew with lots of super fine-grained sediment. This beer is capped by a thick, dense light beige head with decent retention and nice lacing.

Smell: Hoppier than expected. On Bell's website this is listed as a Barleywine...hmmm...Anyway, the primary aromas are of American hops (Cascade maybe?) backed by vibrant candied fruit aromas and a hint of sharp alcohol.

Taste: I don't know what I was expecting, but somehow it wasn't quite this. There's massive fruity tones (dried cherry and maybe fig and raisin) backed by piney hops and all supported by a sugary, caramelly sweetness. This is really somewhere between an Old Ale and a Barleywine...whatever it is, it's smooth, rich, and hides its 10.2% abv pretty well. The finish is hoppy with a lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, rich, and coating.

Drinkability: One (or two at most) and done.

Conclusion: The only complaint I have with this beer is that the finish is a bit abrupt, with the hop bitterness really killing off any lingering flavors. Other than that, it's a well crafted, complex, and tasty (I especially like the dried/candied fruit notes) Old Ale/Barleywine.

Photo of kinger
4.32/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a beauty this old style ale turned out to be. Sparkling dark amber pour with a thin white film and very little lacing. Slow carbonation and a considerable amount of sediment, but no worries man. Sweet malty aroma, sugary with a punch of alcohol. It's almost good enough just to sniff away on this, but alas it must be tasted. Intense flavor explosion of sweet caramel, candied sugar, floral hops, and even a touch of citrus goodness. Oh my there are more than a few layers to this and it all melds wonderfully. Full bodied, the alcohol makes it's presence once again in the finish. Exceptional.

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

Batch # 8269 packaged Jan 11-2008.
A cloudy deep amber/peach pour with a head that disappeared quickly. Lots of sediment floating around, mmm. Aroma is hops, caramel malt sweetness, and dried fruits. Citrus, pine, molasses,pepper,and other spice come through as well.Thick and heavy bodied with good carbonation and a creamy sticky mouthfeel. Flavors of honey,caramel,biscuts,rasins,some very mute citrus tones,oak ,, very complex,the flavors change as it warms,no real strong alcohol hints at all, very very good,a little on the sweet side to drink several at one sitting,but a top notch offering for sure... Thank you Mr.Bell

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

Batch 7695 24 October 2006

Poured a deep brown with a nice tannish head at first that dissipated. Nose was a little boozy, complex with a whirlwind of smells and notes. Taste was molasses,tobacco,roasty,vanilla, light cocoa and a little bit of booze. Mouthfeel was thick and coating with the molasses and vanilla hits at the end. Drinkability is very good, not a session beer unless you're like and have a liver of steel. Very good Old Ale by Bell's

Photo of daledeee
4.42/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A dark clear brew that has a nice head and lace afterward. The nose is equally pleasing with floral and banana tones.

Taste is on the hoppy side but not overwhelming like some IPA. There is also some spice, sweetness and a little dry finish. The alcohol is warming at the finish.

I would have never guessed all the above go into one beer. I found this to be very pleasurable to drink. This is a nice change to the over the top hoppiness of several brews available. Very well balanced.

Photo of jwinship83
3.43/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

bottled sept 25 2008, batch 8723. 10.2% ABV

A- dark ruby colored body under a finger and a half off white, creamy head with good lacing

S- alcohol, cherries, plums, and other sweet malts. no detectable hops.

T- very medicinal, almost like cough syrup. it somehow works for this one though. lots of fruit...cherries and plums mostly. you can tell this is a strong beer from the cutting taste of booze near the finish. moderate hoppy taste in there too.

M- a little thin. warms all the way down.

D- one bottle is enough. its powerful, and a bit green right now. i look forward to what this one will evolve into, but as it stands right now i wont be revisiting this one for quite a while.

Photo of Windigstadt
4.68/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2007 vintage cellared roughly one year.

A - Pours a clear, deep chestnut with a sufficient off-white head.
S- A deliciously inviting sweet aroma. Maple and cane sugar dominate the nose with just a hint of citrus.
T- While many beers like this start off sweet before giving way to the underlying bitterness, the malt and hops of this beer seem balanced the moment it hits your tongue. The result is sweet malt and molasses mingling with a piney, resiny bitterness. This combination leaves an almost chocolate-like finish... not overly sweet but definitely not dry. While maybe not as complicated as other old ales/barleywines in terms of random flavors crossing the palate, what's there seems to be in perfect harmony.
M- Full but not thick; just the way I like a bigger beer.
D- Again, the exceptional balance of this beer makes it almost effortless to drink.

Overall: really a stand-out old ale, and seems to get even better with age. Probably my favorite offering from Bell's.

Photo of ph2001
2.9/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle in snifter

no head, a very hazy deep amber color. smells very sweet and malty. looks thick. the 10.2% is not too noticeable in ti. there is a strong sweetness and maltiness to it. the hop flavors are subtle and nice. it finishes with a strong spicy carmel flavor that stands out quite a bit. it could be more balanced but it might just need some time on it.

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

I got this brew in a trade with Greggy, Thanks Greg!

12oz bottle served in a tulip glass.

L - murky brown color with a foamy tan head that left spots of lacing.

S - sweet malt and fig/date aroma.

T - sweet dark fruit and malty flavors, a bit of alcohol can be tasted on the finish.

F - full bodied, thick and creamy feel.

D - good brew.

Photo of Jwale73
3.35/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in my DFH snifter. Batch# 8269. Poured an opaque mahogany will virtually no light penetration; almost completely opaque. Half inch, frothy, tan-colored head with lots of tiny ringlets embedded in the cap. Head began to dissipate after a minute into a fairly consistent skim of varying density that predominantly coalesced around the edges of the bowl. Nose is toffee, some dark fruit, a hint of vanilla and a touch of booziness in the background. Flavors start off with toffee, booze and a slightly vinous quality; however, finish is acrid, biting and lingering. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a consistent carbonation presence throughout the mouth. Drinkability is compromised by the lingering bitterness. I've had the opportunity to try several different old ales lately, and this was not at all what I anticipated. Several aspects are very style consistent, but the flavor did not seem characteristic.

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

A: Pours a dark ruby copper brown with a very thick 2 finger head that sustains. Looks pretty syrupy on the pour.

S: Smells like a doppelbock: dark fruit, raisins, figs, caramel malt, molasses, brown sugar.

T: Smells like it tastes. Awesome maltiness, but not as syrupy sweet as a doppelbock. Lots of dark fruit and caramelized sugar flavors. Well balanced between the initial sweetness of the malt and the accompanying coffee/chocolate bitterness. Fairly dry on the finish, decent amount of alcohol on the end.

M: Silky and smooth. Medium to thick body, but not overdone.

D: This goes down almost too smooth. I would love to try this with some age.

Photo of srandycarter
4.02/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours cola or dark pekoe tea. Not much head, small ring. Pretty sheet like lacing.

S - Massive sweet malts!

T - One big ass beer. Major frontal attack of solid caramel. Yum. Bitters towards the end to avoid cloy.

M - Big coater, heavier beer, great carb.

D - This one will finish my night.

Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.72/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes:

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Dark amber in color with a decent sized white head. Some nice lacing down the sides of the glass.

Aroma is quite malty with a touch of hops. Mostly caramel malts with toffee and some fruitiness that reminds me of figs, dates, and raisins.

Nice flavor. A little sweet. Lots of maltiness and creaminess. Very bready and biscuity. Full mouthfeel. Very chewy on the tongue and full bodied. A nice beer. I dont like the sweetness of this and the alcohol seems a bit too noticeable. This will be a good one to lay down for a while, which I will certainly do.

Photo of TonyT
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip glass.

The color was Dark amber/medium brown. I was a little reckless on the pour, so there were flakes of yeast hanging a third from the bottom.
Nice smooth front end with caramel and spicy taste that pulls into the back end. There is a subtle citrus hop taste that hits in the back.

The alcohol taste holds throughout but is balanced by the woody "cask" taste.

The word for this beer is smooth. Very drinkable. This is the first time that I've ever had this beer. Bell's never disappoints.

Photo of BoitSansSoif
4.18/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Reddish amber w/nice head and beautiful lacing.
S-Sweet malt, esters, including raisin, grape, fig, and apple, and light citrus hops.
T&M-Sweet malt and esters matching those in the aroma. Aftertaste is sweet and hoppy w/oily texture that coats the back of the palate and leaves an agreeable citrus sensation.
D-Quite good. Alcohol is apparent initially, but rapidly disappears into the body, even though you know it's still there.

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

Dark amber with good lacing.

Smell is complex, raisin, alcohol, booze, and wood

Very raisiny, also with boozy wood, molasses and a sort of buttery finish that knocks this down half a step for me.

Mouthfeel slick and appropriately carbonated, but doesn't stand out.

High ABV and sweetness hampers drinkability a bit.

This was solid, but didn't really turn me on like some of Bell's stouts have.

Photo of Billolick
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Twelve ounce bottle, pours red/orange tinged darker amber, fairly, though not completely clear, long lasting light mocha head and splattered fine lace left behind upon a moderate swirl. Malty, ripe fruit, and some wood in the nose. Rich and tasty creation, Molasses, wood, light smoke, vanilla, ripe fruits all found intermingling on the palate. 10.2% (according to the rear label) nicely hidden in the rear. Fine after dinner sipper/night capper. Still more high test brew from Bells.

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

A - Attractive deep brown color with nice tan head and good lacing.

S - Malt, caramel, raisins, soy sauce

T - Big malt flavor. Dark fruits, brown sugar. Slight hop balance.

M - Full, thick, and creamy.

D - Fairly easy drinking for the ABV but big in flavor to want to down several of these.

Photo of Proteus93
4.27/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep rusty reddish brown, some ruby highlights. Wonderfully creamy and hilly golden brown head.

S: Dark fruits (some raisin and plum), some ripe fruit (apple), sugars, warm malts, and notes of citrus hoppiness. Complex and lovely.

T: A huge roasted malt, some toffee, some sugary goodness. A touch of bitterness, light molasses, and a note of slightly tart, over-ripe dark fruits.

M: Thick, rich, big-bodied with a creaminess and nice coating. Mellow carbonation, as if tapped from a fresh cask.

D: A big sipper. While the site lists it at 9%, the bottle listed 10.2. Alcohol warming is there, but the spicy heat has settled on the drinking side of things to make it a reasonably drinkable brew. Very nicely done, and among my favourite Bell's offerings, I'd say.

Photo of Revvy
5/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Note- Poured into Belgian Goblet for Tasting Purposes.

Appearance- Poured a quarter inch head which rapidly dissipated. Small amount of lacing. It is a dark Mahogany in color, like an old leather journal found in a curio shop. There is some yeast in suspension which may have been more a result of my pour than a true reflection of the beer.

Aroma - Cold, there is a strong coffee and toffee aroma with hints of oak and smoke (very reminiscent of Stone's Oak Arrogant Bastard Ale). Also Molasses and brown sugar.

There is no hop aroma in evidence.

As it warms the complexity increases. soy sauce, smoke, caramel, toffee, leather and tobacco all come through.

There is a distinct alcohol nose to it.

And, at it's warmest there is a hint of cherry buried deep.

Mouthfeel- This is silky, with a hint of effervescence, as well as a noticeable alcohol bite on the tip of the tongue and the back of the throat. It is silky but it doesn't linger in the mouth, like honey. The surprising carbonation seems to cut through any cloying and carries it down the throat.

Taste - The complex aromas match with the flavors; coffee, toffee, hints of oak and smoke, molasses, brown sugar, Soy Sauce, smoke, caramel, toffee, leather and tobacco all come through. They are present cold and only increase in strength as the barleywine warms, although the coffee notes seem to take a backseat.

There is bitterness reminiscent of burnt toast that cuts through any sweetness.

Buried deep in the complex flavors, and released as it warms, are the flavors of chocolate and cherries, reminiscent of Liquor filled Cherry Cordials with dark chocolate.

And, in the final swallows the flavor of figs comes to the forefront.

Overall- This is a very complex and serious Barleywine. Very reminiscent of Oaked Arrogant Bastard by Stone in may ways, only with less oakiness and smoke and much more complexity of flavors. These flavors grow more varied as the ale warms, some come to the forefront as others recede. Each sip brings more and more surprises.

Third Coast Old Ale is the leather armchair in your favorite uncle's study. The uncle who died childless and left his vast fortune to you. It has absorbed decades of rich pipe tobacco fireplace smoke and the fumes of 100 year old brandy; it envelopes you in comfort and grandeur as you both grieve and bask in your good (and new) fortune.

Grade- A+

Photo of SpecialK088
3.87/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter

A-Cloudy brown small head but decent retention small but thick lace down the glass.

S-Sweet malt, fig with alcohol notes a well

T&M-Thick and i mean real think sweet malty taste, clove with a nice alchol finish little over carbonated but still nice and smooth.

D-Not very drinkable for day to day but would like to set a few back and see the diffrences as it ages.

Photo of naterock
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

burnt orangey-brown decent head retention large bubbles in the head.

Smells of hops and sour apples, slight pear and fig notes. sweet and delightful

Tastes of heavy malts, extremely heavy and earthy. again notes of sour apple and slight pear taste

heavy and thick

This got a good drinkability because (style in mind) I wouldn't want to drink more than one. I would feel that I insulted this beer drinking more than one.

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

Out here in Indiana I'm graced with two locations for Bell's beers year round and this is certainly one of the best from Kalamazoo.

Serving type: 12 oz. bottle, dusty, aged a little bit in the grocery store (yes, grocery store!) where I bought it.

Appearance: Pours dark, amber/ruby colored into a snifter, small head, great retention.

Smell: malty, sweet, vanilla, clove, rich.

Taste: fantastically strong; the malt hits right up front, but is balanced out with just enough hops to create a nice place where one can appreciate the complexities in this beer. Not too boozy although, being an Old Ale, one can hardly expect zero alcohol taste. In fact, I'd say the alcohol blends nicely with the malts and hops.

Mouthfeel: smooth baby, smooth. Like malt flavored ice cream.

Drinkability: I guess you should savor this beer once in a while, on a cold winter's night, next to a fiery hearth, with fresh snow outside under the bright, cold moon...or drink it as I am on a hot August night in NW Indiana. This beer is great. Does it matter when it is consumed? I've got a six-pack, too; my night might be long...

All in all, thanks Bell's and keep up the good work!

Photo of johnd513
4.67/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours brown in color with a small head that quickly disappears. This beer smells of alcohol, sweet malt and dried fruit. The alcohol in this beer is upfront but not necessarily in a bad way. Tastes of dried fruit and caramel. This beer is way too drinkable for its 10.2 abv. There is just so much going on here. I stuck a six pack in the cellar and can't wait to crack one open in a year or so.

Update: Wow. This one just gets better and better. This could very well lead to a cellaring addiction.

Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours ruby brown in color. A nice half inch of head on the pour. Looks delish. First sip is very nice. Just the way I like'em. A smooth, port-like, english barleywine. Not hopped to hell and back. After just the initial taste, I'm imagining how incredible this would be to have aged at several years. Full and creamy on the mouthfeel. I guess I'll have to start aging these next to my Expedtion Stout!

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Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
92 out of 100 based on 2,323 ratings.