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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.

2,238 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,238
Reviews: 997
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 10.22%
Wants: 218
Gots: 352 | 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:
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: 2,238 | Reviews: 997 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MmmIPA
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Another Bell's beer,Im a total fan boy of this brewery.Poured into a snifter.

Reddish/brown colored body with a small white head that fell fast to a solid ring.Sitting in my glass,it looks like hard liquor

The smell is sweet,like the guy below me said,it does smell like raisons.You can smell malts.I think I smell chocolate also.There also is a apple smell.

Raisons and caramel malts are the most pronounced taste.Cant really taste the hops in this one but something does leave a dank taste on the back of your tongue.There also is a apple taste.

I love the carbonation in this bad boy! Very lively.The abv. makes its pressence.

Another great beer from Bell's that I need to find another bottle of and cellar for next year.Very tasty.

Photo of bozebus17
3.2/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to my buddy Cosmosys for giving me this bottle to take home and try.

Poured a deep reddish mahogany into my goblet. There is a small off-white head. It hangs around for quite a while but leaves no lacing.

The aroma is very sweet. There are notes of toffee, molasses, and a hint of alcohol.

The flavor is much like the scent. There is a lot of sweetness. Caramel, toffee, and some bitterness come through. There is also some fruitiness, it reminds me of raisins. The bitterness doesn't seem to be sufficient to counteract the immense amount of sweetness in this brew. The mouthfeel is full and creamy. It goes down about as easy as most beers of the style.

Overall I found this beer to be okay. I really had my hopes up but found it to be a bit sweet for my tastes.

Photo of mwilbur
3.08/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from bottle into cervoise.
A: Nice dark, cloudy crimson. Thin light tan creamy head.
S: Sweet caramel and malt. Nice aroma.
T: The high ABV is clearly apparent. Much more hops than malt doesn't help mask this. Some caramel, but taste doesn't hold up to the promising smell. Stong hop bite at the end.
M: Sharp on the tongue. Medium body. Decent mouthfeel.
D: Honestly, I was excited to try this, but I came away disappointed. To give it a second chance, I'll put a couple away to age and see what happens over time.
I love high ABV brews, but the flavors in this beer didn't complement the ABV well. There are better old ales out there.

10/9/09: Revisited this one. The hops and feel have softened a bit, but this is still not well balanced and alcohol is too apparent. Still lacking.

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

Well. Interesting. Really. Like a baby barleywine, kind of. A bit light on the color and too tangy in the nose for me, but, well. Interesting. Definitely interesting. I should have listened to spacecoyote... He told me to sit on it for a while. That would surely take some of that tang away and make this into a very decent old ale. But... Why not just make it balanced and drinkable to begin with?

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

Picked up a 6 pack of this recently from Warehouse Beverage. A 12 oz bottle poured into a wine glass. This beer pours a fairly cloudy dark copper color with an off-white head 1/3 inch thick when poured. Settles rather quickly to a fairly thin surface layer with a nice thick off-white colored ring lining the inside of the glass. Pretty good lace here. Has a fruity, malty aroma with hints of browns sugar, caramel and cherry. Sweet, malty, fruity flavors are present up front with hints of spiciness and alcohol. Followed by some hop bitterness. Has a good crisp, smooth, and frothy full bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Very good drinkablility for a barley wine indeed. Another very good beer from Bell's and a great overall representation of the barley wine style ale.


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

Appearance: It's a hazy, reddish-amber color with a two finger off white head. Very good retention and a solid coat of lace lined the glass.

Smell: Caramel malts initially give it a sweet smell. Hints of dark fruit (raisin and plum) and light citrus scents are present. Hops are not noticeable in smell. Very faint alcohol presence. Syrupy or molasses type smell on the tail.

Taste: Caramel malts and light citrus flavors indeed provide a very sweet taste. Dark fruit flavors blend well and add depth. Light hop flavor adds a little bitterness and balance. Slight biscuity taste wraps it up.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's medium bodied to thick. Very well carbonated. It's very smooth, but its strength limits drinkability. At 9%, it's strong, but not very noticeable. Overall, very solid offering from Bell's. Recommended.

Photo of NCSUdo
4.19/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle, batch 8211

P: Pours a deep mahogany under a small off white head. No lace, close to no retention.

S: Very nice fruity nose. Mix of cherries and maybe some sweet strawberry type aroma, some caramel malt thrown in.

T: A spicy, sweet fruitiness reminiscent of the nose. A little bit of alcohol, ending in a decent hop bitterness. Really a pleasant taste.

M/D: Full bodied, carbonation can be felt, slightly creamy. Very much a sipper. Alcohol can be felt but goes well. Overall a good beer to pour into a snifter and enjoy.

Photo of papat444
4.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to oakbluff for this one.

Poured from a 12oz. bottle.

Paired with cheese fondue and oka & brie cheese.

Appearance: Dark brown, almost black body with a nice light brown head & cascade of bubbles heading down. Very nice.

Smell: Slightly bitter, dried fruit aroma.

Taste: Rich & full-bodied, smooth & creamy, more fruit (berries?) & slight bitterness

Mouthfeel: Alcohol is felt but very pleasant. Feels a bit like a Barleywine & as it warms, becomes sweet & malty at the end.

Drinkabilty: Yes! I'd have another in a second.

Overall: Perfect ale for a cold winter night, comforting & to quote the label, "like having a warm blanket" A must!

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

Pours an inviting dark brown color with a half inch head that dissipates slowly. Aroma was very malty with a good dose of brown sugar and molasses. Taste was of warming alcohol up front, malty sweetness in the middle and finishes with another dose of boozy warmth. Mouthfeel was medium to full, making this beer a sipper for a cold February night. Not bad at all, but I'm thinking some aging is required to mellow this one out a bit. As a side note, I noticed this year's bottling lists the ABV as 10.2%.

Photo of Redwood21
3.82/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: this is a very dark beer, brown almost black like stained wood the head is short and short lived
S: very estery and sweet, very barley wine like but alcohol is by far very apparent
T: also reminded me of a barley wine mixed with a very well aged ale (think Thomas hardy type) there is oaked tastes there is an undercurrent of fruit in the taste it has a major tongue of alcohol though, very apparent for the 10.2% this is a sipping beer, that doesn't have to be but is probably best enjoyed in that manner

Photo of EliteDigger
3.78/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a review of this years ('08) vintage...
A-Pours a pale cola brown with a nice cream colored head that swifly disappears.
S-Sweet malts and an underlying booziness with a super faint herbal hop backdrop.
T-Some buttery caramel with nuts and toffee get followed by a nice hoppy bitterness that grows more pronounced as it warms. A slight hint of alcohol warming rides along the wave.
M-Thinnish medium thickness, creamy, and well carbonated.
D-Decent with the taste but not great with the ABV.
I put a few of these in the cellar as I had one from 2 years ago aged that was much mellower and smooth. Tasty!

Photo of JDV
3.58/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottles courtesy of for9719 and gregis on RB, shared during a tasting. Thanks!
Pours a rich dark caramel color with a yellowish beige head. Taste is rich dark caramel and almost orange creamy citrus as well. More than ample finishing hops to balance and a lingering very mild sweetness and alcohol flavor at the end. This was a pretty good beer and a nice example of the style.

Photo of Biscuit033
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Mahogany with a thin cream colored head and some lacing.

S: Candied sugar and dried dark fruits.

T: Raisins, dates, fig. graham craker, caramel, and toffee. The more I search the more flavors I find.

M: Creamy and dry with a nice long finish.

D: This is a nice beer to enjoy alone on a Friday night. And I will. The alcohol warmth is there but no strong alcohol flavors.

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

Bottle Inspection: Perfect for your cellar. While that's nice, a vintage or abv. or ingredients or... something would be nice.

Aroma: Toffee malt, autumn leaf, earthy hop all with a perfumed alcohol.

Appearance: Copper brown, some hazy, a fair dusting of particulate floaties, with a thin halo of bubbles that don't lace.

Flavor: Buttery toffee malt quickly melts away to a full grapefruit pith flavoring hop. I'm drinking this shortly after acquiring it, so I'm assuming it's fresh, and the bottles right, this should age and blend nicely. A warming alcohol starts to grow toward the end of the glass.

Mouthfeel: A bit oily in texture, medium heavy body with a little chew.

Overall Impression: In some ways, it already tastes like an aged Bigfoot. A serious beer, great winter sipper, glad I got one.

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

Big thanks again to my buddy Bryan for picking this up for me.

Pours an cloudy orange crimson with little to no head whatsoever. No lacing but there are definite carbonation bubbles visible.

First thing I noticed was the the sweet malt. Then I picked up on the sweet sweet caramel. There was also a bit of sugar cane in there as well.

I can taste the sugar cane right off the bat. I almost want to describe it as a deep dark sugar taste. Alcohol is more apparent. This one is a sipper for sure. Aftertaste is somewhat hoppy. Over all, this is a pretty balanced beer.

Very creamy rich and somewhat smooth. The harshness gets you at the back of the throat during the aftertaste which lasts a good long while.

My first trip into this style and I have to say I am impressed. This one has to be drunk slowly as to enjoy the full effect.

Thanks Bell's!

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

Thanks limesmut for this one!

Upon the pour, this appears a cloudy dark reddish amber color with a 1/2 finger white head that recedes a bit and leaves just a touch of lacing. The smell is delicious - raisins, dark fruits, caramel, touches of molasses and the like. Smells great!

First taste is impressive. The smells translate nicely into the flavors. Those flavors are also nicely balanced by just enough of a hoppy bite to keep things interesting - and not too sweet. Nice balance here I must say. Alcohol presence is just the right amount to be nicely warming.

Mouthfeel is rich and coats the mouth pretty well with the carbonation nicely riding things out. A touch of lingering sweetness - a nice amount. Very enjoyable mouthfeel.

Drinkability is indeed good. I wouldn't session this of course, but it has good drinkability for such a style.

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle (batch 8135),

Beautiful amber/orange in color with just the right amount of haze. I love bottle conditioned beer! The head settles quickly, but retains a thin permanent appearance even after 30 min. Lace clings the glass and takes on an off-white color.

This beer smells of malted milk, milk chocolate, vanilla, graham crackers, short bread and clean herbal hops.

The aromas appear again as flavors, but dark fruits such as raisin, plum, and currant round the flavors. Alcohol is present as the beer clears the tongue, without being hot. A perfect level of refined bitterness rounds the profile of the beer and integrates the rich flavors. This beer finishes in an incredibly long way. Very nice!

For the style this beer is incredibly drinkable and refreshing. The bitterness has a lot to do with it.

Highly recommended!

I just thought I would note that this beer ages very well. All of the flavors mature and become even more integrated with time. The strong bittering charge will last for years.

Photo of Atlas1
4.07/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle to a Belgian snifter, the Third Coast Old Ale appears ruby/amber in color, with a bubbly head that thins out quickly but leaves behind a thick ring of foam and some lace. The nose is dense with fruit and spices (cloves mostly, but also some pepper - maybe a hint of cayenne). I also detect notes of dark cherry, coffee, and faint cinnamon. The taste is also dense and fruity, but layered and complex. Up front is tangy with sweet malts and banana. But it finishes tart with a cherry/coffee hoppiness. Reminds me of a stiff glass of brandy or cognac, although it's not terribly reminiscent of either in taste; it's more so in how it drinks. Mouthfeel is chewy but with a twang.

This is a sippin' beer, to be sure. Not because it's so boozy, because it isn't. But rather because it's so thick and complex in flavors that it needs to be savored to be enjoyed. Not for everyday consumption, for me at least, but a fine beer in the dead of winter.

Photo of jaxon53
4.02/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A big thanks to Faro for sending me this beer in the Secret Santa '07 BIF. Served at cellar temperature, into an oversized snifter, from a twelve ounce bottle. Poured out a deep copper amber color that was quite a bit hazy. Almost a finger of thin off-white head formed, and quickly faded into a ring around the glass. Thin streaks of lace were left behind. Smell was of plum, raisin, wood, tobbacco, and malt aromas. Had a bit of an earthy hop aroma to it as well. Flavor was on the fruity side. More plum and raisin, with a hint of dark cherries, oak, yeast, pipe tobbacco, and a ton of booze. Finishes nice and smooth despite the alcohol. A generous amount of carbonation was noticed. Thick, full bodied, almost syrupy mouthfeel. The very present alcohol hampers drinkability a bit, but pretty good overall.

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

Appearance: Pours a dark amber body with a small, creamy off-white head.

Smell: Dark fruits and crème caramel with notes of cinnamon and molasses backed by a hefty whiff of booze.

Taste: Brown sugar and dark fruits, particularly grapes, smothered in a sweet caramel sauce. Hint of molasses and cinnamon spice. Slight earthy bitterness. Long, hot finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Coating mouthfeel. Warming alcohol presence.

Drinkability: A pretty good barleywine and another fine beer from Bell's.

Photo of DIM
3.61/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a: Clear dark ruby color. Pours with a medium off-white head that lasts.

s: Sweet apricots and some brown sugar.

t: Mirrors the smell with the addition af a mild floral hop on the end. The alcohol is well masked.

m: Viscous and syrupy, well carbonated.

d: A bit sweet, but a good beer overall.

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

Pours a murky brownish with a sizeable light tan head that has some very good staying power. Nose is nice and malty with a woody sweetness and a level of complexity that speaks volumes that you hope the flavor can back up. Flavor is beautiful. Nice deep complexities. Touch of alcohol is there for sure. One thing that comes to be after contemplating it for a while is a hint of almonds. Mostly though there is the wood and the "old" malty character. Feel has a good level of carbonation and the liquid is just right. In a far stretch of a way, this is like drinking a sherry or Madeira that has yet to be ages to perfection, but is almost there. I like it.

Photo of dreadnatty08
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 8135, rather fresh. Pours a gorgeous auburn, ruby red color with a fair amount of off white head that slowly dissipates. Aromas burst forth with lots of dark, dried fruits; very plummy and raisin like. Slight esters are there with a sizable alcohol note, and some piney hops barely noticeable. On the palate, it has a pretty thick, viscous mouthfeel with average carbonation. Flavor is heavily malty with some chocolate notes and raisins, some evergreen hop bitterness balancing it out. Compared to JW Lees and other British styles this one is not as overly sweet and malty which I greatly appreciate. Why this isn't considered a barleywine, I'm not sure. It is pretty similar to Brooklyn's Monster ale. Either way, an excellent sipping ale for the cold winter months.

Photo of OWSLEY069
3.78/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy deep amber color with a tannish head. In the aroma, a sweet plummish and a dark fruit charicteristic. In the taste, dry dark fruit and a sugary alcoholic end. A small bitter, and a bigger bodied mouthfeel and a small dry dark fruit and somewhat sugary in the aftertaste. Hides the alcohol very well. Sugary, yet quite dry, very easy to drink.

Photo of shivtim
3.58/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on-tap at the cafe. Came in a small snifter; hazy brown with a very small head. Nose is unexpectedly light, with some mild malts and wafts of sweetness. Taste is sweet malts and sour sugar. Alcohol is very well hidden. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both not bad. Good brew.

Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
92 out of 100 based on 2,238 ratings.