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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 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.

Photo of ByTor2112
3.48/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a muddy brown with some reddish-orange hues coming through with the light. the color of iced tea. Zero lacing on my glas.
Aroma-dried fuit, figs, malty and doughy with a whiff of alcohol.
Mouthfeel-medium carbonation delivers amostly malt flavor profile. Alcohol is present and warming. This almost has an english barleywine feel with very little hops. Dried fruit flavors of figs and a froth on the palate releases some more alcohol. This is not aggressive but would probably age well.

Photo of bboven
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep dark hazy brown varnish body, thick rocky head with spotty but cemented-to-the-glass lacing.

Aroma is huge figgy malt, sweet with a definite alcohol presence.

Taste is sweet with cherries and a bit of darker fruit with a distinctly medicinal bitterness at the end.

Very coating and sticky with mild carbonation once it breathes a bit.

A great one. As this is a young beer right now, I will be aging these to see how this one changes. I'm hoping for a bit more mellowness, but great stuff.

Photo of CWiggins
2.92/5  rDev -29%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is one of the six Bell's taps at Tyler's Taproom in Durham. I've now sampled them all! Old Ale is one of my favorite styles; I try each new version I come across. Bell's Third Coast is served in a Bell's tulip glass with approximately ten ounces at a time.

It's dark brown with nut-brown highlights, and the foamy head is tan and short-lived. Aromas of dark, sweet fruit and roasted malts rise up from the brew during a deep sniff. The flavor is sweet and malty with a surprisingly hoppy finish. Upfront, the malts are heavy and complex, and the fruity esters are certainly noticeable. When those characters mellow just before the finish, hops takes over and provides a very bitter finish. The mouthfeel is thick and a little chewy. This makes for a great stand-alone drink for a cool/cold evening.

My only complaint about this brew is the intense hops at the finish. I prefer Old Ales that are malty, smooth, and well-balanced.

Photo of mmmbeer
4.72/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. brown bottle. Batch 7695 - packaged October 24, 2006, sampled nine months later. It pours an opaque deep mahogany, almost black, with a finger of yellowed-khaki head. The bouquet is wonderful. Smells a bit like a stout with the chocolate, coffee, caramel and Chambord notes, but there are vinous and red berry malts that contribute another pleasant dimension. Bready/biscuity grains and rich vinous malts on the palate, along with molasses, caramel, coffee and chocolate. Also, there are dark fruits (blackberries) and piney/citric hops, a hefty bitterness, and a big pecan kick. The body is full and smooth from the start, drying, backed with tame carbonation and imparting a long finish. Overall a tasty, big-ass beer that is a treat to quaff and probably ages quite gracefully.

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

12-oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

A = Pours a cloudy, oak brown. Very slight tan head quickly dissipates. No real lacing of which to speak.

S = This is one of the best smelling beers I have smelled. Nice earthy, fruity smell. Hints of cherries, roasted nuts, marzipan. Incredible.

T = The alcohol is a little too upfront. It has a good taste of malt and dried fruits, but it is not as well balanced as I would have liked.

M = Medium bodied, slight carbonation, coats the tongue well but is not cloying after swallowing.

D = This definitely drinkable. It has a very piquant taste given the alcohol, but it also has some good tart bitterness and some sweet maltiness.

Photo of meatyard
4.04/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is a hazy, orangish, amber with a nice tan head that quickly falls to the surface leaving a bit of lacing.
The smell is of prunes and fig with a small amount of alcohol.
The taste starts off with noticeable alcohol then some more of the prune & fig plus some malty sweetness. There is quite a bit happening in the taste at the end and with the aftertaste-interesting.
Mouthfeel is medium thick and a bit oily.
Drinkability is very good. It's a bit potent for drinking a lot but very good for sipping and enjoying.

I like this and other old ales because of the maltiness and the smell and taste of dark dried fruits. Worth trying.

Photo of timtim
4.4/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

high marks across the board!!! dark reddish ambery(???) with lighter feet. tannish head that goes away after a minute or two and leaves a good deal of lace. head actually sticks around longer than most other old ales i've tried. nice. nose is caramelly malty sweet, roasty and hoppy with a faint booze hint in the background. maybe some toffee and fruit as well. very complex and interesting. taste is very well balanced, exhibiting many different tastes. the caramel, toffee and roast flavors are like some that i've only experienced in really good stouts. hops are there too, and provide a great backbone for the rest of the flavors to ride on. booze is well hidden, and flavors mix well. full bodied and creamy. i'll let a few of these sit to see what happens after some more time, but it is beautiful as is. not a session beer for sure, but lovely on a nice, cold day. thanks again larry!

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

I actually picked this to have with dinner last night, go figure. Though as it turned out it was a great decision. Poured a thick deep dark brown with a small tan head. Very thick looking with a somewhat reddish tint to it. Lots of side glass lace as well as a rich foamy layer left on top. The smell was very full, lots of roasted malts and caramel with an odd sort of sweet hoppiness melded into the back end of it. The feel was great, very full and creamy with a great residual smoothness to it. Huge sweet caramel and sugar flavor that was folded over with hints of chocolate and even a roasted coffee. This was a very fine strong ale, which gives really no hint of the ABV at all. I could have almost made a session ale out of this, it was just that good. I would take another one of these any day, just a great sipping beer with a good depth and a nice long lasting finish. Definitely a quality choice.

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

The palate features sweet and smooth raisin fruitiness, roasted and burnt notes, a nice toffee malt character and a rich, assertive citrus hop spice. The lengthy finish offers more of than hoppy bitterness.

Rich yet very balanced, though it’s hard to call it an authentic old ale because of the intense but enjoyable hop spice. Nonetheless, it was delicious.


Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From www.bellsbeer.com:
"The Batch ID that you entered '7695', is a Third Coast Old Ale.
Your Third Coast Old Ale was packaged on October 24, 2006."

a: Pours a hazy and very dark amber brown with suspended sediment. Light tan head quickly fades.

s: Sweet malts in the nose as well as brown sugar, caramel and alcohol.

t: Noticeable acidity, nice hop bitterness, with plenty of alcohol in the finish.

m: Full body, not much carbonation, sort of oily with a very dry finish.

d: Not too sweet or thick, hops balance well. Its a sipper that works great as a winter warmer. Need to purchase a few more and do some cellaring.

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