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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.

2,321 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,321
Reviews: 1,017
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 10.22%
Wants: 224
Gots: 384 | 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: 2,321 | Reviews: 1,017
Photo of Deuane
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Suprised to find this on tap at Elephant and Castle Pub, New Cumberland.

A-Murky, dark brown, almost opaque. Has a nice thick tan head that reduced to a thin cap leaving heavy lacing. A very interesting and mysterious looking brew.

S-Complexity abounds but all in a muted way. A sweet caramel malt blast followed by a nutty aroma with some interesting spiciness. Dark fruits come thru too with some plum and raisin.

T-More complex than the aroma as the flavours get to roll around in the mouth and get detected. All the compexity in the nose with the addition of an nice alcohol warmth and the spice gets identified as nutmeg. A finishing twang of a bitter hop bite at the swallow and aftertaste.

M-Full bodied with a very nice smoothness. Despite the the alcohol warmth the brew goes down very easy.

D-Very nice. A fully comlplex beer. I am sure a little aging in the bottle would make this beer even better. A truly interesting and worthy effort by Bell's. Glad to have had the chance to score this on tap.

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

Poured from 12 oz bottle into oversized snifter.

A - Poured a dark copper, almost opaque, with small head receding to patchy cap, no lace.

S - Sweet malt, alcohol, with a medicinal touch.

T - Fairly sour at first, followed by a barleywine sweetness, accompanied by coffee and chocolate notes, with a touch of hops in the finish.

M - Pretty thick with little carbonation.

D - Though this beer tastes quite good, the high ABV makes itself known during the finish. One of these is enough for me for that very reason.

This beer reminded me a lot of Flying Dog's Barleywine with slightly more sour and bitter characteristics. Doesn't blow me away, but it does make me a little more interested in old ales.

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

Dark mahogany with a solid one-finger yellowed head. Aromas of bread, citrus, toffee, dark fruits, and rum. Some bitterness upfront in the flavor...dark and lightly sweet. Big chewy malts - caramel, iced-coffee, nuts, raisins, and a slight hint of charred wood. There is a hoppiness to balance, herbal and citrus sweet, adding an increasing bitterness to the taste. Chewy and sweeter as I sip. Finishes dry, like roasted nuts. Fullish mouthfeel, a bit warming in the throat.

This bottle says 10.2%, by the way, though its strength is very manageable. Pretty well balanced all around.

Photo of t0rin0
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have no idea how old this bottle is but I would guess a year or two.

The beer pours a deep red color with some brown foam. The head lingers for a bit and leaves a little lacing. The color and head on this beer are so nice that I would like to give it more points but there was just too much crap swimming around in there. Lots of yeast chunks.

Aroma is very malty and a little of fading hop presence. The malt actually seems like its maturing. This is part of the reason for the first sentence.

The taste is very nice indeed. It tastes aged. The bitterness is mellow and the beer is kind of tangy. Some crystal malt present as well as some fruitiness. Can't find any spices but that may have faded. At this point I don't know whether to call it an old ale or a barleywine.

Body is medium thick with ample carbonation. Again, I would have given more points if it weren't for the yeast chunks. Despit that however, it was very drinkable.

Photo of CrellMoset
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance: A ruddy, orange-brown, surprisingly clear, with a fast-fading one-finger head that leaves almost no lacing. Looks thick, syrupy, and sweet.

Aroma: This one's definitely a malt bomb. The aroma is overwhelmingly sweet and sticky, with caramel malts being predominant, and other slightly toastier malts also being noticeable (toffee, even a slight roasted coffee-like presence). Dark fruits - grapes, apples - and other fruity notes, bitterer, imparted by a formidable hop bill aren't far behind.

Taste: An initial burst of dark and dried fruit sweetness - apples and grapes are very prominent, with pears and figs or raisins hiding around the perimeter - and lots of sharp, prickly alcohol - not warming, just very sharp. The middle and finish are fairly bitter for an Old Ale - lots of hop sharpness and plenty of that piney, citrus peel oil. An intense combination of flavors, intensified by the sheer quantity of every element that's present.

Mouthfeel: Kinda all over the place, with a rough profile, random bubble size. The body's full, but it's not as heavy or as thick as it may look like it should be. I actually don't think that this is a bad feel for this kind of beer - something smooth and creamy would likely be similar to cough syrup.

Drinkability: Likely where this beer falters the most, but that's not unexpected. What's there is very nice, but this one is a sipping beer, and it's so extreme in so many departments, I likely wouldn't have more than one.

A robust, bold, cellaring beer if there ever was one. It's definitely approachable - it has something for everyone, with lots of fruity sweetness, lots of complex malt notes, lots of good hop overtones, etc. I'm planning on picking up a sixer to cellar - it's very obvious that this beer will change with age, and it has the alcohol content to age gracefully.

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

12oz. brown bottle, purchased at Party Source, poured into a tulip. 8135

A: Pours a nice show leather with some visibility when back lit. 1 finger of like toffee colored head forms and holds pretty decently. Some patchy lacing throughout.

S: Deep malt complete. Loads of raw flaked grains in the mix. A large mixture of spices mixed in as well. A hearty alcohol presence.

T/M: The rich malt character mixed with the spice blend and demanding alcohol attitude really make this complex. Maybe a little over the top. Plenty of peaty notes and maybe a splash of faint smokiness. Body is full but not heavy or chewy. Alcohol lends a great depth to things as well as a warm belly.

D: Robust flavors and a defined alcohol side make this a slow sipper and, as on par for the style, a night cap. Really diggin' Old Ales, lately.

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

A_Pours a thick looking cloudy brown with a tight one finger head. This dissipates rather quickly into a splotchy swirl of a cap which manages to stay there to the last drop.

S_Mostly caramel malts with a bit of alcohol vapor as well. Hints of pineapple and iodine shine through as well. The aroma is fairly sweet and barley wine-esque.

T_Sweetness reigns upon the first sip. Caramel and sugar appear. This is followed by a nice medium level bitterness. It is a subdued floral hop presence that shows through with a strong background bitterness. As the beer nears room temperature subtle hints of pineapple, cola and a bit of funky umami appear.

M_Slightly syrupy but not so much so as others of the style. The carbonation is on the lower side of medium but is enough to prevent it from becoming too sticky.

D_Another winner from Bells. Having lived on the other two coasts I have to say that the beers produced from the Third one are excellent as well. This is an approachable Old Ale yet not without subtlety. Thanks to pimpp for the sample.

Photo of Monkeyknife
3.73/5  rDev -9.2%
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
3.83/5  rDev -6.8%
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 -3.9%
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%
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 -17.3%
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
4.7/5  rDev +14.4%
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
3.97/5  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 -1.5%
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
3.93/5  rDev -4.4%
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
4.72/5  rDev +14.8%
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
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
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
4.01/5  rDev -2.4%
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
3.78/5  rDev -8%
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
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
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
3.6/5  rDev -12.4%
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 -15.3%
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 -5.1%
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
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

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Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
92 out of 100 based on 2,321 ratings.