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Third Coast Old Ale - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Third Coast Old AleThird Coast Old Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,835 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1835
Reviews: 957
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.19%

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: 1,835 | Reviews: 957 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of tbeckett

Ontario (Canada)

4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle from Total Wine in Tampa. Bottled 10/12/12.

A - Quite cloudy with a rusty brown colour. Great two finger fluffy light brown head. Mild carbonation coming up. Good spattering a of lace and a half finger of retention.

S - Huge dark fruit character. Port, cherries, generous amount of hops integrated well. Wood too. Absolutely fantastic and really enticing.

T - Boozy and much more hoppy than the aroma. Sweet dark fruit there too. Tons more hops than the aroma. Boozy pineapple. I typically don't like heavy booze/hop combos, but I find this to be milder and well put together compared to some harsher examples of the style. Good.

M - Proper mild carbonation and medium body with an abrasive bitterness that mellows latwr and lingering boozy citrus.

O/D - This is a pretty good beer. With better alcohol masking and lower hopping rates, it would get a much ranking from me. A good example of a difficult style for me. Balanced, yet aggressive and nice to sip.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2013 20:49:52 | More by tbeckett
Photo of StonedTrippin


4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

definitely one of the better barleywines ive had in a long time, thanks again to thebrewo for this one. it pours an enchantingly deep deep copper to ruby red, with a one inch off white head with excellent retention, especially for the style, which I find generally lacks this quality. its got an interesting nose. first of all, youd never know it was over 10% abv, it smells more gentle than that, nothing harsh at all here. there is some molasses sweetness, a mild but complex spice profile, and a huge grain profile that may even have some rye malt in it. the flavor isn't as sweet as the nose, its more delicate. weird to call a beer this big delicate, but this one somehow is. there are notes of vanilla, butterscotch, clove, and a range of other attributes that make me think this would be an ideal holiday beer. its a little out of place in springtime, but its really delicious. soft feel with relaxed carbonation and a easier drinking medium body. by feel alone, you also wouldn't know this is a barleywine. the alcohol gets more prominent as the beer warms, which is to be anticipated, but it never gets tough to drink or caustic. overall I really enjoyed this, I like that its not super hoppy or super sweet, but maintains the complexity the style is known for. very well made beer here.

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2013 16:34:50 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of BMMillsy


4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

10/12/12 bottle date, so this one is 6 months old. Pours deep brown with a reddish hue. Tannish yellow one finger head. Aroma of caramel malts, some sweet dark fruit, and a bit of booze. Thick viscous mouthfeel. Almost have to chew this, which I was not expecting. All malt flavor with sweet figs and prunes up front that meld into an interesting ever so slightly bitter finish. A lingering caramel covered fruit left on the palate. Low carbonation. A real winter warmer.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2013 03:16:21 | More by BMMillsy
Photo of facundoCNB

New Jersey

3.89/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

dark amber almost brown in color with a finger of head, decent head retention with some lacing left behind. smells of sweet malt, honey, caramel, raisins, plum. the flavor is very sweet and boozy up front with a slight zesty citrus flavor (orange?), sugary raisins, a slight earthy bitterness, slight hint of bourbon. lots of alcohol is presnt in the flavor and develops a warmth in the chest. a full bodied low carbonated, heavy on the booze beer.

this beer is a bit nicer when it warms up. it's pretty harsh and hard to get through the bottle (even though it's a small one.. the abv is not much more than hopslam, yet somehow is way more present in this.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2013 00:29:36 | More by facundoCNB
Photo of stephenjmoore


3.84/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Burgandy colored body with caramel colored highlights at the thin parts of the glass. Thin tan head that lingers around as a ring of bubbles.

S- Tons of caramel malt, some molasses, a hint of brown sugar.

T- Really a big, hardy, malty old ale with just a hint of sweetness. Tons of caramel malt from beginning to end, with the molasses-like sweetness showing up slightly towards the middle.

M- Full-bodied, rich, a big sipper. Medium carbonation.

O- Pretty good beer for a cold evening, big and filling.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2013 23:03:20 | More by stephenjmoore
Photo of BlackBelt5112203

South Carolina

4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass at cellar temperature.

L – Deep amber color with a nice 3-finger frothy, tan head. Really nice retention and some good patchy lacing. The beer is pretty hazy, so I can’t appreciate any bubbles.

S – Rich malty aromas with caramel, molasses, raisin, plum, and fig notes. There may be a touch of fruity, citrus hops.

T – It starts off sweet with caramel, molasses, and dark fruits like plums, raisins, and figs. As the taste progresses, bitter grapefruit and orange citrus hops come through and build toward the finish.

F – Medium-to-full-bodied with good carbonation, a sticky and creamy mouthfeel, and a bittersweet finish. There is a nice warmth from the alcohol, too.

O – This is a nice barleywine. It’s not the most interesting one in the world, but it’s tasty, very drinkable, and a good example of the style. I like the fact that it comes in around 10% ABV instead of close to 15% like some barleywines. I think it makes it more drinkable and enjoyable. Nice job, Bell’s.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2013 19:19:58 | More by BlackBelt5112203
Photo of nickapalooza86


4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep mahogony red color, finger of off white head, quite un filtered.

Smel is a lot of dark fruit (raison, plum) but the smell is rather sweet like it is raisons and plums dipped in caramel and toffee, really good smelling stuff that is for sure.

Taste is sweet at first with caramel, plums, molasses and it finishes with a bit of earthy bitterness.

Mouthfeel is full with medium carbonation, finishes slightly dry.

A really good, Old Ale/ Barleywine at a great price an can really see this developing nicely and turning into a completely different beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2013 02:20:23 | More by nickapalooza86
Photo of screamking


4.34/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottles on 4/6/12***review on 3/16/2013
12oz bottle poured into snifter.

Appearance-pours a deep dark red brown, with a 1 finger khaki head, some but not much lacing. 3.75

Aroma-plums are all over this, along with rasians, black cherry, and some nice malty tones as well. Hints of toffee and butterscotch. 4.25

Taste-right up front i get dried plums dipped in vanilla yogurt. Then toffee and butterscotch come out to play. Carmel comes in too. Some bitterness in the finish as well as some boozeyness. The sweetness and bitterness is perfectly balanced. 4.5

Feel-full bodied, coats palate very well, alcohol is there but not overwhelming. 4.25

Overall- Perfect warmer for a cold night. Do yourself a favor and drink it over an hours span, you need to sit back and enjoy. Bells is starting to become my one of my favorite breweries out there and if they make more beers of this caliber they will slide right into first. 4.25

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2013 01:37:30 | More by screamking
Photo of pcguitarwzrd


4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

World of Beer Orlando. Draft into snifter.

A: Deep reddish brown with a thick, clingy head.

S: Dark fruit, malt, hint of booze.

T: Plum/raisin, rum cake, caramel/toffee with a hint of dark chocolate (Skor bar anyone?). Booze and hops jump in toward the end and keep it from being too sweet. A whisper of espresso in the aftertaste?

M: Rich and satisfying, dries out nicely in the finish so as not to be syrupy. Booze prickles and warms but is never harsh.

O: A very enjoyable barleywine. A standard for the style.

Serving type: on-tap

03-12-2013 00:22:24 | More by pcguitarwzrd
Photo of DrinkMoreBigBeers


4.59/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Date on bottle says 10/12/12

A - Poured out a nice creamy tan head with a dark ruby red body that you can see through once held up to the light. Nice and clean.

S - Produces a sweet rip raisin / cherry smell with a satisfying smoothness. Mmmm, lovely..Slight alcohol tickle in the back that makes you wonder how strong this really is.

T - Slight hops in the beginning with the dark fruit coming in afterwards of cherries, black current, raisins and a little bit of alcohol in the finish. The beer has a lingering caramel sweetness throughout, and the overall flavor lingers.

M - In the mouth this is full bodied and soft as they come with a complementary light carbonation.

O - One of the best old ales that I have come across with a real smooth quality to it. If you like this style you should give this sipper a go. Has an alcohol bite and seems like a really good one for people who like to keep a few for cellaring. This beer has a lot going good for it, and will become a regular one that I will seek out. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2013 01:08:54 | More by DrinkMoreBigBeers
Photo of minterro


3.66/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Have had some very exceptional Barleywines and some that I didn't find as good. Bought for around 3 dollars. Bottled on 10/12/12

A&S: Lots of stuff going on as far as the smell goes, interesting mixture of: caramel, mint, red grapes, and breadyness. Hints of earthy hops. The beer is dark brown but quite transparent, head is fizzy and dies instantly. Some lacing clinging.

T&M: On the bittersweet end of the barleywine spectrum. The typical alcohol tones in Barleywines were not a huge presence in this beer (although half way through this one I could feel the blood start to rush to my cheeks so... the alcohol is probably just quite well hidden). Not super flavorful because it kinda gets overpowered by bitterness (I didn't age it very long but I feel like it shouldn't be this better after 4.5 months). finish is very dry and bitter. come out very crisp and kinda dies a bit and turn to a dull crispness. On the lighter side of medium bodied.

Overall: I didn't really enjoy this one as much as I expect I would. Maybe I could use some cellaring... I don't know. I feel like as much as I am a hop head, I might like the sweeter less hopped version of Barleywines

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2013 05:49:15 | More by minterro
Photo of emyers


4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottle poured into a Founders snifter. Bottled on date: 4/6/12.

Appearance: Pours a murky brown color with a thin beige head.

Smell: Strong caramel and toffee notes with figs and a bit of oak. Clean, classic aroma for the style.

Taste: The fig, raisin, and oak notes are stronger here. Caramel and toffee both come through very nicely as well. Finish is fairly bittersweet. The bittering hops do an nice job of keeping the sweetness in check. There's even a little bit of piney hop flavor that sneaks in on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy body. Low carbonation gives it a silky mouthfeel going down. Very nice.

Overall: This beer pretty much represents everything I expect an old ale to be. While it won't blow you away, it's a great representation of the style, and I'll keep picking up a sixer every year.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2013 01:29:19 | More by emyers
Photo of AmitC


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

Bottle dated 4/6/2012. So almost a year old beer.

Poured into a snifter. No head. Almost brown color with some ruby hues. Decent lacing. Almost opaque as such, with some translucency in light. No bubbles. Calm.

A lot of malts upfront. Caramel. Bready and sweet. Np alcohol as such. Some fruity esters. Low to none hops in the nose.

Taste is full of malt with very very slight hop bitterness, almost hidden, towards the end. Well this could be an old ale but neither seems to be an American or English Barleywine. No. A lot of caramel flavor and some hop mixed malt flavor. Finish is almost dry with just hint of bitterness which i am just giving to the beer.

Mouth feel is slightly full bodied with some maltiness. Low to non existent carbonation. A good amount of alcohol warmth but no at all boozy.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2013 03:36:36 | More by AmitC
Photo of andrewjraab


3.91/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A. Deep ruby auburn color with a thin line of egg shell colored head.

S. figs, malty, big whiff of fruit, caramel, dough, slightly boozy.

T. Malt forward, big and rich fruity flavors: figs, dates, dried raisins, a slight bitter finish to balance it out. Heavy and syrupy mouth feel. Has a warming alcoholic pinch as you drink it.

O. A well crafted barley wine. This is a definition of a sipper and only gets better as the brew warms. I will definitely cellar one and try this again.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2013 02:00:41 | More by andrewjraab
Photo of Rutager

British Columbia (Canada)

4.16/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled Nov. 3, 2010. Thanks Jayhoop for this nicely aged treat!

Appearance. Pours a super deep amber-brown with a bunch of haze and a thin off-white head.

Smell. Rich, sweet, grainy caramel malt. There's some orchard and dark fruits, a little brown sugar, and a decent amount of booze.

Taste. Sweet caramel, black licorice, some bitter earthy hops, a little dark fruit and some bitter wood.

Mouthfeel. Very full, warm, and mildly carbonated

.Overall. A nice big beer that I could imagine would improve with age.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2013 03:44:15 | More by Rutager
Photo of barczar


4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Been in. the fridge a couple years.

Pours a brilliant deep amber with a foamy quarter inch deep khaki head that dissipates fairly quickly, leaving modest lacing and a layer of light foam.

Deeply caramelized malt, toffee, dark berries, plums, figs, and raisins form the aroma. Notes of sherry and tobacco add intrigue.

Flavor is decidedly sweet, almost cloying until the dark fruit and bready malt kick in mid palate, leading to a slightly dry and bitter finish. Malt backbone is extremely rich, with brown sugar and caramel sweetness. Raisins, figs, and sherry at the base if the flavor increase the brew's complexity. A hint of chocolate becomes evident as it warms.

Body is a touch full and fairly creamy, with enough carbonation to lighten the profile. Significant alcohol warmth is present.

Very complex beer. Nice balance of extremes. Sweet, hot, bitter, fruity. But not really favoring one direction over the other.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2013 22:02:58 | More by barczar
Photo of liamt07

Ontario (Canada)

4.24/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Siciliano's, 12oz into a tulip. Batch 10492, bottled April 6, 2012.

Browned burgundy, with a cream coloured cap. Film of retention and light lacing. Nose of some dark fruits, syrup, candy and caramel. Light toastiness. Taste reveals a load of caramel, dark breads, some hops, grapes/plums, alcohol warmth and a tad more syrup. Medium full body, warming on the palate. Full thick and perfect for a cold winter's eve.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2013 04:40:05 | More by liamt07
Photo of Seanniek91

Rhode Island

4.51/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 12oz bottle into a Grey Sail pint. Old windy night in NH.

Appearance- Brown/red/amber with light head that left some nice lacing. Very cloudy and dark. No visibility.

Smell- Dark rich fruits. Caramel malts. Light earthy hops. Light coffee. Booze. Barleywine.

Taste- Sweet caramel. Dark fruit. Earthy grassyness. Finishes with great hops. My kind of Barleywine.

Mouthfeel- Thick and moderately heavy. Perfect carbonation. Nice viscosity.

Overall- This is a damn fine barleywine. Glad I got one of these and it's perfect on a night like this.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2013 04:16:37 | More by Seanniek91
Photo of BigTrubble

North Carolina

4.63/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle batch code 9958 which according to the Bell’s website was packaged on August 25th, 2010. Glad to try this beer again especially one that has aged two and a half years.

Third Coast Old Ale pours beautifully opaque deep amber that lightens slightly around the edges. Thin head that expands slightly as the tiny carbonation bubble rise.

The smell is heavy of alcohol and slightly sweet almost cloying, some caramel and plums.
Wow this beer aged amazingly as Bell’s intended. The flavor is balanced almost entirely hiding the 10.2% abv. Nice deep caramel, sherry with sour apple undertones. To say this beer is complex is an understatement, the flavors are intertwined perfectly.

Medium bodied, smooth finished with a slight warmth, and medium-low carbonation.

Extremely easy to drink deceivingly so; hiding the alcohol with an outstanding complexity of flavors. The slight alcohol warmth is almost unnoticeable except as a means to balance out the flavor. This beer may be at its peak right now, wish I had a large cellar stocked with it.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2013 01:52:36 | More by BigTrubble
Photo of patpbr


4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours an amber and brown color.
S - Sweet, malty and complex aroma.
T - Caramel, malt, and sweetness. Dark fruit, pine and earthy quality. The hop bitterness is mild and helps balance it.
M - Medium mouth. Dry finish that lingers on the tongue.
O - Very drinkable and gets better as it warms.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2013 02:15:44 | More by patpbr
Photo of hoptualBrew


4.83/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle

Appearance is deep amber in color, clear with off white head. Minimal lacing, legs indicative of the abv %

Aroma is complex, and layered with decadent pheromones. Sherry, oak, cherry, caramel, vanilla, leather and tobacco qualities all synthesize in one fantastic aroma.

Palate starts off caramel sweetness & lends to the aforementioned flavor characters. Sherry & cherry, near fruitcake flavors come in mid-palate and end in a somewhat oaky and booze filled finish.

Feel is soft up front with a slight bitterness, but balanced in the finish with a slightly dry and more of a bittering draw. Carbonation is right on point.

Literally, cannot find a fault in this old ale. I'm reviewing it to Old Ale style characters, as I don't think it resembles an American Barleywine.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2013 04:30:41 | More by hoptualBrew
Photo of elNopalero


5/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was bottled on 11/07/11 and enjoyed a little over a year later, on 12/25/12.

I’m eager to try it with some time on it.

The beer pours a malty caramel color with light foam. I’m drooling already!

It has a simply amazing aroma to boot—I pick up on a combination of coconut—raw and toasted— and toffee. In the absence of a noticeable hop presence I find a light orange marmalade note to it.

The flavor still has a piney bitterness to it that comes across upfront. It’s sweet and chewy with a lingering bitterness on the finish. I get some more toasted coconut & caramel & pine & some orange marmalade notes on the palate. Somewhere I think there’s even hints of tobacco and leather as it warms and opens. Simply fantastic brew. Remained nice and effervescent even after a year. Really solid beer—this sets the benchmark even higher.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2013 08:13:17 | More by elNopalero
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.38/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Thanks to drewone for sharing this one at his place.

Bottled 11/14/12.

Pours a hazy reddish-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small streaks and dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, fruits, and alcohol. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but it's quite strong and boozy in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2013 06:20:40 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of DmanGTR

New York

4.48/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Datz in Tampa. Review from notes.

Poured deep mahogany with garnet hues in the light. Light beige head that retained nicely. Very big on the malt spectrum. Lots going on here with molasses, caramel, hint of prunes, dates, and black currants. Hops are low key, lingering towards the finish, which is sweet and long lasting. Big body but not cloying. Carbonation makes this a pleasure to quaff. A highly recommended beer.

Serving type: on-tap

01-06-2013 16:46:00 | More by DmanGTR
Photo of malind

3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass. Batch 9970 - bottled 11/3/10

A - Dark, reddish brown. Average amount of carbonation when poured. Head dissipated quickly.

S - Caramel, earth tone, dark fruits, whiff of booziness.

T - Hint of alcohol, complex malts, slight bitterness. Not overpowered by hops.

M - Rich, thick, slight tingle of alcohol, but not overpowering

O - A good winter sipping beer from Bells. Readily available. I bought a sixer and let it age for two years before trying it, so I have no comparison to fresh.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2013 03:11:09 | More by malind
Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
92 out of 100 based on 1,835 ratings.