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

Not Rated.
Third Coast Old AleThird Coast Old Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

2,392 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,392
Reviews: 1,033
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 10.22%
Wants: 234
Gots: 424 | FT: 29
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: 2,392 | Reviews: 1,033
Photo of Martyrob
4.55/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fantastic scotch ale from Bells

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

This is a very solid American Barleywine.

Photo of vfgccp
4.19/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Sep 2014 bottle, opened Dec 2014.

A - Really nice looking beer. Chestnut body with deep copper tones. Fine off-white head has ok retention and lace.

S - Sweet nose. Caramel, yellow raisins, soft warm booze (maybe a light cognac), and light brown sugar.

T - Really nice. Drinks like a bright American barleywine. Earthy woody hops, caramel, burnt chocolate, sweet macerated raisins, honey, and warm liquor.

M - Smooth, soft, medium-light body with appropriately low carbonation.

O - A delicious beer and a great Americanized take on the style.

Photo of ksimons
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-mahogany with a thin layer of light tan head that disappears quickly to leave a bit of lacing around the top

S-dark rich fruits, caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, and some bourbon notes

T-similar to the smell with a heavy dose of dark fruits and caramel backbone but with a moderate amount of hops throughout that is a bit harsh in the finish

M-medium to full body, light to moderate carbonation

Overall I really like this beer, the aroma was really terrific. It would be interesting to compare an aged bottle to a fresh one.

Photo of Stevedore
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Maduro's in Madison, Wisconsin. Served in a tulip glass 11/29/2014.

A- Medium-dark caramel body. Clear. One finger white head with good retention time. No lacing. [3.75]

S- Rich citrus, stone fruit hop aromas mixed in with sweet caramel and toffee. More sweet than aromatic. No graininess. Rich, intense, delicious. [4.25]

F- Dried stone fruit, dense caramel flavours, toffee, raisins. Nice complexity. A nice earthy bitterness on the back end that helps balance out the sweetness. [4.25]

M- Medium bodied, smooth and mildly dry. Good carbonation. Easy to drink especially for a 10.2% ABV barleywine. [4]

O- Very nice American style barleywine with a nice hop presence that complements the big malt bill better than most American barleywines. For what it is, it drinks great and is a very nice value. Would recommend this one. [4.25]

Final score: 4.20

Photo of OrangeMen
4.34/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- Deep maroone, burnt amber, murky and dark. Fairly transparent when held to light, glistens. Pours half finger thick slight off-white, slight tan head. Little lacing on sides of glass.
Aroma- Big notes of figs, raisins, dates, plums, all sorts of dried fruits. Malt forward sweetness, caramel, toffee, slight toastiness. Underlying earthiness, slight bitter and piney resinous hop character.
Taste- Burnt caramel, toffee, molasses, huge malt sweetness. Dark winter fruits accompany and accentuate flavors. Leathery earthiness, bready, hop bitterness resides on the back end.
Feel- Full bodied mouthfeel, thick and creamy. Incredibly smooth and rich.
Overall- Just a wonderful depth of flavors, rich and deep in character. Thick, sweet malts have a wonderfull toastiness and richness, while the dark fruits add a great sweetness to the beer. There is a slight hop bitterness present in its current state, but by no means does it add too much bitterness. There is a great balance to this beer, warming alcohol touch as well.

Photo of 57md
4.02/5  rDev -2.2%

Had this in a mini-vertical with a fresh 2014 version and a year-old 2013 vintage.
Brownish copper color. The nose is bready with a sweet note as well. The flavor profile is dominated by maltiness and a perfectly sweet finish – very pleasant but not too much. This beer is imminently drinkable (and downright dangerous) at 10%+.

The only major differences that I noticed between the two samples were that the sweet notes were more muted in the aged version and the aged version was a touch dryer. I think that I like the freshie better.

Photo of SFNC
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

A 2012 vintage. Smells and tastes similar to a good doppelbach. I think the age must have shaved off some rough edges. Sweet, without being cloying, strong, without being overpowering,

Photo of swoopdog
5/5  rDev +21.7%

A - Transparent brown with a good carbonation causing some tight bubbles in the middle. Minimal lacing and very faint alcohol legs.

S - Nice bourbon upfront some smokiness and vanilla, caramel and chicory.

T - Dark fruits maltiness and roasted breadiness upfront and some vanilla hit the middle of the mouth before leaving you with a faint hopiness at the back end where you get just a bit of that bourbon flavor at the end of a pull.

M - Much thinner than it drinks with minimal heat. Syruppy sweetiness and sticky drinks incredibly smooth for 10.2%.

O - This is an incredible barleywine and has a real nice drinkability and smoothness that can get someone in trouble if they weren't careful. I would put this up next to Bigfoot in style.

Photo of Pourharddrinkslow
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%

Poured from a 32oz. growler into a snifter glass

Pours a medium brown color with reddish hues to it, very little bubbles or head. Maybe it was because this was from a tap and not out of a bottle but i was surprised at how amazingly smooth this was for a (just barely) 10+%abv barley wine. Not quite as in your face as some barley wines I have tried, but not in a bad way. The taste has prominent notes of malt, fig, raisin & plum with a slight bite on the finish. Slightly sweet up front and very smooth. I did not think it had much of a boozy taste to it, but after finishing 16oz. I was definitely feeling it. Overall I thought this was a nice, if not slightly lighter barley wine. Recommend giving it a try if you come across it.

Photo of Neorebel
4.7/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Third Coast pours an astonishing shade of auburn with distinctly red highlights. The head is thin, but fluffy and inviting. I did notice some sediment, but I believe I have been holding on to this bottle since 2011, so that may have played a factor.

The aroma is sharp, alcoholic, reminiscent of bourbon, but one can definitely pick up fruity aspects, such as apricot, and there is a caramel element within it as well.

The initial wave over the palate feels very soft and smooth - malty, bready, with a touch of vanilla. The center of the flavor releases complex dark fruits, red wine, and baker's chocolate. The finish, a surprising amount of citrus and pine hop flavor, with a drying bitterness and a certain woodiness.

The flavor lingers nicely and despite the ABV and aroma, it is shockingly easy to drink. I must say in closing, that this is one of the best Barleywines I have ever tasted!

Photo of dbl_delta
4.27/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle dated 9/05/14 so it's almost exactly 7 months old. Too fresh, perhaps, but what the hey....
Deep amber in color. Kind of a murky, dark amber, in fact. Carbonation is fairly low - it borders on the nonexistent. Thin, patchy head. Not the prettiest brew I ever saw, but again: what the hey...
OK, this tastes GREAT. Initial impression is malty sweetness and caramel. The alcohol is obvious but not off-putting. Just when you think you have this one figured out, you're hit with a lingering citrusy bitterness which is just a great way to finish.
This beer is a tad rough around the edges - might be a candidate for the cellar. Betcha it gets even better with age.

Photo of moundbz
4.74/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

very drinkable, notes of toffee and caramel, not over powering alcohol taste

Photo of Bouleboubier
4.53/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(packaged 09/05/14 - poured into a fat Chouffe tulip)

L: expecting a lot of hop flavor - the head on this is thick and damn near rock solid, reddish-tan in color... deep rusty red hue to the liquid, touch of (hop?) haze... barnacle-grade crusty lacing... keeps a messy, but steady cover of foam

S: big, juicy hop and ester notes... nice balance of intense dark crystal malts, some toasty-roasty notes... mild perfumy scent like an old ladies purse... hint of toasted grain... almost a raspberry fruit spread going on

T: superb finish with that raspberry, minty-spicy hops, and one of the most magnificent, 3D caramel flavors I've tasted in a U.S. brew - I mean, there are a few layers to its flavor, from light to dark and a few points in between... homemade, fruit brandy-like soft boozy glow in the aftertaste; grassy/earthy (ashy/gravel), nearly meaty sugars hanging around as well... overall, flavors comparable to the textbook American barleywine, but very much exceeding the lot in depth and, for lack of a better term, complexity - excellent showing of plant-like flavors to establish counterpoint with the requisite fruity/caramel sweetness that's core to the style

F: satiny, luscious plumpness with soft, fuzzy frill on the edges... bedroom flow... suggestive of, but not quite syrupy - bitterness and laid-back alcohol seem to level that out... a little to easy to knock this back at its age

O: this may be my new favorite American barleywine, going toe-to-toe with the '12 Brooklyn Monster bottles that are floating around town right now, that are killin' it softly with some room-temp Stilton... I'll be coming back for more

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.3/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into a wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark burgundy color. The head is a finger high, and mocha in shade. It's not only wonderfully creamy, but the retention isn't bad either (for the ABV, that is). In addition, a consistent ring of lacing is left on the glass. (4)

Smell: Holy crap, this smells incredibly sweet. The malt backbone...isn't a backbone, really, more like an exoskeleton of caramel, brown sugar, nuts, and even chocolate. However, the ester character is the real punch in the face: it's ridiculous how much cherry, fig, and raisin I'm also getting. Touches of leather and alcohol also come through. Sure, it smells great, but is it going to be too much? Or will it show a modicum of restraint? (4)

Taste: Yep, it's sweet. It isn't just sweet, actually - it's also spicy and a little boozy. It starts off with plenty of caramel and brown sugar sweetness. Eventually, it will evolve into dark fruit esters, then some spicier malt notes, and finally alcohol. A lot of alcohol. The booziness subsides a little bit after opening up...but only by a bit. It's just okay right now - there's some depth to be found, but not much balance. (3)

Mouthfeel: Rich and creamy on the tongue, while it's dryish and warming going down. It doesn't quite burn the way its alcohol flavor would suggest. Carbonation is low, as well. A true example of a slow sipper. (3)

Overall: Right now, it's drinking pretty harshly. But you know what? A year of aging will fix that. Everything is here to be a great barleywine, it just needs less palpable alcohol presence. I'd buy it again...but only to age it a couple years. (3)

3.25/5: Trust me, age this one

Photo of orcrist_cleaver
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Looks nice. Complex ruddy ochre color. Head just short of being smooth and bubbleless like latte top. Didn't seem exceptionally long-lasting. Deep chocolate and oak notes contribute to the palate before sipping. My tongue notes: beets, allspice, and tart cherries; Spicy tannins and noticeable wood elements. The spice and oak definitely give the sweet toffee, etc. elements a grounded earthiness. Could be cloying on a hot summer night, especially after beer has warmed a bit. Velvety, otherwise, with good carbonation.

Photo of logicalparadox
2/5  rDev -51.3%

Not for me.

Deep reddish brown, it's rusty, almost bloody. Good head that leaves beautiful lacing and sea foam like stickiness. it looks pretty.

Bitter and roasty to the point of reminding me of grilled chicken gone wrong. The alcohol is right up front, only subdued by the astringency of the brew. Boozy, to be sure. Warming on the way down, but harsh if you're not into that sort of thing (which I'm not).

Highly rated, so maybe I'm just not a fan of the style. I've not had many barleywines that I've enjoyed, so I'm not shocked, but disappointed nonetheless. This is the first barley wine that I've had that packed this kind of intense roasted character, though. While I'm not a fan, I can see how that might be a bonus if you're into it.

Photo of pat61
4.6/5  rDev +11.9%

Rich malt, caramel, and dark dried fruit on the nose with a whiff of alcohol.
Pours deep chestnut under a 1/2" light tan head that quickly dissipates.
Offers up a palate full of toffee, biscuit, hints of chocolate, dark dried fruit, citrus, very faint coffee from the roast, rich and filling.
Chewy, below average carbonation, creamy.

Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%

The beer pours a dull dark brown with copper hues and a thin tan head that fades quickly. The nose is fruit and caramel grain sweetness forward, with a hint of metallic bitterness, and booze as it warms. There is similar sweetness that dominates the palate while drinking, but also biting bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel is where this beer seems to suffer most - lowly carbonated yet metallic, bitter, and slightly soapy - attributes which don't not make for a pleasant finish. It's otherwise relatively drinkable for being a big beer with an abv that creeps beyond 10%. I admire the style in a non-barrel aged, accessible, six pack format, but prefer other examples more.

Photo of cornmuse
3.74/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottled dated 9/19/2013, poured into a snifter on 7/31/2014.

Appearance: Dark, iced coffee with a tan, thin head and very slight lacing. Just what I expected from a barleywine.

Nose: caramel, barley, raisins, slight leather over notes of orange, apricot and clay

Taste: sweet, resting on the middle of the tongue and leaving a slightly bitter and sour (in a good way) trail to a dry finish with plenty of warmth from the alcohol (10.2 ABV).

Mouthfeel: Creamy and thick. Viscous is a word that comes to mind. It's a cool July evening, but I definitely see this working magic in the cold months because of the warmth and long finish.

I liked it a lot, but didn't love it. We'll put a few in the long-term drawer and see how it ages.

Photo of brewskifan55
4.06/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled on 9/11/13; poured into a snifter 7/25/14

A: Cola brown. A tan half finger head that dissipates to foam. Light lacing.

S: Dark fruits (plums, dates, raisins, figs), molasses, brown sugar.

T: Follows nose. Chewy, thick, robust, hearty. Syrupy. Almost bourbon-y. This one means business. The aging really improved on the smoothness.

M: Medium to heavy with light carbonation.

O: A stellar sipper. Really mellows as it warms. Recommended.

Photo of sommersb
3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Tasted On: 07-02-2014
Freshness: Bottled by 09-19-2013
Packaging: 12 oz. brown bottle, pry-cap
Glassware: Tulip
Purchased: Received in a trade

Appearance has a murky reddish-brown beer with a small tan head. Retention and lacing are low.

Smells are of rich malts, brown bread, caramel, chocolate, molasses and dark fruits.

The taste has notes of oak, vanilla and molasses, plus woody hop character. It also has a tannic quality that adds some acidity and bitterness.

Mouthfeel has a lively carbonation and a medium body. The finish has flavors of dark fruit sweetness and more of the tannins that adds acidity.

Overall a nice nightcap of a beer but the tannins were a negative.

Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.84/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap at the Owl House in Rochester, NY.

Pours a crimson red/brown, with a small quarter inch head, and not much lacing.

Smells like caramel, toffee, booze, dark fruits soaked in rum.

The taste is similar, and fairly smooth and unassuming. This is not a barleywine that knocks you over the head with strong malt flavors. It's slightly boozy, with smooth caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and dark fruit flavors. The alcohol present isn't negative, it melds well with the dark fruit flavor to suggest cherries soaked in brandy or raisins soaked in rum. It's nice. Not too sweet. This doesn't really taste like an American barleywine, however, seems to have more in common with one of the English persuasion.

Medium bodied, smooth, sweet mouthfeel. Low carbonation.

This is fairly tasty, but not in the upper echelon of barleywines/old ales that I've tasted.

Photo of Bone53
4.27/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 9 month old bottle into a snifter at around 45 degrees Fahrenheit

Appearance: Rich brown color with a one finger tan head that dissipates quickly. Great lacing

Smell: Caramel, toffee, figs/dates. Gets richer as it warms

Taste: Sweet malts upfront, dark fruits in the middle, and syrupy molasses character to finish it off. I don't get hops until the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Full bodied; Thick and creamy, almost velvety. very little alcohol detected

Overall: I don't know if it's because this particular bottle is 9 months old, but I don't get any alcohol burn that others mention. This is a malt bomb and don't pick up hops until the aftertaste. I enjoy the transition of flavors between caramel/brown sugar, dark fruits, and molasses. The latter gives off a very nice touch and is what made it exceptional in my opinion. I imagine a bourbon aged version would be spectacular. A great barleywine, a real sipper, and another solid big beer offering from Bells

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

12oz bottle served in a Prairie Teku glass
Bottled on 8/7/13

A - Pours a dark mahogany red with a small tan head on top. Throws a few specks pf lacing.

S - Toasted barley, burnt brown sugar, fruity, cherries, figs, dates, loads of caramel, bready yeast.

T - Sugary brown bread, toasted caramel barley, molasses, burnt toffee, sticky raisins, dates, dark sweet bread, dark fruits, slight hint of cocoa, bittering hops seem to add a kiss of citrus. Finishes toasty, bitter and the sweetness dries out at the very last second.

M - Medium to full body, sticky and syrupy at times, low to medium carbonation.

Aggressive flavors of toasted barley, sticky and sweet with more hop presence than I expected. It's like a Barleywine/Dopplebock combo. If you like aggressive beers pick this one up.

Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
92 out of 100 based on 2,392 ratings.