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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
92
outstanding
1,063 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,063
Ratings:
2,581
Avg:
4.1
pDev:
15.85%
 
 
Wants:
247
Gots:
524
For Trade:
29
Third Coast Old AleThird Coast Old Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States | website

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

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."

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-28-2002

User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,063 | Ratings: 2,581
Photo of ajm5108
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 10/12/12. Tremendous bouquet on this beer. Lots of rich sweet raisin, dark fig & caramel malt with a faint fenal alcohol underlining things. Doesn't taste as good as it smells, though. The caramel malt is the main note, though a little heavy, with a backbone of baker's chocolate, bitter toffee and dark cherry. There is a distinct leather note at the end that threw me off a little bit. Some warm booze follow-through as well as some smokey peat. It is a very intricate beer, sweet but heavy, a must-try if only for its complexity.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
4.71/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

7/11/15
Cellared bottle from 09/2014 served in a tulip glass.

Appearance: Deep red with some hints of brown and orange poking through. Beautiful creamy head that rode the glass down. Thick and creamy lace with some small alcohol legs.

Nose: Prunes, butterscotch, toffee, sweet and spicy hops aroma

Taste and Mouthfeel: very smooth and creamy. Medium carbonation that lifts the beer. Initial bitterness lends it's way to sweet hops and a strong malty backbone. Dried fruit, caramel, toffee and floral notes. Slight alcohol warming.

A true delight. I'm going to sit on these and try them along the way. Wonderful and world class barleywine.

4/2/16
Same vintage as above. Some oxidation but nothing that distracts. Little to no hop aroma or flavor. This may have started out as an American Barleywine but it reminds me of an English one now. Still wonderful. No change in score.

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Photo of BuckeyeSlim
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2013 vintage.

32 oz. growler filled yesterday poured into a NB snifter.

A - The beer pours a pale golden copper. A one-inch head of tight, fluffy eggnog foam coats the surface and take a good while to dissipate to a fine sheen. Held to a full-spectrum light, the beer is a rich, saturated rosewood color and quite translucent to opaque. Thin legs of sugar fall from the lace around the edges.

S - Soft, stretchy caramels and caramelized sugars, lightly toasted malts backed by hints of dried floral hops and traces of ABV. Over time, the hops become more herbal and prominent. Some light molasses with toffee after it warms, with hints of soft spicing like white pepper.

T - Butterscotch and caramel initially - at this point, it's a Scotch ale. Almost immediately, however, dried herbal, earthy bitters follow and take over the taste profile. Caramelized sugars show up late into the finish, which lasts a long time flipping through the various aspects of the initial taste. Finish settles into a noticeably bitter and dry profile, and seems to go on forever. As it warms in the glass, notes of dried, dark fruit appear.

M - A rather neutral mouthfeel that's smooth, almost slick, but rather clean with just a touch of fizziness in the end. Finish lingers and echoes. Medium body. Components compliment each other well, with integration that matches the aging, but they remain pretty easily identified individually. This suggests this beer could handle another 3-5 years of aging.

O - If the hops were fresh instead of melded into the beer, this could be an IIPA. It would also be quite interesting to be able to taste this same beer after a couple of more years of aging to see if time could take some of the edge of the bittering hops off and allow a tad more of the caramel to play longer in the glass. Still, this is a very enjoyable sipping beer. For those like me who love Scotch ales but also want to give the palette a break from the sugar, but also want something other than the coffee/chocolate of stouts, this is a good beer by which to appreciate the role of hops melded into the brew.

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz beer poured into Spiegelau glass

A: dark brown hazy not too bad clarity not much of a head

S: burnt sugars, a little cinnamon, some light hops resiny

T: lots of sugary prune, plum, raisin a little bit of a sour acidic taste on the end

M: medium to a little thin

O: This is a pretty good old ale I think like Old Stock Ale this would just get better with age.

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Photo of Ilafan
3.26/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm an IPA guy, myself, so when I tried this, I wasn't overwhelmed. For what it is, it is good. The tartness is tasty & well-balanced, and the high 10.20% ABV does not dominate. But, I like my beers a little less sour and fruity.

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Photo of mlockman
4.66/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Drank 9 months after bottling date, and I must say it is perfectly balanced. Hop-presence is certainly noticeable on the palate, but not at all overpowering. In fact, the subtle touch of hops keeps the flavor from being cloying, but it is definitely sweet; definitely did not feature a bitter flavor that some reviews led me to expect. Definitely going to have to get some more of these.

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Photo of hardysf
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark reddish brown. Immediate smell of sweetness, toffee, caramel, and molasses.
Taste is initially sweet of caramel and molasses. Maybe some fruit. Very smooth mouthfeel. Rich and velvety. Finishes balanced and not overly sweet with some bitterness. A little booziness seeps in as well.

This was tried eight months post bottling. Have a few more for aging.

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Photo of Jjski
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An epic non barrel aged beer. Vintage 2014. New to Upstae NY, bells distribution
Garnet, brown
Aroma of banana bread, figs, caramel
Tastes of butterscotch brandy pudding on warm dark grainy bread
Feels smoothly viscous: perfect,

This beer already acts like a 4 year old bigfoot or curmudgeon. The tastes are different in each, but I am overwhelmed by the complexity exhibited in this freshly brewed, non-barrel elixir. hops are not as high as bigfoot, and old ale brashness is already a bit blunted. The effect is pulled off with deftness while retaining a huge flavor, malt forward and deep. If fresh American barleywine floats you , in its DIPA characteristics ( and I do like that), this beer strays. It acts old beyond its age. The hops are strong, but way muted , used for beautiful bittering. Not an aromatic hop hit.

I bought a case and will relish the effects age will have on this masterpiece.

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Photo of TBCE
4.91/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

One of the best brews I have ever had. Pours a dark amber color with a finger of foam. Smells of dried blackberries, orange, lemon, and caramel. Taste has small hint of sweetness and cocoa, along citrus flavors. Very complex. Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated and smooth. Overall an outstanding brew. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.63/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: dark amber with ruby brown highlights; a few fingers of fat tan head drape lace down the glass

S: sweet rich malts suggestive of dark fruit and caramel, somewhat earthy and rustic

T: full of fruit and malt, soft dates, caramel and toffee, edges of shellac and sweet herbs; modest bittering, vague hints of cocoa maybe?

M: full-bodied and smooth - intense mouthfeel - soft and lush caresses, lingering aftertaste begs for more

O: excellent - highly recommended - I had a bottle dated 10/08/14 , so with about 6 months on it - sublime drinking experience

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Photo of Chris_the_Tartar
4.67/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Smells malty, can detect the yeast, as well as the aroma of wild berries. Taste follows up with that malty backbone as well as notes of honey, brandy, rhuarb, wild berries, and ethanol. Has a thick, bready feel with a heavy stickiness to it. This really illustrates what it means to have a 'complex' flavor. Maybe I was primed to think so by the name but this beer made me feel like a black bear scrounging for all the delicious goodies in the forest. So good, will buy again. Wow.

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Photo of Apellonious
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle pkgd 9/5/2014 poured into a tulip glass.

A - Pours a dark brown with ruby higlights. A half finger head that moves to a thin lace.

S - Dark fruit, mild booze, malts, plums

T - Follows the nose, with some butterscotch. The malts tend to the pale side.

M - Medium carbonation, sizable heft, it's coating, but doesn't get sticky.

O - A tasty barleywine, came across a dusty six while up in Ohio (havent seen it yet in NC) , going to age a few to see how they turn out.

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Photo of bman13
2.94/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Just doesn't do it for me for a barleywine. It's flavor is extremely cloying and overly buttery sweet for a beer. It really doesn't taste like a barleywine or let alone, a beer, at all. I love Bell's, probably one of my favorite breweries but i just really don't like this one at all.

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Photo of fx20736
4.63/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Dark amber, creme brulee head, gorgeous sticky lacing. Rich, toffee and dark fruit aroma. Sweet, sticky toffee, caramel, vinuous, orchard and dark fruit medley, vanilla notes. Citus rind bitterness on the end which balances the sweetness nicely. Touch of carbonation buoys the ale. The word for this beer is suberb. Superbly crafted and delicious. A Home Run all the way.

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Photo of Jeffsta1
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Good looking beer. Dark. Fine pale head.

Nose is low-key. Suits me fine.

Intense taste. Just a huge beer. The alcohol amplifies it - POW. Very deeply malty flavor. Slightly sweet (Ovaltine? Really? Yup, but not in a bad way), then a big, big hit of bitterness.

Beautiful mouthfeel. Rich. Not cloying.

Not as sweet as many barleywines - for which: yay. Spiritually resembles the Sierra Nevada Bigfoot.

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Photo of Catracho5
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottled poured into a Belgian style tulip

A: Dark cherry red with a vanilla colored head, some minor lacing, poured a half finger head that faded after about 3-4 minutes

A: Sweet caramel candy aroma, alcohol on the nose, smells really strong.

T: Sweet flavors up front, then right into some bitterness, alcohol is really noticeable at the end, dry finish.

M: Nice mouthfeel, not big, slightly more than a medium mouthfeel, leaves a very dry finish, lots of alcohol burn on this for being nearly 5 months after the bottle date.

O: My overall impression is that this is a very rough, on the palate, beer, bitterness, alcohol burn, not an easy drinking beer, going to cellar the rest of my six-pack to see how this mellows out, it's definitely a big beer, a sipper. Warms up really nice, the bitterness subsides making it easier to drink. Still good, not as impressed as I thought I was going to be, but something I can see myself having again with some age.

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Photo of JebBeerFish
3.41/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

To my limited palate, hoppy for a BW or for an Old Ale, (BA classifies as a barley wine but it is called an old ale - go figure), Fairly bold flavors, alcohol significantly present but not unpleasantly so. A sipper for sure, Fair amount of bitterness, not getting any caramel,

I intend to age rest of 6 pack and see if sweeter flavors emerge, Glad I bought, I'll judge after aging whether I'll buy again.

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Photo of Andrew041180
3.73/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First off, this is a beautiful color. I like the aroma. Flavor was good, but not my style. Just too malty (I know this is how it's supposed to be). I couldn't tie it to any particular flavor that I am familiar with, just general maltiness. Nice feel too it. Alcohol wasn't very pronounced, although certainly present. I can certainly see why people like this one.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.96/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bells in California, nuff said! Out of a 12 ounce bottle, on to the beer:

A small head forms and dissipates to a mere froth on top this chestnut brown beer. The beer smells fruity, like dates, raisins, grapes, topped with toasted brown sugar around its edges. I'd call that nice.

Third Coast leans to the sweet side. A slap of alcohol joins the molasses, dates, and brown sugar which tag along the ride for much of the journey. Yet not too sweet, and not too boozy. The beer also offers nutty flavors and a modest bittersweet finish, which keeps the beer in form. A little boozy, although not annoying boozy. The beer is full bodied and chewy, and is a pleasurable (slow sipping) drink.

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Photo of keithmurray
3.63/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2012 vintage

Appearance - murky reddish brown liquid with tan head

Smell - raisin, caramel, brown sugar

Taste- molasses, brown sugar, caramel, raisin, fig

Mouthfeel - medium plus body, medium carbonation, sweet, sticky, upfront, astringent finish

Overall - this beer was okay, but I'm finding the flavors not to mesh well and unbalanced. Won't repurchase

Price Point - $3/12 oz bottle

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Photo of bubseymour
4.34/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Sweet, big and very nice barleywine. Slight bitter finish but to me, this falls more in line with an Old Ale or English style BW vs. American BW as its listed. Very solid and enjoyable big beer.

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Photo of Gajo74
4.26/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This one poured a pretty brown and amber looking color. Not much of a head and a tiny ring like lace that disapated. Perhaps I poured it wrong, but I'll let it go because this is a neat looking brew.
A warm and inviting aroma of jam like fruits and toast. Also caramel and toffee. The first thing that hits me regarding the taste and feel is the fullness of the mouthfeel, the warmth, the near viscosity and smoothness. Fruity sweet taste, caramel malts and toffee. This is balanced by an alcohol content that is there but not too boozy. There is also a small but significant amount of bittering hops. This is a monster of a brew! Full bodied, sweet and malt forward and hearty. Another great one by Bell's!

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Photo of BeerDawgs
4.37/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A bottled on date of 10.25.14

L - Creamy and thick, brown sugar, molasses. No head and some sharp bubbles. Lots of sediment/yeast floats down to the bottom

S - Sugar! Sweet, caramel. Slightly boozy

T - Caramel, toffee, sweet. Booze is pretty well hidden for 10%. Tasty!

F - Full bodied and thick. Low in carbonation.

O - An amazing beer fresh. I have 5 more I am going to age and crack 1 a year for the next few years!

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Photo of kissmybunniebutt
4.74/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Beautifully light Barleywine-esque ale. Rich and hearty but bright on the tongue. The aroma was sweet, figgy, and mildly sour. The texture just coated your tongue perfectly. Not too thick, not too thin. The ABV gave it a bite that really cut the richness well. Nicely done.

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Photo of DoctorZombies
4.65/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Dark brown/ruby draft pour (from October!) with off white head and great lacing in 12oz snifter. Baked plum pudding/sweet malt notes. Sweet malt and stone fruit flavors. More complex fruit and malt as liquid warms. Medium mouthfeel and a little alcohol bite. Overall, like drinking a lite barley wine style - complex and excellent.

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Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
92 out of 100 based on 1,063 ratings.