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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.

1,035 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,035
Hads: 2,475
Avg: 4.1
pDev: 15.61%
Wants: 245
Gots: 465 | FT: 31
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Third Coast Old Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,035 | Hads: 2,475
Photo of KarlHungus
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours a very dark reddish-brown color with almost no head. The aroma is a nice balance of malt and hop with neither taking control, but both working in harmony with each other. The taste is just as balanced as the aroma, but stronger in all facets. The sip is balanced while the finish and aftertaste are slighlty more bitter than sweet. The mouthfeel is full bodied with nice carbonaiton. Overall, this brew is perfectly rinkable now (when it is a couple months old), and I can only expect it to get better with age.

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Photo of rousee
3.42/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

One of my first 2 review beers.

It has changed dramtically since my previous try. These reviews are from 2 bottles I received in a trade with Frozensoul327. Thanks Erik.

Firstly, the color has gotten much darker and it is maybe even murkier than before. It is now a caramel color. It still has a nice head and holds it quite well. The taste is not as good. It is more sour and acrid and just lacks the smoothness it had fresh. the smell is still a tremendous maltiness akin to an American Aventinus. The decreased smoothness hurts the drinkability and mouthfeel some.

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Photo of unclederby
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A= Dark, hazy amber with little head retention even after a vigorous pour. Lacing was minimal...
S= Sweet, caramal malt profile. A faint bouquet of brown sugar and dark fruit, and a bit of alcohol too...
T= Again, sweet and caramel-like - with a faint hop bitterness. Tasty, but i can't detect alot of flavour specifics.
M= Thick and chewy, with a bit of alcohol burn. Nicely carbonated.
D= This thing is easy to drink alright. Tasty, but i just find myself a bit underwhelmed... this ale is unfocused and confused.

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Photo of waldowin
4.76/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to Beerhandy for this brew! My first "Old Ale", but reading what the style descriptor says I'm looking forward to it!

Pours a very murky gold-fading-to-ruby. Almost a two-toned beer. Almost a non-existant tan head that fades quickly to nothing. Some visible carbonation very sloooowly working its way up.

Just on pouring this beer, I got a wonderful whiff of raisins and plums. A more detailed sniff gives some caramel, peat, and almost a scotch quality to this beer. Very enticing!

And this is an extremely smooth malty beer. Caramel and a hint of toffee up front, and as it works its way back, the beer turns to raisins and a definite alcohol warmth, with a very faint aftertaste of cedar-like hops. Perfectly blended, and very well balanced. Wow!

This beer is unearthly smooth, and it just slooowly oozes over your tongue. Just enough carbonation to keep the body from being overbearing, and the hint of bitter in the aftertaste leaves you ready to dive right back in for the sweetness. Careful, this ABV hides itself very well! If it wasn't for the warmth radiating from the beer as you swallow, you'd never know it was there.

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Photo of Golden2wenty1
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a single at Riley's here in Madison quite a while ago.

Pours a rusty dark amber with a finger of tan bubbly head. Has the nose of a double IPA - nose hair burning piney hops with some balancing maltiness. Tastes like a double IPA with its potent hopiness but is nicely balanced by caramel-toffee malts and warming alcohol. Mouthfeel is syrupy rich and well-carbonated. This is a big beer, with big hop bitterness, big malty sweetness, and big alcohol waming. It could use some refining, as they compete for prominence, but who couldn't use some refining?

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Photo of Viggo
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy brown, some chunkies, small white head that disappeared to a ring around the glass, some lace spots. Smell is caramel, toffee, chocolate, floral hops and alcohol. Taste is sweet, honey/molasses, toffee and caramel, floral hops, some cherry and alcohol. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, low carbonation. Seemed a little too sweet to me, and the body was too light for an old ale I thought. Thanks DrJay for the pickup.

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Photo of shbobdb
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow-eee, this beer truly is a 'blanket'. Drink a few of these on a cold winter's day and you'll be feeling like you're sitting by the fire!
The taste is incredibly pleasant. Very sweet, with lots of caramel. The mouthfeel is full and rich, as one would expect from the taste. Wow. Good stuff. Gonna be buying this one a lot this winter.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
3.25/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a dark brown color with a bit of a head. Spotted lace was strewn on top. No lace. However, there were lots of little white floaties in the beer.

Nose is butterscotch and stale malts.

Flavor is kind of underwhelming. All sorts of malts with strong caramel, dark chocolate and butterscotch flavors. The alcohol breaks through it all. Little bits of peppery and spicy bursts are trying to exploe on the tongue but they are not quite coming out as well as I expected.

Rather heavy and thick body. The malts and sugars seem to coat the tongue.

The alcohol is a bit too much without enough of the flavor coming through to provide some sort of balance. I did allow the beer to warm up considerably and the flavors all improved as it warmed. If drank simply cold I would find it difficult to stomach.

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Photo of AlexJ
4.91/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Many thanks to Sephiroth for the sample.

Dark cloudy pour, the color of dirty mahogany rustwater with a small, but sticky khaki head that laces impressively. In spite of a careful pour, there's an aquarium's worth of swimmers in my sweet new rapscallion sniffer. Ugly looking, but I know the goodness lies within.

Deep succulant aromas of deeply carmelized malts, brown sugar, dark ripe fruit, raisins, plums, figs, and sticky pine-drenched citrus hops. A glorious nose that inspires me to nearly hyperventilate the aromas.

Flavor knocks my socks off, this is incredible! A thick and chewy layer of carmelized malts, toffee, melted brown sugar, and dark sticky fruit notes leads into well-stated pine and candied citrus peel hops. Unbelievably balanced and extraordinarily complex in nature. Even better than North Coast Old Stock Ale, which i hold in the highest regard. This stuff is goood!

Big beefy body softened by smooth silky carbonation that just melts on your tongue. Creamy and sticky, coating your mouth with flavor. Well hidden alcohol makes it dangerously drinkable. More please!

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Photo of Bumpon10s
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From the 2004, possibly 2003 release of this beer and poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours a very foggy brown, with no head and a touch of lace on the glass.

S - Simply malts, this is a very light beer in the nose, I can't quite seem to pick anything up other than the malt notes.

T - Starts out very malty and ends with a ridiculous amount of hop finish. Touches of dark fruit in the middle blending with the malts.

M - The smoothness in this beer takes accord, an unusually smooth beer. BUT, pretty strong, this beer is a sipper.

D - Very strong beer, but still very high, a great beer for a winter release at it's ABV.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.92/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pooured into the glass hazy deep amber brownwith a yellow and low head which was very persistent to try to lace the glass but found little success.

The aroma was deeply malty with a strong biscuit aroma coupled with a large aroma of darkened caramel. Fruity aromas of dark fruits, namely raisins and prunes also dominated the nose. A nice sherry aroma was present as well.

The flavor was nicely malty with a strong caramel malt presence and dark fruits, raisins, but the hop level was high and interesting. The bittering kept the malt flavors at bay. There was a slight cardboard presence in the aroma which indicated oxidation of the beer which was not dated.

The finish was dry with a lasting bittering and biscuit into the aftertaste. The body was full, but not viscous. A nice old ale, but the beer was on the verge of becoming oxidized and not in a good way. The cardboard was forming, thank goodness it was not yet a dominate player.

12 ounce bottle purchased at Riley's in Madtown, WI for $2.50.

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Photo of numenor1
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy reddish orange. With a small head that lasts a bit, leaves some lacing. Smells sweet of honey and resiny cedar pine hops. The hops are tough to distinguish from the honey though, the integration is terrific. A slight whiff of alcohol and yeastiness. Taste starts out very malty sweet with a slight hint of hops and spicy alcoholic yeastiness. Then from start to finish the hops become more pronounce, finally overtaking the enormous malt body in a lasting piney, surprisingly semi-dry finish. Yeastiness and slight alcohol present throughout, but in no way impedes drinkability. Mouthfeel is incredibly thick, and i'd prefer a tad more carbonation, but very nice. Reminds me very much of Rogue's Old Crusty but with less assertive hops. I don't really detect any sour characteristics of old ale. To me this seems like barleywine. But what do I know. Lovely all the same.

Thanks to deejaydan for this one.

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

12oz single, bought at Riley's in Madison

appearance: murky burnt copper, virtually no head...cloudy and mysterious

smell: very sweet, alcohol (brandy), cherries, caramel, grapes, malty. Lots of complexity in the nose, just as i remembered

taste: nice brandy like alcohol hits up front almost making the 9% abv seem like an understatement. heavy caramel malts surrounded by sweet cherry and mild grape...nice woody (oak) tastes can be found. Theres some hop bitterness deep down as well All in all, a pretty solid old ale

mouthfeel: powerful, complex and very well textured, alcohol warms the mouth and stomach.

drinkability: she's a sipper, very easy drinking if you can handle it

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Photo of amicar
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy brown with minimal head (no matter what I try). Smell is a shock- really smacks you with a sharp, strong barley scent, mixed with some caramel and burnt sugar. Taste is of a strong caramel and vanilla with more roasty burnt things. An acidic slightly tannic taste is under that with finally a subsequent 'hint' of figs. Maybe a little sherry under there, too. Feels just right in the mouth- a little syrupy with mild carbonation. As for drinkability- well, sip, don't gulp. One max will keep you happy.

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Photo of Sephiroth
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have poured this into a tulip. Where the batch number should be listed, there is only a blank space. Not like it matters anyway, since every time I enter a batch number on the Bell's website, it gives me the wrong beer.

There is a slight head which quickly dissipates to a light swirl. The body is a deep amber color. Pour this carefully, as I was unable to keep some of the chunky yeast out of my glass. The nose is vinous, with the hops and the alcohol making their presence known. I detect some cherries, too.

The taste is of cherries and raisins, with a nice citric hop character. Caramel malt appears, and I taste every bit of that 9%ABV. I don't ever mind tasting the alcohol. After all, that is a small part of why we drink beer. The mouthfeel is is like thick silk. The low carbonation is in keeping with the style. This is one of my favorite beers, as it is readily available to me pretty much year round. The drinkability rocks. This batch tastes quite fresh to me, but I cannot be certain, because of the problems I listed in the first paragraph. Assuming that this is a fresh sample, it is great now. I will, however, age the four samples remaining from this six-pack until the winter. This is a poor man's Batch 6000. And here's to hoping that 7000 is a re-release of 6000.

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Photo of battlekow
2.98/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Third Coast Old Ale looks unappetizing, rather like sewage. It's a murky brown with just a few floating bubbles fruitlessly looking for friends. The nose makes up for the appearance a bit, smelling seductively of ripe cherries and caramel. Taste echoes those same traits, but there's some intense bitterness, pretty radically different from the only other old ale I've had, Thomas Hardy's Ale. Too intense for me. Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy, but the taste is too schizoid for that to matter much.

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Photo of Bierguy5
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown/mohogany color. Thick tan head, great retention, not much lace. Nice carmel, toffee nose along with a good amount of citrusy hops. Good caramel malt flavor, pretty sweet, balanced very well by a great amount of hops. Big citrusy hops here go very well. This beer may age very well, and may be a very good companion on a cold winter night in front of the fire. Medium body. Overall, another solid beer from Bell's.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a real test for the palate. It has aromas and flavors all over the place. Much like a barleywine, just not quite as strong in malt or hop profile. Colors that display yeast, wheat, barley and darker malts. Flavors of all the dark rich fruits, candies and syrups, spices and herbs, hops and alcohol. I think I even tasted a kitchen sink...It's all in there! But the question is, "how well do the flavors meld together"? For me it's nice, but it's a bit overwhelming, aggressive and abrupt, although I do enjoy it. It will be fun to see how this one ages.

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Photo of Dithyramb
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep burgandy brew with a thick tan head. Not much lacing, but given the 9% ABV, that is to be expected to an extent.

Caramel malts with raisins and cherries. This is a big brew on the nose. Hints of spicy hops and alcohol bite.
Full, thick and chewy brew. Big, malty and delicious. All the expected caramel, molasses, and ripe fruits come bursting through. Hints of vanilla, citrus, and spicy hops.

Drinkability and mouthfeel are cut a bit because of the alcohol bite. Comes through, even though the brew is pretty big flavor-wise. Otherwise, a top notch brew. Just about great brew. Unsure of this being more barleywine or old ale. Tasty nonetheless.

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Photo of Brian700
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one pours a dark brown/garnet with a dark brown head. The head sticks around for a while then slowly fades into a small ring that stays throughout the rest of the bevi. Decent lacing.

The nose is very malty and roasted with a bit of alcohol. There is some hop presence as well.

The Taste is very malty sweet nice hop bitterness. It's very well balanced and complex.

The mouthfeel is great. Quite swishable, leaves a roasted malt flavor lingering on the palate. Awesome.

Very drinkable but very strong so beware light weights. Larry Bell knows what he is doing. Check him out on the American Beer DVD. You can buy it on this site now.

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Photo of Frozensoul327
3.49/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A nice brew from the Kalamazoo Brewing Company. Pours out to a dark amber orange color with low carbonation resulting in a short lived and weak head. Odors of honey and malt are noted, and almost a "twizzler" like Licorice like smell. Not bad. Flavor is strongly controled by the high alcohol content, with overtones of overripe citrus and spice. Quite the bite when it comes to the alcohol and bitterness. Finished a bit on the thick side, with a syrupy like consistancy. Not bad. A bit on the strong side for my taste, but nevertheless, a good brew. Worth a try.

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Photo of warriorsoul
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Many thanks to the ever so generous Eyedrinkale for this surprise.
I have just recently began truly enjoying this style and I am real pleased to try another from Kalamazoo Brewing Co.
Foam rises as I pop the cap...creeping out of the bottle ever so slowly. Pours a murky rust brown w/ almost a full finger of foamy tan head which rapidly disappears into my Rapscallion snifter glass.
Beautiful aromas of cherries, raisins, and figs w/ no alcohol to be found...how do these guys hide 9% alcohol?
The taste is very enjoyable, but milder than I was expecting from its scent. Semi-sweet malts dominate w/ a touch of bitter hops finishing up the back end. Vanilla and an almost spiced flavor comes out in the finish as well.
Mouthfeel is decent...a bit thinner than the very limited # of old ales I have had to date and a little dry in the finish.
Drinkability is average...I could enjoy a couple of these over the course of an evening if given to opportunity, but certainly not a session brew for me.
I have yet to find an offering I do not like from these fellas...just another solid example of the style.

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Photo of Goldorak
3.55/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Creamy auburn, like the caramel spread my grandma used to make, complete with floaty chunks. A milky way swirl of lace.

Smell: Earthy, and had a clover or blueberry honey aroma.

Taste: Rich and round maltyness at first, the alcohol takes a quick step up, only to get pushed back where it belongs by bitter hop finish.

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Photo of deejaydan
4.77/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours wonderfully amber into my glass, good head and retention given the ABV. Smells big and boozy, some carmelly notes rise up as well. Taste is great, complex, fruity, and alcoholic. Mouthfeel is nice, thick, carbonation cuts it a decent amount as well. This is perhaps, the best example of the style that I've had.

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Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe
3.99/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

No date indicated on bottle. The glass fills with blurry russett liquid nearly opaque with residue, and a few spots of auburn sediment drifting about on top. Nodes of carbonation pop lightly across the surface, but the beer is headless. Disappointing. Smells pretty good despite an almost too-light, almost juicy nosefeel. Fans of sugary sweet malty smells (like me) will appreciate this one. Definitely more toffee than caramel... loads of liquid toffee covering a grainy underlayer of bran flakes or wheat germ, with emerging wisps of warm alcohol. Flavors are sweet enough that if the beer is drunk with any excess speed, it seems thin and cola-ish. Only by taking small sips can I find, alongside the toffee, a strong woody backbone that resolves into a boozy, bourbon-like finish with some B&B-like spiciness. The flavors are deep and strong, yet melt away from the tongue after each swallow, knowing not to cloy. This might make a decent after-dinner snifter. It's not bad, but as an Old Ale, it could use some... well, pardon the expression... Balls.

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Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
92 out of 100 based on 1,035 ratings.