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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.

1,020 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,020
Hads: 2,419
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 9.29%
Wants: 240
Gots: 443 | 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: 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: 1,020 | Hads: 2,419
Photo of battlekow
2.98/5  rDev -27.1%
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. (499 characters)

Photo of Bierguy5
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
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. (432 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev -2.2%
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. (561 characters)

Photo of Dithyramb
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
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. (660 characters)

Photo of Brian700
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
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. (652 characters)

Photo of Frozensoul327
3.49/5  rDev -14.7%
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. (564 characters)

Photo of warriorsoul
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
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. (1,109 characters)

Photo of Goldorak
3.55/5  rDev -13.2%
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. (335 characters)

Photo of deejaydan
4.77/5  rDev +16.6%
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. (317 characters)

Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe
3.99/5  rDev -2.4%
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. (1,057 characters)

Photo of walleye
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured a cloudyreddish brown with a tan head. aroma caramel, sourness, honey, alcohol, molasses, raisins. flavor the 1st thing that got my attention was the smoothness and the great mouth feel, the flavors are just like the aroma with a touch of bitterness at the finish. I have to say that for me this is one of the better bells that I have had and so far my lowest rating is a 3.1 so they do it again for me (409 characters)

Photo of whynot44
4.57/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Full bodied, beautiful hazy red/copper colored brew with very small head that disappears quickly leaving only a trace of lacing. A few yeast "floaties" but mostly just hazy.

The aroma is sweet malts, caramel, raisins, maybe some plums with a spicy clove and alcohol accent.

The taste is along the same lines, starts out caramelly sweet, maybe a touch of molasses or brown sugar, raisins, plums, then cloves kick in. The finish is slightly sour, yeasty, a little lactic, with a lingering clove and citrus aftertaste with a very definite but pleasant alcohol warmth. (I'm sure I've left something out, the flavor is complex and just about every sip brings something new.)

This would be great as a winter warmer, but will also work well after dinner anytime. (767 characters)

Photo of longarm
3.82/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: A relatively clear brew with dark reddish, orange hue. Head retentention poor, likely due to high alcohol content. It dissipated quickly, but left a nice ring around the glass after subsequent sips.

Aroma: A healthy dose of candied sugar, very mild green apples perhaps due to aceteladehyde, but it's not bad. Something close to vanilla appears there as well. A noticeable amount of sherry is evident, possibly indicative of oxidation, but it's certainly not a detriment in an Old Ale. Overall it has a very appealing smell.

Flavor: A little spicey with subtle hop bitterness and moderate alcoholic heat at the finish. A little sour as well. Otherwise quite difficult to pin down flavors. Complex and bold, it still leaves me somewhat confused and desiring something more to balance it out.

Mouthfeel: A little cloying...the lack of carbonation leaves it a little sticky for my preferences. Probably the weakest part of the beer.

Drinkability: I've tried this beer twice now and generally enjoyed it both times. It's obviously not a session beer, given the alcohol content and cloying nature, but it's still a good brew. A strong cheese might help balance things-out. Definitely worth a try. (1,215 characters)

Photo of Star80
3.78/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours out a deep, copperish red color. Head dissipates and leaves a thin lace on top. Smells like molasses, dark ripe fruits, and vanilla. Tastes very balanced, but hops still have a say in the flavor. I really wonder how old this beer is, or how long it was aged before it was bottled...always a mystery with Bell's. At any rate, all the flavors seem to come together well and this is one of the better balanced beers I've tried. The initial strong sweetness gets beat out by the bitter aftertaste. Mouthfeel is fine. This beer reminds me of an American Barleywine; Old Foghorn to be specific. Has less citrusy hops, but the smell and taste is quite similar to me, and of course this is not a bad thing! (704 characters)

Photo of beveragecaptain
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a dark reddish brown color. There is a nice head initially, but it quickly fades. The aroma is very malty, like caramel and toffee. There is also a bit of a funky smell, a little like cheese, but that makes it sound unpleasant when it's really enjoyable. The flavor is very sweet and malty at first, like a barley wine. Some dark fruitiness. The finish is spicy, and there is a burn from the alcohol. Very complex flavors. Full mouthfeel. I don't know if I could drink more than one of these, but it's hard to look at this as a fault, since that one is so good. Great beer. (583 characters)

Photo of blitz134
4.23/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I’ve had this one for quite a while (nearly 2 years), it’s a hold over beer I’ve been saving from when I spent some time up north. I’d been saving it for something and that something came out to be just because. But I digress…

I’m unsure what else you could ask for in the look of an old ale. This beer looks like someone dumped some dirt in a glass and swirled it around with its mud brown color and some relatively large chunks floating around in perfect suspension, barely kept aloft by a little carbonation. Little head, but that was to be expected.

The smell is sweet with malts and a sugary caramel and some apricot hints with a slight musty smell. Nothing over powering. Taste has a bit of alcohol sting to it, that definitely hasn’t gone away over the last two years. Slight hoppy bitterness still lingering around as well. A bit of spiciness stings the tongue and finishes with a yeast flavor. I really enjoy the complexity of this one as it is slightly different that the other barleywine style brews I’ve had.

Mouthfeel is slightly oily but isn’t overly heavy. Drinkability is brought down a bit by the overly warming effect of the alcohol. This is a good beer but not more than one in a night for me. (1,230 characters)

Photo of BeerFink
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Filling my glass with this murky brownish red brew, a thin off white head forms. Lots of malt in the nose, sweet caramel and alcohol, along with some citrous hops. Malty smooth taste, caramel with molasses kicks up a sweet note. Complexity is added with cloves and other spices mixed with alcohol. Citrous hops finish it off with a nice dry bitterness which mingles well with the alcohol. Alcohol produces a pleasant warming of the face as this ale is digested. Tight carbonation rounds out a good mouthfeel and balance the big malts. Definitely a great winter beer, but I would enjoy this all year round. (605 characters)

Photo of mattcrill
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to BA brother cmaruschak for the chance to sample this beer.

Appearance: Deep, dark crimson with little yeasties in it. Thick fluffy head that fades to little islands of tan carbonation.

Smell: Plums, carmel, a whiff of alcohol. Definitely amped up on the malt end of things.

Taste: Plums, carmel, candy corn follow the smell. Some cloves and pepper in the middle. A drying and powdery finish with maybe a brush of alcohol. Yeast notes pop up here and there.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy. Coats the palate. Almost syrupy but not in a bad way. The carbonation tempers this.

Drinkability: Pretty big so drink slowly. A nice sipper and a great night cap.

Thanks again to cmaruschak for the chance to sample this. (735 characters)

Photo of mntlover
4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a redish dark brown color, almost a mahogany with a small tan head
that falls to a ring of bubbles that leaves some sparse lace.
Aroma is dark rum soaked fruit floating in dark caramel malt with alcohol and hints of hop resin mixing with some yeasties.
Taste is quite nice malt mixed with mollasses, caramel, even some maple some alcohol that reminds one of spiced rum. Finish is bitter some hop resins mixed with some peppery spices for a little kick that mingles with the alcohol flavor and ends with some earthy yeast flavors sticking to the tounge.
Man this is a big tasting full flavored brew that goes down smooth and quick very nice. Mouthfeel is medium full very nice feel in the mouth while drinkability remains great goes down smooth and fast hard to just sip this one. Many thanks to merlin48 for this sample it is a winner. (847 characters)

Photo of malty
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 12 oz. long neck - no freshness date.

Pours a murky copper/orange with multi-sized bubbles that comprised a 1/4 in. head - nice lacing.

Scent is carmel apples drenched in brandy.

The taste first of all is WARMING. Robust heavy malts balanced nicely with a dry hoppy ending. Kind of like a nice (hoppy) dopplebock with a more kinetic body. Alcohol warms right through to it's long finish. Carmel once again then prickly hops - nice.

Mouthfeel is quite perky given the high alcohol. Medium carbonation with a full body.

Drinkability is well above average due to it's nice balance of malt/hops. Again, the alcohol isn't shy - but masked well with the hearty ingredients.

Overall a nice fall/winter ale that's definitely not shy. I really dig the solid hop backdrop that accompanies this strong ale. It comands a $13.99/6 pk. - but it's meant to be savored (I guess). Nice job Larry & gang! (918 characters)

Photo of gimmehead
4.52/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an amber brown with a thin beige head. Not much lacing. The aroma is of big caramel malts, strong fruity esters and yeasty bread. As it warms it gives off a sweeter, raisiny aroma. This beer has one of the best noses I have had the honor to appreciate. The flavor is very good, but doesn't really mirror the nose. It's more malty, tasting of caramel and cereal grains, slightly resinous. I also pick up clove and a growing raisiny taste. Spicy. Underscored with a bitter pine hop balance. Brandy-like alcohol finish. Full bodied and very mouthcoating. This beer will warm your innards. The only "problem" I noticed is that the raisiny sweetness tends to be a bit cloying after two or three. Overall, a tasty brew that I highly recommend. (743 characters)

Photo of Shultzerdugen
4.29/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a hazed amber with not much head to mention.

The nose and the taste of this beer don't match up completely, but I found that enjoyable. Buttery maple syrup, rich caramel in the smell.

Then assertive piney hops in the front of the first taste, with malt characteristics matching the nose: i.e. caramel, maple syrup. Alcohol lends a spiciness, and a slick mouthfeel. Dry finish. A little sticky.

A nice surpise, and one I'll be sure to pick up again. (464 characters)

Photo of karst
4.44/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A barley wine with deep amber color with orange-brownish inclusions that separate from the surface and swarm in the bottom 1/3 of the brandy sniffer. Described as brandy of ales, this beer has vintage character and will mature in the bottle at cellar temperature for years.
Original Gravity: 1.098 yields an Alcohol by Volume: 9.0% got to respect these big numbers.

Overwhelming aroma of butterscotch/toffee brought back memories of candy making at my Aunt Fern's in the '50's. Huge malt flavor dominates the majority of the taste curve finally dropping abruptly as hops clean the palate.

Wow - another favorite for my cellar. (634 characters)

Photo of santoslhalper
4.16/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearence: Pours an exceptional reddish amber with a creamy off-white head.

Smell: The smell is mostly caraml popcorn. Strong, powerful caramel popcorn.

Taste and Mouthfeel: The taste is a wonderufl mix of oak and caramel, with deep, subtle complexities. The flavor last for so long, but continues to keep my interest forever. As the beer warms, the flavors become more pronounced and robust. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth.

Drinkability and Overall: A wonderfully rich and smooth Old Ale. Powerful as all hell, but still smooth and well rounded. I can't wait till the other one in my cellar has about 6 years of aging. Yumm... Anyways thanks to PatYoda for the bottle. God bless this beer. (704 characters)

Photo of Gaisgeil
3.22/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I had such high hopes for this brew! I've heard many a great and wonderous things locally about it, as if it were some legend or myth from the days of yore. Now I'm left wondering why it's so highly regarded. Maybe my palate just isn't read for the flavor profile here.

Pours a murky brown in color with a thin off-white head. Nose is fruity and very strong in the hop department, quite piney, roasted malts and very rich in alcohol. Taste is really very powerful, but not in a particularly good way. There is a strong sourness going on here, combined with the strong pine hop character and the alcohol bite this brew makes my whole face pucker. I had a hard time throwing back the whole serving. On the positive side, it had a very fresh character to it and was quite smooth in the mouthfeel department. I also enjoyed the piney flavor, especially where it was present in the aftetaste.

I concede that it's possible I'm just not ready for this brew, but all in all it really does nothing for me in the least. Maybe I'll return at some later time and find out for sure. Until then, more for everyone else!

Slàinte! (1,128 characters)

Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
91 out of 100 based on 1,020 ratings.