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

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Third Coast Old AleThird Coast Old Ale

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1,016 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,016
Hads: 2,408
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 9.29%
Wants: 237
Gots: 434 | 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
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Reviews: 1,016 | Hads: 2,408
Photo of chugamugofsud
4.14/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a cloudy amber with a medium head that faded into yeast wisps. The smell was very caramel/malty with a light note of some roasted nuts. The taste covers the alcohol well but the beer needs to be drank while cold, it becomes offenseive to the mouth after warming (the aftertaste becomes foul). (309 characters)

Photo of whartontallboy
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Contrary to other reviews, my bottle poured with no head. Looks like a melted caramel, and smells about the same. Fruit, malt, and some piney notes are in the nose as well. The taste is about what the smell would lead you to believe, lots of malt and caramel with the high ABV really coming through in the finish. Some smokey flavors couple well with the candied fruit. Very nice! Mouthfeel is a little lacking; like I said, this bottle had very little to no carbonation, so I might need to try again. Overall, though, a very tasty sweet high ABV winter seasonal that I won't mind drinking again to "research the carbonation." (626 characters)

Photo of RonfromJersey
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Secret Santa 2004 #4

A very fizzy sounding pour.

A solid finger of flat top beige foam rests upon a cloudy light brown-red body. Sediment abounds.

A very strong and sweet aroma, like walking into a candy shop (but not a chocolate shop).

Taste is delightfully malty, rich and sweet but not at all cloying. Liquid caramel. It hits the tongue and slowly seeps to every corner of your mouth, coating everything and ever so slowly fading away. A very mild and comforting sense of warmth (particularly on this single digit night), but no alcohol burn.

Mouthfeel is dead perfect for the style, full and solid.

Good drinkability, not a strong ale which twists your face after a sip, this you can take a healthy pull on.

Another very good beer from Bells, they continue to impress me. Michiganers have it good. (826 characters)

Photo of crookedhalo
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy copper-to-mahogany brown with a light tan colored head. Caramelly and malty with maple syrup notes and a cedary hoppiness. Predominantly sweet, yet hoppy, there is a complex burst of different flavors ranging from blood orange to pine sap. Quite nice. It has 100% of what I'm looking for in an old ale; High malting levels and high hopping levels. Better at cellar to room temperature. (400 characters)

Photo of skybluewater
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a murky reddish brown, apple cider color. Smells of caramel, as well as a touch of that "special" Bell's smell. Taste is like a malt bomb going off in my mouth, one with hops on the inside to slay my tongue with. There's a bit of woodiness, and some caramel as well. This is a highly drinkable brew for ABV level.

Wow, another Bell's beer I like. Never thought that would happen. Indeed, this is a very tasty brew, one that warms me up on a cold winter's night. (471 characters)

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

This is a review of a TCOA that has been cellared for 2 years now. served at cellar temp, 48-52 degrees, and warming.

appearance is much like that of the younger beer, deep nutty brown, nutty head with tight bubbles and nice lacing.

aroma is knock your socks off thick. definately the smell of a boiling vat of carmelized brown sugar, really pungent and sweet smelling.

taste is incredibly sweet and resinous. the malt is the key player here, with it's brown sugar taste, but you still have hop action, but in form of something that reminds me of sticky pine sap. there is a nice piney aftertaste as well, which tastes like eating gingersnap cookies followed by some butterscotch ice cream topping.

mouthfeel is you know, not remarkable, but fits the beer. drinkability is, well, i wish this came in 750s.

i'm glad i put these suckers away. this is the first tasting, and i'm certainly glad i have more tucked away :-) (934 characters)

Photo of necoadam
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out a deep amber/brown color with a nice head to go along with it.

Smell consistd of a ton of malts and a nice dose of hops in this one. Some nice caramel also floats around and a hint of spice too. The smell was very rich and I knew this was going to be a big bodied beer.

Taste was good. Big roasted malts start out upfront and does last for quite awhile. Some caramel and hops start mixing in towards the middle and last until the end. Some fruit tones also start mixing in as well. Towards the end it felt like I could start chewing this beer.

Mouthfeel was full bodied alright. Chewy texture and left a good coating around the palate.

I gotta say this hit the spot on a cold winter's night. I don't think I would be able to handle a second bottle though, don't see how anyone could for that matter. But this is pretty good stuff.

Thanks F'monk! (872 characters)

Photo of kmpitz2
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a slightly oranged brown color with a small ring of beer that sticks around nicely. The nose is really fruity, with a big malt presence as well. There is a bit of mandarin orange or tangerine. The flavor is very nice. A very malty flavor, but with a piney hop finish. Wow. Very interesting beer. The feel is super thick and syrupy. What a nice beer. For a beer sitting at 9%, this is very good. I think I like the old ales (438 characters)

Photo of resirob
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I picked up two bottles of this excellent Old Ale from a Holiday Beer Swap with some friends at work.

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Deep, murky brown – like old, well-worn leather. Thick, creamy 4 cm head settles to a 1 cm ring with a creamy skim coat on top of the beer. Nice lacing throughout.

Smell: Caramel malts, pine and citrus hops, and a whiff of alcohol all swirl around to form a nice hint of what’s to come.

Taste: Sweet, toasty caramel maltiness up front that melds into a long, spicy hop finish. Warming alcohol bites in the middle, then fades into the background through the finish. Brash at first, the beer mellowed slightly as it warmed.

Mouthfeel: Full and creamy, but not too thick. Just right!

Drinkability: The higher alcohol content detracts from the drinkability a little, but it is still a good sipper.

Overall, this is a very tasty sipping beer that will definitely warm a cold winter night. I will cellar the remaining bottle, and see what a little time does to the character of this beer. A solid Old Ale. (1,077 characters)

Photo of Tballz420
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This guy has a thick, murky, dark brown/purple body, with shortlived, small white head. Bits of sediment float about. The scent is a chocolatey malt one. The taste is thick chocolate malt, huge bitter hops, alcohol spice. Some fruit tones, grape/raison. Somewhat thin mouthfeel detracts from the overall beer. Pretty good overall though, reminds me a lot of barelywine. (369 characters)

Photo of budgood1
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours out a turbid, cloudy, sediment hazed rust colour...a thin tan head appears momentarily...quickly dying down to a thin layer of lace. the lace seems to want to stick around and add a mood of festiveness. subtle smoke and fruit aroma...yeast and alcohol are alright by me. delicate boxed chocolates and candied cherries come to mind. strong solvent and alcohol flavours, rum soaked cherries, raisins, and figs...brandy slathered fruitcake...sweet roasted nuts washed down by a shot of whiskey. alcoholic ginger bread cookies. port wine. this is a massive winter warmer brewed to ward off the below zero temps and satisfy the barley wine lover in us all. mouthfeel velvety and the body full and quite ample. some bitter hops add even more zest to the profile, making this a tasty and highly drinkable old ale...just a taste treat and an ample buzz maker. the perfect brew for an extremely cold december evening. i could drink ale like this all winter long and never shiver.

thank you to feloniousmonk for providing this bottle! (1,033 characters)

Photo of vladtheimpaler
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Cloudy brown, nice tan head. Nice hoppy aroma, with overlapping pine, citrus, and carmel in a melodious blend of scents. Flavor is sharply hoppy, with a heafty dose of malt coming through. Hop flavors linger as you drink. Lots of hops in this one. Could perhaps age a real long time. the malt is nice and slick providing a creamy mouthfeel to balance out the almost overwhelming hops. I could see this becoming a bit tiresome on the palate after one so not perfectly drinkable, but real nice nonetheless. (518 characters)

Photo of benito
3.46/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not to be confused with Bell's other Third Coast Ale...

Pours a mahogany brown with good head, very opaque though I get hints of amber in the appearance. Quite a handsome pour!

Smell is unremarkable, but the aromas upon tasting bring out a strong toffee-sweetness, almost syrupy that is mixed with a catching bite towards the beer's end. The flavors are not too complex on the palate which makes this slightly more drinkable than your average old ale but also less intriguing. The carmel/bitter finish does a good job of hiding the typical 'alcoholic' aftertaste that you get in many subpar strong beers.

My friend managed to drink two of these in one sitting, but I'm not sure that I'd go back for a second glass until a very cold winter's night... I'd also like to try this with a cheese plate sometime.

Try on tap if possible; six-packs are $15+. (862 characters)

Photo of Skidz
4.42/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a nice, crisp orange brown and sits a chocolate/burnt orange-brown with a small tan head, fading to a nice skim

Smells nice and roasty with dustings of chocolate and caramel. Some fruity esters and a light touch of alcohol.

Tastes malty up front and picks up a good amount of bitterness and roastedness fairly quickly. Toasted almond skins and walnuts blend with the sweetness of apples and grapes. Alcohol touches the toungue, but fades, barely noticable. Hop spiciness all over the mouth. Finish is dry and boasts plenty of spicy flavors.

Soft and creamy in the mouth with crisp carbonation in a medium-full body. Good feel overall, quite drinkable. Highly addictive and stimulating. Flavors are well balanced and make for a tasty treat. (758 characters)

Photo of twilight
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to TikkiGodxxx for the sample.
Pours a near opaque with tons of yeast floaties all around. Sweet toffee aroma with a syrupy sweet smell that is nice and comforting.
This is the type of barleywine style beer that I like. Thick and chewy with some soysauce sweetness but without being overtly syrupy. Harsh hop bitterness in the finish that reminds you that this beer is for sipping... (392 characters)

Photo of IrishRedRock
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Murky amber bodied brew with a thin wisp of lace; typical barleywine aroma flows forth - sweet toffee, piney hops, a rich malty candy sweet aroma and alcohol. Thick and coating, right on for the style. Flavor lacks the complexity of the best barleywines, but this still has some nice points. Has a crisp hop bitterness in the finish to balance the sweetness of the malts. Alcohol is hidden well. Nothing mind blowing, but a nice barleywine indeed. (447 characters)

Photo of lackenhauser
4.04/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a muddy amber color-has to be the yeast in it. Even before I poured the dregs of the bottle in it was cloudy. Very nice malty aroma-great caramel sweetness prevails. Somewhat vinuous. Big malty flavor. Almost treacle like in the flavor. Touch of alcohol in the finish. Good full body to it. This is a very drinkable beer-I can see it sneaking up on you in a hurry. Well worth trying several times. (404 characters)

Photo of jdhilt
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a four-finger light brown head that fades slowly leaving gobs of lace. Cloudy amber color with a bunch of chunky bits. Light-medium carbonation. Nose is malty. Full bodied. Starts smooth and sweet, Finishing with a slight bitterness and some alcohol overtones. $2.49 for a 12oz bottle from Liquor Barn Lexington, KY. (327 characters)

Photo of Crosling
4.27/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3


Rich, deep aroma of lava flowing slghtly burnt caramel, chocolate, plums, red apples and cinnamon, possibly.

Succulent, coating, full bodied, numbing malt flavor with notes of deep caramel, plums and red apples. The finish is long, lingering and finishes with a lingering brandy sweetness. Chewy. Phenomenal. (326 characters)

Photo of ken3c
4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer has a red-brown color with a thick rocky tan head that stays around awhile. There are many noticeable floaters in this dark murky brew.

A quite pungent caramel malt aroma fills the glass. There is a hint of fruitiness and alcohol.

There is a quick taste of burnt malt that turns sweet and shifts to bitter with a long dry citrus finish.

It's surprisingly smooth with light carbonation, a full body and a sense of warming.

I really enjoyed sipping this beer. I can't wait till the next one. (511 characters)

Photo of ppoitras
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle obtained via trade with CRJMellor. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" of tan head over a somewhat murky orangey-amber brew. Head shows resiliency, it's hardly moved since I poured it, lacing is good, great for the style. Aroma is deeply of sweet malts, with dark fruit notes as well. Taste is upfront somewhat vinous and sweetly of malts, not unlike a sedate port, then a goodly amount of piney hops character shows up and works hard to balance everything out. Mouthfeel is good for an old ale, and drinkability is good and, well, scarily so. (602 characters)

Photo of redmosquito
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reddish amber with an off white head. The tiny bubbles leave a decent amount of lace. This is a warmng beer indeed. Aroma starts of with a wine like scent that gives way to woody malt, as it warms it picks up a nutty aroma as well. The flavor starts out with a burst of bitterness followed by nutty, toasted, toffee malt. There isn't much hop flavor but you don't miss it with the malt complexity. It has a nice lingering warm mouthfeel. This is definitely one of Kalamazoo's shining stars, and a great example of what craft beer can achieve. (542 characters)

Photo of Rastacouere
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Deep brown, nice beige 1cm foam, mostly lasting, sticky. Subtle yeasty aroma. Good hop and malt balance. Complex toffee and caramel cookies interplay. Everything happens when taking a sip though. Incredibly tasty, intense dryness, herbal, grassy, biscuity (graham flour). Huge green pine bitterness. Intense centennial (and more) citric side (orange, grapefruit). Decadent creamy texture, very smooth despite the high carbonation. Big multi-faceted barley wine. (461 characters)

Photo of TastyTaste
4.65/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Unknown vintage, most likely 2003:
Murky dark brown color, there is a suspension of yeast noticable. Head is about 3/4", looks like the head on a rootbeer float. Smell is storng of alcohol, raisins, and a wood-like smell. Taste is very vinous, with strong alcohol presence that comibines with a nice hops finish to produce a very concentrated burning flavor. Awesome beer, big and foreboding, i wish i had purchased more than a single, but oh well. Excellent, much better than third coast beer (494 characters)

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

2003 vintage...

Pours out of the bottle like a bottle of motor oil....thick and heavy....muddy brown color...little head...nose is much softer than the Bells 6000..mainly sweet caramel malts...

The body is full....much more hops on the taste than the nose leads you to believe...still very blalanced and big...a nice caramel led maltiness...a hint of honey sweetness mixed in....the hops are piney and raw...they combine perfectly....

This is a badass beer....Bells 6000 is considerably better in my opinion but that should take nothing away from this tasty's only August but it feels like late Autumn and this seems to fit the day perfectly.. (663 characters)

Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
91 out of 100 based on 1,016 ratings.