Third Coast Old Ale
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store

Third Coast Old AleThird Coast Old Ale
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Barleywine - American
Ranked #39
Ranked #2,965
4.13 | pDev: 9.93%
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Michigan, United States
Third Coast Old AleThird Coast Old Ale
Notes: 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."
Reviews: 1,166 | Ratings: 2,877 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of scotorum
scotorum from Massachusetts

4.24/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25


Bottled 10/10/15! Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Smith English tulip.

a: Murky brown with loads of floaties and a quarter inch thick tan head which receded to thin even surface foam and dense to spotty lacing.

s: Strong caramel malt and alcohol.

t: Heavy toffee with a moderate bite, semi-sweet finish.

m: Heftier side of medium, very good body and some carbonation tingle.

o: No shortage of flavor over some sharpness, excellent except for the floaties which do give one pause but might be expected from a six year old brew.

Thursday at 07:06 AM
Photo of lastmango
lastmango from Pennsylvania

3.92/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy copper brown with a two finger frothy tan head with moderate lacing. Very weak nose of caramel and brown sugar. Sweet malt, caramel, dark cherry with a hoppy pronounced bitterness finish that lingers. Moderate-heavy body and moderate carbonation.

Apr 03, 2021
Photo of zac16125
zac16125 from South Carolina

4.22/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours an opaque dark mahogany in the glass, with some translucency and ruby hues when held to light. Large and dense light khaki colored head dissipates slowly.

S: Aromas of burnt sugar, fruity esters, and phenolic spice. Subtle brown sugar, white pepper and another distinct spice that I cannot place, perhaps cardamom. A bit of floral and earthy hops to round it out.

T: Taste different than the aroma, definitely a much bigger hop presence. Lots of earthy notes, dead leafs, floral and herbaceous. Bitterness is prominent throughout the drink. Sweet characters are very mild, would appreciate more of that candied sugar and fruity esters coming out in the taste. Even the caramel notes are very subtle.

M/D: Mouthfeel is fully bodied, very very smooth, surprisingly so, not sure the ABV assuming it’s high, but it’s not harsh at all. Great mouthfeel on this.

O: Overall, this is a very good beer. For me, Big Foot remains the epitome of the style, but this is quite good. I have no doubt this gets better with age and I will be cellaring some for sure.


Apr 01, 2021
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defunksta from North Dakota

4.21/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a deep amber color with a bronze hue. An moderate off-white head. SRM of 19-20. (3.75)

Aroma: Strong aromas of caramel and nuts, more than I have ever detected. Some sweet and malty caramel struedel with icing.

Flavor: Deep, dark, sweet aromas of caramel, pastry, strudel, with some icing and hints of milk chocolate. Malty, smooth and sweet. An extremely sweet and malty beer. Minimal bitterness.

Feel: Heavier-bodied as expected

Compared to Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot Barleywine 1/9/21: Pours an identical appearance. Stronger aromas/flavors. More caramel, chocolate, struedel, malts. Less orange, pine, and bitterness. More malty and less hoppy overall.

Overall: Not sure if this is a barleywine, In fact, this is only my second barleywine behind Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot. These are sure different. This one is much more malty with a huge caramel and strudel flavors. Some milk chocolate in support. Tons of nuts, brown malt, and caramel here. This one drinks almost like an imperial brown ale. Not roasty nor bitter. Big and malty. Just what you need for a cold winter's night. A delicious beer and old ale. (Final Rating: 4.21)

Jan 10, 2021
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jernjawn from Pennsylvania

3.97/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Born 9/2020. Drank it from a wine glass.
Look is crimson/burgundy with a tan head.
Smell is mild carmel, apple, apricot. Boozy.
Taste develops over seemingly an eternity. carmel and strong tartness, booziness, gives way to really incredible, if subtle, cherry and some bitterness.
Feel is smooth, alcohol bite, dry.
Overall there's a lot here and it's very good. Some of the more aggressive characteristics overpower the whole. Imagine this will be incredible in a couple years. Will be putting a few in the cellar.

Dec 20, 2020
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q33jeff from New Jersey

4.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25


2018 Bottle to snifter.

LOOK:Brown with some ruby red hues in light. Medium beige head. Fades, but very good retention.

AROMA: fig, apple, molasses, fruitcake, light boozy.

TASTE: molasses, fig, apple, brown sugar, a touch of woody flavors.

FEEL: smooth, low carbonation, medium to full body.

Liked this better than the relatively fresh ones I drank in late 18/early 19. Some age on this is a must. It matures well and mellows.


Nov 29, 2020
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Beaver13 from Colorado

3.76/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, packaged 9/23/20. Pours dark ruby amber with a big frothy light tan head that retains well and laces the glass some.

The aroma is some soapy gummy floral malts and dark fruit with a little roast.

The flavor is dark fruit and sweet caramel malt with a big roasty alcohol finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, it's yummy but a bit hot. I'll have to set some of these down for a couple years.

Nov 21, 2020
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trevormajor from Ohio

4.34/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

5 oz pour at daily growler:
L - caramel colored with an absolutely white head that lingered on the edges of the glass
S - I smell Caramel and believe it or not lemon grass
T - really nice. I’m still growing as a reviewer of beer, And this beer is pretty complex. A little boozy, notes of caramel
F - light to medium mouth feel with minimal carbonation
O- very well-balanced for a barley wine.

Oct 08, 2020
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mschrei from Illinois

4.46/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank a bottle on its fifth birthday, and it was excellent. What I want from a barleywine: rich, and malty with dark fruit and caramel notes. Boozy, bold, big and tasty.

Oct 03, 2020
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Manta200 from Kentucky

3.77/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bought the aged bottle at Jungle Jim's this month. Packaged 10/10/15 the label says.
Maybe I should not have swirled the last bit when pouring it (old Hefeweizen habit, can't help it), it looked murky with tiny pieces floating like glitter.
Will definitely try it again when I get the chance, taste and feel was good. Overall a good experience.

Jul 08, 2020
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Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

3.24/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

$ 14.00 (Including tax)/6-pack of 12 oz bottles ($ 0.194/oz). Purchased 5/4/20 from Franklin Beer, Franklin, PA. In reefer at store. Reviewed 5/27/20.
Stamped on bottom of back label “PKG 09/11/2019”. Stored at home at 42 degrees and served at 60 degrees in a hand washed and dried Jester King snifter.
Appearance – 3.
First pour – Medium amber (SRM 12), hazy.
Body – Amber brown (SRM 18), murky and opaque. When held to direct light, translucent with ruby.
Head – Large (Maximum four cm, aggressive center pour), light tan, high density with a few rocks, average retention, diminishing to a seven to eight mm undulating crown and a complete cap of varying thickness with a few rocks.
Lacing –
Aroma – 3.25 – Weak caramel malt, no hops, no yeastiness.
Flavor – 3.25 – Weak, slightly sweet, caramel malt, no hops, no yeast. No alcohol (7.3% ABV, as marked on the label) taste or aroma. A weak gastric warming does occur. Ends with a slightly bitter aftertaste. No diacetyl or dimethylsulfide.
Palate – 3.25 – Medium, creamy, soft carbonation.
Final impression and summation: 3.25 A young barley wine, only eight months old, a long way from maturity. Not bad but certainly not great. I’ll put some back for next year, and the year after.

May 27, 2020
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officerbill from New York

4.39/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

EDIT: 01/31/21
Aged another year, here's the current review:
Deep, dark cherry cola with no light penetration other than a ruby tinge around the edge.
Prune, cherry, raisin, and molasses aromas
Tastes like a punch. Plums/prunes, real Maraschino cherries (Luxardo not those bright red things), figs & dates, molasses, peach peel, raisins, backed by a warming alcohol.
A smoothly round mouthfeel with a mildly pleasant bitter orange pith aftertaste. Only 10.2% so you feel, rather than taste, the alcohol,
This improves every year, and I'm glad I have several more bottles on hand to keep testing my patience.

2015 bottle opened in February, 2020
L: Dark root beer with a thing tan head that quickly disappears
S: Plum, cherry, burnt sugar, dates, figs, raisins
T: A rich punch with cherries, plums, molasses, almost ripe peaches backed by a warming alcohol
F: warming. Smooth with little carbonation. Tart at the front, but soothing at the back
O: Damn, this is good. Picked up a 6 on a whim and I'm glad I did. This barleywine has been aging for 5 years and is excellent. Warming alcohol, rich stone fruits. You don't notice the 10.2% ABV until about half-way through. Third Coast comes close to being the perfect cold weather beer.

Feb 09, 2020
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mpruden from Ohio

4.51/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tall glass on a windy, rainy, midwest winter evening, after returning from a cold, wet run.

Appearance: A pleasant cloudy brown, light tan head remained a few minutes, some lacing.

Nose: Sweet dried fruit, and a bit of floral — very pleasant.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, plenty thick.

Attack: Both rich and gentle, very flavorful, some caramel and dried fruit.

Finish: The hops show up here, but not in an overpowering way.

Overall: An outstanding ale — perfect to warm the heart and soul. I’m pretty sure this will be my favorite American Barleywine. I'll be buying this and enjoying it every winter.

Feb 05, 2020
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Thankin_Hank from Texas

3.84/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a snifter from a 12 ounce bottle dated 10/18/2018. A dark red fruit punch looking color with suspension and light carbonation. Smells like a sour fruit punch but sweet. Tastes a little like a sour fruit punch with alcohol. It's different and might require some getting used to. The mouthfeel is good. It's thin and easy to drink. Overall I'm not a fan as I couldn't get used to the taste. And I have one more to drink.

Jan 28, 2020
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cratez from Canada (ON)

4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Rating from notes. Consumed November 2013. "An outstanding, robust barley wine with rich aromas and a decadent palate. Could maybe use a bit more hops, but overall this is an impressive beer."

Jan 26, 2020
Photo of huston84
huston84 from New Mexico

4.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep burgundy and brown. Murky with lots of bits floating about. Very interesting to look at. Thin head with moderate lacing. I don't get much smell coming from the glass but there is some malty smell. Taste is cherry and wood, maybe leather. Something very tart at the beginning but the overwhelming taste is sweetness. I do not enjoy this very much but there's no denying that it's something different and special.

Jan 12, 2020
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Nass from Florida

4.17/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Vintage 2018

The pour is brown. The taste is candied brown sugar, caramel, molasses, roasted malts, plum, & dates. This is one of the better barlywines that I've had. Cheers! A-

Jan 10, 2020
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BEERMILER12 from Maine

4.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2019 bottle

A: Pours a deep ruby/mahogany color with 2 fingers of head that fades down to a thin cap

S: Dark fruit, molasses, caramel, toasted malt, grain, and some lighter floral and earthy hops

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with some toasted malt and caramel, then picks up the dark fruit and molasses. Bitterness is moderately aggressive at first and then settles down as a very light sweetness kicks in for balance. Finishes with lingering dark fruit, light bitterness, and the floral and earthy hops

M: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. On the smoother side

O: A solid old ale that makes for a good sipper and cold-weather brew. Definitely one of the hoppier/more bitter old ales out there, at least when fresh. Recommended

Dec 10, 2019
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CharlesForbin from Pennsylvania

4.77/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Age 15 months. This beer is best served not too cold as most barley wines. Cloudy in appearance. Alcohol is very well masked. I'm not tasting the "hop bitterness" on the label but I do get the "caramel" base. Comparing this Sierra Nevada Bigfoot I like this better. Dangerously easy to drink. If you like the style you need to try this beer but let it warm a bit in the glass as it is a much better experience.

Nov 13, 2019
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

4.34/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 8/7/13; drank 3/17/16 @ the Yarchives.

Opaque purple/brown appearance.

A rough pour yielded a minimal khaki head; decent lace.

Rich caramel, autumn leaves, brown sugar & molasses notes in the nose.

Medium thick mouthfeel.

Brown sugar & molasses flavors up front; dry autumn leaf notes on the finish.

Substantial autumn vibes; tasty & approachable. Aging just fine...

Oct 24, 2019
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Wolvmar from Michigan

4.34/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Oct 2019 Review
2019 vintage bottled 9/11/19
Really not much to add to prior reviews other than:
Slightly sharper hops bitterness
Still huge caramel malt
Probably a bit boozier than aged bottles
Really like this beer and very accessible. Highly recommend trying it.

Second Review:
Oct 2015 vintage that has cellared for 2+ years.
Pours light brown with red tinge. Slight head with a little bubble lacing as it’s drunk.
Nose is still full of dark dried fruits with alcohol less present than on newer vintage. Maybe a little more malt coming through than I recall.
Taste is similar with Carmel and dried fruit dominating the front end. Slight alcohol and hop bitterness on the finish.
Beautiful mouthfeel. Not chewy, not syrupy, but great thickness with just the right slight carbonation. One of the best.
Overall, a really good beer that definitely gets better with age. The alcohol mellows and the fruit, caramel and malt come through even more. I recommend it fresh, highly recommend it aged a year or two. Have another bottle to try after a third year!

First Review:
Sep 2016 vintage. Pours light brown with a good head. Not a lot of lacing but solid pour. Decent nose with fruit, caramel and some alcohol. Tastes similar with caramel base, malt, hints of dried fruits very smooth and full feel. Not watery but not overpowering. Definite bitterness at the finish with alcohol taste present but at the right level.
As others have, I can't wait to try some bottles I have aging. This is one of my favorite beers and seems to get better every time I try it.

Oct 20, 2019
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kitch from Hong Kong

4.24/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A 12 fl. oz. bottle, batch 13615, packaged on 30th October 2014, so almost 5 years. Poured into a snifter glass.

Appearance: A careful pour leaving much of the sediment in the bottle, it was a deep copper amber colour with no head but some sparse spotty lacing.

Aroma: Malty, sweet, dried berries, dark fruit, blackcurrant, plum, prunes, fig, caramel, syrupy and a touch floral.

Taste: Moderately sweet, dark fruit, plum, prunes, raisins, fig, caramel, brown sugar, candied orange liqueur and a hint of mixed berries.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with soft carbonation.

Overall: Yes, definitely pleasantly surprised by this as it has aged well. I’m pretty sure I meant to drink this earlier, but I simply forgot about it. In any case I’m not a huge fan of Barleywines, but this was a very nice sipper with great complexity.

Oct 13, 2019
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RockyM72 from Florida

5/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look: Very dense and hazy, Copper in color with the visible presence of small particles stuck, with no movement at all due to the thickness it literally looks like a jar of caramel. Little to almost no head that dissipates almost immediately.

Smell: Lots of caramel. Bourbon, hazelnut, coffee, dark chocolate, walnuts and a hint of cinnamon Complex but very well balanced.

Taste: Heavy caramel, with dark chocolate, spicy, black pepper and dry finish and a nice (not exaggerated) alcohol presence.

feel: Very dense, thick, smooth. Complex. Almost perfect.

This is my entry door to the style, if this is the standard then I’ll be all over it from now on, great beer. I would love to try this one aged on bourbon barrels.

Sep 08, 2019
Photo of jjamadorphd
jjamadorphd from Florida

4.06/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another great offering from Bell's...

What I liked most about this beer was the look and smell. It has a nice copperish color, hazy, with very little foam. The smell is distinctly caramel with light boozy notes, those same boozy notes are well hidden in the taste. It didn't overpower or distract from the surprisingly bitter taste it started off having, but tamped down as it warmed in my pint glass. Overall, this is a very nice beer, one I have to keep an eye on as my daughter-in-law tells me she has to try this. I will definitely be on the lookout for more than one.

Jul 21, 2019
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draheim from Washington

4.04/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz (bottled 9/5/2014) into a tulip. Pours a hazy mahogany with just a wisp of foam—more like a thin film—on the surface.

Aroma is sweet and fruity, rich and complex. Heavily malty with floral hop undertones. Caramel and raisins.

Taste is likewise malty and sweet—figs, dates, caramel and vanilla balanced by a gentle hop bitterness. Lots of sugars but not cloying.

Mouthfeel is full bodied yet finishes semi-dry. Hop bitterness keeps it fairly light on the palate. Very drinkable.

Overall a very nice old ale that has aged well.

Jul 01, 2019
Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 2877 ratings