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

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1,072 Reviews
Third Coast Old AleThird Coast Old Ale

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

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

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Reviews: 1,072 | Ratings: 2,619
Photo of Masonz223
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Note: 2015 bottle

Smell: dark fruit for days rasin plum figs a lot of cherry Carmel some booziness pine needle

Taste: upfront you get that malty Carmely sweetness but is immediately hit in the middle of the mouth with a promenet pine needle biterness the dark fruits come through in the mid palate finishes with a touch of brown sugar and more of that bitterness. You get a slight alchool warmth in the chest but it's not really boozy at all I think the year age really mellowed the alchool heat.

Feel: medium to full body extemly creamy and soft on the palate.

Overall: this beer has that big punch of biterness that bells stouts and barley wines usually have. The hops are the star of the show even with a year of age on it. Just like any other big bells beer I think this is only gonna get better with age.

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Photo of MikeWard
3.77/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle into a pint glass(sorry, tulip in the dishwasher) packaged 10/3/15, so a year old.

pours pretty ugly. syrup like pour with a murky muddy brown color. small off white head which shrinks to a ring. head can be reformed with some agitation. little lacing. very visible floaties.

aroma is okay, dried fruit with a faint alcohol presence.

taste is like drinking two different beers. starts out pretty good. rolls nicely around the mouth, dk fruit and molasses. Then the bitterness kicks in, and its very strong. i understand american versus british barleywines, but this bitterness is too strong for me.

mouth is close to full. the bitter finish lingers until the next mouthful.

overall, not my favorite american barleywine. just too bitter in the finish, to this palate. my review seems all over the place. but i tried to be honest.

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.97/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Deep brown in color with a very murky complexion. There's a fingernail of tan to brown around the rim and covering about two thirds of the middle. I get plenty of very sweet dark malt and caramel. I'm tasting a burst of sweet dark malt. The mouth is dry and sticky along with plenty of warmth from the alcohol.

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

12 ounce bottle into a snifter. Bottled 10/2/15.

Pours a hazy amber, with a half inch, quickly dissipating head, little lacing. Smell is malt, figs, plums, dates, grapes, brown sugar, yeast, light cherries. A lightly spicy aroma. The taste follows with the malt and figs, more cherries than the nose, dates, plums, raisins, caramel, a little sweetness, some hop bitterness throughout. Smooth, good body, well carbonated.

Solid barleywine, a plus beer in all the categories. The lighter hop presence was enjoyable, the ABV is well hidden. Well worth a purchase.

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Photo of beergoot
4.14/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark copper colored body; lots of fine carbonation; thick, rocky, sculpted head. Rich caramel aroma; brown sugar and vanilla; fresh cut white oak. Lots of caramel, fig, and boozy flavors; strong bitterness; dark, dried fruit flavors. Heavy body; smooth and lush on the palate; lots of residual sugars adding heft to the body; warm (almost hot with the alcohol presence).

Big, boozy, and very delicious. The brewing/bottling date stamp was halfway off the label, so I have no idea the vintage of this bottle, and having this on a hot, summer evening isn't when I usually indulge in such beers as these, I still find this a very satisfying, malty and boozy treat. Perhaps my road trip to Ohio and Michigan in October will let me get some more of this for the winter months...

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Photo of Parmesan
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L: Muddy amber brown color with a small khaki tan head, good lacing all around the glass.

S: Lots of sweet caramel and stone fruits some bready malts and floral hops very inviting aroma.

T: Lots of toffee and sweet caramel, some stone fruits, quite a noticeable booze that is a little harsh, some notes of Earl Grey Tea. Strong bitterness at the end which is a little harsh.

F: Fully syrupy body, very creamy carbonation.

O:The booze is quite noticeable and bitterness is a little harsh but still a very pleasant barleywine.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Third Coast Old Ale has a rather thin, cream-colored head, a semi-clear, red appearance, with powdery sediment, throughout, and minimal lacing left behind. The aroma is of rich nougat, dates, light fudge, and plum, and the flavor is of those elements, riding alongside tea notes, brown bread crust, plum skins, golden raisin, some golden sherry, and a noticeable, balancing bitterness. Mouthfeel is fairly heavy, and Third Coast Old Ale finishes in the dry realm, but not as a particularly dry item.


 505 characters

Photo of Gobearswalter34
3.72/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown with maroon tint. A one-finger, creamy, tan head with lots of carbonation. Smells of malt, Carmel and dark fruit. Lots of dark fruit and Carmel flavor with a nice hop bite that comes together very we'll. a slight alcohol burn.

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Photo of drunkenmess
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Actually found a single of this sitting on a shelf at my hidden honey pot spot. Dated 9/05/14. Figured what the hell. Haven't tried it yet, just started getting into barleywines recently. I will have to pick up a more fresher bottle to compare it to since this ones been sitting for a while.
Any who... Pours a dark murky brown with quite a bit of sediment. Head is very little which disappears shortly after pouring. No lacing. Smells of dark fruit, figs, some caramel and alcohol. Taste is VERY flavorful after all this time! Despite the other barleywines I've tried so far this is very enjoyable. No bitter hoppyness present. Pretty smooth and sweet actually. Defintley dont taste the abv at all compared to the smell of it. Well hidden. Maybe due to the aging.
Over all a very complex and delightful brew I will be revisiting again.

 836 characters

Photo of Tuck_leepulin
4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled on 10/10/15.

Appearance: Pours a hazy, deep mahogany with 1 finger of off-white head

Smell: Dark fruit, raisins, plums, cough syrup

Taste: Lots of dark fruit like the aroma with some piney hop bitterness in the middle, some alcohol warmth in the finish

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied

Overall: My first time having this beer, was expecting just a typical english old ale based upon the label but the hop presence was a pleasant surprise. I'd like to age some and enjoy during the wintertime.

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Photo of Beginner2
3.97/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

I was going to cellar this until the winter. But, then appeared the perfect excuse to crack into my stash: a Spring cold. And I am glad I lacked willpower. We now have proof that barleywine beats decongestants always.

But being on the backside of being nose and taste impaired, I should be fair and say nothing bad about the second most often rated American Barleywine. (Well, maybe one small flaw: there seemingly is lots of alpha oil from the hops.)

So, the qualities? There is so much fruit and flavor in this ale that I am very glad I skipped dinner and went straight to dessert of chocolate, butterscotch and, if I had any, fruit cake. A near splendid barleywine.

And I should comment on this ale's name. For all you Easterners and Westerners... know that America has a middle and it has a culture and that it is not subjected to hurricanes or forest fires... and that our large bodies of water are fresh... from which we make the world's best beers.

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Photo of ThickNStout
4.26/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle from Sherlock's (Marietta, GA). 2.99. Bottled 10/10/15. Served in a Bells snifter.

Pours a vivid ruby chestnut with a significant amount of turbidity in suspension and a finger and a half beige head. Clumps of retention linger on the surface and a persistent fluffy crown imparts several sizeable splotches of lace as I drink it down.

Smells of cooked sugars, dark fruits, caramel, some earthy floral hop notes and a hint of grainy malt. It gets sweeter as it nears room temperature.

The flavors blend slightly oxidized dates, cherry skins, seared caramel, tobacco, cereal grains, mildly bitter earthy roots and an appropriately hefty tingle of alcohol. It's a great blend of malty goodness with just a dash of bitterness.

Full body with light but present carbonation. The finish is earthy and a tad bitter with notes of dark fruit skins, cereal grains and cooked sugars.

I'm not sure what took me so long to finally try Bell's Third Coast Old Ale. This is a solid example of the style that borders on barleywine. I believe I'll be procuring a six pack to cellar.

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Photo of SawDog505
4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a 13 oz tulip glass at near room temperature bottled in late 2015 from what I can tell. Pours a magnificent mahogany with a 2 inch sticky light tan head that leaves amazing lace.

Smell is caramel, toffee, fig, biscuit, brown sugar, oak, and vanilla.

Taste follows lots of dark fruit, vanilla, fig, oak, biscuit, brown sugar, toffee, and caramel.

Mouthfeel is a little larger than medium, moderate carbonation, not really dry, and excellent drinkability for a sipper.

Overall this is a very nice beer and thanks @jzeilinger for sending this very sophisticated and we'll made old ale.

 600 characters

Photo of jeffdr123
4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

With David at Radio and Cork. I'd everything from Bell:s excellent. No head. Dark look. No head. Complex plumb and cherry tobacco and bourban and malt. A good sipper.

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Photo of XBeerBellyT
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

REVIEWING 2012 Vintage
L: Dark brown with a slight purple hue. Small head from pour.
S: Straight up cherries and dark fruits right away (raisins/figs). Sweet caramel and malt notes. Slight booze.
F: Medium body. Slight Carbonation. Has a nice velvety feel though.
T: Dark fruits up front. Oaky char still comes through. Hop bitterness at the end. Getting more bitter than sweet from this beer.

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

I'm just not a big fan of these 10 percent plus beers, as they all have a very strong alcohol taste. If you are into that, this beer is for you. I have had several 8 percent beers that have been well balanced. I have yet to have a good 10 percenter that does not taste like brandy.

 284 characters

Photo of ZebulonXZogg
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From a bottle dated 9/5/15.
Pours a clear brown with a beige head that fades quickly and leaves a hint of lacing.
Aroma is caramel, toffee, molasses and dark fruit.
Flavor matches the aromas, but becomes a little to sweet as it warms.
Overall a tasty beer but I think I'd prefer it a bit colder than I had it.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I've always compared this beer to Bigfoot, and it will continue. Looks similar, dark brown with crimson dark red edges. Head is off white bordering on tan.

Aroma has some sweet booze and caramel, toffee, hops.

Taste hits with both hoppy and boozy notes. There's all kinds of stuff to find in there from toffee, to hoppy wood, caramel, bitterness, alcohol. Just another one of those top notch non barreled barleywines that you rarely hear get mentioned. But this is creme de la creme in style for me. This and bigfoot, yes please.

 541 characters

Photo of deaddear
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle packaged 10/30/2014. Aggressive pour into a snifter.

A: Effervescent carbonation produced 1-2 finger head which quickly settled into a paper-thin, centrally focused head and just a bit of lacing. Molasses black in the center, some copper-red light coming through the edges. Reminds me of Crayola's Burnt Sienna.

S: Rum-soaked fruitcake. Notes of raisin or poppy seed bread (emphasis on the bread). Dried fruit, spices.

T: Very good balance of malt, hops, wood, and alcohol. Cereal and molasses flavors plus alcohol, as well as some aged hoppiness that comes out more strongly with air time.

M: Silky smooth, just a tad of carbonation, but at a level that plays well with everything. Flattens out with air time.

O: It's a sipper but uniquely refreshing for a high ABV, barrel-aged beer. Very solid.

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Photo of PelhamCellar
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled on 10/3/15. Served at 50 degrees. Poured medium brown with medium carbonation, some lacing.
Not a lot of aroma to me.
First taste was heavy hop bitterness, a little raisin, some bitter chocolate (but not in a bad way).
Minimal sweetness upfront, a bit more as it warmed up. Hops bitterness subsided almost completely after first few sips.
I feel like I'm missing something as everyone loves this- it's good but not mind-blowing. I'll cellar a few though to see what happens.

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Photo of Motleydrunk56
4.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a stone glass.Smell is a very fruity smell.Pairs maybe raisins,apples.Taste of apples,plums and pairs.Overall this is pretty good.Don`t know if I would buy it again but I glad I tried it.Give it a try.Nice ABV of 10.20.

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Photo of MACrist
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled: 10/3/15.
APPEARANCE: With a light pointed at it, looks brown with lots of small white particles (yeast) floating in it. Light it up from behind and it is a ruby to mahogany. Half a finger of khaki head, quickly dissipates to a ring. Steady small bubbles streaming up. Patchy lacing, lots of legs down the glass.
AROMA: Very floral at first. Then you get some alcohol, like a sherry or port wine, but not harsh in any way. Lots of dark dried fruits, raisins, figs, black cherry, especially.
TASTE: Big, mellow dark dried fruits, chocolate like undertones, not harsh at all, very mellow.
FEEL: A little sticky throughout, although the finish is drying. Carbonation is a perfect medium. Not too chewy, medium body.
OVERALL: Really easy going, and as easy to drink as you might want for the style. Not super complex, but very enjoyable. Would definitely buy again. Wait, I've got 5 more! These are ready to drink with just a few months on them, but I'm going to save a few for a while. See where they go.

 1,009 characters

Photo of JiminKY
4.85/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Draft of the 2014 version, tapped in late February 2016.

Quite simply, THIS is what it's all about. The kind of beer that reminds me why I got into drinking craft brews, in the first place. Even during the beautiful season of Gravity Head, here in Kentuckiana, where I am fortunate to have access to an incredible myriad of world-class, high-gravity selections, this sets itself apart. Well worth seeking out.

 411 characters

Photo of AppaZappa
3.99/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

10/2/2015 bottle poured into tulip. Pours rich reddish brown with some haze, little head that fades to nice lacing. Smell is caramel, malt, slight raisin, vanilla, and burnt sugar. Taste is malt, sugar, toffee, and slight hop bite at the end. Mouth is creamy, smooth, and very mellow carbonation. I get very little alcohol for the abv

A solid widely available barleywine. Not overly exciting or flashy, but that's not what is vying to be. I'd be excited to age this a bit myself.

 480 characters

Photo of stevoj
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Jake65. Without any research, I was thinking this was an old ale. Bottled August 2013. Muddy brown with small skin of beige head. Sweet malt and molasses on the aroma, hints of vanilla and oak in the taste, very gentle warmth. Slick, oily body. I would have kept this longer had I known. Thanks Jake.

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Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.1 out of 5 based on 2,619 ratings.
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