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

2,697 Ratings
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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,697 |  Reviews: 1,102
Photo of KevinL
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of MurphDog14
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Andy_Luft
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Mindcrime1000
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a single-serve bottle into a tulip.

The pour is pretty darn close to perfect--definitely spectacular. A deep, hazy/murky mahogany with just a touch of garnet highlighting, with a finger-and-a-half tan head that gives way quickly, but steadily, to exquisite lacing throughout the drink. It leaves a steady trailing of froth as it is consumed.

The aroma is strong, forward, and complex--perhaps just a touch "busy." Malts very forward with burnt sugar and caramel notes, followed by cocoa, tobacco, anise, some surprisingly-present hoppiness, and just a touch of solvent booze. If beers that lack "nose" turn you off, this is the beer for you, because not only are all of these elements noticeable, but the aroma is about as "in your face" as I've had with this style.

The flavor is right up against the line between "old ale" and "barleywine." This one is definitely a batch that could use a touch of aging, so I won't mark it down for the "bite," but there is no doubt that this is a "burner" rather than a "warmer" in its youth. The early "strike" of the booze notwithstanding, there is a great measure of complexity going on here to match the "nose." Malts are again very forward, with toasted marshmallow, cocoa, bourbon, and then creamy vanilla notes, followed by anise, tobacco, leather, and oak. Very evocative of a barrel-aged offering, no doubt because of the extra booziness. Very sweet initially, but with a sneaky hoppy bitter finish that becomes more pronounced at higher temperature. Maybe a few too many things going on to be a truly special offering.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly, and disappointingly, thin. The carbonation is nice, and, combined with the "lean" of the booze, helps prevent the brew from being sticky, but I wanted a little more chew.

Overall, this is a fine fusion of the old ale and barleywine traditions. I want to try one after it's had some time to mature, because I suspect it will get a "spectacular" instead of "pretty damn good" rating when I do.

 2,017 characters

Photo of Lahey
4.58/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I really enjoy this beer. Dated october 2015, its old but still tasty. Lots of dark fruit, caramel malts. Ive only had one other olde ale (curmudgeon by founders) but this is excellent, even with floaties in it. I'll buy more if available.

 239 characters

Photo of MacMalt
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 10/3/2015. Poured into tulip glass. It pours a dark copper color with orange hues, and a finger of creamy, khaki-colored head and lacing with good retention. The nose features sweet malt, caramel, tobacco smoke, and a slight char. The first think I taste is caramel on the tip of my tongue but at mid-sip it becomes quite bitter with a lot of char. As the glass warmed, I began to taste more dark fruit: black cherry and raisin, as well as some licorice. The taste became increasingly complex. This is another beer that should sit for 10-15 minutes at room temperature before drinking. It has a medium, fairly creamy mouth feel, with pleasant carbonation, and you can both taste and feel its 10.2% ABV. While I'm generally more a fan of English Barleywines than the American variant, I'm liking Third Coast a lot!

 823 characters

Photo of JoeLev
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Benish
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Gagnonsux
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Moses_Malone
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of khmel
4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This really is an excellent barleywine. Pours a dark red-brown, though not at all cloudy. Plenty of malty sweetness in the nose and some of the earthy barley notes. The taste is sweet but plenty of malt and and barley earthiness. It lacks the forward hops that many American breweries add to barleywines and yet is also not cloying. Nicely balanced. A little more reminiscent of an English barleywine (which I prefer). The mouthfeel is thick and slippery as it ought to be. A really good barleywine and possibly one of the best American barleywines I've tried.

 560 characters

Photo of GlennWB
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

One to try clearing for winter

30 characters

Photo of Mdaniel723
3.84/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cellaring this to see if it changes for the better

50 characters

Photo of Lone_Freighter
4.59/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was poured into a tulip. The appearance was a ruddy burnt dark amber color with a two finger white foamy head that dissipated at a fair pace. Sticky speckled lace. The aroma glistens with caramel and toffee malt, some ash and vanilla. Dark fruits. Grassiness. Sweet side of licorice. Earthiness. The flavor definitely leans towards the sweet side touching the earthiness nicely. Dark fruits again. Some grassiness in the taste. Tobacco/earthy to vanilla and malty aftertaste. Wet vanilla sort of lenient tobacco dry finish. On the palate, this one sat roughly at a a medium on the body keeping some sipping quality sliding over my tongue with a nice becoming smoothness. Barely any carbonation felt right now. ABV seems just a touch under than projected by the brewer. Overall, cellared beer review for this one and it came out on top.

 840 characters

Photo of Pens1967
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Photo of CitizenGenet
4.85/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Gadzooks! This was good.

Bottle was ten months old. I know you're supposed to age this, but I'm moving house and, well, it spoke to me.

Look - color of an English black tea. Amber, copper on the edges, dark and mysterious in the full pour.
Smell - Inviting! English dessert pudding, treacle, currant.
Taste - I don't think this could be improved for its style. Like drinking a nice Spotted Dick, which is, as everyone knows, the finest dessert in the Western World. Slightly sweet but full-bodied. Treacle, dark bread, honeybutter.

Memorable beer worth acquiring even at an unfair price. Perhaps it improves with perpetual aging as the label suggests, but at 10 months this was outstanding.

 703 characters

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

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

Photo of BEER88
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Tracker83
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of chippo33
3.77/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Bum4ever
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of HorseheadsHopHead
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Comes in a dark brown color with faint ruby red edges. Topped by a creamy beige head that dies down after a bit, but leaves a nice tan ring and there's some chunky lacing.
Smells like dark fruits as hell. There's dates, figs, raisin, prunes, and black cherry. Also caramel, brown sugar, molasses, toasted pumpernickel bread, and vanilla.
On the palate, big amounts of the sweeter dark fruits upfront. Both black and sweet cherry, then red and white raisins. In the middle, a huge malt character of toasted pumpernickel bread, molasses, black licorice, and caramel. Then you get more dark fruits on the back end, the darker and drier ones like dates, figs, and prunes. There's an overall brandy and sherry character character, with suggestions of dark chocolate, light roast coffee, and vanilla. Finishes with a touch of alcohol warmth and a lingering molasses sweetness that coats the mouth.
The feel the heavier side of medium, pretty well carbonated, leaning towards full-bodied. It's not quite creamy or velvety, but there is a substantial chewiness that makes it a sipper.
Overall, this is a solid barleywine/old ale. If you're looking for dark fruits for days, here is where you'll find it.

 1,205 characters

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

Photo of beerthulhu
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

-Packaged 10.30.24. Consumed 4/29.17.

A: Dark ice tea pour produces a milky and frothy sandy colored head. Lace stickage on the vessel is rather weak, but the covering has lasting potential. Love the dark coloring here.

S: Bourbon scented malt, spicy dark fruit, plums, with some honey-pine. Yeastiness of honey-fruit, melon and some cola.

T: The flavor is spicy dark fruit, with some bourbon influence. Dry pear, creamy spicy malts with some caramelized toast. Hints of sugary dry rum soaked fruit and alcohol, melon with a spiciness of caradmon.

M: Mouthful is big as expected, near full body, syrupy in texture, smooth, with hardly any carbonation texture. Warming booziness hits the inner cheeks, dry and spicy cola rum.

O: Reminds me a bit of an arrogant bastard, same style, just a bit more polished and not as brassy in the hops, made more true to olde world style with a lingering alcohol of 10.2% that is very complimentry to the drink. Aged 3 years seems to have smoothed and rounded out the flavor maybe, definitely a malt forward beer by style, very good to style, with a lingering bourbon flair. Old world appeal.

 1,136 characters

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Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.1 out of 5 based on 2,697 ratings.
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