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

2,672 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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Reviews: 1,093 | Ratings: 2,672
Photo of Sammy
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Top of its style. Cloudy auburn brown with lots of foam. Hopped up with Cookie dough, mint, rum, dates and fig, ice cream mouthfeel, a little hop bitterness. Complex real flavours that overcomes alcohol. Citrus and vanilla aromas. Mint vanilla aftertaste.
Had a 3-year old aged bottle about 7.5 years later and its very mellow and nice.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.92/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: thin tan head on a very attractive deep amber with red tints body.

S: dried dark fruits, ginger, malts and not too boozy for the style.

T: cabernet red wine notes with dark fruits, malty mustiness, toffee, some toasted malts and brown sugar. booziness is acceptable.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation. semi dry finish.

Overall: The right amount of booziness for the style. complex but many of these in the genre are. Not too bad.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.39/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Thanks to drewone for sharing this one at his place.

Bottled 11/14/12.

Pours a hazy reddish-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small streaks and dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, fruits, and alcohol. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but it's quite strong and boozy in my opinion.

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

definitely one of the better barleywines ive had in a long time, thanks again to thebrewo for this one. it pours an enchantingly deep deep copper to ruby red, with a one inch off white head with excellent retention, especially for the style, which I find generally lacks this quality. its got an interesting nose. first of all, youd never know it was over 10% abv, it smells more gentle than that, nothing harsh at all here. there is some molasses sweetness, a mild but complex spice profile, and a huge grain profile that may even have some rye malt in it. the flavor isn't as sweet as the nose, its more delicate. weird to call a beer this big delicate, but this one somehow is. there are notes of vanilla, butterscotch, clove, and a range of other attributes that make me think this would be an ideal holiday beer. its a little out of place in springtime, but its really delicious. soft feel with relaxed carbonation and a easier drinking medium body. by feel alone, you also wouldn't know this is a barleywine. the alcohol gets more prominent as the beer warms, which is to be anticipated, but it never gets tough to drink or caustic. overall I really enjoyed this, I like that its not super hoppy or super sweet, but maintains the complexity the style is known for. very well made beer here.

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Photo of t0rin0
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have no idea how old this bottle is but I would guess a year or two.

The beer pours a deep red color with some brown foam. The head lingers for a bit and leaves a little lacing. The color and head on this beer are so nice that I would like to give it more points but there was just too much crap swimming around in there. Lots of yeast chunks.

Aroma is very malty and a little of fading hop presence. The malt actually seems like its maturing. This is part of the reason for the first sentence.

The taste is very nice indeed. It tastes aged. The bitterness is mellow and the beer is kind of tangy. Some crystal malt present as well as some fruitiness. Can't find any spices but that may have faded. At this point I don't know whether to call it an old ale or a barleywine.

Body is medium thick with ample carbonation. Again, I would have given more points if it weren't for the yeast chunks. Despit that however, it was very drinkable.

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Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a dark brown color. The head was pretty big but settled quickly. The lacing wasn't too bad leaving some bubbles down the glass. The smell of the beer was earthy, toasted and a little sweet. There is a some booze on the nose too. The taste of the beer has a sweet start to it with some burnt bitter flavors in the end, all that mixed with some caramel and booze. The heat on this beer is give the mouthfeel a big warming aspect to it. It's not overly heavy at all but it still feels like a big beer. Overall the beer was pretty good, I'd be willing to drink it again sometime.

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Photo of metter98
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear but very dark amber in color (brown when viewed from afar) and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high tan head that slowly died down and left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of caramel, toffee and fruits in the nose.
T: The taste shares some similarities with the smell but isn't quite as complex, having mainly flavors of caramel malts and notes to hints of alcohol along with a light to moderate amount of bitterness.
M: It feels full-bodied and a little sticky on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There is some alcohol warming towards the finish and dryness in the aftertaste.
O: This beer is a good barleywine but seems that the taste really needs some aging to develop the same amount of complexity as the smell.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

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Photo of brentk56
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Arrives at the table with a hazy dark amber color and a beige head that leaves lots of lace

Smell: Caramel and earthy hops compete and there is definitely some alcohol on the nose

Taste: Caramel base up front that is joined by a growing earthy bitterness that turns slightly harsh at the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Complex ale, with sweet and bitter elements and a long-lasting finish

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Photo of emerge077
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A perfect nightcap, best one at a time.
Allowed to warm to a cool temp., maybe 50-55º.

Pours a deep mahogany, spotty lacing flecks the rim of the glass.

Aroma of burnt malt, caramel, and sweet liqueur.

Taste is rich, toffee and malt mostly. Hops linger in a ghostly bitter finish. What takes centerstage is the velvety butterscotch mouthfeel that wraps you like a blanket with every small sip. Every time I drink one, it takes at least 30 min. to finish. The alcohol is apparent, but well integrated into a heady, intoxicating liquid. Voodoo in a glass...

Can't wait to try one aged in a couple years.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (thanks to Hogtownharry for this one): Poured a murky brown color ale with a medium foamy brown head with great retention. Aroma of sweet caramel malt and light bitter hops is very well balance. Taste is a mixture between dry figs, sweet caramel malt with a nice hops finish that is more subtle then what I was expecting based on some previous rating. Body is full and it seems like the beer had not been filtered, which is always a big plus. Alcohol was well hidden. Overall, this is probably one of the finest American barleywine that I have had the chance to try.

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Photo of zeff80
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a cloudy, dark burgandy color with a small, short-lived, tan head. Left some soapy trails of residue.

S - It smelled of alcohol, caramel and rich malt.

T - It tasted very sweet and of rich caramel malt. The alcohol taste was also quite present.

M - It was very soft and smooth, almost port-like. It was medium to heavy-bodied.

D - This is a great ole ale. I'm glad I grabbed 3.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.77/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours mahogany win a slight off white head and not much of any lacing. Nose brings sweet bread and caramel along with dates, brown sugar, and some generic sweetness. Taste is quite boozy with brown sugar and rum-soaked dark fruits. Medium body with low carbonation and booze. Drinks well, but is definitely a sipper.

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Photo of mothman
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First off, wow that picture for the BA profile of Third Coast Old Ale is creepy.

Batch 9358

Poured into Bell's snifter.

Pours a small beige head. Fades down fast. Color is a dark ruby hued caramel.

Aroma: Cherries, vanilla, some oak notes, cookies, toffee, with some heat. Very big flavor.

Taste: Wow, this is a pretty big beer. Lots of fruit notes. Cherries, oak, and vanilla. I also get cookies and spices. Some licorice and toffee. Lots of malts.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, rich, warm. Medium bodied with a lower amount of carbonation. Ends warm,but relatively clean, a little dry.

Overall, this is a solid beer and I think it will develop in a year or two even more. It is fairly drinkable and I am glad I have more. It will be hard to hold onto these for a few years.

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Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled 11/03/2010. Pours slightly cloudy red orange color with a nice 1 finger dense khaki head with good retention that reduces to a thin cap that lasts. Some nice spotty lacing on the glass. Aromas of big caramel, biscuit, herbal, raisin, grape, molasses, pine, and a touch of alcohol. Nice and well balanced aromas with good strength. Taste of big caramel, biscuit, herbal, grape, raisin, molasses, brown sugar, pine, wood, and earth. Fair amount of herbal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, pine, herbal, dark fruit, and molasses for a while. Fantastic flavor balance and complexity. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a nice creamy, sticky, and slick mouthfeel. Nice amount of smoothness, but is definitely a sipper. Alcohol is well hidden with only a warming after the finish present. Overall this is a fantastic and complex barleywine. Very smooth and enjoyable to sip on.

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Photo of nickfl
2.58/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A - Dark reddish brown, pretty much opaque. Good sized tan colored off white head.

S - Nutty and malty. Lots of brown, caramel notes and maby a little bit of wild funk or possibly a butter aroma. I wish I had someone here who could recognize diacetyl as I think that may be what I am detecting, but I have never been able to pick it out.

T - Buttery. Lots of hops, almost fatty and greasy flavor. Makes me wonder if I had poor luck and got a really oxadized bottle.

M - Very slick and mouth coating.

D - Not sure what to think about this. Right now I feel like this beer was a horrible mistake. I don't know if it was infected, abused, or just bad but I got this one from the Bells Store in Kalamazoo so it shold be as good as it gets. Maby with a few years of ageing it would turn into something a bit more satisfactory.

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Photo of oberon
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby red with a creamy,sticky head,aromas of dried fruit and of brown sugar a nice robust aroma.Wow what a nice rich complex beer flavors of fruit and dough with some big alcohol notes as this beer warms.A big hearty beer meant to be drank to warm you up,big and chewey just awesome!Thanks AKSmokedPorter for this great brew from the home state.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Carefully poured from a long-standing bottle it's a crystal-clear deep-ruby with an orange cast. The creamy off-white head drops slowly to a thin surface covering that holds throughout the glass. A simple swirl of the glass will bring it back up in size; yet it leaves little lacing about the glass (probably due to the high level of alcohol present). A rich caramel malt resides in the nose; accentuated by spicy, floral, citrusy and herbal hops; as well as a bit of alcohol and some mild fruitiness. The body is full and creamy in the mouth with a very fine, natural carbonation that gently caresses the tongue. All of the elements found in the nose are carried over into the flavor plus more. It starts with a gently sweet and lightly fruity caramel malt that expresses a gentle nuttiness and an occassional mild note of vanilla. More fruit (dates, raisins) and a light touch of citrusy and piney hops becomes apparent across the middle along with a solid bitterness. It finishes with some lingering malt and a burst of citrusy/piney hops amongst a rising bitterness. Quite nice! Seemingly more of a barleywine than an old ale, but enjoyable nonetheless. Well worth trying, and a good addition to anyone's cellar.

 1,216 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.96/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz aged bottle served in a snifter.
Pours a hazy, nearly opaque, reddish-brown. Would be murkier but I left the last bit of sediment in the bottle.

This is a rich and robust ale with moderate spiciness and a load of dark fruit flavors. Somewhat boozy but not bad for > 10% ABV.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch #8135, acquired via trade from feloniousmonk so a big “Thank You” goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep reddish brown color, with a short thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, brown sugar, dark fruit and a little bit of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of brown sugar, dark fruit and caramel. Then there is a bit of alcohol sting and a hearty malt character. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings a decent balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and a little crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down dangerously easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, there are better choices in the style but this is still a solid stronger beer.

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

A: Pours a relatively clear but close to opaque mahogany in color with light amounts of gentle visible carbonation along the edges of the glass and some garnet red highlights. The beer has a quarter finger tall foamy tan head that reduces to a very large patch of thin film covering almost the entire surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of toffee, caramel, and dark fruits (dates and prunes).

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of caramel and toffee malts with a light amount of sweetness and a hint of dark fruit (dates and prunes). There is an earthiness which I am assuming is from the hops towards the finish and light amounts of alcohol that lingers.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Upfront the beer is rather sticky with some light amounts of dryness and alcohol warming in the finish.

O: This is a very nice and enjoyable barleywine though there is a lot more complexity to the aroma than there is in the flavor. This would probably be even better with a little more age on it.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First had: bottle at Eulogy, Philly, PA

A: Hazy brown color, with a dissipating head.

S: Sweet, sugary, with some dried fruit.

T: Fruity and sweet, but not overbearingly so. Alcohol bite.

M: Medium body, a little bit syrupy.

D: Moderately drinkable.

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

Appearance: Pours a dark amber body with a small, creamy off-white head.

Smell: Dark fruits and crème caramel with notes of cinnamon and molasses backed by a hefty whiff of booze.

Taste: Brown sugar and dark fruits, particularly grapes, smothered in a sweet caramel sauce. Hint of molasses and cinnamon spice. Slight earthy bitterness. Long, hot finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Coating mouthfeel. Warming alcohol presence.

Drinkability: A pretty good barleywine and another fine beer from Bell's.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.53/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cranberry red with a wee splash of orange juice. The honeyish beige crown is whipped creamy and filled almost half the snifter on the pour. Great longevity and an impressive amount of lace are icing on the old ale cake.

The nose is akin to a golden barleywine. Maybe a hint of caramel malt, but nothing darker than that. Here's hoping the expected complexity appears as the beer continues to warm. The short version is assorted fruits soaked in brandy, though ethanol notes are minimal.

Third Coast Old Ale is one of those beers that I've purchased several times in the past, but have always sent in trades, never cracking the crown for myself until today. Although it's a fine effort, it's still disappointing relative to expectations. Not because it isn't well-crafted, but because of my old ale/barleywine preferences. Bottling date was September 5, 2008.

Light and mid-range malts don't provide much flavor, it doesn't tastes like there's much hop character, and ale yeast is notoriously bland. The result is a big beer that lacks complexity and depth. Flavors include apricots macerated in brandy and a handful of caramel-dipped nuts. A surprising amount of bitterness and a fraction too much unmasked alcohol result in a finish that is surgically clean and drying.

The body/mouthfeel is lighter than it should be and the carbonation is more active and more sharp-edged than it should be. I keep hoping things will settle down. It hasn't happened yet and I'm now into the bottom half of the bottle.

This is the biggest shocker of the past several months. I fully expected to love Third Coast Old Ale because I'm a huge fan of Bell's Brewery. Again, the relatively low score probably has more to do with my flavor preferences than it does with the beer itself. For whatever that's worth.

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Photo of billab914
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. Poured brown, slightly ruby in color with a thin scattered white lacing on top of the beer.

The aroma is sweet with caramel malt and dark fruit really coming through. A small amount of alcohol is present but not as much as I expected. The taste is full of dark fruits, with some raisins, plums and figs all present. It has a warming alcohol finish to it with some hints of vanilla.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with below average carbonation. Drinkability is pretty good, it has some very good flavors to it which really helps the drinkability. A very nice slow sipping beer that I really enjoyed after dinner.

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Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.1 out of 5 based on 2,672 ratings.
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