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

1,088 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: 1,088 | Ratings: 2,664
Photo of akolb
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

17 month old bottle. Aroma: dark fruit, rum, spices, wood. Taste: a deep complex malty sweetness, tobacco, wood, caramel, earth. Intense bitterness and alcohol burn.

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Photo of Detlef90
4.48/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I've been aging a bunch of these so this review is of the 2013. Age does this beer really really well. The older it gets the more complex it becomes. Fresh it's a bit on the hot and bitter side. With a couple of years it mellows and out comes all of the other wonderful flavors. Dried fruits (raisins and dates), molasses, it almost tastes like there is bourbon there (like it was barrel aged, but it was not). Subtle and complex. With age this is one of my favorite beers for sure. It's also easy to get which is a major plus. Bells certainly knows how to make beers that age well. Recommend highly.

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Photo of Red5StandingBy
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12oz bottle into standard pint glass. Bottled on October 2nd 2015.

L: Hazy Amber, finger width tan head. Decent retention. Small amounts of lacing.

S: Sherry and figs, Apples.

T: Rich caramel malts, dried fruits like apricots, figs, hop bitterness shows through to keep it balanced. Bit of dark chocolate at the end. Tasty!

F: Medium-Heavy, creamy and smooth, semi-dry.

O: Wow. New to me powerhouse brew from Bell's. Excellent.

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

Pours dark brown with a 1/2 in opaque/dirty white head that quickly bubbles leaving a collar

Sniffer picks up caramel, alcohol, dark fruits, spice, but of licorice

Palate reads raisins, alcohol, malts, stone fruits. Large gulps pickup a big amount of alcohol.smooth

Can deffinetly taste the aging! I'll deffinetly let my other three bottles age a few more years though

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Photo of patre_tim
4.47/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A: Cherry wood with a hint of haze, no carbonation and 2 fingers of beige head.

S: Malts, old wood, not barrels, just the smell you catch when you walk in an old building made of wood. Caramel, a hint of foot, and a light fruitiness.

T: Follows the nose but way more intense and pronounced, ending with a cracker, sour, but refined, bitterness.

M: Medium, light feeling body with little carbonation.

O: Excellent taste, overall great brew. Complex and really covers the ABV in a scary way.

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Photo of YoungKurtis
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 10/03/15

L: Dark brown, moderate lacing, generous head
S: Malty sweet, dried fruits, slight note of hard cheese
T: similar to smell
F: moderate body, mild alcohol airiness, tingly up front, creamy along the rest of the palate

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Photo of Gavage
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: brown in color with a 1/4" head that falls to some surface bubbles.

Smell: brown sugar and a dark fruit sweetness is easy to detect.

Taste: big malty profile here with some toffee, brown sugar, raisins, black plums, some warming alcohol and a moderate bitterness.

Mouthfeel: heavy bodied beer. Lightly crisp to start, smoother and a bit dry at the finish.

Overall: a very tasty barleywine that is slow sipping but extremely satisfying. Great to have on a cold winters day.

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Photo of MNAle
3.99/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Aug 2016 bottled, reviewed in Dec 2016. Dark amber, somewhat cloudy, with a 1/2 inch tan head. Dark fruit and caramel somewhat weak aroma. Very smooth taste and feel. Taste follows the aroma, but is much more assertive, with dark fruit and caramel in the initial taste with a somewhat bitter finish that lingers for a short while. At 10.2%, the alcohol is noticeable, especially in the finish, but it is well controlled. This barleywine has a wonderful taste, but a somewhat subdued aroma. On balance, quite good.

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Photo of JackRWatkins
3.67/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Deep red with .5 to 1-finger head in something of a beige/off white head
S: sweet amber malt body and the presence of some dark fruits and hoppy bitterness (you'll have to forgive me, my sinuses started acting up so this might not be the best nose read)
T: immediately reminds me of the flavor of (uerige) doppelsticke (that's a good thing) it's sweet with a pleasant and peppery (but not overwhelming) hop bite
M: dry and a bit sticky
O: very good, I'll reserve a full review for when my sinuses are clearer but it is very good and I enjoyed

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

Bottled on 11/7/2011 and enjoyed on 12/16/16. Poured from a bottle into a Wicked Weed snifter. The beer pours out fairly clear and deep reddish-brown in color. On the nose I get toffee, sarsaparilla, toasted malt, fresh bread, brownies, and a faint whimper of hops. It smells like a barleywine should smell.

The beer is full-bodied with a creamy feel and a smooth malty flavor. Up front I get fruit cake, lemon curd, and gingerbread. There's still a faint hoppy kiss at mid-palate, and a little booziness on the finish, but time has really started to work its mojo on this beer. The bitterness is nearly gone and there's only a faint bit of the medicinal character that comes from the combination of sweet malt, alcohol, and bitter hops. The flavor is starting to get really smooth, with malt and dark fruit taking over the bitterness.

Confession time. I have had this beer numerous times, and find it tasty but bitter, when fresh. I never reviewed it because I wanted to sit on a bottle for at least 5 years and review that. Why? Because I believe that the brewer intends for this beer to be aged and I always prefer to drink (and review) a beer the way the brewer intends. The best part of all this? The other 5 bottles in the six-pack are still in my cellar. Waiting...

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Photo of barnzy78
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, PKG 08/31/16 batch 16354. I had this a few times, but my last review was 7 years ago. Time for an update:
A - rusty brown colored ale capped with a creamy beige head
S - booze, toffee, grain, caramel, raisin, vanilla, brown sugar, earthy hops
T - quite boozy with plenty of malty complexity with notes of brown sugar, toffee, caramel, fruity esters, oaky vanilla, ample bitterness from the earthy hops
M - full body, ample carbonation, alcohol is noticeable but not overwhelming
O - always a good one to have here and there. It's usually not a perennial purchase for me, but when I buy it, it's never a disappointment, which makes it highly recommendable.

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Photo of MemphisSooner
4.02/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Heavy, boozy, but oh so flavorful. Tons of dried fruit and malty sweetness, balanced with a slight dry hop and is a strong beer that isn't to be trifled with! If you are a fan of barley wines or old ales, this one is worth finding.

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Photo of bbtkd
3.71/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bell's Third Coast (2016), 10.2% ABV. Pours thin and dark brown, with one finger off-white head. Nose is malty with a hint of fruit. Taste is malty, with some hoppy bitterness. OK mouthfeel. Overall OK.

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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.


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Photo of Gobearswalter34
3.79/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | 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.

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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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Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.1 out of 5 based on 2,664 ratings.
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