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 DMarlinJ
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of YCantWeNotBeSober
3.94/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled in 2012

A - Pours a dark ruby red,

S - Sweet malts, dark fruits, pumpernickel bread, vanilla

T - Starts with sweet plum flavor fading to sweet malt. Vanilla notes are quickly overtaken by generic hop bitterness melding with a little bite from the alcohol.

M - Well carbonated for the style, somewhat sticky

O - Overall a decently complex beer that ultimately clashes malty sweetness, bittering hops, and booziness that would seem to benefit from some aging.

 472 characters

Photo of Googs
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of Boilerfood
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of ortie
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of harrymel
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Third review: batch 9958 (25AUG10)

Pours a dr.pepper cola with a loose bubble sheet of light tan foam. Smells from afar of caramel, as I draw in: gobs of sugar, caramel, tea, turbinado, malt, a hint of nougat. Taste is sweet with alcohol, caramel, bits of almond rocha, metal, still sharp alcohol here. Medium on thick body for the style with moderated assertive carb and a semi dry finish. This is a decent beer. If I lived in the distro, I'd throw a few in the cellar annually. So far, I've only had 'em back two years, I think I will hold my last bottle for the five year mark and see where that lands me.

Review 1: Batch 9958: 08/25/10
Review 2: Followed by Batch 8943: 1/28/09 - reviewed 03MAR11 4/4.5/4.5/4/4.5-4.43
A: Ale pours a nice cherry orange amber. No head formation. Thin sheet of fine bubbles that sticks around. Spotty laces.
A2: Again pours cherry ale. This time forms a single finger, creamy tan head with just a few moments of retention. This dissolves to leave a solid sheet of the same. Initially, full drapes for laces, when stirred, lacing disappears for good.
S: Caramel, toffee, burnt sugar. Great malt body in the nose. Hints of oaky drieness, somewhat woody. Alcohol boozy, but very well enveloped. Not much hops here. Hints of vanilla on the back.
S2: Two years into maturation, this beer develops even more caramel, toffee tones. Beautifully matured malts, burnt sugar, brown sugar and now: hints of molasses.
T: Lovely caramel malt. Alcohol still a little hot at this age (six months). Very drinkable. Sweet, but has nice earthly hop addition and mellow mallow tones. Good.
T2: Uh oh, this is sooo good! Man, the toffee turns to salted caramel. Man, so good. Still backing of bitter hops. Alcohol a little more evident in this one, but sweet and good.
M: Smooth, low carb, medium-heavy body. Silk screen in the mouth, leaves the mouth slick. Nice.
M2: Continues to be smooth, a little more carbonation. Leaves the mouth more or less dry at this point.
D: I would drink this on a very regular basis if it was available in the area. So nice.
D2: This has convinced me that I need to come up with a good vertical of this beer. I am stoked because this beer is relatively inexpensive and easily available.

 2,235 characters

Photo of azdback
4.07/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch 8211, poured into a Bruery tulip. Dark, murky tan color, melted caramel in color. Head was just a little larger that a collar and quickly dissipates into nothing but a collar. Light tan in color and appears a bit creamy. No lace to speak of.

Smell is wonderful!! Sweet caramel, vanilla, wood, brown sugar. I am really getting some bourbon here too. I didn't think this was barrel aged but that is what I am getting from this. Maybe just the slightest hint of alcohol here but very well masked for a 10%+ brew.

Taste is much like the smell. Wood, vanilla, caramel, burnt sugar or brown sugar. No alcohol taste what so ever.

Mouth is rich with a medium body. Carbonation is on the mild side and the finish is long and wet with absolutely no alcohol present.

Overall I must say this has held up quite nicely, seeing that it is just a tick over 5 years old. There is a bit of an off taste in the middle of the swallow but with this one's age I didn't mark against it. If I get the chance to try a fresh one and get the same taste I will adjust accordingly. A must try if you have not.

 1,090 characters

Photo of yamar68
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hazy nut brown body topped with a half finger of off-white head that dissipates rather quickly, leaving distinct sets of lacing from start to finish.

Beautifully smooth... juicy citrus hop notes make an appearance early on, giving way to a sweet but subtle malt punch. Zero booze character fresh out of the bottle, "incredibly smooth" is what I take away from the initial aromas.

Some sweet cola notes, dirty tobacco, malted barley, hops aren't nearly as evident as the nose would suggest, still quite smooth though, I'd love to have a taste of this one from a barrel.

Great stuff... unique, smooth, and a serious cellar candidate.

 635 characters

Photo of RelentlessLefty
5/5  rDev +22%

Photo of RBorsato
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of Beer_Runner
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottled on 09/14/11 and aged more than 13 months before opened.

A: A slow pour into a standard pint glass resulted in about a quarter finger head that was a darker shade of khaki and fairly dense. The head slowly dissipated to a thin layer that lasted almost the entire session (very surprising at this high ABV). And, it left a small amount of lacing, too. The brew was a deep mahogany with a slight red hue, and it was also a little cloudy and just barely translucent.

S: The aroma consisted of light cherry and dark dried fruits along with some sweet malt and a hint of booze.

T: The taste began with malt sweetness and that was quickly joined by dark dried fruit along with a touch of cherry; and, near the end there were more grain flavors with just a bit of booze.

M: The body was on the heavier side of the medium range and very, very smooth. It also had a medium amount of carbonation and it was just a little sticky.

O: This is a big, flashy “must try” for fans of old ales. It is a very flavorful beer with bold sweet malt and grains along with some milder dark dried fruit and just a touch of cherry to add an enjoyable complexity. The high ABV is well hidden and the hint of booze only does enough to brighten the focus on the malt and grain. This is a first class old ale style beer. It is definitely one of the very best beers available in this style.

 1,375 characters

Photo of Etan
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, bottled April 2012, into a snifter.

A: Pours a reddish brown with a nice off-white head.

S: Sticky old hops, molasses, pine, cooked apples.

T: Mild piney bitterness, caramel, apple cider, sweet bready malt, slight vanilla, earthy herbalness, brown sugar, a hint of booze.

M: Medium-bodied with fine carbonation.

O: Very good American barleywine, hoppy but in an interesting way. I can see this aging decently.

 427 characters

Photo of thebouch01
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of Brabander
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got this beer from Robert (T0rin0) when we met at the Borefts beerfestival in Holland more than a month ago.

Thanks for this beer Robert! Bottle from 2007, very curious! Poured in a small Struise tasting glass this beer looks very nice. Very darkbrown like old tea and a nice broken white head which disappears after a while leaving rings of lacing in the glass.

Smell is like a barleywine should be. Smell of boozeyness. Great taste with the alcohol pretty well hidden...but not too much. This is a type of beer which needs some boozehints and the Bell's boys managed to do so. Sweet and a bit sticky.

Nice beer with good mouthfeel and good aftertaste. Thanks again Robert!

 679 characters

Photo of DougRFlowers
3/5  rDev -26.8%

Photo of UltimateLivewire
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a wide mouthed tulip. Bottled on 4/6/2012.

Sitting here in a Colonial among thousands built in Fin de siècle Cleveland, my last rainy night watching the Detroit Tigers lose the World Series in a clean sweep, 70mph winds lashing the windows...surrounded in and immerse in age and decline - this seems a fitting ale to end the evening with.

Chestnut and rust (again fitting for the rust belt) liquid with a studied crust of beige cream - dense and lasting, leaving behind pasty lacing and thin yet viscous legs. Superior retention.

Vinuous, immensely malty, with aromatics of old books, leather, and cork.

Massive malt, sweet and potent barley in many layers from bright and clean to toasty/nutty - offset with mild but lasting bitterness from grassy/earthy hops. A soft dark-fruit element leads into the loam-laden finish. Hints of toffee and hazlenuts throughout. Alcohol is remarkably well hidden. Surprisingly free of oxidation. Plenty of dark fruit in the aftertaste.

Medium-bodied, oily, and soft mouth-feel.

Retains a complexity and potency that indicate it would continue to age well for quite some time. A lovely night-cap on a cold blustery evening.

 1,197 characters

Photo of derkfromwi
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of MrBoh
3.5/5  rDev -14.6%

Photo of sendbeer
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of mzeld
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of Hoptologist
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of FlakyBiscuit
4.57/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Aged for about a year and poured into a snifter. Visaully, it is nothing stunning. Slight cloudiness and dark caramel color. Smell of molasses and maybe a hint of orange. I have enjoyed this beer several times and aged for a year, the beer has mellowed to the benefit of the drinker (me). Lighter in the mouth than you would expect but nice nonetheless. Still wonderful fresh, this aged bottle had more pronounced molasses and vanilla notes. Really delicious on this cool autumn night.

 485 characters

Photo of Deanstreat
3.25/5  rDev -20.7%

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