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

1,085 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: 1,085 | Ratings: 2,652
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.

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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.

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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 matcris
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.

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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.

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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.

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

12 oz. bottle, bottled on date 10/02/2015. Finally getting around to reviewing this one from Bell's, acquired a single bottle from the local beer store.

Poured into a Duvel tulip snifter.

A - Pours a dark murky red body, thick and syrupy almost. Minor conjuration of thin sticky khaki head.

S - Aroma is big and malty. Fumey, and hot with booze still. Notes of oak, wood, booze fumes, dark fruit, raisins, figs, caramel.

T - Semi-charred, thick, roasty, syrupy, malty. Notes of dried fruit - raisins, plum, figs.

M - Feel is thick and syrupy. Somewhat heavy, with low carb.

Overall, a few years in the cellar to age could do this one some good.

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Photo of wuthrichj15
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A great brew from Bells. It has a very complex taste. Bitter, fruity, toffee, maybe a sort of rum-like taste. Kind of hard to explain. My first barley wine style beer. The bottle I had was from 2015 but I have two more from 2014. Looking forward to giving those a taste to see how age affects the flavor.

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

How have I not reviewed this yet??!!?? Spent most of today shoveling snow.. now it's time for some beer and relaxation.

A: A deep brown in the glass, slightly hazy with a ruby hue. Somewhat small amount of soft tan head on top.

S: Rich and malty with notes of caramel, raisins, and dried fruit. Lovely.

T: Caramel, and licorice with a decent amount of earthy bitterness.

M: Medium heavy with fairly lively carbonation.

O: Overall pretty damn tasty. A very good example of the style.

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Photo of THSdrummer
4.36/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

It pours an opaque brown/burgundy, with a foamy off-white head. It leaves behind a great deal of lace as well. Aroma is a pleasant mix of toffee and rum notes. Taste opens up with a little fruit and toffee, before finishing with a slightly hoppy taste. Mouth feel is good. It is pleasant to drink, albeit not as full bodied as other beers in this category. Overall, this is a very pleasant beer from pour to finish.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

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Photo of TH28
4.07/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. 10/3/15 package date. Appearance: Slightly cloudy Amber brown, with a thick khaki head that dissipates quickly. Aroma: Bread crust, dark fruit (cherry), and sherry notes. Alcohol apparent. Taste: Deep, rich malt sweetness, with toast and bread crusts standing out. Also some rich caramel and sherry notes. Strong bitterness in the swallow to balance the malt base. Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy body with some viscosity, and a low carbonation. Alcohol well hidden. Finish: Leaves a rich malty, bread crust flavor long after the swallow. Overall: A very rich, but smooth barley wine. Loads of dark fruit flavors for complexity, while the alcohol is well hidden for a beer this strong and young. Interested to see how the flavors develop over time.

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

pours a dark, cloudy ruddy mahogany with minimal head. nose; boozy caramel, raisin/fig, rum cake, toffee, & light earthy hops. taste; big caramel malts, dates, plum, biscuit, earthy hops, sugar/molasses, & dark cherry. "leather" bitter and a touch cough-syrupy on the end. medium+ carbonation & medium+ mouthfeel. at 10.2% abv, ethanol shows up, but it is gentle and warming. the sweets and earthen profiles rove & turn on the tongue; a really well-done barleywine that offers some nice non-aged complexity right out of the bottle. i typically disregard price point in reviews, but it's very rare to see a good 10% beer in six-packs for $12. might fine, boys!

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Photo of twage04
4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark brown, mahogany with low carbonation. Bottle was from 1 year 3 months ago. Taste is of a good barleywine akin to big foot but with less hops. Dark fruits, booze, raisins. A sipper for sure! I'm almost picking up some bourbon notes without the cloying, mollasses feel. Let this guy warm up a bit. Okay I'll eat my hat if this beer has never met the inside of a bourbon barrel.

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Photo of JTG372
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Been creeping on BA for a quite while, but my first review. Forgive my inexperience.
Bottled on 9/5/14, poured into a tulip, which resulted in about a 3/4 in. head. Decent lacing after halfway finished.
Look - a deep reddish mahogany
Smell - sweet, a faint whiff of alcohol
Taste - Definitely sweet, with what I think of as tobacco, and a good amount of bitterness. I have been sitting on this for a year, but there is still a decent amount of carbonation bite on my tongue. The barley is always present, but definitely pops up the most on the way down. I almost want to say there isn't too much in the way of flavor, but I DID just have a backwoods bastard before this, so that may be hindering my judgment.
Mouthfeel - Feels thin at the tip of my tongue, but not overly so. Coats my mouth well.
Overall - a delicious barleywine. I wasn't a huge fan of the style for such a long time, but that limited me from so many beers! This is hands down my favorite non-BA barleywine, and it definitely got better with a year on it. I have four more in my closet, so I will have to revisit this next year.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.76/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Batch 8727 brewed September 25, 2008. Aged in my cellar for the last seven years.

I have no idea why I aged this beer so long but Bell's claims the shelf life is unlimited.

Chilled slightly before opening and served in a goblet, Third Coast Old Ale is a beautiful ruby red color with very good clarity. The head is thin and short lived.

Aroma is rich and complex with dark fruit jam, toffee, and peat. It comes across like a fine port.

Flavor is bold and full of depth and character. It starts sweet with plums and dates. The middle leads to a cognac soaked cigar and a hint of leather. The finish is slightly bitter and dry with subtle earthy hops.

Mouthfeel is creamy smooth and perfectly carbonated. It is so balanced and easy drinking for a beer of over 10% abv.

Overall an amazing beer. I've never had the pleasure of a fresh one but I can tell that careful aging has elevated this beer.

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Photo of LAp
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours a hazy burgundy, with a half finder dark khaki head. Sharp alcohol and not-quite-sweet malt on the nose, with a hing of bread and dark fruit. The palate immediately opens with a boozy warmth, which carries through the whole of this beer's flavor profile. It's heavy malt predilection is the perfect complement to this alcoholic blanket, precisely because it avoids being malty in an overly sweet way - it's a not-quite-sweet, not-quite-bready malt, somewhere between that found in a strong ale and a good Belgian quad. Other flavors in the palate are dates and raisins, but without any yeasty undertones. Mouthfeel is substantial, but not imperial-porter thick: medium heavy. Overall, an incredible beer. 2 years ago this beer was my introduction to the barleywine style. Though I've found others in that time frame that I prefer, this is a phenomenal beer in its own right - a definite must-try.

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

Bottle dated 10/3/15. DFH Snifter.

A: aggressive pour yields a hazy, dark reddish-brown with slightly less than a finger of tan head that quickly fades to nothing but a thin ring of a couple of bubbles. Some carbonation visible, but little.

S: Boozy fruit, it's gonna move ya'. winey is the best way to describe this, red fruit, not quite grapey, more candied cherries, dates and figs. Some mild earthy hop aroma. BJCP says alcohol is acceptable on the nose for the style, and this is not unpleasant here, it's just present. BJCP says sherry aroma, and that is spot-on; oloroso. Caramel, chestnuts.

T: Just off-sweet malty arrival; malt, raisins, figs, alcohol and hops on the mid palate. Lingering slightly medicinal finish. Like oloroso sherry.

M: Heavier side of midweight, but not quite full-bodied. Somewhat slick. More carbonation than is apparent on looking at it.

O: A boozy malt bomb, with a strong hop finish. This is certainly more drinkable than a RIS, but less so than a DIPA or a Belgian. I'd like to try more in the style to see how this stacks up.

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Photo of Evilyak
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

this one is powerful. tasty, hot, and with some claws.

pours brown with a light lacing. smell is caramel and malt and booze. taste isn't that different. mouth is pretty clean, with nothing lingering. alcohol is prominent but not overpowering.

like the other stronger bell's brews, this one hits the note well.

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Photo of leantom
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

This one's a keeper. Surprised that it took me so long to try this delicious brew. Here goes:

A: Dark, cloudy red - however, the hue is rather nice. Beer pours a decent head that leaves adequate lacing. Very sublime; neither too mild nor too overbearing.

S: Very sweet cherries and caramel. Also a very fig-like quality. This one's a straight-up malt bomb.

T: Follows the nose. Very sugary and sweet. The caramel and chocolate are rather undercut, however, by the presence of dark fruit.

F: Great. Thick and creamy.

O: Great beer.

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Photo of JLaw55
1.75/5  rDev -57.3%
look: 1.75 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 1.75

This was not good. I don't even know if I could personally consider this a beer. Seems much more like a bourbon or brandy. In your face flavors of booze, toffee, caramel, raisins, , oats, smoke, wood, and hops. All the flavors are layered, which is the only positive, but the flavors are over the top and the booze is strong. Not to mention that it does not have a very high drinkability.

Just not my thing I suppose. This one was tasted with a year of age on the bottle, but I can't say that fresh would be much better. Especially considering this is a style of beer that is supposed to get better with cellaring.

Would drink again: No
Would purchase again: No

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Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.1 out of 5 based on 2,652 ratings.
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