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

1,093 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: 1,093 | Ratings: 2,672
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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Photo of SawDog505
4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a 13 oz tulip glass at near room temperature bottled in late 2015 from what I can tell. Pours a magnificent mahogany with a 2 inch sticky light tan head that leaves amazing lace.

Smell is caramel, toffee, fig, biscuit, brown sugar, oak, and vanilla.

Taste follows lots of dark fruit, vanilla, fig, oak, biscuit, brown sugar, toffee, and caramel.

Mouthfeel is a little larger than medium, moderate carbonation, not really dry, and excellent drinkability for a sipper.

Overall this is a very nice beer and thanks @jzeilinger for sending this very sophisticated and we'll made old ale.

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Photo of jeffdr123
4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

With David at Radio and Cork. I'd everything from Bell:s excellent. No head. Dark look. No head. Complex plumb and cherry tobacco and bourban and malt. A good sipper.

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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 Harrison8
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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Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.1 out of 5 based on 2,672 ratings.
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