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

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1,075 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: 1,075 | Ratings: 2,629
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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Photo of BWED
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

A- Dark chestnut. Brown head is fairly creamy. Retention and lacing are okay.

S- Huge caramel aroma, followed by that boozy barleywine sting. Faint fig and raisin.

T- Big caramel again. Raisin and alcohol.

M- Full body, fairly creamy. Some bitterness and dryness.

O- Really great. The caramel character is wonderful. This would be a great ager, of course. Mellow out that bitterness and booze sting.

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Photo of maedhros09
4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look: Deep coppery crimson with a finger or two of tan head that dissipates pretty quickly sweet,
Smell: toasty, candied fruit, bready
Taste: Following the nose, prickly sweet fruity/bready maltiness leading into a sustained bitter bite of noble hops.
Feel: full-bodied, thick mouthfeel, prickly from the alcohol, medium carbonation.

Overall: More of an English-style barleywine using noble hops (I won't deny that I prefer the American style) but with the same rich maltiness of Bigfoot or other classic Barleywines. Considering the big hops bite on the back end it's easy to see how this could benefit from being cellared for a few months to a year.

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Photo of car2052
4.39/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle to wine glass. Bottle dated 9/05/14

A: Cloudy dark brown with a red hue.
S: Sweet prunes, cherries, cereal grains, tobacco, rock candy sweetness.
T: Sweet prune. Then, a toastyness that opens up right after the fruit flavor. I also get some aerosol-like hops? after the initial flavors. Wine-like character and alcohol.
M: Full.
O: Very complex beer. Many flavors to take in.

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Photo of mothmanscott
4.61/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a opaque prune juice brown with amber & garnet highlights, producing 1.5 fingers of frothy, light tan, variously bubbled, moderately lasting head that recedes to a solid cap, leaving nice webs of lace. Aroma is roasted malt, pumpernickel, dark fruits, whiskey, brown sugar, vanilla, chocolate cherry cordials, amaretto, a hint of floral hops & & a few other things I can't quite put my finger on. Taste is roast, chocolate & bourbon infused figs, raisins & prunes (heavy to fig), dried dark cherries, burnt brown sugar/molasses/toffee, oaky vanilla with a floral hop roasted /burnt malt bitter finish that intensifies in the aftertaste where it develops a lasting astringency atop the bitterness. There is a little alcohol warmth throughout the sip & some of the bitterness at the end may be attributable to the alcohol spice. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, lightly carbonated, silky smooth through the first 3/4 of the sip, developing some sharp edges in the last 1/4 into the aftertaste. Boldly flavored. Absolutely incredible!

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Photo of spacecake9
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very fresh, bottled 10/2/15, drinking 27 days later.
I poured this into a snifter glass. Took a couple sips then allowed to warm.
A – Pours a beautiful mahogany color with 1 finger of head that settles quickly but leaves a lot of lacing.
S – Aroma is caramel, dark fruits and not very strong at all.
T – Flavor is a lot of malt. Quite bitter at the finish.
M – Low carbonation medium mouth feel.
O – With a fresh bottle I get the feeling all the flavors are standing at attention, fighting to be noticed. I bought a 6 pack so I could try one fresh and cellar the rest. Looking forward to tasting this as it mellows.

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Photo of bowzer4birdie
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'd say I'm right on par with the rest of the reviewers on average....although the 6 pack I've got is from August of 2013 so it's clear on my palate that this is more malt than hops at this stage.

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

Mahogany color with beige head. Aroma has a lot of sweet, dark fruits like raisins, plums, dates and also some molasses. Taste is really well balanced. Starts a bit sweet with caramel and dark sugar but gets really roasty and bitter in the finish. Alcohol gives some warmth but doesn't burn your palate. Overall it's a really well made beer, perfect for the colder seasons.

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Photo of hman43
4.74/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

It pours a cloudy amber color. It has a full head that produces lacing. it has aromas of molasses, bread, some nuts, and some dark fruits with cherries being the most evident. It has flavors of molasses, bread, cereal, nuts, dark fruits, with cherries being the dominant dark fruit although there are hints of plums. It has a quality bitter hit on the palate. I like barley wines and this is one of the better ones that I've had.

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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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Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.1 out of 5 based on 2,629 ratings.
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