Review of Bell’s Third Coast Old Ale (2010)

21 Apr
Hello everyone.  For today’s craft beer review I’m going to sipping on a Bell’s Third Coast Old Ale (2010) produced by Bell’s Brewery, Inc. located in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Like I’ve mentioned before I’m sure, I am always able to get my hands on most anything Bell’s produces.  This beer has been one of my favorites of theirs from the beginning and I have had this particular bottle (batch 9970) in my possession for about one and a half years, so I figured it was about time to open it.

From the website,, we find this description of the Third Coast Old Ale.

Third Coast Old Ale focuses on malt, offering notes of burnt caramel & other earthy malt flavors. Designed with vintage aging in mind, the malt aspect is matched to a heavy complement of hops. Sharply bitter at first, this will fold into the malt character over time and balance out the maltiness.

Let’s see how it has held up shall we?

This beer comes in a 12 oz. bottle with an ABV of 10.2%.

It poured a deep burgundy, plum/raisin color.  The cap was off white to light tan in color.  It was full, thick and creamy.  The size was good, the retention time was excellent and the lacing was superb.  Some thin, clear alcohol legs were left on the sides of the snifter when tilted.  This brew looked delicious to say the least.

As far as the aroma…. it was great.  A big nose of dark fruits.  Dried raisins, figs and small hints of date.  Some big, bready notes in there too.  Very doughy with zips of booze.  Also, a great deal of caramel malt blended with a molasses fragrance to create a very sweet and sugary bouquet.  Some earthy hops were found as well.  While easily noticed on deep whiffs, they only played a complimentary role and never became a defining factor.

With the taste, the booze lets you know it’s there for sure.  A nice jolt of it on the initial sip.  It was followed by toasted breads, dark fruits (raisins, figs, dates) and syrupy, sweet caramel and toffee savors.  Again, more of those earthy hops, which provided just a smidgen of bitterness to help counterbalance some of that malt.  As the brew warmed quite a bit, the alcohol came back in full force and completed the flavor profile.

The mouthfeel was medium to medium/full bodied.  It was dry, smooth and chewy.  The carbonation still seemed rather nice considering the bit of age.  A great deal of warmth and burn was felt on the back end and plenty of flavor was left covering the roof of the mouth and tongue long after each sip.

Overall, we have a very nice beer right here.  After not having it in quite some time, it remains one of my favorites of the Bell’s line.  It really is a solid beer all around.  It’s a brew that needs not be rushed through, so as to let it warm and develop.  A certified sipper for sure.  I, honestly, think it leans a little more toward the English Barleywine style than the American style as well.  The malts dominate significantly more than the hops.  I don’t know how well the Third Coast Old Ale would fair in the middle of the Summer, but for a cool night, it would be a perfect companion.  So, the next time you see this brew, pick up a bottle and see what you think.  Be sure to let me know in the comments also.

Thanks for reading everyone.  I really appreciate it.

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  4.15 out of 5
Grade:  A- 

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Posted by on April 21, 2012 in Bell's, Country: USA


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