Monday, October 20, 2014

Bell's Third Coast Old Ale (2014 original review)

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (1201) - Albany, New York, USA - OCT 20, 2014
Bell’s Third Coast Old Ale is an old ale in name only, as it doesn’t have any of the barrel character often found in traditional brews of the style. This is more of an English-style barleywine, and it’s quite good. A complex palette that’s also perfectly balanced and highly drinkable. Impressive.

I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. It was bottled on 9/5/14 and cost $4.35 ($0.36 per ounce).

Appearance: Beautiful cherry wood hue, slightly translucent. Pours to a large, dirty white, frothy head which laces and retains very well.

Smell: Surprisingly mild nose with a general sweetness of red fruit, sangria, and a hint of alcohol.

Taste: In the glass, Bell’s Third Coast Old Ale looks a lot like a cabernet Sauvignon wine, which is interesting because it has a lot in common with that style as far as flavor notes go. Right away there’s a sweet taste of dark cherry, strawberry and pomegranate – if all were covered in milk chocolate. On the second half there’s a noticeable dry bitterness, slightly sharp, followed by a rich sweetness of toffee and butterscotch. And while all these flavors taste good, I am a little surprised that their intensity is not through the roof (especially in a fresh bottle).

Drinkability: Big heavy beers in this style that weigh in at 10.2% ABV tend to be difficult to drink, but Bell’s Third Coast Old Ale is remarkably approachable. The mouthfeel is not sticky or thick, but closer to a medium body with low carbonation. The texture is silky smooth, which makes it easy to gulp down, especially considering there’s no alcohol warmth, either. An ideal liquid dessert. 
Grade: 9/10

NOTE: See my 2018 re-review to BJCP specs here:

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