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Bell's Third Coast Old Ale

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Quote from Bell's:A barley wine with deep amber color. The brandy of ales, this beer has vintage character and will mature in the bottle at cellar temperature for years.
Original Gravity: 1.098 Alc. by Vol.: 10.2% - 335 cal. per 12 oz.
Avail. Pkgs.: 4/6/12 oz. bottles (case), 15.5 gal. keg Dates
Available: Winter, Limited in Spring
Note - Poured into Belgian Goblet for Tasting Purposes.
Appearance - Poured a quarter inch head which rapidly dissipated. Small amount of lacing. It is a dark Mahogany in color, like an old leather journal found in a curio shop. There is some yeast in suspension which may have been more a result of my pour than a true reflection of the beer.
Aroma - Cold, there is a strong coffee and toffee aroma with hints of oak and smoke (very reminiscent of Stone's Oak Arrogant Bastard Ale). Also Molasses and brown sugar. There is no hop aroma in evidence. As it warms the complexity increases. Soy Sauce, smoke, caramel, toffee, leather and tobacco all come through. There is a distinct alcohol nose to it. And, at it's warmest there is a hint of cherry buried deep.
Mouthfeel - This is silky, with a hint of effervescence, as well as a noticeable alcohol bite on the tip of the tongue and the back of the throat. It is silky but it doesn't linger in the mouth, like honey, the surprising carbonation seems to cut through any cloying and carries it down the throat.
Taste - The complex aromas matches with the flavors; coffee, toffee hints of oak and smoke, molasses, brown sugar, Soy Sauce, smoke, caramel, toffee, leather and tobacco all come through. They are present cold and only increase in strength as the barleywine warms, although the coffee notes seem to take a backseat. There is bitterness reminiscent of burnt toast that cuts through any sweetness. Buried deep in the complex flavors, and released as it warms, are the flavors of chocolate and cherries, reminiscent of Liquor filled Cherry Cordials with dark chocolate. And, in the final swallows the flavor of figs comes to the forefront.
Overall - This is a very complex and serious Barleywine. Very reminiscent of Oaked Arrogant Bastard by Stone in may ways, only with less oakiness and smoke and much more complexity of flavors. These flavors grow more varied as the ale warms, some come to the forefront as others recede. Each sip brings more and more surprises. Third Coast Old Ale is the leather armchair in your favorite uncle's library. The uncle who died childless and left his vast fortune to you. It has absorbed decades of rich pipe tobacco fireplace smoke and the fumes of 100 year old brandy; it envelopes you in comfort and grandeur as you both grieve and bask in your good (and new) fortune.
Grade A+
 
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