Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Who says getting old is no fun?

I wasn't going to have any beer tonight, but I felt like having a night cap and succumbed to a bottle of Bell's Third Coast Old Ale that's been sitting in my basement and was bottled on September 5, 2008.

This Third Coast Ale is hard to describe. It is a very malt-forward beer, but still manages to have a surprisingly assertive hop character for its age (at least towards the finish.) The flavor of massive amounts of caramel malts mingle quite well with the woody, earthy hops and it makes me wonder if Bell's added massive amounts of Kent Goldings to this brew. There's toffee and burnt caramel flavors that get slightly astringent, before a peppery bitter finish that is supported by more malt. As this beer warms up its complexity gets a little easier to pin down; marzipan and apricot flavors emerge with just a hint of tobacco in the aftertaste.

I gave this beer average marks on Beer Advocate last November, but it seems to have aged very well in the last year. There are none of the musty or wet grainy flavors that I mentioned in my previous notes on this beer. These unpleasant qualities are definitely gone. Tasting this beer more than a year old definitely has me convinced that it will be even better in the coming years. Thankfully I have more bottles in the basement, as I will be tempted to have more of these this winter. I must resist the temptation; as I'd love to see what this stuff is like in five years or more. Of course, it also inspires to brew my own Old Ale...

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