1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Gale's Prize Old Ale - George Gale & Company Ltd

Not Rated.
Gale's Prize Old AleGale's Prize Old Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
79
okay

385 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 385
Reviews: 313
rAvg: 3.48
pDev: 23.56%
Wants: 17
Gots: 18 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
George Gale & Company Ltd visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-31-2001

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (7) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view more.
Ratings: 385 | Reviews: 313
Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +36.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I am drinking the 1998 and the 2000 vintages.
A: they both pour brilliant chestnut with very little head.
S: the 1998 is very port like on the nose with dark dried fruit. The 2000 vintage has less port on the nose and more prune.
T: The 1998 is assertive with port flavors, dark dried fruit, prunes, and a touch of sour. The 2000 vintage is softer and less port-like and is loaded with prunes coming across as mellower and less tart than its older sibling.
F: They are both wine-like, full bodied with very little carbonation.
O: outrageously good and amazing to drink beer well over a decade old.

Photo of Brutaltruth
4.24/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Vintage 2007:Thoroughly enjoyed from the bottle with an English fellow (Ian-Cheers mate)) and the little lady. Pours a hazy brown with a moderate tan that dissipates to a thin ring and light lacing. This FINE old ale pours a murky brown with moderate light clarity...JUST FINE for aged ale. Nose of raisins, toffee, sweet caramel malts, raisins, and chocolate malts. Flavors are deep and complex. Caramel and toffee notes to the fore with raisin and light chocolate flavors blending in a symposium if light sweet with a light bittering hops aftertaste that foes this Old Ale right. Little to light carbonation makes this an excellent sipped and a WONDERFULL ale to savor. Excellent. Been looking forward to sampling this one with a connoisseur of fine English ales from England. A great evening and a great beer.

Cheers!

Photo of ygtbsm94
2.53/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Aroma of faint caramel, oxidization, cardboard. Taste not much better.

Photo of DaPuba
2.58/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Often overrated. Sometimes oxidzed due to poor seal.

Photo of kscaldef
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%

1999. Vinuous port and sherry notes. Chocolate. Cherries.

Photo of Budinetz
4.44/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 2005 and poured slowly into a courvousier snifter. It was poured as stated on the bottle as the keep the yeast in the neck of the bottle.

Pours a beautiful deep amber hue with absolutely no head and zero head retention. The color alone is magnificent though.

Smells of slight lactobacillus, Madeira, raisins, and an almost musky smell. A great amount of scents going on here that leave my mouth watering.

Tastes almost exactly like an ever so slightly sour Madeira or port wine. The oak flavor is there and the bacteria is there. It's almost harsh at first and then you lick your lips and your mouth waters, yearning for another sip. Definitely not for a novice beer drinker.

Mouthfeel is interesting due to the crazy sweet and sour combinations going on. The bacteria on the bottle conditioning give this brew a slight puckering to the cheeks and the sweetness from the malt sugars and aging balance it out. It really makes your palate dance.

Overall a very interesting brew that is not for the novice or first time craft drinker. This beer is one to be appreciated when ALL styles of beer have been enjoyed because even though it may be classified as an "Old Ale" it definitely is very unique. I would like to acquire another bottom and age it to see what kind of difference it would have.


Cheers!

Photo of RexBanner
2.75/5  rDev -21%

2005 bottle served room temperature.
Murky brown, almost like cognac or brandy. No head or lacing to speak of.
I couldn't believe how much this smelled like port wine. Sweet, musty, mushroom like mildew aromas.
Taste was exactly what I expected after getting a whiff of this thing. Tart, musty, thick port wine like concoction.
Don't know if it was meant to taste like this or if I just got a bad bottle but I did not like this one bit. I like port wine, mind you, but this "beer" did not do it for me. As I kept looking at this brew in the snifter I continued to remind myself that based on how much I payed for this bottle I had better force myself to finish it. No sir! I wouldn't order this again

Photo of Bitterbill
3.88/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

No foam with this 2005 corked bottle. It has a rusty-murky look to it.

Light Port notes with a distinct tartness and lots of booze in the nose.

Same goes for the taste. Though it's going on 10 years old, despite the lack of carbonation, I reckon it needs more time to develop.

I'll buy a few more bottles.

Photo of Sludgeman
3.89/5  rDev +11.8%

Vintage 2000 - zero carbonation. Not too sour.

On my 52nd birthday at The Porter Beer Bar in Atlanta.

Photo of Samp01
3.95/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

9.3oz corked bottle (2001 vintage). Pours cloudy brown with a thin beige head. Aroma of slightly burnt caramel malt and sweet bitter chocolate upfront, slowly mellows out to some dark fruit, plums and raisins and yeast notes. Taste same as aroma with a slight hint of red wine nuance in the flavor. Palate is a full body, smooth, mild carbonation, has some light sticky mouth feel. Finish same as taste, has nice sweet bitterness in the taste, alcohol is well hidden, hits you in the end. This brew has a complexity yet very good and well balance, a tasty and enjoyable brew. nice.

Photo of Resuin
4/5  rDev +14.9%

Poured from a 275 mL bottle into a snifter. This was bottled in 1997, bottle #940.

Appearance: The center of the cork disintegrated as I tried to open the bottle - after I took the cork out, I had to filter some of the cork out of the beer. The beer pours a dark brown, slight reddish hued, close to black color with no head. (2)

Smell: Mainly nice and musty (reminds me of an old library), also some dark fruits, vanilla, grapes, a hint of cocoa. (4)

Taste: Grapes, tobacco, chocolate, dark fruits: super smooth. (4.25)

Mouth-feel: No carbonation but it's actually not bad. Medium body. (3.5)

Overall: This was better than expected, especially after the cork fiasco. I definitely enjoyed drinking this beer - the age made this beer super smooth and flavors that remain are wonderful. Not entirely complex, but tasty for sure. Worth drinking. (4)

Photo of GreesyFizeek
1.56/5  rDev -55.2%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 1.5

Bottle purchased at Beers of the World in Rochester, NY. One of the bigger mistakes of my craft beer life. '98 vintage.

The cork broke while trying to open it- took about 20 minutes to get this beer poured. When it did, it was a murky chunky looking dark brown, with no head or lacing.

Smells not horrible actually- tons of dark fruits, and a sour twang. As it warms up, vinegar and acetic acid come out to play.

Tastes just atrocious. Indescribably nasty. Like sour seawater. Weirdly salty, with sour old red wine flavors, vinegar, clearly oxidized to hell. Just disgusting.

Light bodied, flat and watery.

This was honestly 3 or 4 sips and then a drainpour. Stay away, it's not worth the gamble.

Photo of laituegonflable
3.17/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Pours a coffee colour, slight hint of sediment through the body. Head is beige, fairly thin and lacklustre. Looks heavy, and uncompensated-for.

Smells fairly thick and sweet upfront, with caramel malt that quickly turns fairly tart, with hints of red wine and oak and that sort of oak-infected character. Touch yeasty and slightly herbal on the back. Not bad.

Taste is very sweet underlying. Notes of caramel toffee underlie the whole palate which quickly turns wild and odd. Loads of oak descending into slight wild, tart acidity, and an odd note of cinnamon late-mid. Quite odd, but satisfying enough.

Body is surprisingly thin and flat, quite disappointing. Touch of alcohol. Might be showing a bit of age.

Could use a bit more oomph and more body. Nice oaky edge but a bit lacking in the foundation.

Photo of Aristeia_88
4.17/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 275ml bottle into an Innis & Gun snifter. I'm excited to try this, as it was bottled when I was just a wee lad of around 10...

A: Much clearer than anticipated- At least from the side, but looking straight into the glass, it appears very murky. That's probably my fault, as this is a bottle conditioned beer though- I may have let the yeast in, in an attempt to coax a head from it. Absolutely no head, no matter how vigorous the pour... As should be expected, I suppose, for a 16 Year old Beer. Deep Ruby color, Clings to the glass like a fine Madeira Wine.

S: I'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between this and a Madeira, Tawny Port or Cream Sherry. It has a ridiculously good nose to it... Vanilla, oak, toffee, but more than anything, a rich, stonefruit feel to it, like plums, raisins and prunes. I can't believe how similar this is to the aforementioned wines.

T: Exactly like a Madeira wine- Only without a hint of the sweetness... Honestly, I'm so used to drinking the former, that this is an incredibly strange experience. All the flavors from the smell are there, minus the pure sweetness you'd expect. No hop bitterness or indication that it's a beer. There is a slight tartness that I'm getting though, along with a bit of acidity.

M: Surprisingly thin- The thing is, its grape-based cousin still has the sugar, and as a result, the mouthfeel you'd look for in something this rich. Somehow, this just doesn't feel as viscous as it should. Couple that with the fact that there's absolutely no trace of carbonation, and you're left with a bit of a letdown.

O: This was an amazing experience- I've seen this stuff over and over again in my local beer store, and I never picked it up. But this is a beer that's meant to be a special treat, and at $6.99, I consider it a bargain. The thing is though, this isn't a beer- This is a slab of old England. Upon smelling and tasting it, you're immediately transported back- Not to 1998, but perhaps a century before. True, its wine counterpart may have a better flavor, but I find it incredible that beer can even taste or make you feel this way... I can't say whether I'll buy this again, but I will say that this is a must have for anyone who loves beer and the great history behind it.

Photo of mhaugo
4.64/5  rDev +33.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

9.3oz bottle decanted into a snifter. 9% ABV. Bottled in 1998.

Appearance: Deep mahogany brown. Lightly hazed with no head and minimal carbonation (4/5).

Aroma: Extremely rich port wine aroma. My head was enveloped in a cloud of amazing smells from the second I took the cork out of the bottle. I also get some overripe plumbs and brown sugar as I dig deeper into the glass (5/5).

Taste: Incredible. Massive wine flavors from extended aging. There are also some prunes, figs, apples, and raisins in there, as well as some vanilla. On the back end I get a woody note that dries out the finish a little bit (4.75/5).

Mouthfeel: Medium body and low carbonation. A touch of heat from the alcohol (4/5).

Overall: Brilliant! I absolutely love this beer. It seems like it’s lost a little body over the years, but the flavor is unbelievable. It is rich, mature, and beautiful. I am very fortunate to have stumbled across a bottle (4.5/5)

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.02/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

275ml brown bottle, only sealed with a cork that required a corkscrew. Purchased from Healthy Spirits in San Francisco. Prominently marked as "Bottled in 1998", that was probably enough of an incentive to pick one up and give it a try.

Pours a completely flat brown colour with just a bit of bubbling perturbation. Body definitely has some weight to it, but otherwise it looks extremely old. I definitely believe it was bottled in 1998 at least.

Nose is also very old, but it has actually held up rather well. Very oxidised fortified wine character. Plenty of port, wine cork, oak and flat chocolate. Stacks of booze as well, giving a rather sharp tone to everything. It definitely smells old, but it has lots of complexity even still.

Taste, if anything, is better. It still has overtones of oxidation, and plenty of sweet dark wine characters, but there's a fullness to the palate that I really wasn't expecting—plenty of malt sweetness, vanilla, some chocolate and toffee. Slight acidity on the back completes the picture really nicely. Feel is a little bit thin, and accentuates the acidity somewhat, but has more structure than I'd expect.

Overall, it's genuinely pretty good. And better than that, the age has made it odd in unusual and very interesting ways. I'm not sure if it was really great when it was young, but it's certainly a pretty compelling experience when it's old.

Photo of AlpacaAlpaca
4.15/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I've tried out three separate vintages, with different impressions of each one.

1997 (Opened 2014): This beer tasted seventeen years old in the best way possible. It had the qualities of a fine wine, with a lingering and ancient sweetness and an oaky quality. You'd think it had spent those seventeen years in a barrel instead of a bottle. This beer is definitely not for everybody, it comes across like a beer-wine-port hybrid. The alchohol is prominent, almost front-and-center. It was thick, and had yeast settled at the bottom of the bottle (which I barely even noticed). Enriching, satisfying, and must to try.

2005 (Opened 2014): The bottle must have been compromised in some way, because it was borderline undrinkable. This one does not contribute to my overall rating, as it was likely a fluke. It just tasted like sour, sickly sherry.

2007 (Opened 2013): You can taste the difference in age between the 1997 and the 2007. The alchohol is better-masked, and it is far more "beerish" than the other two. Elements of cherry, chocolate, red wine, and barrel-wood, with a syrupy richness reminiscent of a stout. Absolutely delicious, and has a wide-enough array of deep flavors to compliment anything from a rare steak to a dessert. This was the best of the three.

Overall: An unpleasant bottle shouldn't discourage you from trying another, because a good one is well worth enjoying. One of the better aged beers I've had.

Photo of jimmah120
1.5/5  rDev -56.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

stubby vintage 2006(5?) bottle into goofy-looking tulip. review from notes

im making this review only as a word of caution: do not buy this beer. i repeat, DO NOT BUY THIS BEER. there is no enjoyment to be had here. it is flat, sour, insipid sewer water from the 9th level of hell.

maybe, MAYBE, this was once a good beer (and according to some reviews, it was), but time has not been kind in this case

Photo of FLima
3.86/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark brown color with no head whatsoever.
Strong predominant aroma of Port Wine
Flavor follows nose, taste of Port Wine with notes of oak, vanilla, dark fruits, balsamic vinegar and peppermint. Astringent aftertaste.
Medium body with no carbonation at all and a velvety feeling. No signs of the 9% abv.
Incredible that they could make beer taste like a port wine, got some extra points for this.

Photo of Murrhey
1.47/5  rDev -57.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.75

Poured from a 275ml wax-sealed cork bottle into a conic pint glass in high elevation Kalispell, Mont. Brewed in 2005, the bottle says.

A- Absolutely zero head. I attribute that to the age of the beer rather than a failing. Rich chocolate-brown body. No carbonation.

S- Vinous smell with a distinct aroma of Worcestershire sauce. Uhhh that can't be good.
On second smell, a twinge of live cultures, but it can't make up for the condiment smell. I stand by my score.

T- Vile flavor. Water and steak sauce. Oh my god.
More robust flavor, but not any better.

M- Water with cloudy crap floating in it. Something wicked this way comes.

O- I'm keeping my original comments, but I will wait for the beer to come to room temperature and review it again.
I stand by my comments. One of the worst beers I've ever had. I think it was well past its best-by date.

Photo of KYGunner
3.93/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured with a brown to almost auburn color it was Crystal clear with a kind of filtered look. The head was a rising pillow of small tight knit bubbles that sat on top for several minutes.

The nose was much like a wine with a fermented barley and malt scent. The aromas were somewhat damp smelling, almost humid, though I'm sure that makes no sense.

The flavors that come from this Old Ale are astonishing as it has a peppermint sweetness, a menthol briskness and then a candied fruit sweetness. Many may not like this combination in their ale but I found it quite alluring, very interesting and nice to drink.

Photo of stakem
3.57/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

1997 vintage from a 275ml corked bottle into a tulip. Unfortunately, like most of these style bottles, this was not stored on it's side so the cork snapped while removing it. The brew pours a clear mahogany color with ruby through the body. A lighter yellowish hint is seen around the edges and no bubble formation outside of the initial pour.

The aroma is leathery with caramel, toffee and some residual sweetness still seems to flirt with the nose. A bit of booze is evident and somewhat fruity in nature coupled with a hint of brown sugar. The aroma is surprisingly lacking in the expected oxidative notes.

The flavor is somewhat oxidized with a mild paper, cardboard and foliage aspect but not overly so. There are notes of leather, earth and caramel to toffee but without the accompanying sweetness. The malt is more like burnt sugar at this point and plenty of fruity alcohol keeps things warming. As it warms up, a mild tangy vinous to wild note emerges along with a slight indication of chocolate.

This is a surprisingly light bodied brew that is still. I was surprised that it was not showing its age as much as I thought it would. The alcohol is still vibrant in this and I found it to be quite enjoyable despite the packaging failure that is thise corked 9oz bottles.

Photo of 51mmz0rz
3.42/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 275mL bottle into a tulip style glass. Brewed in 2001. It says to let sit at room temperature, but I'm going to start drinking it around 50F and let it warm as I sip. Sediment stayed behind nicely during the pour.

A: Murky brown hue with no head. I would say it looks like iced tea, but even tea has more head. Not unexpected for such an old beer, however.

S: Sweet, almost nutty, port aromas. Bits of caramel and a distinctive whiff of alcohol.

T: Up front is sweetness with some port character. Astringent, acidic, but clean on the finish, almost like a sweet tea. Finishes off with a surprising malty kick followed by a long lingering alcohol.

M: Mouthfeel is slightly thick with no carbonation.

O: Very interesting beer, especially at such age. You might not call it a beer if you didn't already know what it was.

I will try to plan a vertical of younger vintages. I don't think this one (12 years) is worth a second try, however.

Photo of Jwale73
3.06/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

9.3 fl. oz. foil wrapped, corked bottle served in my KtG snifter. Bottled in 1999. Pours a dull, plum-colored hue with a nearly opaque clarity. No head or lacing, just some bubbles that cluster around the shoulders before eventually dissipating completely. Nose reveals dark fruit, toffee, some oxidation, sugary notes, leather and a suggestion of plastic as the brew warms. Taste - well, it's past it's prime. Watery, oxidized, sugar water with some vinous notes and some vinegary acidity at the finish. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body, with zero carbonation and a slight oiliness. Overall, a muddled mess and past its prime. Not quite a drain pour, but I'm glad I didn't pick up the 1997 vintage.

Photo of SLeffler27
4.04/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presented in a George Gale Old Ale flute glass. Dark ruby red gives way to dark copper in mesmerizing clarity as it radiates elegance from below a barely noticeable rocky head.

The aroma is rich with pungent cherry liqueur and earth notes. Also discernible are plum, licorice, maple syrup, port wine, and spiced rum.

This ale is tart with a light medicinal quality. Saturated with dark fruits of plum, raisin, and cherry. The finish is similar to Chianti and, while short, quite powerful.

A medium body with silky texture, this beer is almost flat with alcohol in line with expectations. However, having aged 11 years, the alcohol is surprisingly present. This one is lightly warming and super dry.

Gale’s Prize Old Ale warms well to clarify the aroma and flavor profiles. It is well suited for a cozy afternoon of reading and is the epitome of a sipping beer.

to view more.
Gale's Prize Old Ale from George Gale & Company Ltd
79 out of 100 based on 385 ratings.