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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
79
okay

369 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 369
Reviews: 303
rAvg: 3.48
pDev: 23.85%
Wants: 17
Gots: 17 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-31-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 369 | Reviews: 303 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Zimbo
5/5  rDev +43.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My condolences for those reviewers of this beer who have had bad bottles. I myself have been stung far too often when trying to age beer and frequently hold on to supposedly 'age worthy' beers far too long. Having read everything online and in my library of beer books I figured four years was about the right amount of cellaring for this, the living God of old ales.

Bottled in 2006 from the last ever batch to be brewed at the Horndean brewery. Removing the 4cm cork demanded some delicacy so I used a Screwpull with a thin worm (sorry, I know that sounds pretty pompous). Poured the slightly below temperature egually between two ISO glasses.
Deep dark shiny mahogany and fruitcake and slight banana on the nose. Likely the richest and most seductive bouquets I have ever inhaled. The nose just goes on and on. Jesus...

Seems thinnish to look at but very full on the tongue. A very slight acidity at the start which quickly falls away. There is a strong layer of sappiness there which is seamless. Everything is so perfectly integrated. On first sip a very slight woodiness before leaving a chewy element. After this it consistently ends smooth, rich and morish which is full and continues to fill out as it disappears.

The beer equivalent of a naked romp with Brigitte Bardot circa 1958.
Jizztastic.

Zimbo, Aug 18, 2010
Photo of jkoch7
5/5  rDev +43.7%

jkoch7, Dec 28, 2011
Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +43.7%

Rochefort10nh, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of TimPell
4.75/5  rDev +36.5%

TimPell, Apr 25, 2012
Photo of MacStinson
4.75/5  rDev +36.5%

MacStinson, Jun 10, 2013
Photo of afsdan
4.75/5  rDev +36.5%

afsdan, Mar 22, 2014
Photo of goethean
4.7/5  rDev +35.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Flat. Very dark copper. Has a sappy or syrupy sweetness and full body. Filled with a cornucopia of fruit. Deep, dark juicy cranberry-raisin-plum-currant-fig. Has the classic vinous barleywine character. But then there is the significant malt backbone, too. And the alcohol. No hops bitterness, flavor or aroma. It's perfectly drinkable as far as I'm concerned.

goethean, Oct 14, 2008
Photo of cokes
4.65/5  rDev +33.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 1998. Bottle # OA2 13817.

Pours a deep amber-brown, resembling iced tea. With just as much carbonation. Lightly hazed. No head at all.
Cowhide, tobacco, prune and molasses in the nose.
Deep buttery tofffee taste is immediately coupled with the dark fruit, pruney sweetness. Raisins and earth enter next. Followed by burnt caramel, and char. Vinous midsection, wine-like, with hints of merlot. Woody and cork characteristics echo throughout. Leathery notes, not unlike chewing on the strings of one's baseball/softball mitt. Hops are not perceived. Lingering impressions of smoked dark fruit and grape-skins.
Absolutely uncarbonated. Smooth, wine-like body, albeit slightly thin. A little more heft would make this a classic.
I am not sure how much more the 98 will develop. Though I imagine it will certainly keep, if not improve slightly with a few (to many) more years. I've never had it fresh, so I am not sure what has happened up to this point. It is a keeper, however.

1999. Bottle #OA2 24529
Clear garnet with nary a bubble to be found.
Huge grape aroma mingling with suede, anise, earth and brandy.
Luxuriously rich and broad within the mouth. Vinous as can be. Grape jam, raisins, figs, prunes, leather, oak, earth. Crisply tart. Not as toasty, roasty or buttery as th '98. This is all about the fruit. It could be easily mistaken for a dry red wine.
Still like this a lot, and it is different from any other brew I've had.

cokes, Dec 15, 2002
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)

mhaugo, Jun 06, 2014
Photo of beernut7
4.6/5  rDev +32.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1998 vintage. This is one of the smoothest old ales I have ever tried. Nice brwon amber color and extremely smooth body with the perfect level of sweetness. Awesome.

beernut7, May 19, 2002
Photo of twiggamortis420
4.58/5  rDev +31.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 vintage in a 16.9 oz bottle pours a dark copper color with a fine layer of light tan foam. Mild lacing and retention.

Nose is sweet malts with a definite sour twinge and maybe even some brettomyces rotting wood aroma. Caramel and some barnyard funkiness. Smells mighty fine to me!

Taste is fruity with a sour kick and a touch of smoke. Whiskey and wine notes with some tannin-like flavors found in dry red wines. Mild oxidation, not much. Seems like something that could be aged for quite a long while, will surely pick of a few next time I see it for the cellar. Vinous, like a Rodenbach meets Hibernation. Full mouthfeel, creamy and more carbonated than most old ales. I really enjoyed this brew, outstandingly delicious.

twiggamortis420, Jun 27, 2010
Photo of beergoot
4.58/5  rDev +31.6%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Dark, ruby-red, hazelnut-like color to the body. Absolutely no head on this one. Syrupy malt notes: high in figs, dates, raisins as far as smell goes. Thick and chewy body; slick and smooth with no perceptible carbonation. I guess this is what is described as vinous. Beautiful malt taste with strong overtones of dates and currants. A very nice alcohol warmth rises from the depths. Sweet and bitter at once.

Aside from the lack of any head, this is one tasty brew! Subtle yet distinctive complexity throughout and very, very well-balanced with the flavors. I've gotta get me mitts on another bottle or two of this beer. I would love to sip on this during the winter months when we have a wood fire crackling in the fireplace...

beergoot, Sep 16, 2012
Photo of fx20736
4.5/5  rDev +29.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2001 Edition.

Poured from a 9.3 oz bottle into a Nonic, served at cellar temp.

Umber brown with a thin tan head that leaves minimal lacing.

Aroma: Clover honey, dates, orange blossoms. Sweetly aromatic with a mellow, rounded scent that years in the bottle conferred,

Mouthfeel: soft.

Taste: Mellow, softly sweet with notes of honey, dates & oranges. Has a soft, fading finish that is slightly wine-y and slightly clove-like but dries out on the end.

Notes: Where do I begin? This beer is in a category by itself. Rich, mellow, delicious. I am so sad that it went by so quickly. I will buy more and cellar.

fx20736, Dec 25, 2011
Photo of Realale
4.5/5  rDev +29.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1995 vintage. Bottle # 0157, Serial # OA111839

Opaque french onion soup color. Zero head and zero visible carbonation.

The nose is molasses, burnt caramel and leather with a note of orange zest. With time clove notes arrive.

The palate is intensely malty. Zero hop presence, but some surprising acidity is present to keep the beer from becoming cloying. There is a slight prickle of carbonation to give a little lift as well.

No hint of 9+% alcohol, other than the rosy glow in my cheeks and the slightly stupid smile on my face . . .

Realale, Oct 08, 2002
Photo of DmanGTR
4.5/5  rDev +29.3%

DmanGTR, Jan 29, 2013
Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +29.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1999 vintage. ruddy copper brown, with not much of a head to speak of. Aromas are of dark fruits, plums, grapeskins, and a bit of port/sherry. The taste follows suit making this a very interesting, and complex English old ale. Caramel flavors also shine forth in this wonderful brew. Mouthfeel is light bodied and wine-like. Drinkability is unreal for a 9%abv brew. Wow, this brewery is just nuts.

francisweizen, Jan 18, 2005
Photo of mrfrancis
4.5/5  rDev +29.3%

mrfrancis, Jul 09, 2013
Photo of rtepiak
4.5/5  rDev +29.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

there is truly a deep intrigue in this beer because of its unique aged quality. it pour a murky mahogany without any head really. the look of a stale oud bruin. nose is that exactly. an intense tart basamic vinegar port quality. a bit of fig... grape. flanders red fashion. the missing link between english old ale and flanders. this old ale either default of aging properties or poor storage. After having numerous times i've found as what appears to be quite live, it doesn't keep that well past recommended date. Not for ageing. ↲↲Look of mild cloudy mahogany. palate is cherry tart, chalk, rosemary with a finish of tobacco and grape. In a great bottle you get hints of chocolate and coffee. there are quintessential old ale style properties. A nice caramel backbone. but there is very much so a sour, one could say 'wild' influence. i think this is an interesting surprise. but i can see how this would really deter a lot of drinkers.

rtepiak, Dec 12, 2009
Photo of generallee
4.47/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 275ml bottle into a snifter. The bottle is corked like a wine bottle and it have a vintage date of 2005.

Appearance: This beer pours with almost no carbonation and it only makes a few stray bubbles around the edge of the glass. On top there is just the finest dusting of tan yeast sediment. There is no real head and no lacing. For the style and age of the beer I would think this is an acceptable attribute. The liquid is hazy and has a brownish color with some reddish high lights.

Smell: The aroma has a rich sweet bready maltiness with pleasant estery yeast which sweet and fruity. The alcohol is also noticeable in the nose and brings a refined red wine like character to the mix.

There is a sour dough bready maltiness with a warming boozy port like alcohol presence to start with. In it there are also notes of sweet and tart fruit like apple, raison, white grape, and tart red raspberry mixed with dry earthy yeast. The yeast has an almost woody earthy quality to it. The dryness and some sourness comes out more in the warm wine like finish.

Notes: This was one of two Old Ale style beers I have tried so it's hard to judge it compared to others but I will say that I did enjoy it. It had a nice complexity and warmth. Each sip seems to add a new layer of fruity notes which made it fun to rate and slowly saver.

generallee, May 12, 2010
Photo of StevieW
4.47/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1999 bottle. Sorry, I forgot to write down the bottle number. Cool little fat brown bottle with a red waxy cover over the cork, sealed tighter than a frog's ass in water. No chance of oxidation or carbonation seeping out. Wow.
Deep dark brown or black color. Nearly no head or carbonation noticable. Rich aroamas, not smells, please, it's English after all, Aromas of rum soaked and then roasted plums, figs and cherries. Wow. Great rich taste slides by, super malty, roasted richness. Thick and full tastes. Roasted plums again on the tongue, some sweet nice malt flavors coat and soothe the tastebuds.Hints of woody smoke, and oak casks also linger. Wow. Nice full rounded feel, not slick, nor not much presence of any carbonation. Nice belly warming alcohol shot as well. A real treat. I am definitly going to look for this one again, and keep it on the shelve for a while. This one was nearly four years old, and full of flavors.

StevieW, Aug 23, 2003
Photo of jmbranum
4.47/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage bottle bought at Byron's Liquor store in Oklahoma City.

A very, very interesting beer. A new style for me but I'm now hooked. This beer is truly legendary!

malty raisiny aroma. Dark brown clear liquid. Not much head.

Flavor is really interesting, unlike any beer I've had before.

There is a a strong tang that stands out. Not exactly citrus, not exactly vinegar, it is just something different. Maybe along the lines of a Granny Smith Apple. (actually it reminds me a little of some Scrumpy cider I had recently)

Strong alcoholic warmth. Reminds me of a german dark wheat bread. Raisins and Port. Definitely some port-like flavors. Also reminds me of some of the Belgian beers that are more tangy, sort of a more tangy version of Chimay Blue.

Nice mouthfeel. Pretty full.

Drinkability I think depends on whether you like the tangyness of this beer. I do like it so I could drink several more. Still the high ABV probably makes this a a 2 beer max kind of session beer unless you want to get pretty lit up.

jmbranum, Nov 16, 2010
Photo of BEERchitect
4.47/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 1998 on-tap at Rich O's Gravity Head '08: February, 29, 2007

A murky brown color with soft, light carbonation, dainty head retention and basically still. Aromas of the deepest, darkest fruits imaginable: figs, plumbs, grapes, raisons, prunes, dates, berries, nuts, and a mild musty / woody aroma. These characters cary over to the flavors seamlessly. Subdued sweetness, and light soft textures without a hint of harshness or heat. Finishes very soft with a hearty sweetness and a linger of herbal hops and woodiness.

Recently drank a pint of the '05 vintage hand drawn from cask at Rich O's (Louisville). Expecting a lot from this brew, it didn't give me what I was expecting, but it was different. The Cask gave an almost flat look to the beer with lessened carbonation and virtually no carbonation. A dark brown brew with amber highlights. Smells much older than and '05 with a very woodsy, musky, nutty, almost-moldy aroma. Flavors supported the aromas, but added caramel, malts, dark fruits, figs and dates, and a strong (fusal) alcohol flavor. The feel was heavy on the palate with a mildly oily texture. Lack of carbonation made the beer seem heavier than it was. The finish was a lingering maltiness and alcohol sensation. Strange, but good training for the taste buds.

BEERchitect, Jun 06, 2006
Photo of rye726
4.47/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a rich, woody brown and a thin tan head. Exceptional color.

Nose has sweet candy malts, tart cherries, chocolate, vanilla and a bit of farmyard funk.

Taste has nutty malts, dark pitted fruits, a lactic sourness and red wine grapes.

Medium body is lightly carbonated. Nice dry finish.

Great example of an authentic Old Ale. At ten years this was quite nice, but I'm sure it will continue to get better for another decade.

rye726, Nov 11, 2009
Photo of Morris729
4.47/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 1995; Bottle #0610; OA1 18532

Pours a dark reddish brown color with no head or lacing whatsoever, which is basically what I was expecting. Nose is intense with aromas of sweet dark fruit and molasses blended with some tobacco and green apple peel with some additional slightly stinging alcohol that resembles a raisiny port. Fairly full in body with zero carbonation creating a velvety smooth texture. Taste begins with roasted dark malts and semi-ripened blackberries followed by a bit of burnt caramel. Some earthy flavors of wood (mostly oak) and leather come across towards the middle followed by some strong notes of heavy red wine and a bit of raisiny sweetness. Quite a complex beer that is to be drunk slowly and every sip savored. I think this would do just fine if aged for a few more years. Make sure that you don’t drink this beer too cold (the bottle recommends room temperature). Thanks to faernt for the sample!

Morris729, Jul 21, 2003
Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4.46/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2000 Vintage

Pours a hazy plum skin color. No head (expected none) no lace. It's 13 years old, I cut it some slack. Looks good.

Very strong red wine and toffee start the smell. Some chocolate and booze come through as well. Hint of leather.

Port, toffee, leather and earth combine very elegantly. In shorts and a Carhartt hoodie, I feel very underdressed drinking this from a snifter. There is a slight vinegar sour in the aftertaste, non offensive. Only a hint of the boozy heat. The body has a nice, moderate thickness. Goes down well.

I liked it. I'd love to compare it to a newer vintage. The hunt is on! The place I grabbed this from ran out of newer vintages, though I could try a few even older.

New notes 5/18/13.

Just popped bottle #4651 from the 1996 Vintage. Still pretty damn amazing.

OBeerMeGreatOne, Feb 24, 2013
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Gale's Prize Old Ale from George Gale & Company Ltd
79 out of 100 based on 369 ratings.