Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop 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.

312 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 312
Hads: 401
Avg: 3.48
pDev: 26.72%
Wants: 19
Gots: 21 | FT: 2
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Gale's Prize Old Ale Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 312 | Hads: 401
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.

 1,310 characters

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.

 598 characters

Photo of goethean
4.69/5  rDev +34.8%
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.

 360 characters

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)

 937 characters

Photo of cokes
4.62/5  rDev +32.8%
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.

 1,456 characters

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...

 730 characters

Photo of beernut7
4.57/5  rDev +31.3%
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.

 167 characters

Photo of ClavisAurea
4.53/5  rDev +30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2001 vintage served in a crystal snifter/balloon glass.

Bottle was a bit difficult to open considering the cork has been in there for over 14 years. The beer poured still with absolutely no carbonation at all which is to be expected. The nose was full of dried fruits, raisins, tobacco, sherry, Madeira, leather, prunes and oak. The body is a little on the thin side but considering it's age I'm not surprised. Plenty of alcohol legs when the still beer is swirled. The taste is immaculate. Leather, red stone fruits, prunes, tobacco is dominant, still retains a bit of sweetness, there is a subtle spicy character that could be from the hops used, heavy oxidation in the form of high sherry notes with the leather and Madeira. Warming alcohol presence in the finish. This vintage beer is a rich and wonderful taste of history.

This beer stood up to the test of time and deserved every point given. Some may not appreciate the aged qualities that make this beer great. It is a must try to see what cellaring beer can do to a fantastic original product. Bravo!

 1,061 characters

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.52/5  rDev +29.9%
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.

 730 characters

Photo of Realale
4.52/5  rDev +29.9%
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 . . .

 550 characters

Photo of rye726
4.52/5  rDev +29.9%
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.

 431 characters

Photo of fx20736
4.51/5  rDev +29.6%
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.

 611 characters

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.

 397 characters

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.

 951 characters

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.

 935 characters

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.

 1,286 characters

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!

 938 characters

Photo of jmbranum
4.45/5  rDev +27.9%
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.

 1,027 characters

Photo of generallee
4.44/5  rDev +27.6%
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.

 1,371 characters

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.


 1,317 characters

Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4.43/5  rDev +27.3%
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.

 804 characters

Photo of plfahey
4.42/5  rDev +27%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

9.3 oz. bottle (1997 vintage) poured into a tulip glass (8/27/11)

Appearance-Dusty mahogany-brown hue with reddish highlights. Clarity is decent. Head is non-existant as the beer is practically still, but the beer does exhibit legs from it's high alcohol content. Looks almost port-like.

Aroma-There's a slight musty cork aroma up front along with some fusel alcohols, but the primary notes are of dried fruits-raisins, dates, and prunes, with a distinct vinous/nutty/sherry-like aroma. Candy sugar, molasses, toffee, and light toast form the background. There's a slight funk character to it, but it serves more as a point of complexity.

Flavor-The first flavors on the palate are muted and rather unimpressive, but it expands on your tongue, it reveals an incredible malt and ester profile. Toasted malt with chocolate and light coffee roast, toffee, and molasses. Vinous, dried fruit flavors-raisins and dates. In the finish, there are grape-like, winey flavors and substantial drying alcohol. Wood character is present in the finish along with nutty, sherry-like oxidation flavors and some granny smith apple tartness.

Mouthfeel-Medium full body and virtually still at this point. Moderately high alcohol warmth coats the palate. Decadent.

There's a reason this is a classic example of an Old Ale-incredible layers of dried fruit and malt with subtle sherry-oxidation notes-at 14 years old, this beer wears its age well.

 1,429 characters

Photo of Frosty80
4.4/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Color: deep amber

Smell: very jammy. dark fruit

Mouthfeel: high abv offers a slight tingle midway. low carb, smooth. clean finish.

Taste: wow. very fruity and really tart

Notes: seems to be a little sweeter than the average, slightly more sour old ales, but maybe i need a greater sample size. overall a wonderfully unique beer

 331 characters

Photo of walleye
4.38/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1996 bottle #2621. was a little worried about this cork fill apart had to pour thru a strainer. poured dark brown hardly any head or lacing. aroma got sweetness like honey and fruits and some alcohol and a winey smell like a port. flavor like a port wine with hints of fruit like warm raisins or prune juice.finish was pleasant this will be one of those beers that you can have as a after a great dinner drink. going to get several of these to keep deep in the cellar(basement)

 477 characters

Photo of peterjk
4.34/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 vintage poured from a 500ml bottle into a trois pistoles goblet.

A: Rudy brown / dark amber and cloudy with a thin light brown head that fades quickly

S: Very aromatic, sour cherries, sherry vinegar, metallic tin, medicinal and earthy

T: Damn good. Sour and sweet up front (tart fruit and vinegar) with rich cooked / stewed fruit and medicinal flavors and green herbal bitterness.

M: Acidity makes it tart and lush but still full bodied. Viscous and lasting on finish

D: Awesome, refined and complex, full flavored old ale that taste like a Belgian lambic / Flemish wild brown ale. Nicely hides 9% ABV

 614 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Gale's Prize Old Ale from George Gale & Company Ltd
79 out of 100 based on 312 ratings.