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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
80
good

382 Ratings
THE BROS
96
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 382
Reviews: 310
rAvg: 3.47
pDev: 24.21%
Wants: 16
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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-31-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 382 | Reviews: 310 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.04/5  rDev +16.4%
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
4.18/5  rDev +20.5%
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 jfcaa193
3.25/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of afsdan
4.75/5  rDev +36.9%

Photo of Eighty
1.75/5  rDev -49.6%

Photo of jimmah120
1.45/5  rDev -58.2%
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 22Blue
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%

Photo of TerryW
4/5  rDev +15.3%

Photo of FLima
3.88/5  rDev +11.8%
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 BillRoth
4.25/5  rDev +22.5%

Photo of DrunkinYogi
4.25/5  rDev +22.5%

Photo of Murrhey
1.43/5  rDev -58.8%
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 BuckTuckian
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%

Photo of mdillon86
4/5  rDev +15.3%

Photo of DLucky
3.75/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of KYGunner
3.94/5  rDev +13.5%
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 Nolen12
3.25/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of bradfordjohnson
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%

Photo of jkball01
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%

Photo of stakem
3.55/5  rDev +2.3%
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 KevinGordon
3.75/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of mborden
2/5  rDev -42.4%

Photo of mrfrancis
4.5/5  rDev +29.7%

Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
3.75/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of 51mmz0rz
3.39/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

Gale's Prize Old Ale from George Gale & Company Ltd
80 out of 100 based on 382 ratings.