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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 weeare138
3.1/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to hopdog for this...
This is the Calvados aged edition.
Appears a light transparent golden brown with no head and no lacing.
Smell is vinous, with oak, vanilla, and caramel.
Taste is medicinal with a cherry wine and sweet caramel coming through.
Mouthfeel is is cloying and slightly sweet and medicinal.

Photo of UncleFlip
4.13/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy brown with orange tones. Has a rather thin head.

Pungent smell...sort of a fumy apricot.

Flavour is a bit sour, with some cherry and brown sugar notes.

Carbonation hits kind of tight off the top. THis brew is a bit thin otherwise.

I could hae a couple of these in one sitting, but it might wear a bit thin on me.

Be well
-UF

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This baby's been collecting dust for several years, I'm doing some cellar sampling to start off the new year and wanted to see what this was all about.

Appearance - reddish amber, soft purple highlights. Not a bubble to be found.

Aroma - smells more like a red wine than beer. Alcohol, tannins, not very aromatic either, but okay.

Taste - pretty much tastes like wine. Vinous fruit, semi-dry, an occasional hint of chocoalte that suggests a beer, but if blindfolded I probably would classify this as a wine. As it warms, there is more of a stated presence of malt. It's not much, but I am picking it out better. Perhaps some woody tones, too. I'm a little on the fence here. If I wanted wine, I'd just buy a bottle of wine, there's not much here to set this apart.

Mouthfeel - a little heavy, just the barest trace of carbonation, complements the stateliness of the sample.

Drinkability - I forget what I paod for this, but for the chance to try it, it was worth the money. Doubtful that I'd get it again except at a good price and for a tasting party or something.

Photo of walleye
4.4/5  rDev +26.8%
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)

Photo of kzczp0
3.53/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This old ale held up well with vintage date of 2003. It poured murky and brown, dark maple syrup look but cloudy. Intense sedimentation in mix too. The smell is between an intense honey malt and fruit (grape?) flavour. There was very little carbonation that disappeared entirely within the first minute.This one is definitely not for big gulps and needs small tastes so not to overpower the senses. There is a heavy mouth feel of intense dark fruits and maltiness. I detected little hoppiness til the very end of the swallow and the alcohol was strong throughout the taste. The bottle says 9% abv but this one felt stronger than most trippels. It was a very interesting experience.

Photo of CortexBomb
4.2/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Prize Old Ale, 1998 bottling, consumed in early 2006.

Pour into my snifter is spot on for the style, it is dirty brown, prune coloured with no head to speak of. Smell is an absolute grand slam of dates, this smells very similar to a sherry that I'm quite fond of. Beyond the dates are a whole host of other dark fruits: prunes, raisins and a certain sugary sweetness on top of all that. This smell is stunning for any style, and among the best of the old ales that I've had and I actually spent 5 minutes just picking the drink up occasionally and sniffing it prior to actually taking a sip...the smell is so good that drinking it isn't even necessary for major enjoyment.

Start is strongly alcoholic, almost like a white wine as a cool breeze hits your tongue. The sugary dark fruits then arrive in force and start pummelling the front and back of the tongue simultaneously. In addition to the extremely strong sweetness and fruits I'm also getting strong oaky flavours and a strange tartness which was completely unexpected. The finish is also odd, a nutty caress where I didn't notice that flavour earlier. The flavour isn't what I was expecting given the nose, but it is still very high quality.

Mouthfeel, is quite thick without being extremely oily. It does manage to find its way to each taste bud though, and the tart effect is interesting. Drinkability on this is good, if you first acknowledge the fact that a "beer" like this is meant to be a sipper.

My overall thoughts: A really unique and tasty example of what an old ale could be. The taste on this has a bit more alcohol than the smell was indicating, but the range of dark fruit flavours and the odd tartness make up for it. The smell is the real show-stealer with this one though, and would probably be my #1 reason for rebuying, assuming that I could find another one.

Photo of TheEclecticGent
4.33/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gale’s Prize Old Ale 1996 Bottle # 6146 WOW! A corked old ale, very nice presentation with the bottle. A high-speed collision between a port and a beer! Whoa! A heavy oak-woody flavor and nose. The color is deep mahogany with no head at all and no lace, but who cares! No carbonation...hey it’s been locked in a bottle for a decade! The mouth feel on this one is so heavy it nearly opened a black hole in my mouth! Man it’s dense and woody…and woody..and woody..and dense. Wow! This is a sipping beer, not a drinking beer. This defies physics!

Photo of Zorro
3.23/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

2002 Vintage.

Curious corked English style bottle.

Very little remaining carbonation but the cork is sweet smelling and there is no leakage around the cork, it looks new.

This is a well-rested and carefully handled bottle that still pours a murky brown ale with no head.

Smell is INTENSE! Almost bloody your nose intense. My first impression is that I have mistakenly poured Napoleon brandy in my glass! Amazingly intense fruity aromas even after I know how intense it is on the second sniff. Figs, raisin, melon, walnuts and pecans are just part of the aromas. I will have to contradict myself thought, this really smells much more like the one time I had 40 year old port wine, it is the nut aromas in here that do it. You could write a book about the smell of this beer.

Taste is nutty and somewhat tart in flavor at the start. The taste is somewhere between the flavor of a Flanders red and a scotch. No flavors of hops are detectable to me. There is a clear flavor of alcohol here. The flavor is best summed up as tart berries and nuts. It is a shame but the flavor does not match the amazing aroma.

Mouthfeel is diluted by the alcohol content and lack of carbonation.

This beer was past its prime; too bad they used a cork and didn't cap it too.

Photo of doubleipa
2.53/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Fuller's has bought Gale's. Who cares. Very dissapointed. Aroma was cherry, with tawny port. Virtually no head or lacing. Body was murly and dar-reddish brown. Initial flavor was harshly sweet and salty. WIth a heavy, sweet finish flavor that lasted way too long. Palate was full and syrupy. I have a few more in the cellar. I don't think I'll drink them. I can't imagine that this would get any better with age.

Photo of IrishRedRock
3.98/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2001 bottling. Deep ruby colored amber, no head, no carbonation. Wood and peat are prevalent in the nose, smoky with lots of dark cherries. Very similar in flavor to sherry, yet without the alcohol and much smokier. I could see pairing this with a cigar, and I rarely say that about ANY beer. Spicy; herbal. Sips like a wine or fine liquer, as there is no carbonation and a good warming alcoholic presence. A nice fireside nightcap.

Photo of Billolick
3.93/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Blind Tiger Ale House in NYC. This tasty liquid arrives orangy almond,, clearly low carbonation, minimal head and little lacing. Nose is of alcohol and figs. This is a big flavorful brew, notes of raisins, rum, figs, funk, must and some smoke. Nicely crafted, musty old stuff, slight sourness in the finish.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.85/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2001 vintage. Orange-influenced dark bronze, until held up to the light of the setting sun. The color then becomes a beautiful, softly glowing, maraschino cherry red. The lid is slim to start, though it looks great since it's a complementary shade of golden beige. This is not the sort of beer that generates a large head, so I'm grateful that my relatively gentle pour resulted in one this nice.

The darkly fruity, vinous nose is reminiscent of port-soaked plums. I'd like a little more power and complexity, however. The snifter is doing all it can in terms of concentration, but it isn't enough. Since the beer is already at cellar temperature, it has no opportunity to warm and to gain anything in the process. I hope the nose is the weak link and the beer makes a huge comeback on the palate.

These George Gale & Company beers are interesting little sippers. I can't say they blow me away, but I find that if I put in a little effort and have some patience, I can better appreciate their subtleties and hidden charms. This one is lighter and more sour than expected. Why I expected anything at all is a mystery since they never seem to match up with their stated styles. They're oddball brews, in a good way.

The ripe fruitiness straddles the line between the darker fruits (raisins, plums) and the lighter ones (white raisins, green apples). The sourness, thankfully, is nicely offset by a stealth sweetness and a well-mannered vinousness. It drinks every bit of the 9.0% ABV, although it's as smooth and as warming as a high quality sherry or port.

If I could make one improvement, and one improvement only, it would be a bigger mouthfeel. That's a frequent request of mine, but a more full, chewy mouthfeel would benefit Prize Old Ale immensely. I'm convinced that if it remained in contact with my taste buds for longer than a second or two, new vistas of flavor would appear and would result in my liking it more than I already do. An opportunity lost.

Despite my scores, Gale's Prize Old Ale is an enjoyable beer. It isn't the typical old ale, if such a thing even exists, but I'm not sure what else I'd call it. I had a great time with all 9.3 ounces, sip by sip by sip. If you're looking for a comfort beer and a true original, you'll find it here. And in the rest of the Gale lineup as well.

Photo of Fish113d
4.18/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

**Brewed in 2003**
Served from a bottle at room temperature into a tulip glass.

Pouring a reddish mahogany color w/ a fizzy & light off-white head that dissipates to a distinctive edge layer around the glass. Lots of yeast on the bottom of the bottle left over, and lots of sediment throughout the ale in the glass.

Aroma is very potent. Sitting almost 2 ft. away, I can get very dangerous aroma. Lots of plum on the sinuses, along with some dry oak aromas make up the backbone of this one. I could be mistaking the plums for grapes, for this one has a very Cabernet aroma to it. Maybe a little sour up front, but nice though!

Very subtle flavors. The fruitiness I expected wasn't there so much as the oaken flavors from the barrels along with a big shot of alcohol on the palate tha warms my tummy all the way down through the swallow. Not a lot of carbonation at all, but lots of alcohol burn.

Again, the carbonation is not there as it seemed when I uncorked it, but a full-bodied ale with quite a nice alcohol bite. I am sure this one is much over 9% by now. I'd think it's approaching 11% if I compare it to other strong ales I've had over the past years.

Some would be scared off from this one due to the alcohol and probably would find it very drinkable, but I think the opposite. I really enjoy this one. I've had this in the past, but I'm glad I at least let this age til it was over 2 years. A shame that it is retired.

Photo of GClarkage
4.3/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

08/25/05- Purchased at Plumpjack's in San Francisco, CA

Presentation- 9.3oz stubby bottle wrapped and corked. Poured into my Duvel tulip. No dates available.

Appearance- Lucid mahagoney color, zero head (don't think it's supposed to have one) and no lacing.

Smell- Intense smells of rancid chocolate, dark fruits and alcohol. Smells more like a brandy than a beer. Very nice and different though.

Taste- The first two tastes to hit me were a huge caramel flavor as if eating Kraft caramels stright out of the bag. That combined with a nice butterscotch flavor as well. Huge raisin, prune and date tastes as well. A bit sour at first, but evens out after the swallow.

Mouthfeel- Quite warming and you can tell the 9% in the sweet mouthfeel. It's not a full mouthfeel though....rather thin and a touch watery. No thickness in it. The smallest bit of carbonation if any.

Drinkability- One of the few Old Ales I have had, so I'm still aquiring a taste for this style. Not bad, definitely different if you are used to your brews having carbonation. Almost like a watery cough sryup. But the flavors are very nice. This one would probably be best saved for the winter months.

Photo of Goldorak
3.53/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Beersignal for sharing this 1999 vintage!

Appearance: Reddish brown, no head at all, barely a sparkle, but plenty of floaties and rocky chunks of dead lees! I'll give this a neutral score of 3, as I wasn't expecting anything less from a 6-year old ale.

Smell: An acetous nose, that I could only describe as "a cross between Rodenbach Grand Cru and a very mineral white wine from either Alsace or Germany". It also had an oak character to it, more like those american wines that tend to overdue the wood and taste like a freshly squeezed 2-by-4.

Taste: White port, sherry, tobacco and an intriguing sourness that I enjoyed. Obviously, carbonation was next to nil. An excellent experiment of cellaring that I would gladly repeat anytime.

Photo of ypsifly
3.3/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

'96 vintage 9.3oz poured into a pint.

Deep brown almost black with no head but an anemic ring of bubbles. Seems flat.

Smells faintly vinous and has an aged woody aroma. A suggestion of molasses.

Pretty much flat with not much of a mouthfeel. With that said, it doesn't taste bad. Has a wine like character. Woody, slightly acidic with a mellow dry finish. The alcohol is gone, and there are no off or oxidized flavors.

I won't buy the 96 again, but I will go back and check out other years.

Photo of alexgash
3.4/5  rDev -2%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Bottled in 1996.
After fighting with a very dry cork, I finally poured out a slightly viscous dark liver brown liquid with nary a head--just some big bubbles around the ring. Maybe this stuff really isn't meant to be aged...
Anyway, nose is pleasant enough. Oxidized aromas of sherry, oak, soy sauce, and grapes. Taste is not bad. Reminds me a lot of a cabernet. Oaky, vinous, dark fruits, numbing (but not over the top and burning) alcohol. Turns cidery and moderately bitter toward the warming, dark fruity finish. Mouthfeel is oily and thick, without a hint of carbonation. Man, it's too bad, because this would be a fine ale with some. I'll have to try it again and hope that I get a better cork.

Photo of TheJudge
3.88/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I will be writing 2 reviews, for the 2000 vintage and the 1999 vintage. Had them back to back, starting with the 2000, so that one first. The scores on the side are for the 2000, the better of the two.

2000 vintage: This poured into an Orval glass with little head, and a nice deep caramel color. This looked like what I expected. The smell is very winelike, almost port in aroma. While not really my taste, i wanted about to stop there. So onward and upward to the mouth.

Hey. This is good. A real nice flavor at the front of the tongue, tingles every section of the tongue on the way back. An indication of very good balance of flavors. Still very port-like, reminicent of a good cigar. not sweet at all, but not overpoweringly wine.

The aftertaste continues the wine analogy. Now I like red wine, so this is not an issue. That is definately the aftertaste.

The tongue feels the little tingling even after swallowing. But it is flavor, not bubbles.

In many ways, this feels and tastes like an after dinner port, and I think that it would be best consumed that way. Flavorful enough to stand up to a cigar and complement it, not compete with it. Lets see what the 1999 brings

OK, 1999: This pours with no head at all, Looks like no carbonation. Thick brown, dark color. This is not nearly as attractive as the 2000. The smell is similar, althought the alcohol comes through much more in this one.

The taste. Huh. OK, I get the port flavors. I taste the fruit (but cannot place. Plum, maybe?). This is not nearly as scintellating as the 2000. Thicker, it hits and runs off the tongue, involving only the taste buds in the back. It then sits in the back of the mouth.

All in all, doesnt come close to 2000. It obviously did not age well (or properly). A disappointment.

Photo of MrSeth
3.93/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The Prize Old Ale I have here was bottled in 1996.

I wasn't expecting a beer this old to pour so well, with a nice effervescent head that falls apart into a coffee-ish brew, with a tiny ring around the edges.

You can smell the age, in a good way (if you like such things). There is a woody character to the nose. Oak? Plums and raisins.

I enjoy the occasional bitterness in the flavor. It has mellowed from its original presence into a very smooth balance.

The body is on the verge of going flat, taking away from the overall drinkability. But there is still a fiesty undercurrent of carbonation that hasn't quit yet. Even if it were to go completely flat, this would still be an interesting and worthwhile ale.

a side note: the first bottle of Prize Old Ale that I bought had spoiled. I live too far away from the liquor store to run back to complain, so I was reluctant to try this all over again. But I can now say that it was worth getting another bottle, and here's to many more!
---

I went back for a 1999 bottle and here a some of my impressions:

It poured alot like coca-cola.. fizzy head that fell into the brew. A ring of tan foam on the glass.

Great nose! full of oaky musk. People are talking to me, but I'm lost in the sherryish aroma.

Taste: grapes, wood and bitter walnut.

Mouthfeel: pretty darn good for a 6 year old ale at room temperature.

Appearance: Murky brown, reddish highlights.

Drinkability: again, for a beer it's age, this one is easier to drink than most.

Cheers!

Photo of shapudding
3.4/5  rDev -2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Brewed 2003, no drinkby dating. Paid attention to all the directions for once, instead of wanting it and realizing there were rules to follow and getting screwed. I uncapped and withdrew the cork slowly, set it out on the counter, then came back about 2 ½ hours later when it was what we felt the designated temperature. Did the nice slow pour to see the very cloudy chestnut brew with a non-existant head. Not even a bubble rising. Very still looking. Raisin and honey scents, sweet and malty. Medium and smooth, not really creamy at all, just nice! Taste of a barleywine. Brandied raisins, bit of alcohol. Very astringent, get a bit of grain alcohol on the tongue. Interesting brew.

Photo of stjarnflikka
3.18/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

2004 vintage.

Pours a loght brown beer thats quite hazy. Some carbonation in there and just a touch of foam. Looks quite nasty ;(

Smell comes strong on the apple side. Sweet apples, white wine, some sour traces and alcohol whips nose. Nice big smell witha bite in it, very much like champagne or a dry cider with some yeast in it. Brings my mind to Belgium somehow.

Taste hits bitter and sour. Clearly some raisins in there. Raw sugar, apples, fruits and lively alcoholic traces. No real malts in here, traces of yeast and a thick feeling to it. Somewhat murky aftertaste with a sour touch and lots of alcohol.

This was a very split experience for me. Looked bad, smelled great and tasted... strange. This is not a bad beer, but it most certainly should be laid down at least a couple of years to remove the unpleasant parts of it.

Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +29.7%
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.

Photo of Sigmund
4.22/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

(275 ml corked bottle.) Bottled in 2004 ( I couldn’t wait). Dark copper colour, slightly hazy, large tan head. Intense and beguiling aroma of raspberries and blackberries, spices, oak and vintage port wine or sherry. Flavour is a bit raw in the edges, as expected for a bottle this fresh. There’s plenty of sweet (but not cloying) flavour elements of malts, caramel, raisins, plum pudding, spices and old sherry. Just enough hops to stand up to the sweetness. Warming mouthfeel - I suspect the ABV had already crept well above the stated 9%. This beer really is something special! Now, I wish I had a few more bottles available for cellaring - and the character to keep them for a few years!

Photo of Rastacouere
3.43/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear orange-brown. Fine head initially, but it quickly consists of swiftly fading big bubbles and disappears from the face of this pond. Loud malty cherries hit the nose in their lambicy funkiness. Great wood character works very well with cinnamon like flavors. Somehow, in mouth, this vinegary concoction manages to deploy layers of floral interstice all around the tart chocolate and woody malts. Liquorous medium body displays particularly low carbonation. Pretty good despite being on the limit of having a bad cork.

Photo of aracauna
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky brown body with absolutely no carbonation. Completely flat without the slightest trace of head. The alcohol burns spicy in the sinuses, followed by dried fruit like raisins and apricots. A good bit of caramel. The flavor is sweet, but a little on the thin side until it warms a lot. I get an interesting bit of toasted pecans in the end that is quite pleasant. The stillness is a bit annoying in the mouthfeel, though. Sweet caramel and nuts.

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