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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

380 Ratings
THE BROS
96
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 380
Reviews: 309
rAvg: 3.47
pDev: 24.21%
Wants: 16
Gots: 19 | 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: 380 | Reviews: 309 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The return of an Old favorite tonight. It’s especially fitting that I cracked this one open on such a cold night in Long Beach after a day of torrential rain, thunder & lightning. The classic Prize Old Ale bottle, short 9.3 fl.oz. (275ml) stubby with the thin neck that is covered in tight fitting red plastic “foil”, which in turn hides a cork. Dated as Bottled in 2001, strength listed as 9% Vol.

Appearance: The cork was in good condition but tough to extract, resulting in a disturbed beer by the time I poured it. The body of the beer is a turbid chestnut brown color, the head suitably beige in character & smooth but always a solid ½” throughout the drink. This was a bit of a surprise in itself, I have had much flatter POA’s, albeit older than 2 years though. High conditioning levels.

Nose: Vinous, oak, walnuts, damp wood, & extreme pungent Malt Vinegar hints of sourness that I dearly loved. Dark fruits emerge as the beer closes on ambient room temperature. Some molasses, but not much. Certainly complex.

Taste: Sharp acidic malt attack, the vinous traits in the nose present themselves in a hard fighting Redoubt formation that is almost impenetrable until the middle of the beer when smooth toffee caramels break the ranks. Dark fruits come through slowly in the end as the crispy vinegar licks fade & the beer warms. This is quite something, even after “just” 2 years.

Mouthfeel: Pretty average feel actually, it felt light at times, & certainly belies its high alcohol content. The high carbonation added a very smooth but lively feel in the mouth - maybe this distracts you from its real strength. Lingering aged caramel feel on the cheeks.

Drinkability: Well it’s a sipper, suitable for the cold & windy Long Beach night as I stand on balcony imbibing this monster.

Overall: My Mums family live in West Sussex, and as such I have visited Horndean, the home of Gales, in the neighboring Hampshire several times. I always walked away with several of these beauties. I wish the waxed tops would come back but maybe I’m just a sentimentalist.

Maybe I drank this one a little too early, but I have had older versions before & for ‘only’ $3.99 for the bottle, I was interested to see what the POA offered after only 2 years. Probably best to leave this about 5 years to let the beer mellow a bit. However, I have to admit that as a Gueuze fan, I was really quite partial to the extreme sourness the 2001 exhibited. This of course may not endear the 2 year old POA to all palates!!

Photo of ColForbin
3.9/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had the 1996 vintage. Very dark color. Little head, fruity, raisiny nose. Taste was completely sour - I have had a younger bottle (98, I believe) in the past that was much less sour and more malty. It tasted like a poor mans Hardy - lighter in flavor and much less complex. I happen to really enjoy sour beers, so I was not disappointed - but if you have this vintage and don't don't want it totally sour you may want to drink up soon. The 1996 vintage is probably not a good example of the Old Ale style (as tasted in 2003), which is why the score is a bit low, even though drinking this beer was very enjoyable.

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

1998 draft tasted at Spuyten Duyvil on draft in October 2003. Age has been very kind to this keg. Appearence: Reddish-brown with purple highlights, fairly light head. Smell: Malty, balanced by woody-fruity aromas. Taste: Incredibly complex. The sweet, caramel malty flavor is balanced by oaky, port-like flavors, hints of figs and dates, and a slight sourness with dries the beer's finish a bit, but not as sour as this beer can sometimes be. Mouthfeel is somewhat light for a Old Ale, but works quite fine with this beer. Balance makes for a very drinkable beer, despite age and complexity.

Photo of far333
2.98/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

I've been wanting to try this for a while, but it was not what I expected. Corked 1998 bottle poured with no head. I almost sent it back until the barkeep said they're all like that. Mouthfeel is obviously watery and a little syrupy. Color is dark caramel, with a raisin smell. Flavor is mostly sour and alcoholic, but some notes of caramel and raisin emerge. It became more like sipping port or cognac, but I couldn't get my mind to totally believe that due to the sourness. Couldn't finish the glass.

Photo of oberon
3.13/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Well found this up in Buffalo at Premiere Gourmet and decided on the 98 vintage,pours a deep ruby red with no head or carbonation to speak of,aroma is woody and raisiny sweet.The taste is pretty odd raisiny and port-like but also an annoying sourness to it that makes it a litle hard to drink.There are some nicethings going on with this beer but the little sour tinge to it kinda ruins the moment.

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

2001 bottle vintage-poured a rather muddy amber color.No head whatsoever.Somewhat vinous aroma-hints of oak,sour cherries,fruitiness.Similar flavors come thru as well-slight alchohol and a tartness in the finish.Somewhat thin in the mouthfeel-still comes off as a big beer.

Photo of StevieW
4.47/5  rDev +28.8%
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.

Photo of ZAP
3.95/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I just about busted a nut getting the #$# cork off in one piece..ahh make that several pieces that didn't fall back into the bottle...but after a long and arduos process the cork was successfully removed..

Poured a dark brown...relatively clear..absolutely no head...mouthfeel is very uncarbonated..I love the nose...molasses....brown sugar....dark fruits (plums, dates, even burgandy cherries)..a bit of oak...just an awesome smelling beer..

The flavors are similar to the nose but much more tame....dark fruits...molasses...oak...good taste to this...

My biggest complaint is the loose mothfeel...very uncabonated which gives it almost a watery texture...seems almost thin...

Overall, the nose is great and the taste is very good but the body leaves something to be desired..definitely worth trying...I won't be buying any more though....

Photo of clvand0
2.6/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours dark and the aroma isn't great - scents of grapes, but not as pleasing as one would expect. The taste is that of a polish dark beer that is very watered down. There really isn't any carbonation in this beer, but it is corked, so that was not expected. I did not like the taste very much.

Photo of Indybeer
4.18/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Part of a vintage beer tasting.
Vintage 1996. Poured a deep red/brown color, with absolutley no head, no lacing and no carbonation. Very mild aroma of candied fruit and tobacco. The taste however was syrupy sweet like a good sherry, but with some tartness thrown in the finish. Definetly a after dinner sipper.

Photo of Bighuge
3.03/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottled in 1997.

This beer is a deep deep crimson color. Absolutely no carbonation is visible with the pour. No head. No collar. No CO2 bubbles. No lacing. But, this is 6 years old and of high A/V. On the nose I get mud, russet potates (uncooked whole ones), cough syrup vapor, bread pudding and rum. On to the flavors: a little wood, a little rum, a little brown sugar, a little bark, a little dark fruits and a little dates and raisins. All together though, not a lot of anything real tasty. Pretty average. Mouthfeel is lacing carbonation and almost syrupy. $4.19 for 9.3 ounces? Oh yeah, I'll use my beer money on something else next time. The Harvest Ales kick the shit out of this one.

Photo of Morris729
4.47/5  rDev +28.8%
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!

Photo of hotstuff
1.25/5  rDev -64%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

1999 bottle.This was anything but a good beer experience.Yuck is all I can say about this beer. There was no head when this beer was poured and there was no lacing either. The body was cloudy and the hue was dark brown. I could not decide what the nose was of this beer. I could definitely taste the alcohol in this beer. I also observed a bitter aftertaste with this beer.

Photo of TheDM
1.95/5  rDev -43.8%
look: 5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

This bottle was labeled from year 1999. It had a very interesting aroma. Its aroma was different than I have smelled thus far. It was hard to describe. Initial reaction to the aroma is, "What the devil is this?” It poured no head at all with a very thick cloudy dark brown body. It left no lacing at all. Tastes like wine, perhaps grapes. No real fore taste and some bitterness in the after taste. It is failing the GF test and she may not drink it all. You can definitely taste the alcohol in this brew. It is definitely a different kind of brew. But not one I would buy again.

Photo of Loki
3.85/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sampled in a 275 ml bottle with a label stating a 1997 brew dated. Sampled on May 22nd, 2003.

Poured a dark mahogany brown with no head and no apparent carbonation what so ever. There was no lacing and swirling did not produce even a semblance of a head.

Smelled like a bad port or an after dinner liqueur, also some other flavor like prunes maybe. The aroma was intriguing, not really enticing but definitely intriguing.

Tasted of alcohol, oak, prunes, molasses, very similar to a port but slightly off. It would take some getting used to but I could come to enjoy this as an after dinner drink, would be great with some deserts.

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

This beer poured with very little head, which was not surprising for a cask. The appearance was a deep golden red color, and fairly clear. It had a rich malt and alcohol aroma. The initial taste was carmel apple and sweet raisin, somewhat bitter-sweet middle with a nice mild hop finish. Overall a very tasty beer.

Photo of Viking
4.22/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark reddish brown, fairly clear (yet still rather dark). No apparent carbonation in the body. Very faint head, no retention whatsoever. Very vinous caramel/tofee aroma. Big presence of fruit in the smell and taste - seems to be an odd (but good) combination of sweet apple and slightly sour cherry. Big caramel/toffee presence in the flavor. Spicy as well. I'm not sure, but there seemed to be hints of nutmeg in this one. Slight fruity aftertaste, and fairly dry. Full-bodied, creamy brew. This should have been my nightcap. Alas, there were beers I had not yet met...

Photo of JohnnyDuvel
3.2/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

As some others have noted, this is a strange beer. Reminds me of apple cider with a shot of booze in it. Fairly smooth, and certainly warming. Quite unique, but I won't go back for this one. No head or lacing, sweet and smooth. I was feeling a little off tonight, and this was good medicine, but I have had many, many ales that are more enjoyable (and several Barley wines, also).

Photo of dwarbi
4.13/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer is a dark brown, with a thin, nutty-looking head. Smells buttery and nutty and tastes buttery and nutty... or is it butty and nuttery? My point is that these two flavors/vibes dominate. Feels slippery in the mouth, and a little sweet, which hurts the drinkability. Very good beer, overall. Great for one.

Photo of BierReise
2.3/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This was a recommended by the owner of a beer store I frequent so I gave it a try. Looked promising in it's corked bottle(brewed 2001) and poured deep amber with very little head. Taste was almost like a barley wine, sweet and very malty. Mouthfeel very fizzy and carbonated. Also an alcahol taste I didn't care for.

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

Unrap, uncork, and out comes a strange murky apple cider colored brew with a little extra brown color. No head what so ever. The aroma is of vodka and apple cider. Kind of like apple puckers mixed with vodka.

It has a sweet apple start. Then you are hit with the strongest alcohol taste I have ever witnessed in a beer. It tastes more like 90 proof vodka than 9% beer. It mellows out a bit to make it much easier to stand. There is no carbonation, but it has a lot of bite from the alcohol. The body is medium to full with lots of flavor. Unfortunately the smash in your face of alcohol is a lot of that flavor.

Photo of UncleJimbo
4.18/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

9.3 oz amber bottle, corked. $4.99 per bottle.
1995 Bottle #2893

The bottle says to drink this ale at room temperature, and they are right! This ale poured a dark, cloudy brown (coffee) color with absolutely no foam whatsoever. The smell was absolutely wonderful, and was probably the best aspect of this sample. I just sniffed and savored. The smell was sweet and malty with aromas of oak and grapes and raisins and a whiff of alcohol. The taste was slightly sweet: caramel, malt, a trace of coffee, alcohol, some oak, and some hints of phenols and pine, as well as musty grapes and raisins. There was not much hop presence at all. The mouthfeel was flat (no carbonation), medium bodied, velvety smooth, and fairly clean despite the slight sweetness. The drinkability was good, but as mentioned above, this ale needs to be served at room temperature to be fully enjoyed. Not bad, and the store has more where this came from.

Photo of budgood1
3.88/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1996 # 7916 serial # OA106558

i've been sitting on this for quite awhile...finally "in the mood" to uncork it.

pours out completely black with hints of ruby...no light penetrating at all. zero carbonation. aroma of sugar laden ripened dark fruits and hints of dark chocolate. tastes like wine...fruit and cocoa hints. eerily similar to SA triple bock, but with a much lighter body. seriously....much more wine like than beer like. lots of warmth in the belly. a pleasantly dry finish, with some spicy hop notes finally coming out to provide a beer like bitterness. it's like a fine, dry red wine. thick and luxurious, smooth and quite drinkable. i probably have no idea how to correctly appreciate, or score this, but it's agreeable to my palate.

i now wish i would have tackled more beers like this before sampling the aforementioned SA triple bock, just to have a better appreciation of these "styles" of brews. my beer education continues......

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

1996 Vintage Bottle #8534

Pours to a murky, dark brown color, with no head or carbonation for that matter. The aroma is sweet, bread, and smells of raisins and prunes. You can also smell the alcohol. The aroma reminds me of a Belgian beer. The flavor is very sweet in the front, then it has a flavor of prunes. Into the finish is a sour, tartness like that of green apples. Overall, it is an interesting beer. This is my first Old Ale, so I really didn’t know what to expect. Complex flavors and aromas.

Photo of cokes
4.65/5  rDev +34%
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.

Gale's Prize Old Ale from George Gale & Company Ltd
80 out of 100 based on 380 ratings.