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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.

371 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 371
Reviews: 305
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: 371 | Reviews: 305 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GooberMcNutly
2.15/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

2003 vintage. Dark with no head and very low carbonation. Strong treacle and mollassas notes with dried apple aromas. Thick, syrupy palate with insufficient hops or carbonation to keep from coating the tongue. Perhaps the overly malty character will attenuate with time.

GooberMcNutly, Nov 14, 2006
Photo of supercolter
1.38/5  rDev -60.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

I really, really disliked this beer.
Appearance is somewhat flat, cola to coffee looking in color without any head or lacing.
Smell is probably skunked to be honest...I don't think this was right for the beer but I will have to try another old ale to verify this.
Taste is of tobacco and coffee...gross.
Mouthfeel is good. Medium in body.
Drinkablity, well I didn't finish it.

supercolter, Nov 08, 2006
Photo of mjsarch
2.88/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Reviewing a 1995 vintage I've been holding for the right moment. "Champion Beer of Britain 1992-1993" on the label. My bottle under scrutiny is numbered #0469, 9.3 fl. oz., 9% ABV, fwiw:
A: dark black but clear, and just a touch of ruby along the edge of the glass. A bit of tobacco, which I will give to some oxidation in the 11 year old beer,
S: coffee, touch of molasses,
T: a tad too much black patent malt, IMO. Again, coffee and tobacco, plus a hint of cedar,
M: very thin for a beer of this lineage,
D: Overall, not worth retaining for a long haul. Interesting to put the retro-glasses on for a view of beers to hold from ten years back, though.

mjsarch, Nov 04, 2006
Photo of BDTyre
4.28/5  rDev +23%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Seemed like an apt night to have this, and is cold and blowing out. Plus being a 1996 vintage, every week that passes I worry that this will be no good.

From what I can tell, this hasn't gone off...at least not completely.

Nut-brown, soy sauce like look. Almost like a very dark wine. The carbonation has completely disappeared after 10 years. No head, very few bubbles upon pouring and they completely disappear after a few seconds.

Wine, dried fruits, malts on the nose. Very vinous scent to it. Pleasant alcohol backing. Faint woody hints.

Pleasant, old taste. Strong malt and wine character. Sweet and sour plum and other fruit flavours are noticeable. Slightly acidic hint, with a woodiness that hits as it goes down. Sour, old after taste, but not unpleasant...I think this bottle is not quite in prime condition, but still good.

Okay mouthfeel. Thick, smooth mouthfeel. Not too thin at all. It does suffer a bit from the complete lack of carbonation...I'd like to try some more recent ones to see how they compare.

A very enjoyable vintage old ale that has aged well, although not quite gracefully.

BDTyre, Oct 25, 2006
Photo of ryantupy
4.05/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled in 1996

I was really excited to find this bottle at the store. I was however a little dissapointed in the beers lack of drinkability. It pours a dark nut brown color with no head only a thin little lace with good retention. It smelled of dried fruit, alcohol, wine, grapes, and roasted malts. It tasted again like dried fruit, alcohol, wine, malty with almost no hop character at all. It was oily and smooth like wine but had a rather bitter alcoholic finish.

ryantupy, Jul 28, 2006
Photo of geexploitation
3.93/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours flat, with a color and consistency that reminds me of melted caramel mixed with coffee. Aromas of coffee grounds, molasses, and hints of wine-barrel. On the tongue, chocolates and coffee first off, leading to fruity sweetness (apricots, figs) and hot alcohol. Some nuttiness in the finish and a touch of winey sourness. Strange, two-part mouthfeel, with creaminess at first, followed by wateryness toward the back. Overall, a very good old ale, true to the English style. Thomas Hardy's less fruity, more chocolatey cousin.

geexploitation, Jul 23, 2006
Photo of rhoadsrage
3.15/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(Served in a snifter)
bottle from 2003 vintage
A- This beer has a dark brown pecan colored body with swirls of micro-bubbles as a head and in the body. The body is a bit opaque.

S- This beer has a slight dark cherry and dark brown malt nose with a faint apple cider hint and molasses at the finish.

T- There is a definite tartness with a dry brown malt flavor that has a hint of wet cardboard to it. The faint bitterness in the finish doesn't really have note of hops but it does have an alcohol finish. There is a faint dry white grape note as the beer warms.

M- This beer has a light watery mouthfeel.

D- This beer has a very bland taste and has lost much of its character.

rhoadsrage, Jun 25, 2006
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 blackie
4.1/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: The pour off of the sediment produces very little head and only a few bubbles linger on the surface. The beer is a deep amber in color.

smell: The most vinous aroma I have ever found in a beer, and aromas as if some lactobacillus or something were used in the fermentation. Complex aromas including aged leather and hardwoods, red grape, dried dates and other concentrated fruits, vanilla, and bourbon. Moderate alcohol presence does not detract. Very strange, but very complex and interesting.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is just between light and medium. The body is medium.

taste: The first thing I notice is that the beer tastes surprisingly wild, with a touch of Belgian wild fermentation to the flavor. Vinous flavors abound, with hints of red grape and dried date paste found on the tongue. Not as complex as the aroma, but good in its own right. Just a touch of bitterness/astringency in the finish is the only hint of hop presence I found in this beer, if it was even caused by that.

drinkability: Pretty good drinkability for a 9% ABV old ale, as the alcohol is well hidden, but the complexity does limit drinkability somewhat.

blackie, May 28, 2006
Photo of shbobdb
2.8/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

This sherry is quite interesting. In both look and taste it is somewhere between a rich amontillado and cream. The nose is dominated by the rich nutty characteristics of the amontillado, with strong, almost dominating, wet cardboard, while it rounds out and ends pleasantly sweet, like the cream. The light carbonation present is strange and wholly unexpected in a sherry. As is the faint hint of chocolate-covered raisins.

Oh, wait . . . this is a beer? Heck, coulda fooled me.

Next time, if I want a sherry, I'll order it. Gimme a Bell's or a Northcoast anyday.

shbobdb, Apr 30, 2006
Photo of DogFood11
1.78/5  rDev -48.9%
look: 1 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Sorry but I've sampled 3 of these prized old ales now and all have poured flat and boring. I review this off three distinctly differnt occastions although all fall within the calendar year of 2006. Poured aggressively it forms nothing, leaves nothing, caramel brown color.

Taste is like chewing on a cedar stick laced with heartburn. A charred effect creeps into the bitterness, caramel late in the game.

Fuck!! I get so pissed!! I keep seeing decent to good reviews from this brewere and I keep buying into it, keep spending money on it and cant understand what is going wrong. The beer is far from spoiled it just tastes like some boring crap. I'm vowing to wait till i'm in their homeland to try this brewery again...Banned.

DogFood11, Apr 29, 2006
Photo of scruffwhor
2.7/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a corked, 275ml bottle. Says it was brewed in 2003.

Appearance- Color is like a past its prime apple cider. Very dark amber, a rusty blood if you will. Like a cider, with no lacing or head of course.

Smell- Vinous, yet sweet malts. Reminds me of wine or oak. But their were some hints of mold.

Taste- Starts out tart with some mold and old house taste in the middle, and finishing with a more defined soury yet slightly sweet sherry flavor.

Mouthfeel- Pretty tart, maybe aging for about three years didn't subdue its tart flavor. Or...maybe it wasn't stored properly??? Either way, this beer hit the sides of the tongue the most with its cranberry like tart. The middle is wear pre-pennicilin hit the most.

scruffwhor, Apr 13, 2006
Photo of goodbyeohio
4.18/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


purchased on the recommendation of unionmade

surprised to find a cork under the red wrap. pours a dirty brown with no head, just some bubbles loitering around the edges like seedy denizens of beer world.

smells sweet of overripe fruits, vinous like the previously mentioned array of dessert wines one will encounter in a fancy restaurant.. smells like a beer lover's alternative. sweet and cloying, leathery, musty hints of age give character.. not rank foulness. nice.

big and figgy flavor. alcohol brings the malty, layered sweetness closer to icewine or sippable scotch levels. finish is mildly sour in a lambic-like way, and the present hints of roasted caramel are satisfying in very, very small doses.

didn't think i would like this at first, but when evaluated as a slow-drinking, sweet dessert beer.. well, it gains some serious appeal. i should get another one of these to cellar for '16. will probably be even better.

goodbyeohio, Apr 10, 2006
Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.08/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle sampled is a 1996 that I've had in the beer cellar for almost a year. Purchased at Colonial Spirits in MA where they sell a lot of vintage ales.

As a cork filled bottle, age is always an issue. This bottle had a perfect Poured dark brown with almost no head, just a faint wisp at the edge of the glass.
The aroma has a thick sweetness, raison / prune with a hint of wood rounded out with an alcohol undertone.

Flavor is very nice. Often described as winey, I'd say desert wine consistency.with a definite raisins or earthy wood finish.

mouthfeel is rich, thick but not syrupy. alcohol warmnes almost whisps through in the finish leaving you wanting another sip.

This is definitely a beer to sip and savor rather than try to rush through. Not a beer for everyone, rather a beer for those that enjoy more than the typical mainstream or major craft beers. I think this has legs to make it as long as 20 years. I have added a nice stock of this to the beer cellar!

barleywinebrewer, Mar 02, 2006
Photo of weeare138
3.1/5  rDev -10.9%
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.

weeare138, Feb 24, 2006
Photo of UncleFlip
4.13/5  rDev +18.7%
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

UncleFlip, Feb 12, 2006
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3/5  rDev -13.8%
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.

brewdlyhooked13, Feb 07, 2006
Photo of walleye
4.4/5  rDev +26.4%
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)

walleye, Feb 04, 2006
Photo of kzczp0
3.53/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

kzczp0, Jan 20, 2006
Photo of CortexBomb
4.2/5  rDev +20.7%
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.

CortexBomb, Jan 20, 2006
Photo of TheEclecticGent
4.33/5  rDev +24.4%
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!

TheEclecticGent, Jan 10, 2006
Photo of Zorro
3.23/5  rDev -7.2%
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.

Zorro, Dec 28, 2005
Photo of doubleipa
2.53/5  rDev -27.3%
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.

doubleipa, Nov 25, 2005
Photo of IrishRedRock
3.98/5  rDev +14.4%
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.

IrishRedRock, Nov 18, 2005
Photo of Billolick
3.93/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

Billolick, Nov 11, 2005
Gale's Prize Old Ale from George Gale & Company Ltd
79 out of 100 based on 371 ratings.