Gale's Festival Mild
George Gale & Company Ltd

Gale's Festival MildGale's Festival Mild
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George Gale & Company Ltd
England, United Kingdom
Mild Ale - English Dark
Ranked #16
Ranked #17,161
3.87 | pDev: 17.31%
Jul 09, 2020
Oct 26, 2001
Very Good
Gale's Festival MildGale's Festival Mild
Notes: None
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3.87 by smi69 from New York on Jul 09, 2020
5 by Rochefort10nh from New Hampshire on Nov 27, 2011
4 by JAHMUR from Connecticut on Nov 15, 2011
Photo of Sigmund
3.03/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
by Sigmund from Norway

Bottle conditioned, a dusty 500 ml bottle at Plan B, Copenhagen, august 2005 - "best before" date was Oct. 2004! Tasted definitely a bit "off". Black colour, low head. Weak roasty aroma and flavour. Sourish and thin. Very disappointing, as my expectations were high. Will need to rerate a fresh bottle or cask.

Feb 14, 2011
Photo of Georgiabeer
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
by Georgiabeer from Georgia

Pours a very nice dark brown, approacking black with a tan head. Looks almost like a stout. Aromas of cocoa and some bright fruit, perhaps raspberry, a touch of treacle, and a round maltiness. Very nice taste. Fruitier than expected, with more hints of chocolate raspberry and quite a bit spritzier than expected as well. This settles a bit and the long fruity, chocolatey malt finish lingers. The slightest bitt chalky at the end. Quite full flavored and nice to see it in a low abv offering. Smooth and spritzy in the mouth Glad I picked this up.

Sep 05, 2008
Photo of Sammy
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5
by Sammy from Canada (ON)

A terrific example of what can be done at less than 5%. Chocolatey, smooth drinking. Active carbonation that tingle in the finish, and lots of lace. Dark brown with dark malt aroma.Some barrelled raspberries in the finish. This would be a staple if sold locally.

Mar 07, 2008
Photo of BEERchitect
4.27/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by BEERchitect from Kentucky

What a terrific beer. For those of you who think you know what a good Mild tastes like, you may want to bring your taste buds with you to this session. They've packed a ton of flavor into a this lower bodied brew. Initial aroma impresses with an abundance of juicy raisons, dates, molassas malts, and toastiness. Flavors continue what the aromas started, still emphasizing the raisons, figs, and plumbs. All backed up with a rich bready, yeasty flavors that emphasizes freshness. The body remains light, allowing the beer to flow easily down the gullet. Cleans up nicely in the finish with a hint of lingering plumbs and figs. Good Dark Milds are difficult to find, great ones, such as this, are greatly impossible.

May 16, 2007
Photo of jdhilt
3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
by jdhilt from New Hampshire

Explodes out of bottle and pours a five+ finger brown head that fades to a thin layer leaving some lace. Almost black color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Port nose. Starts with a dry fermented fruity flavor, some malty sweetness, finish is sour grapes. Pricey at $2.99 for a 11oz bottle from Lina's Beverages Painesville, OH.

Nov 06, 2006
Photo of SilentSabre
4.82/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by SilentSabre from North Dakota

This made quite an impression on me. It poured much darker that I thought it was going to. In fact, it nearly poured black as ink, pouring a very dark brown. It had a caramel coloured foamy head that actually hung around for 3 minutes or so. Quite impressive indeed. The smell of this ale is absolutely amazing. Very sweet and chocolatey with a good bit of coffee and roasted malt. Perhaps some fruit and berries, as well. The taste was equally incredible. Loads of sweet malt present and nearly devoid of hops, although they are, of course, present in small quantities. I am simply blown away by this ale. It is entirely different from what I was expecting. The mouthfeel is smooth and easy to drink with a pleasant level of carbonation. I will definately buy this again in the future.

Jun 06, 2006
Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
by sinstaineddemon from Connecticut

A - a dark crimson red, tons of short lived caramel head, no visible carbonation, sediment becomes visible as bottoms go up

S - strong alcohol aroma, mixture of dark fruits and sweet aromas combine to resemble a chocolate liqueur aroma, like Godiva's

T - thinner than i expected, tastes like a Rum & Coke, sweet finish and a bitter overall experience

M - smooth and syrupy, like a good rum

D - high, a sweet easy down, only the alcohol flavor knocks it down a little

May 17, 2006
Photo of Jredner
3/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
by Jredner from Florida

Aroma is full of blueberries and dark fruits. Black in color with a bunch of tan streaks and bubbles pretending to be a head. Fore is dry black licorice, raisins and some prune notes. A bit of bitterness in the finish, but it is a fruity bitterness more citric than hoppy. Increibly still beer with virtually no carbonation.

Mar 06, 2006
Photo of brentk56
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4
by brentk56 from North Carolina

Appearance: Pours a coffee brown body with a prodigious head and lots of splashy lacing

Smell: Strong hint of fruity prunes along with malt and earthy hop tones

Taste: Starts out with malty brown bread flavors with an earthy/woody flavor development mid-palate; some peat flavors as well and a dry finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, creamy and well-carbonated

Drinkability: Not at all what I was expecting in a Mild, particularly in the mouthfeel area, I nevertheless really enjoyed this complex and unusual beer

Feb 10, 2006
Photo of wl0307
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
by wl0307 from England

As with my review of Gale's GB, this is my first time to taste this beer in the bottle-conditioned version. This beer on draught and on form is formidable and utterly tasty, complex as it is it's way beyond the normal league of British mild (as is Ram Tam by Timothy Taylor). Time to see if the bottle-conditioned form lives up to its draught standards~~ BBE JUN 2006. Served cool in a broad-rimmed goblet.

A: dark mohogany hue, coming with a negligible foamy head dissipating fast; gentle carbonation.
S: enticing caramel maltiness decorated with a deeper scent of highly-fermented tea-leaves and Chinese in the middle, and accompanied by more coarse brown sugar and a little bit of licorice. Settled and deep in terms of aroma, not as loud as a porter but quite neatly-themed.
T: smoothly-textured malts treading lightly on the tongue, bringing with it plenty of herbs, tea-leaves, plus very light caramel maltiness and mild fruity hints (a bit of )... the palate turns softer bit by bit, while the balance b/w unsweet malts and dryish herbal flavour remains intact through to the clean finish, with echos of very mild bitterness deep down the throat. The hops here seem to be more prenounced than the maltier and sweeter cask version, and provide a very different balance in the flavour profile.
M&D: the mouthfeel is soft but constantly fed by lovely creamy bubbles. The body is pretty light, true to the standards of a mild, and the flavour is also mild, to my surprise actually. Overall this bottle-conditioned version is not a bad attempt at all, but I fear the more colourful fruitiness and richer maltiness as in the cask version are not packed in the bottle. The end result is a softer and cleaner mild, though. Still quite drinkable.

Jan 15, 2006
Photo of GCBrewingCo
2.98/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
by GCBrewingCo from North Carolina

The beer opened with a whoosh and then when poured into the glass the beer poured 1/2 head, 1/2 beer. The beer was brownish black with amber highlights and a brown frothy tall head which retreated slowly and laced the glass.

The aroma was strongly vinous with a fruity character. The aroma was similiar to port or sherry. The most notable fruit was cherries.

The flavor was not very exciting at all. It contained a very fruity flavor, but lacked any real malt presence at all, a real dud on the palate. Some light caramel was about it. Very surprising for such a dark beer.

The finish was dry and fruity into the aftertaste. The body was almost medium but the beer seemed a bit overcarbonated and it made the body seem less. I would have thought that a true mild would have been carbonated to a very low level.

16.9 ounce bottle. No freshness dating.

Jul 26, 2005
Photo of clvand0
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by clvand0 from Kentucky

This one pours a very dark color with a tall head that has nice retention and leaves lots of lacing on the glass. As kmpitz2 said, the aroma is just like fresh raisins. Weird. The flavor is mostly comprised of that fresh raisin thing. Tasty, in a weird way. I wouldn't really call this a mild, but it's still good. Body is moderate and the drinkability is ok.

Mar 11, 2005
Photo of kmpitz2
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
by kmpitz2 from Tennessee

This beer pours a black (I think it is a super dark amber) color with a 4 finger head that falls rather slowly. The nose is interesting. Its almost like ground up raisins, right out of the little red box. The flavor is nice, with quite a bit of raisin flavor along with a kind of pulpy fruityness on the end. Interesting. The feel is a light moderate, with a moderate carbonation. I like it. Overall, this is very refreshing and fruity. I'm not sure if it fits the style, as I have had very few of them, I do like it.

Mar 08, 2005
Photo of RoyalT
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by RoyalT from Michigan

Appearance – This one poured a dark, rich-looking brown in color. The head exploded out of the bottle but subsided rather quickly.

Smell – The big, brown malts were very biscuity and carried a bitter aroma. There was some burnt, toasty bread in this nose as well.

Taste – The big, brown, bitter notes from the nose made it to the tongue. This ale has some huge flavors. There’s a dry, dark sweetness at the finish that’ll throw your head back.

Mouthfeel – This Mile Ale is a big medium-bodied with some light, almost undetectable carbonation. The biscuity bitterness at the finish will curl your toes.

Drinkability – There’s no modesty here. This is a big ‘un to say the least. They ought to add a new style from Mild Ale to Wild Ale.

Dec 14, 2004
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by BuckeyeNation from Iowa

Reddish, orangish dark brown that straddles the line between opaque and not ('not' being discernable only if bright sunlight is handy). The beer is surprisingly vigorously carbonated and generates a large, camel-colored head of airystiff foam on the pour. Minimal chunky lace.

The nose is intriguing and smells of dark malt, dark fruit and black raspberry syrup. There may be a faint whiff of black licorice, but the aroma isn't strong enough for me to be sure. The flavor profile doesn't hold together well during the first few ounces; I may need to let the beer warm a few more degrees to the recommended 58 F before proceeding.

There... now the head has fallen far enough for me empty the entire bottle into the glass. What was present at the bottom of the bottle was significantly cloudy so maybe my flavor impressions will be different this time. That's better, the beer has coalesced to some degree and the mouthfeel has smoothed out. Festival has quite a bit of flavor considering the style. I get toasted dark malt, sour fermented fruit (overripe apples, dried figs, raisins), allspice and a gentle hoppy bitterness.

The body/mouthfeel, while nowhere close to full, does push medium, especially considering the dictates of the style. The 4.8% ABV appears to 'push it' for the style as well. This is one pushy mild and is almost too big for its britches. Not that I'm complaining. It's usually better to err on the side of too much than too little where beer is concerned.

Gale's Festival Mild is a better than average English dark mild that has flavor to spare. Its whole isn't quite equal to the sum of its parts however; it could stand to be more tightly knit on the palate. I did enjoy this little 11 oz. bottle though and will probably buy it again if I see it on the shelves. I'm betting that it's much better on-cask.

Oct 17, 2004
Photo of gentlebubbles
1.53/5  rDev -60.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5
by gentlebubbles from Massachusetts


Nearly black with ruby highlights and light tan foam built of distinctly visible bubbles piling up like tiny ball bearing rising from the glass. One of the loudest beers I've poured, it fizzed furiously from the first pour and bubbles continue to rise a good thirty minutes.

Phenolic and medicinal, it stinks like apple cider gone bad. Is this infected?

So carbonated I can hardly taste a thing through the unpleasantly biting bubbles. Okay, now I get a powerful alcoholic harshness. Somewhere in there is a suggestion of raisins and a peculiar woody finish. Ugh.

I paid 4.50 for a 500 ml bottle. What a burn!

Oct 13, 2004
Photo of bark
4.11/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by bark from Sweden

The colour is very deep red brown, almost black and opaque. The colour is clear, but there is a small amount of yeast sediment in the bottom of the bottle. The very thin (beige) foam dissolves quickly into an almost invisible ring on the edge of the glass.

The smell is quite discreet and sourish with a flavour of black coffee, cocoa and hard burned malt.

The carbonation is very gentle and soft, like it should be in mild ale.

The first taste that hits the mouth is an almost metallic bitterness that develops into a dry taste of coffee and milk chocolate. Next, there is a strong flavour of burned malt and a great bitterness, which reduces after a short time. The long lasting after-taste is mild (like it is supposed to be) and pleasant with some hints of salt.

I think that this is a splendid ale of a (at least outside the UK) unusual style.. It is quite expensive (approx US$4 for 50 cl), but well worth the money.

Jul 21, 2004
Photo of feloniousmonk
2.68/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5
by feloniousmonk from Minnesota

Dark brown color, reddish tinges at the edges, with a modest, fizzy tan head above.
Aroma: coca-cola, nuts, spices, maple syrup.
Taste: hops bite first, then back away, malt is prevalent, carbonation high fizz aplenty. Too aplenty. It's like a soda pop up in here. Tart, too. Nothing but fizz and sour, not terribly pleasant. I'm going to sit with this for a bit, to find something to enjoy in it...ain't! ...not liking it! Spent $5.49 before taxes for a 500ml bottle of mild ale that's not the tiniest bit mild...not worth it...a bit of a vinous character peeps up toward the end, but it's too late...this was a waste..nothing to get "festive" about, or anything, for I did nothing but wince and grimace. Ugh. Skip. Skip Gales altogether, if you're wise. Wiser than I. Let my sacrifice not be in vain.

Jan 22, 2004
Photo of Jon
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
by Jon from Michigan

Deep mahogany with very little carbonation. Never really forms a true head but the dark color is quite attractive in this mild ale. Nose features notes of chocolate, toffee, coffee and hops. The complex flavor profile exhibits mild chocolate malt, raisins, toffee, roasted coffee beans, and some balancing, relatively citric, bitter hops on the finish. Somewhat vinous and very well rounded. Smooth, almost non-carbonated mouthfeel, just like what one might find in a cask-conditioned pint of mild. Super drinkable -- low abv, huge flavor -- a pleasure to drink.

Nov 29, 2003
Photo of Brent
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by Brent from Kentucky

With the designation "mild ale" I expected something very low key and conservative. This beer surprised me at the first sip - a citric tartness followed by a bright caramel/toffee malt. Some apple flavors drifting about. Sharply carbonated. Finished a little dry and clean. Quite the lively beer with a lot of personality. Love to try this with some beef stew.

Sep 29, 2003
Photo of ManekiNeko
4.42/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
by ManekiNeko from Virginia

Served cask-conditioned at RFD's.

Appearance: Dark jasper color with an über-frothy beige head that has no retention. Very faint lacing.

Smell: Raisin and prune smells dominate. Also some winey overtones. Very complex for a cask-conditioned ale.

Taste: The sour fruity flavors dance across the palate. There's some sort of malt presence lurking about, I'm guessing a chocolate malt. Quite nummers!

Mouthfeel: Very, very light and crisp. High in acidity, I was reminded of a lambic both in taste and mouthfeel.

Drinkability: If you are ok with a very fruity beer, this is the beer for you. Wow. Wow.

Did I say wow?

Sep 15, 2003
Photo of GreatPondBrewer
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by GreatPondBrewer from California

Special recomendation from shiredave. This one was quite a beauty. After pouring just a little of the beer a huge head appeared, huge a craggy with tons of bubbles.. However, with a little patience it receded allowing me to pour the entire pint. It was a rich dark mahogany, which was opaque except for a slight hint of brown at the bottom of the glass. Smell was very odd indeed. The aroma was do intated by huge notes of prune and vinous red wine flavors and a fair bit of peatiness. Taste was sweet and tart with raspberry and cranberry flavors competing against a slight smokey undertow and that same tart mustiness that you would see in a lambic. There was just the barest hint of some slight floral hops. The mouthfeel was not overly carbonated as this is obviously bottle conditioned and damn proud of it. If I ever saw this on cask I would get it in a second. Tasty session brew.

Aug 31, 2003
Photo of Viking
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5
by Viking from Indiana

Dark brown body, with a coppery tint. Thin, but persistent head. Light roasted malt aroma, with fruity and mildly spicy hop notes apparent. Excellent flavor. Rather malty, with hints of fruit, chocolate, and earthy and slightly spicy hops. Low, refreshing bitterness. Low, refreshing bitterness. Leaves a faint bittersweet chocolate aftertaste. Very smooth and light bodied. Damn, I wich I could get a cask-conditioned mild like this more often...

May 12, 2003
Photo of zerk
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
by zerk from California

Has this one on cask at Chalkies.

Pour was a deep amber brown, with a tan halo. Aroma was malty, with dark fruits and some earthy spice. Flavor was amazingly complex for a session ale... plums, chocolate, sweet and toasted malt, and a very subtle earthy bitterness in the finish. Very low carbonation and a light body make it very drinkable, although the sweetness keeps it from being a perfect drinkability.

This is a most excellent mild ale.

May 12, 2003
Photo of jreitman
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by jreitman from California

Mahogany in color with a dense light brown head. Flavors I noted were raisins, alcohol, a tanginess, dark rich fruit, flowers, and a good sweetness. Tangyness was suprisingly strong and while not necessarily appropriate for the style, I quite enjoyed it. As the beer finishes it leaves a slight chocolaty tang and a low bitterness. Would definitely pick this up again

Apr 17, 2003
Photo of ADR
4.57/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5
by ADR from Pennsylvania

Dark brown with a nice, pillowy head and bottle-conditioned chunks. A touch of molasses in the smell. Very mellow and pleasant toffee flavors, a little roasty/smoky tone and restrained but well-done bittering. Nice crisp close suggesting a subtle hop. Delicious and extremely drinkable beer, the cask version undoubtedly deserved its CAMRA award.

Jul 09, 2002
Photo of Wildman
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by Wildman from Ohio

I am a fan of porters/stouts and my trusted seller recommended this dark ale. I found a wonderful dark color, tan head(could have held better), and a good taste

May 31, 2002
Photo of John
4.66/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5
by John from New York

Full bodied, dark, mildly sweet and fruity. Heartier than most mild ales.

Oct 26, 2001
Gale's Festival Mild from George Gale & Company Ltd
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 31 ratings