Gale's Christmas Ale | George Gale & Company Ltd

77 Ratings
Gale's Christmas AleGale's Christmas Ale

Brewed by:
George Gale & Company Ltd
England, United Kingdom

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-07-2001

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 77 |  Reviews: 70
Photo of mntlover
1.63/5  rDev -52.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Nice bottle but I think Santa would prefer something better then this. 2001 vintage so someone did the cellaring for me. Pours a dark hazy amber with no head at all only a few bubbles. Smell is famillar but can't pin it down nasty all the same.Taste about the same, spoiled vineger? Hopefully something bad happened to this beer along its journey because I can not see anyone ever buying more then one of these in 2 life times. Hate to pour 4.50 beer down the sink but live and learn.

 484 characters

Photo of jale
1.69/5  rDev -50.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Lets see how this 2001 bottle held up.

A: Pours a light brown with zero head.

S: Very aged malt aroma. Must be cherries in here because this smells of an old cherry wine.

T: Way beyond its prime. Slight cherry flavor, alcohol and an old hop bitter finish.

M: No carbonation. Thin

D: I only had about 20% of the bottle.

 323 characters

Photo of matjack85
1.75/5  rDev -49%

Photo of warnerry
1.77/5  rDev -48.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

2001 Vintage into a tulip. Cork is very dry and breaks on the way out. Not a good sign. But there is a slight release pf CO2 after pushing the remaining end of cork into the bottle.

A - That must have been all the CO2 left, as this pours with absolutely no head Pours a murky brown with a couple cork bits floating on top (which I'll blame on user error).

S - Lots of caramel, a bit of cardboard and quite a spice presence. A bit odd overall. Cardboard suggests this is way past it's prime.

T - Quite bit tart up front, with a big caramel malt presence. Some fruit: apple, raisin and a bit of cherry. Pretty unpleasant overall. Was hard to drink enough to get the flavor profile.

M - Medium mouthfeel and completely flat.

O - Well this is clearly way past it's prime. I knew it was a gamble, and it didn't pay off. Drank enough to review and poured the rest. Would love to know what this tastes like fresh.

 911 characters

Photo of BGsWo22
2/5  rDev -41.7%

Photo of moosiz
2.25/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

I found this bottle at a local store on a shelf in the back it was there as a decoration i think, but it had a price tag on it 3.75. It is from the 2002 vintage.

pours a bit thick and flat, but there are a lot of bubbles lining the sides of my glass. not active carbonation but carbonation nevertheless.
the color is a ruddy brown/red copper hard to nail down.

smells aged. sour notes left behind from something that was never meant to be aged this long on a store shelf a bit woody maybe from the cork.

sour nutty flavor with a slight clove hint. very sour.

slick mouthfeel with a lingering effect.

Im glad i have just one of these. but i look forward to drinking a fresh one if i can find it this winter.

 711 characters

Photo of cadenwhitaker
2.27/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

2002 Vintage

I believe this was corked. So you can skip my review if you have a fresh bottle.

Very sour, vinagery, burnt coffee, and no carbonation. There was some residue on the actual cork, with some bits of dried beer on the top of the cork with sticky/slimy bits around the bottom of the cork as well.

Why review if it was bad? Well, just a heads up to act with caution when trying some of these older brews.

 416 characters

Photo of DogFood11
2.33/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ughhhh ...I was so pumped to uncork this baby as I found it tucked away behind some belgians at whole foods in santa monica. And I immediately thought I was smelling a cheap wine.

Yeast is floating and settling in the beer so you have to let it settle for a couple minutes before consuming unless you like yeast as a side dish. Potent alcohol smell with cinamon and sour odors. Tasted sour throughout. It definitely wasn't spoiled. This is the taste they were after and they succeeded in making a yeast filled sour debacle. The bottle presentation and corkage had me drooling but this dissapointed. I'll still get another bottle just to make sure but not reccomended at this time.

 683 characters

Photo of ngandhi
2.48/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Gale's Christmas Ale is uncarbonated, but I think there's a reason for it. The sourness mixed with the green hop bittering does a nice job of cutting into the palate (without being aggressive) and carbonation might have made this beer too tough to drink.

The nose is candied caramel and spice and the palate is sour, with hops and maybe a hint of chocolate. I detect a latent ginger and maybe nutmeg, but nothing really pronounced.

Though the beer seems quite confused, it's also quite elegant. The sourness is balanced by a gorgeous creamy finish that lingers with those (odd) spices.

Dry enough to demand food, I think if you paired this with some good cheddar cheese you could add a full point to my review of this beer. But beer must stand on its own and this one does not.
Next time I have a cheese party, however, this beer will be on the drink table.

Suffice it to say that I've never had anything like this and doubt I ever will. How to describe it? Brown lambic chai.

Relax, relax.

 1,011 characters

Photo of DrJay
2.52/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer came in a corked bottle and poured a mostly clear, caramel colour. There was little head and nearly no carbonation to it. There was plenty of spicy nutmeg aroma along with mild fruit and a wine-like character. Nutmeg was dominant in the flavour as well, with a bit of cinnamon and sweetness thrown in. Moderate bitterness lingered into the finish where grape flavour kicked in as well. Medium bodied with some alcohol warmth. This really didn't work for me. It finished weaker than I would have liked and the extremely low carbonation just didn't cut it. Thanks Zithal!

 579 characters

Photo of Globetrotter
2.58/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2002 vintage, bought at One Stop Liquors in Johnson City, Tennessee in mid-October, then shipped via air freight to Moscow. I popped the cork on this 9.3 oz. bottle on 11/30/04. Label features a pretty serious looking Santa lifting a chalice. No ingredient info, although the back label extols fruitiness and an "interesting lingering hop character."

Pours a cloudy amber red under absolutely no head whatsoever. None. Looks just like a lighter red wine. The cork came out just fine, but the nose is full of cork smell, along with red grapes and a touch of cinnamon. The mouth is very prickly, so it hasn't gone flat, quite dry and fairly heavy - rather like a carbonated cabernet. The taste - more cabernet. Dry red grapes, cork, resin, a touch of spice. There's a lingering dry bite, but it ain't hops. This is way too much like a wine. I like wine, but when I'm looking for beer, I won't reach for this.

 909 characters

Photo of CWiggins
2.58/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

2002 Vintage; purchased at McScrooge's Liquor in Knoxville, TN just last week.

No head formed as I poured this beer into a Unibroue flute. The color is a deep ruby red, almost like port. Aromas of dark fruits such as fig, raisin, and plums waft up as an initial sniff is taken. The flavor is sour, and I can easily compare it to some of the Flemish red ales I've tasted, such as Duchess de Bourgogne and the Italian Paladin. No seasonal spices are at all apparent. I'm sure this wasn't the intended flavor, so perhaps aging isn't proper for this English ale. As it warmed to room temperature, the flavor became somewhat more palatable, but it still isn't like any Winter Warmer I've ever tried. The texture is pretty much spot on. I wouldn't try this again unless I had a fresh example to sample!

 799 characters

Photo of daledeee
2.58/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This pours a somewhat cloudy brown. Virtually no head. Nose is vinegar or sour. Taste is strange. Not very satisfying. Sour malt with a little fruit. Finish is kind of dry.

My statement continues to be true. Most English brews are not my cup of tea. Stouts are the exception. This one is not what I prefer

 309 characters

Photo of trancefishy
2.66/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

No vintage listed on bottle, but I'm assuming it is 2004, unless it is aged a year at the brewery. I would like to note that I'm not in the best mood right now. I was very careful to not disturb the sediment in this bottle, and doing things very carefully during the opening/pouring procedure. The cork broke causing the bottle to send my very nice crystal brandy snifter onto the floor, shattering it.

Appearance is nice, medium brown, a bit lighter than I was expecting by the looks of the bottle. light tan head that keeps growing with the addition of tiny carbonation bubbles.

Caught a whiff of nutmeg when I was pouring, but, when sniffing the beer after the pour, this disappeared. All that is in the aroma now is an estery yeasty smell.

Taste is where this beer gets a bit odd. It's this big muddled flavour up front, with a dry finish and peculiar aftertaste. i'm definately picking up cardamon in this, with a lot less nutmeg and cinnamon. the yeasty smell is also quite prevalent in the taste, and it's not welcome. I do like yeast flavour a lot, but this particular one is not the nicest. The aftertaste stays around for a while, kind of like eating a year old fruitcake and then not having anything to wash it down.

mouthfeel is ok, a little bit too carbonated, but perhaps that is for the better, as the taste is already a bit overpowering. drinkability is low, one is certainly enough.

This beer was worth a try, and I do like to give everything a shot once. Get it if you like spiced/seasonal beers, or english ales in general, and are looking for something new. I can't say whether the shaking in the beginning due to the faulty cork gave it excess carbonation, but it doesn't matter either way.
I would be curious if this would even out a bit with some aging, or just become an even bigger mess. I don't think I will ever find out, as I don't think I could get myself to buy another bottle of this.

 1,935 characters

Photo of jdhilt
2.81/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a 5+ finger cream head that goes slowly and leaves a good lace. Cloudy amber color with yeast left in bottle. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Nose is apple cider. Starts with a strong flavor of sour apples, the high abv is not noticeable, finish is sour, hops are hidden. 275ml bottle for $4.39 from Tully's Beer & Wine Wells, Me.

 341 characters

Photo of mzwolinski
2.84/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a nice, Christmasy, orangeish-red, with a thin, light tan head. The aroma is dominated -- and I mean *dominated* -- by cranberry. A bit too sharp. More cranberry in the flavor as well, along with some mild holiday spices. The finish is a bit metallic, but the spices re-emerge in the aftertaste and linger pleasantly. Still, though, this cranberry flavor is too much, and gets worse as the beer sits. Just too cloying.

 424 characters

Photo of clickpush
2.9/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pour: Unique 250ml bottle, red-wrapped & corked, age unknown (scary and intriguing at the same time...). Some goo atop the cork before opening, but upon opening the seal seems to still be intact. Completely still amber body. No life.

Nose: Fruit, caramel, oddity.... Spiced caramel apple. Green grape juice. Not good. Smells like a case of dead beer.

Mouth: Livelier than the appearance and aroma would have you believe. The spicy caramel apple flavors come through like a Christmas dessert. The finish is a bit warm, a bit roasty, and a bit hoppy. Some sizzle in the body, some CO2 that I wasn't expecting. Quite dry.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that I could drink multiple bottles of this beer, but the flavors were certainly an improvement over my initial impressions. I'd like to try a fresh bottle (my intuition tells me this one is several years old).

 863 characters

Photo of scruffwhor
2.93/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 9.3oz corked bottle.

Appearance- Pours a caramel and copper color with a lot of suspended sediment. I gave this brew about ten minutes to settle before drinking. The head was about two fingers, but bad retention with a foamy film lasting about 50% of the volume of beer consumed.

Smell- Starts out a malty mix of cinnamon and nutmeg, but then turns into a sour mix of the two aforementioned spices.

Taste- Starts out a sweet and sour mix of christmas. Nut and cinnamon dancing with a hint of sugary plums to boot. This quickly leads to a pretty acidic flavor.

I saw this beer in the bargain bin at Binny's in Glen Ellyn for $2.99. Im not gonna say I got what I paid for, but with a beer of this strength and a corked bottle to boot, I was expecting more.

 784 characters

Photo of IrishRedRock
2.97/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I just picked up a Gale's POA and am letting it sit, but in the meantime I thought I'd try a pretty fresh bottle of their Xmas Ale, 2003 vintage. It was like uncorking a bottle of carbonation. Poured as flat a beer as I've ever seen, with the appearance of a blush or light merlot. Nose is of dark fruits, cherry, plums, with a hint of alcohol. An interesting flavor with an even odder aftertaste. Kind of sweet, a bit spicy with a warming alcohol finish. Mouthfeel was extremely thin. An odd beer indeed, maybe I got an off bottle.

 542 characters

Photo of WynnO
3/5  rDev -12.5%

Photo of Hellpop65
3/5  rDev -12.5%

Photo of neonbrown82
3.02/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

2002 vintage.

Pours with absolutely no head, even from a vigorous attempt. Subsequently no lacing, and retention is a non-issue. No apparent carbonation. The color is a deep brownish ruby red.

The smell is heavy on the malt with some dark fruity esters of raisin, plum, and fig. Also plenty of brown sugar and molasses with a hint of cinnamon and clove. Even a hint of cider. The taste is very similar to the nose. It would be much more drinkable with some carbonation to liven it up. Also, it has a bit of a corked taste. I fear that the years of aging have not done this beer well. It was probably really interesting and tasty when fresh.

The body is fairly thick, but with no carbonation it is fairly unpleasant to drink, despite the great complexity. Even despite it being completely flat, I didn't hate it, but it was very difficult to finish.

 857 characters

Photo of Brent
3.08/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

2002 vintage, it seemed a bit weary of the wait. Clean, tight cork. Minimal carbonation. Very vinegary and tart, like hard cider with sort of a fruity Belgian twist. Prunes hang around in the background. Not quite as hefty as it seems it ought to be to carry the flavor profile. Not a bad beer, but it did not engage me.

 320 characters

Photo of aforbes10
3.08/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle from John's Grocery in Iowa City. Pours gluggy and flat from a corked 2002 bottle. Dark maroon in color. No head or sign of carbonation whatsoever. Smells of figs and raspberry liquor. Pungent and alcohol-laden, like a cheap wine. My first couple of sips were taken while the beer was still cold, and didnt give me much flavor at all. Warmer, it became increasingly fruity and wine-like. Grapes, raspberries, toffee all came through. Some spiced notes, most obviously nutmeg. Mostly it maintains the fruity red-wine character throughout, and if anything just becomes a little dull and cardboardy towards the end. Its also a little thin, considering the style and presentation. I expected a little more than what i got from this one.

 739 characters

Photo of RonfromJersey
3.1/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Head starts at a minimal table top, and shrinks from there. Brown-red body. Nose has a lot of alcohol, with some cinnamon lurking about. Taste features some spices, some butterscotch, and finishes with a large alcoholic punch. Some wine-like notes. Mouthfeel is very full. Definitely a winter sipper, very warming.

 314 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Gale's Christmas Ale from George Gale & Company Ltd
3.43 out of 5 based on 77 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.