Gale's Prize Old Ale | George Gale & Company Ltd

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Gale's Prize Old AleGale's Prize Old Ale
417 Ratings
Gale's Prize Old AleGale's Prize Old Ale

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

Style: English Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-31-2001

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Ratings: 417 |  Reviews: 319
Reviews by NolateM:
Photo of NolateM
3.84/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1998 vintage!!!

Zero carbonation, dark brown color, looks like cognac.

Sherry-like boozy aroma, with a hint of fruit (green apple I'd say).

Initial reaction to the first sip was that it seemed boozy and sherrylike, which didn't seem pleasant, but within seconds it really blossomed; beautiful caramel malt flavor, but not too sweet, with some hints of pipe tobacco, green apples, raisins, and dates. It was basically a 'barley liqueur'!

Could still feel some alcohol heat, but not an alcohol STING. Definitely a slow sipper. I'd highly recommend it as an aperitif. I'm very surprised that it has such a low overall score on here.

Unfortunately for anyone who's reading this review and planning on buying some to drink tonight, I have NO idea what it's like fresh!

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.17/5  rDev -8.9%
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.

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Photo of MutualAid
3.68/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This pours a nice dark brown with a billowing, off-white head. The carbonation is fizzy, which leaves a pleasant tingling sensation. Huge aromas of plums and raisins. Very fruity up front with a slight bready malt finish. A bit sweet, full body.

Overall, a good sipping beer, but the sweetness makes the pint+ bottle a bit much to drink alone.

Vintage 2007

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Photo of shapudding
3.41/5  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.

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Photo of generallee
4.44/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 275ml bottle into a snifter. The bottle is corked like a wine bottle and it have a vintage date of 2005.

Appearance: This beer pours with almost no carbonation and it only makes a few stray bubbles around the edge of the glass. On top there is just the finest dusting of tan yeast sediment. There is no real head and no lacing. For the style and age of the beer I would think this is an acceptable attribute. The liquid is hazy and has a brownish color with some reddish high lights.

Smell: The aroma has a rich sweet bready maltiness with pleasant estery yeast which sweet and fruity. The alcohol is also noticeable in the nose and brings a refined red wine like character to the mix.

There is a sour dough bready maltiness with a warming boozy port like alcohol presence to start with. In it there are also notes of sweet and tart fruit like apple, raison, white grape, and tart red raspberry mixed with dry earthy yeast. The yeast has an almost woody earthy quality to it. The dryness and some sourness comes out more in the warm wine like finish.

Notes: This was one of two Old Ale style beers I have tried so it's hard to judge it compared to others but I will say that I did enjoy it. It had a nice complexity and warmth. Each sip seems to add a new layer of fruity notes which made it fun to rate and slowly saver.

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Photo of Jason
4.27/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

1997, bottle # 4695.

A creamy and chewy mouth feel with a very low carbonation that merely adds to the smoothness. A complex mix of black malt astringency, raisin and apple fruitiness, and a dry maltiness that leaves mostly a grain taste and a trace of sweetness. Slight warming alcohol has a sweet spicy flavour. Hops have the flavour of an extended boil leaving a mild bitterness. A little dry though a handful of residual sweetness is left in the finish. Corky/woody flavour dries the finish even more. Around three years for this vintage has done it justice ... intricate and complex packed with fruity flavours.

1996, bottle # 4026.

Taste: Slick creamy mouth feel quickly leaves to let an acidic/tart granny smith apple twang and a mildly astringent grain flavour to the tongue. Hops have faded though leave a leafy flavour ... some earthiness and a woody/corky flavour also touches the palate from the wooden fermenters. Carbonation is very low and give the creaminess control throughout. Warming alcohol gives a little bit of spiciness. Some malt flavours are present ... husk and grain mostly. The finish is quite dry with a leftover grain taste. Surprisingly this brew could benefit from a few if not several more years mellow the tartness.

1995, bottle # 1043.

Thick syrupy mouths feel with barely any carbonation at all. Slight granny smith apple like tartness up front ... tartness is not too much. Blackberries and raisins mark the fruitiness in this ale ... light roasted lingering black malt twang in the middle, liken to mild black coffee. Hops are a faded memory leaving a vague bitterness. Warming alcohol and a grainy, woody/corky, apple peel and cracker like malt slowly fade into the finish.

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Photo of merlin48
3.06/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

9.3 oz corked and plastic wrapped(with a vengeance) bottle, 1998 vintage. Poured aggressively into a tulip glass, it produces zero head, and leaves no lacing. Appearance is of tannic swamp water.
Aroma is of toffee and molasses, with a strong suggestion of vinous alcohol, and some oak barrel woodiness.
Mouthfeel is smooth, but totally flat.
Taste is flat, no carbonation whatsoever. Slightly sweet, with some tart fruitiness-black raspberries is my perception. Ethanol is very much in evidence. I could not have finished this one if it were a 12 oz serving. Finishes like a wood smoked Port wine. Be careful with this one. The alcohol may not be as evident in the taste as in the aroma, but it will quickly alert your brain cells. Another disapointment from Gale's. I won't blame the fall of the British Empire on this one, but I've had much better. Maybe, I'm just getting the wrong vintage at the wrong time. Or, I just don't like ales that look and taste like wine.

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Photo of Billolick
3.92/5  rDev +12.6%
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.

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Photo of kingcrowing
2.02/5  rDev -42%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

9.3oz corked bottle, bottled in 1996, bottle # 5043

Never heard of or seen this before, but my local beer store got some real old vintages so I thought I'd try it out!

Pours a very muddy opaque brown with no head at all. This thing is totally flat. Nose is very boozy for being 9%, I've smelt beers over 10% that have less booze. Past that there's a lot of sweet maltiness.

For being flat, it's not totally undrinkable - think iced tea here. It's quite sweet, has an almost nutty character to it and a light booze. Mouthfeel isn't too bad, it's fairly rich and creamy and there's also a little smoky note in here as well.

Interesting beer, I might like to try one that wasn't 14 years old and maybe it wouldn't be flat. Not worth the $11 I paid for it, but it's certainly an interesting beer, plus it's always very cool to try something this old!

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Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +36.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I am drinking the 1998 and the 2000 vintages.
A: they both pour brilliant chestnut with very little head.
S: the 1998 is very port like on the nose with dark dried fruit. The 2000 vintage has less port on the nose and more prune.
T: The 1998 is assertive with port flavors, dark dried fruit, prunes, and a touch of sour. The 2000 vintage is softer and less port-like and is loaded with prunes coming across as mellower and less tart than its older sibling.
F: They are both wine-like, full bodied with very little carbonation.
O: outrageously good and amazing to drink beer well over a decade old.

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Photo of boatshoes
2.46/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Picked this up (2001 vintage) at Beers of the World while in Rochester. Had heard very mixed things about this beer and thought I would give it a try.

Appearance- Pours a medium, opaque brown and is very nearly flat with just a minimal ring of large bubbles around the edge. Not very appetizing looking, but I wasn't expecting too much from an old ale in terms of carbonation.

Smell- A mix of good and bad here. Lots of vanilla and tannins on the nose but also some wet cardboard and mustiness. Smells as though it may have aged past its prime.

Taste- Similar to the nose. Some vanilla, leather, and tannins but these are overwhelmed by oxidation, cardboard, and mildew flavors that are also present. I have to image that this one has simply passed its prime in the aging process having gone eight years. Not very appetizing.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Mouthfeel is poor, being both thin and flat. The drinkability is also quite terrible on this given the off flavors present.

Overall, this tasted like it had potential back in the day but had been kept for too long. Would like to give a more recent vintage a chance if that is possible.

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Photo of barzelay
2.51/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

1996 bottle, tasted in 2010.

This beer may at one time have been decent, but a 14 year old bottle of it is just not good. I'd feel bad bringing down their rating just on the basis of an old bottle, but it seems like they've been releasing a lot of vintage bottles and people have been trying them (and disliking them) all over the country. It's like they realized they were going downhill and foisted them off at (relatively) cheap prices.

There was no carbonation or head whatsoever. Beer was extremely sweet but also sour and vinegary. Smells like boozy molasses with no hop aromas at all. Drinkability suffers greatly due to the lack of carbonation. In terms of the taste and mouthfeel, it's very much like drinking a Coke that you left sitting out on the counter a week ago.

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Photo of far333
2.97/5  rDev -14.7%
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.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
1.52/5  rDev -56.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 1.75

A dirty, gritty brown pour. No carbonation. Aroma was mostly alcohol, maybe plum.

Taste was mostly alcohol as well. No hops. Just like a mixed alcohol drink. Order a long island iced tea instead. Very sweet. Might have some vinegar in it as well.

Can't drink this, can't believe I paid what I did for it.

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Photo of ADR
3.92/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

1998 bottle...# 3718...

Burnt sienna brown appearance, reddish highlights and just slightly hazy. Minimal tan head, 1/8 of an inch and fine-bubbled. Coats the glass well, small lace tendrils. Raisiny aromas, slight sense of of rubbing alcohol and turps. Thick mouthfeel, low carbonation. Complex flavor -- apple brandy, oaky perfumey smokiness, light chocolate, and pronounced vanilla. Finishes with alcoholic heat and a fruitiness that reminds me a little of apple cores and sport peppers, tart and peppery almost at the same time. A good beer, lots of complexity, slightly plasticy phenolics seem to arise on later sips. Drinkability is medium, there's a lot weighing on your senses here.

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Photo of rastaman
4.25/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Strange little brew, but it grew on me. Very different. A very nice dark fruit, vinegary, acidity from the middle of the palate to the finish, also has hints of berries, more towards the start i think. Very unique, i enjoyed this one.

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Photo of tappangordo
3.79/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.18/5  rDev -8.6%
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.

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Photo of jbphoto88
3.53/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 2007 bottle that says best before 18/12/10. Pours a clear deep caramel maple syrup color. As the glass expands in width the beer leans towards a deep reddish brown color. The head is tan with sudsy peaks that fades to a mediocre scuzzy film.

The smell is mostly fruity. It has a unripe plum scent to it that personally is pushing a little to close towards a bleach cleaner. Gritty grain is well in the background. I am not at this point looking forward to drinking this beer.

Ok this beer u-turned for me. The slightly bleached nose does not distract from a good flavor. This beer has a fruity cantaloupe taste mixed with everclear soaked raisins. There is a sweet malt finish that is slightly acidic and reminds me of an aged wine. Not to shabby.

The beer grows on me and the mild carbonation helps. I find that the subtle flavors there are not distracted by the body which happens to be medium and chewy. The beer starts a little shaky but finishes well and the 9% gives you a nice warm kick to the gut. Brewed to age this beer probably constantly changes in flavor. I look forward to finding another few bottles and trying it earlier and later.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.3/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've two bottles of this elixer, thanks to Imstillthegman. A 2001 vintage and this one, vintage 2005:

Softly translucent tea colored amber with very little head in the glass.

Aromas are reminiscent of fine port wine...lots of fruitiness with some tart grapes and woodiness.

Taste is woody cork with vine like fruits and tartness. Very, very wine-like but with very heavy oak notes and some malt coming through.

Beautiful drying mouthfeel and very, very nice alcohol warmth following the swallow. This is a very enjoyable brew to finish the evening with slowly.

I only hope I can wait to try the will be amazing to see what it is like with 10 years on it.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.77/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

9.3 fl. oz. 2003 vintage = 7 years old. Red waxy plastic covers the cork that was very far inside the bottle.

Amber-hues over mahogony color, cask-aged flat look, slick pour with a minor bubbly ring around the edge.

Musty old furniture with some cork and Port-wine aroma's all over. Sweet and dank dates and overly ripe red grapes stand right out. The malt smells very sweet on the level of maple syrup. Old leather and some slight oxodization.

The flavor's are really well balanced, the malt is heady but not insane with some oak-wood, port cask and vanilla, but the malt never becomes sweet or cloying. Old leather and semi-bitter wheat and earthy hops adds some decent dimensions. A full and flat feel but not without a slight zip.

Much more drinkable than some of the headier Old Ale's around, and still good quality after seven years.

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Photo of cokes
4.62/5  rDev +32.8%
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.

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Photo of Zebus0
2.48/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

1997 vintage.

A- flat dark mahogany, no head to speak of, nearly black.

S- Very tart sour smell. Bit like figs or sour apple.

T- Very intense sour flavor, very wine like. Almost like vinegar, same as the smell, intense tart.

M- Very warm, medium body. Basically red wine but it's a beer.

D- Whoo. Not for me.

Knocked me on my face when I took this 12 year old monster. Beers are clearly not meant to age this long. I think this is a good beer just for the fact it could age so long, but whoo, it's strong. Very warming. Honestly I just couldn't do it, yay for pouring a $5 down the drain.

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Photo of augustgarage
2.41/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

St. George's Day - a dubious holiday, out of fashion, festering of Imperialism. Sounds like a good excuse to crack one of these open...

1996 vintage. Corked bottle poured into a snifter. Cork disintegrates leaving tiny flecks throughout the liquid...damn it.

Murky burnt umber body with an active beige head that rapidly recedes to a scant collar and a faint slick.

Evil aroma - heavy oak, oceans of aged brandy, stale port, chewing tobacco, dank oxidation...intimidating.

Flavor is peculiar - sour, leathery, mildly bitter (surprisingly), aspirin notes, mold, heavily steeped rooibos tea, stewed beets, pickled blueberries, varnish, old pennies, dr. pepper, corned beef, anise and so on...

Rather thin without much carbonation, but still holding up relatively well for its age. Somewhat astringent and warming.

Sadly one of the least drinkable beers I've tried - I fear what my stomach will have to say about it tomorrow...supposedly at its best at 20 years old - if this ale needs anything it isn't more age...

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Photo of iebforever
2.25/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Am trying the 1999 edition and it is past its prime. The cork came out intact and moist, but the beer was flat, which made any aroma all but impossible to discern. The beer was oxidized to the point that other flavors were difficult to make out. The body was thin, again I don't know if it was the age. I've aged a lot of other beer longer than this, but any beer less than 10% abv should be consumed before its ten years old.

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Gale's Prize Old Ale from George Gale & Company Ltd
Beer rating: 3.48 out of 5 with 417 ratings