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

315 Reviews
Gale's Prize Old AleGale's Prize Old Ale

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

Style: 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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 315 | Ratings: 412
Photo of rodbeermunch
1.59/5  rDev -54.3%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 1.75

Man this was a substandard beer pour from a professional brewery, its all ruddy, gritty and brown and totally devoid of carbonation. Aroma was like gasoline, alcohol and dark fruit bitterness.

Almost all alcohol in the taste. I can't do it. Its really in that small contingent of beers that I literally can't drink all of it. No hop aspect. Is there vinegar? I can't even. . . so much raisin like booziness all over it.

 427 characters

Photo of flagmantho
3.81/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 275ml corked bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: dark brown and murky with no head; appropriate for the style and attractive within that context.

Smell: richly malty with a lot of sweetness and a deep raisin/tobacco character. I quite like it.

Taste: malty and sweet with plenty of oxidation, dustiness and raisins. This might turn some people off, but it's representative of the style and done well here.

Mouthfeel: medium-rich body with absolutely no carbonation whatsoever. The style demands low carbonation, but I need to have *something* to liven it up.

Overall: the complete and utter lack of carbonation is a bit disappointing, but the flavors and certain the aroma are very good.

 709 characters

Photo of keithmurray
2.69/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2003 vintage

Appearance - murky eggplant color, with some cork sediment involved

Smell - grapes, port, balsamic vinegar

Taste - sour grapes, balsamic vinegar

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, no carbonation, sour

Overall - what a disappointing experience, took forever to open this piece and when I did, the cork disintegrated to the point I couldn't even strain it out. Tastes like old, sour balsamic vinegar. More wine like than anything else. Never again

Price Point $5/11.2 oz bottle

 487 characters

Photo of HopsAreDaMan
2.21/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 1.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

2005 vintage. Nice looking little bottle with a cork. It was fun using the corkscrew to open it.
This was one of the strangest beers I have tried yet. There was no carbonation; it poured a muddy, hazy brown, with no head. Lots of sour in the aroma, and some malt, with a bit of booziness. I tried it not long out of the fridge, and also tried it when it warmed up. It wasn't too bad cool, making it drinkable but the sour flavors seem to be more present when warm, and I am not of fan of sour flavors in beer. I think I get the 'old ale' flavor from other old ales I have had (Founder's Curmudgeon) , but this one has too many sours flavors thrown in the mix (the clerk who sold it to me basically said it has an unusual mix of sour flavors). Perhaps it is an acquired taste, but at the moment I don't like it. Still, I'm glad I tried it. I have seen even older versions out there (1997), and I may still want to try those, someday ...

 936 characters

4.33/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I have had the pleasure of trying many different vintages of this beer and will say for the record that it hits its prime around 8-11 years of age. If you are a fan of port you will love this one. Having a 1999 vintage now and I must say it is a bit past its prime. But this is a lovely and classic beer.

 307 characters

Photo of ClavisAurea
4.53/5  rDev +30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2001 vintage served in a crystal snifter/balloon glass.

Bottle was a bit difficult to open considering the cork has been in there for over 14 years. The beer poured still with absolutely no carbonation at all which is to be expected. The nose was full of dried fruits, raisins, tobacco, sherry, Madeira, leather, prunes and oak. The body is a little on the thin side but considering it's age I'm not surprised. Plenty of alcohol legs when the still beer is swirled. The taste is immaculate. Leather, red stone fruits, prunes, tobacco is dominant, still retains a bit of sweetness, there is a subtle spicy character that could be from the hops used, heavy oxidation in the form of high sherry notes with the leather and Madeira. Warming alcohol presence in the finish. This vintage beer is a rich and wonderful taste of history.

This beer stood up to the test of time and deserved every point given. Some may not appreciate the aged qualities that make this beer great. It is a must try to see what cellaring beer can do to a fantastic original product. Bravo!

 1,061 characters

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.

 598 characters

Photo of Brutaltruth
4.24/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Vintage 2007:Thoroughly enjoyed from the bottle with an English fellow (Ian-Cheers mate)) and the little lady. Pours a hazy brown with a moderate tan that dissipates to a thin ring and light lacing. This FINE old ale pours a murky brown with moderate light clarity...JUST FINE for aged ale. Nose of raisins, toffee, sweet caramel malts, raisins, and chocolate malts. Flavors are deep and complex. Caramel and toffee notes to the fore with raisin and light chocolate flavors blending in a symposium if light sweet with a light bittering hops aftertaste that foes this Old Ale right. Little to light carbonation makes this an excellent sipped and a WONDERFULL ale to savor. Excellent. Been looking forward to sampling this one with a connoisseur of fine English ales from England. A great evening and a great beer.


 833 characters

Photo of Budinetz
4.44/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 2005 and poured slowly into a courvousier snifter. It was poured as stated on the bottle as the keep the yeast in the neck of the bottle.

Pours a beautiful deep amber hue with absolutely no head and zero head retention. The color alone is magnificent though.

Smells of slight lactobacillus, Madeira, raisins, and an almost musky smell. A great amount of scents going on here that leave my mouth watering.

Tastes almost exactly like an ever so slightly sour Madeira or port wine. The oak flavor is there and the bacteria is there. It's almost harsh at first and then you lick your lips and your mouth waters, yearning for another sip. Definitely not for a novice beer drinker.

Mouthfeel is interesting due to the crazy sweet and sour combinations going on. The bacteria on the bottle conditioning give this brew a slight puckering to the cheeks and the sweetness from the malt sugars and aging balance it out. It really makes your palate dance.

Overall a very interesting brew that is not for the novice or first time craft drinker. This beer is one to be appreciated when ALL styles of beer have been enjoyed because even though it may be classified as an "Old Ale" it definitely is very unique. I would like to acquire another bottom and age it to see what kind of difference it would have.


 1,317 characters

Photo of RexBanner
2.75/5  rDev -21%

2005 bottle served room temperature.
Murky brown, almost like cognac or brandy. No head or lacing to speak of.
I couldn't believe how much this smelled like port wine. Sweet, musty, mushroom like mildew aromas.
Taste was exactly what I expected after getting a whiff of this thing. Tart, musty, thick port wine like concoction.
Don't know if it was meant to taste like this or if I just got a bad bottle but I did not like this one bit. I like port wine, mind you, but this "beer" did not do it for me. As I kept looking at this brew in the snifter I continued to remind myself that based on how much I payed for this bottle I had better force myself to finish it. No sir! I wouldn't order this again

 703 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
3.88/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

No foam with this 2005 corked bottle. It has a rusty-murky look to it.

Light Port notes with a distinct tartness and lots of booze in the nose.

Same goes for the taste. Though it's going on 10 years old, despite the lack of carbonation, I reckon it needs more time to develop.

I'll buy a few more bottles.

 308 characters

Photo of Samp01
3.95/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

9.3oz corked bottle (2001 vintage). Pours cloudy brown with a thin beige head. Aroma of slightly burnt caramel malt and sweet bitter chocolate upfront, slowly mellows out to some dark fruit, plums and raisins and yeast notes. Taste same as aroma with a slight hint of red wine nuance in the flavor. Palate is a full body, smooth, mild carbonation, has some light sticky mouth feel. Finish same as taste, has nice sweet bitterness in the taste, alcohol is well hidden, hits you in the end. This brew has a complexity yet very good and well balance, a tasty and enjoyable brew. nice.

 581 characters

Photo of Resuin
4/5  rDev +14.9%

Poured from a 275 mL bottle into a snifter. This was bottled in 1997, bottle #940.

Appearance: The center of the cork disintegrated as I tried to open the bottle - after I took the cork out, I had to filter some of the cork out of the beer. The beer pours a dark brown, slight reddish hued, close to black color with no head. (2)

Smell: Mainly nice and musty (reminds me of an old library), also some dark fruits, vanilla, grapes, a hint of cocoa. (4)

Taste: Grapes, tobacco, chocolate, dark fruits: super smooth. (4.25)

Mouth-feel: No carbonation but it's actually not bad. Medium body. (3.5)

Overall: This was better than expected, especially after the cork fiasco. I definitely enjoyed drinking this beer - the age made this beer super smooth and flavors that remain are wonderful. Not entirely complex, but tasty for sure. Worth drinking. (4)

 851 characters

Photo of GreesyFizeek
1.56/5  rDev -55.2%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 1.5

Bottle purchased at Beers of the World in Rochester, NY. One of the bigger mistakes of my craft beer life. '98 vintage.

The cork broke while trying to open it- took about 20 minutes to get this beer poured. When it did, it was a murky chunky looking dark brown, with no head or lacing.

Smells not horrible actually- tons of dark fruits, and a sour twang. As it warms up, vinegar and acetic acid come out to play.

Tastes just atrocious. Indescribably nasty. Like sour seawater. Weirdly salty, with sour old red wine flavors, vinegar, clearly oxidized to hell. Just disgusting.

Light bodied, flat and watery.

This was honestly 3 or 4 sips and then a drainpour. Stay away, it's not worth the gamble.

 701 characters

Photo of laituegonflable
3.17/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Pours a coffee colour, slight hint of sediment through the body. Head is beige, fairly thin and lacklustre. Looks heavy, and uncompensated-for.

Smells fairly thick and sweet upfront, with caramel malt that quickly turns fairly tart, with hints of red wine and oak and that sort of oak-infected character. Touch yeasty and slightly herbal on the back. Not bad.

Taste is very sweet underlying. Notes of caramel toffee underlie the whole palate which quickly turns wild and odd. Loads of oak descending into slight wild, tart acidity, and an odd note of cinnamon late-mid. Quite odd, but satisfying enough.

Body is surprisingly thin and flat, quite disappointing. Touch of alcohol. Might be showing a bit of age.

Could use a bit more oomph and more body. Nice oaky edge but a bit lacking in the foundation.

 807 characters

Photo of Aristeia_88
4.17/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 275ml bottle into an Innis & Gun snifter. I'm excited to try this, as it was bottled when I was just a wee lad of around 10...

A: Much clearer than anticipated- At least from the side, but looking straight into the glass, it appears very murky. That's probably my fault, as this is a bottle conditioned beer though- I may have let the yeast in, in an attempt to coax a head from it. Absolutely no head, no matter how vigorous the pour... As should be expected, I suppose, for a 16 Year old Beer. Deep Ruby color, Clings to the glass like a fine Madeira Wine.

S: I'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between this and a Madeira, Tawny Port or Cream Sherry. It has a ridiculously good nose to it... Vanilla, oak, toffee, but more than anything, a rich, stonefruit feel to it, like plums, raisins and prunes. I can't believe how similar this is to the aforementioned wines.

T: Exactly like a Madeira wine- Only without a hint of the sweetness... Honestly, I'm so used to drinking the former, that this is an incredibly strange experience. All the flavors from the smell are there, minus the pure sweetness you'd expect. No hop bitterness or indication that it's a beer. There is a slight tartness that I'm getting though, along with a bit of acidity.

M: Surprisingly thin- The thing is, its grape-based cousin still has the sugar, and as a result, the mouthfeel you'd look for in something this rich. Somehow, this just doesn't feel as viscous as it should. Couple that with the fact that there's absolutely no trace of carbonation, and you're left with a bit of a letdown.

O: This was an amazing experience- I've seen this stuff over and over again in my local beer store, and I never picked it up. But this is a beer that's meant to be a special treat, and at $6.99, I consider it a bargain. The thing is though, this isn't a beer- This is a slab of old England. Upon smelling and tasting it, you're immediately transported back- Not to 1998, but perhaps a century before. True, its wine counterpart may have a better flavor, but I find it incredible that beer can even taste or make you feel this way... I can't say whether I'll buy this again, but I will say that this is a must have for anyone who loves beer and the great history behind it.

 2,267 characters

Photo of mhaugo
4.64/5  rDev +33.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

9.3oz bottle decanted into a snifter. 9% ABV. Bottled in 1998.

Appearance: Deep mahogany brown. Lightly hazed with no head and minimal carbonation (4/5).

Aroma: Extremely rich port wine aroma. My head was enveloped in a cloud of amazing smells from the second I took the cork out of the bottle. I also get some overripe plumbs and brown sugar as I dig deeper into the glass (5/5).

Taste: Incredible. Massive wine flavors from extended aging. There are also some prunes, figs, apples, and raisins in there, as well as some vanilla. On the back end I get a woody note that dries out the finish a little bit (4.75/5).

Mouthfeel: Medium body and low carbonation. A touch of heat from the alcohol (4/5).

Overall: Brilliant! I absolutely love this beer. It seems like it’s lost a little body over the years, but the flavor is unbelievable. It is rich, mature, and beautiful. I am very fortunate to have stumbled across a bottle (4.5/5)

 937 characters

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.02/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

275ml brown bottle, only sealed with a cork that required a corkscrew. Purchased from Healthy Spirits in San Francisco. Prominently marked as "Bottled in 1998", that was probably enough of an incentive to pick one up and give it a try.

Pours a completely flat brown colour with just a bit of bubbling perturbation. Body definitely has some weight to it, but otherwise it looks extremely old. I definitely believe it was bottled in 1998 at least.

Nose is also very old, but it has actually held up rather well. Very oxidised fortified wine character. Plenty of port, wine cork, oak and flat chocolate. Stacks of booze as well, giving a rather sharp tone to everything. It definitely smells old, but it has lots of complexity even still.

Taste, if anything, is better. It still has overtones of oxidation, and plenty of sweet dark wine characters, but there's a fullness to the palate that I really wasn't expecting—plenty of malt sweetness, vanilla, some chocolate and toffee. Slight acidity on the back completes the picture really nicely. Feel is a little bit thin, and accentuates the acidity somewhat, but has more structure than I'd expect.

Overall, it's genuinely pretty good. And better than that, the age has made it odd in unusual and very interesting ways. I'm not sure if it was really great when it was young, but it's certainly a pretty compelling experience when it's old.

 1,391 characters

Photo of AlpacaAlpaca
4.15/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I've tried out three separate vintages, with different impressions of each one.

1997 (Opened 2014): This beer tasted seventeen years old in the best way possible. It had the qualities of a fine wine, with a lingering and ancient sweetness and an oaky quality. You'd think it had spent those seventeen years in a barrel instead of a bottle. This beer is definitely not for everybody, it comes across like a beer-wine-port hybrid. The alchohol is prominent, almost front-and-center. It was thick, and had yeast settled at the bottom of the bottle (which I barely even noticed). Enriching, satisfying, and must to try.

2005 (Opened 2014): The bottle must have been compromised in some way, because it was borderline undrinkable. This one does not contribute to my overall rating, as it was likely a fluke. It just tasted like sour, sickly sherry.

2007 (Opened 2013): You can taste the difference in age between the 1997 and the 2007. The alchohol is better-masked, and it is far more "beerish" than the other two. Elements of cherry, chocolate, red wine, and barrel-wood, with a syrupy richness reminiscent of a stout. Absolutely delicious, and has a wide-enough array of deep flavors to compliment anything from a rare steak to a dessert. This was the best of the three.

Overall: An unpleasant bottle shouldn't discourage you from trying another, because a good one is well worth enjoying. One of the better aged beers I've had.

 1,430 characters

Photo of jimmah120
1.5/5  rDev -56.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

stubby vintage 2006(5?) bottle into goofy-looking tulip. review from notes

im making this review only as a word of caution: do not buy this beer. i repeat, DO NOT BUY THIS BEER. there is no enjoyment to be had here. it is flat, sour, insipid sewer water from the 9th level of hell.

maybe, MAYBE, this was once a good beer (and according to some reviews, it was), but time has not been kind in this case

 404 characters

Photo of FLima
3.86/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark brown color with no head whatsoever.
Strong predominant aroma of Port Wine
Flavor follows nose, taste of Port Wine with notes of oak, vanilla, dark fruits, balsamic vinegar and peppermint. Astringent aftertaste.
Medium body with no carbonation at all and a velvety feeling. No signs of the 9% abv.
Incredible that they could make beer taste like a port wine, got some extra points for this.

 395 characters

Photo of Murrhey
1.47/5  rDev -57.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.75

Poured from a 275ml wax-sealed cork bottle into a conic pint glass in high elevation Kalispell, Mont. Brewed in 2005, the bottle says.

A- Absolutely zero head. I attribute that to the age of the beer rather than a failing. Rich chocolate-brown body. No carbonation.

S- Vinous smell with a distinct aroma of Worcestershire sauce. Uhhh that can't be good.
On second smell, a twinge of live cultures, but it can't make up for the condiment smell. I stand by my score.

T- Vile flavor. Water and steak sauce. Oh my god.
More robust flavor, but not any better.

M- Water with cloudy crap floating in it. Something wicked this way comes.

O- I'm keeping my original comments, but I will wait for the beer to come to room temperature and review it again.
I stand by my comments. One of the worst beers I've ever had. I think it was well past its best-by date.

 856 characters

Photo of KYGunner
3.93/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured with a brown to almost auburn color it was Crystal clear with a kind of filtered look. The head was a rising pillow of small tight knit bubbles that sat on top for several minutes.

The nose was much like a wine with a fermented barley and malt scent. The aromas were somewhat damp smelling, almost humid, though I'm sure that makes no sense.

The flavors that come from this Old Ale are astonishing as it has a peppermint sweetness, a menthol briskness and then a candied fruit sweetness. Many may not like this combination in their ale but I found it quite alluring, very interesting and nice to drink.

 611 characters

Photo of stakem
3.57/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

1997 vintage from a 275ml corked bottle into a tulip. Unfortunately, like most of these style bottles, this was not stored on it's side so the cork snapped while removing it. The brew pours a clear mahogany color with ruby through the body. A lighter yellowish hint is seen around the edges and no bubble formation outside of the initial pour.

The aroma is leathery with caramel, toffee and some residual sweetness still seems to flirt with the nose. A bit of booze is evident and somewhat fruity in nature coupled with a hint of brown sugar. The aroma is surprisingly lacking in the expected oxidative notes.

The flavor is somewhat oxidized with a mild paper, cardboard and foliage aspect but not overly so. There are notes of leather, earth and caramel to toffee but without the accompanying sweetness. The malt is more like burnt sugar at this point and plenty of fruity alcohol keeps things warming. As it warms up, a mild tangy vinous to wild note emerges along with a slight indication of chocolate.

This is a surprisingly light bodied brew that is still. I was surprised that it was not showing its age as much as I thought it would. The alcohol is still vibrant in this and I found it to be quite enjoyable despite the packaging failure that is thise corked 9oz bottles.

 1,281 characters

Photo of 51mmz0rz
3.42/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 275mL bottle into a tulip style glass. Brewed in 2001. It says to let sit at room temperature, but I'm going to start drinking it around 50F and let it warm as I sip. Sediment stayed behind nicely during the pour.

A: Murky brown hue with no head. I would say it looks like iced tea, but even tea has more head. Not unexpected for such an old beer, however.

S: Sweet, almost nutty, port aromas. Bits of caramel and a distinctive whiff of alcohol.

T: Up front is sweetness with some port character. Astringent, acidic, but clean on the finish, almost like a sweet tea. Finishes off with a surprising malty kick followed by a long lingering alcohol.

M: Mouthfeel is slightly thick with no carbonation.

O: Very interesting beer, especially at such age. You might not call it a beer if you didn't already know what it was.

I will try to plan a vertical of younger vintages. I don't think this one (12 years) is worth a second try, however.

 954 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Gale's Prize Old Ale from George Gale & Company Ltd
3.48 out of 5 based on 412 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

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