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

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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 415 |  Reviews: 318
Photo of Wasatch
3.8/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to hero27 for this brew.

1997 Vintage
Red Seal/Corked

Poured into a chalice a brownish color, not much carbonation, basically no head or sticky lacing. The nose is malty, tart/tangy, with some caramel. The taste is malty, tart/tangy, very light sweetness, and some caramel tones. The alcohol is pretty up front, but not too bad. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a different old ale because of the tartness to me, might be the age not sure. Glad to have had a chance to try it, thanks Eric.

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Photo of CHADMC3
3.35/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

George Gale & Co Ltd Prize Old Ale (Bottle #1478) 1995

·Appearance: Dark, cloudy brown, almost black. Cola like appearance, with zero head.
·Aroma: Crisp apple scent, high alcohol, almost wine like.
·Taste: Again noticeable apple, but then taken over by more of a traditional ale flavor. Sweet malty flavor with only vague hints of bitterness. As the beer warms, wood/oak notes arise.
·Mouthfeel: Very light bodied, again almost wine like, no carbonation.
·Drinkability: This beer may require an acquired taste, I would guess even for more experienced imbibers. Seems to be true to the style, but not sure I could do more than one.

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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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Photo of BeardedSquash
4.12/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep browm, almost black. No head or signs of carbonation.

S: Big malty aroma. Prunes and dark fruits, with some oakiness in the background.

T: Dark malts and tart cherry blend with a stronger oak flavor. The sweet flavor carriers over to a mild touch of hops, not so much a bite but a well placed undertone. Delicious.

M: Almost flat. Very little descernable carbonation, but a very thick winey feel.

D: I enjoyed this beer a lot. Well balanced for a good night-cap, but also would be a great accompanyment to a rich meal.

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Photo of tpd975
2/5  rDev -42.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

The local beer guy brought this one in and said he had heard it was pretty good. Bottle looked nice, it was an English brew and was corked, I figured I would give it a go.

A: pours nut brown with no head, and when I same none, it was flat with none to be found. The strange thing is there are lots of tiny bubbles stuck to the side of the glass. Too bad none of them joined together and rushed to the top. It's strange to see a beer without a head, I had to reread the bottle to make sure it wasn't wine.

S: Lots of candy sugar and dark fruits. Plums and Figs mainly.

T: Pretty flat tasting as well. There is a bit of sweetness but it finishes mildly dry and tart. Dark fruits are the taste with raisins dominating.

M: Pretty Flat. Nothing to write home about.

D: Nah, pass on this one.

Overall: The bottle looked nice and they called it PRIZE old ale. It mentioned a chaming of beer in the 90's so I gave it a shot. To be honest I would have rather have eaten the bottle. I usually try to shy away from reviewing bad beers since I try to drink only quality brews. I typically research before I buy, and if I had the reviews would have steered me clear of this one. If your thinking of buying it do yourself a favor and light the $6 on fire on a cold winter night. You would get more value out of the tiny bit of heat provided than you would by drinking this beer.


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Photo of CWiggins
2.7/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I obtained this beer at McScrooge's Liquor in Knoxville just two weeks ago. Until then, I had never seen any offering by this brewer.

This example was brewed in 2005

It pours a medium nut brown with absolutely no head whatsoever. I even poured it forcefully to force one to form, but to no avail. The aroma is of dark fruits (think prunes or figs), bitter malts, and leather. I found the flavor to consist mainly of sweet malts, dark fruits, and leather, with some vanilla and a slight hop bitterness in the finish. It isn't very exciting. I must admit, I've tried just a few versions of the "old ale" style since the first, incredible version I sampled, and this may the most unpalatable of all. It's not really bad; it just doesn't have anything interesting going on. My wife described the flavor as "flat molasses."

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

9.3oz bottle received from oracle as part of the NoBS BIF. Thanks for the opportunity. Bottled in 1996, Bottle #6462.

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, no head over the opaque dark brown brew. Some bubbling around the rim, but no lace present. More or less as expected from such an aged old ale. Aroma is leathery sweet dark malts, rounding the corners of the ample alcohol presence. Taste kicks off with a watery dark maltiness, with sharpened edges of tartness. Gets leathery and dark fruits in the middle, both of which slowly usher in the boozy warm close. Mouthfeel was oddly thin upfront for such a heavy brew, but the alcohol was smoothed amazingly. Drinkability was pretty good for such an aged and interesting brew. I would definitely enjoy again if the opportunity arose.

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Photo of Lnedrive14
1.5/5  rDev -56.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Had in a bottle at Ginger Man NYC. 1999 vintage.

Completely undrinkable. Bitterness overpowered any other flavors that "might" have existed in this one. Doesn't age like the Lees, which attains those great brandy-like qualities. this was like a bottle of Old Engine Oil that had gone bad. Dark brown, no head. Carbonation had left this bad boy ages ago. The major problem here was that the malts had bittered. it wasn't a hop bitterness, it was aged malts that just weren't working.

one of the few beers i have failed to finish.

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Photo of soupyman10
3.62/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Got this one at Monks in a little tiny bottle. Pours a dark amber/brown color with no head or lacing (seriously, none). Nose is lots of prunes, some honey. Taste is similar, strong sweet fruity malt and honey mostly. Feel is strange; there's very little carbonation to this one, and I wasn't really sure why. A little more carbonation would have added a bit to the drinkability. Overall, it was alright, but definitely not one of my favorite beers. Different and interesting, just not fantastic.

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Photo of cbn
2.39/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Brewed in 2003

Pours clear reddish brown, no head with a fair amount of bubbles continuously pushing to the surface.

Aroma of (Angostura) bitters and alcohol.

Taste is almost exactly the same as aroma. Leathery malt drenched in bitters, mild sweetness in the middle, alcohol bite as an end note.

Somewhat thin and smooth with a dry finish.

Maybe I should try another vintage, but I am not seeking this out any time soon.

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Photo of plaztikjezuz
3.99/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours flat, a deep mahogany, with no head, not even a stray bubble. the color is very good, but lack of carbonation is bad, the bottle and label are very classic and cool. the cork also gives it extra points.
the aroma is awesome, malt, caramel, raisins, wood, alcohol, there is a little funkiness in there, bakers chocolate, this smells like brandy.
the flavor is very rich and full of depth. malt is up front, caramel, raisins, little wood, there is a twang of sour, but it is not that strong and kinda cuts the full body of the ale.

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Photo of BrewSomerville
3.26/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottled in 1996.
Poured on Jan. 12, 2007

This is the oldest Beer I've ever had...to this point.
I picked up two pints of these, one for me and one for my buddy hinzerj. Mine turned out to be cork tainted, and hinzerj split his with me. The cork tainted one is not the one I'm reviewing here, but I'll tell you that it was smokey, very woody, and almost cheesy... yuck! I did cleanse and rinse my palate befor moving on to the other bottle.

I didn't really get much in the aroma. Something fruity though.

It looked not so great, because there was NO head at all. Colour was brown.

It tasted good, very complex. It was fruity, with some caramel flavour. Not much hop character. A warm alcohol feeling.

Mouth feel was was ok. It had low carbonation. Medium bodied. A warm alcohol feeling.

Overall, I'm glad that I tried it. I would like to compare a newer version to the '96.

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Photo of phisig137
3.32/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottled in 1996, enjoyed in April 2007. Bottle label is weathered and old, yet still readable, numbered 30985. After removing the capsule, there is evidence of slight leakage past the cork. Pours a deep brown color with dark mahogany around the edges. A surprising 1.5 finger head rises and falls very quickly, leaving behind only a little ring of foam.

Aroma is odd. Slightly sour, vinous and sherry like, with some spicy alcohol. Mild tobacco and leather aromas blend with coffee scents, and notes of cinnamon and cloves. Quite complex and very enjoyable.

flavor is even wierder. Again tartness hits your palate first. Strong leather and wood flavors hit next, almost tastes like licking a wood table, but without the splinters. Slight metallic finish, and very dry. Mouthfeel is pretty thin and insipid. Drinkability is low. This is a definite sipper.

Definitely one of the more odd beers I've ever tasted, and tied with the oldest. This may be a little past its prime, but it has held up amazingly well for 11 years. No signs of oxidation, and it still has a surprisingly high level of carbonation for only being sealed with a cork. Worth picking up and trying it, but I think 11 years may be a bit too far. Glad I got a chance to try this

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Photo of xav33
4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gale's Prize Old Ale
Pint bottle
Bottled '99, savored 04/07
Medium pour in a wine glass

Poured a clear brown with a small off white somewhat diminishing head.

Smelt of strong caramel, candi sugar, dark sherry and figs.

Taste was upfront strong bitter light and sweet sherry and figs followed by a strong bitter coffee, dark toffee, sweet and sour figs and ripe apples on a long finish.

Palate was light to medium bodied, dry, flat and moderately alcoholic.

Overall, this was an awesome gem a friend was willing to share, although they didn't know what to expect from an 8 year old brew. It held up very very well, and the flavor profile was intensely different and smooth than any young beer I could ever have.

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Photo of Contra
2.36/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Bottled in 1997 - Bottle #3138

10 year old beer. I didn't really think about it that way when I picked out this beer, but now that I'm about to consume it....

Whoa... whoa. This is, quite easily, the weirdest beer I've ever had. Hands down. Of course, the beer is 10 years old... so perhaps that's not odd. Then again, I asked the guy working at Half-Time (the distributor) what he thought of it, and he mentioned that (and I'm paraphrasing here), it was one of the stranger/weirder/interesting beers out there. Another guy came up to the counter and agreed. He also mentioned that the bottle(s) he's tried were a lot younger.

So what exactly does it taste like? I'd rather leave that to the poets, because I can't describe it. Sure, I can say it has a date/fig taste, or that it has a rubbery flavor (keeping in mind that it's 10 years old)... but it's all meaningless unless you actually taste it.

So do I like it? No, not really. But I can say that I'm glad I tried it. Even more so, I'm glad it was on sale. Not really recommend unless you're looking to experiment.

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Photo of gordavidson
2.99/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottled in 1997

A- Pours out of the bottle and creates absolutely no head in the tulip glass. There is no carbonation whatsoever. Kind of reminds me of some apple cider, but only darker. When I hold it to a light, I get a little greenness around the edges.

S- Cherries, cinnamon, some alcohol, grapes, oak. The smell is pretty potent. Very wine like. Sour. Very complex.

T- Lots of fruit, mostly dark fruit. Cinnamon and alcohol again. Seems to be a mess at first, but the more I drink it, the more comes through. Unique. Sour and a little bit funky.

M- Very smooth, a little dry. The sourness really hits you on the side of your tongue.

D- This is such a sipper. I can't figure out what the deal is with this. It is so unique and interesting, but it I just can't get into it. It is 10 years old and I guess I am glad I didn't save it for a big event, I would have been disappointed. Worth a try though- just for the fact that I was in middle school when this was bottled.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.71/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a very murky brown with absolutely no head at all. Not a pretty beer. The smell is of raisins and spice with a touch of soy on the backnote. A veritable fruitcake of aromas, with a rummy alcohol and candies fruits as well. The flavor is a little more subdued, but with some of the same elements that were in the aroma. Notes of brandied fruit, soy, raisins, and a little bit of toffee. I'm not enamored of the mouthfeel. Absolutely no carbonation and too thin in the body makes this a little bit of a chore to drink. I've always found this beer hit or miss. It can be wonderful, but when its completely flat and faded tasting like this its just a novelty.

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Photo of klewis
3.84/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

1998 vintage at Bodega Brew Pub, La Crosse, WI

A: Poured into a snifter with a caramel color. No head or lacing, but not unexpected.

S: Big smell of molasses, caramel, and pancake syrup.

T: Much like the smell, although more subtle and subdued. Quite sweet with just a touch of oxidation. Alcohol is well hidden.

M: This had more body than most beers, but still much less than something like Thomas Hardy's. Nearly totally flat with a smooth and silky texture.

D: Perhaps not worth the $8 that I paid for it at the bar and definitely not as good as TH, but enjoyable none the less.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
2.8/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a snifter. Beer dispenses a murky, caramel apple color with no head, no lacing.

Aroma is sour fruit and just overall sourness. It is very fruity with some sweetness. I cant imagine this is a typical aroma of the style. Typical of a cider, an old cider. But, it is pleasant, although sour.

Taste is gym locker-ish and sour. Some old band-aid flavors and just overall unpleasantness. Rubber and very medicinal.

Maybe I am just not in the mood for this one, but I was very dissaitsfied. Very sour and old tasting. Possibly it needs more aging, or maybe just to be dumped. Not pleased.

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Photo of GooberMcNutly
2.13/5  rDev -38.8%
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.

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Photo of supercolter
1.39/5  rDev -60.1%
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.

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Photo of mjsarch
2.94/5  rDev -15.5%
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.

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Photo of BDTyre
4.27/5  rDev +22.7%
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.

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Photo of ryantupy
4.07/5  rDev +17%
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.

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Photo of geexploitation
3.92/5  rDev +12.6%
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.

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Gale's Prize Old Ale from George Gale & Company Ltd
Beer rating: 3.48 out of 5 with 415 ratings
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