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

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Gale's Prize Old AleGale's Prize Old Ale
416 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: 416 |  Reviews: 319
Photo of XmnwildX12
3/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of mikeincharleston
2/5  rDev -42.5%

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 KAF
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%

Photo of Herky21
2.25/5  rDev -35.3%

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.

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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)

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Photo of djrn2
3/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of Latarnik
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%

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 jfcaa193
3.25/5  rDev -6.6%

Photo of afsdan
4.75/5  rDev +36.5%

Photo of Eighty
1.75/5  rDev -49.7%

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

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Photo of 22Blue
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%

Photo of TerryW
4/5  rDev +14.9%

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 BillRoth
4.25/5  rDev +22.1%

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.25/5  rDev +22.1%

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.

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Photo of BuckTuckian
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%

Photo of mdillon86
4/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of DLucky
3.75/5  rDev +7.8%

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.

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Gale's Prize Old Ale from George Gale & Company Ltd
Beer rating: 3.48 out of 5 with 416 ratings