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

Gale's Prize Old AleGale's Prize Old Ale
Liked This Beer
3.48 w/ 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

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Ratings: 415 |  Reviews: 318
Photo of Ljunkan
3.87/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(2007 vintage)

Very darkred, almost brown color with a quickly dying head.

Smell is very vinous, notes of sweet/sour berries, like cherries. A pretty nice and maybe a expected smell... this smells very old and special.

Taste is vinous. Lots of sweetness with a bit of sourness... mostly sour cherries.

Mouthfeel is pretty smooth and nice in the mouth, though a bit sticky.

This beer feels maybe a bit unbalanced with the sweetness, it almost get a bit too much, though a actually appreciated the sourness in this beer. Alcohol is well integrated in the taste - it has a nice warming feel.

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Photo of Flyer
3.94/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not sure how old my bottle was. There was absolutely no head and slight oxidation on the nose, but neither fact bothered me a lot. The aroma, surprisingly, evoked a lot of Belgian floral qualities. The flavor is sweet and somewhat tart, raisins, cherries, apple, maybe even some raspberry notes, plus a certain ale mustiness that I find appealing. Finishes like it starts. A very good old ale, which I would recommend though I'm sure it's not for everyone, not even every beer geek.

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Photo of jwc215
4.02/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage, best by 18/12/10, poured into snifter:

Pours dark brown with a thin head that descends to a vanishing swirl and a bubbly rings that leaves "legs".

The smell is of figs, plums, nuts, slight alcohol, bitter chocolate and earthy tones.

The taste is of figs, dates, raisins, prunes and some bittersweet chocolate. Alcohol shows, but not too boozy or sharp. A vinuous character grows as it progresses, balanced by some caramel. Finishes with a long dryness.

It has very low carbonation. It's on the syrupy side. It could use a bigger, creamier body, IMO.

It shows off the somewhat boozy dark fruitiness well, with characteristics of red wine. An interesting sipper with quite a bit of complexity.

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Photo of goethean
4.69/5  rDev +34.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Flat. Very dark copper. Has a sappy or syrupy sweetness and full body. Filled with a cornucopia of fruit. Deep, dark juicy cranberry-raisin-plum-currant-fig. Has the classic vinous barleywine character. But then there is the significant malt backbone, too. And the alcohol. No hops bitterness, flavor or aroma. It's perfectly drinkable as far as I'm concerned.

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Photo of Beerenauslese
4.23/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

This was the 1996 vintage. I don't know where it has been all these years, but the bottle showed no signs of abuse. This beer is unusual and grows on you.

A: Dark, translucent deep brown. Like weak coffee. No head, no fizz at all.
S: Very fruity, sherry, molasses, tobacco, and prune with a cellar mustiness.
T: Of sherry and mincemeat: prune, raisins, sour cherries, along with chocolate and coffee. A little sour/bitter on the first taste, turns sweet and sour in the aftertaste with the chocolate and coffee (espresso) coming through at the finish. It is complex and interesting.
M: Flat as a board. If you couldn't see where it came from, you would think it was a sherry or even a coffee liquor.
D: Thought I would try it to expand my horizons, which it does, but it is a rare, special drink. The alcohol level seems just right, just a little warming but not overpowering, like a an unusually fruity Irish coffee at room temp.

How do you rate a beer like this? It is obviously a milestone in craft brewing and is in a league of its own. Its appearance and mouthfeel are not that of a typical beer. I could develop a taste for it on the right occasions. In fact, now that I have adjusted to it, I could have another. Best for dessert or a long evening enjoying a cigar or some alternative smoke. But I would never serve it to anyone expecting a normal beer.

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

Poured from a 275ml bottle dated 2003.Purchased at Gomer's in Lee's Summit.
A - Cloudy, reddish brown with no head at all
S - Smells like wine with figs, cherries and apple. A bit musty
T - Tastes more like wine than ale. Fruity taste with high ABV. Tart finish
M - Medium to full mouthfeel with zero carbonation.
D - This is not my cup of....ale.

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Photo of coldmeat23
3.85/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

GLASS: Oversized Wine Glass
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees
BOTTLE #3105

Deep, dark mahogany color with tinges of amber and garnet around the edges. Head is all but non-existant. Almost no bubbles at all. Not surprising, considering its age. Still, it leaves a nice, almost oily looking, skirt on the glass.

Very Port-like in it's smell. Almost wine-y with a slight soy sauce note. Sweet dark maltiness is buried in there. Overripe dark cherries and figs.

Very Portesque in the taste department, also. Tart, dry cherries mix with a touch of oakiness. A hint of burgundy. Some light, mild spices. Only a slight detction of alcohol. Lots going on here, but a little bit out-of-balance, I think.

Very winelike in it's body. No carbonation. Smooth and viscous.

Very much a sipper bottle. Like a nice dessert wine. Would be excellent with a nice bleu cheese.

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

Prize Old Ale 2007 is a strange but nice beer. I have one more bottle in my "beer cellar" that I will save a year or two.

Dark-red color with a fast disapearing white head.

Smells lot of berries and some black currant Quite distinguished smell anyway.

The taste is nice with much black currant leaves, wine and a lot of sweet malts. Pretty low bitterness though. Medium thick palate.

Well, this was a really exciting beer. Hopefully some storing will make this one a real beauty.

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Photo of russpowell
4.17/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 2 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1996 version, from a great English brewery, Bottle# 4239 picked up at goebbels in Wichita

Pours murky mahogany with purple tinges & minimal brown head & much oilyness. Finishes hazed with floaties

S: Oakyness, sherry, sourness, raisins

T: Tart oak, burgundy & puckery dry raisins, port, & vinegar, alcohol burn, dryness & plums up front. Dryness, sherry, with loads of dryness & tannins, once warmer. Finishes with vinegar, oakyness & a bit of booze burn. Complex, but could've blended better. Almost pulled a 4.5

MF: Vinous, slick, & near stillness, skews hot/acidic

Drinks slooow, a great night cap, but not one to dive in to blightlty, a great dessert or cheese course selection. This would be nice one to split new years eve

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Photo of cjgator3
3.72/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

1999 vintage. 275ml bottle. Pours a dark bronze color. The aroma is very good, with a lot of dark fruity malt, caramel and molasses. The taste is sweet dark fruits, a touch of spices, caramel and a port-like alcohol finish. I am very impressed at how well this beer has held up after 9 years. Overall, this really was a really interesting beer to try, especially considering how old the sampling was. Recommended.

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Photo of hellcatsjg
3.64/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark ruby beer with no head whatsoever.

Smell: Very strong. Alcohol up front with nice raisins and molassas and a bit of sweetness.

Taste: Lighter than the nose. You get the alcohol and the sweet dark fruits but not in the big way you would expect fromt the nose.

Mouthfeel: Again, lighter than I would have liked. Nice complexity in the flavor that gets left behind.

Drinkability: Not an everyday kind of beer. Drinks more like a wine, definitely a sipper. Worth a try.

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Photo of tmitch75
3.55/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I tried this one a few years ago when I was first getting into craft beer, and couldn't finish it. I thought I'd give it another try and see how my palate has changed.

Color gets darker and darker as I pour into my oversized wine glass, finishing a nice dark brown with strong red tint. No head at all save a few isolated bubbles that disappear in seconds.

Vinous woody smell, perhaps influenced by the cork, with some apple and raisin notes. Smells a lot like wine really. Some dark fruit.

Flavor is underwhelming considering the smell. A lot like port or wine (I am not very well versed in either one), but more watered down. Slightly sour, and not as much alcohol taste than expected.

Light and smooth mouthfeel, no crispness at all (no carbonation!).

I am definitely glad I gave it another shot, and I can appreciate it a whole lot more than last time I tried it, but this one just doesn't do it for me.

2003 vintage tasted on 5/20/08.

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Photo of blamoe
3.7/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Gales Old Prize 2007 is a strange beer, but ina good way in that it has a sherry like flavour and basically no carbination. But you wouldn't think it's a ale at 9% and it's an almost a syrupy consistancey and is vey sweet and slightly malty with no trace of hops and i couldn't have more than one, but is worth a try just for the experiance.

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Photo of timbro81
3.67/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2001 vintage.
Carefully poured, like the bottle dictates, into a snifter. Pours a murkey brownish color, I swear it was a careful pour. Little head with impossible to see carbonation. Smells of vanilla, slightly sweet malts, some nuttiness is in there too. Also a bit of funkiness is detectable. First sip is mind rattling, what stands out the most is what seems like an oakey finish, is this barrel aged? Very unique, bizarre mouth feel. Funkiness and sour and such.
A nutty vanilla taste seems like it wants to develop but never does, seems like its kept in check by the sourness. Sherry-like. Taste really grows on me. Becomes more sour as it warms.

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

This old ale is now a VERY old ale, being Vintage 2001. A 7-year nap is long enough. Down the gullet with you!

Served from the corked 275 ml bottle in a Chimay chalice at just a few degrees under room temperature. This was the very last beer I purchased from Smart Buy in Fort Lee before they closed their doors.

A - Fiery copper with dancing ruby highlights. Watery pour, with a quick puff of effervescence and a fleeting head that subsides to a delicate swirl atop the surface, and a smattering of soapy bubbles clinging to the edges of the glass. Unfortunately, even the etching at the bottom of the glass can not reawaken the head -- although that's very much characteristic for the style.

S - Tawny port and candied raisins. Dark rum and fleeting notes of ginger. Old, oiled leather, stale pipe tobacco and evaporated scotch.

T - Almost sour in it's faint sweetness. The taste is predominantly raisin -- perhaps some prune as well. The notion of sweet is quickly overtaken by the taste of old, dried hops. Very vinous in the back of the mouth, with light yeast notes and extreme drying. A ghost of the sweetness returns after the swallow, leaving a touch of cloying almost like a sherry might.

M - Oddly slick given the watery pour, and brash in its ability to dominate the mouth. Faintly tingling carbonation that goes as quickly as it comes. Swallow is full bodied and clingy.

D - This is one intriguing beer. It was not nearly as sweet as I was originally expecting, but after a few sips, it's unique character became entrancing. I think that this one may have gone a bit past it's prime with respect to aging, but it was in no way a spoiled beer. I think I would probably recommend about 5 years as the max to age this one.

Afterthoughts -- Poured in the sediment for the last third of the bottle. While it did pull the edges off the alcohol and add some more tartness, it also muddied up the other finer details of it's taste and nose. Note to self - old ales' sediment is meant to be left behind.

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Photo of InsolublePancake
3.4/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Wow, look at all the beers I have in my fridge. I didn't realize I'd built up such a collection! I guess I should probably drink some of them. Let's see, how about one from the back... oh, this one looks interesting! A Gale's Prize Old Ale from... 1997!!?? Holy crap, how long has this been in here?

Just kidding, I bought this a couple months ago. Still, it is by far the oldest beer I've had.

A- Dark brown and cloudy. No head whatsoever. I guess that's to be expected from an 11-year-old beer.

S- Ok, so is this beer or port? Honestly, this smells exactly like port. I haven't had that much port, but this smells just like the port I have had before. Crazy.

T- Again, just like port, only not as sweet. Big raisiny flavors here. The alcohol isn't particularly prominent. I don't detect any oxidation, so the cork did a good job of keeping this one sealed. Just huge, port-like flavors.

M- Decent medium body with almost no carbonation. A little thin, maybe.

D- Not too high on the drinkability scale. I wouldn't want more than one in a sitting, and I might even want to split that with someone.

Well, it was an experience. Seriously, though, this tasted just like port wine. In a blind tasting, there is no way I would have guessed this was beer. Not in a million years. I'm not too familiar with aged beers (the oldest I'd had up to this point was 6 or 7 years), but this was different than anything I'd had before. I enjoyed trying this one, but I doubt I'd get it again. If you like port, I'd say go for it. If not, you might want to stay away.

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Photo of Offa
4.33/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This to me is equivalent to wine and with that in mind, this is a very nice drink. Although not something I'd normally choose when in the mood for beer, it's definitely something I'd consider if in the mood for wine, and I'd probably prefer it over most wine.

It's a beautiful, very dark ruby red with brown, faintly hazy, and has a thin tan head that soon dissipates to a foamy ring.

The aroma, a little musty, is port, caramel, very ripe apples, stewed prunes, and hints of citrus and earth.

The taste is very winey, slightly musty, with a very faint sourness, and a faint whisky and rum quality, but despite the clear alcoholic character, it's still smooth and drinkable. It's mostly sweet, spicey, and warmly alcoholic with little bitterness and, as mentioned, only a slight sourness that has a light vinegary quality, but this is very slight. It has overripe apples, prunes, and caramel. The feel is very silky.

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

I had from a 2005 bottle which my girlfriend and I split.

It pours a very dark brown with a thin layer of head and almost no carbonation.

It smelled like alcohol and rum raisins.

It tasted like alcohol, which is great for a sipping beer. It had a very prevalent raisin sweetness.

This beer, from its lack of carbonation , was very thin. But this was appreciated because this is a sipping beer.

Drinkable? I split the bottle and had had enough. I probably could have done the whole thing, but at the price it brings at the store I'm not going to find out anytime soon.

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Photo of Naerhu
2.18/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

2007 bottle had on 60 April 2008.

Thanks to RobBeer for bringing this out to Japan!

Dark, dark brown with hint of red. Big Head and okay lacing.

Smells of cherry cough syrup.

Cloyingly sweet and fruity. With a hint of vinegar. Not good guezue like vinegar, but 0.99 cents to the gallon vinegar.

Had with two mates, the three of us together couldnt finish the one bottle and poured it out.

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Photo of Drew966
4.15/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Gale's Prize Old Ale (Brewed in 2005) pours a dark mahogany with a ring of off white head from a brown 275 ml corked bottle. The aroma is vinous, ripe fruit at that. The flavor is very fruity yet dry, and the alcohol is noticeable. Candied fruit is what comes to mind, but not especially sweet. The mouthfeel strikes me as just a bit thin. Kind of an odd beer, worth a try.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.05/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2005 version. Pours a murky brown that delivers absolutely zero head. Nose seems a bit spicy really. There is an interesting fruit aspect here. I want to say it is banana...or plantain? Not entirely sure. Pretty smooth on the mouth. Nice to drink and an unusual treat.

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Photo of blakesell
2.98/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Sampled on tap at Gravity Head in New Albany, IN. Poured into a 10oz glass.

Appearance- Cloudy and brown with a milky way haze over the top of the glass. Lacing clings slightly to the sides.

Smell- Thick, malty, and slightly oxidized. Actually I smell quite a bit of the wet cardboard in this. No hops. Scotch, and cocoa.

Taste- Light, fruity, oxidized, nutty, sherrylike, wet cardboard, cork, and sweet with lighter malts than it smells and looks like. Brown sugar also lingers. Taste runs thin later in the tasting. This old ale is a bit... Old.

Mouthfeel- Thin and watery. Not as thick as expected. Well carbonated. Not warming.

Drinkability- Not something I would revisit. An OK beer but not impressive.

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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 beerthulhu
3.92/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 02. 9%abv. Aged 5 years before sampling.

A: Pours a dark caramel red color with no head.

S: Huge oak and sherry notes are easily detected on the nose, bringing a beautiful complex aroma of woodiness. There is a spicy alcohol nose and presence in the flavor itself along with some creamy caramel.

T: For flavor there is some spicy oak, and apples along with a complex woodiness. There is some light brown sugar sweetness and alcohol along with some green apples in the fade.

M: Mouthful is moderate and creamy with some burbon hints upon warming.

D: Beer appears to have aged nicely and a very decent brew with a decent drinkability.

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Photo of bluegrassbrew
4.07/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

275ml bottle with cork. Vintage 2003

Pours a deep reddish color nearly black. Initial head that recedes to nothing.

Smell is slightly solvent alcohol over ripe dates.

Taste is sweet dates over a quite sour bite. Some alcohol is noticeable on the backend of this one.

Overall, a pretty good old ale. I'd say this might be the youngest vintage I'd want to try as it still seems a little raw. Still, tasty stuff.

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Gale's Prize Old Ale from George Gale & Company Ltd
Beer rating: 47.5% out of 100 with 415 ratings
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