Gale's Conquest Ale Master Brew
George Gale & Company Ltd

Gale's Conquest Ale Master BrewGale's Conquest Ale Master Brew
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English Old Ale
3.24 | pDev: 25.31%
George Gale & Company Ltd
England, United Kingdom
Retired (no longer brewed)
Gale's Conquest Ale Master BrewGale's Conquest Ale Master Brew
View: Beers
Reviews: 84 | Ratings: 104 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of VoxRationis
3.53/5  rDev +9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I was able to pick up two, 9.3 oz (275 ml) bottles of Conquest Ale. Uncorked and decanted one into a conical pint glass; no production information evident.
A: Almost identical to cloudy, dark brown apple cider. Settles to a hazy copper color with brown sediment clearly filling the bottom of the glass. No head, lacing or legs.
S: Aromas of chardonnay, apple, pear, and maybe soil, with the suggestion of a spicy note.
T: Acidity notable up front. Really more reminiscent of a full bodied white wine, e.g chardonnay, than beer. In a blind tasting, I could have believed that this was one (which was possibly beginning to turn).
F: Medium bodied, no discernible effervescence.
O: I have tried a couple of aged old ales before. Not really my "cup of tea," but interesting as a change and to understand the breadth of what constitutes "beer." Certainly seems to be a reasonable version of the style, based on my limited experience.

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Photo of ngusset
3.9/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Campbell's tulip. No date marking. Murky earth color, no head whatsoever. Mild nose, sweet, smells lightly of tangy fruit. Tastes light and smooth, like prunes, with a zing. Refreshing round and complex.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
1.24/5  rDev -61.7%
look: 1 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 1.25

This is really a big turn off appearance wise, looks like fetid swamp water, no head, no bubbles, no lace, no nothing, just nasty stuff. Aroma was more swamp water, oxidized damp wood, fusel alcohol.

Taste and smell is a little like pruno from a correctional center. Someone took their fruit cup, added raisins, left it on a radiator, and made this 'beer'. Alcohol and bitter dark overripe fruit are dominant. Nothing in terms of carbonation makes every negative flavor and amplify it in the mouthfeel.

God I hate this beer. Budweiser is vastly superior to this nonsense.

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Photo of BranfordBound
3.54/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cracked open a vintage bottle of this one. Guy at the beer store said late '90s for this one. Poured amber, murky, some floaties around, not much head. Nice sweet aroma, nothing off-putting but nothing crazy, either. Nice gentle flavor here, too. Some earthiness and sweet malts. A touch of dark fruit, a touch of tobacco. Finishes a little bit of vinegar. All in all pretty tasty, for 15 years though I think we would need something more robust.

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Photo of Bitterbill
2.21/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

2nd go. The first bottle was a big fail.

It pours a hazy orange w with no foam and, duh, no lacing.

Age has taken an obvious toll on the beer's smell and I'm sure taste. Smell is of vinegar, which isn't so bad, but there's a chemical like aroma that is very off putting.

Taste IS better. Loaded with the vinegar sourness, gots some soy, and way way deep in the background, the slightest hint of what this may have tasted like. Old Ale?

Light bodied with "some" carbonation.

I fully blame the crumbly cork for not protecting the contents. :^(

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +31.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is a 2001 vintage that I picked up in 2011 and recently drank. .
A: It pours dark reddish brown with a slight sparkle and a thin tan line of fizz arouind the edge.
S: It has an estery, winey smell.
T: Suggests a fruit wine but the type is hard to pin down.
F: Full bodied, wine-like, almost oily, with very little carbonation.
O: This drinks as close to a wine as a beer can get. .

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Photo of jimmah120
1.52/5  rDev -53.1%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.25

Bottle said brewed in 2001, consumed 2013. Review is from notes.

Pours out a deep saturated amber, with no head or bubbles whatsoever. Also, there were the strangest floaties I've ever seen: looked like chewed up dog toys. Smell is hard water, tobacco. Taste was putrid beyond belief: vinegar, stale wine, rotted black cherries. All along with a mouthfeel similar to the watery part of curdled milk.

An awful experience capped off with a drain pour. Avoid like the plague. Even after reading the reviews from 2002, its hard to believe this was ever drinkable.

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Photo of MadScientist
3.1/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Bottle says "Brewed in 2001"

A: A medium copper with good clarity. The faint head is quick to dissipate

S: Licorice and soy with an almost salty aroma in the tail end. There is a moderate alcohol aroma and a light malt richness.

T: Fairly oxidized with a medium strength orange fruity ester and tobacco. There is a light vanilla flavor blending with a medium-light soy sauce ummai and saltiness. The oak is apparent. The hops bitterness is low but teaming up with a light tartness against a medium malt sweetness the balance is somewhat towards the malt sweetness. The finish is medium sweet.

M: A medium-full bodied beer with almost no carbonation.

O: It takes several sips for the flavors to resolve and become enjoyable but man are those first first few sips a challenge. It a bit of mess flavor-wise a is on the decline of its aging life. IT would be interesting to see what a young bottle of this is like but I may have missed the boat on that one.

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Photo of mrfrancis
4.26/5  rDev +31.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Unknown vintage, most likely 2000 or 2001. Pours a murky golden amber with no head whatsoever. A large amount of yeast sediment is clearly visible, both suspended in the liquid and gathered at the bottom of the glass.

S: Strong aromas of sherry, madeira, salted nuts, caramel, oak, unripened pineapple, unripened grapes, cider vinegar, yeast, and must fill the nose. This is definitely an old-fashioned, oak-aged English old ale.

T: The entry presents complex and somewhat contradictory flavors of maple syrup, brown sugar, caramel, leather, must, unripened grapes, unripened pineapple, oak, moist earth, mild tobacco, salted nuts, cider vinegar, bready yeast, must, pear, plum, sherry, and madeira. The finish is tart, lactic, and woody with robust cider vinegar, must, sherry, unripened fruit, leather, and yeast flavors.

M: Medium in body, slick, oily, and smooth. Carbonation is pretty much nonexistent, so this beer is very still in the mouth. Alcohol presence is just barely detectable.

O: From reading some of the earlier reviews, I get the distinct impression that real English old ales are not all that familiar to American audiences. After all, the style is very nearly extinct, because what passes for old ale these days in both the United Kingdom and United States is not all that comparable to the style of old. Real English old ales were generally moderate in alcohol content (though some, like this one, were stronger), they were malty, and they were stored for extended periods of time in new, uncharred oak casks. This storage in wood contributed to the beer's distinctly lactic, sour flavor and lack of carbonation. As a matter of fact, it is my understanding that when served, old ales were frequently referred to as "still beers" because they lacked easily discernible carbonation, sitting in the mouth much like a wine or spirit. So, for those who feel that this beer is past its prime, all I can say is perhaps only slightly. It's probably just past its peak right now, but should be good for at least a couple more years. Taken as an example of a real English old ale, this is a near excellent example of the style.

As a side note, this makes me really miss George Gale & Co. I'll definitely be picking up a few more of these for consumption on special occasions.

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Photo of ao125
2.95/5  rDev -9%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Vintage: Unknown, but most likely early 2000's based on the condition of the bottle. No date whatsoever.

Serving Type: Poured from a corked bottle sealed with red plastic, into a Belgian beer tulip. The cork was dried out and broke as I was trying to uncork.

Appearance: Murky orange, with a pile of dead yeast and sediment in the bottom. Also zero head. Minimal carbonation, but enough to know that it's a beer and not a liquor.

Smell: The smell was right up there with a number of the vintage Thomas Hardy ales I've had. Very malt-forward with a ton of raisin and dark fruit

Taste: They say that smell is a large part of taste, but this is one of the times I'd seriously have to disagree. The taste didn't come through nearly as strong as the smell, which is unfortunate. I feel like I was about two or three years too late for this beer's peak. Heavily oxidized and "old" tasting.

Mouthfeel: Syrupy, but completely let down by the lack of carbonation.

Overall: This particular beer is a relic on the side of the road to craft beer nirvana. At one point in time, it was likely the king of its castle, but no more. I taste a lot of the same things that go into the Fuller's Vintage Ale - and since Fullers acquired Gale's in 2005, I wouldn't be surprised if some of the ideas behind this beer were folded in. However, this example is past its prime and is almost undrinkable.

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Photo of jlindros
3.33/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Francois for cracking this.

No head, clear honey orange color.

Nose aged malt, hint of booze, hint if a funk like aged yeast, soft aged malts.

Taste starts with soft sweet malts, hint if tart fruit, light booze, syrupy, long sweet honey finish.

Mouth is syrupy med bodied, no carb.

overall not bad, bit sour from age, nice aged malt though, still sweet, syrupy, etc.

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Photo of John_M
3.67/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Kind of worried about this one. It's listed as the 2000 version of this beer, aged in whiskey and pinot noir barrels.

The beer pours a slight tannish, golden amber color, with minimal head retention and light lacing. The nose is hard to describe. I get some wine in the aroma profile, along with some light sherry, caramel, brown sugar and chocolate. As the beer warms, the nose improves considerably. On the palate... wow. This isn't the sort of flavor profile one picks up every day. The wine and whiskey both come out to play, dominating the sherry, caramel and light brown sugar. There's a light sour component to this beer as well, and the complexity is truly impressive. The finish is tart and slightly boozy, which to my great surprise, is kind of attractive. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, though the beer is also just a bit thin on the finish, with the flavors dropping off just a bit near the end. Alcohol is very well disguised... the 9% abv. really is not very noticeable.

My guess is that this beer is near the end of its life, but for all that, it was a treat to try it.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
1.57/5  rDev -51.5%
look: 1 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Kind of a brown and purple pour with no head, no bubbles, just ugly flat pond water. Aroma was of expired liquid, wet wood, sour dull notes.

Taste, pretty vile. Raisins, plums, like they're fermented next to a jail cell radiator. Really wouldn't, couldn't see anyone being into this, something that can't just be passsed its prime, but never had a prime. Sherry like alcohol notes and lack of carbonation.

I dunno about some of these beers. They're just tons of sherry like alcohol, no carbonation, disturbing yeast phenols and they're expensive to boot. Avoid. Major.

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Photo of fx20736
2.81/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Poured from a corked bottle slightly chilled, into a nonic.

Turbid,blilious yellow brown no head or lacing.

Aroma of dates, honey and brandied apricots

mouthfeel; unremarkable

taste: like the aroma with some old sourness mixed in.

notes: I bought 2 bottles of this 'retired' beer after loving Gale's Prize Old Ale so much. The 1st bottle was corked and reeked of vinegar so I drainpoured. This 2nd bottle was also corked but I did not extract all the cork from the bottle. I emptied the beer into a glass and then strained it through a cotton cloth to remove the sediment. I mainly thought about what could have been, had the bottle been in better shape. I won't risk buying another of these.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
1.99/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

No date information on the bottle, but I bought from the same case as GallowsThief, so I think it's a 2001. 275 mL bottle poured into a goblet.

Appearance - Mostly clear ruby amber body with no head at all. I'm not surprised, considering how old it is. Lifeless.

Smell - Sherry and caramel. Boozy with some oxidation smells. Uh oh.

Taste - Dear god. Starts off ok with some caramel malts and immediately into a rusty metallic flavor. From then on it's just tangy sourness. So old and so gross. Ugh.

Mouthfeel - Flat, astringent, metallic, horrid. Undrinkable.

Overall - A shadow of what it once was. No, a decomposing cesspool of what it once was. I drainpoured it after finishing this review.

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Photo of tewaris
1.9/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

2001 "vintage" poured into an NB globe in Fall 2011.

More than a review, this is a lesson. Many beers can withstand years, yeah; but! (a) Not all can withstand aging and (b) even among those that can, not all can withstand equal amount of time!

Gale's pours cloudy amber with hardly any head at all. And in spite of the cork to prevent oxidation (I suppose), laid on top of wonderful notes of sherry, there's a dirty, ugly layer of wet cardboard, yeah.

You know that something's very very wrong when an English Barleywine tastes sour and I will tell you what it is: it has turned sour. Way past it's prime, and yet reminiscent of its sweet spot, Conquest has notes of dried figs and raisins and some fruit peel tannins but a fuckin' boatload of yucky tartness to go with it.

Thin, watery, and most of all, un-beerly, this beer that could have been borderline awesome 4 years ago has turned into an abomination. Disappointed in my purchase, I brand this one a failure!


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Photo of Huhzubendah
2.54/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle shared by afdempse. Thanks Adam.

Vintage 2000

Alas, the decrepit cork did not survive the meeting with the corkscrew. After the cork debacle, the beer appeared a rusty orange hue, bordering on copper. No head, no lacing.

The aroma was of malt, alcohol, and light citrus.

The flavor still had a healthy alcohol presence, despite the age of the bottle. Also present was a dank cardboard flavor. Malt and subtle notes of citrus comprise the rest of the flavor. All in all, pretty bland.

The feel was more akin to a liquor than a beer. Mouthfeel was thin and watery, with virtually no carbonation.

I have had several beers by George Gale over the years. Various vintages and brews, random settings. I have yet to have one that has aged well, or that I would like to have again. Overall, a disappointment.

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Photo of DaveHS
3.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Ratings are an average of the two vintages listed below.

Vintage 2000

A-Cork was extremely brittle and very difficult to remove. Broke into multiple pieces. Couldn't get them all out of the glass. Pours out completely flat. Watery hazy brown, a color I associate more with a good lambic than an old ale.

S-Sharp, fruity oxidation dominates the aroma. Actually smells a lot like a lambic, which is strange, but also appealing. Fruity and acidic.

T/M-Medium bodied and soft, with an undercurrent of sharp oxidation. Absolutely no carbonation. The flavor profile is extremely muted at this point, but features some fairly pleasant, if nondescript earthy/woody notes, and a plum sweetness.

O-Oxidation has hurt drinkability, but this is still decent stuff. Takes a few good sips to really get into it, but after a while the flavors open up and it's pleasant. You need to really like vintage English barley wines/old ales to go for this.

Vintage 2001

A-This cork was in much better condition, coming out in one solid piece. Pours the color of port wine, darker and more clear than the 2000 vintage, with no head.

S-This one smells a lot better than the 2000. Aromas of overripe figs, plums, cooking sherry, toffee and brown sugar.

T/M-SO much better than the 2000 vintage. Just the slightest traces of oxidation, but otherwise, this is intact and tasting like a good vintage old ale should. Medium bodied and soft, with flavors of toffee, rum soaked raisins, bread pudding and candied cherries. The finish is sweet and sustained.

O-Lack of carbonation might turn some people off, but if you can get past that, there's a lot going on. A classic English old ale that is still drinking great at 10 years.

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Photo of mothman
2.51/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Thanks to Tewaris for bringing this over.

2001 Bottle

Pours very still. No head. Color is a clear copper amber.

Aroma: A lot of malts. Caramel and toffee stick out the most. Just a ton of malts. Smells sticky.

Taste: Much like the nose, but I taste cardboard flavors out of it. I think it has reached its prime. Very malty. Interesting.

Mouthfeel: Flat and bland. No carbonation. Medium bodied. Ends clean.

Overall, this beer was probably past its prime. It had a few good flavors, but I could still taste the old.

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Photo of GallowsThief
3.55/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of a 9.3 oz bottle into my Duvel tulip. Found this relic at the House of Brews. Come all corked up. Bottled 2001.

A – Cloudy, caramel brown on the pour. Almost no head to speak of and no lacing.

S – Has a very cider like smell. Tart. Honey.

T - Funky baby. Dark fruits comes out first. Sherry like flavor. Molasses. Very solid warming booze flavor still at the end. Definitely has cider like qualities to the taste. Tart at the finish.

M – Slick and smooth. Covers the palate. Low carbonation.

O – Pretty tasty brew here. I was skeptical with its age but its done nicely. Nice taste and well balanced. Will be looking for more.

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Photo of drperm
4.94/5  rDev +52.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of my first purchases from Bruisin' Ales in Asheville was a bottle of George Gale's Masterbrew Conquest Ale (2001 bottling). I let it sit for a whole month before breaking down and cracking it open...which is nothing compared to letting my tasting notes sit for 4 months before putting them up on here.
I have had the George Gale Prize Old Ale in the past and gave it high marks (in that Old Ale sort of way), but the Conquest Ale seemed to me to be another whole level of Old Ale-ness.

I found it to be raisiny, almost Madeira-like, also pleasantly nutty and malty. True to aged Old Ale fashion, it had almost no head to it at all -- but, this is aged brew, so you mustn't think of it as "flat" beer. No more than you'd consider whisky to be flat. It does profit from being consumed not cold from the fridge, but letting the temperature rise some. It got better as it got warmer. I also found it best by itself (in sips, not gulps!), or with salted nuts. I remember thinking it might pair well with mild Asian (Chinese) cuisine. Overall, a much more delicate Old Ale than the Prize Old version, but an interesting tasting experience.
A: 3
S: 3
T: 4
M: 3.5
O: 3.5

*Review on 28/4/11
Another bottle of the 2001 vintage, this time allowed to cellar until 2011, so a full 10 years later.
In a word: Brilliant.
A: Rich and brown like a madeira or tawny port. Next to no carbonation or foam, just the slightest hint of bubbles about the edge of the goblet.
S: Oak, tar, molasses, rich soil, and tobacco.
T: Just like a fine sherry or madeira! Smooth, oaky, funky, but BALANCED and not at all hot for its 9%.
M: Silky.
O: I'm in love. Let this puppy sit in your cellar! Have it with a good rich cigar overlooking the ocean at dusk.

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Photo of Knapp85
2.57/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This beer sounded like it was going to be awesome. I ordered a bottle of this at the Bethlehem Speakeasy and waited patiently for the waiter to bring it over. The beer was uncorked and poured into a wine glass. Flat looking brew, no bubbles at all in this thing. The color was hard to tell because the place was dark but it almost looked red. The smell was a lot like wine. The taste was pungent and tart also much like a red wine. This beer's mouthfeel was watery and flat. Not much complexity or anything going on in this. Not really impressive. Bummer.

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Photo of metter98
3.32/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: The beer is hazy amber in color. It poured into a snifter glass without any head or visible signs of carbonation in the form of rising bubbles.
S: The smell resembles that of a port wine and has moderate aromas of caramel, dark fruits and toffee.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and has a slight amount of sourness along with some hints of alcohol.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a bit watery on the palate without any perceptible carbonation. There are some warming sensations from the alcohol in the finish.
O: This beer is a slow sipper given its strength but the lack of body and carbonation didn't make it very interesting.

Note: 2001 vintage

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Photo of OhYesILoveBeer
2.57/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

2001 George Gale & Co. Ltd Masterbrew Pale Ale 275ml/9.3oz corked bottle into snifter. Pours dark mahogany, with no head whatsoever, absolutely lifeless. Smells like wine, like a bitter white wine. Taste like wine, no beer aspect at all here. I picked this "wine" up @ Michaels in Marietta GA for $3.09. When I saw the 2001 vintage I had to shell out the change to grab a few. The cork was intact and not disintegrated like some others reviews, and this beer did not reek of vinegar. Honestly the "wine" was pleasant, paired with my 1lb 3oz ribeye. I'm not much of a wine person but honestly this wasn't a bad experience, but just not what I was expecting. Ive had beers as old as 17 years properly cellared, such as Chimay grande reserve 1994 vint, Westvleteren abt12 1993 vint. Anchor Xmas 1997 and so on. This beer just wasnt up to par with other older vintages Ive had. I gave lower scores due to this brew not being anything like "beer". I wish that I could have found this beer back in early 2k, or maybe even one cellared properly. Overall If you see it grab one, its cool for the collection. I wouldn't open it unless enjoying with someone who's into wines. Cheers!

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Photo of rtepiak
4.05/5  rDev +25%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

vintage 2000 at beer table in park slope

the bartender told me the back story on the beer. Its a english strong ale that spend a pretty long time sitting around. There have been cases in bottle open which still retained a hop character. But at this point it is a bit inconsistent. One thing is for sure it is going to pour completely placid.

nd it did. With a amber that is nearly completely clear with some particles at the bottom. Nose at first is booze. That opens up to a port like candied date. The sugar cane worked with the booze and malt and gave it a quality of amaretto. Palate is warming booze with an intense malt finish of nougat. finish of three musketeers, dense hazelnut, dates, beet sugar, toffee...fresh and burnt on the brink of fusing to the hazelnut with nutella like qualities. Very rich malt finish and were much worth experiencing how unique and elaborate.

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Gale's Conquest Ale Master Brew from George Gale & Company Ltd
Beer rating: 80 out of 100 with 104 ratings