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

104 Ratings
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Gale's Conquest Ale Master BrewGale's Conquest Ale Master Brew

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

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-20-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Ratings: 104 |  Reviews: 84
Photo of PEIhop
3.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of nosavingsaccount
3.75/5  rDev +16.8%

Photo of ao125
2.95/5  rDev -8.1%
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 +3.7%
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 +14.3%
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 Archemedies
4/5  rDev +24.6%

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
1.57/5  rDev -51.1%
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 -12.5%
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 JAHMUR
4/5  rDev +24.6%

Photo of Alieniloquium
1.99/5  rDev -38%
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 -40.8%
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 -20.9%
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 +7.5%
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 -21.8%
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 +10.6%
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 +53.9%
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 -19.9%
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 +3.4%
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 -19.9%
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 +26.2%
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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Photo of brentk56
2.87/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color; no head was expected nor did one materialize

Smell: Caramel, oak and dates

Taste: Up front, it tasted like it smelled, but by mid-palate, it was clear the beer was corked (I mean this in the sense of a wine descriptor but you can take it as a pun, too) and, after the swallow, it disintegrated into a sour mess

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body; flat

Mouthfeel: Oh well..sometimes you win and sometimes you lose; like others have reported, this beer has almost uniformly not stood the test of time

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Photo of cpanossian
2.5/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle says brewed in 2001. Dead cork that disintegrated all over the place when I tried to remove it - gross.
Dull brown color - flat no carbonation. Heavy smell of fortified wine like a sherry and similar taste. Not very fun - sips only. Fortified wine alochol taste/smell overpowers any enjoyment. Not a fan of this style.

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Photo of beertunes
2.65/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A bottle from the discount table at Whidbey Beer Works. I couldn't find a date code on the bottle. Poured into 16oz balloon. Poured a very still, semi cloudy, pale brown with no head or carbonation at all.

The cork smelled vinegary and after in the glass, the beer smelled vinegary and sour. It had the aroma of an English version of a Belgian sour. The taste was mostly vinegar, I'm starting to suspect why this was on the blowout table. I poured gently at first, but with the last couple of ounces, I swirled the bottle to get all the yeast and floaties into the glass. Nope, no help at all.

Listed by the brewery as a pale, the body was typical for that style. Drinkability, would have been average, but sadly the last 3 ounces became my first drain pour.

If you see this remember, there is a reason that this beer is no longer brewed.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.48/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

9.3 oz. bottle, 2001 Vintage, picked up at Hi-Times for a Lincoln, love the label with a medieval castle,

A: Pours a clear red-brown with no head. Real nice colour, from afar could be mistaken for brandy.

S: Honey and aged malt jumped out of the bottle, but once in the glass, the bouquet isn't huge. Mentioned the brandy-like look in the appearance, seems to move over to the nose, there's a hint of armagnac vanilla in there.

T: Dry, tannic oak with a light acidity. Some caramel notes, but there's no residual sugar in this. Some attic must in the finish. Flavours are good, but don't have a great intensity.

M: Very dry, mild acidity, seems on the thin side from a lack of carbonation and alcohol body.

D: A fair example of an aged brew, and while it's not taken a turn for the worse, I believe it is well past its peak. I don't see how it can get better. If you're going to get a vintage ale from these guys, pick up the Prize Old Ale, it ages beautifully.

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Photo of biegaman
3.07/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

The beer was a lovely, blistering golden until I carelessly introduced the yeast, much of which spewed out in large chunks. As it sits now the beer is a murky, relatively listless, clementine colour and is peppered in a slurry of sediment. There is absolutely no sign of carbonation - no bubbles, no head, not even the faintest of trims.

The aroma is replete with a terribly musty, awfully vinegar-like element. It isn't entirely unappealing; in fact, it almost brings to mind a well-aged gueuze because it shares the same hints of dried apples, musty oak and what is popularly (and vaguely) described as 'funk'. It might smell good or terrible depending on the nose (mine is still undecided). If this is sample is indeed over the hill, what was there in the first place that has faded?

One in two - those are the odds that I finish this bottle feeling disappointed. As its pale colour would suggest, the flavour is plain and unsubstantial. For a moment I was again reminded of a Belgian gueuze, mostly because the two share similar flavours of sugar rocks, dry cork and tart green apple. There is also a watered down hint of cognac.

It's certainly hard to know what exactly the brewery was going for. An ingredients list of Maris Otter & Lager malts, Goldings, Fuggles & Challenger hops is indeed an odd puzzle to solve. Styles specifics aside, the result was none too successful. Flavours are hard to come by. This drinks much like a citrus-infused vodka or an odd cider-gin combo.

And the mouthfeel is a complete mess. As alluded to earlier, it has an acidic tang and vividly vinegar-like pucker. The malts are non-existent as is the bitterness. It drinks like a cooking cider or perhaps a spoiled vinegar. The texture is like mildewy cork despite the fact that the cork was in excellent shape and none of it was introduced into the beer.

Despite having been stored in ideal cellar conditions, I have to imagine this has only gotten worse in the eight years since it was brewed. Is this really how they drew it up? Because nothing about it suggests it was ever good, nor that the brewery ever should have recommended extended cellaring. Conquest Ale Masterbrew may be the most misappropriate named beer I've ever come across. Let's hope this one stays retired.

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Gale's Conquest Ale Master Brew from George Gale & Company Ltd
3.21 out of 5 based on 104 ratings.
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