Vintage Ale | Capital Brewery

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Vintage AleVintage Ale
Very Good
56 Ratings
Vintage AleVintage Ale

Brewed by:
Capital Brewery
Wisconsin, United States

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by jj21 on 11-17-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 56 |  Reviews: 55
Photo of brandoman63
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of seeswo
4.25/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Last brewed in 2006, this beer has been cellaring for quite a while. Big shout out to Jason who hooked me up with this. I first had Vintage Ale at the Vintage in Madison and was just freaking out about how good it was. Unfortunately, it was discontinued and I never got another stab at it - until now.

This beer is just as I remember it - dangerously delicious (8.5% ABV). It's rather sweet, and would not work as a session beer but there is something dry in the finish that helps balance this a bit. I don't really know how to describe the taste - maybe like a mega weiss beer? The category "Belgian strong ale" loosely means, "it's strong?" Whatever - it is really good.

It's great and I wish it would come back. Glad I got another chance to taste it.

 756 characters

Photo of coldmeat23
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

GLASS: Sam Adams Perfect Pint Glass
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 55 degrees

This is a medium copper/amber color with some light golden highlights around the outer edges. A this head of fizzy foam appears and quickly dissipates, leaving slight surface patching. Lacing is good, but very slick.

This smells like a bushel of very ripe apples with a ton of raisins thrown in. Sweet, rich maltiness. Notes of brown sugar and english butter toffee. Very slight metallic notes.

The big, rich malt notes are right out front, as far as flavor goes. The apples and golden raisins are much more well balanced here. Golden brown sugar with very light traces of a pecan-like nuttiness, remeniscent of the top of a pecan pie. Great bread-like yeastiness.
The presence of metal is completely forgotten.

Medium body on this one with a mild-to-light level of carbonation. It is extremely smooth and has a tiny bit of creaminess, which is nice.
A touch on the thin side, I think, but still good.

The nose had me a little bit concerned that maybe this one had gone too long. The taste brought me right back around, though. Very tasty, indeed. The 8.50%abv is not detected in the taste or nose but does provide a nice warming effect.

 1,213 characters

Photo of emerge077
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This bottle is almost 4 years old, so take that for what it's worth.
Time hasn't treated this bottle so well, but it's not terrible.

Crystalline amber, a skim forms quickly and fades, leaving an almost still beverage. It looks more like an old ale, or barleywine. A few lazy bubbles escape to the surface.

Smells like an old English ale, musty and stale. Lightly sweet and bready, hints of what used to be toffee and fruit, now faded.

Dried fruit flavors, sweet maltiness, a bit of weird candle wax oxidation. Alcohol is felt but muted somewhat. The feel is rich and syrupy, and it's sippable. In conclusion, this seems to be heading downhill, but from other reviews there may be better preserved samples out there. This was stored 3+ years in a cool dark cellar.

 770 characters

Photo of wheatyweiss
4.08/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found this at Viking Village in Baraboo in the sampler section.

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into an imperial.

Pours a honey color with an impressive murkiness that hints at bottle conditioning, even though I decanted the bottle expecting that. No floaties but a thick cloud. Head is small and sticks well after it settles.

Aroma is of malty booze. Like a mixed vodka drink boozey. Smells of estery phenolic alcohol, very strong. the aroma almost scares me to take a sip. Bourbon is what I smell.

Flavor starts with butterscotch. Straight up butterscotch candy with plenty of sweet candy sugar. Middle is slightly bitter like there are hops there that are scared to show themselves because the booze will beat them up. there is cream on the middle ina explosive characer. Toffee and vanilla ice cream. Finishes extremely alcoholic and slightly bitter.

Mouthfeel is middle of the road. Quite enough carbonation to handle the sweet malt and tame the alcohol.

According to the style guide I have to give props to this one. A lot of beers of this style are over hopped in my opinion, but this one strikes the balance. Not refreshing, but warming and substantial.

 1,165 characters

Photo of DefenCorps
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle received from beerbeagle as an extra in a trade. Thanks, Randy!

A: In my 22oz snifter,the Capital Vintage Ale sits a rather gorgeous shade of orange-red with some orange highlights. There's a thin off-white head that recedes to a ring rather quickly. Quite appealing in this glass

S: Rich, malty and sweet, this beer is pretty swell. Figs, honey, candy and an almost apricot-like sweetness. While the aromas are present, I wish they were a little richer. As it warms up, there's an aroma of leafy hops that comes up - rather intriguing

T: Pretty impressive! There's a ton of malt complexity with a lot of fruitiness - figs, apricots - some honey, floral sweetness. Mid-palate, some hop character becomes apparent but does not get in the way of the malt flavors. Finishes mildly hoppy with a pleasing sweetness

M: The mouthfeel is pretty awesome. medium-to-full in body with a soft and gentle carbonation and a pleasing finish

D: It's sad that they ain't brewing this anymore 'cos this one's a winner!

 1,017 characters

Photo of BitterLover
4.08/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at a friend's house today. He brought it back from a trip to Wisconsin. Poured from a 12 oz bottle.

Appearance: Surprisingly vivid burnt orange color, noticeable haziness, very little head that died down quickly, leaving only a little lacing.

Smell: Very sweet, with honey notes and butterscotch. No noticeable hop aroma.

Taste: As with the smell, sweetness ruled with the taste. Lots of caramel flavor with very little bitterness to balance it, though there was a hint of carmelized ginger present. I didn't realize that the ABV was as high as it was.

Mouthfeel: Thick, almost syrupy.

Drinkability: This was a surprisingly good beer from a brewery that I had never even heard of before. I would have been happy to have another.

 742 characters

Photo of hopdog
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle.

Poured a medium and hazy orange color wtih an average sized off white head. Aromas of melon rinds, fruity, grains, caramel, and spicy. Tastes of caramel, sweet malts, fruity, and citrus. Light alcohol in the finish.

Notes from: 11/21/07

 252 characters

Photo of brdc
4.17/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks SkyDoc, who kept this one in his cellar for almost two years. Based on my impression and prior ratings, I can only imagine this aged extremely well.

Rich reddish to copper in color, with a small but nice light tan head. Very nice malty aroma, loads of caramel but also honey, fruits, and an estery note.
Nearly full bodied, mostly sweet, caramelized and fruity, but alcohol spiciness makes frequent appearances, and it mamanges to end somewhat dry. Very good.

 468 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.45/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I got this one as an extra in a trade recently and did not really know much about it and to be honest had not even heard of it or the brewery, but those are my favorite kinds of beers! The 12oz bottle was served slightly colder then cellar temperature and poured into a nonic pint glass. A nice, warm, orange tinted amber color emerged from the bottle. A good bit of cloudiness and haze mixed in, not enought to detract or obscure but enough to get you to take notice. A large two inch head of white foam then emerged over the top and settled down very quickly leaving behind nothing but a thin crown around the sides and a naked top, now noticeable side glass lace, but it still looked rather nice.

The aroma was very sweet. Loads of caramel and honey were the doninant notes, and it ws clear right away that this was going to be a malty beast. Some light, frui aromas coming through as it warmed. The feel hand an almost syrup like consistency and an almost candy like sweetness. Loads of candy apple and caramel flavors, with a touch of a citrus punch toward the finish. Long lasting sweet flavor that I could still taste that nice candy like tone long after it was gone. For over 8% there was not a chance you could pick that up, though I could feel it after it was done.

Overall this was a very nice beer. A good english style barleywine that really snuck up on me as I was not expecting it to be as good as it ws. Too bad it was a one off as I could see myself having this one again some day.

 1,500 characters

Photo of number1bum
3.55/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to BeerTruth for this one.

Pours a cloudy, somewhat hazed orangeish amber color. About one finger of off-white head which is quite creamy. Keeps a thin lace but doesn't leave much stick.

Smells of caramel malt with some vague fruitiness. Pretty sweet nose with a hint of alcohol.

Taste starts off boozy and then has some caramel sweetness and a butterscotch like flavor. Also some toffee flavor. Some bitter hops provide a little balance through the finish, although beyond a light and indistinct fruity flavor bitterness is all the hops seem to provide.

Quite a thick, chewy mouthfeel, oily and smooth.

Pretty decent beer. Worth a shot.

 652 characters

Photo of KeefD
4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one in a variety sixer from Amy's Cheese and wine in Stanley Wisconsin. It was one of 6 Wisconsin beers I've never had, sampled over the weekend. Review is from notes I took Friday and Saturday May 9th and 10th.

Poured a dark hazy amber color with a very small head and light lacing.

Smell was malty and slightly hoppy. Taste was much the same. It was malty sweet but was very nicely balanced by the bitter hops. Alcohol taste was barely noticeable for its strength.

This beer reminded me of a good English ESB only slightly sweeter.l Excellent brew and would love to have to have again. I hope this one doesnt stay retired.!

 639 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.38/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a lightly hazy, amber body with a small, white head.

Smell: Sweet-smelling caramel apples. Hints of citrus fruits and yeast.

Taste: Sweetish caramel maltiness offset by some apple and melon fruit juiciness and a medium hop bitterness. Hint of citrus. Slight yeastiness. More of the same until the drying finish. Some light hints of alcohol at the end.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Decent enough for one going around at least.

 478 characters

Photo of ATLbeerDog
3.65/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours orange/red in color with a small tan head. Average lacing and average carbonation. Smells of fruity hops dominate. Taste is very hoppy with a ton of citrus. The high 9.5% ABV is very well hidden. Very tasty beer is fairly good and worth a try!!!

 251 characters

Photo of cdkrenz
3.33/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Orange-brown cloudy body with minimal head. The pour is very thick.

S - The scent has a nice combination of malt and hops. There's a hint of pumpkin but not spiced.

T - The flavor, unlike the aroma, has a certain spice to it. It starts out with malt and moves to a hoppy finish. The spice is prevalent throughout.

M - The feel is very important to this brew. It brings out the spice, malt and hop flavors. There is an obvious and potent alcohol texture present.

~ I've only consumed about an eighth of this beer so far and I can already feel the 'HEAD'. It's a dizzy and firm buzz, which I must admit, is quite intriguing. I don't know if I could drink more than one or two in a sitting.

 696 characters

Photo of botham
4.47/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip. pours a reddish amber with a single finger of off white head that is reduced to a soapy rim within a minute.

aroma is very malty, with a distinct caramel and bready character, rather sharp in the nose. a light fruity character forms a base, with notes of apple and grape. almost resembles a boozy belgian dubbel with a considerable amount of malt.

taste is heavy on the malts as well, with the same caramel character, much smoother on the palate, and a similar fruity base of apple and grape. there is a notable difference between the aroma and taste, with the latter much more mellow and smooth.

mouthfeel is full bodied with a creamy texture and a smooth finish. exceptional.

drinkabliity is good. though this brew comes with a mildly high alcoholic tag (8.5% APV), one would never know it while sipping it. wonderfully crafted brew. it is a shame they will not be brewing it again. cheers!

 930 characters

Photo of nsmartell
3.31/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I enjoyed this beer from the comfort of my own living room while enjoying some lime-grilled chicken. Poured from the bottle to a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Cloudy-amber in color with very little head at all.

Smell: Not much going on here. Not sure if there was something wrong with my snout or not, but I only detected a slight hint of fruitiness.

Taste: Malty, bread notes and a little too sweet for my liking.

Mouthfeel: full-bodied

Drinkability: This was given to me as a gift, so I'm not really sure how long it was sitting around. It was too sweet for my liking. I would give it a shot again though, and based on the other reviews, let it warm up longer than I did this time around.

 698 characters

Photo of Chaz
4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the 'fridge a little too cold and set it aside to warm for a minute or two.

While it warmed, the two-fingered medium-tan head fell rather rapidly, leaving behind a good bit of lacing around the edge of the glass, and just a thin layer of head atop the tawny golden-amber beverage inside. While still cold, the nose on this one was fairly assertive, and although whatever hops were used are no doubt softer now there was a faint rush of floral hops to complement the pungent yeast, rich darker malts, and even wheat malts (?) that emanated from the drinking vessel. This is a lot sturdier than I was expecting, and as such I expect it's survived the two years (?*) since it was bottled.

Hazey in the best possible way, and lightly boozy.

On the first taste I'm tasting a sweet, sharp, pungent brew
that still has legs left in it. Definitely fruity, there are pineapple, plum, pear, and marzipan notes here, and the alcohol is gently-warmimg.

As it warms a little more and mellows in the glas, I'm getting just the sliughtest hint of bitterness, alkong with notes of cherry and raspberry, accompanied by just a hint of fusel alcohol in the aromatics. Sweet, cloyingly-treacly-sweet even, but I can't find myself putting this down to, it's very drinkable.

As noted, the spice of the hops didn't quite survive the last year, and no doubt the American palate crave hops (especially high-alpha hops) in a way that the English palate does not, but this is giving me all the impression of an imported British strong / Old ale. Some might find this one to be one-dimensional and "simple", but even with a year on it I'd say this is a more than worthwhile tipple. I'm sorry that my review isn't more elaborate here, but sometimes it's time to put aside the easy criticism and just enjoy the ride.

Hardly a wasted effort on the part of Kirby and his crew.

* date code on my single is partially worn-off.

 1,913 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.56/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Harvest orange with a subtle apple red blush. The mousse-like cap (darker than aged ivory and lighter than ecru) melts in super slow-motion and graces the glass with sudsy sheets of lace as it does so. Love the look.

The nose probably won't knock anyone's strong ale socks off. On the good side, it's muskily fruity and betrays no hint of alcohol. On the less-than-good side, it's underpowered and is exceedingly simple.

Vintage Ale does taste English... in some indefinable way. I'll give the brewers that much. However, it falls short of great beer because the flavor profile is almost as simple as the nose. It's reminiscent of a full-bodied maibock more than anything else.

Pale malt leads the way, with what tastes like a bit of crystal and/or Munich malt filtering in at the edges (that gives the beer a sugar-crusted, toasted almond vibe). Also appreciated are dark honey, dried apples and a mild background spiciness. Although it improves as it warms, the next highest score isn't justified.

There is enough hop bitterness lurking about (after an estimated 16 months in the bottle) to balance the malt sugars and keep things from becoming too sweet and sticky. Alcohol tickles the tongue and warms the body without seeming hot or harsh in any way. If you have Vintage Ale in your cellar, now would be a good time to start drinking.

The mouthfeel is the highlight. VA is full enough to be pleasureable and light enough to be built for speed. The best of both worlds. Interestingly, I wasn't as enamored with the last few ounces once I focused on the mouthfeel again to confirm earlier impressions.

Vintage Ale is close to good beer without quite getting there. I'm not really sure what the folks at Capital could do to improve things, assuming they plan on brewing it again, but a few well-chosen tweaks could turn this into something worthwhile.

 1,859 characters

Photo of Mdog
3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Hazy amber, good head.

Smell: Sweet fruits, grain notes.

Taste: Sweet bread, brown sugar, dark fruit, and a little bit of oxidation.

Mouthfeel: Somewhat coating.

Drinkability: More of a sipper than a session beer.

An interesting beer, reminds me of a English barleywine. Not super sweet, but definitely on the malty side. I think this may have been an old bottle which gave a little of the oxidation flavors.

 426 characters

Photo of Atron67
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- poured a cloudy orangy amber with a heavy offwhite head that stayed pretty well and settled down to thin film

S- maltiness, crystal malt scents and a light hoppiness in the back. Pretty solid.

T- has a solid heavy malt start with a balanced hop finish, not particuarly bitter but well balanced to the heavy malt. Not quite a barleywine flavor too light and pale maltybase but reminiscent.

M- heavy body, thick body that rolls over the tongue and is good. medium tight carbonation.

D- pretty solid ale

 507 characters

Photo of scruffwhor
4.15/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy amber, rust wirth small and slow bubbles. No head at all. The aroma is a malty prune, christmas bread aroma with a hint of alcohol. The beginning is a warm fruit flavor with a hint of nuts and brown sugar and mild bitterness to finish. Medium sweetness with a little syrup and alcoholic warmth. Not cloying though.

 327 characters

Photo of kmpitz2
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. The beer is a muddled orange color with a finger of off-white head that falls to a full coating over top. The clarity is marginal and the carbonation is lifeless. The aroma is exceptionally bready, toasty, and raisin fruity. It smells really nice, if a little more towards the fruityness than I would want. Taking a sip, I find a very good balance between the beady character and the fruity raisin quality. The bready character is really really good here. Mouthfeel is moderate with a very fine carbonation. I think that works well with the flavor profile, as it keeps there from being a bite from the CO2, and I think that would detract from the flavors. Overall, I enjoy this. The aroma is not as balanced as the flavor, but I feel this one is a winner for sure.

 778 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.62/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Somewhat muddled in the characters that define the beer; mixed with good and bad attributes, but combined in such a way that made the experieance rather pleasurable. Looks muddy with copper, oragne, and rust colors falling over a hazy weizen appearance. Aromas of ripe fruit (peaches and appricots) jump out right before a big malty scent overtakes the beer. Light alcohols, sulfer, and oxidation are also evident in the nose. Tastes big on maltiness, but with some additional heavy sweetness (raw honey) that does not rest well. Decorated with peaches, pears, appricots, and apples make a juicy sensation. Papery oxidation comes through in the finish with a moderate bittering hoppiness. Feels heavy because of sweetness, but still light for a Strong Ale. Lacks depth, character, and togetherness to rival top spots for the style. Though problematic, it's still a pretty good beer.

 882 characters

Photo of goodbyeohio
3.69/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

procured at woodman's west in the greater mad city area.

peachy orange color, quite cloudy and sparsely covered. this beer really leaves no lacing save a few slow-moving bubbles which separate and slide leisurely down the glass. upon first whiff, my intrigue turns to homespun comfort. well, this smells nice and biscuity... and there's traces of honey, almond paste, and fresh-baked whole wheat bread in the nose. yeah, when i taste it.. well, it's no old ale. it fits in with the flavor profile of their big lagers (eisphyre, autumnal fire). sweet without lingering abrasiveness. a bit drier in the finish, and very drinkable. light toffee with bready notes, apricot skins and a bit of pepper. i usually like more complexity when i feel like drinking an old ale, but then again, i dislike most old ales. drinking this beer is like overcoming a fear by facing it and realizing it was alot easier than you thought.

i am somewhat glad that this was not an in-your-face, rotten fruit, port and charred wood flavored old ale. this beer is closer to southampton 10th than, say, north coast in its sweet/smooth personality.


 1,139 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Vintage Ale from Capital Brewery
Beer rating: 3.76 out of 5 with 56 ratings