Vintage Ale | Capital Brewery

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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
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Ratings: 56 |  Reviews: 55
Photo of blackie
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

appearance: Pours an average sized white head that soon falls back. The beer is a copper-amber in color.

smell: A blend of caramel grain and buttery bananas upfront with metallic hops and a slight ethanol twinge just behind. A hint of coconut. Rich and subtle at once...I like it.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is a low medium, and smooth. The body is on the full side of the medium range.

taste: On the tongue, I find grainy caramel, metallic hops, and an abundance of buttery fruits. Some interesting stuff going on, but it seems a little boring at times. Moderate bitterness in the finish.

drinkability: somewhat limited by the buttery/sweet character

single 12 oz. bootlegged southward from Madison in a suitcase

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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.


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

12oz. bottle

Poured a slightly hazy, orange gold color. Topped with a medium sized, creamy, off-white head.

Malty and sweet hit the nose. Fruity -grapes. Caramel. Slight medicinal/herbal scent.

Sweet, but decent bittering to offset. Raisiny. Honeyed wheat bread. Herbal notes. Grassy bitterness at finish.

Medium + body. Medium carbonation. Refreshing.

A nice strong ale. Enjoyable sipper. Good dessert.

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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!!!

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Photo of Winter
3.63/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazed copper with an off-white thick head. Aroma of malt, apricot, passion fruit and alcohol. Alluring soft, full-bodied mouthfeel. Malt flavor upfront is followed by an ale fruitiness. Classic for an English strong ale. Some hop bitterness appears toward the back just before the finish. Some alcohol is noticed toward the back also and provides some warmth. This went down amazingly smooth for its 8.5% abv. Enjoyable winter offering.

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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.

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Photo of mcallister
3.6/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A very nice shade of amber. Orange hues throughout. Head is white small thin and fades quickly leaving trace lacing behind.

Nose of alcohol and dried tropical fruits. Dried pineapple, with a apple ring aroma as well. Hints of lemon and starfruit. A bit of malt shows through and is semi sweet.

This is a decent drinkable beer. Good balance with decent complexity. Mouth is nearly identical to the nose. Much more toffee flavored in the malt. Mouthfeel is has some RS and is medium with a light yet effective carbonation. A solid brew and easy to drink.

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Photo of kirok1999
3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Ruddy gold in color, slight head and just a little lacing. Smells mostly of spicy fruit.
Taste is much like the smell with tropical fruits, spices, and sweet malts. Apple, pineapple and some raisins in the finish.
Finely carbonated and lush mouthfeel.
Easy to drink, really nice as a dessert beer.

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Photo of alexgash
3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

As a big fan of Capital's many great lagers, I was curious to try this "vintage" ale. Served at 50 degrees.

Slightly hazy, dull copper apricot, with lighter edges. Finger of puffy, medium-thick, light beige head. Nose features sugary fruits (banana, strawberry, maybe sweet grapes), syrup, light vegetable twang, light phenol and some spicy yeast. Tripel-ish, but not really a tripel.

Toasted malt and herbal hops up front, followed by sweetening fruits and sugary caramel. Some banana and tropical fruit cocktail. Toasted, almost-astringent bitterness comes on as the caramelly-bread malt character stays. Finish is slightly warming with lasting hop bitterness. Medium-full body with a syrupy feel. Dries out a little in the finish. Not bad, but it just doesn't fit together perfectly.

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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.

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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.

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

12oz single, Riley's

appearance: poured into wine glass...light copper body with a shiny glow to it...beige film with some light lacing

smell: metallic, boozy, lots of sweetness, light bitterness

taste: This beer didnt really surprise me...boozy and sweet and lightly metallic in a very nature specific to Capital. interesting complexities and dangerously boozy. interesting enough for a try

mouthfeel: thick and sweet, smooth

drinkability: aight

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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.

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Photo of ZAP
3.52/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A-Orange...little head

S-Sweet and sticky...has a bit of a doppelbock like aroma...sticky sweet maltiness (molasses and brown sugar), also some mild fruit cocktail like fruitiness...pretty nice overall.

T-Malty beer...has a touch of hard water "mineraliness" (that word is straight out of the Zap dictionary!)...caramel is obvious..also a little pear/apple like fruitiness..Nicely flavored but nothing tremendously complex...finishes a little dry..

M-Medium bodied...not a real big body on this...smooth though

D-Decent enough but nothing I would buy again.

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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.

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Photo of brandoman63
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of Westsidethreat
3.43/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Vivacious orange toffee color with a medium sized sandy colored head. Very still with just a touch of chill haze.

S: Orange sherbert, golden raisins, minor caramel and candy corn

T: Begins with low level toffee and a lot of bitter like plum pit. Mellow yellow fruits with subtle sweetness that never really blossoms. You know when restaurants blends honey into butter? Some of that going on as well with some vanilla and quite a it bit of candied orange. Finishes surprisingly bitter and lightly cloying.

M: Medium body, some what syrupy with a touch of carbo sting.

D: I’m not sure what the deal is with this beer. I feel like it could and should be so much better. I think a year in the cellar might do it some good, but its never going to be a knock out.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of cokes
3.32/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Muddied deep pumpkin hued with a meager dirty white edging.
Grainy nose with backing apple peels, butterscotch, mineral water, and sizable booze flares a la vodka tonics. Caramelized bananas come out as it warms.
A bristly grain come across first in the mouth, but it is dosed swiftly with gobs of butterscotch. Pear step forward, then linger for a good long while, all stewed and glazed in honey. It steps toward banana as it hits room temperature. A mineral-rich sense of hard water precedes then joins with the tinny, metallic hopping and closes distinctly coppery, and not unlike stuffing one's mouth full of pennies. Still, though, that sweetened notion of pears rides long into the after-swallow. Alcohol adds parched heat on the inhale, but little flavor-wise.
Full bodied. Rich and thickly textured, and appropriately low in carbonation.
The malt load is somewhat reminiscent of their Blonde Dopplebock, and with it's rough looks, stray esters, and unrefined results, it comes across as a homebrewed stab at that beer.
It's not horrid, just raw and amateur.

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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.

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Photo of Flyer
3.27/5  rDev -13%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I enjoyed this beer more than I should have, given that the adjectives I'm about to use aren't normally positives in my book: it was not very complex, nor particularly distinctive, and fairly drinkable. And yet -- the aroma is a nice, crisp apricot and orange peel. The initial taste is moderately malty, not much more, but it has a great mouthfeel -- smooth and rounded, yet with just enough tartness to bring it alive on your tongue. I suspect what really makes it work for me is the alcohol -- it's the source of the mouthfeel and the gently warming sensation that helps finish off each sip. I'm not going to rush out and buy this again, but it was very pleasant.

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Photo of shbobdb
2.87/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Remember my comment about Capital being a 'baker' brewery in my review of the Eisphyre? Well, the same holds true here except that they are now also a fish out of water! You know how some breweries make killer ales and then try their hand at a lager -- well, this is the reverse.

But onto the beer itself, not my philosophy behind the philosophy of the beer.

It pours somewhere between a pilsner and a pale ale, it is either a pinch too dark for a pilsner or a pinch too straw coloured for a true 'pale ale' shade. The carbonation is minimal and creates a head that fades into a nice compact hat which lingers a few minutes before leaving completely.

It smells, kinda like extract burn in a homebrew. Booze mingling lightly with faint malt and some english ale yeast esters bouncing around that gives and overall impression of rocket fuel, or perhaps the finest of malt liquors.

The taste is, eh, mediocre. Very faint hints of apricots and delicate nutty munich are present, but minerals from very hard water, and the alcohol manage to dominate. A tripel without unusual yeast esters to compliment the alcohol. Instead it tries to use sweetness as a balancer, but that only manages to remind me of Olde English.

The mouthfeel is pleasant. The malt manages to fill out the dryness created by the alcohol. The hard water also adds a nice roundness to it. Sadly, there is a cloying nature to it that wasn't unpleasant, but isn't welcome either.

Drinkability? Well, it puts me in an awkward place really. Capital usually kicks out a killer brew so I was going to send this as trade schwag. But I don't really don't know if I should? Maybe they will enjoy it more than I did?

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Photo of jdoherty
2.85/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz from Riley's

A: A shiny coppery amber which was lighter than expected considering it was supposed to be an English Strong Ale.

S: Smells strong and metallic, that booze smell wafts up in a light enough fashion that it isnt offputting.

T: Unfortunately the taste pretty much is the same as the smell, particularly the metallic taste, almost as if it came from a can.

M: I'm not going to lie, it reminds me of Icehouse quite a bit, medium body and smooth but leaving a sour aftertaste that isnt that pleasant.

D: Considering its limited release stature, I was expecting a little more. You could pound this until you pass out, but you won't be thrilled.

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Photo of granger10
2.18/5  rDev -42%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Very bright coppery color, lighter than I expected this beer to be. Smallish white head reduces to a small film atop the liquid. Spots of lacing. Smell is strong on alcholic fusels. Some sweeter honey smells. Strong banana liquer with a touch of floral esters. It's not too strong in smell but not too good either. Taste falls along the same lines of the aroma. Sweet without much body behind it. Strong alcohol fusels all the way through. Very hot. Some yeasty esters at the top. Rubbing alcohol in the back. More of that banana liquer. Finish is medicinal, aspirin like. Maybe age could help but right now this is a trainwreck. Just my two cents.

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Vintage Ale from Capital Brewery
Beer rating: 3.76 out of 5 with 56 ratings