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:
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Ratings: 56 |  Reviews: 55
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 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 NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Capital's Vintage Ale delivers a slightly hazy copper-orange body beneath a frothy head of white that holds well and leaves some nice lace at the outset of the glass. Rich caramelish malt infused with leafy and grassy hops greets you in the nose, accented by floral notes and a bit of alcohol. In the mouth it's creamy and smooth with a full body and median carbonation. The flavor is quite wide and lush with a richly caramelish but not particularly sweet malt that's peppered throughout with leafy and grassy hops. Some mild fruitiness (apricot, apple, papaya, lime) appears, and a mild floral character. It's not complex, and offers the same flavor profile from tip of tongue to swallow, but it is rich. It lingers in the finish, malty, leafy and gently bitter. The alcohol is never overly apparent, even down to the last swigs; although the strength will make itself known! A superb strong ale in the British tradition!

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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 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 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.

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Photo of brandoman63
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

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

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer has a deep apricot colored dense body with a sea of micro bubbles floating around in it. There is a thick creamy off-white head of foam that last and sticks to the glass after each sip.

S- This beer has a caramel toasted malt aroma with fresh dark malt notes in the background.

T- This beer has a rich caramel malt flavor with a hint of alcohol, toffee and a white sugar fruitiness. There is a soft yeasty note that leads into a nice bitter hint at the finish.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a crisp finish due to the alcohol heat which comes through when it warms.

D- This beer has a rich sweet malt flavor that is not real complex but tasty. The hops was a nice balance to the sweet malty flavors but alcohol was pretty mellow until it warmed up a bit.

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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!

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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.

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Photo of Bighuge
3.76/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

English Strong Ale from Capital?? Really??

Hazy scarlet red. Thin and wispy white head. Lacing is pretty decent. Aroma is pretty weak. Some faint toffeeish malt tones and a little pepper spiciness. On the palate, I get some more spiciness, pepper and alcohol, and also some yeasty fruit tones. Malt base provides some nice smooth caramel and toffee tones. Pretty good combo of flavor sensations. The mouthfeel is pretty creamy and easy going. Medium bodied and very easy to drink for the a/v. An interesting beer from what I consider to be one of the top lager breweries in the country. But it's pretty good. A lot better than that banana experiment from lager brewer Sprecher.

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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 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 tavernjef
4.23/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Smeared coppery honey gold color; small, dense capping of slightly off-white foam. Lacing is minimal in a few inky strings.

Aroma is fair and rounded in a lightly breadish malt tone with a hint of grassyness and toasted grains.

Flavors are nice and smooth with a firm maltyness. No surprise coming from Capital, kinda chewy, softly bready with a slight toasted fit among some tighter fitting herbal grassyness as it rolls into the finish with a nice whole grain touch and herbal spicing. The balance is supremely solid and I really like the maltyness this has. It's tenderly backsided with sweetness while having a nice little notion of toasted stuff and letting the herbal grassyness float through.

Body is quite nice, smooth, firm, creamy, and approaching a decent fullness the whole way through. Light carbonation and a nice little grab of flavors to eager it up and keep just enough interest to keep it simple, delightful, and drinkable. A wonderful brew by Capital! I could drink it all day until the cows come home...

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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 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 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 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

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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.

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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 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.

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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 IntriqKen
3.86/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sort of a light tea color in the glass...crystal clear...with a nice off white two finger head that melts to thick lacing.
Aromas are very British malts...a little toasty...with a little bit of fruit character from the hops.
Taste is sort of like a baby barleywine. Very sweet malt, a little sweet fruit in the middle, some breadiness, and then a boozy finish with a bit of chalky drying on the end.
Very interesting style and one that might be a pleasant change from Barleywines are when you want something big, but not as big as a Bigfoot.

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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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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.

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