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 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 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 trevorwideman
3.82/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Thanks so much to demcorhip for this one.

Pours with a 3/4 inch head capping a light coppery-gold coloured murky brew. It almost looks a bit grey, strange colour and totally unexpected. Fairly high carbonation keeps some lace going on. Aroma is definitely on the bready malty side, some yeasty notes with a buttery caramel sweetness off the top, then some juicy fruit notes, like pears in syrup. Almost a tropical fruit note in the background, likely from the hops. Spicy too, a bit peppery with alcohol evident. Very nice nose.

Taste is big and extremely bready and malty. This is a pretty sweet brew to be sure. Butterscotch, raisins, plum, apricot, pear. Nice mix of the fruit and caramel-like flavours. Spicy alcohol, pepper, and a subtle hint of some meatier savoury herbs in the background. Mouthfeel is extremely thick with hefty carbonation, but almost feels thin as it goes down....odd. The flavour is pleasant but would benefit from a *slight* sour note in my opinion, it's really quite sweet and borders on cloying at times, but it is big and intense so it gets a good taste rating. All in all a nice autumny sipper, but not more than one for me please.

Cellar Update March 30th, 2008:

At about a year and a half I opened my other bottle. The appearance is about the same, with a little less carbonation and lacing, even after a fairly vigorous pour. The aroma is still very sweet and bready, doppelbock like. Hints of vanilla and wood have begun to appear. Very rich and sweet aroma. The flavour is still sweet but there's a bit more bitterness than I remembered from the first tasting. Hints of roasted malts and lemony sourness compliment a nutty, rich, fruity and caramel-like sweetness. It's really developed some liqueur like flavours. All that said, I don't think this beer would last any longer than two years, but I haven't got anymore bottles to find out.

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Photo of dfried
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Off orange in color, 1cm merengue head. The aroma is of lightly toasted grains, sweet and malty with a few fruity notes of apple peel, pears, and cherries, even a little plum. The taste up front is malty, brown sugar and caramel, but kind of a lighter sugar, not like thick rich molasses. The alcohol is noticeable but not offensive. Fruity notes revealed in the aftertaste, much like the aroma apple peels, cherries, some slight berry notes. Light herbal hop flavor that has a bit of citrusy orange and lemon. A touch of a tinny/yeasty flavor too that was a little wierd. Medium to full bodied.

Overall: this beer was like what I think an imperial amber would be like, lightly hopped with toasted grains upfront with some fruity notes in the aftertaste. Pretty good but I wasn't wow-ed.

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Photo of aforbes10
4.55/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours nice and red brown with a white head that retains itself well. Quite effervescent. clear body. Smells of cherry pie, sweet amber malt, peat, alcohol. Taste is peaty as well, only slightly fruity, spicy hops and malt melded fantastically well. A sipper with a warming alcohol poke, but great and very tasty. Full bodied and well balanced. Definitely the top beer i've tried from Capital. Even better as it comes up to room temp. masterful. I'm actually really surprised that this isn't more highly rated.

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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 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 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 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 terrabyte
4.5/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, wonderful, deep caramel brown color, with a large cream-colored head. It looks thick & dense.

Aroma has a strong caramel smell laced with a strong alcoholic bite that comes across as sweet cotton candy. Fumes barely burn the nose hairs.

Flavor: Caramel Incarnate! One of the best embodiments of caramel flavors I've come across. It's not too sweet, and leans towards a deep rich & warm buttery caramel. The mild alcoholic bite lends itself well to enhance the caramel and add some burnt sugar for sweetness. Very well balanced. Not too strong, but the flavors are strong enough to savor well after swallowing.

Mouthful is a heavy medium, smooth and creamy, and still refreshing.

Drinkability is slightly slower than average due to thickness, flavors and alcohol - but awesome. Great balance of flavors toned back just enough. Although Autumnal Fire is still my favorite brew from Capital Brewery, I still feel like this one was better crafted. It's a semi-pricey 4-pack, but one I purchased quite a few times over the winter.

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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 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 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 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 TheBungyo
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanx to Flyingbison for this treat!

Body is a fiery hue of orange. Decent finger's width of head that vanishes like Houdini. It doesn't even leave a trail of lace.

I can smell rich caramel ... fleshy plums ....maybe a little sweet toffee and brown sugar ... and maple syrup.

Caramel rides up front in this vehicle of taste ... toffee rides shotgun with sweet syrup in the back seat and the slightest hint of cinnamon in the trunk. Nicely done.

I enjoyed the hell out of this beer.

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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 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 Imstillthegman
4.3/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an amber color with an off-white head. Slight chill haze to it. Jagged rings of lacing.

Aroma is nice and strong. Caramel malts mixed with leafy, floral hops. Smells good.

The taste is really good. Just as the style denotes, it's a nice strong English ale. The floral hops and caramel fight it out to see gets the attention, but neither one beats out the other. Balanced rather nicely between the two. There's some fruitiness and alcohol lurking in there, too.

Good mouthfeel with just a bite of bitterness that doesn't linger. Leafy, earthy aftertaste. I like it. I received this bottle in a trade (but I forget from who! BigErn, maybe?) but I would definitely buy this one if it was available in my area.

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Photo of Sephiroth
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to shdbob for the unsolicited bottle. Pours clear and copper. Malty, alcoholic aroma.

This is nice, the malt is driving the car, but the hops are riding shotgun. No sweetness here, just a bunch of caramel malt backed by leafy hops. Mouthfeel is okay, I enjoyed this beer, but I do not know if I would buy it again.

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Photo of BeerCheese
3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this one out of the fridge for about an hour before pouring it into my favorite glass. Clear and copper colored with an off white head. Poured with a 2 finger head, which dissipated moderately fast. Not really much of an aroma. Mouthfeel - lightly carbonated; medium body. Malty sweet flavor with some hop bitterness on the finish. No real taste of alcohol, though I could feel the warmth as it went down. Very drinkable beer, especially for an 8.5% ABV.

Tasted like more!

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

The Capital Brewery (Middleton, WI) made some waves this year by releasing a beer that's just begging to be aged. As an experiment, I want to drink my "Capital Square" four-pack over the next year and trace its development. To achieve a baseline, however, I needed to open one now. Tentatively, I'm going to label the remainder of my bottles as follows:
Bottle 2: open first day of spring 2007
Bottle 3: open first day of autumn 2007
Bottle 4: open January 1, 2008

It's true that most beers do not develop with age beyond a certain point, but then again most wines don't either. What makes strong ales so well suited to aging is their above-average alcohol content. Weighing in at 8.5% alcohol, this beer is definitely within style norms for this high gravity ale.

The twist-off bottle opened with a hiss bursting with Kent goldings and cascade hops, nuanced by some yeasty and mineral notes. When poured vigorously into a glass, the nose demonstrated extreme restraint. Only a faint hops and decided yeast aroma was detectable.

The ale had a rich, warm copper color that was perfectly clear. Many small bubbles rose to the surface, but the carbonation was understated as is appropriate for the style. This lead to a small head of about 2 mm that disappeared almost instantly. The color was unexpectedly light, given the style, but this fact made the beer more surprising and interesting given the stiff hopping and malty backbone.

The flavors are dominated by a progression of complex malt flavors that progress across the mouth like a parade. The first taste is bready like childhood memories of grandma's house. This flavor morphs into a more biscuity maltiness before fading into a warm, generic malt flavor. The hopping is up-front, but not dominating, resulting in a beer that is quite bitter with little hop flavor or aroma. There are hints of vanilla, orange juice, and the tart quality of grapefruit as the beer warmed in the glass. The flavor experience is intense as the beer is slighly viscous and the flavor seems to concentrate on the back of the tongue and on the roof of the mouth, possessing a tannic quality I would normally associate with a red wine. There is also a fair amount of residual sugar in the flavor that gives me high hopes for the continued development of this ale. The beer is almost immediately warming, and is strong enough to demand sipping. This more rewarding than it sounds, however, as the taste persists in the mouth for several minutes.

I don't want to make this beer sound like a brute that would knife you in a dark alley or steal your wallet. It's not that. The flavor is demonstrates an admirable level of restraint, which makes the flavor experience very precise and controlled despite the strength. The beer has a great ale-ish character, a certain wildness to the flavor that isn't too clean, that wasn't reined in by the brewer to make it more polite and docile. Even the carbonation attested to that, as more carbonation would certainly have made it more bitter and astringent on the pallate. It would have been easy to push this beer too far and wound up with a barley wine. The very fact that the Capital Brewery instead got Vintage Ale is a remarkable feat of craftsmanship.

With any luck, this craftsmanship with shine for some time to come.

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