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
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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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 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 uwmgdman
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

This limited release pours a brilliant deep golden/light copper into my mug. A thin white head developed that quickly diminished with barely a trace remaining. The color is very nice, extremely clear. The nose of the beer has a caramel and dark fruit sweetness, along with a little spicyness and a bit of an alcohol note. Not much in the way of hop aroma. The taste of the beer is initially rather sweet, moderate-high on the sweetness. The sweetness is not overwhelming and enough hop bitterness is present to create some balance, no hop flavors detected. At the swallow and lasting afterwards is a slight alcohol warmth, but still pleasant. The beer is rather full-bodied with low carbonation. The smoothness of the beer is very impressive, exceptional smoothness in what has to be a rather potent brew. Overall I found this beer to be fantastic. The aroma is pleasant, the color is striking, taste is great, and smoothness— wow. This is definitely a beer to sip on and enjoy. Its ashamed beers like this are limited releases, but I guess that makes them even more enjoyable.

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2.09/5  rDev -44.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Poured a golden/straw tweener color with an average to below average head.
The smell did not exactly say "ale". How can i put it? Marzenesque? That might be it.
I was still on board until i got to tasting it. Man, i took the first sip, and I just completely separated. My body was in my kitchen, but my mind was brought back through the years to a very different time and a very different place. Suddenly i was a boy in the bathroom with a bad headache. As I recall, i tried to alleviate this by taking two aspirin, which ought to have done the trick. Alas, one of these was caught up in that area where tongue becomes throat, and it began to dissolve. As I tried to swallow it down, the acrid pilly badness of salivated aspirin came up into my mouth. And that, friends, was quite a taste. Mmmm hmmmm. pill spit.
I like bitter, i like sour. But the bitter here is something that I don't abide. I've got 3 more and i'll give them a try. Why the fuck not? But i'd better see some changes.
In all fairness, looks weren't bad, and the feel was actually pretty good. So there is some redemption. I'd prefer great taste dressed poorly. Afterall, Rosie O'Donnell in a hot dress is still just that.

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