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

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

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

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

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

Mouthfeel: Thick, almost syrupy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hazey in the best possible way, and lightly boozy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

D- pretty solid ale

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