Prairie Gold | Capital Brewery

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Prairie GoldPrairie Gold
Prairie GoldPrairie Gold

Brewed by:
Capital Brewery
Wisconsin, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.70%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 24 | Ratings: 26
Photo of pmcadamis
4.07/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Crimson tinged gold, slightly clear, with a small but well-built eggshell head. The head looks creamy, and so does the lace slowly sliding back into the brew. Head retention is really good too.

S - Maple syrup. This smells like a one of those caramel gooey candies with the vanilla white stuff swirled up in the middle. I have no idea what they are called, but they're good. Behind the sweetness, there is a musky cologne-like scent.... and when I say cologne, I don't mean some balsa-wood lavender infusion crap. Im talkin' some good old English Leather or Old Spice. Real man's cologne!

T - Not as sweet as the nose suggests, this is complex as hell. After the initial toffee flavors (but not sweet) it shows tons of deep wood, stone, mineral, and earth notes with a dash of cinnamon and red wine tannins on the finish.

M - Lots of carbonation and a crisp and dry finish makes this one extremely lively and playful, and that is the hallmark of a good Belgian pale or strong-pale ale.

D - This isn't on the same level as the authentic Belgians, and the obvious comparison to Duvel isn't even warranted, but for a Belgian style pale ale brewed in Wiscansin, this is damn good! I thought that this would be another "summer seasonal" American wheat or pils but I was very happy to discover a very good stab at a semi-obscure style.

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Photo of nsmartell
3.33/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I enjoyed this beer from the comfort of my own living room. From the 12oz bottle to a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a nice gold color with a thick, white head with real nice lacing.

Smell: Spicy and floral hops.

Taste: Bread and malts and hints of alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and highly carbonated.

Drinkability: The best Capital brew I have tasted to date. Would try again.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.57/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sparkling topaz with bright goldenrod trim. The two finger cap of fluffy foam is lightly yellowed ivory in color and doesn't look the least bit Belgianesque (that would have been too much to hope for). Sheer sheets of shredded lace look better than decent.

The nose is as much hefeweizen as Belgian pale ale. An ABV of 6.7% doesn't qualify any beer as 'strong' unless one lives in the British Isles. Each sniff delivers plenty of banana and quite a bit of clove. There must be a fairly high quality yeast strain in the house.

Capital Prairie Gold doesn't taste as good as it smells, although it's still above average beer in a general sense. Compared to a true Belgian pale ale, it's probably no better than average. I'm having trouble putting my finger on exactly why this offering doesn't measure up.

The beer has some underlying sweetness due to the addition of candi sugar. As each mouthful progresses, however, it becomes increasingly bitter and surprisingly dry. Other than the fruit and spice of the yeast, there aren't a whole lot of flavors floating around. Unfortunately, the yeast isn't quite as vibrant as expected.

An unwelcome graininess peeks through at the edges and is joined by a flash of alcohol that might have softened a fraction given another few months in repose. I still get banana and clove, perhaps a hint of tart apricot as well. Bottom line: too bitter, too dry and too warm.

The body/mouthfeel can't hold a candle to the Belgian originals. It's medium in heft, with a slight candi sugar slickness and energetic carbonation that is somewhat harsh and brittle rather than soft, creamy and caressing. Plenty of work to do here.

I'm not sure why Capital, a midwestern brewery known for German-style lagers, would release a Belgian pale ale as a summer seasonal. In the final reckoning, Prairie Gold is okay beer, but I have no desire to drink it again unless some pretty significant changes are made.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.38/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

As I pour this into my 25cl tulip glass an aroma of grassy grain and then a touch of sweet grain hits my nose. The beer pours with a frothy, initially three-finger thick, pale tan colored head. The beer is a rich gold hue that shows a bright, full gold color when held up to the light. The nose has a touch of fruitiness to it that reminds me just a bit of brandy, green apples, unripe melon and perhaps a touch of something like cucumber. The before mentioned grassy grain notes are noticeable towards the end as is a crushed saltine cracker like aroma. Not overly characterful in the aroma department, this is a bit bland for the type of Belgian-styled beer that I prefer, but it is within the bounds of commercial Belgian examples (especially from the bigger breweries).

Sweet flavors of fruit, malt and alcohol lead the way. There is a bit of clove in the middle and a touch of hot alcohol to the finish. The fruit flavors are a mix of sweet green apples, watermelon rind, and lightly tart green grapes. While this has a only slight heft to it, one that I typically look for in Belgian interpretations, this comes off somehow as thin, which I think is more because the flavors seem a bit bland somehow. Bland may be the wrong description though as there are definitely some characterizing flavors here, it is perhaps more apt to say that this doesn't have the finesse & edge to it that is needed to make this a balanced, characterful brew. A touch of honey-like malt sweetness and a faint grassy grain character, mixed with a light pale-malt biscuit note both of which tend to linger a bit in the finish.

Not a bad beer, but for some reason just doesn't seem to work for me. I am looking for a bit more character and finesse to make this really good. Somehow this just seems to taste a bit too much like cheap malt liquor.

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Photo of lowbrau
3.44/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pale gold color with a thin head. Many tiny streams of bubbles and a small bit of sediment.

Smell: Characteristic Belgian yeast spiciness. Clove and citrus notes. Sharp and estery.

Taste: Slightly pale taste, but well balanced. The alcohol was very noticeable in the finish. Finishes clean, but slightly watery.

Mouthfeel: Nothing remarkable here. Carbonation seemed a little high. The finish was so clean I almost didn't know I was drinking it.

Drinkability: It's very clean and smooth, but I can see getting tired of it fairly quickly.

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Photo of Rennpferd
4.1/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

It poured clear and pale yellow with a massive four finger head that almost over-ran the lip of the glass. The head retreated and left very nice lacing around the edges of the glass.

A slightly bitter and spicey aroma was apparent.

An initial well balanced taste of malt and hops that quickly is replaced with a mild spicey finish. Smooth and slightly watery. A light body.

It's pretty good to drink. This could be a good session beer.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.82/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle received from maximum12 in the Summer Beer BIF. Thanks Corey! Poured into my Duvel tulip

A: Gorgeous golden pour with a thin white head that recedes rather quickly to a disk. Retention could be better for the low ABV

S: Smells pretty good with black pepper, rose and honey. There's a hint of bubblegum too

T: Simple and good, the flavors on palate replicate the nose. Dry spiciness on the finish. There's a mildly metallic taste somewhere in the middle and that detracts from a wonderful beer.

M: Light in body, dry in finish, great carbonation - all round great beer until the metallic flavor kicks in. The finish could be a little spicier too

D: This one is disappearing in less time than it takes to heat a TV dinner.

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Photo of wheatyweiss
4.05/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a medium straw with an impressive head that linger and leaves sticky lace all around.

Smell is of burnt grains and lightly roasted caramel.

Flavor is wheat grains, crystal malt and sour yeast. Like a wheat saison. There is a mild banana and clove flavor reminiscent of a wheat. The roast on the malt is very apparent. There is a sharp edge to it that lingers.

Excellent beer, I like it.

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Photo of emerge077
3.08/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pale gold body, fizzy swarm of bubbles when swirled. Minor bits of lace, it maintains a broken skim across the surface.

Grainy aroma at first, that picks up some sweetness and begins to resemble apple jacks cereal. "Beery" and a little bit phenolic. Definitely not getting any Belgian character.

Sweet and dry, with a papery malt and apple jacks cereal flavor. Phenolic and slightly gassy feeling. Didn't want another one, glad the six pack is gone.

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Photo of Bighuge
3.67/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep golden. Pretty clear body. Cap is snow white. Leaves sporadic lace. Aroma's biscuity and toasty with a little belgian yeast character as well. Spicy belgian yeast notes hit the palate first. A little pepper and a little ethanol as well. The base is built by biscuity malt tones. Slight phenolic undertones to this beer. Full bodied and moderately carbonated. Not one of their better offerings. A bit of advice for Capital: Stick to German beers. You are awesome at them. Stay away from Belgian beers. German beers, not Belgian.

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Photo of Slynger
3.53/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear golden color with a slight orange hue and a cap of fine off-white fuzz.

It's sweet and spicy, candi sugary with peppery-cloviness and lightly yeasty and fruity. Fuzzy-tingly, lightly sharp medium.

Not bad, but a sixer will definitely be sufficient.

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Photo of steveh
4.3/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

While the label calls this a "Belgian Golden Ale," I found the characteristics closer to a Belgian Blonde Ale than a Belgian Golden Strong Ale (the ABV supports this too).

A -- Clear, deep golden in color with a finely bubbled white head that settles slowly.

S -- Spicy alcohol followed by mellow, sweet malts. Mild DMS in nose belying the Pils malt used. Honey notes and sugar sweetness near to caramel.

T -- Mellow, sweet malts combined with graininess and a honey sweetness. Alcohol notes and mild citrus character that suggest pear or tart green apple, but not in the fault direction. Honey character back with a spicy finish from hops.

M -- Light, soft body with a spritzy mouth-feel. Vaguely syrupy, no doubt from the use of candy sugar.

D -- Drinkability is too much so, for a 6.7% beer! Very smooth.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.62/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pilsnery, clea yellow with a slight amber twinge to it. Small slow bubbles slowly rise to the top of the beer. Very quick head at the top ofthis brew with light white rig of foam. The aroma has a sugary grass note. Almost like a combination of pilsner and a light pale Belgian ale. Makes me think more of a pilsner with some candi sugar sweetness of a Belgian ale. Very easy palate and a good after work beer that has a sneaky abv.

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

At 6.7%, this is really just a Belgian Pale Ale and I'll review it as such (though I think "Belgian Blonde" could be a legitimate style).

A: Gold with a white head, some retention & lacing.

S: Pleasant spicing, floral hops, citrus rind, biscuity malt & hints of metallic minerals.

T: Smooth biscuity malt (I really like the malt this brewery uses); marmalade; pleasant spicyness from the yeast (though it's not overly Belgian), hints of candied fruit & Jaggery sugar. Balanced bitterness & the alcohol is subtle.

M: Moderate body is smooth with a prickly carbonation & an off-dry finish (Belgian's are typically attenuated a little more).

D: Quite drinkable.

Brewers info:

Summer Seasonal 2008 - This is Belgian Blonde ale has a unique, spicy flavor. It is moderate in body. Kirby has used nearly 300 pounds of sugar to boost the strength to an ABV of 6.7%.

Available June-July 2008.

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Photo of ZAP
3.94/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Peach colored...small white head

S-Fruity with spicy notes. wide range of fruits including pears, mangos, and papaya's along with nectarines and peaches....also a peppery spiciness. Very nice...maltiness lacks typical Belgian qualities...

T-Enjoyable flavor to this...nice mix of fruitiness and spiciness...fruits seem to have narrowed down to pears and nectarines with perhaps some mild mango...peppery spiciness compliments..

M-Medium bodied but lacks carbonation and seems a little light in the shorts for the style.

D-This is a pretty good...I enjoyed it. Not a world classic but well worth drinking...

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Photo of ibashmuck
3.4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Purchased as part of "build-your-own-six-pack" at local grocer. Thick medium head on a "standard" beer gold/yellow. Hints of fruit and florals come through in the smell. They were almost non-existent in the taste, however. Very faint. Came across as rather boring, unremarkable. Initial bite on the tongue, but gets better as it warms. Actually tasted like a standard macro brewed lager. I expected more, may have to try another.

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Photo of shbobdb
3.26/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I was visiting the Terrace, ahhh, what a place. One of the finest places in the world, actually. So I blind ordered the Capital seasonal -- after all, I am in Wisconsin and I like Capital Brewery.

I wasn't sure what to make of this beer as I drank it. Belgian pils is very different from German pils, but they clearly used German pils here (no surprise, given that they are a German-style brewery). So as I was drinking this beer, I thought it was a Maibock that had been fermented with a tutti-frutti lager strain akin to the Heinie lager yeast.

That was my first impression anyway. As the pitcher warmed and I drank it, I started to think maybe it was a Damfbier, that is, a weizen with no wheat. There was an unmistakable yeast presence.

As it warmed, I put my money on a saison, or something similar. The esters commonly associated with Belgian beers became unmistakeable. But they mingled surprisingly poorly with the sulfurous German pils, creating a rather Franken-beer like impression.

Not one of Capital's best. Not a bad Belgian Strong Pale, but there are so many better Belgian Pales, why bother? On top of that the German malts. . . they just don't work. I wanted this beer to be more Germanic as I drank it and I imagine a Belgiophile would want it to be more Belgian.

Didn't twist my nipples.

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Photo of tavernjef
3.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up as a mixer sixer at Cellar's Roseville: Clearish bolder yellowy gold color with a good amount of bubbles keeping an activity of streams. A thin whitish capping of firm, somewhat crunchy foam sits a top breifly before fading to a constant skim and a firm collar. Some lacing in broken spots and sheets are displayed on the glass.

Aroma is somewhat flat and dullish with slight yeasty notes of citrusy spice, corriander, and doughy sugars. A bit of pear and melon round off its fruity side within each wiff as it warms.

Taste is much like what the aroma lends itself to as its somewhat dullishly sweet, yet paled and drying with a doughy center flaking off into a melony drying citrus tone all the while keeping its yeasty spice and slightly snappy bite. Poofs of clove, corriander, and lemon peels keep it interesting.

Feel is pretty good with a good amount of mediumish character in each sip. Lots of changing little nuances from sweetish, to drying, to spicy, to bready, to dry and spicy again. Firm on the lips, rounded on the tongue, pale and tangyish in the mouth, and dry and spicy everywhere else as it finishes.

A suprise to be sure from Capital as I thought this was going to be somekind of Begian take on a lager. But nope, it hits the style of Belgian Pale with a twist of what I think Capital would make. And thusly, a pretty decent effort to go off their regular routine and try an expansion of brewing styles like this. Good enough for some summery drinkin' no doubt.

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Photo of botham
3.13/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip. pours a crystal clear brilliant golden color with a single finger of lightly loose white head. no lacings.

aroma is fresh with a wheat malt base and a touch of citrus. the aroma has more malt than a typical hefeweizen, through the brew remains quite similar to one in profile. lemon is the most distinct fruit, with a touch of apple as well.

taste is of wheat malt and munich malt up front, with the citrus bridging the gap from the front to the back of the palate. a yeasty backbone and a light citrusy finish leave an aftertaste of residual grain.

mouthfeel is light bodied with a watery texture, a bit too light for the flavors present. could use a bit more body.

drinkability is good. the grain here gets a bit rich at times, discounting the overall refreshing nature of the brew. all things considered, this is a decent brew, but definitely not the best from Capital.

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Photo of KI9A
3.37/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured meduim golden, nice head.

S: Spices, fruit, typical Belgian ale smell.

T: Hmm. Typical belgian ale, but toned down a bit. Corrander, fruity pear/apples, even a malty backbone.

M/D: A lighter version of a Belgian strong ale. Not offensive at all. Easier to drink than many of the Bel strongs around, which might be a good gateway into these styles. Listed as 7.8%, but, I packed away two pretty easily.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.63/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz single, got a 6 pack at star about a month ago, excited to see a new capital release

appearance: pours into a pint glass, clean golden body with a moderate beige froth

smell: sweet pear, apple, and other summer fruit...some typical belgian spices (corriander, etc) but otherwise not overly belgian

taste: nothing too special here but its quite drinkable and rather refreshing, toasted grain and sweet fruits make up the main flavor profile, moderate alcohol levels, very light belgian yeast and corriander spice...2 consecutive non-german releases from capital that fell a little short, leave the belgian experiments to new glarus

mouthfeel: light but refreshing

drinkability: pretty strong

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Photo of BeerBelcher
3.13/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This was very fruity for a Belgian style ale, to the extent that when I had it I thought it was a fruit beer. Nonetheless, there is something distinctly Belgian about this beer, which I think is its spiciness (lots of coriander and clove) and its mouthfeel; both are reminiscent to me of a very spiced Hefeweizen or witbier. Appearance is clear and brilliant and lightly amber; aroma is fruity and spiced; flavor is as I've described above.

I would weakly recommend this beer; as it is marketed (a Belgian ale), it is interesting. If Capital had called it a fruit beer, I'd be passing on it.

I had this bottle at a friend's house.

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Photo of cokes
3.47/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one took me by surprise. I purchased a sixer of "Summer" (as the carrier read) thinking their Summer Fest packaging had received a makeover as many of their other had. I pulled the first beer out to find it labeled Prairie Gold...a beer I had no idea even existed.

I am also stunned at a Belgian Style offering coming from Capital.

It pours a perfectly clear honeyed gold color with a quick-rising and quick falling white head. It quickly whittles away to nothing.
Aromas of sour dough bread, corn flakes, and Pinio Grigio.
Through the mouth, it has that same sense of floured sour dough, now backed with pale malts giving it a crackery dryness. It's mostly dry and bready and lightly toasty even, but traces of honey, lemon and wine grape appear as it warms, along with a distict flaked maize note. Yeast is on the bland side for a Belgian-style, and mostly peppery, though tracers of vanilla and clove come through late. Hopping is full of lemon-rind and dried grass.
Medium bodied, with a low carbonation for the type. It drank easily enough, once the culture shock wore off. There are enough common Capital elements to orientate oneself. In fact, the more I have of it, the more it reminds me of their Maibock with a small dose of Belgo-yeast and corn syrup.

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Photo of jj21
4.15/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle
This has the appearance of Duvel without the meringue head. Clear, yellow with great carbonation. Fluffy white head that disappears over a few minutes leaving a nice lacing. Good yeasty aromas with the usual spices of Belgian Pales- clove and fruit. Good spiciness on the tongue. Crisp and refreshing for a beer approaching 10% ABV. I can see drinking this one through the summer. Close to being a pilsner with the crispness.

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Prairie Gold from Capital Brewery
Beer rating: 3.58 out of 5 with 26 ratings