Gale’s Prize Old Ale (1998)

One of the coolest things that I found the first time we went to Half Time was this beer. This was brewed when I was a sophomore in high school. I’ve never had a beer with this much age on it. Let’s see how it held up.


ABV: 9%

Style: Old Ale

Trivia: According to the (new) brewery website, “Brewed to 9.0% ABV, Gales Prize Old Ale is a very special and much acclaimed beer that gains its unique, fruity flavour from a prolonged maturation and a special brewing process. At Horndean, Gales’ original home, the beer was stored in oak vats to give the beer a distinctively delicious tart character. Here at Chiswick we blend the most recent brew with barrels of this previous Prize Old Ale, before bottle conditioning to create that year’s special vintage. By treating the beer this way we ensure that we are able to pass those flavours on, and that there’s a little taste of Horndean in every bottle you enjoy.”

Random: I think everyone who is into beer should try a beer like this.

One of the interesting things about this beer was that it was actually corked. When I pulled the cork out, parts broke off, most likely due to the age. This beer poured with no head and obviously left no lacing on the glass. The body was a hazy, dark brown color. Due to the color, I couldn’t see any carbonation. The nose had lots of oak and booze and dark fruit. It almost reminded me of a cognac or Madeira. The taste was really oaky with leather, tobacco and vanilla. There was not as much booze on it as I thought there would be, but it was just very intense and had a vinegar note to it as well that was largely unpleasant. This went away as the beer got warm. Raisins were present too. It reminded me of a wine that was past its prime. The body was overly thin and had absolutely no carbonation. It had a long finish with alcohol and oak. This beer initially was not my cup of tea, but as it opened, I started to appreciate it more. With that being said, I’m glad I got to try a beer with this much age on it, but I wouldn’t have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0