Home >

Bass No 1 / King’s Ale

Formerly brewed at White Shield / Museum (MolsonCoors)
Style: Barley Wine
Burton-on-Trent, England
Serve in Snifter


on tap


Add Distribution Data
RATINGS: 138   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.73   EST. CALORIES: 315   ABV: 10.5%
Cask & bottle: Occasional.
Abv has varied between 9.0% and 10.5%.
This is the very first Barley Wine to ever be mass produced. It is named after the brewery in which it was first brewed. This beer started a tradition in British brewing in which all brewers produced a barley wine. This beer is only produced occasionally and as such is very hard to find.
Bass King’s Ale is a batch of Bass No. 1 which was started by Edward VII during a visit to the brewery in 1902.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Skyview (5310) - Papoose Jct, Minnesota, USA - JUN 12, 2011
Wow, a 109 year old bottle of barley wine. Shared by BDR, pours a hazy brownish copper colored brew with no head. Aroma of tawny sherry, powdery brown sugar, a hint of soy and a touch of cellar cardboard. Taste is medium to full bodied, flavors of earthy oak wood, burnt brown sugar, sherry, a touch of part and dark Baker’s chocolate. Finish is dry bitter and dusty brown sugar with an aftertaste of old cardboard, vanilla and dried prune. This barley wine really held up after surviving two world wars, two world economic downfalls, and at least 100 failed predictions of end of times. Happy to have experienced this "once in a lifetime" drink.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
BDR (2534) - Roseville, Minnesota, USA - JUN 11, 2011
A huge thanks to cletus for this Kings ale bottle. Opening this up was like brain surgery. The massive cork was near the end of its life. I needed to decant and strain the bottle. The aroma is BIG. Lots of sherry and burnt brown sugar. A little dust in there, but not enough to detract. The body is brown and nearly still after the initial carbonation. No head. The body is very dry, with a pronounced oak character. A little vinous character and a lot of soy. Just a faint hint of chocolate towards the end. I was afraid I’d be disappointed, but this is stellar. And I"m sure I’m not just "tasting the rare" here.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
MatSciGuy (907) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - JUN 11, 2011
[1902 bottle] that is not a typo. Labeled as King’s Ale. Thanks Brad!!! Smells like a beer, so that’s encouraging. Pours flat brown, mostly clear. Aroma is a touch of soy, alcohol, not as much oxidation as you’d expect, but a touch of cardboard and sherry, some sweet caramel and a touch of burnt brown sugar. Flavor is a bit thinned out, burnt sugar, light sweetness, lightly chalky, light oakiness. Not supremely complex, but very remarkable considering the age. Thanks again, Brad.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
hopscotch (10080) - Vero Beach, Florida, USA - JUN 3, 2011
Bottle (Bass Kings Ale 1902)… Farewell to ibrew2or3… Murky burnt-caramel ale with no head. The bouquet pounds my olfactory system with esters, phenols, autolysis and oxidation galore – boatloads of dried plum, fallen apples, medium sherry, vanilla, new tire rubber and caramel. Medium to full-bodied with a milky mouthfeel and expired carbonation. The flavor is lightly tart and bursting-at-the-seams with dry to medium sherry, prune juice, fallen apples and very, very little sweetness. Finishes pruney and tangy. It’s seen better days. Probably peaked in the 1940s or 1950s – twenty to thirty years before I was born. Regardless, this was the second best drinking experience of my life. First place goes to a 1946 (bottled twenty years later in 1966) Ballentine Burton Ale I drank back in 2007. Unbelievably, that hoppy amber ale still smelled and tasted good. Not hoppy, but good nonetheless. Anyway, this piece of history was provided by Blazer06. Thanks a million, Zack!

   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 3/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 7/20
markwise (4786) - North of Tampa, Florida, USA - JUN 2, 2011
Thanks to Blazer06 for sharing this OG of barleywines at IBrew2or3’s going away. Pours a chunky cola brown with a virtually still head. Nose is cherry, cardboard, some caramel, and a huge bit of yeast. Flavor is similar with a hint that it was excellent in its day.

   AROMA 1/10   APPEARANCE 1/5   TASTE 1/10   PALATE 1/5   OVERALL 5/20
HonusWagner (1702) - Florida, USA - MAY 29, 2011
Holy hell WTF 1902 bottle brought by Zack, obviously a greater piece of beer history than beer at this point. Cool as all hell. Tasted like a beer that was born before my great-grandmother should. Soy sauce. Booze. Cardboard. Almost impossible to get down; I tried to finish my glass out of respect, but had to drainpour the last few drops. And yet it was one of the greatest beer experiences of my life.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
chriso (7482) - London, Greater London, ENGLAND - MAY 15, 2011
Cask (handpump) at the White Horse, Parsons Green on 27 January 2007. Deep ruby colour. No head to speak of. Very raisiny and fruity in the aroma. I’d been so looking forward to this but ended up a little disappointed. More booze soaked fruit on the palate. But there’s a strange herbal bitterness, bordering on astringence - something like angostura bitters - and a slight acetic edge. Mouthfeel ends up relatively smooth, if a little woody. Plenty of interest here but it just felt rather unbalanced. I don’t know how long this had been in the cask but I think it could have benefit from more age for things to meld together better. Subsequently tasted at SilkTork’s wedding reception as an ancient bottle of Kings Ale that was, frankly, about 50 years past its best. The quest for a happy medium continues.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
madmitch76 (18139) - , Essex, ENGLAND - JAN 5, 2011
UPDATED: MAR 3, 2013
8th September 2007
Ractliff Ale - Bottled 16th December 1869 Dark brown ale. Heady nose - sour, wet wood, sherry and a hint of smoke. Intense fruity tang with apple dominating. Mellow smokey notes and then some salty caramel. Complex, unique and fantastic. A pretty intense beer that is still drinkable after an incredible 138 years!

1st March 2008
Kings Ale - Bottled 22nd February 1902 Dark brown beer, zero carbonation (duh!). Amazing nose of damp wood and brandy. Very intense sour and somewhat salty malt. Very slight fruit here and then some sublte smoke. Mouth watering - another remarkable antique beer!

29th May 2011
1977 Jubilee Ale. Rich dark red beer,few tan bubbles for a head. Woody - sherry nose, very fragrant. Light dry palate, the dryness being woody. Malty background provides a canvas for Vintage Port blackberry and cherry fruits and a little sherry. Finshes dry with bitter wet wood. Mild warming afterglow. Another great Bass super aged beer!

24th January 2013
Princes Ale 23rd July 1929. THE others tasting. Bit of bitch getting the cork off. Murky brown beer, no head. Nice nose of cherry and wet wood. Palate is dry and light. Taste follows the nose. Dry wood and fresh wood and a little cherry. Touch of brandy as well. Dry finish. Pleasantly fruity and woody!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
daknole (10280) - Scottsdale, Arizona, USA - OCT 14, 2010
LCBS 2010. Wow this one was fun. Watching Marc Nolan open it was entertainment for the night! It poured a still amber color. Aroma is pure sherry. Oxidation did this one just fine, thank you! Some great raisins, booze and prunes in the aroma and flavor. But it tastes like an amazingly wonderful sherry. Really delicious. Thanks Zac for this gem.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
50belair (2955) - Florida, USA - OCT 9, 2010
1929 bottle courtesy of Zack at the LCBS 10. I can’t believe this beer is actually 81 freakin’ years old. What?? It had some oxidation, but when you consider the fact that this bottle survived six years of the Reich shelling the British Isles, the heyday of the Stones and Beatles, the birth of punk, and the turn of the millennium; it’s pretty amazing. In fact, this bottle has probably outlasted most of the people born in England that year, and certainly all of their teeth. So back to the taste, vanilla, molasses, and some dark fruit were running the show.....

We Want To Hear From You

Join us! RateBeer is made by beer enthusiasts for the craft beer community. Your basic membership is free and allows you to read all beer ratings. Click here to create your account... and give your opinion!

Join Us »

Page  1 2 3 4  5  6 7 8 » 14

Tick this beer

for your profile
  • Currently 0/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Copyright © 2000-2015,
RateBeer LLC. All rights
about us
About RateBeer
New Beers
Advanced Search
Add A Beer
Add A Brewer
Add A Place
Log In
Edit Personal Info
Buy Premium Membership
Your Messages
the best
RateBeer Best
100 Beer Club
The Top 50