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Gales Prize Old Ale (1920s - 2006)

Formerly brewed at Gales
Style: Old Ale
Horndean, England


on tap

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RATINGS: 644   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.36/5   EST. CALORIES: 270   ABV: 9%
Bottle Conditioned. 275ml bottle. Corked.
Ingredients: Maris Otter and minute amounts of black malt and brewing sugar; Fuggles, Goldings and Challenger.
Matured for 12 months in wooden casks.
It is reddish in color with hops and apple fruit on the nose, spicy and malty in the mouth, and a dry, even tart fruity finish with hints of raisins and apple.
The slow work of the yeast in the bottle may increase the alcohol content to 12% or even more. After several years of aging Prize Old Ale gains a more complex palate with Calvados like character. It is said that Prize Old Ale is at its best after 20 years of maturing.
Bottled as Milestones Pale Ale to celebrate the opening of the Milestones Museum.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 20/20
zimbo (807) - SCOTLAND - JAN 19, 2014
My condolences to those reviewers who have had bad bottles. I have often been stung when trying to age bottles but this one was perfection. A lucky decision about when to drink it. Bottled in 2006 from the last batched ever to be bottled under this label (the truly last batch was labelled ’Last Drop’) at the Horndean brewery. Removing the 4cm cork demanded some delicacy so I used a cork screw with a very thin worm (’screw’, yeah, I know it sounds pretentious). Poured slightly below room temperature equally between two ISO glasses. Deep dark shiny mahogany and fruitcake and slight banana on the nose. Likely the richest and most seductive bouquets I have ever inhaled. and that is just the nose. Seemed thinnish to look at but very full on the tongue. A very slightly acidity at the start which quickly falls away. There is a strong layer of sappiness which is just seamless. Everything is so perfectly integrated. On first sip a very slight woodiness before leaving a chewy element. After this it consistently ends smooth, rich and morish which is full and continues to fill out and out as it disappears. The beer equivalent of a naked romp with Brigitte Bardot circa 1958.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 10/20
Sarlacc83 (1540) - Portland, Oregon, USA - DEC 7, 2013
’72 bottle from Douglas. Oldest beer I’ve had. A: Pour gets me a few bubbles. This is dark-brown, and a glass swirl gives me light lacing. N: Aceton, wood, orange, cherry. This is oxidized in a very "interesting" way. T: Spoiled, cherry, acetone, and wood dominate this. Glue and iron. Not really enticing. M: Some heat. Broken body. O: Blech. This is like a bad lambic. Glad to have tried it, but wouldn’t have one again.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
BenH (3244) - Edinburgh, SCOTLAND - DEC 5, 2013
1998 vintage, thanks Tim. Dark brown with not much head. Oxidised aroma, sherry, toffee, raisins. Similar taste, raisins, dates, oxidised. Some sharpness to it. Flat and slightly acidic. Interesting.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
neepsntatties (1506) - Portland, Oregon, USA - DEC 1, 2013
1972 bottling courtesy of "Douglas88". Colour...dark amber with a smidgen of a head. Nose...soured, phenolic and fruity with overripe cherry and tangerine. Palate...tart, dry, phenolic and oaky with a quick burst of dried fruits and Turkish delight and then a very dry quercus finish.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
italarican (1527) - Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA - SEP 26, 2013
1997 bottle shared during the 2013 Foothills BA Sexual Chocolate release. Some watery raisins and butterscotch. Slightly fruity, flat and thin body. It’s held up ok so far.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
seymour (1749) - Maplewood, Missouri, USA - SEP 26, 2013
Shared a cool-looking red foil and cork bottle, 2005 vintage, nicely cellared at Thanksgiving dinner 2012. It poured a mostly clear reddish copper colour, no real bubbles or lace, some definite alcoholic legs when swirled. Smelled like a sour or brett ale, but didn’t taste like it. Aromas of grainy malt, dried fruit, toffee, candy, very faint hops resin and alcohol, perfumey like a port wine. Strong malt flavour, definitely oxidized but not cardboardy, caramelly, VERY fruity, boiled apricot jelly, wild cherries, black plums, tart grape skins. Full-bodied, almost no carbonation, well-rounded mouthfeel, alcoholic warmth, but smooth, smooth, smooth, no unpleasant fusels. Old and boozy in the best possible way. Complex and delicious. Highly recommended.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
SamP01 (641) - New Jersey, USA - SEP 25, 2013
9.3oz corked bottle (2001 vintage). Pours cloudy brown with a thin beige head. Aroma of slightly burnt caramel malt and sweet bitter chocolate upfront, slowly mellows out to some dark fruit, plums and raisins and yeast notes. Taste same as aroma with a slight hint of red wine nuance in the flavor. Palate is a full body, smooth, mild carbonation, has some light sticky mouth feel. Finish same as taste, has nice sweet bitterness in the taste, alcohol is well hidden, hits you in the end. This brew has a complexity yet very good and well balance, a tasty and enjoyable brew. nice.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
zacgillbanks (3568) - Tyne & Wear, ENGLAND - SEP 21, 2013
UPDATED: OCT 3, 2014 2006 Vintage: Drank 2014-10-03. Dark ruby-red brown in colour with no head and no real fizz. It has very rich plum, deep red fruit and sherry flavours, currants and oak followed by a nutty, vanilla and warming, spicy plum finish. Excellent! This bottle has aged extremely well. 2006 Vintage from Rehills, Newcastle: Drank 2013-09-21. This dark brown beer has ruby red highlights and pours with no head. It has slight tart red fruity and vanilla flavours, cherry and slight ‘wet paper bag’ notes on the finish. Slightly best past its best.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
beernbourbon (1426) - Iowa City, Iowa, USA - JUL 11, 2013
1997 bottle. Finally opened after a battle with a crumbly cork. Pour is murky, still brown. No carbonation. Aroma is pretty nice - sweet toasty malt with lots of plum, date, and faint dark brown sugar. Really not much oxidation in aroma. Flavor is very complex. Light tart notes up front with bitter notes to follow. Then faint oxidation notes and a sweet roasted coffee finish. Big flavor, but not great at this point.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Cbuk1013 (246) - Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA - MAY 8, 2013
From memory: I’ve had about a dozen of these and 2 or 3 were flat or outright spoiled. The remaining ones were very good Pours brown. Littke or no head. Some yeast chunks. Smells of maple syrup, sherry, fruit and malt. Complex taste also includes some sourness. Quite a unique beer.

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