Episode 162 – Gale’s Prize Old Ale

From George Gale & Company Ltd in the United Kingdom this is a 9% ABV Old Ale. Traditionally Old Ales are filled with dextrins which are meant to provide huge amounts of body to a beer. This means at 9% ABV a balancing act has to be played between the ABV and the body of the beer. The nose of this beer was amazing – chocolate covered cherries warmth simply wonderful. The taste however… well… we’ve never been quite so – surprised – on Two Guys on Beer before. Take a watch.

  • Schafchar

    Should try Yorkshire Stingo. Good old ale/ barleywine.

  • J_nechvatal

    You should try “Old Stock Ale” from North Coast Brewing. Excellent beer and 12.5%ABV!

  • geezer

    Wow, I’m surprised at that reaction. 2005 would be pre the Fullers takeover I suppose. I enjoyed the reaction to it. I’m currently working my way throug h a case of 2007 vintage (one bottle every 6 months or so) and have found them all to be demanding but tasty. Extreme sourness when young, which has mellowed considerably over time, plum pudding and they have all poured with a healthy head. These have crown caps not corks. I wonder if 2 years down the line they’ll come out like yours. It’s certainly not a first beer or one for the middle of summer. Try another batch sometime (or at least one from another batch).

  • http://davemartorana.com Dave Martorana

    Absolutely! That’s why we left the possibility of spoilage. The taste was conducive of nothing Old-Ale-ish, so we’re gonna grab another vintage and give it another try.

  • Chris

    I agree folks, I recently came across a case of the 2005 vintage which I purchased. Sadly the first bottle was spoiled the cork had cracked leaving the brew undrinkable. Fortunately I opened two mothers from the case which did not have the cork issue. However, I agree with Dave and Johnny the noise is promising but the taste is a big let down. In the past year I’ve had the 2003 and 2007 vintage both were better than the 2005. I would rate them in the mid 80′s.

  • SamB

    I know it’s an old thread, but in case anyone’s still looking:
    Prize Old ale was originally (Before Fullers bought out Gales and moved production to London) brewed and matured in Oak before blending with fresh beer, bottling, and further maturing , and the bacteria that lived in the oak at the Horndean brewery were a vital part of the flavour, producing amongst other things, the Lactic acid which makes Prize Old Ale much sharper, thus less thick tasting than expected (as with the Belgian Lambic beers). Fullers have retained these bacteria by batch brewing, and retaining some of the previous brew (going back to a vast batch of 2006 which came from the Horndean brewery).
    It is possible that your batch was off, or that your tastes are very different to other reviewers (http://www.beer-pages.com/stories/gales-prize-old-ale.htm) and my memories, which tend to agree on fruity but sharp or tart, but it is also possible that your bottle was at a bad age; POA can be matured for up to (some say “at least” ) 20 years, and is generally regarded as being best quite young or quite old, and not so good in middle age.
    Fullers are still brewing batches and although retaining the original organisms, have purposely changed the blend to make it “more marketable” so perhaps you should try a 2011, although it’s brewed in a different way with different malt and different water, so the micro-organisms are probably different too. (sorry, not a fan of the takeover and destruction of the Gales brewery by Fullers)
    The real one to try would be the 2007 which was from the 2006 Horndean brewed batch, but crown corked so less chance of spoiling.

    Finally, I don’t remember as it’s a long time since I’ve had any, but wasn’t there any sediment ? I was really surprised to see such rough handling of a live beer (not filtered or pasteurised), as I would have expected some sediment even though it’s bottle matured not fermented as such, but I assume you looked before shaking so vigourosly.

  • SamB

    yours are also brewed at Horndean. The last (Huge) batch was brewed in 2006 and then tankered to Fullers where it was matured in stainless steel and bottled with crown caps in 2007, but it’s still brewed using Horndean water (from under the South Downs) by the Master Brewers at Gales Ales.