Saturday, April 11, 2009

I'm a sucker

You know... I keep buying Gale's Prize Old Ale, kind of a constant rebirth of hope. I've had a couple that were just excellent, and I keep hoping that the next one will be as well, and I keep getting screwed.

Today was no different. I have a long tradition of drinking heavy stuff on the afternoon of Easter Sunday (and then singing Easter Vigil), so after a big stashed bottle of Lagunitas Eye of the Hairball wheatwine, I pulled out the Gale's, a 1998. Pulled the cork, poured the beer -- pleh! Sour. Real sour. Undrinkable sour. Dammit. I find myself hoping that Fuller's will do it better.

The 2003 Heavyweight Old Salty I opened instead...now that was a treat. Warming, too. Thanks, Tom, Bill. Good job.

But now it's time to make dinner: Rieker's Specials (four different burgers on a skewer, with German barbecue sauce), spätzle, and some salad. Then it's time to sing and welcome the Resurrection.

12 comments:

Alan said...

Happy Easter, Lew. Maybe I will pop that five year old-ish Gale's Old Ale in the stash in fellowship and onour of that other good fella. Sadly, we only have white hots... but for Canada that is exotic.

Lew Bryson said...

Mmmmm, white hots...

sam k said...

Though not such a big beer, I just enjoyed a 2003 Saison DuPont, which seemed appropriate for Easter. It's held up well.

jakester said...

Funny you should mention the Old Salty. Yesterday I opened my one bottle of H'weight Wee Whale expecting the worst, only to find it was remarkable. I have read some posts on BA (I know, I know) about aged H'weight beers being way past. I have one bottle of 2005Old Salty left. What do you think?

Steve

Lew Bryson said...

My experience, Steve? Crapshoot. Might as well get down on it.

Anonymous said...

oh wow.... your first paragraph pretty much sums up every Gale's Old Ale drinking experience i've ever had. I've popped maybe a half dozen bottles over the last 10 years, all in an attempt to figure out why it was so well regarded..sadly i don't think i've ever had the definitive bottle. i had always assumed that the bottles i'd tried were mishandled, so nowadays i stick with JW Lees and Thomas Hardys when i want a treat...

Tom E said...

I had a gift certificate to an upscale beer store last year and I decided to blow it all on Gale's - two bottles of Prize Old Ale, two bottles of Conquest, and two bottles of Millenium brew. Six out of six were poured down the drain.

http://destinationbeer.blogspot.com/

Russ said...

Lew, I gotta ask, was zum Teufel ist German barbecue sauce? The only thing I can think of that's remotely similar to barbecue sauce is the stuff they put on Sauerbraten. I actually had my parents ship me a bottle of barbecue sauce while I was studying in Germany, I got so desperate. Anyway, I'm intrigued...

Lew Bryson said...

I'm not really sure what it is, Russ! It's orange-red, it's kinda spicy, but it's not really like bbq sauce. Hard to say what the hell it is. Next time I go, I'll ask.

Ron Pattinson said...

Lew, funny you should mention Fullers' John Keeling explained to me at great length what they are doing with it.

The problem for Gale's (and one of the reasons they closed) was their unlined wooden fermentation vessels. They had various bugs lurking in them. For beers sold quickly, it wasn't as much of a problem as it was with a beer like Prize Old Ale.

What Fuller's have done is to take the last batch of Prize Old Ale fermented at Gale's and stick it in a conical fermenter in Chiswick. For the latest release of Prize Old Ale they mixed the last Gale's batch with a batch brewed at Chiswick and bottled half of it, leaving the other half to be mixed woth fresh beer next year. Sort of like a solera system. This way they'll maintain the brett and whatever picked up from the Gale's fermenter.

I tried the new version and it was really good. And packaged in a bottle with a crown cork. And conditioned properly. For some reason Gale's never bothered priming it. I had a dozen bottles of the last Gale's bottling and every one was flat as a pancake.

Lew Bryson said...

Ron,
Thanks for this. As usual, full of meat. Very good news, and I'm looking forward to trying some of these. Bravo, Fuller's.

zythophile said...

What Ron said - the Gale's versions were uniformly vile and flat over the past 10 years, the first Fuller's bottling was/is excellent, the sourness and the sweetness in perfect balance.