I was able to feed Gale the Iron Flask before even unlocking or opening the chest. The chest was locked, unopen, in my inventory. Had the conversation with Gale in camp and when asking where to find artifacts he said we already had one, and then I was given the option of "Give Gale the Iron Flask". You would assume this is a bug since one would not actually realize there was a magical flask in there with the chest still being locked?