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Fuller's Vintage Ale - Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

Not Rated.
Fuller's Vintage AleFuller's Vintage Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

642 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 642
Hads: 1,166
Avg: 4.17
pDev: 14.39%
Wants: 111
Gots: 278 | FT: 9
Brewed by:
Fuller Smith & Turner PLC visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Murph on 02-20-2002

First released in 1997, Fuller's Vintage Ale is brewed in limited batches with each bottle being numbered. It can be enjoyed immediately, or Fuller's recommends laying the beer down to enjoy when it peaks in 3 to 4 years and consume at cellar temperature. And though it's released each year as a separate vintage, BA has been informed that the recipe is only slightly tweaked from year to year, while the ABV remains at 8.5%.
View: Beers (37) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 642 | Hads: 1,166
Reviews by CalgaryFMC:
Photo of CalgaryFMC
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Nice bottle. Very old fashioned and austere. What's inside is even better. Pours a light toasty orange that makes one think mellow but complex, aged yet dynamic. A whiff of the light caramel colored head evokes fine scotch whisky and butterscotch, coffee cake and sweet orange. Palate shows a mind-blowing complexity that includes the aforementioned aroma components along with citrus marmalade, brown sugar, nutmeg/mace, vanilla toffee, dates, tobacco, and bitter Brazil nuts. A sipper that won't get dull as each sip reveals something new, with each component falling into the dark and sweet categories. Hops prevent things from being too decadent and add spicy earthy notes. Body is not as heavy as excepted but still pretty chewy (think a strong brown ale) and finish is winey and aromatic. The sort of beer that might cause a paradigm shift in any novices who happen to be around when you partake and worth every penny. Will change with age. The present exemplar was almost three years old.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Marius
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2006 (opened in 2015)
Pours a chestnut red ale, with some foam that dissipates quite soon, which is only normal after 9 years of ageing.
The smell is quite rich, with caramel sweetness and a very strong brandy feel up front, followed by dried fruit (figs and raisins) and a hint of alcohol.
Smooth texture with light carbonation, warm to the feel, it tastes like caramel, toffee and dried nuts, and also figs and brandy. The finish and after-taste are slightly bitter. The alcohol is perfectly incorporated in this ale - it's present in the smell as well as taste, and feels like it belongs.

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Photo of philbe311
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage - 2009 (No. 105054)

A - A finger and a half worth of cascading slightly late to develop light khaki colored froth that is equal parts airy and creamy... Audibly fizzy... Limited retention gives way to a full rich creamy mostly thick lacing... The color is a muted light-to-medium brown... There is a subtle murkiness about... A limited bit of sluggish carbonation can be seen rising along the sides of the glass...

S - Holy malt bomb batman... I love it... Bursting at the seams with rich caramel and toffee... Loaded with an abundance of dark fruits... Molasses... Light notes of brown sugar... Just a hint of vanilla... A very light whiff of booziness on the back end... Stellar with excellent depth and complexity...

T - Light brown sugar notes to start... Next comes a wave of dark fruit notes... Next there are subtle hints of toffee, vanilla and caramel... There seems to be a very subtle re component on the finish that compliments the warmth of the alcohol... The booziness lingers on the finish...

M - On the fuller side of medium bodied... Smooth and sophisticated... Coats the mouth and is a bit sticky... Some limited carbonation... The deep finish turns a bit chalky with just a touch of dryness... A light alcohol induced warmth lingers on the finish as well...

D - What a wonderful beer... Elegant... Sophisticated... A definite sipper... I found my self relaxing more and more with each and every sip... Beyond very good and just a notch below world class... I eagerly await the ability to try additional vintages... I'm not surprised that I liked this beer given the lofty expectations that I had, but I'm surprised that I enjoyed this much... Highly recommended and must for those BAs who enjoy the occassional malt bomb...

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Photo of SportsandJorts
4.16/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Vintage 2012 drank in 2014

Appearance: This beer pours a deep burnt orange, almost the color of a fall leaf with some brownish hues. A two finger creamy head forms. The head has a tannish color to it. The retention is very strong and a thin tan layer stays on the surface the whole time. As it moves around the glass it leaves behind huge foamy streaks on the glass. It is fairly hazy and almost opaque, but streaks of brightness break through the haze.

Smell: The scent starts off with a few different characteristics. The is a strong graininess to it, hinting at toasted grains and caramelized malts with no signs of roasted malts. Some strong hoppy aromas come through reminiscent of citrus, herbs and some earthiness. Overall the scent is sweet with small amounts of earthy bitterness.

Taste: The taste opens up a very slight hop bite. The taste of the hops is citrus, herbs, and some earthiness. The bitterness is quickly drowned out by a rich sweetness, caramels, toffee, and some dark fruits. The fruitiness varies from raisins to figs. Some maple syrup comes through lightly and mixes with some tobacco. Some booziness is present near the end in the form of rum or possibly brandy.

Mouthfeel: The feel on this one is thick and chewy. There is plenty of sweetness in the flavor but almost none is left behind, eaten up by mostly tobacco and some earthy bitterness. There is a slight syrupy stickiness comes through along with slight alcohol warmth.

Overall: This is easily one of the more influential old ales. It's a must try for anyone who likes the style and a staple in any cellar. The amount of improvement from one year to two is pretty substantial. This would be a fun one to do a large vertical on to see where the peak is. I think at 2+ years it is still moving upward. The balancing with the hops on this one is unlike any old ale I have had before. I look forward to slowly stocking my cellar with these boxes.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.17/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a clear dark amber color with a thin off-white head. Looks really still and dead in the glass, but this is a 2008 bottle, so that may be to be expected.

S: Kind of a strange mix of things going on here, but it's really nice. Syrupy caramel and maybe a touch of molasses, lots of dark fruit (raisin, fig syrup and maybe a little prune), toffee and a little tickle of booze. It almost smells like it was aged in sherry or rum barrels.

T: A light trace of caramel and honey-soaked malt, then some rum raisin, toffee and prune. Finishes with some molasses, brown sugar and a trace of tobacco. Mouthfeel is a touch light, but I don't feel like it hurts here too much. Says to drink by 2011, but this doesn't taste over the hill at all. Very nice.

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Photo of IckyT2012
4.07/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014: Full of raisins with a little bitter bite on the finish. 3.94
2012: Richer smell, fuller body, but the flavor isn't much different from the newer bottle. 3.99
2009: Hard to believe this one is 6 years old. It actually tastes a bit watered down, instead of stronger. It does go down a bit creamier. The bite is completely gone. The raisin flavor is nearly gone, and a touch of cognac and honey is added. Very smooth, but not as impressive a flavor as I had expected. 4.07
Fun experiment. Thanks for the recommendation to age it, but I won't be devoting cellar space to this in the future.

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Photo of oberon
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2005 vintage bottle #49597,poured a deep rich copper with some burnt orange tint with a short lasting one finger white head.Aromas of brown sugar and orange marmalade with a hint of caramel,sweet but very pleasingly sweet dark sweet cherries dipped in brandy,brown suger and caramel dominate with just a hint of leafy herbal hop in the finish.The alcohol is a little raw but this bottle is pretty new would love to cellar one and likely will.The 2001 vintage is one of my alltime favorite beers, give this some time and it could reach its standards I believe.

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Photo of Popsinc
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage Ale 2005, bottle #10606

It's 8pm, -8 degrees celcius & there's 10 cm of snow of the ground in Barrie....i'm very glad that i chose this beer tonight.

Pours deep amber with a nice foamy off-white head. A lighty spiced nose with hoppy notes and a pinch of fruit. The taste is gentley sweet with hop traces. A nice sponge toffee characteristic is here and lingers nicely. Mild spice, maybe some orange zest as well. Medium bodied. A nice chewiness to the beer brought on by the sweet caramel & molasses and alcohol kick. Warm, sweetn spicey finish with a mild hop trace. This is the perfect beer for a winter eveing. A nice sipper. Great alcohol warmth on the finish. Good complexity. I enjoyed it thuroughly.

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Photo of cam477
4.46/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of beerhunter13
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%

Photo of DanGeo
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%

Photo of t2grogan
3.5/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of brownbeer
3.9/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage consumed 1-31-10

Poured into an imperial pint. It's murky, and has a rusty orange color and doesn't really have much head.

Sweet, congac-like nose with maple, fig, nuts, caramel, and raisin. Like an old/stock ale.

Almost has a little funkiness in the nose and taste. Brown sugar, honey, apple, and subtle flowery hops make up some of the complex taste. The alcohol shows quite a bit at first but quickly mellows. Low carbonation makes the body seem thicker and that adds to the richness.

Worth trying, i'm not 100% sold though.

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Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.95/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Vintage 2001, sampled Nov. 11 2006.

Despite being 5 years old, this beer produces an effervescent carbonation that races through a clear dark maple-syrupy amber beer to form a modest two-fingers of rich khaki head. It leaves a sticky, fragmented lace.

The smell is absolutly mouth-watering. Fruity hops, raisin, nut, cranberry, dark cherry, and yes, even the aroma of fresh pound-cake, form a chorus that wafts out of the glass without even a suggestion of alcohol. As the beer warms a yeasty aroma becomes apparent.

Upon sipping I am struck first by a sweet, rich, nutty, maltiness that is soon lifted off the palate by a combination of carbonation and very soft but fully-present fruity and earthy English hops. They introduce yeasty esters of dark fruit for a bit before a warming alcohol gently creeps in and calms all the layers of flavor on top of a woody scotch character. The aftertase is a delightful vapory perfume. Cordial and berry notes emerge with continued quaffing and amazingly the more I drink this beer the more cohesive and smooth it seems to get. It is very tempting to waste the precious elixer by gulping it.

Mouthfeel is light and gives up an inital soft billow of lifting carbonation before going totally still in the mouth. This beer surpasses and defys my expectations of the style. How ironic that my highest rated-beer may be in my least-favorite style. It is complex and boldly falvorful while amazingly light and drinkable. Yes, it would go very well with a light cigar, but if you have an aged bottle of this, I don't suggest adulterating the experience.

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Photo of hopsleeroy
3.35/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage.
A-Cloudy, mysterious beer, alot of carbonation bubbles, caramel amber color
S-Caramel, earthy, biscuity, very malt forward smell
T-Slighty caramel/toffee, biscuity malt, earthy, grassy hops, not really coming together for me
M-Medium to full fairly carbonated, creamy
D-Not sure I want to drink anymore of these

I've had this before but not rated it-This needs to age a little more and I think the taste will smooth out.

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Photo of wesbrownyeah
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Fullers Vintage ale 2008 No. 126214

A- Pours a clean dark carmel-amber color with a thick off white head that leaves tons of lacing on the glass. Very appealing sight for an old ale.

S- A very complex aroma of raisins, plums, floral hops, sugar, and alcohol esters. In that order. Great harvest of scents enlighten the beer experience.

T-M- A medium to full flavored ale with mutiple complexities that are admirable in every way. Taste is of dried raisins and sweet alcohol flavor in the finish. Mouthfeel is all and all smooth and leaves a very nice earthy flavor on the tongue that is not offensive at all.

D- Great English ale i will buy at least two more for me and my brother to try... only the best!!!

An excellent ale to have and to celler for years to come i'll age one for myself also.

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Photo of BeerDreadz
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of warnerry
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of carlbrew
5/5  rDev +19.9%

Photo of Beaver13
3.43/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2004 vintage (bottle 75089), 16.9 oz bottle. Pours a slightly hazy reddish amber with a thin and fizzy head that quickly diminishes to a thin collar.

The aroma is lots of sharp vinous alcohol with some dark fruits and grassy hops.

The flavor is sweet caramel malts and dark fruits with a noticeable alcohol finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full with soft carbonation.

Overall, it's a decent strong ale, but a little too harsh on the alcohol and sweetness for me.

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Photo of R_Kole
5/5  rDev +19.9%

Photo of shapudding
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle #36146
Poured out a nice amber, unclear and with a quickly dissapating head that left only a dusting and bit of creamy bubbles in the corner of the glasses. Nice fruity aroma, grapes and raspberries. Peppery spice with a bit of dougheyness in there too. The carbination is just right in here, not too much. The mouthfeel is very nice, almost chewy. Good flavors, malty and caramel sweetness, bit of hoppy bite in there, not much. The sweetness is very prominant, which makes it more of a sipper than a session.

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Photo of Jason
4.32/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: No: 20845 of 85000. 18.6 oz brown Victorian pint bottle. The bottle is perfect for keeping the dregs at bay and the pint glass clear. Presented in a collectors box, the bottle is also adorned as if it were a fine bottle of Port, all the way down to the labeling and the thin paper strip which crosses the crown.

Appearance: Rich reddish amber brew with a slight chill haze, wonderful lace that floats on top. The haze goes away as the brew reaches cellar temp.

Smell: Creamy with a figgy or raisin fruity aroma, touch of dry malt and estery alcohol in the nose also.

Taste & Mouthfeel : Creamy and smooth with a big malty body, a figgy / pruney like fruit flavour is the front of the malt sweetness which lingers on forever. Hop bitterness has held together well after 4+ years ... spot on for balance and still a decent amount of flavour left. Lovely chewy mouth feel throughout with a good amount of body even in the finish. Alcohol is quite evident ... esters are lively yet are kept at a minimum. The finish has a complex intertwined hop and malt flavour for a perfect end.

Drinkability & Notes: Wow ... a masterpiece in a bottle! Aged to perfection and worth the $6-$7 a bottle. Its flavours have peaked but may not fall to a lesser beer even a year or more of cellaring. Easy to drink with very little aged flavour and no signs of oxidation.

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Photo of tjthresh
3.86/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Big, big, big malt aroma. Crystal clear with an off white head. Very pretty beer. Again big malt flavor with a touch of bitterness. There are some flavor hops in the middle that I don’t care for. Very nice palate. Fuller bodied. Maybe a touch too much carbonation. This is by far the best Fuller’s beer I have ever drank.

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Photo of merlin48
4.12/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 vintage, bottle number 66051. Pours a hazy copper amber body topped by a small beige head that leaves some sparse patchy lace.

Aroma of toffee and caramel, herbal Goldings hops, and subtle notes of pears and golden apples. A whiff of sherry there, as well.

Medium body with soft medium carbonation. Slight English mineral water feel.

Taste begins with toffee and burnt brown sugar maltiness, followed by red apple skins, old leather, bitter herbal hops, and sherry notes. Complexity deepens as it warms.

Splendid example of English brewing, but not my favorite year for this one. May need a few more months in the cellar.

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Fuller's Vintage Ale from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
93 out of 100 based on 642 ratings.