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Fuller's Vintage Ale - Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

Fuller's Vintage AleFuller's Vintage Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

927 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 927
Reviews: 607
rAvg: 4.19
pDev: 10.98%

Brewed by:
Fuller Smith & Turner PLC visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
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%.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-21-2004)
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Ratings: 927 | Reviews: 607 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by rickyleepotts:
Photo of rickyleepotts


4.28/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have been excited to try this beer since we bought it. We grabbed this one at Jungle Jim’s International Market, and it is one of several Fuller’s beers on our list. This one is special, though. It comes in a box! The bottle is in a box, I mean. Scott Shrewsberry (a friend from Google+) had a bottle of this the other night. He has had several, and said it was pretty great. That, and each bottle is individually labeled. That is an attention to detail that I can appreciate.

In the Glass: The beer sits there silky smooth almost pouring like whiskey. There is very little head, and no lace to speak of. When you swill it gets a nice copper line around the rim, but nothing to write home about. Based on what I know about this beer, that is exactly what I expected.

Nose: It smells incredible. Imagine sniffing a barleywine. It has a very sweet nose with the expected copper notes at the end of the sniff. I am smelling this right out of the bottle right out of the fridge, and as this sits the aroma will start to increase, and the flavors will expand. But I was too eager to write, so I wanted to just pull it out and pour!

Flavor: Wow. This beer is loaded with flavor. It is very similar to a barleywine. I am not big on old ales, nor do I know many more that exist. But I do know that I have lately been falling for a good barleywine. I love the high ABV and the sweetness it brings to the palate. They usually have a pretty solid aftertaste, too.

Mouthfeel: This beer is very smooth as it slides across the palate. It has the consistency of a spirit more than a beer. There are no bubbles, which I like. I like in a beer like this, that is. It is not a beer you would chug, and while the ABV is only 8.5%, it still has the consistency of a beer you would sip and appreciate.

Aftertaste: The aftertaste is smooth and sweet with a malty finish. The aftertaste sticks around for a while, and it is not overwhelming but those sweet notes that you picked up on the nose and in the flavor aren’t going anywhere. This is a delicious beer and one that might be better with a big fancy cigar.

LIke I said, I am a big fan of barleywine and this one is very close to the Brooklyn, my favorite affordable barleywine. Maybe I will go out and find some more old ales to try. We have tried a couple from Fuller’s, and I have been impressed. If you like a beer that has a smooth finish and a subtle sweetness, try Fuller’s Vintage Ale. This makes me want to find different years. Oh, and to buy one to cellar! Bottoms up, people!

Fuller’s Vintage Ale - The bottle (and in this case, the box) says: “Limited Edition: I have crafted this very special ale from the finest Golding hops, Tipple malted barley and of our unique yeast to create a truly extraordinary limited edition brew.

“Individually packaged and numbered, this bottle is one of only one hundred and sixty thousand produced.

“Although we are obliged to state a best before date of 2012, like a fine wine or whiskey this mellow golden ale will improve with age for many more years. For best results keep upright in a cook, dark room or cellar.

“This 2009 edition marks 12 years of brewing this magnificent ale. Further information on preview Vintage Ales can be found inside.

“Being bottle conditioned, this beer will form a natural sediment; so pour carefully, sit back, and enjoy this, the very finest of Fuller’s ales. - John Keeling, BREW MASTER”

*Each bottle of Fuller’s Vintage Ale is numbered.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2012 05:54:53 | More by rickyleepotts
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look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A: A vibrant, burnt orange. Quite nice.

S: Caramel malts, lemon zest, a hint of pine, and some booze at the back.

T: Sweet malt and bread with only a very subtle bitterness on the finish.

M: Thin but with a bit of syrup. Heat builds up in the esophagus but the alcohol isn't present in the flavor.

O: Neither bad nor amazing. Reminiscent of a thinner, less complex Double DBA.

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Photo of afrokaze


4.04/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage, received as a birthday gift in 2010 and my buddy said I wouldn't be able to hold onto it for the recommended 5 years. Excited to prove him wrong! Note: this bottle was refrigerated for most of its cellar life.

Pours a sort of murky orange/red/brown with a finger of head. Nothing special.

The aroma is much more inviting, with warming caramel, toffee, roasted malts, raisin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a bit of sherry oxidation, but no more than I'd expect for its age.

Flavors of caramel malts and copper kettle, rye like spice, sugary brandy fruits, roasted malt, candy apple - sweet and malty tempered by spicy euro hops, hints of port/sherry oxidation, and modest alcohol heat.

Pretty well bodied and coats your palate without getting sticky. Decent heat keeps it a nice sipper.

A really pleasant strong ale that doesn't blow you out with too many crazy flavors. If it is a single malt and single hop beer like the label makes it sound, then it's got a lot of nuance for a simple beer, just well put together.

Serving type: bottle

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A: The beer is a light golden brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains honey, caramelized malts, fruit and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of caramel, fruit and honey followed by some breadiness from a hearty malt character. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp but not very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

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Fuller's Vintage Ale from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
93 out of 100 based on 927 ratings.