1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Fuller's Vintage Ale - Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

973 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 973
Reviews: 613
rAvg: 4.19
pDev: 10.98%
Wants: 77
Gots: 180 | FT: 7
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Fuller's Vintage Ale Alström Bros
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 973 | Reviews: 613 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of inrodwetrust

District of Columbia

1/5  rDev -76.1%

02-17-2012 02:46:41 | More by inrodwetrust
Photo of JDV


2.15/5  rDev -48.7%

'05 bottle shared by chadspivey
Pours a clear copper color with light offwhite head. Very strong fruity, cherry to strawberry candy like smell to it. Reminded me of the hard strawberry candies with the gooey centers. Taste, however is quite mild and bland with some fruity maltiness . Not too offensive, some guazy flavors and super tame, I thought.

04-06-2008 00:44:21 | More by JDV
Photo of Erdinger2003


2.2/5  rDev -47.5%

The beer pours a nice clear brown/gold color that looks nice with no head and a little lacing. The smell is very light and hard to smell very well, but there's a slight hoppiness to it, but the hops flavor/aroma has morphed almost into a metallic flavor. The mouthfeel isn't so great, it's a little offensive. Overall I wouldn't try this ever again, not great.

01-27-2007 08:13:53 | More by Erdinger2003
Photo of TMoney2591


2.35/5  rDev -43.9%

Served in a Sweetwater mini-snifter.

2007 vintage. I've long eyed this boxed bottle, and now I finally get to try some of the innards. It pours a lightly-brackish sunset amber topped by a minor bit of khaki foam. The nose comprises red apple skin, sweet caramel, and perfume-y flowers. The taste is an unpleasant melange of honey, cerumen and light biscuit. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a drying finish. Overall, I'm not sure if the age somehow got to this one early or something, but either way it did not sit well with my tongue. It actually hurt a little to drink at times...

01-07-2013 22:17:10 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of TheHammer

Ontario (Canada)

2.48/5  rDev -40.8%

This is the 2008 version, bottle #04631. Now my brother tried this and said he wasn't impressed. Thought I'd give it a go, since I have the 2009 bottle sitting in the cellar.

Apperance: A body cloudy orange which has some minor carbonation and a single finger of creamy head. The isn't very much in the way of lacing and the retention is a bit better then average.

Smell: The dominating scent of brandy with touches of apricots really make their presence known as the muted background of tea, toffee malt and a slight touch of floral hops struggle to overcome it. Didn't take much warming to come out though.

Taste: My brother in this case hit the nail on the head. This beer tastes like someone took an English ale and mixed Brandy into it. The beginning has the fainest taste of apricots, dominated by a strong brandy/alcohol presence. The malt then tries to make an appearance but is crushed by a spirit like flavor whose potency is increased by the floral hops at the end.

Mouthfeel: Very bitter aftertaste that lingers for far too long, and frankly is somewhat reminiscent of solvent. The transitioning is also weak, because the Brandy taste destroys any other flavors. Carbonation is alright though.

Drinkability: Surprisingly refreshing, but it is giving me a little bit of heartburn, which I'm blaming on the high alcohol content. I wouldn't call it a smooth drinker, and is far too "snooty" in taste to pound back.

Final Thoughts: If you are a fan of brandy, maybe this will be your cup of tea. I however found this beer to be quite a disappointment. I'm not looking forward to that bottle of 2009. Maybe if I let it sit for a year I can trade it away later, because I really would not want to have this beer again.

02-02-2010 05:29:09 | More by TheHammer
Photo of RIKIM

Rhode Island

2.5/5  rDev -40.3%

12-15-2013 02:44:31 | More by RIKIM
Photo of cjgator3


2.58/5  rDev -38.4%

2006 vintage, # 89117

Comes in a classy red box. Poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark amber/brown with a small fizzy head that quickly disappears. The aroma is sweet malt and dark fruits that is almost unpleasantly metallic and alcoholic. The taste is malty with some caramel and a dry, spicy and boozy finish from the alcohol. This one definitely needs some aging. I found it to be rather harsh and unpleasant when consumed fresh and I struggled to finish the whole thing.

02-26-2007 03:21:31 | More by cjgator3
Photo of WhiteOak


2.58/5  rDev -38.4%

Fullers 2009 Vintage Ale Lt. Ed. Bottle No. 148180
G- INAO Tasting Glass, to try to coax a smell out of this uncooperative brew.

A- Coarse-bubbled head. Light copper-amber.

S- Dead nose. The only aroma detectable is a touch of sulfur-metallic hints. This beer disappointingly smells like nothing more inviting than London Public tap water.

T- Simple slightly sweet malt flavor. Touch of toffee.

The complete lack of aroma and one dimensional flavor of this beer were disppointments, and I don't consider it worthy of the special packaging.

01-14-2010 01:01:16 | More by WhiteOak
Photo of jwswigs


2.75/5  rDev -34.4%

01-23-2014 06:11:27 | More by jwswigs
Photo of NHSTEVE

New Hampshire

2.75/5  rDev -34.4%

12-15-2013 02:36:43 | More by NHSTEVE
Photo of jujubeast6000


2.75/5  rDev -34.4%

Reviewed 12/16/2008 (2006 bottle #77764):

Pours a reddish brownish color body. Clearish, with an okay sized white head, but soon diminishing. Dark fruit aroma, fig, raisin. Some mustiness, and a little alcohol too. Cherry too. Some hops balance the nose, but not a lot. Not a very strong aroma. Some coffee/toffee tastes. Muted taste, some fig taste. Some dark cherry. But there's not much flavor present. Okay mouthfeel, carbonated. This one might not have aged as well in my fridge.

01-04-2009 22:04:17 | More by jujubeast6000
Photo of t0rin0


2.75/5  rDev -34.4%

10-01-2012 01:58:40 | More by t0rin0
Photo of ktrillionaire


2.9/5  rDev -30.8%

I have been looking forward to this beer for quite a while. I couldn't crack it 'til at least 2010 though.

A – Like iced tea, cloudy, with an orange-brownish hue, and a smallish tan head

S – Real buttery, with toffee and caramel dominating and a muted hop aroma, grassy and vaguely earthy.

T – Too sweet, caramelly and unexciting. There is also a horrendous green tea aftertaste, coupled with the lack of wood or cognac or 'old', booo!!! I am bitterly disappointed. I looked forward to it so… And I don’t feel like it could get better with age.

M – Fuller’s ESB.

D – Never again 2008!!! I hated almost everything about the year 2008, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by this sheisty beer. What a waste of $8! I could've bought a million superior beers at $8 a bottle.

Overall, I would say this is one of the most disappointing beers I've ever had. It is certainly not the worst, it really isn't even bad, but I'd drink Bud Light over this as a protest.

01-12-2010 09:53:58 | More by ktrillionaire
Photo of TurdFurgison


2.9/5  rDev -30.8%

I tried this at the Hopleaf in Chicago and didn't like it. Kind of against the grain as this is a highly rated beer but I know what I don't like.

To start with it was low in carbonation. The aroma was malty sweet with no hops, and smelled like a cross between sherry and cough syrup. There were lots of flavors (caramel, figs, a little bit of cherry or almond), but honestly the overall impression was cough syrup.

I won't try it again anytime soon.

06-24-2006 22:08:13 | More by TurdFurgison
Photo of Caudalie

Quebec (Canada)

3/5  rDev -28.4%

07-17-2013 20:47:49 | More by Caudalie
Photo of cfalovo97

Ontario (Canada)

3/5  rDev -28.4%

11-11-2012 01:15:20 | More by cfalovo97
Photo of SocalKicks


3/5  rDev -28.4%

03-27-2014 08:18:55 | More by SocalKicks
Photo of groetman


3/5  rDev -28.4%

01-29-2012 18:27:49 | More by groetman
Photo of smi

New York

3/5  rDev -28.4%

04-06-2012 04:27:52 | More by smi
Photo of Kirk

United Kingdom (England)

3/5  rDev -28.4%

10-30-2013 18:42:21 | More by Kirk
Photo of joehiatt


3/5  rDev -28.4%

Bottle #122117 of 145000 of 2008. Drunk March 2010.

Appearance: Gorgeous, in all respects. The bottling and packaging is unique, the bottle itself is enviable, and it only gets better once poured. The color is a rich, though light copper, the head is clean ivory with fine bubbles, though no lacing as one would expect on a bottle-conditioned ale. The beer is slightly hazy despite careful pouring (at refrigerator temps) though this chill haze dissipates with warming.

Smell: Alcohol dominates. Toffee and Raisins present. Reminiscent of a whiskey. Some vanilla as well.

Taste: Grows on you. If you aren't expecting, which you won't be, comes as something of a shock. Quite sweet, though not cloying. Back-of-the-throat burn do to alcohol, perhaps. Again, in this way reminiscent of whiskey. A little unbalanced. Maybe more than a little.

Mouthfeel: Great. The saving grace of this beer. Excellent carbonation predominantly; allows it it be sweet with out being cloying and heavy yet still refreshing.

Drinkability: Poor. Harsh aftertaste and strong, unmatched flavors made one bottle between two certainly enough to satisfy.

03-19-2010 21:40:41 | More by joehiatt
Photo of Molnar

New Jersey

3/5  rDev -28.4%

09-24-2012 00:52:36 | More by Molnar
Photo of schnarr84

Alberta (Canada)

3/5  rDev -28.4%

06-01-2013 19:31:21 | More by schnarr84
Photo of mzwolinski


3.05/5  rDev -27.2%

Pours a very attractive amber in color with a thin, white head which, alas, poops out pretty quick. Aroma is dominated by sweet caramel malt and a strong scent of alcohol. Alcohol hits you right up front in the taste, too, followed by a fruity, pear-like malt sweetness, and finally a rather grassy hop finish. Alcohol taste is present pretty much throughout the sip, and a bit too strong for the flavor of the beer. The other flavors seem a bit unbalanced as well -- the malt and hops just don't seem to "fit" together very well. Mouthfeel is full and coating, which adds to the medicinal effect created by the over-strong alcohol flavor. I could understand these problems if this were a new beer, but this has been aging for a while. I can't see myself having another.

04-10-2003 08:49:41 | More by mzwolinski
Photo of bditty187


3.08/5  rDev -26.5%

2004 Vintage; bottle #90477

Served at cellar temperature.

It pours a wonderful bright crimson in hue; perfectly ruby when backlight. I also notice how strikingly clear the fluid is; in other words no yeast. I thought Vintage Ale wasn’t filter, clearly (ha! what a pun) I was misinformed. Off-white head, at the apex the foam was almost two fingers tall. Head retention was excellent, a soapy cap lasted the entire consumption. Subsequent lacing was spotty but noticeable. Overall, the appearance is excellent.

Disappointing nose. Buttery notes in the distance, kind of fruity and sort of malty. I can’t detect a trace of the 8.5% ABV. The nose is shockingly lame; no complexity, no invitation to take a sip. I am baffled by the overall lack of aroma. Average... at best.

The palate is nominally livelier than the nose, for what that is worth. Moderately malty, sort of sweet with some fruitiness and a kiss of bitterness; sadly there are also metal undercurrents. The aftertaste is a condensed version of the palate; it packs a little life but some odd “moldy” jam fruitiness. Really there isn’t much going on here, there are no attributes that standout enough for me to say I can taste them individually. I feel like a rookie writing this review but, hey, there is just nothing to say.

Medium in body, low carbonation; the mouthfeel is noticeably thin and uneventful.

Overall, this is beer is quite average. How can 1845 rock so much while Vintage Ale is so lame? Is my bottle “old?” Mistreated? I have kept it in my cellar for a couple years but I fail to remember where I purchased it; Missouri I would guess. I am quite bummed but if I see another bottle I might considered trying it again as Fullers is an excellent brewery and this beer seems out of character for them.

01-17-2008 15:02:30 | More by bditty187
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Fuller's Vintage Ale from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
93 out of 100 based on 973 ratings.