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.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

973 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 973
Reviews: 614
rAvg: 4.19
pDev: 10.98%
Wants: 77
Gots: 182 | 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: 614 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev -2.1%

Outstanding 2004 edition in year one, bottle 37989 Comes with a beautiful presentation box. I gave out a slew of these instead of single malt scotch and got great feedback while saving loads of money for more beer for me. Deliciously hoppy, pale ale with barley that remains long on the palate.

Had the 2005 edition fresh and it was a nice scotch taste, easy drink.
2006 edition showed hoppiness out front, drunk 1/3 year into release, then malt and vintage scotchiness.
Had the 2006 a year later and good soapy head but off-taste. Had it at end of 2008 and it was rich, with dried apricot, a citrus hoppy aroma, and lacey white. Had the 2006 five years later and a sweetish blend with a richer malt complexity in the finish. Still barleywinish.
The 2007 edition tasted like a young barleywine/old ale, with drying hops from beginning to end, some carmel malt secondary.
The 2008 was not astringent. Promises of a good old ale.
The 2009 was a well done old ale. Mild fruit, carmel gave it an above average mouthfeel. Not sweet, and most drinkable.
The 2010 was a good rich malting, with promise for ageing.
The 2012 was a rich maltiness, with citrus hop finish (had in '14).

05-13-2005 03:27:10 | More by Sammy
Photo of t0rin0
t0rin0

California

2.75/5  rDev -34.4%

10-01-2012 01:58:40 | More by t0rin0
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

3.79/5  rDev -9.5%

2012 vintage.

Bottle # 123290.

Best before end 2015.

Pours a hazy dark orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, caramel, fruit, and some slight hop aromas. Taste is much the same with caramel and hop flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp but slightly medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer this fresh but I would be curious to see what some age does to this one.

04-27-2013 03:07:00 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of djrn2
djrn2

New Jersey

4/5  rDev -4.5%

03-26-2012 17:31:41 | More by djrn2
Photo of nmann08
nmann08

District of Columbia

4.75/5  rDev +13.4%

12-14-2011 16:48:48 | More by nmann08
Photo of metter98
metter98

New York

4.08/5  rDev -2.6%

A: The beer is hazy orange amber in color. It poured with a short off white head that died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of toffee are present in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and also has additional flavors of caramel and toffee and hints of vanilla. No alcohol is perceptible.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer has an interesting mix of flavors that improve and become a little more complex as the beer warms up.

Note: 2012 vintage, No. 102325

06-29-2014 17:25:43 | More by metter98
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

4.43/5  rDev +5.7%

2004 vintage. Bronzed dark pumpkin, an especially deep, rich and regal hue. The compact crown is a complementary shade of pastel orange-ecru. It falls extremely slowly, leaving an array of thick, patchy lace as it does so.

The aroma isn't quite a gobsmacker, but it more than gets the old ale job done. Present is a moderate toasted maltiness, along with dark butterscotch and dried fruits macerated in Irish whiskey. What was expected was more of a vinous, port wine-like nose, though I'm not disappointed in the least.

The 2004 vintage used Maris Otter malt and Goldings hops. Other years, Fuller, Smith & Turner has used Golden Promise or Optic Pale on the malt side of things... and Fuggles, Challenger or Target on the hop side. I'm sure they're all equally good.

Now *this* is an English old ale! Since I've never had a Vintage Ale fresh, I have no idea if aged is the way to go, but the brewers must know what the hell the're talking about. They suggest aging this fine ale to its peak flavor at 3-4 years. Who could possibly argue with that when the end result is so lip-smackingly delicious?

The first word to enter my mind when beer entered mouth was 'refined'. The second word was 'quality'. Time has allowed the various flavors to meld into something truly special. A hint of oxidation is perfect and adds yet another facet to an ale that is already incredibly complex.

The flavor profile includes lightly toasted brown bread covered with a thin layer of Curacao orange marmalade, a pinch of cocoa powder, butterscotch, sugar-crusted English walnuts and cherry pipe tobacco. Everything blends together in kaleidoscopic fashion throughout each mouthful. Why did I wait so long to enjoy the magnificence that is Vintage Ale?

It's quite possible that I've never before experienced a beer this glassy smooth. It's like liquid crushed velvet, only softer and much silkier. A handful of superfine bubbles keeps things from feeling flat. In a word: perfection.

I was pretty sure that this impressively packaged beer would be good, but I didn't expect the masterpiece that it turned out to be. If you're searching for an outstanding cellarable brew, your search is now over. Bottom line: Fuller's Vintage Ale is a timeless classic that is the gold standard for the English old ale style.

04-25-2008 15:31:35 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.73/5  rDev -11%

Bottle (Vintage 2000 - drank in 2005): Poured a deep clear brown color ale with a medium off-white bubbly head with average retention. Aroma of figs and dry raisins is quite enjoyable. Taste is also dominated by the figs and the dry raisins with some strong malt. What I thought was surprising what the piney and citrusy ending courtesy of too many hops IMHO for this type of beer. Body is above average but could be more consistent and carbonation is also above average. Good but I would say not as good as the previous vintage years I had the luck of drinking.

Bottle (Vintage 2012 - drank in 2013): Poured a copper color ale with a medium size foamy head with OK retention. Aroma consists of residual sugars with some dry caramel and minimal hoppy notes. Taste is also dominated by some residual sugars with quite a bit of dry caramel malt with weird grainy notes. Hops presence is kept at a low level. Body is about average with good carbonation and no alcohol is easily detectable. I usually like to give a year to the Vintage for the malt to balanced itself out and take out some of the hops presence. Seems like it wasn’t a good idea with the 2012 vintage since it tasted like a really old beer already.

03-05-2014 21:32:09 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

4.08/5  rDev -2.6%

Vintage 2004: Sampled on 10/22/09:

This beer really holds up great. Even with five years bottle conditioning, the hop profile still gives a bitter balance and an earthy, herbal complexity. Delicate caramels and brown sugars are well melded with hardly a trace of oxidation. Pleasantly cool (minty) and with a creamy, powdery finish.

Vintage 2006: Sampled on 03/22/07:

Certainly agree with the recommendation to lay this beer down for a few years. This beer promises greatness with syrupy sweet amber malts and a soft hop presence. Complexity results from the sweet malts, bready, yeasty flavors and textures. While compounded harshly with strong alcohols, this beer will prove to melt and improve greatly with a little age. I look forward to editing this review and rating when this beer matures properly.

03-26-2007 14:34:52 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of womencantsail
womencantsail

California

3.58/5  rDev -14.6%

Bottle from 2005 shared by Patrick.

The pour is a clear amber color with a very small off-white head. A bit of a sherry-like aroma. Quite fruity (raisins and cherries) with some vanilla and cream. Interesting aroma. The flavor is also heavy on the vanilla, sweet fruit, sugar, and caramel. A touch of sherry and oxidation in there as well.

07-17-2012 15:44:17 | More by womencantsail
Photo of kjkinsey
kjkinsey

Texas

4/5  rDev -4.5%

12-02-2011 17:27:19 | More by kjkinsey
Photo of spycow
spycow

Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

03-10-2013 19:47:55 | More by spycow
Photo of GRG1313
GRG1313

California

3.75/5  rDev -10.5%

07-12-2014 15:30:17 | More by GRG1313
Photo of kylehay2004
kylehay2004

Florida

4.4/5  rDev +5%

A: no head to speak of. Amber and murky.

S: sweet, grassy, piney and green apple.

T: lots of raisin. Honey and malty.the taste is dull ad a little too much alcohol in the flavor.

M: medium body, moderate carbonation. A little syrupy.

Overall: you need to drink this one down to appreciate it.

09-09-2011 01:20:50 | More by kylehay2004
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

3.55/5  rDev -15.3%

Appearance: Pours a reddish-copper body with a large, lasting beige-colored head.

Smell: Aroma of earthy butterscotch, juicy apples, suede leather, with a bit of yeastiness. Plenty of alcohol notes, too.

Taste: A very curious flavor; a mixture of light caramel, toasted pecans, a zesty Christmas spice, and hints of apples and pears. The hops, though minimal, are quite grassy tasting and lends a nice, dry finish. As with the nose, the alcohol is rather apparent, tasting like someone snuck in a shot of brandy in my glass. After some time, its all apples/pears and alcohol, really giving you the sense of a dry cider-cognac concoction.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body with a very soft, fine carbonation.

Drinkability: Its drinkable, even without much age under its belt. We'll see how my second bottle does in a couple of years...

01-27-2007 23:11:37 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of jaydoc
jaydoc

Kansas

4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

11-16-2013 17:13:29 | More by jaydoc
Photo of Knapp85
Knapp85

Pennsylvania

4.47/5  rDev +6.7%

2007 Edition opened in 2009, bottle #114182. The beer poured out as a copper color with a nice creamy looking head on it. The lacing was pretty nice for this beer, I wasn't really expecting that too much. The smell of the beer had some grainy malt aroma with some hops in the mix. The taste was semi-sweet like they might have added some brown sugar to it or caramel maybe. The taste was very good from start to finish though. The mouthfeel of the beer was very nice as well, it was smooth but had a decent amount of carbonation in it. Overall this beer was way better than any other Fuller's brew that I've tried. Well worthy trying if you find some!

06-12-2011 23:07:30 | More by Knapp85
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

4.15/5  rDev -1%

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.

01-14-2006 01:33:23 | More by oberon
Photo of TMoney2591
TMoney2591

Illinois

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 westcoastbeerlvr
westcoastbeerlvr

California

3.75/5  rDev -10.5%

01-10-2013 23:55:40 | More by westcoastbeerlvr
Photo of emerge077
emerge077

Illinois

4.03/5  rDev -3.8%

2005 edition.

Into an Oerbier wine-style glass, this pours very dark, with a deep attractive ruby glint in the light. Sticky lacing all around, that seems to remain for the duration of the glass.

Aroma is a bit sweet and floral with cola spices and a backing of dried fruits, particularly citrus, some apricot. A bit of mustiness reflects it's 5 years of age.

Sweet and a bit oxidized, it feels creamy with some mild bitterness from the residual Fuggles still kicking around. Fairly fruity and vinous. Full bodied sipper. Don't think i'd age it for this long in the future, i'm getting tired of old-tasting beer. It's mellowed a bit, but I could imagine that the apricot & floral notes would have been more vibrant in days past.

02-08-2010 01:17:20 | More by emerge077
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

4.33/5  rDev +3.3%

2007 Bottle No. 137247

A - Poured out a clear, caramel color (looked like a dopplebock) with a foamy, bubbly, tan, two-finger head. It left soapy trails of lace.

S - It smelled very sweet. Great malty and biscuity aromas.

T - It had a bitter spiciness with a very sweet, maltiness. Nice earthy hops.

M - It was soft, smooth and creamy. A medium-bodied beer with a warm alcohol presence.

D - This is a very good ole ale. Very sweet and delicious.

09-03-2008 02:39:43 | More by zeff80
Photo of largadeer
largadeer

California

4.33/5  rDev +3.3%

2007 bottle.

Appearance: Tawny with a slight haze. Good head retention.

Smell: Bread, grain, caramel and hops.

Taste/mouthfeel: Very malty, notes of butterscotch and toast. The finish is dry and hoppy, leaving a pleasant bitterness on the palate. Creamy on the tongue with gentle carbonation.

An excellent English ale. I've tried this fresh and aged for a few years, and I actually prefer it fresh for the more pronounced hop character.

11-16-2007 22:47:28 | More by largadeer
Photo of JAHMUR
JAHMUR

Connecticut

4/5  rDev -4.5%

03-04-2013 02:31:55 | More by JAHMUR
Photo of biboergosum
biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

4.08/5  rDev -2.6%

500ml bottle, 2008 version (#57532), into my University of Alberta beer stein.

This beer pours a hazy medium copper amber colour, with two fat fingers of aggressively foamy, and somewhat sudsy off-white head, that leaves some nice rainforest canopy lace around the glass as it slowly recedes.

It smells of sweet caramel malt, hard toffee, dried orange rind, apple flesh, musty cellar, and some faint floral, earthy hops. The taste is big bready malt sweetness up front - caramel, butterscotch, raisins - which dries out very quickly under a strong noble hop surge, the alcohol chipping in its share. I can't help but notice the slow, subtle furtherance of that old musty, woody essence - it's like this beer sopped up the air under the old stairs in my parents' house. It isn't overpowering or even off-putting, just a different companion than I'm used to for the big buttery caramel malt.

The carbonation is quite low, manifesting in just a mild frothiness throughout, the body a sturdy medium weight, creamy, round and solidly smooth. It finishes fairly dry, the malt turning crackery, and the alcohol making itself clearly known, gently rendered as it may be.

A pleasantly warming vintage ale, the 'old' character meshing well with the rest. Given the decent balance but slightly out of whack alcohol warming, I'm looking forward to seeing what a few years in the bottle have done to a couple of the earlier vintages of this that I've been saving, as they were big hits when I brought them to recent office Christmas parties.

07-13-2009 23:46:06 | More by biboergosum
« 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.