Fuller's Vintage Ale - Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

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

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

638 Reviews
THE BROS
96
world-class

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Reviews: 638
Hads: 1,137
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 9.86%
Wants: 95
Gots: 255 | 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%.
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Reviews: 638 | Hads: 1,137
Photo of BeerImmediately
4.34/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage.

Poured into a tulip at north of 50 degrees. Pours with a very short head that disappears almost immediately... barely a ring left on the edges. Body is a deep dark amber. Had to look closely to catch the tiny bubbles.

Aromas are full of deep, dark fruits. From nectarines to plum to raisin. Definitely some cordial-like booziness. Surprised at how much alcohol is still on the nose after 5 years, esp at 8.5%.

Mouthfeel is thick and sticky. Nearly cough syrup. Very little carbonation to break through the rich flavors. Flavor leads with those fruits in the aroma, lots of alcohol fumes on the throat. Grape cough syrup comes to mind. Some oak (more wood than vanilla), and a little bit of cherry sweetness in the background.

Overall, a really nice Old Ale from the motherland of old ale. I think this would be a fun one to buy 5, and rate one/year. (869 characters)

Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.98/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Fuller's Vintage Ale (2009) has a thin, cream-colored head, a murky, orange-brown-copper, sort of brilliant appearance (under light), not much lacing, and no visible bubble streams. The aroma is of deep, strong, sweet, syrupy, moldy, ironized, pithy, fruity, bready malt, and the flavor is of all that, with pale fruit, nougat, cream cheese, relatively mild hop bitterness, red dirt, butter, caramalized sugar, toffee, caramel topping on vanilla soft serve, bread crust, flaky pie crust, and a slight celery. Mouthfeel is heavy, and Fuller's Vintage Ale (2009) finishes wet and ultra-rich. Overall, this is good at the highest estate. Almost perfect, in every way.

RJT (670 characters)

Photo of metter98
4.06/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

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 (645 characters)

Photo of Kuaff
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Vintage 2011. Unboxed, and poured cellar temperature into a snifter.

A careful pour created a massive two to three-finger, cream-colored head that was thick enough to form a mound rising above the glass rim. The ale is a clear copper-ruby.

It smells of raisins, brandy, vanilla, cherries, and maybe some ripe fruits like apples and bananas.

I get a lot of cherry in the flavor at first, along with green apple. Quite a tart fruitiness. This transitions into a pretty dry finish of plums, toffee, and bread.

The feel is full with ample carbonation.

While I feel this might be a little too tart, highly carbonated, and not really complex, it's still pretty tasty. (666 characters)

Photo of woosterbill
4.34/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage, poured into an oversized snifter. Enjoyed to commemorate Shakespeare's 450th birthday.

A: Clear deep chestnut body. An inch of chunky tan head forms on the pour, but quickly dissipates entirely and leaves no lace. It started out looking terrific, but ends up rather uninspiring.

S: Rich and complex, with tobacco, leather, toffee, citrus, chocolate, almond, and apricot. Wonderful balance between sweet and piquant. Hugely inviting.

T: More straightforwardly sweet and malty here, with caramel, toasted bread, and stone fruit dominating. Some bittersweet earthiness on the finish, with just a hint of the citrus from the nose lingering on the long aftertaste. Delicious, but not quite as vibrant as the aroma.

M: Soft, delicately carbonated medium-full body. Excellent.

O: Terrific beer. It tastes mature and elegant at 4 years, but could certainly have gone much longer. Not even a hint of oxidation or genuine oldness, just a well-integrated smoothness. I'm also impressed that it's not too sweet - the notes of tobacco and citrus add some lovely depth to a decidedly malt-forward ale. I wish I had more, as I'd love to taste this again in another few years.

Cheers! (1,189 characters)

Photo of 01001111
3.55/5  rDev -14.7%
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. (380 characters)

Photo of afrokaze
4.01/5  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. (1,028 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2011 release, bottle #111880 poured from a 16.9oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

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.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, this is a flavorful beer to drink for a while if you’re in the mood for a style. (795 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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. (1,213 characters)

Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500 ml bottle into snifter; 2008 vintage, Bottle #113845. Pours lightly hazy/cloudy deep reddish copper color with a 2 finger dense and rocky light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice dense soapy lacing clings around the glass, with some moderate streaming carbonation. Aromas of big caramel, toffee, pear, apple, plum, raisin, fig, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, herbal, light pepper, light leather, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of malt and fruity/earthy yeast ester notes; with good strength. Taste of big caramel, toast, toffee, raisin, plum, pear, apple, fig, brown sugar, brown bread, herbal, light pepper, light leather, and yeast earthiness. Zero bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toffee, toast, raisin, plum, pear, apple, fig, brown sugar, brown bread, herbal, light pepper, light leather, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity of dark/bready malt and fruity/earthy yeast ester flavors; with a great malt/yeast flavor balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a fairly creamy and slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic old ale! All around awesome complexity and balance of dark/bready malt and fruity/earthy yeast ester flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A highly enjoyable offering. (1,506 characters)

Photo of mpyle
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2012 version

Amber color, slightly cloudy. Pours a nice creamy just off white head. Nicely sized and with good retention.

Slightly tart dark fruit smell, a bit metallic.

Some malt and raisins up front, a fair amount of alcohol in the flavor as well as adequate bitterness to balance out the malt. Finish is complex with a good bit of alcohol and dark fruit.

MF - Medium body and surprisingly high carbonation. Carbonation borderline harsh for me. No astringency, and just a bit of alcohol warming.

I'm probably sampling slightly too cold, but see hints of nice Old Ale. More alcohol and less of a rich sherry flavor than I might expect. (642 characters)

Photo of utopiajane
3.33/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

This is bottle number 117376 from 2012. it is oxidized and that is why the rating is so low. I almost hesitated to do the review but I wanted to show my tasting notes for those who may or may not have had an oxidized beer before.

This pours a hazy orange amber with golden hues. Fat head of tan foam that fell slowly enough and left a thin ring, a film and some lace to look ate. A few bubbles can be seen making their way to the top.

Nose is caramel and orange peel. The orange has some of the freshness still on it and so it's juicy. There's white grape a bit of nutty toffee and an underlying borderline metallic scent. It smells a bit like paper too. There is prune on the nose with a bit of sour and a buttery quality as well. There is also a scent that I would call treacle or a sweet sweetness that I cannot attribute to any fruit.

The drink had a nice bit of juicy fruit on it. The orange, a bit of apricot tartness and the white raisin. The caramel is nutty and rich, the toffee light. It has a cardboard flavor that is always between you and any of that goodness. It's also buttery like popcorn. The metallic undertaste is always there. There was a leafy leathery hop character in the drink that would have been a nice dimension to the flavor. Tart prune.

I would recommend that you try it but this bottle was obviously not what the brewer intended. (1,364 characters)

Photo of Hoppsbabo
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Fuller's 16th batch. Bottled 2012, so at least a year and a month old. Bought from Tanakaya in Tokyo.

A: A luminous orangey copper body with a dull beige head which is incredibly clingy. Top marks for the lacing.

S: Vivid honey and orange, like what you drink when you've got a cough.

T: Honey and orange and a subtle woodiness at the back. There's a bit of roasty bitterness. The aftertaste resembles port, which I like, and there's a tiny bit of breadiness. Let's let it warm up a bit. Ah, yes, plenty of blackbcurrants, or is it blackberries? I get them mixed up. Dried fruit becoming more prominent in the aftertaste but nothing too extreme.

O: Not the most inspirational beer but still complex and I'm yet to have a barley wine that has been less than excellent. (771 characters)

Photo of dar482
3.84/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Review of 2013 vintage.

The beer comes in a beautiful hazy strawberry red color with some brown in there. Almost like strawberry juice with a large bubbled white head.

The aroma has wet leaves and cardboard from oxidation. A good amount of caramel and sugary toffee sweetness.

The flavor follows with that sweetness in the front, caramel and toffee. Hints of leafiness and cardboard and that oxidation throughout. A toasted malt flavor, a light sugary sweetness that is significant, but not cloying. Fruit esters come through of some dried apricot, white raisins, apple, and pear. The finish has some of that herbal hop and a decent amount of alcohol. The sweetness and alcohol make the beer seem like a higher ABV, towards 10%.

The body is medium, a bit light at times.

A decent beer, but probably better when fresh. It would be better to have the hops shine through. (875 characters)

Photo of herman77
3.71/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2012 Vintage

A: Nice hazy orange copper color with a light khaki head. Head holds on for awhile. Okay lacing, just love the color. Very vibrant.

S: Lots of sweet toffee notes. Figs, raisins. Some sherry or port. Alcohol is also present.

T: Good balance between sweet malts and earthiness. Hops are still present ( a bit of spice to them). More carmel, toffee malts with a bit of brown sugar. Sweet, but nowhere near overly sweet since the hops and the earthiness balance it out nicely. A bit alcoholic in the finish, bourbon or almost scotch like.

M: Medium to lighter body. Average carbonation. A bit oily.

O: Drinks a bit stronger that 8.5%. That being said, the drinkability is okay, not something your gonna want to drink all night. Overall it is tasty and I'm curious to see what the 2009, 2011 are going to taste like. I will sit on my 2013 for many years after tasting this since it still seems pretty true to what it was fresh. (950 characters)

Photo of hopsputin
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 vintage, drank January 2014

a: a mix between burnt caramel and ruby red. fairly clear with a 2 finger tan white head that fades quickly to a thin layer of fizz on top

s: sweet malt bomb. i'm picking up a ton of English berries, figs, toffee, plums, raisins, and caramel. there is also a detectable amount of alcohol in the nose - not in a negative way

t: follows the nose pretty well. sweet caramel malts, figs, plums, that nice English berry flavor. then there is some nice leathery, earthy flavors along with something i imagine tobacco to taste like. after that you're hit with a subtle hop flavor - its along the lines of a tea leaf. slightly bitter, but very subtle and smooth. finishes with some alcohol

m: its on the lighter side of medium - lighter than i expected. very small amount of carbonation

o: i wasn't sure what to expect when i opened this, but i'm pleasantly surprised. this is a definite malt bomb, though i would have liked a little less alcohol in the flavor. not as good as something like Adam, but still really well made and full of nicely harmonized flavors. this walks that line between English Barleywine and Old Ale (1,153 characters)

Photo of polloenfuego
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2010 vintage bottle number 080221 into a snifter.

A: honey colored with a very small head upon pouring. The head dissipates rather quickly and there are minimal traces of lacing and a very thin foam cap left behind.

S: brandy, sweet fruit such as figs and plum. Fait whiff of alcohol as well.

T: brandy/cognac upfront, but there is also treacle and dark fruits present. The finish is grapish...if I could use such a word.

M: smooth, creamy and remarkably light. The alcohol one picks up with the nose is hidden well.

O: Fullers Vintage is an annual purchase for me, I usually get a couple of bottles every year. This was my last 2010, and it was quite enjoyable. I can only hope the other years I have age as well. The brandy and dark fruit flavors were quite enjoyable. A good sipper. (794 characters)

Photo of jmdrpi
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage, so 4 years old. 500ml bottle.

hazy dark copper color, thin off-white head that fades. rich malty aroma - toffee, caramel, raisins. more of the same with the taste, but well balanced. not too sweet, some earthy bitterness to even things out. smooth silky body, moderate soft carbonation. very tasty overall. (322 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
3.43/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

2010 vintage 1 pint .9 fl oz brown glass bottle with papered-over branded black pressure cap and classy understated label art acquired at me local bottle shop (they just had 2010 vintage lying about in 2013) and served into a Glenmorangie whisky taster in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Bottle No 122366. 8.5% ABV confirmed. Brewed with Golding and Fuggle hops. Dry-hopped with Golding and Target hops. "Best before end 2013." Perfect! I believe Fuller's maintains that this peaks at 3 years as well.

Served chilled, but not cold, and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured carefully per the label's instructions.

Good carbonation hiss as it's opened.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a half finger wide head of white/light khaki colour. Decent creaminess and thickness. Nice complexion. Head retention isn't bad considering the beer's age and high ABV - about 2 minutes. Some inconsistent spotty lacing clings to the sides of the glass when the glass is tilted, but little forms naturally as the head recedes.

Body colour is a clear translucent orange-copper of superb vibrance. No yeast particles/sediment are visible.

It's a nice appearance for an old ale and I'm looking forward to trying it. Nothing about the appearance reveals its age or suggests it's gone downhill. Not unique or special, but certainly attractive.

Sm: Has a light toasted malt character accompanied by some toffee as well as bursts of fruity esters: orange, pineapple, mango, and other tropical fruits which are too vague to identify. I'm surprised at the notable hop presence - both because of the style and because of the beer's age. Ripe orchard peach surfaces as it warms a bit. Honey. Very attractive sweet nectary notes. It's got a good malty sweetness and plenty of juicy fruits. I also pick up some white raisin and mellow berries.

It's quite clean; no yeast character is detectable. Alcohol is well concealed.

Overall, I'm really looking forward to trying this. The fruit notes are a definite highlight. It's also just a bit acidic, which accentuates the fruit. An inviting aroma of average strength.

T: It's got a marshmallow, toffee, light caramel, and vaguely toasty core with gorgeous balance. The fruity juiciness really comes in just before the climax, adding nuanced notes of peach, sticky pineapple, mango, and even a hint of passionfruit. White raisin. The hops have matured nicely with age, complementing the malts with unobtrusive fruity and faintly floral notes. The marshmallow is lovely, and was unexpected. I pick up some depleted orange jam notes and green apple as it warms. Some sherry too. Also a bit of butterscotch. There's plenty of rich English malt character here which is lovely. Refined and tasty, but perhaps not as approachable as other old ales. I like that it really commits to its distinguished English character, but that comes at the expense of accessibility and perhaps even balance. I can see where oxidation will actually complement this flavour profile rather than damage it.

It's an extremely cohesive build for an old ale, but not quite a gestalt one. Balanced and refined. There's plenty of complexity here, and even some intriguing nuance. But it could be far more intricate and subtle. Age has done it well and I'd be curious to try this fresh. Above average depth of flavour. Average intensity and duration of flavour.

The marshmallow is the standout note for me.

Hides its ABV well.

Mf: Decadently smooth and wet. Very rich. It's a rather refined texture which keeps it simple and stays out of the way of the flavour profile. In so doing, it complements the taste well and succeeds at facilitating full delivery of the complex flavours. A bit acidic, which is a nice characteristic in an old ale. Medium-bodied. Aptly thick. A biteen buttery. Has some alcohol-induced warmth, which is light enough that it just seems to complement the beer, and makes it a comforting winter sipper.

Not too sticky or chewy. Not oily, astringent, harsh, boozy, gushed, rough, or hot.

Dr: It's a refined sipper for the distinguished drinker. It sips real well out of a whisky tumbler. I haven't tried it fresh, but I'd like to, and the marshmallow note alone reveals this beer develops very well with age. I'd really like to try a 1-5 year vertical of this stuff. For now, my recommendation is in concordance with Fuller's - it peaks at 3 years. While it's not for the newcomer, this old ale is a fine example of a good English approach to the style and while I won't be putting any down to cellar meself, it's a beer I'd definitely recommend my friends try at least once. Certainly a classic, but not a world-class offering. I think with time and palate development, I'll come to appreciate this more and more, but constructively it's a bit overhopped and lacks the intricacy of superior beers in the style. I hope to update this review when I've tried other vintages.

B- (4,955 characters)

Photo of DenisKolkin
4.19/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a 500ml bottle of 2013 Vintage Ale from the LCBO the other day for $7.25 CDN. Comes in a nice fancy box. Served cool into a pint glass.

Appearance - Ruby red color with hues of brown, frothy ivory head with 2 fingers worth of head. Great head retention time and some good lacing.

Smell - Mild malt presence immediately hits your nose, then transitions into some more floral. Also mixed in there is a sweet dessert type smell (butterscotch, vague chocolate and caramel aromas).

Taste - Quite complex, with a blend of floral hops, desserts from the dessert tray, fruitcake and some chocolate. Even some earthy undertones and a little bit of coffee in the back end and aftertaste. Despite the heavy malt base, the hops come through on every sip in an understated way. Quite tasty.

Mouthfeel - Smooth, decadent, medium carbonation with a creamy feel. Yet do to the effects on the palate this also comes across as refreshing. Rather light on its feet for a full flavored high ABV beer.

Overall - Excellent beer full of complexity, wish I had some space so that I could age a couple of these for a couple of years to see how they taste then. Highly recommended to try at least once even given the hefty price tag. (1,222 characters)

Photo of kylelenk
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage in the cellar since 2012.

A- Enjoyed out of a wine glass. Pours a copper tone fill with a creamy white head that dissipates into nothing.

S- Some fruit notes mixed in with rich brandy.

T- Very complex. First got a huge hint of cognac followed up with that sweet nectar commonly found in bitters. The aftertaste leaves the slightest of alcohol burns which I found incredibly surprising yet overwhelming satisfying.

M- On par with what you'd find in ESB. A very creamy mouthfeel from the bottle conditioning reminds me much of a cask ale. Very low carbonation.

O-Tremendous for the category although a bit pricey value wise. Understandably the import adds a few $ to the bottle I'm sure but it's a great representation of the traditional British ale. (771 characters)

Photo of rangerred
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

2011 vintage. 500ml bottle into a nonic.

Pours a hazy dark copper with a frothy one finger white head. Very good head retention and lacing.

The aroma is full of caramel and sweet toffee with loads of figs and plums. Some orange sneaks through along with sherry. Really good depth and there is a lot going on.

A huge hit of caramel up front in the taste along with some chocolate. There is a subtle smokiness in the background too. A heavy sherry note along witih plums and figs. Bready malt in there but the dark fruit really dominates. I can also detect some orange. Towards the finish, there is a quick metallic shot followed by a whiff of alcohol. Mouthfeel is fairly thick with a decent sweetness lingering after the finish.

Overall, a very deep and complex beer. There is really a lot going on here in the aroma and flavor and it is a wonderful drinking experience. I really with I could try some of the other vintages. (928 characters)

Photo of dcmchew
4.56/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I find this hard to rate, depending on which vintage and when you have it. The rates here stand for the 2004 one.

No. 18550 of 95000 bottles, had in 2013.
Dark fruit complexity (raisin, plum, but also red berries and a more than decent amount of cherry); Coffee, sweet chocolate, to toffee notes; Caramel malts, hints of vanilla, cocoa, also some licorice sweetness;
Thwe alcohol is smooth and prickles nicely, bringing also some brandy/bourbon whisky notes;
In the finish itțs backed up by a beautiful hoppy bitterness and a mild roast; the sweetness goes down like honey in the finish, the creaminess helps too; cellary, barrelly notes from the aging, with oaky woody notes;
This was beautiful: malty and fruity, deliciously sweet, with a nice smooth alcohol, a perfectly melded English ale; Aged beautifully, making it noble and elegant.

Also had the 2010 vintage in 2013, but the one above was better.

For the sake of completion, i re-edited. Had the 2000 vintage, in 2014. Different fish food entirely, would have rated it way closer to 5. (1,049 characters)

Photo of MistaT
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I registered on Beer Advocate to blast another beer but have since cooled. In doing so, and potentially helping, I've been privileged to enjoy a Fuller's 2011 Vintage Ale. This is a beautiful beer I've enjoyed a handful of times since learning about it three or so years ago, and this bottle was as good as ever.

Let's start with appearance - generally a beer's appearance is limited to its color, head and potentially the bottle. In all these aspects this beer excels, but credit to Fuller's for taking it a step further with a gorgeous dark red box that lets you know you're set to enjoy something special.

The beer smells of a slight musk with tones of raisins coming through immediately. Of all the beer's aspects I will admit the smell is the least appealing though that's not to say its poor. Rather it doesn't do much aside from confirm the age of the beer and the quality of its hops/malt. Of the two primary beer ingredients malt comes through more notably with hops being secondary.

Taste - exquisite. Simple as that.

Like many of Fuller's beers there is a great balance of hops and malts so that each set is fairly represented. This is certainly a beer for those that favor malts but its not over the top. Dried fruits are another prominent flavor with raisins coming through particularly strong.

Overall - a beautiful beer that I look to grab any time I see in the store. Its perfect for the cellar, and while its served in a pint sharing this beaut will be sure to please any guest. (1,502 characters)

Photo of delta490
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle of the 2009 vintage, cellared since early 2010.

A- pours a deep caramel with a short-lived white head, that lives on around the circumference of the imperial pint glass.

S- deep malt. Dark fruit dominates (currants, raisins). Sweet with subtle alcohol esters.

T- rich and deep. Dark toffee (or maybe treacle), fruit and alcohol. Reminded me of a Christmas rum cake, minus the spice.

M- smooth, almost creamy.

O- A great English ale. The aging has really made it fantastic. (485 characters)

Fuller's Vintage Ale from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
93 out of 100 based on 638 ratings.