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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.

974 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 974
Reviews: 615
rAvg: 4.19
pDev: 10.98%
Wants: 77
Gots: 183 | 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)
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Ratings: 974 | Reviews: 615 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of thepeter

United Kingdom (England)

4.15/5  rDev -1%

2009 Vintage from Waitrose

A - Clear copper red. Very bright and pretty in the light. slight head that does not stick around very long

S -SWEET! Butterscotch, caramel malts, some apple and a tiny bit of booze

T - Toasted nutty flavor with some caramel and roasted malt. a bit of fruits (apple and grape) and a nice clean dry finish.

M - Velvety smooth, perfect carbonation and goes down so easy.

D - For it's strength I think this is extremely drinkable and this is a beer I typically split but am drinking alone this time, I am not complaining though.

06-11-2010 22:39:39 | More by thepeter
Photo of yuriruley


4.43/5  rDev +5.7%

2006 vintage from my local beer store.

Appearance - cloudy dark color, with not much head.

Smell - smelled primarily like brown sugar to me.

Taste - brown sugars, apples, and molasses, with a good alcohol background

Mouthfeel - was pretty smooth, with a thicker body.

Drink - went down easy, wasn't really noticing the 8.5 %.

Pretty solid beer, every time I see a British beer like this that is a vintage or bottle conditioned I have to try it. So far they have yet to disappoint, they are always very tasty beers. If you see this a bottle of this I'd recommend grabbing it.

06-11-2010 03:23:40 | More by yuriruley
Photo of radshoesbro


4/5  rDev -4.5%

2008 vintage.

pours a ruddy brown with a frothy off white head that subsides to a nice foam around the edge with patch bubbles all around the top of the beer. there is no lacing.

smells very sweet. candied ginger, molasses, raisins, some alcohol, etc.

tastes of dark fruits with a slight hint of fennel (?). there's no heat, but a cloyingly sweet taste from the alcohol. this is a nice beer and i am glad i bought multiple bottles of it.

definitely not something you're going to slam down at a bar, but very drinkable for the style.

05-29-2010 20:32:51 | More by radshoesbro
Photo of ADZA


4.1/5  rDev -2.1%

Ive had this in my collection for a while and finally decided after looking at the day outside todays the day this is the 2008 vintage bottle number 06723,it pours a deep toffee/amber hue with nice carbonation that leaves a creamy two finger head that recedes to a smog of lacing across the top,the smell is a mixture of strong caramel/toffee,raisins,whiskey and alcohol,it has a pleasant syrupy mouthfeel which is like a fine port with tastes of caramel,toffee,raisins,dark fruits and some cherry alcohol heat right at the end but not over the top by any means,its definately a pleasant brew to just kick back with next to the fireplace or on a nice cold night and will continue to buy the new vintage every year.

05-23-2010 05:37:38 | More by ADZA
Photo of alkchrios

New Hampshire

4.4/5  rDev +5%

2008 poured from a bottle i kept in my closet for over a year.. initial smell is very hoppy with aromas of alcohol...looks like dark copper and amber. very grainy.
t...wheaty..hoppy sweet fruit undertones.
d. 3 or 4

Im.. just going to go drink this now. I bought it in california last year and was saving it for the right time. I strongly recommend this brew.

05-16-2010 00:32:26 | More by alkchrios
Photo of BeerNemesis

New York

4.1/5  rDev -2.1%

Fuller's Vintage Ale "Limited Edition" | 500 ml. | 8.5% ABV | 2008 vintage

Brewer: Fuller Smit & Turner PLC (Fuller's), London
Style: Old Ale
Bottle #: No. 130457

Well Fullers has certainly done a good job of making Vintage Ale look "limited edition" worthy. The bottle is enclosed in a burgundy box -- similar to one that would cradle a bottle of scotch, or a fine liqueur. The bottle itself features regal styling, including a thin paper seal over the cap that reads "Limited Edition 2008" in gold embossed script.

On the label:
"I have crafted this very special ale from the finest Challenger and Northdown hops, Maris Otter malted barley, and of course, our unique yeast, to create a truly extraordinary limited edition brew"

"Individually packaged and numbered, this bottle is one of only one hundred and forty-five thousand produced"

"Although we are obliged to state a best before date of 2011, 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 cool, dark room or cellar"

"This 2008 edition marks 11 years of brewing this magnificent ale. Further information on previous Vintage Ales can be found inside."

"Being bottle conditioned, the 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

Poured into a Duvel tulip. The head formation is quite exciting. Bubbles stream hurriedly up the side of the glass while a angry, bubbling, white froth seethes at the surface. When all is said and done, it leave behind a quickly receding 1" plume. Lacing is a bit lackluster. The color of the beverage itself is a sort of hazy, brooding dark tawny orange (#A36400).

Alcohol drenched figs and raisins. There's also a substantial malt profile and estery alcohol.

The body is big and malty, accented by subdued fruity tones (figs, prunes, and raisins). The dark orange hops take a back seat, only coming forward with a zing towards the end. The esters are lovely -- restrained but always palpable. Smoky alcohol seems to hang behind all of the other flavors like a pregnant curtain of fog.

Oh so creamy and smooth. It glides through my mouth depositing lodes of precious flavor in taste-processing recesses of my palate. It's chewy and a bit thick (though not quite full bodied), which suits it well. Unfortunately, the carbonation has waned over the past two years (assuming it was there to begin with).

The aroma is actually a bit deceiving. I would have expected a much more boozy drink... But that is for the better. All the flavors hold together very well. There is complexity, however tastes seem to meld together in such a way that it is difficult to pick out distinct components. Overall, quite enjoyable, though, as is often the case, "limited edition" signifies much less than one would hope.

Brewed in: 2008 (24 months ago)
Price = $7.99 at Joe Canal's

05-15-2010 17:03:12 | More by BeerNemesis
Photo of LordAdmNelson


4/5  rDev -4.5%

300th review!

2008 vintage.

A nice hazy orange-rose-red color with smallish tan head that recedes quickly. Nose is pretty enticing, tart cherries, a bit of must, some yeastiness, sweet malt, and a bit of alcohol. Taste follows the nose, some big malty sweetness, a bit of a vinous character, cherries, yeast, alcohol. The flavors have mellowed out nicely. MF is a bit lacking, thin, though creamy. I wish it had a bit more body. Drinkability is surprisingly good for a robust, high ABV ale like this one. Good stuff from Fuller's, worth checking out.

05-05-2010 15:00:59 | More by LordAdmNelson
Photo of jwhawkins81


3.28/5  rDev -21.7%

2006 Vintage No 84199

Aroma - Sweet light malt with a hint of wine and alcohol.

Appearance - Good light tan head with a trickle of carbonation. Beer was a golden red color.

Taste - Slight oxidation with hints of woody flavors a touches of muted flavors reminiscent of Fuller's 1845. Not sweet nor bitter. Initially I don't think this beer is very complex. Alcohol burn on the back of the throat.

Notes - Its good just nothing special and maybe not worth the wait. Maybe this bottle was a little mistreated before I purchased it temperature wise but not the complex flavors I was expecting and I usually love everything Fuller's puts out.

04-17-2010 19:14:05 | More by jwhawkins81
Photo of cgmees


4.4/5  rDev +5%

2008 Bottle number 132065

A - Dark caramel color with nice foamy heat that quickly goes down to a thin film

S - Smell is nice with a bit o f yeast and alcohol but with a strong malt/caramel and fruit

T - Nice balance between the sweetness and alcohol, but combined nicely. Bit of hops, with fruits and raisins.

M - Heavy with a slight tingle of carbonation. Dense and chewy.

D - Nice drinking brew. Not one to drink a lot of, just have it first and enjoy the difference.

04-11-2010 00:14:10 | More by cgmees
Photo of 100floods


4.15/5  rDev -1%

2007 vintage, Bottle # 134813. Opened April 2010.

Pours a hazy amber, leaning toward copper. The sun lights this one up, it's not that dark. Decent white head, disappeared right away to some thin lacing.

This smells AMAZING. Sweet aromas. just the slightest hint of burnt and alcohol. I wish they made a cologne outta this aroma. Each sent is there, but not dominating presents. The combined aromas make a great bigger aroma.

After 2 years, almost going on three, there's still a good amount of non-offensive carbonation going on here. Burnt and bitter flavors hit my pallet right away. This is kind of what I image a strong english bitter would taste like. The burnt flavor lingers after each sip. Medium thin body. A little disappointed it doesn't smell like it tastes, mostly referring to the sweet aspect. I've had the 2008 before this and it was waaay different, however, not a problem. Once the bottom of the bottle was poured in some more burnt malt and alcohol flavors appeared, yum.

Definitely an excellent English brew. They handle the big stuff well. I am very pleased with this. still curious as to how this tasted fresh... i'll have to wait for the time machine to come in the mail.

04-09-2010 00:25:13 | More by 100floods
Photo of Flashsp2

New Mexico

4.13/5  rDev -1.4%

Fuller's Vintage Ale 2008 into medium snifter, sampled September 2009

Pours a very interesting rose/brown color, with unfortunately no real head to speak of, just a few bubbles and a ring. I allowed the bottle to warm a good 20 minutes out of the fridge before I opened it, but it's still a bit cold to the touch. Stupid refrigerator. The nose will hopefully have more to offer. Once it warms a quick swirl generates a half inch puff of cream colored bubbles that scurry away in a bit of a hurry. Oh well, this is an English Ale, I shouldn't expect an American IPA or Brussels style gigantic sticky head.

And offer it does. Raisins and plums, candied dark fruit, figs, brown sugar, fruit cake. A touch of booze as well, but just a light touch.

The taste is very unique, and unlike anything I've sampled prior. Very nice balance between the sweetness and the alcohol, which isn't very well hidden, but meshed in quite nice. More of the figs, raisins, fruit cake, pineapple, rose petals, caramel malt sweetness. Lots of fruity esters. Maybe just a we tiny bit of hop bite. It's got some age on it, and it shows. It's just got a bit of a distinguished feel to it, not tasting 'old' in a bad way, but like it's withstood age quite well. It's hard to pin down, but I bet this beer would be very impressive with a few more years on it. I just couldn't hold out that long.

Mouthfeel is quite heavy with an almost imperceptibly fine carbonation that tingles across the tongue every so slightly. Not quite chewy, but just dense and heavy. Almost syrupy, almost.

This is a nice drinking brew. Not something to quaff, but I am enjoying more with each sip. It has an air of quality to it, and I feel like a beer of this stature should be sipped and not slopped down.

04-06-2010 12:37:05 | More by Flashsp2
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 OBeerMeGreatOne


4.15/5  rDev -1%

I had to try a 2009 before I grabbed a few to cellar next to the 2008. So this is the '09.
Appearance: Rich amber with a off white head which is quick to disappear.
Smell: Fruits and a bit of alcohol. Smells very sweet and fresh.
Taste: Much like it smells but with a slightly medicinal taste. Something I assume with mellow with age.
Mouthfeel: Low carbonation and the medicine taste take it down. Of course I'll re-review it after I have had one for a few years. Like the previous years, I'm sure it will age quite well.
Drinkability: Worth putting a few away for a while.

03-10-2010 06:22:05 | More by OBeerMeGreatOne
Photo of HeroJH


4.03/5  rDev -3.8%

This review is for the year 2008 bottle. A real nice treat, which I'll try to pick up each year. It reminds me of old English ales, and feels like a trip back in time.

A - Dark Gold. Big foamy head. Soft. Settles to a full ring.

S - Apple, sweet malt, full.

T - tangy caramel apple. Alcohol. Sweet Malt. Dry apple finish.

M - viscous with delightful soft carbonation

D - Savor this slow, it's enjoyable. Not a session beer, and it's not meant to be.

03-04-2010 22:48:13 | More by HeroJH
Photo of ZorPrime

Quebec (Canada)

4.03/5  rDev -3.8%

Thanks to Ralphus for this one. Got the bottle in CanBIF5.

The beer is copper color, some might say it is caramel color looking. The head is full body but disappear quickly. It sticks quite well to the glass. On the taste side, I get some burnt caramel with a nice dry bitterness which makes you want to get another sip right now. The aroma is mellow, fruity too. It makes you want to dive in and drink the beer now. Some caramel notes too in the aroma.

A full bodied beer. Very good beer and the drinkability is above average.

Cheers Ralphus!

03-01-2010 01:38:05 | More by ZorPrime
Photo of mike130

United Kingdom (England)

4.53/5  rDev +8.1%

Had a 2008 bottle, poured into snifter. Decent, two-finger head that dissipates to a thin layer. Nice amber/brown colour, quite cloudy. Quite a bit of carbonation. Nice-looking beer.

Smell is very rich. A bit of yeast, but lots and lots of malt, caramel and dark fruit. A bit of yeast and alcohol as well, and some hop bitterness to balance it out.

The taste is astounding - had the 2009 brew, but this is really much more impressive than I remembered the 2009 brew to be. Lots of caramel, followed by fruitiness and bit of hops to balance it out. Excellent stuff.

Very smooth mouthfeel, solid carbonation that isn't overbearing and a bit of a lasting bitter feeling that helps balance the sweetness of the flavor.

Extremely drinkable for the content, can't feel the alcohol at all, and the sweetness and balance makes it very easy to drink. I'm going to have to re-try the 2009 bottles, and pick up some older ones at the Fullers' brewery. Possibly Fullers' best beer.

03-01-2010 00:18:02 | More by mike130
Photo of JoEBoBpr


4.4/5  rDev +5%

Poured into an oversized wine glass from a 1pt 0.9 oz bottle numbered 115548. Vintage 2008.

A - Pours a nice and hazy ruby red with nice orange hints. A thin .25 inch head pops up and quickly goes down to a thin film.

S - First a yeasty smell is noticed followed by a nice candy like malt sweetness. Grape like hints as well almost like a wine.

T & M - Grapes and other fruits like pear and apple even. Nice malt sweetness with some caramel and candy as well. Delicious beer.Very clean mouthfeel that is well balanced with the sweetness as to not be overwhelming. Nice yeast flavor is present with some good CO2. At the end there is even a nice hop bite to it that goes down clean and leaves a bitter aftertaste. This beer aged very well.

D - Extremely drinkable for the style. Not too sweet. Well balanced. Simple beer that is very delicious. One of my favorite qualities about Fullers.

02-21-2010 00:33:40 | More by JoEBoBpr
Photo of darklordlager


3.98/5  rDev -5%

2008 Fullers Vintage Ale

A: Pours a beautiful light ruby colour, with an enormous cream-coloured head with a slightly orange hue. Slightly opaque.

S: Delicious layers of caramel malt coming across. Candied dark fruit, nice crunchy malt character--almost scone-like. Light fresh/floral hop character as well.

T: Light but layered sweet caramel flavor upfront, moving into dark fruit with a mildly bitter finish. Not the most complex, but definitely has depth. Nice warming with the finish. Honey, and earthy/fruity aftertaste. Raisins.

M: Unbelievably creamy. Smooth. It becomes the slightest bit syrupy after it warms.

D: A very nice beer from Fullers--which I think will benefit from another few years of cellaring, allowing the flavor to develop more and to smooth out the alcohol a bit more (although it is already very well hidden). As it is now, I much prefer their 1845, especially with the price difference.

02-19-2010 04:10:52 | More by darklordlager
Photo of Shandias


4.68/5  rDev +11.7%

2008 Vintage. Chilled just below room temperature and poured into a short, wide highball glass.
Appearance is a slightly cloudy reddish-amber with a creamy off-white head. Head bubbles up and dissipates quickly. Smell is wonderfully complex, a perfumey-sweet melange of cereal grains and pipe tobacco, with hints of coconut and bourbon. There is a definite twang of alcohol, but it is not unpleasant. Taste follows smell; it is very sweet and malty with a British biscuity quality, highly caramelized with a pleasing albeit subdued kick of bready sourness in the aftertaste. The hops are delicately bitter and serve mostly to balance the sweetness. Mouthfeel is exquisite, coming on thick and full but short of syrupy. It sort of thins out and creeps away with each swallow. Fantastic. Drinkability is high insofar as this beer goes down very warm and smooth, altough the flavors are too intense to call it sessionable. A lovely creation from Fullers. My favorite old-school English beer (or should I say Nectar of the Gods) is Thomas Hardy's Ale, and this is sort of like Thomas Hardy's kid sidekick.

02-18-2010 00:37:49 | More by Shandias
Photo of Trizzle

United Kingdom (England)

4.3/5  rDev +2.6%

2009 vintage, bottle #034431.

Beatuiful, clear, red amber body. Magic. Smallish head, fades a touch quickly but re-appears with some agitation. A ring of foam lingers at the edges and laces a touch on my red wine glass.

The nose on this thing is awesome. Complex sweet fruits, sultanas and figs, some ginger, brown sugar, earth and alcohol.

Where to start... Sweet muscovado sugar, more christmas fruits, some ginger-esque tang and honey then filled out with cereal malts. Some warming alcohol - no real attempt to hide it - but not harsh or distracting. Mashed grain, lactose sugars, some toasty darker malts and dry-ish hops help to balance any cloying sweetness.

Medium body and carbonation, silky and smooth through the gob and down the gullet (8.5% ABV...), not harsh at all.

A sipper that I could easily do 2 or 3 of. A class act.

02-17-2010 21:04:48 | More by Trizzle
Photo of Sallerj


4.03/5  rDev -3.8%

This is a 2008 bottle, consumed 2/10. This is a cloudy orange-brown beer with a caramel and raisin smell. It has a rich caramel, cherry, vanilla, and dark fruit flavor, with a lingering, toasty, bittersweet finish. It's full bodied and sweet, without being sticky. I'm curious how this one ages.

02-17-2010 06:27:42 | More by Sallerj
Photo of emerge077


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 brownbeer


3.9/5  rDev -6.9%

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.

02-04-2010 00:35:01 | More by brownbeer
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 DoubleJ


4.47/5  rDev +6.7%

2007 Vintage, bottle #122505. I've had this for more than one year, and the $6.99 pricetag is still attached to the box. Served slightly cool, on to the beer:

Great color. Shiny paleish orannge with hues of yellow. Small carbonation bubbles rise slowly through the body. The soapy head on top is holidng up well, and it settles to a "double layer" of creamy texture. Great amount fo lacing it leaves. Its aroma is somewhat subtle. Honey, pale malt sweetness, and biscuit notes are evident. A touch of hops sneaks in.

Good things at first sip. Bready sweet malt base mixed with honey. Apples are hinted. Little bits of hop resin grab your attention, breaking up the otherweise sweetish flavor. Hmmm....there are notes of white grapes too. The flavor reminds me of Golden Pride. Very smooth and mild in the mouth. You don't even feel the carbonation hitting your tongue, yet it isn't flat. The alcohol is nowhere to be felt in the mouth, btu as the beer goes down the hatch, you feel a good, warming sensation in your chest.

Very interesting ale. It's got a mind of its own!! Yet it remains easy to approach for anyone. Go get a few bottles and start aging some now.

02-02-2010 04:08:40 | More by DoubleJ
Fuller's Vintage Ale from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
93 out of 100 based on 974 ratings.