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Fuller's Vintage Ale - Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

648 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 648
Hads: 1,187
Avg: 4.17
pDev: 14.63%
Wants: 114
Gots: 282 | FT: 10
Brewed by:
Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
United Kingdom (England) | website

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: 648 | Hads: 1,187
Photo of DogFood11
4.7/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had to break this out tonight as I've heard some rumblings that this is the prime time to drink this 2000 vintage. And what better time than a college football game that features two top five teams, Texas vs Ohio St.

Decent presentation in a oversized wine glass. beautiful frothy white head that recedes in uniform to a thin lazy fading froth ending in nothing. Copper color that is hard to see through. Bottle fermentation for 5 years may have jacked this baby up because I can smell the alcohol and it is welcomed. Prune, plumb, caramel smell comes through strongest. yeast. Tasted mellow dude. Just a layed back deep, rich easy drinking 8.5 abv (at bottling)....frickin sweeet....it did lack lacing and head retention but who cares the quality is in the taste. Even a little zing at the end to battle the caramel finish that is saucey.

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Photo of meathookjones
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2000

Bottle# 43816 with a best before date of end of 2003. Pours out a dark reddish brown with a decent sized frothy head. Some sticky rings of lace were left clinging to the glass. Sweet dark ripe fruit was strong in the aroma with plums and figs. Some caramel malt and a bit of musty earth. Figs, raisins and plenty more fruits kick of the taste before a bit of alcohol and molasses come in to play. There are some nice malt complexities going on as well. Light alcohol burn with a bit of earthiness and some fruit on the finish. Mouthfeel is a bit sticky sweet with a great thickness. A bit warming from the alcohol too. Really smooth and easy drinking stuff even if it is more of a sipper. For supposedly being 2 years past the best by date this is fantastic.

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Photo of tjthresh
3.86/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Big, big, big malt aroma. Crystal clear with an off white head. Very pretty beer. Again big malt flavor with a touch of bitterness. There are some flavor hops in the middle that I don’t care for. Very nice palate. Fuller bodied. Maybe a touch too much carbonation. This is by far the best Fuller’s beer I have ever drank.

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Photo of dgallina
4.12/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle, forgot to record the number or best-before date.

Pours a sparkling dark brown with ruby edges. Decent head of chunky off-white foam and quite a lot of moderately sticky lace. Strongly malty smells. Loads of the usual biscuit-like Fuller's yeast plus caramel malts and dark, fruity alcohol. Tastes much like the smell. Toasty and slightly smoky malts up front, with a chewy biscuit-like middle and very strong rum-like alcohol finish. Chewy and lightly carbonated body.

A bit boozy, but still tasty for an old strong ale. The house yeast and malt profile work better in the 1845 in my opinion.

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

“Bottle #76157”: The beer dispenses from the 500ml brown bottle a translucent deep amber to copper color with the head average in size, the texture semi-creamy and the color a winsome light tan and after its demise the residual lace a concealing sheet upon the glass. Nose is deep malt, sweet, hints of caramel, and oh yes “Alcohol” and the start delectable in its sweetness and the grain profile adequate, the top is middling in its feel. Finish scrumptious in its hop presence, moderately carbonated and a very dry long lasting aftertaste, the first new vintage in a few years at least for me.

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Photo of Sammy
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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).

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Photo of Naerhu
3.85/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

No. 87866
A - Beautiful red amber body with no visible carbonation and thin off-white head.
S - Great spicy hops, fresh aroma with rich caramel maltiness
T - Big initial bitterness, which quickly fades. medium maltiness that starts as caramel, then fades into tabacco and finally port wine.
M - This wine is lacking in richness and body, thought the fine carbonation and well integrated alcohol was enjoyable.
D - No desire to have this again, and almost forgot to drink the last half of pint before going to sleep.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle No: 41526

Bottle says "Best Before End 2003." Hope I didn't wait to long.

Fiery scarlet red appearance. Clarity is good. Head is beige, hefty and long-lasting. Lace is bountiful. This smells of toffee, caramelized raisins and vanilla nougat. Excellent aroma. Flavor is kind of sharp and dry. The bulk of this beer is all about the caramel and toffee flavor wheels. Also nuances of cedar. Alcohol is nearly absent. Dry, woody finish. Mouthfeel is appropriately prickly with carbonation. Body about light-medium. Good stuff, but I think I may have waited a titch too long.

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Photo of kbub6f
4.04/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I get about a centimeter of yellowy-cream head: lots of bubbles floating on a dense base. The beer itself is clearish and copper-brown. Quite dark. The nose is a sweet and fruity liqueur. Port-like, too. Mmmmm. Fruity and malty in front. It turns thick, smooth, buttery, malty and slick. And then there's alcohol, loads of cherries (?) and a good, tangy, British bitterness. Excellent: a slick, buttery, fruity malt monster. Big alcohol kick.

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Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.56/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Beautifully thick, creamy head. Nice amber-brown color. Hops on the nose with some barleywine smells as well. You can still pick out the hops in the taste, which is impressive after all these years. Nice barleywine taste. Mellow, but deep. Smooth as silk. I think this one may be a little bit past its peak. Still well worth getting and consuming if you still have any around.

Do you really care what the bottle number is?

Edit: This review was of the 2000 vintage.

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Photo of MrSeth
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It pours with a smallish, thin head. A beautfiul reddish-brown color body with red-gold highlights.

The nose is lightly hoppy, with an attractive maltiness.

The taste is a little on the bitter side, and it's not too sweet (as many of the vintage ales are). There is a slightly sweet apple taste, and this is what makes me think this will be an excellent ale to age. It will gain in complexity, without making you wonder how an overly heavy sweetness or hoppiness will turn out.

The finish is dry and pleasantly short.

This is a remarkably clean tasting ale overall. I plan to get some more so I can let it age. It pairs well with Mortlach 32 Y.O. single malt (G&M) as well.

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Photo of frazbri
4.12/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear mahogany with a short cream colored head. Fruity aromas of apples and oak. Bread, raisins and carmel with full bitterness, and some alcohol warmth. Mild carbonation and medium body that seems to fill out as it warms.

This is a beer brewed to last, yet is quite drinkable right now. The mouthfeel improves as it warms. I'd like to cellar a couple bottles of this and see how it matures.

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

bottle number 03785.shared this with bieristut. poured amber with a off white head. aroma malts, caramel, plums, raisins, honey, some hops, grapes, flavor, raisins, malts, honey, toffee, dark fruits, this is a good beer . will have to get the other vintages as they get to this area. just think being able to rate a beer that is retired.

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Photo of GuinnessSmurf
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fullers Vintage Ale 2001 No: 12335; served on Dec. 31, 2004 (the last day of their suggested maturity)

Appearance: Apple cider orange. Very low ring of pale head. The combination of the warm colors and cool head are a nice contrast and give the beer a harvest look.

Smell: Fruity, apples and malts working together with some brown sugar and a biting tartness of fermented fruit. As it warms you start to get a nice plum or prune too.

Taste: Strong fruit upfront, then it sharpens like a u-turn and adds some hops with fermented tartness. The finish seems to last forever. I sat on my first sip for awhile, but, after coating my tongue with a second sip, I could taste that beer for what seemed like forever (i gave up waiting, so i could begin that 3rd sip).
As it warms up, it mellows out a bit, adding a bread flavor and some caramel notes too.

Mouthfeel: Body is very thick yet, it doesn't feel like it is big in the mouth. Just a full textured beer that is thick without the foaminess. The alcohol finishes after each taste and warms the mouth (nice!)

Drinkability: If only I had bought more!!!!

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Photo of canucklehead
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Comes in a nice red box which make it easy to locate in the cellar. The beer pours dark gold with a big head. The nose is malt and English hops. This is a refined beer with little hint of the big alcohol inside. Instead I got a
complex mash of hops, malt and baking tastes. Well made and very easy to drink this beer is a true Winter treat.

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Photo of assurbanipaul
4.77/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a clear reddish-brown with a thin but substantial bone-white head. Aroma is lots of sweet syrup and deep caramel malts.

Taste is a lot of complex malts, soft yet slightly astringent. Maple syrup, lots of aged wood flavors, single-malt scotch, some smoke or ashy element. Mildly buttery, lightly biscuity, no perceiveable off-flavors even though the bottle has a "best before" date of the end of 2002 (would this ever go bad?). Light alcohol flavor, just barely there but not enough to be distracting. Bitter finish, just to remind you there are hops in this.

Extremely, extremely smooth. Mouthfeel is fairly thick but soft, could be easy to drink but is really more of a sipper. But drink it too fast and you can feel the alcohol heat better. This is not a beer, this is an event. Does not suffer at all with the years, time is its friend. Would be a perfect pairing with a fine cigar, or the birth of your first child.

Bottle No. 71808 of 85,000.

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Photo of bigbeerdrinka
3.78/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice copper color with a large bubbly white head that leaves a nice lace. Aromas are a mix of dark fruits (grapes and figs mostly) along with some toffees and a warming alcohol. Flavors start off initially sweet with a large dosage of grapes, plums, and figs. There is an abundant amount of sweetness that has a sugary feel to it along with a hot alcohol feel. In the middle the is a nice touch of caramels and toffees that go along nicely with this full bodied brew. The finish is fruity, citrusy, and very floral with a nice dosage of hops that helps round out this brew. Overall a highly drinkable old ale that seems just a bit young due to the sugary feel to it.

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Photo of slitherySOB
4.32/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle No. 48280
Pours a coppery, almost dark orange colour. Big, fluffy head after a slow pour. About three fingers, which disipates to a little over one over a decent period of time. Rings of lace around the glass every few millimeters. Smells thick with malts and pungent earth, with a bit of honey, floral hops(which aids the earth quality) and some dry cow hide. Taste is huge with malts and earth. Wow. Layer after layer of thick malts, with a honey sweetness escorting beside it. Bit of a bitter aftertaste, which reminds me of rum and juniper berries. Mouthfeel is thick, and just a tad thinner than syrup. For this kind of beer, it's great. Pretty drinkable. Perhaps not a quaffer, but very few good beers are quaffers. An excellent brewed beer.

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Photo of EPseja
3.92/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Shared this red-boxed Vintage Ale with two BA buddies of mine. Served in a pint glass at about cellar temperature.

Appearance: This one poured out bright copper with a light tan head that stayed for awhile before thinning out without disappearing. Pretty, but understated.

Smell: Slight latex paint smell up front (but not unpleasant in the least!), lavender, slight honey sweetness from the malts. My friends mentioned old leather but I couldn't discern it. All scents were well blended, and there were others that I couldn't pick out from the amalgamation. Quite unqiue and intriguing.

Taste: The first thing that came to mind for me was a wintertime fireplace. Slight maltiness, a hint of hops, a hint of smokiness - very smooth with the intricacies of a good scotch. I suspect that this would improve considerably with age. For 8.5%, the alcohol is well disguised and takes a back seat - even to the other mellow flavors. Slight warmth in the finish without overtly revealing the alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and well rounded. Carbonation is decent. Pleasant, but not very noteworthy.

Drinkability: The fact that everything about this beer is so mellow makes you want to keep sipping to try and peg down the flavors.

In conclusion, there is no doubt that this beer will improve with age. Be sure to serve this one a cellar temperature and a wide-mouthed glass to allow the subtle bouquet to open up!

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Photo of Wildman
4.12/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No. 73058: I know this one is a little young to try, but I had to at least try one before putting some aside. It poured a very dark reddish amber color and formed a foamy white head that left circular lace as it subsided. A small amount of carbonation is present. An aroma of malt, plums, chocolate, red wine and a hint of alcohol. The flavor was of malt, caramel, some light candy taste. The finish was silky and slightly sweet.

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Photo of gentlebubbles
4.62/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle-conditioned. No. 19154 of 30,000. "Best by end 2004". Okay, here we go.

Ambrosial scent of sherry and hazelnut and alcohol, verging even on varnish but in a wonderful way. Sweet caramel emerges as it warms.

Clear caramel color with ruby and amber highlights that glows like a polished apple before a light. Low amber-tinged head of densely packed tiny bubbles.

Intense caramel flavors made sticky with pine resin and chewy with nuttiness. It's exactly the caramel and pine I love so much in People's Pint ESB, but this is a little easier to get hold of. Alcohol opens out into a winey finish, giving you fair warning of what's coming. More hazelnut and vanilla emerge as it warms and I keep sipping. I don't exactly taste wood, but if someone told me it was aged on wood, I'd believe it.

Incredibly fine carbonation that's a bit too sharp for me at first.

Definitely want to get more of this, and see what a bit more time does to it.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer (the 2004 edition) went really fast at the LCBO, I was lucky to get the two bottles I did.

It pours a deep copper. Its a little lighter than the other vintages Ive tried but Its not 'Golden' like the label says. The head is big, craggy and long lasting. It leaves a trail of light tan lace behind. The aroma is of layers of thick malts with an excellent Goldings aroma and a spicey alcohol kick. It smells almost like the Fuller's ESB, only super stong. Also hoppier on the nose than other vintages.

The taste is very rich and heavy on the alcohol. I suppose this bottle might be a bit 'young' . There are some ripe plum flavors, fruity esters and doughy flavors. The hops are very noticeable though not so much in their bittering potential. The plums and dark fruits blend well with the alcohol to make a nice warming sensation. The mouthfeel is thick and chewy, very nice with fine carbonation bubbles.

This was a nice beer for sure, very complex in the malt department. I think its only drawback was a slightly brash alcohol note. It could use some cellaring. Still a great beer.

The taste is

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Photo of fandgale
4.43/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Comes in a red box Fuller’s Vintage Ale popping the top comes to a light fizz the smell of malt some hops .
The pour, in a small glass 330 ml is just right nice small head again malt and some hops with a amber color .

Taste is hops at first then malt very smooth not dry some alcohol that goes down the side of the tongue. Nice
This vintage ale will cellar well .plan on 2 or 3 away for next fall.

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Photo of marburg
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dulled, gel-like amber brew. Thick, maple-ish scents. Liquid caramels. Whew. Intense nose. Equally intense flavor. Strong from the get go, there's a big load of alcohol and a truckload of caramel and brown sugar. Very sweet up front. A mild herbal/grassy bitterness takes hold and grows a bit to a huskier astringency through the finish.

I don't know what this was like in 2001, but it's a hell of an old ale now. Well-balanced and just hoppy enough despite an assertive maltiness. Cakey and viscous. As you settle into this, you just begin to feel what kicking back and drinking a nice old ale should feel like. It drizzles down the throat, coating as it goes, and giving warmth. The sweetness lingers past the finish. Very good beer.

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Photo of TripelJ
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Now Quaffing: Fuller's Vintage Ale 2001 no. 11920 1pt. 2.6 oz.

Pours a clear, deep mahogany with a nice sticky, white head that leaves a nice lacing down the snifter. Appearance will likely be a little cloudier when I decant the rest of the bottle and the yeast deposit at the bottom. Aroma is vinous and candy sweet with some light alcoholic phenols. The taste is a subtle display of acidic and sweet fruitiness with a spicy alcoholic finish in a nice full creamy broth of a base. The sweetness is reminiscent of Belgium and its brewers remarkable ability to blur the lines between beer and wine. The mouthfeel is full, lucious, slick and creamy, which makes for a most addictive imbibing experience. Overall, a fantastic brew, I will certainly seek out other vintage offerings from this brewery.

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Fuller's Vintage Ale from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
93 out of 100 based on 648 ratings.