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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.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

993 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 993
Reviews: 617
rAvg: 4.19
pDev: 10.98%
Wants: 78
Gots: 189 | FT: 6
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
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Ratings: 993 | Reviews: 617 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of ericandersnavy.

2004 vintage. Pours light brown with a white head. Aroma is caramel, brown sugar and some slight tartness. Flavor is similar with caramel malt, raisins, brown sugar and some alcohol. Medium, very creamy mouthfeel.

Mora2000, Jan 01, 2010
Photo of ImusBeer
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I gave this one the highest drinkablilty since I couldn't even detect the alcohol until after I had finished and I couldn't walk straight. Very smooth the only thing I could say negitive is it is a bit too sweet.

Poured out of a 16.9 oz bottle in a nice box. It was serial numbered. It was a rich amber color very clear with an off white head, not very much head though.

The aroma of raisins and sweet honey dominate the nose. The taste is almost identical with sweet honey and raisins.

Inside the mouth it is VERY smooth with a syrupy feel and a slight bitterness at the finish.

I shared this with my brother and the dude behind the bar (I'm nice that way) and even at about $14 a pop I think I'll be looking for this at a store somewhere.
D: a real treat

ImusBeer, Dec 30, 2009
Photo of JohnGalt1
4.22/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been sitting on this for a while.. I'm sure I bought it at the COOP, but can't even remotely remember the price.. Poured into my Delirium goblet.

half the bottle produced a great 1" head.. fantastic lacing and retention.. nice cap.. the brew is crystal clear deep orange verging on amber.

vinous nose.. slightly acetic .. black currants and golden raisins .. reminds me alot of tawny port.

Flavor has leather and cigar wrapper.. not as fruity as the nose suggests.. very elegant.. caramel and lite toffee.. I am having a really hard time describing this one.. very rich but not overdone and it has an element of slightly sour that makes me think of English BW's.. a bit of brown sugar in the finish.. not sweet really, just a component... with the later pour, a bit of smoke arises.. very nice.. this is a great beer... I just wish I had a better vocabulary to describe it.

4/4/4.5/4/4

JohnGalt1, Dec 24, 2009
Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.22/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a sniffer, deep caramel color...cloudy, tanish colored frothy head that dissipates rather quickly. 2008 vintage. Aroma is mildly fruity and heavily boozy, almost like a vodka.
Flavor is very good. Complex, caramel, carbonation, a little creamy...and sweet. Very good beer...especially as it warms up.

ShadesOfGray, Dec 09, 2009
Photo of brewstien82
3.73/5  rDev -11%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2005 Vintage poured into a Deschutes Brewery reserve series tulip glass

A-Poured a light amber with ruby highlights very clear no chill haze with two fingers of head that fell to a small lacing around the rim , amazing carbonation left for a beer this old.

S-fig pudding, vannila, brown sugar,and sherry a small amount of hop spice lingers underneth the rest along with some oxidation.

T-Sweet sugary malt with a juicy plum and blueberry center with some tasty banna esters falls to a oxadized bitterness in the finish.

M-Medium body moderate carbonation with some bitter astringency on the tongue.

D-Definitly one to drink slowly and savor, alot more oxadized than I was hoping for that muddles some of the other flavors that would be present otherwise, with a beer this old some is to be expected, probably had to do with storage conditions, I would definitly like to try a younger version to compare.

brewstien82, Dec 06, 2009
Photo of TerryW
3.58/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I've had a bunch of these over the years and note that I've not yet written about any of them. Have some notes though, so here we go.

2007
What inspired my late review is having cracked open a bottle of the 2007 vintage. Its quite different from what I remember back then - its morphed into something akin to a barley wine in its taste profile and the aroma of the beer is markedly improved. The smell is now very deep, rich and fruity with a subtle alcohol undertone. Very, very appetizing.

Warming to drink, but the alcohol is not overwhelming. Much heavier mouth feel, almost but not quite syrupy. Fruity with a lingering bitter finish. Reminiscent of the Scotch-based Innis & Gunn brew, but not so much of a vanilla flavour. Drink it slow at the front of your mouth. Quite nice.

Look is good. Slightly cloudy amber, good solid head and lots of lace.

A far better beer than when I first cracked it open a couple of years ago. It was rather undistinguished back then, but quite interesting now. This suggests that as your buyingthis brew, you want to cellar away a couple of bottles after sampling it when it is first available.

I've found a bottle of 2005 that I had stashed away. That's next.

TerryW, Dec 06, 2009
Photo of billyshears
4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 Vintage
A-Slight lacing; small head quickly dissipated. Cloudy coffee color
S-Strong smell of raisin, backed up by malts, alcohol.
M- Light carbonation. Medium sticky mouthfeel.
T- Malt, strong raisin/dark fruit taste.
I was a little underwhelmed by the complexity to be honest. I thought it was gonna be a bit more. That being said, I definitely enjoyed it

billyshears, Dec 05, 2009
Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.55/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle, 2008 vintage, bottle number 149239. Pours a translucent golden-amber with about a half inch of khaki-colored head. Smells great, with sweet fruit (raisin, grape, apple), nut, toffee, chocolate, brown sugar, vanilla... Toffee, caramel, brown sugar, dark chocolate, chocolate, nut, date, fig, raisin. Full-bodied bordering on viscous with moderate carbonation, combined with just a touch of alcohol warming makes this a sipper for sure, but super complex and balanced. Delicious, well worth the price. I'd love to see what this beer tastes like in a few years...

MrHurmateeowish, Dec 05, 2009
Photo of nighthawk
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 Vintage with bottle number and best-by date (only a legal requirement) on the classy accompanying box. Tasted from a snifter.

Pours a beautifully clear ruby with orange hues, giving it just a bit of an amber tone to it. Head is off-white, two fingers on initial pour, setting to a thin haze that leaves just a little bit of lacing.

Lots of dark fruit (raisin and plum) on the nose, with toast and caramel. Just a touch of smoky sourness. Not leaping from the glass, but it's nice, and feels pulled together.

Hugely malty body on this one, raisin, currant, plum, caramel, toast, leather and alcohol. Hops are a lightly bitter and grassy afternote on the finish. Middle has a yeasty character to it. Some vinous notes as the beer warms. I like the progression this beer makes over the palate.

Mouthfeel is medium, slickly carbonated with a mildly syrupy, sticky feel as it coats the mouth. Seems to taper to a light body as I swallow.

Given the abv, this is very pleasant on the palate; while alcohol can be tasted, it's not burning you up. A very well-crafted beer, stately from the bottle's appearance to the final sip, it feels well pulled-together, even when intended for a bit of age. I have one in the cellar, and will let it sit for a few years before cracking it.

nighthawk, Dec 03, 2009
Photo of WeedKing4
4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 500ml classy bottle pours a clear dark amber colour with a little carbination on a careful pour. The taste is of dark malts and sweet dark fruits with a mild hop touch. Very smooth with a sweet taste added to the end of it. The 8.5 abv% is very well hidden. This was my first Old Ale and it was quite interesting. A very solid beverage overall.

WeedKing4, Dec 03, 2009
Photo of Arbitrator
3.83/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Chilled 2008 vintage into a glass. Part of my ongoing "clear out my damn cellar" obsession.

A: Pours a clear amber color with honey tint when held to the light. A vigorous upturn yields 1.5" of cream-colored fluffy head. Retention is moderate and lacing is light.

S: Toast, butterscotch, green apples, leather, and yeast.

T: Same as the nose, but toast is surprisingly light; it manifests itself more in the aftertaste. The primary flavor is butterscotch accentuated with light green apples. There is a leathery and yeasty bent in the mid-taste, which pays homage to the old ale style. The finish sees a mild herbal hop element, but it's so restrained (even for a year-old beverage) that I wonder how this beer is going to hold up for future years. It's already pretty sweet.

M: Light-medium bodied, perhaps due to the carbonation; it certainly doesn't sit thickly on the palate. I'm not sure how it's going to improve with age in this respect.

D: This is an interesting beverage; I'm tempted to seek out an older one to find out how it does after a few years. But if it weren't for the fact that we're told to age it, I wouldn't immediately get that idea from tasting this brew. It has no overt alcohol tones, and it's pretty well-integrated already.

Arbitrator, Nov 30, 2009
Photo of BarrelO
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into a goblet. 2008 vintage, bottle 122188.

A: Medium orange body. Not much of a head. No lacing.

S: Caramel and some citrus.

T: Strong maltiness. Some orangey citrus. Also a bit of spiciness.

M: Medium-bodied, a hint of syrupiness.

D: A decent strong ale. It didn't particularly move me one way or another, though.

BarrelO, Nov 28, 2009
Photo of juhl31
4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

have to give some love to dan for saving and sharing this bottle of '04. at the time it was the oldest beer that i had ever drank.

-dark gold with a fine white head for the age

-sweet and brandy smelling with some malts up in there

-very malty and really smooth. alcohol taste in there too.

-very smooth again and a nice alcohol warmth to it

-awesome shared and aged beer

*also had an '07 to compare

3.5 - golden amber with a touch of foggyness but not too much. good white head with lacing

4 - smells sweat with faint hops. apples a bit

4 - really sweet with some spiciness in there

4 - it was fine. little weirdness on the back end

3.5 - wasnt bad, but theyve definitely done better

juhl31, Nov 25, 2009
Photo of BillyBoysPie
4.22/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the bottle at Aufsturtz in Berlin. 2007 vintage drank in 2009.

Dark brown with an inch of tan head. Very dark, lots of lacing.

Smells of rich caramel, golden raisins, and cinnamon. Alcohol is perceptible.

Sweet golden raisins and dried golden delicious apples dominate, with sweet butterscotch and cinnamon balancing against the alcohol. Very, very rich, but quite desirable.

Dense, alcoholic and heavy mouthfeel. But, good and well balanced.

Excellent beer, worth trying. I'm seeking out a few others to compare with this one date wise.

BillyBoysPie, Nov 16, 2009
Photo of Docer
3.58/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Grabbed a 2008 bottle... great price!

- Dark semi-cloudy copper penny.. mild creamy butterscotch head...

- Huge sweet caramel malt profile... sweet caramel... bit of a buttery nose... light bittering hop, pine... toffee....

- Rich malt profile... sweet brown sugar, toffee... bittering hop.... rich fig...

- sticky, slightly dry... overall a bit chewy and sweet sticky...

- Overall a very decent brew.. but also slightly overrated...

Docer, Nov 14, 2009
Photo of BeelzeBrew
4.05/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Recieved via trade, thanks to ColdMeat, I was able enjoy bottle number 80,753 From the 2005 batch. Consumed in 2009, this bottle was aged for 4 years.

A: Deep, dark and cloudy mahogany... So cloudy, in fact, that you can't see through it. When held to light, it looks like a dark apple cider with the red hues and cloudiness blending together.

S: The only thing that stands out in the scent is the apparent alcohol volume, along with bread-like malts and very minuscule hop content. Dark fruits enter the nose, with a woody, oak-like aroma.

T: Dark, sweet fruits enter the palate immediately and are accompanied by a buscuity, bread-like malty flavor. The sweetness certainly wins the battle of dominance for taste. There is much woodiness to this beer, along with the alcohol content, which makes for a nice bourbon-like flavor. The aftertaste also reminds me of bourbon with the oaky woodiness lingering pleasantly along with the alcoholic warmness.

M&D: Perfect carbonation make the mouthfeel nice, but the alcohol limits the drinkability of this beer... Not that I couldn't easily drink a few of these in one session ( if only!)

Reccomended!

BeelzeBrew, Nov 05, 2009
Photo of joozyboozy
4.05/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

this is the 2008 edition, it has been aged for about a year and a half

the smell is very nice. sweet and malts, abit of fruity raisen smell,

the taste is pretty much the same. very smooth, buiscuty, dried fruits like raisens or dates. and there is an interesting hoppyness to it. very complex but balanced at the same time

the mouthfeel is smooth and a bit creamy.

its a drinkable beer for the alcohol level it has

joozyboozy, Nov 05, 2009
Photo of JRed
3.4/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours an orange, caramel hue. A sweet butterscotch, woody flavor with some light fruit notes in the aroma. A dull taste of wood, molasses, unsweetened butterscotch, bitter oranges. The aftertaste is a dull, orange rind off flavor with tang that doesn't sit well with my palate. Light in body with little to no carbonation. This syrup, caramelized ale doesn't stand out among the rest of the pack.

JRed, Oct 31, 2009
Photo of DerBayer
4.05/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The colour and smell is closely akin to Barleywine but the taste is nothing like it although there are similarities. The hop bitterness and spice is however much more pronounced and there is agrainyness as if of Wheat.

The mouthfeel is rich and smooth and creamy and the beer goes down atreat

DerBayer, Oct 31, 2009
Photo of matjack85
4.65/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer comes with a classy looking label on a classy looking bottle, all inside a classy looking gift box. If they gave awards for packaging, this beer would win the gold medal. Fuller's has been turning out these vintage ales since 1998. The bottle I am reviewing here is bottle # 107130 from their 2008 vintage.

The beer pours out a mildly hazed caramel color that produces a 2 finger fluffy tan head that lasted quite awhile and left some moderate lacing on the glass.

The smell was like opening a box of Raisin Bran. Big raisin fruitiness along with caramel malt and a whiff of warming alcohol blend together to give this a pleasant smell.

The taste was fantastic. Not only did it have a good caramel malt backbone to it along with the fruit juiciness of raisins, but I was also picking up some kind of bourbon flavor and some orange-like hoppiness as well. Lots of good stuff in here.

The carbonation level was held to a moderately low level so as not to get in the way of its smoothness, which also let the alcohol do its warming thing in the finish. A very complex, full bodied beer with a creamy mouthfeel.

I've liked all the Fuller's vintage ales that I've tried so far, but this 2008 batch may replace the 2004 as my favorite one to date. This is really delicious! I could drink more of these if it wasn't for the high 8.5% abv and the large size of the bottle to start with.

matjack85, Oct 19, 2009
Photo of NorCalYeti
3.33/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

taste- malty, bitter, slight fruit

color- orange amber

clarity- clear

smell- soft sweet alcoholic malt

body- medium-full

appearance- medium color, off-white head

overall impression- good beer. drinkable, not my preference in a bottle conditioned beer

notes- this review is for a 2000 vintage tasted in 2004

NorCalYeti, Oct 13, 2009
Photo of dstc
4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a murky orange/brown color. Nice light tan head falls to just about nothing. Thin lace.

Mild malt nose. To be honest I'm not getting much else.

Wow, very sweet malt flavor. Hints of honey and butter. Mild, smooth and delicious.

Medium to full bodied in the mouth. Very smooth, low carbonation. Higher alcohol and a slight bite.

Great sipping brew. Can't wait to try it aged (but I guess I'll have to). I can sit and sip this all night.

dstc, Sep 27, 2009
Photo of TeeCee
4.47/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Quick Review - rich glass of goodness!

I poured this beer in a UK pint glass that I've been using a lot lately. The extra space let's me get more of the beer in a single poor.

Appearance - slightly hazy and of the color of a good glass of iced tea: that orangey amber look. The head poors tall and tan but dissipates moderatey, leaving little behind on the glass.

Smell - there's that slightly rotten fruit smell that a little of goes a long way. There's just a little here.

Taste - smooth, rich beer. A nice balance of malt with some bitterness in there. Not really balanced, but not sickly sweet. I've had other beers that have ried to do this but have overdone it. I think this one's done right. I know it's done right for me.

Mouthfeel - a definite full on medium. I'm thinking the 8.5% is keeping things from being a foamy mouthful.

Sessionability - not really. Great beer, but you're not going to handle a lot of these.

TeeCee, Sep 27, 2009
Photo of Trappissed
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 Vintage:

Smell initially reminded me of a BSPA. Just more malty. Almost a cider-like aroma with some alcoholic presence. Maybe even a little grape juice. Taste is very sweet and malty, but I am also getting some of that yeast that I got in the nose. Also some bready notes in the smell and the taste.

Raisins; and some of that cider/grape juice I got in that aroma. Somewhat cloying sweetness to be honest, but still very enjoyable and unique. Became smoother as it warmed. An addition of toffee, caramel, and other sweet candies. I have one to cellar for a couple years though, so we'll see how that turns out.

Trappissed, Sep 01, 2009
Photo of beveritt
4.05/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured from a 1pt 09. fl. oz. brown bottle into an Imperial pint glass. Label is simple, showing the Fuller's coat and the name. 2008 vintage, No 146,666. Paper tab over the crown cap.

Appearance: Pours with 2 fingers of medium tan head. This settles, leaving an thin, incomplete coating of foam. The beer itself is a honey amber and perfectly clear.

Smell: Very sweet malt with hints of strawberry and apricot.

Taste: Sweet malt upfront, with strong flavors of butterscotch and maple syrup. Ever so slight bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Average carbonation level. Body is very good.

Drinkability: A nice drink to sip, maybe a little sweet after having an entire bottle. Very interested to see what this is like in a few year.s

beveritt, Aug 29, 2009
Fuller's Vintage Ale from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
93 out of 100 based on 993 ratings.