Fuller's Vintage Ale - Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
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Ratings: 977 | Reviews: 615 | Display Reviews Only:
3.45/5 rDev -17.7%
2004 vintage (bottle 75089), 16.9 oz bottle. Pours a slightly hazy reddish amber with a thin and fizzy head that quickly diminishes to a thin collar.
The aroma is lots of sharp vinous alcohol with some dark fruits and grassy hops.
The flavor is sweet caramel malts and dark fruits with a noticeable alcohol finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full with soft carbonation.
Overall, it's a decent strong ale, but a little too harsh on the alcohol and sweetness for me.
02-21-2008 06:49:49 | More by Beaver13
District of Columbia
4/5 rDev -4.5%
2005 vintage. dark orange with a light tan head that fades quickly and leaves just a little lace... pretty much what old ales do. nose and taste are very similar. rum soaked raisins, orange marmelade, some leather, sweet and slightly smokey/oaky, and a faint hop character that managed to hold itself together. this bottle at least is very clean and unturned tasting. nice medium full body. minimal syrupy character that old ales often have. great warming finish. not as complex as an old thomas hardy's, but delightful and much easier to drink.
02-19-2008 18:32:09 | More by timtim
4.35/5 rDev +3.8%
This is embarrassing...having shelved this for a special occassion, I missed opening this for my wedding, grad school graduation, my novel's completion and the birth of my first son... and now it's five years past its prime! Oh well, here goes... extreme fruitiness, almost lambic in approach--fear of vinegration after seven years? light brown body with a rich, creamy head that holds strong... lacing is like cirrus clouds...creamy and slightly effervescent palate--a bit smooth; plays softly on the back of the tongue...grapes and citrus sweets...balanced...a bit warm at the finish, but not at all harsh...a bit sour in patches too...8.5 per cent alcohol! attacks late, but evens out... this aged beyond the expectations of what should have been...worth the wait, even if only for a casual evening at home celebrating only the end of a week's work!
02-15-2008 21:17:51 | More by dacrza1
4.22/5 rDev +0.7%
2007 Vintage. Bottle #119947
Pours out a glowing orange sucker with loads of fat bubbles climbing towards the head that sits billowing over the rim of the glass. Really hot alcohol hits the nose first off. Underneath is honey, white raisins, earthy hops, and what seems to be an odd banana-esque phenolic (?) edge. Flavor kicks off with a sweetness that tastes like a half-and-half mix of honey and simple syrup. Very delicate malt taste. The esters bring a good deal of fruitiness: white grape, green prickly pear, fuji apple, and pear. There is a touch of alcohol warmth which lends a spiciness to this. With the combination of alcohol and apple, this kind of reminds me a bit of calvados. Hops lay pretty well low, but off a soft finishing bitterness and some floral and herbal tones. Mouthfeel is full and smooth. Just a touch sticky. Drinkability is solid, but I kind of wish this came in a smaller serving.
02-15-2008 03:17:57 | More by goochpunch
3.65/5 rDev -12.9%
10th anniversary. 8.5% ABV. No. 121205, Best Before 2010. Clear, reddish copper color, thick off-white foamy head. Head trickles to a thin layer after a minute. No lace.
Ripe fruits, esthers, a bit of toffee, and mineral-like aroma. A soft citrusy edge at the end.
A bit sweet in the front with some caramle and a bit of ripe fruit. Mineral flavors, then finishes very dry. Some earthy bitterness, maybe a hint of citrus.
Full, almost creamy body stands out immediately. SOme warming alcohol. Finishes so dry. This must need a bit of age to be effective for me.
02-08-2008 03:11:19 | More by Bierguy5
4.45/5 rDev +6.2%
2005 Vintage. Special thanks to ilovedarkbeer (from ratebeer) for bottle #50165. Served at cellar temps. Aroma is light bready malts, light orange hops, and light doughy yeast. as well as red whine, raisin, raspberry, and ginger. Pours a hazy toasted amber-brown. Taste is of date and is nearly a Madera/Brandy mix. It is very rich and savory. Goes down creamy and slightly fizzy with a strongish alcohol warming on the end. Great beer.
02-07-2008 22:26:55 | More by BMan1113VR
4.38/5 rDev +4.5%
2006. Bottle #70785 Sampled 12-6-2006
Pours a dark amber with some ivory head. Nose is nicely hopped, but not overdone or overpowering. Slight citric scents present also. Flavor is smooth. If there were one beer you were going to call "fine beer", this would be it. Beautifully aged, you can tell by the flavor that time was taken with this one. Slight bit of a sweet edge that comes and goes quickly, as does a slight alcohol taste as well. Feel is thick. Borders on syrup qualities, but yet again is not overdone. Easy to drink off flavor, but not off texture. This is one to sip and enjoy for a time. I don't think you could go faster than that if you wanted to.
Overall a beautiful production. How often is it that a brewery can manage to make something so visually appealing through packaging and deliver such a big hit with the goods inside? I'll be looking for more of these after I move within the next month or two (I got this one when I was out of state). I will also be eagerly awaiting all future releases.
2004. Bottle #85580 Sampled 1-30-2008.
Pours a clear darker amber wiht firm brown hues. Fairly thin off white head forms and falls. When I first popped this one, I got a whiff of something and thought someone had put sherry in my beer. Unfortunately, there wasn't much left to give when I took a sniff of my glass. Flavor has some minor caramel tones. The alcohol is noticeable, but it gives a nice burn. Almost like I was sipping on bourbon. Mild earth tones and wood on the back side. Feel is smooth, but the liquid is thick. Not a detracting feature though. Very nice to drink, but the scores reflect the 2006 I had, so for this one knock off .5 for both taste and drinkibility. It's the alcohol. Just a wee bit too much.
01-31-2008 00:16:06 | More by RblWthACoz
4/5 rDev -4.5%
Poured to my Aventinus glass. A very nice clear brown almost bronze color, like a weak Brown Ale, I was expecting a ruddy or cloudy appearance but this was clean.
Aroma- malty, white grapes?, not fruity but another sweetness and very faint whiff of alcohol.
Mouthfeel-malty with a light hop profile that was probably a little more pronounced when young. Good solid ale flavor, almost like a Strong or an Old ale. I was expecting something heavier maybe, but I am NOT disappointed. Solid no-nonsense ale here and it was very tasty for 8.5%. This would pair well with beef, chicken and a darker fish like salmon.
01-28-2008 15:10:04 | More by ByTor2112
4.53/5 rDev +8.1%
The beer pours a dark amber/brown color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is perfect. It has a rich, malty scent that boasts of pale, crystal, and roasted malts. It's warm with a wonderful sweet malt aroma. It has a nice fig/fruity aroma as well. The taste is great! It has a warm and velvety feel with loads of malt complexity . It's got a tremendous burnt toffee flavor that warms on the way down. The mouthfeel is good. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn fine beer. It's probably one of the most drinkable old ales I've tried. It's full flavored and easy drinking even at 8.5%.
01-27-2008 23:33:24 | More by WesWes
4.33/5 rDev +3.3%
I picked this vintage up at Once Upon a Vine in Richmond, VA.
Poured into a snifter.
Appearance - It produced a 1/2 inch head that dissipated to a thin halo. It has a hazy caramel amber color.
Smell - It has the scent very similar to cherry cough syrup - very medicinal. It also has notes of toffee and cocoa powder. There is a sweetness that is very closely tied to the toffee scent.
Taste - There is a huge smell/taste disconnect with this beer. It tastes nothing like it smells. It tastes almost like wine mixed with beer - there are grape notes, but there are distant floral hops, and there is a chocolatey flavor mixed with caramel-like malt. Strange, but oh so tasty.
Mouthfeel - Medium bodied. It has a low carbonation level. It isn't oily or sticky in the mouthfeel, it is almost watery.
Drinkability - This brew is easy to drink down for it 8.5%ABV. It has a great taste and scent, even if they are completely different from one another. I can't wait to see what the other vintages I own taste like.
01-26-2008 05:15:41 | More by MiguelMandingo
British Columbia (Canada)
4.4/5 rDev +5%
2011 Vintage, Bottle #091556, opened July 17, 2013.
Still some great hopping here, with a pleasant underlying marmalade sweetness. Really great.
2011 Vintage; Bottle #23557. Opened March 17, 2012
[Estate Malt, Golding, First Gold and Sovereign hops]
A: Amber-bronze with an off-white head, light retention, great lace.
S: Earthy, grassy, fruity (pear, mango, orange rind) aroma.
T: Biscuity malt is somewhat nutty, without as much caramel flavour as usual. Some sponge toffee. The hopping is really nice (grassy, earthy, orange-rind). Modest bitterness and alcohol warmth. A little more buttery diacetyl than usual.
M: Moderate body is very smooth with an off-dry finish.
D/O: Relatively fresh, this seems a little more hop-forward and I really like it. The best one I've had in a while, if not the best ever.
2010 Vintage; Bottle #044197. Opened March 1, 2012
[Golding & Fuggle; dry-hopped Golding & Target]
I find this one is still a bit young and boozy. Nice amount of hopping, though I'm not a big fan of grassy flavour from the Target.
2009 Vintage; Bottle #039385. Opened Feb 28, 2012.
This is drinking really nice right now. Nice amount of Golding hops, fruitiness is a bit tropical, light caramel sweetness, alcohol is really subtle. Very similar to their Golden Pride, and one of my more recent favourites.
2008 Vintage; Bottle #02961. Opened June 19, 2010.
[Marris Otter, Challenger & Northdown]
A: (3.5) Copper-bronze with an off-white head, thin ring of retention, initial lace.
S: (4) Sweet caramel, candied fruit, brown sugar, citrus rind & slightly grassy. Alcohol is certainly apparent. The hop aroma isn't traditional British like previous years.
T: (4) Sweet caramel, grass & rind, great fruitiness, balanced bitterness, slight alcohol warmth, would probably benefit from some more time in the cellar.
M: (3.5) Moderate body has a light residual sweetness with a drying alcohol finish.
D: (4) A decent drinker.
2008 Vintage, Bottle #03863 opened March 5, 2012.
The hopping was modest, but it's holding up in this one. Alcohol warmth has diminished, I'd say this one has benefited from a little more time.
2007 Vintage; Bottle #01042. Opened January 23, 2008.
[Marris Otter, Fuggles, Target and Super Styrian hops]
A: (4.5) Bronze with a light tan head, some retention, great lacing.
S: (3.5) Dark fruit, earthy citrus, bready/biscuity malt and pleasant fruity esters.
T: (4.5) Dark fruit, metallic earthyness, citrus, bready/biscuity malt, assertive bitterness, alcohol is extremely well-hidden.
M: (4.5) Moderate to full body is smooth, slightly creamy; slight hop acidity; fairly highly carbonated for an old ale (and a British one at that).
D: (4.5) Very drinkable for its strength.
2007 Vintage; Bottle #34530. Opened Nov 23, 2011
Strangely, the alcohol seems to have come forward in this one. The hopping & bitterness are still quite nice, with a light caramel sweetness. It has certainly held up, but I can't say I like how it has developed with age. I think this vintage was better fresh.
2006 Vintage; bottle #64274. Opened Feb 7, 2007.
[Floor malted Optic, Fuggles and Super Styrian hops]
A: (4.5) Copper-amber; off-white head, good retention & lace.
S: (4.5) Earthy-orange citrus, minerals, fruity (pear, pineapple & nectarine), caramel, cotton-candy, bread & hints of nut.
T: (4.5) Orange zest & earthy minerals; light caramel, bread, slight fruit flavour (cotton candy & figs). Slight residual sweetness upfront is overpowered by the bitterness in the finish (good balance that's drinkable). I'd prefer a little more fuggles & a little less goldings, but that's just my taste. Looking at my previous notes, it looks like they may have increased the Goldings. Otherwise, it's definitely improved over the last two years.
M: (4.5) Moderately full body, some residual sweetness but finishes dry. Carbonation on the low side of moderate.
D: (5) Exceptional considering the strength!
The Alcohol is way more subtle than the previous two years. I really enjoy this one.
2005 vintage; bottle #08238. Opened June 18, 2010.
[SMaSH: Optic malt & Fuggles]
This is my second last one, and it's "Best before end 2008", so it's about time I had it!
A: (4.5) Copper-bronze with a fluffy off-white head, good retention & lace.
S: (4.5) After 5 years there's still plenty of fuggle hops in the nose, dark fruit and caramel. Definitely some alcohol here!
T: (4) Still some good hop flavour. Figs, raisins, caramel, toffee, sweet bread, a little biscuit, modest bitterness allows the sweet malt to come through. Alcohol is warming.
M: (3.5) Moderate body has a light residual sweetness, with a slightly drying alcohol finish.
D: (4) It's good, but not my favourite vintage.
01-23-2008 23:06:47 | More by Derek
3.08/5 rDev -26.5%
2004 Vintage; bottle #90477
Served at cellar temperature.
It pours a wonderful bright crimson in hue; perfectly ruby when backlight. I also notice how strikingly clear the fluid is; in other words no yeast. I thought Vintage Ale wasnt filter, clearly (ha! what a pun) I was misinformed. Off-white head, at the apex the foam was almost two fingers tall. Head retention was excellent, a soapy cap lasted the entire consumption. Subsequent lacing was spotty but noticeable. Overall, the appearance is excellent.
Disappointing nose. Buttery notes in the distance, kind of fruity and sort of malty. I cant detect a trace of the 8.5% ABV. The nose is shockingly lame; no complexity, no invitation to take a sip. I am baffled by the overall lack of aroma. Average... at best.
The palate is nominally livelier than the nose, for what that is worth. Moderately malty, sort of sweet with some fruitiness and a kiss of bitterness; sadly there are also metal undercurrents. The aftertaste is a condensed version of the palate; it packs a little life but some odd moldy jam fruitiness. Really there isnt much going on here, there are no attributes that standout enough for me to say I can taste them individually. I feel like a rookie writing this review but, hey, there is just nothing to say.
Medium in body, low carbonation; the mouthfeel is noticeably thin and uneventful.
Overall, this is beer is quite average. How can 1845 rock so much while Vintage Ale is so lame? Is my bottle old? Mistreated? I have kept it in my cellar for a couple years but I fail to remember where I purchased it; Missouri I would guess. I am quite bummed but if I see another bottle I might considered trying it again as Fullers is an excellent brewery and this beer seems out of character for them.
01-17-2008 15:02:30 | More by bditty187
United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)
4.1/5 rDev -2.1%
500ml boxed bottle bought from Sainsburys... 2007 vintage...
Poured a nice rusty copper colour. Light creamy tan head poured tight, thick and foamy then faded fairly quickly to light coating with thick edging... no carbonation whatsoever... some very faint lacing...
Aroma - Spicy sticky fruits (orange marmalade, raisins, pears, apples), toasted bready / biscuity maltiness, sweet almond nuttiness, lots of grainy alcohol notes, oaky traces, grassy and peppery, some floral notes.... all slightly subdued...
Taste This is a bit more like it if a little rough round the edges... lots of warming alcohol soaked fruitiness (definitely some orange marmalade / peel, figs, apples, lightly toasted caramel malts, floral honey, lots of peppery hop bitterness cuts nicely through the malts, mixed spices, some light pine notes, light earthiness.... could definitely do with some age to soften the harshness and meld all the flavours together...
Feel - Pretty smooth and creamy with a little sharp bite just coming through... medium / full bodied... a pretty quaffable brew for 8.5%...
Overall - A pretty good old ale that could definitely do with a couple of years in the cellar.... still definitely worth trying fresh though...
01-15-2008 14:00:13 | More by mdagnew
4/5 rDev -4.5%
Nothing like a good warming beer to ward of a cold day (and a cold for that matter). This Vintage is fresh (07). It pours with a fair sized head, good retention and lacing. Has a clear orange color.
Smells of alcohol, lots of fresh fruits, earthy hops and pale malt to balance.
Tastes very much like it smells. Lots of warming alcohol, hoppy, fruity and a good clean malt bill. Another great beer from Fuller's.
01-15-2008 02:06:48 | More by irishkyle21
4.72/5 rDev +12.6%
I can't add a lot of descriptions that haven't already been done under this listing previously--suffice it to say that they are accurate and this is, indeed, a beer worth seeking out.
My bottle says Vintage 2007 but does that mean that it was brewed ten years ago? All of the labeling seems to imply that it is already ten years old, but I'm not so sure.
Whatever; ten years or one year, this is a damn fine brew!
01-14-2008 22:16:50 | More by MAB
4.08/5 rDev -2.6%
Bottle from the LCBO. Golden body with a rapidly dissipating white head. Caramel malts, wood and grass on the nose. Very nice mouthfeel - smooth with a good level of carbonation. The taste is a symphony of caramel, honey, spices and berries, but seems to be lacking something that would push it over the edge into a masterpiece. Im sure a few years in a cellar would work wonders for this.
01-12-2008 19:31:10 | More by bobsy
3.73/5 rDev -11%
a: the beer has a nice amber/red color with an incredibly quickly dissipating fluffy white head
s: very fruity/appley scent with nice grainy presence and hints of alcohol
t: first tastes of apples followed by a warming brandy type of alcohol flavor with hints of sweet malts and spices
m: quite good for the style. it is still able to be thick without being too syrupy/cloying
d: overall a very enjoyable brew that i found better than the competition thomas hardy's and a great warming ale for a cold english night.
01-10-2008 07:42:24 | More by hoegaardenhero
4.5/5 rDev +7.4%
'05 vintage poured at 45F into a snifter.
Deep rich brown color with a tan head. Poor retention in the only fault here, but the beer is 4 years old.
Nice aroma that grows in complexity as it warms. Ripe cherries, sweet malts, toffee and vanilla. There are also some alcohol tones along with the English hops.
Sweet caramel malts and pitted fruits. Nice peppery hops for age. The malts continue through the finish and after taste.
Full body, but crisp and refreshing with good carbonation.
Well balanced and wonderfull example of style.
01-07-2008 05:52:54 | More by rye726
4.28/5 rDev +2.1%
2006 Vintage, served at approximately 65 degrees F.
Pours a rich amber/red into a brandy snifter with a big tan head. Smells of alcohol, and a hint of brown sugar. Taste is very malt dominated. Has a very oak like character with hints of caramel. Slightly earthy as well, with good bitterness from the hops. The finish is very dry, I was quite surprised. This beer shares several of the same characteristics with a Scotch Whiskey IMO. Mouthfeel is full and rich, with pretty high carbonation levels. Usually this type of beer would take a long time to finish, but it is exceptionally smooth, and an easy drinker for such a high alcohol content. This isnt the type of beer you drink every day, but for special occasions it is fantastic to sip on.
01-06-2008 05:42:49 | More by tronester
4.28/5 rDev +2.1%
2006 vintage, bottle #72211 - great looking label and box.
I know from experience this needs another year or so, but it's still quite enjoyable, and I've one more than any other year, so gotta even things out!
Enoyed in a nonic, the head tall enough to impressively crown the glass when full. Pours a nice vibrant amber color, with a tall but airy cream/beige head. Most of this would be fleeting, and there is minimal lacing, but a ring stubbornly remains until near the end of the glass. Clarity is quite good.
I've probably been sniffing too many big IPAs and stouts, thus the nose is a bit underwhelming. Nothing wrong here, quite a bit of caramel, with raisins showing up only as it warms to room temperature. Alcohol is evident but not at all unpleasant.
I'm always thankful when the taste is the highlight, and this is no exception. Got impatient and opened this one at nearly 48 degrees or so, but that was not nearly enough warming to let the complexities of this brew come out. As it warms it is an extremely tasty caramel and toffee-filled beverage, with plums and raisins making brief cameos. This would be perhaps too sweet, but the alcohol keeps the malt bomb from becomingly overwhelming. I've been tasting a lot of "where the hell is the alcohol?!?" beers lately - here is the opposite - yet it never becomes hot, and really seems to add to the rich, full, overwhelmingly enjoyable nature of this beer. Really long-lasting finish, sweet and slightly dry.
Ample bitterness remains after more than a year - I'm not an expert on English hop varietals, but they seem to have held together nicely. Look forward to another tasting in a few years!
A very enjoyable smooth malt-filled body. Not the biggest body, but the alcohol gives keeps giving that impression. Warming overall, and near perfect carbonation. Well done!
Not the easiest to find, and even the finery on the label and box makes me not want to drink it very often - both scream "special occasion!"
To hell with that - if supplies would cooperate, I'd have this at least weekly, and perhaps hourly.
01-05-2008 21:42:53 | More by udubdawg
4.4/5 rDev +5%
2005 Vintage, Bottle No. 76176. Bought several of these and am having this one now to set a measuring stick for them as they age.
A = Clear amber, tiny bubbles, small but frothy head made up of tiny bubbles leaving a full coating on glass (so full it doesn't seem right to use the term lacing).
S - Smooth malt characteristics, honey, maple syrup, nuts, slight hints of the hops used including juniper berries.
T = Slight bitterness on the front of my tongue, then the malt flavors begin to kick in, the maple syrup flavor in the mid-tongue kicks ass, fairly complex given that this still needs to age a little, in addition to maple syrup, there are nutty flavors, honey, flowers, juniper berries, very well balanced, leaning a little more heavily to malty.
M = Medium to heavy body, marvelous coating of the mouth, great level of carbonation.
D = Only marking this down because it needs more time to age, this is a brilliant beer that I will eagerly drink again.
01-02-2008 00:05:31 | More by Traquairlover
4.45/5 rDev +6.2%
2004 edition - bottle #85539 - a bottle that was given to me a couple of years ago by a good friend & fellow beer fiend, Jerry King.
Pours with a big frothy head, which lingered for quite awhile. The initial smell was very sweet & syrupy. A great deal of lacing is apparent on the glass.
The mouthfeel is creamy, almost like a cup of hot cocoa. The first taste is very strong, but kind of coats the throat. Going back for a second taste uncovers a much more complex flavor.
An exceptional beer, but a bit overpowering. It's very sweet, but not of just sugar; as with the smell, this almost tastes like maple syrup... A heavily malty taste. Some spicing is apparent, but not overly so. The hops (which I'm sure were added) are not at all apparent.
Definitely a 'sipping' beer, to be enjoyed slowly & with a good friend. I enjoyed it immensely & will definitely look for another bottle!
12-31-2007 04:29:46 | More by alexw
4/5 rDev -4.5%
16.9 oz. bottle, 2005 Vintage, No. 55700,
A: Pours a dark amber into my Chimay chalice, with a somewhat flimsy head at first, but has great retention through the remainder of the drink, nice lacing.
S: Fragrant smell of ale fruit, sulfur, caramel malt, earth, and cardboard.
T: Taste starts off with caramel malt and toffee, with a hint of oxidation that is to be expected, I believe. The hops come in last, quite robust in my opinion for a beer that is 2 years old, especially an English, very dry and grassy, with a little bit of ethanol character to carry it onto the finish.
M: Dry, mineral character, with hard water, altogether smooth and warming.
D: A good beer from Fuller's, I didn't like it as much as the '04 which I had when it was two years old, that one was much smoother, with more complex malt characters. Overall, a nice old ale, I'll buy a bottle or two every year from one of my favourite English breweries.
12-15-2007 18:39:17 | More by Halcyondays
4.1/5 rDev -2.1%
2004 Vintage, No 85886. Pours a cloudy brown color with golden highlights. The head was average and left an off-white ring around the glass. The smell is of wine grapes and raisins, a rather faint aroma. The taste is of a smooth velvet malt base, aged hops, some subtle dark fruit flavors, all of which blend into a nice mellow flavor profile. Has some wine characteristics. The feel is moderate to full and the carbonation is soft, the brew finishes sweet as the vintage would suggest. A rather smooth yet still actively carbonated old ale. Has port characteristics but still reminds me of a beer. #300
12-15-2007 07:04:33 | More by Gmann
3.58/5 rDev -14.6%
2006 edition. The first time I've ever actually drank a Fuller's Vintage, although I have several vintages sitting in my storage cabinet (including this one) that I'll have to crack open sometime.
Not as good as I expected, overall. Pours a cloudy brown with no head at all. Aroma is dominated by sweet malts and slightly toasty brown sugar. Flavour is... odd. Reminds me of Glossette Raisins, although nobody else who tasted it agreed with me. Ear-warming alcohol makes this an after dinner beer, or something for a cold evening.
12-02-2007 17:19:33 | More by crwills
Fuller's Vintage Ale from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
93 out of 100 based on 977 ratings.