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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.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

1,078 Ratings
THE BROS
96
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,078
Reviews: 634
rAvg: 4.19
pDev: 10.74%
Wants: 87
Gots: 228 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-21-2004

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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Ratings: 1,078 | Reviews: 634 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of NJpadreFan
3.53/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fuller's- Vintage Ale

Bottle # 78530 out of 100,000 for the year 2006.

Appearance- Copper brown with a soapy wite head. Mild carbonation.
Smell- Malt, wood chips, earthy hops, and alcohol.
Taste- Caramel malt blended with light burnt oak and sugar. Alcohol more dominent in the end.
Mouthfeel- Flavor is light up front but builds up and finishes with a strong alcohol taste. A light whiskey flavor is in the undertones.

Overall- A nice sipping Ale but nothing outstanding. The flavor was too subdued for me. A little too pricey also, $8. Otherwise, not bad. If I spot it on tap I'd order up a pint.

Photo of AChamberlain
4.72/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2005 Cask. On tap at the Atlantic Chip Shop in Brooklyn.

A: Dark amber with nice head.

S: Mostly malt.

T: Malt and alcohol flavors. Delicious.

M: Creamy and very smooth. Wet.

D: Pretty drinkable, but watch out. A great sipper.

We had the last two pints in the keg and I felt very privileged and lucky.

Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.95/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Vintage 2001, sampled Nov. 11 2006.

Despite being 5 years old, this beer produces an effervescent carbonation that races through a clear dark maple-syrupy amber beer to form a modest two-fingers of rich khaki head. It leaves a sticky, fragmented lace.

The smell is absolutly mouth-watering. Fruity hops, raisin, nut, cranberry, dark cherry, and yes, even the aroma of fresh pound-cake, form a chorus that wafts out of the glass without even a suggestion of alcohol. As the beer warms a yeasty aroma becomes apparent.

Upon sipping I am struck first by a sweet, rich, nutty, maltiness that is soon lifted off the palate by a combination of carbonation and very soft but fully-present fruity and earthy English hops. They introduce yeasty esters of dark fruit for a bit before a warming alcohol gently creeps in and calms all the layers of flavor on top of a woody scotch character. The aftertase is a delightful vapory perfume. Cordial and berry notes emerge with continued quaffing and amazingly the more I drink this beer the more cohesive and smooth it seems to get. It is very tempting to waste the precious elixer by gulping it.

Mouthfeel is light and gives up an inital soft billow of lifting carbonation before going totally still in the mouth. This beer surpasses and defys my expectations of the style. How ironic that my highest rated-beer may be in my least-favorite style. It is complex and boldly falvorful while amazingly light and drinkable. Yes, it would go very well with a light cigar, but if you have an aged bottle of this, I don't suggest adulterating the experience.

Photo of blackie
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 Vintage, Bottle #58716

appearance: The pour gives a 1 finger off white head that steadily falls back to a nice looking ring and island of foam in the center. The beer is a rich orange-amber in color.

smell: Bready, grainy toasted malts give aromas of toffee and caramel. Some light fruits, namely some estery banana-like aroma. Great depth while retaining subtlety. Great English hop aroma and the perfect touch of ethanol.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is medium, and the body full. Smooth and with good balance between body and carbonation.

taste: Very interesting flavor, being rich, flavorful, and subtle at once. Rich English malts with a moderate sweetness and subtle grainy and toasted flavors. Playful notes of buttery toffee and toast. Light English hop flavor and bitterness. Nearly a 4.5 but I'd like a touch more complexity.

drinkability: quite easy, and a pleasure to drink

Bottle purchased at Whole Foods upon arrival and cellared since

02/08/07: Vintage 2004 Bottle 91916 Purchased in DC with dirtylou on our trip to DFH

Head is low, carbonation is low, and the body is fullish. Very vinous, in an old port fashion (flavors and aromas of aged dark, leathery fruits, especially prunes carried on a dry English caramel malt base) which is surprising given the light color. Aromas of raw hardwood, but not in a BA way. Musty basement aromas, maybe even sour. Quite dry. Hops aged and subdued. Clean and mineral, in both aroma and flavor. Very interesting and I will certainly age another. This one has moved no less than 3 times with me over my last few years of school, and I felt it was time even though sentiment caused me to hesitate. NOTHING like the 2005 I had over a year back.

4/4.5/4.5/4/4.5 Not rated as high as my first, but I think I'd rather have this one any day.

Photo of weeare138
3.85/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to egajdzis for this...
Vintage, 2005 bottle.
Appears a transparent red toned copper with a small off-white head that slowly fades out. Scattered lacing is left all around the glass.
Smell is complex of raisins, cherries, spice, caramel, and perhaps a touch of something medicinal ala Robitussen in the background but it doesn't seem to be offending in this brew.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a mix of the rich, fruity, sugary mixture.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, sweet, with a mild syrup feel. The brew slides slickly down the tongue to a dry finish.

Thanks to egajdzis for opening this 2007 edition. Bottle # 113930.

Appears a light orange with a small white head that slowly fades into a tiny cap. Streaky lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of caramel, biscuit, citrus, rasins, and earthy notes.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with standout caramel, biscuits, and notes of cherries.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, chewy, and semi-dry along the palate during the swallow.

Photo of RedwoodGeorge
4.8/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Oh my god is this a beautiful ale! This is one of those rare beer experiences where you're dumbstruck in awe by the experience. (Can you tell I really, really, really liked this beer???)

A murky deep amber red in appearance, three fingers of clumpy sticky light tan head that sticks around for quite some time and leaves moderate amounts of lacing on the glass. A bit more lacing and it would have been a "5" for appearance.

Malt in the nose along with peat, earth, woody moss, sugar, apricots and alcohol sweetness. Very complex.

Everything the nose was, the flavor is even more. Fruity esters predominate, caramel sugars, alcohol sweetness, woody Noble hops providing balance and an overall smoothness, balance and complexity that is just incredible.

Great mouthfeel as well - creamy, medium to heavy bodied... You can feel the sugars but they don't leave a coating on the tongue. You can taste the alcohol but there's no burn. You can taste the hops clear as day but there's no bitterness that isn't blended into all the other experiences.

Fuller's 1845 is one of my favorite British Ales and until today I didn't think it could be improved upon. Fuller's Vintage Ale has all the great characteristics of the 1845 but is somehow even better in every possible way.

Photo of xav33
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Fuller's Vintage Ale 2004
Pint bottle
Bottle 2004, bottle no 84729, sipped on 10/09
Medium pour in a brandy glass.

Poured orangey brown with a medium quickly diminishing off-white fizzy head with a ring of lacing.

Smelt of toffee, caramel apples, raisins, almost port like.

Taste was upfront light bitter sweet piney barley sugar with whiskey tones followed by a light maple syrup sweetness and moderate whiskey bitterness and light nutty bite on a moderate length finish. Mouthfeel was full bodied, velvety and creamy, lightly carbonated tiny bubbles that caress and tickle the tongue, heavy alcoholic feel and light astringency.

Overall, a beer that feels like drinking a very light whiskey. The flavors are wonderful and complex albeit maybe a bit nuanced and light at first, the palate is pampered, the aroma and appearance are straightforward and inviting. Time for a cigar!

Photo of rsyberg01
4.78/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

S - 2001 Vintage. Bottle # 12349.

A - Red copper deep hue. Off white head that rises to about inch and a half then falls to a tightly packed foam blanket over the surface of the beer.

S - Vanilla, caramel, roasted malts, clover honey, slight fusel touch that is really warming to my nostrils. Awesome.

T - Roasted malt, honey, caramel, roasted oats, sugary sweetness, very slight touch of hoppy bitter, also a slight dark fruit character in the undertones. Perfect.

M - Adhesive and perfectly carbonated.

D - One bottle is not enough. Just disappointed its a 2001 vintage. I'll have to wait 5 more years to have another like this.

Photo of CortexBomb
3.69/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 2005, imbibed in October of 2006.

This is my first experience with Fuller's Vintage Ale, and as an Old Ale enthusiast I'm quite excited.

The pour on this is worthy of the old ale style, dirty, coppery brown/golden with a mild white head which fades away quickly into a ring. Very hazy. Extremely noticeable lacing when shifted. Hard to ask for anything more out of an old ale.

Smell is sweet, caramel like with noticeable alcohol tinges. Good but not dominant.

Taste starts out nice and sweet and then segues into dark fruits, currant, raisins. The alcohol then makes itself known both in flavour and some warming and a some citrus like hop tingles make an appearance. Finish is a medium hop bitter. Not amongst the best in its style here, but I do enjoy it.

Mouthfeel is very thick, coats heavily, this is exactly what I'm looking for in the style. Good mouth tingles as well. Drinkability, again, I don't know how to rate a beer like this, because it's certainly not something you want to quaff, but it's drinkability is certainly on par with others in its classification.

Overall: I was a little bit let down on the flavour with this one. It has some hops as a noticeable addition, which is somewhat unusual for the style, but the rest of the flavour doesn't have as much depth as I would like. It has all of the old ale staples: sweetness, caramel, dark fruits, but it doesn't bring a big showstopping presence in any of thoese areas. Perhaps an older vintage or laying this one down for a while would help.

Photo of dedrinker
4.47/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2000 Vintage. When first tasted in 2001 it was almost like an ESB with too much hops and alcohol, but after buying four more, and laying them down for 4-5 years, I was astounded at the change. Poured into my Fuller Noninck pint. The hops had aged into an earthy musty basement aroma that reminded me of the root cellar my grandfather had dug with his own hands beneath his farmhouse. There was also a hint of orange marmelade in the flavor and aroma, with a fruity finish soaked in brandy. Soft carbonation and a silky mouthfeel eased this one down without effort, and after drinking half the beer all of a sudden it was one hour later - I had awoken in my chair by the fireplace with the other half of the pint spilled on my lap! I was clearly worked over by a quiet storm, and loved every minute of it (except the loss of half the beer).

Photo of phisig137
3.89/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Beautiful box package, dated 2004, opens to reveal a classy looking bottle, numbered 85352. This pours into a tukip a dark amber/light brown, with a thin head. A blanket of foam is left behind, along with some delicate lacing.

Aroma is begining to become sherry like, but still remains malty. Aromas of caramel, malt, mash, dry fino sherry, honey, are abundant, with slight hints of smoke, tobacco, leather, and hops.

Flavor is well balanced and rounded. Very smooth malt character, with a distinctive dry vermouth flavor on the finish. Slightly sweet up front, but finishing very dry. Although alcohol is not present in the flavor, it does begin to warm after 1/2 a glass. Mouthfeel is syrupy and heavy. Drinkability is decent.

Glad I had a chance to try this... I think I'll hold onto the other one I bought in the cellar for a few more years. I'll be curious to see how this will evolve.

Photo of Dogbrick
4.12/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at the Odds and Ends Tasting on 8/16/06 (2004 Bottle): Pours a clear dark amber color with a thin beige head that lasts alright. Thin spotty lacing. Aroma of ripe fruit and earthy malts. Medium-bodied with a smooth and sweet character. Roasted malt, raisin and spice flavors are all represented, along with a pinch of yeast. The finish is spicy with a mild hops aftertaste. All in all this beer held up pretty well.

Photo of egajdzis
4.8/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1999: Bottle # 64950... Poured a cloudy light ruby color with a small light tan head that encircled the top of the glass. A strong fruity aroma with touches of rum, whiskey and certainly alittle alcohol present. This is one of the most complex beers I have had. Alcohol is well balanced throughout, never too strong though. Sweet, fruity tastes found first, followed by a dry peppery taste. Some chocolate, toffee, sweet caramel and even alittle licorice next. Finishes crisp and smooth, no one flavor is overbearing. It is a sipper for sure, I wouldn't want to rush a superb drink such as this. Long finish that just dances across my tongue.

Photo of fartingdog
4.23/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 vintage. Smell is slightly 'soapy' and a little sweet and floral. Tastes like a pumped of version of Fuller's ESB, with a faint hint of butterscotch. Creamy mouthfeel. Doesn't quite have the alcohol feel of other old ales initially, just a slight warming on the back of the throat after a few moments. I am intrigued to see what this does in a few years. A good, strong English brew, a quality product. It's interesting to see how the Brittish styles differ drom the American old ales I've grown accustomed to (i.e. North Coast Old Stock), this one seems much milder than them.

Addendum 9/28/207
Another 2005 vintage-
Rich amber color, thin head. Aroma is of caramel and quite rich- awesome. Taste is of caramel, vanilla, faint bitterness, and fruity (plums? dates?) - much nicer. Medium body, Nicely carbonated with a tingly finish. Much better than I recall. It's rich and smooth it has aged quite nicely.

Due to definite improvement with age, I've upped my original review of a 4.0.

Photo of bark
4.52/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2002.

The colour is amber with a tint of orange. The finger thick head is compact, beige and there is some lacing. There are some small particles in the somewhat hazy liquid.

The smell is sweet with malty notes of butter, strong wine, raisins, honey and plums in Madeira. Luxurious!

The taste is as complex as the smell; sweet notes of raisins, plums, dries apricots, some strong wine, hazelnuts, toffee, brandy… The aftertaste got some lightly dry notes and a bitter touch, and the sweet fruity matured flavours seem to last forever.

The liquid is a bit viscous; the carbonation is low but not at all stale with lots and lots of minimal bubbles.

A great old ale!

Photo of watermelonman
3.98/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This looks very good. It poured to a deep gold and brown with a medium head. The lacing looks great.

The smell is strong and full of dates, plums, and alcohol. The taste is solid and full of hefty malt content. The mouthfeel is very strong without being heavy. Drinkability takes a hit for the noticable alcohol, but is still fairly good.

Photo of dblinkhorn
4.11/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured 16.9 oz bottle into 11.2 oz glass tulip goblet. 2005 vintage bottle No. 68076, date on bottle: "best before 2008".

Appearance - Perfect. The clarity is flawless, the color is a very deep reddish amber. The head is light, less than half a finger. This remains with lacing throughout the drink.

Smell - The smell is cherry and wood. Also, the scent of wine grape is evident. The most obvious smell, however, is cranberry. No alcohol scent is in the aroma.

Taste - Raisin and cranberries dominate the taste, with a slight alcohol burn and a follow-through of malt. The hops are evident, but not nearly as strong as the fruity/floral flavor. Cherry is also hitting my tastebuds as I keep sipping it. The aftertaste is the highlight of the whole beer, in my opinion.

Mouthfeel - Excellent mouthfeel. The carbonation is right on, it is smooth, wet, and rolls around my mouth nicely.

Drinkability - Fantastic. Very smooth, good flavor, perfect aftertaste, good mouthfeel. The flavors are strong but not too strong. Excellent drinkability.

An excellent fruity/floral ale with obvious cherry and cranberry flavors. Highly recommended.

Photo of cbl2
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 Vintage Ale $6.99 1 pint 0.9 oz 8.50% Best by 2008, though bottle says it will last longer. Bottle marked 42186 out of 95,000.

Appearance:

Pours a crystal clear orange-brown with roughly an inch of foamy tan head.

Aroma:

Caramel and scotch malts with a touch of alcohol.

Taste/Mouthfeel:

Toasted malts with some dark ripe fruit qualities coupled with a strong alcohol sensation. Hot alcohol needs to settle down a bit, but this is a complex intriguing Old Ale.

Photo of uncggop06
4.8/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2005 Vintage - Bought July 3rd 2006
First of all, this is an AMAZING brew. That said, on to the review.
Appearence - Caramel brown and slightly ruby with a quick off white head
Smell - Caramel, toffee, and burnt coffee
Taste - Heavy on chocolate and toffee, hop bitterness at first, then leveling off with the malt
Mouthfeel - Full cream, deep malt taste
For only being in the bottle for a year, this is an awesome experience, easily a beer that could be bought and consumed for a great time. The taste is definately young, a lot of hop bitterness at the start, and the malt flavors are not quite developed. This bottle was bought in order to save the same fate to a previous bottle, which will HOPEFULLY be aged for at least another year. This was bought for a birthday present, and wil l probably be consumed as a grad school graduation present.

Photo of bklynbeerbaron
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2004 Edition, No. 82806. Poured into a half-pint glass.

Appearance: A rich mahogany color, with a thin, but frothy head that dissipated pretty quickly.

Smell: A strong, sweet aroma of plums, plus a faint spiciness from the hops.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Wow. An intense plum/raisin flavor hits you right away, and the malt presence makes it very sweet, very much like a good port. But it's not too sweet, there's a hop bitterness underneath that balances the brew out. The alcohol provides for a nice, warming finish. Mouthfeel is rich and smooth, again, very port-like.

Drinkability: Would I have another one? Yes, yes and yes. Could I have another one right after? I dunno, that 8.5 ABV sneaks up on you.

Notes: Dammmmnnnn....this is a hell of a beer. Complex in flavor, but not overpowering. Sip and savor this one. A must try for anyone, but especially a port-lover.

Photo of TurdFurgison
2.9/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I tried this at the Hopleaf in Chicago and didn't like it. Kind of against the grain as this is a highly rated beer but I know what I don't like.

To start with it was low in carbonation. The aroma was malty sweet with no hops, and smelled like a cross between sherry and cough syrup. There were lots of flavors (caramel, figs, a little bit of cherry or almond), but honestly the overall impression was cough syrup.

I won't try it again anytime soon.

Photo of hero27
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Limited Edition 2005 Vintage (# 47004).
16.9 oz bottle. 8.5% abv.
Best before end 2008.

Comes in a prestigious red box..beautiful labeling. I wish more breweries had the presence of mind to put beer that is meant to be aged in boxes to help preserve the quality.

Shimmering copper color. Modest off-white head of creamy foam.
Thick, earthy malts and resiny hops..tremendous complexity, with plums, raisins, molasses, and a virtual garden of dark fruit flavors. The fuggles hops shine through quite prominently...and the hop bitterness is surprisingly crisp..much of which would subside after two or three years of being stored away, I'd imagine. The 8.5% is noted, but just enough to add an alcohol bite without being overpowering in any sense of the word. There's a definite barrel-aged oak flavor and a slight woody finish.
Mouthfeel is superb also..smooth as silk and carries the malt flavors perfectly.
I plan on tracking down a couple more bottles and aging them for some time. I certainly think this can improve with a few years on her.

Bottle graciously provided by mynie. Thanks again for the chance to try this one.

Photo of skizziks
4.38/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'll preface this by pointing out that I am opposed to giving out 5's. A 5 being perfect, it is thus non-existent. That said, the Appearance and Mouthfeel for this one were easily the greatest temptation I've had to award a 5. Taste also seemed 5 worthy except that it obviously had a lot of potential to get even better with age.

Vintage Ale 2004- Fuller's says this one is Maris Otter malt and Goldings hops. I don't usually pay much attention to packaging, but they did a very nice job with this. Bottle has a nice parchment like label with the bottles number near the bottom. The back has a blurb about the beer advising its ageing potential and the cap has a dated seal over it like a bottle of whisky. All of this is put in a box very much like a fine single malt scotch along with a little card that gives details on the previous vintages.

500ml bottle into a Duvel tulip. The beer pours a clear deep copper with a thick cream colored head rising at least 2" full of fine bubbles. Lacing is slight. The beer looks just as it should, hard to imagine anything better.

The aroma hits with a lot of bready malt with caramel, cherries, raisins and muted floral hops. Alcohol was obvious but not at all objectionable with some equally non-objectionable phenols. All of the components were very well blended and Smell gets a mere 4 because it would have been nice to have it turned up a bit.

Flavor starts strong with sweet caramel quickly enriched with cinnamon and figs. There is something woody about it. Not quite a barrel aged woodyness but almost along with some flavor of tobacco. It finishes complex and brandy-like with some lingering bitterness, a lot of warming alcohol, and orange essence. The last sip smells and tastes distinctly like whisky.

Very full-bodied, tongue coating and creamy. Very rich stuff with just enough carbonation to keep the palate reasonably fresh. Drinkability is surprisingly high for such a rich and alcoholic beer. It's hard to put it down and I am so disappointed when the bottle is gone.

Amazing. It's hard to imagine it any better but it is sweet and full enough that it clearly has a lot of potential to mature. I would love to try it again in another 5 years.

Photo of AlexJ
4.72/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2005 Vintage

Deep mahogany pour with intense burgundy highlights supports a dense half inch of tan head that is both creamy and lasting.

Aroma is powerful and rich, brimming with notes of lightly scorched caramel, ripe fruits, brandy, oaked sherry, figs, raisins, and fruit.

Flavor is equally impressive. A very big malt presence is immediately known, with it's tale of brandy soaked fruits, dried figs, candied orange peel, English toffee, powdery cocoa, and oaky vanilla. Thge finish is surprisingly hoppy with notes of green herbs and light citrus.

The body is big, silky, and very creamy textured. A real joy to sip and hold for a moment before swallowing. Excellent.

Photo of mynie
4.15/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Woot woot 2005. I totally waited 30 hours after buying it before I opened it! I mean--it's just sitting there in a little gift box and I'm supposed to leave it alone for years?

Dark juice red with a white head that fades and leaves behind rainbow bubbles, like an oil spill.

Smells incredibly intense. Kind of hard to pick out any complexities, when its cold or when its warmed up. Everything's just kind of thrown out there: fruits, zip yeast, and alcohol.

Tastes very much like it smells. Certainly a sipping beer. Big fruit upfront, in the British pub ale tradition, rounded, nitrogeny fruit. Like, the start of an apple, slightly tart, only before the sour finish the flavor shifts to a ripe banana. Rounded like that. Ends on alcohol, sweet and zippy.

Yup, this'll get better with age. I bought three bottles, and will try the second a year from now, the third a year after that. Still, I'm not too upset with myself for having opened it.

Fuller's Vintage Ale from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
93 out of 100 based on 1,078 ratings.