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Fuller's Old Winter Ale - Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

Not Rated.
Fuller's Old Winter AleFuller's Old Winter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

79 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 79
Reviews: 55
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 8.67%
Wants: 11
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Fuller Smith & Turner PLC visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  5.30% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-18-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 79 | Reviews: 55 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It looks good, with some foam on a cloudy yellow. It smells good, with mild spice. There is above average mouthfeel from caramel. A tad like an old ale, but other than this there is nothing special. Mild dry hop finish.On tap at Beer Bistro. Drinkable but nothing to hook me.

Sammy, Mar 02, 2008
Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

spycow, Jan 14, 2013
Photo of BEERchitect
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very impressed with this beer. Caught it on tap last night at Pazzo's Pizza Pub. Although the beer does not hold a lot of complexity or multitude of varying flavors, the strong malt base and pronounced caramel flavors make this beer a candy in a glass. Maltiness delivers a firm base of sweetness, breadiness, and a mildly chewy texture. The caramel flavor is one of well-attenuated, toasted barley, and not of artificial toffee flavors. Mild fruits of apples, pears, and plumbs give the beer a bit of estery decoration. Hopped for balance, but offers a touch of herbal / pine flavors that don't distract from the malts. Finishes clean to be so sweet up front, with a crisp, minty finish. Very nice.

BEERchitect, Jan 03, 2008
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.45/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a light amber color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of dry caramelized malt notes is interesting. Taste is dominated by dry malt notes, maybe a bit too dry and almost astringent. Some fruity aromas are also easily noticeable though harder to detect when tasting this beer. Body is about average with good carbonation. Good but a bit too dry for my own taste.

Phyl21ca, Mar 07, 2012
Photo of oberon
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Man I love Fullers ales,this one poured a a great ruby red color with medium head,smell was malty sweet and nutty almost like a good nutty holiday cake.Nice malty,warming taste of nuts and a little bitter chocolate,very easy to drink.I think drinking this on a cold winters night watching a hockey game would be almost heaven for me.

oberon, May 08, 2003
Photo of biboergosum
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz glass at the Underground, on the coldest damned day of the year thus far. Winter warmer, save me now!

This beer appears a solid black, with the barest of basal cola highlights, and one skinny finger of foamy, soapy, and bubbly beige head, which leaves some attractive layered webbed lace around the glass as things slowly sink away.

It smells of hot chocolate powder, cold coffee, bready caramel malt, black licorice, middling dark fruit, and mild musty, earthy hops. The taste is bitter dry cocoa, astringent coffee beans, grainy caramel malt, oily nuts, tart black fruit, wet ash, dry anise, and a strange earthy, almost medicinal spice.

The carbonation is average, noticeable yet not any sort of burden, the body an adequate medium weight, but thin-seeming at times, and a bit too edgy to be deemed all that smooth. It finishes rather dry, little changing over the course of this offering, as the cocoa, coffee, and char flesh things out.

A tasty enough dry stout, it would seem, with a soft fruity holiday twinge. A whole lot less sweet than I was expecting, but enjoyable all the same. Nice to see all these new beers from Fuller's arriving locally.

biboergosum, Dec 06, 2013
Photo of Jason
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 18.6 oz English style brown bottle that has raised glass with a glimmering gold label. Best before date clearly printed on back.

Appearance: Crystal clear deep ruby copper with a thin wispy yet well retaining lace.

Smell: Rich sweet caramel with hints of toasted and vague roasted malt.

Taste: On the sweet side with a creamy full body, rich malt character with nutty, grainy and even a little bit of chocolate on the tongue. Hop bitterness develops more towards the end to reach a nice balance. Mouthful of residual sweetness still left over in the finish with a touch of dark chocolate.

Notes: As usual ... rich, hearty and very flavourful, drink and learn what a true imported English winter ale tastes like!

Jason, Mar 28, 2002
Photo of jwc215
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours deep copper with an off-white thin head. Spotted lacing sticks.

The smell is musty, woody (cinnamon?) with some dried tart fruit.

The taste is of caramel, nutty with orange and some herbal bitterness in the finish.

On the thinner side of what might be expected for a "winter ale", but, then it is somewhat warming for a 5.3% abv.

It is well-balanced. Sweetish but with a touch of bitterness. Slight touch of alcohol shows though at a relatively modest abv.

jwc215, Apr 30, 2009
Photo of Halcyondays
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Hollingshead's in Orange, CA,

A: Pours a medium/dark brown, with a medium off-white head, medium retention.

S: Light, but smells of rich caramel malt and spices.

T: A tasty brown, good caramel and brown malt core, the spiciness is subtle, clear bitter nutmeg notes add to the complexity of this ale.

M: A full-bodied winter warmer, some chalky feel from the spices, but overall, very good, carbonation is solid.

D: Very good Winter Warmer, in my opinion, first time I have ever seen this in the U.S., so I had to try it since I love Fuller's, did not disappoint.

Halcyondays, Jan 28, 2008
Photo of wl0307
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I finally found this bottled beer at the Waitrose supermarket in East London. BB 21/01/07, served cool in a straight imperial pint glass.

A: clear, light copperish hue, coming with a thick and creamy off-white beer head, leaving pretty tight lacing as it retreats; fairly gentle carbonation.
S: enticing aroma of raisiny, ripe-plummy and caramely maltiness upfront, backed by a nut-syprup like "think" note along with a more subtle, fruity hop aroma reminiscent of Fuller ESB’s elegant apple-ish note. Very nicely balanced nose overall.
T: a very deep flavour of bitter-sweet caramelised-sugar with a hint of exotic black-sugar, preserved plums, plus a mildly bitter flavour of roasted nuts from crystal malts prevail upfront; quickly giving way to an almost tea-leaf like bitter-herbal hoppyness in the background underlined by faint suggestion of dark fruits; satisfyingly dryish aftertaste left at the deep end of the palate, balanced by equal amounts of aromatic maltiness and lingering, mild bitterness.
M&D: despite being nearly full-flavoured, the palate remains ultra-clean and light throughout. This is a "quietly" delicious malty winter brew, very well-crafted and balanced indeed.

wl0307, Mar 10, 2006
Photo of biegaman
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Old Winter Ale appropriately leaves the glass speckled with snowflake-like lacing and has a fine, powdery white surface. The beer beneath it is relatively dark but still showcases plenty of colour, especially when held into the light where its butterscotch body flashes tones of tawny and auburn. A parade of tiny bubbles never ceases.

Some winter ales are actually spiced and others are simply brewed in such a way so as to give them a somewhat spice-like bouquet. Old Winter Ale does not possess this card. It has a quintessentially standard aroma for a British ale: a heavy emphasis on the malt which has some plum and overcooked toffee presence.

Bitter, leafy hops are conspicuous and can often act as periods, not commas. If anything, however, the water minerals are more harsh. They are incredibly chalky and stiff, drying out the mouth on the finish and paving over most of the malt's subtle sweetness and what little gingerbread or sticky toffee pudding flavours might have been.

I'm not crazy about all this earthy, vinous hop bitterness stealing thunder from the beer's malts (which should be the star of this style). They add a grassy, drying texture which contrasts in a funny way with might otherwise be a gratifyingly sweet and nutty beer. But on the whole, a pint of this stuff (just one, though two would be nice) is quite satisfying.

Like most all Fuller's beers, Old Winter Ale follows a conventional, tried-and-true British formula. This makes it an altogether fantastically drinkable, albeit fairly pedestrian beer. Unexciting though it may be, however, the brewery makes good on their promise of a "rich, warming winter ale" and that's all I really came looking for anyhow.

biegaman, Dec 05, 2011
Photo of liamt07
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from the LCBO, 500ml bottle into a tulip. Best before October 10, 2012.

Poured a ruby red/mahogany, filtered with a nice white caps. Creamy with some larger bubbles, solid retention and lace. Nose is malty and sugary, some faint berries, winter spicing although nothing in particular pops. Sweet bready qualities as well. Taste has more malt, albeit less prominent than the nose, faint spicing, and some light caramel, nuts and sweet bready/graininess. A nice warming feel all around, good body and appropriate medium carbonation puts this a little higher up on the charts than just a sipper. I enjoyed this but this is far from being at the top of my list of favourite winter warmers.

liamt07, Dec 21, 2011
Photo of harpus
4/5  rDev +2%

harpus, Aug 22, 2013
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Best before date of 10 OCT 12. Poured in to tulip glass.

A - Medium to dark amber colour; translucent; one finger of foamy off-white head with decent retention.

S - Bready malts, dark caramel, nuttiness and a hint of spice.

T - Dark caramel, brown sugar, bread and spice up front. Hints of toasted nuts and a nice subtle hop bitterness in the background. The finish is dry and bitter. A very enjoyable winter warmer.

M - Medium body, creamy. Light carbonation.

O - Proof that winter warmers don't have to be spiced to hit the spot. A great example of the style.

TheSevenDuffs, Dec 22, 2011
Photo of bark
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The colour is deep amber-brown; the head is finger thick, off white and compact- It sinks slowly down leaving massive lacing.

The generous smell is loaded with dried fruits, lightly roasted malts, some alcohol, dry bitter hops, whipped cream and a hint of cherries.

The taste is complex and more bitter than expected. Some fruity (apricots. Raisins, green grapes) flavours, hints of coffee and cream, liquorice and rubber. The aftertaste is dry and bitter with some spices (nutmeg, rosemary, cloves?) and dried fruits.

The carbonation is perfectly mild with lots of refreshing bubbles. The liquid is rather thick.
Overall, I found this winter warmer much more daring than I remembered.

bark, Dec 31, 2006
Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The pour is clear copper, with a white soapy large head that leaves lots of lace when it dissipates.

S: Light roasted sweet malt with dried dark fruit and some chocolate notes. There is also floral english hops.

T: A full flavoured beer. Sweet and bitter. Fruity as most ales from Fuller's but this one has an additional dried dark fruit-aspect. Very matly.

M: The aftertaste is long and sweet, really bitter/dry as well. The body is full and the carbonation is medium.

D: Very well-tasting and full. Reminds of other Fuller's ales but with an additional dimension.

Evil_Pidde, Nov 27, 2009
Photo of spinrsx
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml Bottle

Appearance - The beer pours a clear dark brown/red colour with an average size frothy and fizzy beige coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation and there is some very nice lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, butterscotch, cherries, all-spice, raisins

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts mixed with butterscotch/caramel and some all-spice. There is also a bit of a licorice taste and some notes of dates/raisins and a hop bitterness. It ends with a malty dark fruit aftertaste with a hint of spice.

Overall - I was a little disappointed with this one. I guess I was just expecting more from fullers. It's a good beer but there are much better seasonal offerings available. I wouldn't pick this one up again.

spinrsx, Dec 13, 2011
Photo of stcules
3.48/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark amber color, almost mahogany. A good head, beige in color, not bad.
The smell has a good maltiness, dried fruit, figs and dates. A hint of red fruit. Malty background.
The taste is more on the dried fruit side, quite dry, with notes of hazelnut overall. Despite the low alcohol (5.3 ABV), this beer is quite warming. Notes of light roasted, toffee. Good.
Quite hopped in the aftertaste. Balanced and pleasant.

stcules, Mar 31, 2007
Photo of dcmchew
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

dcmchew, Nov 11, 2013
Photo of cdwil
4/5  rDev +2%

cdwil, Dec 29, 2011
Photo of StJamesGate
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a bright russet with a bright white head that fades fast and leaves no lace. Tea, dried fruit, barrel and spearmint on the nose. Orange spice cake malts and a bit of prune with nicely spicy, orange rind, and leaf hops. Unexpectedly clean tight finish and creamy but thin body and no fizz.

Strong hops over malts, which is surprising for this English ale. Just wish there was a little more heft to it.

StJamesGate, Dec 14, 2009
Photo of Ciocanelu
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle, poured into a pint.

It has a clear amber color. Forms a nice head that has very good retention and leaves nice lacing too.
Smell is quite complex: sweet malt, a bit fruity and also some liquorice.
Taste is a bit unexpected. The smell suggested a sweet brew but in fact it's bitter, resembling an ESB but more complex.
Body feels medium, crisp and dry. Good carbonation.

I expected a sweeter beer with less carbonation but that doesn't mean I didn't like it. It was a nice surprise and I enjoyed it very much.

Ciocanelu, Dec 10, 2012
Photo of aztraz
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

aztraz, Nov 16, 2013
Photo of grub
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

sampled on tap at beerbistro feb 27/08. menu claims 6.5% abv.

pours deep red with a small dense off-white head. the head drops slowly and leaves a few rings of lace.

aroma is nice. bit of toasty character. big fruity english profile. light toffee. caramel. bit of alcohol. big bread and biscuit malts. just a touch of spice, but not enough to pick particular spices out or to overshadow anything else.

taste is good. low bitterness level. solid bread and biscuit malt. nice light toffee and caramel middle without getting too sweet or overbearing. again just a hint of spice but not overpowering or identifiable. the taste isn't as bold as the aroma, but i like this and feel it works well here.

mouthfeel is nice. medium-low very well integrated carbonation. medium body. just a hint of astringency.

drinkability is good. nicely balanced and solid english ale. i might need to have another!

grub, Feb 28, 2008
Photo of rarbring
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The amber coppertoned beer pours with a full head of light beige foam slowly sinking leaving remains on the glass.

The smell is rather modest, som lemonpeel, slightly metallic tones, a malty sweetness with some spicy aroma.

The taste on the other side is fully developed with great hoppiness balanced with some malty sweetness.

Nice carbonation and mouthfeel.

In all a very rewarding wintwer warmer.

rarbring, Dec 25, 2009
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Fuller's Old Winter Ale from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
87 out of 100 based on 79 ratings.