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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
88
very good

78 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 78
Reviews: 55
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 8.65%
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: 78 | Reviews: 55 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.45/5  rDev -12.2%
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 Arborescence
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Copper/amber. Pours a moderately thick head.

Aroma: Caramel sweetness, malt, toffee.

Taste: Starts as a typical English Bitter, but a toffee-like sweetness overwhelms quickly. Tastes like an English winter by the fireplace! There’s plenty of hops lingering about too, the mixture of different hops creates a nice balance.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, smooth.

Overall: I’ve missed beers like this, I tended to drink much more of pretty standard English bitters when I lived in the UK, but much less so since I moved back to Finland (and in the US), for obvious reasons. Not that this is a standard bitter; it has a more complex hops profile and the crystal malts create a lot of sweetness, appropriate for a Winter/Christmas Ale.

Arborescence, Feb 16, 2012
Photo of jrenihan
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

BB October 10, 2012

Pours a dark amber, almost chestnut brown, with a fair sized white head. Good retention, fair bit of lacing. Nice looking beer.

Immediate smells are earthy English hops, spices (ginger, nutmeg), and bready malt. Not a strong smell, but relatively pleasant.

Taste is pretty malt focused, fairly bready, with some spices. The earthy hop flavours are there as well, but I got them more strongly in the nose. The finish is sweet caramel malt, with a slightly bitter aftertaste.

Moderate carbonation, medium bodied.

Overall, another nice beer from a reliably solid brewery. I am not generally a big fan of winter warmers, but I rather like this beer. The spices are lighter than some others but this means, in part, that they are better integrated.

jrenihan, Feb 10, 2012
Photo of MishaEriksson
4/5  rDev +1.8%

MishaEriksson, Dec 30, 2011
Photo of mintjellie
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Rich mahogany with ruby highlights. Brilliant clarity. Pale beige head is lacy and moderately retentive. Aroma is malty and fruity, with notes of toffee, brown sugar, and plums. Tastes of sweet toffee up front, transitioning into slightly tangy plum and mixed nuts. Finishes with a lingering tea-like bitterness. Feels a little light and thin, with low carbonation. Not a bad beer, but the mouthfeel is a bit of letdown. Needs more heft.

mintjellie, Dec 30, 2011
Photo of cdwil
4/5  rDev +1.8%

cdwil, Dec 29, 2011
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.38/5  rDev +11.5%
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 liamt07
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
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 BBP
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice copper with decent head and lacing, and excellent retention.

The aroma is well rounded without lacking in either the malt or hop presence.

The flavor is pretty congruent with the style I've come to expect from Fullers. The hops are tamed, but at the same time they provide a pretty solid bitter base to support the malt. The malt in this one is a bit more rich than most of the Fullers offerings. It's got a bit of a biscuit flavor as well as mild grain notes. Any sweetness is balanced by bitterness, yet the bitterness is very subtle.

The mouthfeel is quite creamy, and carbonation is nice. The only downside was that the body was a tad thin. A bit thicker and it would have aced this category.

Overall, this is one of my favorite Fullers offerings to date. I'm surprised to say that as Winter Ales aren't really my favorite style, but this one was a bit atypical with the malt sweetness toned down and the hops bumped up.

BBP, Dec 17, 2011
Photo of jak
4/5  rDev +1.8%

jak, Dec 14, 2011
Photo of bryehn
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a lovely ruby colour with amber tinged edges and a very frothy off-white head that leaves an ample amount of lace behind as it settles as a soapy collar.

Smells of sweet caramel, tree nuts, plums and has a peppery spiciness to it. Simple, but solid.

Crisp and peppery taste with a soft and warm caramel malt body, a note of raisin and a fatty, nut-like tone. Nice balance here, but a bit subdued. The finish is dry and spicy, like nutmeg or allspice.

Medium-bodied with a mild carbonation. Bitter on the tongue with a nice, oily character. Aftertaste has a roasted caramel malt tone.

A nice and easy drinking, lightly spiced English pale ale. A tad mild as a "winter warmer", but most certainly a quality ale worth trying.

bryehn, Dec 13, 2011
Photo of spinrsx
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
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 Stocean1
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - a deep copper mahogany colour this brew had a thick bubbly two finger head that stuck around forever and eventually dimished to a healthy collar of suds with sticky thick lacing coating the pint glass all the way through. Beautiful.

S - Is an earthy slightly sweet scented malt with a hint of chocolate and dark fruit.

T - Subtle malt profile with coffee and choclate notes, a faint floral hops presence that rounds out this brew with a bitter lingering finish.

M - a perfect mouthfeel on this one, typical for fullers - smooth, medium bodied with decent carbonation with a nice bitterness.

Another spectacular brew from fullers that I will of course grab when I can. If I could pick one brewer on a desert island it would be fullers, I have had better brews but not with the consistency of fullers, I have yet to have a brew from them I did not like.

Stocean1, Dec 11, 2011
Photo of MattyV
4/5  rDev +1.8%

MattyV, Dec 07, 2011
Photo of biegaman
3.85/5  rDev -2%
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 JohnnyBarman
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Put up the Christmas lights and got the decorations out of storage. There's snow on the ground and it's time for a winter ale. Post haste.

Poured into a nonic glass. Light amber-copper in colour, with a nice fluffy head. Good bit of lacing and some nice retention on this.

Nose is delightfully wintery. Caramel, chocolate, a bit of toffee, plum, currant and spice, with a mild leafy hops backing.

Not the in-your-face winter ales that you see around the liquor store that try a bit too hard to seem 'Christmassy', this ale just comes across as being seasonal and didn't have to smack me in the face to do it. All the hearty ale flavors are there in the foreground, sweet fruity spiciness, and its all swept clean with leafy, bittering hops that leave a lingering finish. Nice carbonation, pale ale body.

A great cold weather ale. 'Nuff said.

JohnnyBarman, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of Kartoffeln
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep, clear, ruby amber with a big tan head of fizzy foam. Decent retention, dissipating to a thin ring of bubbly foam and leaving strands of frothy lacing.

S: Loads sweet caramel malts and some biscuity brown malts with dark rye, walnut, and dark chocolate aromas. Intense fruitiness with black cherry, plum, fig, raisin, and pear notes mingling with savoury brown spices, particularly nutmeg and a bit of cinnamon. Yeast, booziness, and faint, leafy hops round it out. I've said other beers smell like Christmas pudding before, but this one takes the cake (ha. ha.).

T: Rich (but not too sweet) toffee and brown malts with a biscuity character lead into bitter, roasted nuttiness and cocoa notes complemented by plum-and-raisin fruitiness with that savoury spiciness of nutmeg and other brown spices. Leafy and floral hops come in towards the finish with mild bitterness, balancing the malts that take on a fresh grain character on the swallow. Yeast undertones throughout. Much drier than the nose suggested, overall.

M: Medium to full-bodied with mild, creamy smooth carbonation (I may've just gotten this by pouring hard) and slight stickiness. The balance is spot-on and it comes across as rather dry despite the heartiness; a sense of full-ness sneaks up as you drink with deceptive ease.

D: A delicious, hearty, and drinkable winter warmer distinguished by a dryness that emphasises nuances in the palate. Warming and moreish. An excellent sipping ale that'd probably also do very well accompanying red meat or game.

Kartoffeln, Nov 21, 2011
Photo of peensteen
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Deep copper colour, one finger dense sticky off white head, good amount of lace left behind. Smell is full of caramel, lightly sweet, malty, spices, cinnamon, bready and biscuity. Taste is sweet malts and caramel, spices, cinnamon and rye bread, toffee with a long caramel malty finish. Aggressive carbonation that I found hard to get past, medium feel and fairly full bodied. Other than the over active carbonation this was quite enjoyable, a solid seasonal offering from a pretty solid brewer.

peensteen, Nov 11, 2011
Photo of Naerhu
3.35/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Nice big rich long lasting head on clear red beautiful body.

Biscuity walnut bread aroma arorma.

Nice biscutyu simple flavor, nut in the background with a nice slightly sweet and bitter after taste.

Mouthfeel, there is a watery aspect to this that really takes it down a notch for me.

These go down a little too easy. A nice beer, but nothing too exciting.

Naerhu, Feb 24, 2011
Photo of Sigmund
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle, from Voldby Købmandsgård, Denmark. ABV is 5.3%. Copper to amber colour, big to moderate off-white head. Malty and nutty aroma, also notes of toffee and caramel. The flavour has a moderate malty sweetness and nutty and biscuity notes, hints of raisins and caramel. "Dusty" hops in the finish, bitter aftertaste. Quite good.

Sigmund, Feb 14, 2011
Photo of snogglethorpe
3.15/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A nice deep brown color, little head, not much odor.

The taste is an immediate malt hit, a tiny bit of roastiness, followed after a while by the typical Fuller's fruity taste, with some mineral flavor and a slight amount of acidity ... and eventually by a very very mild bitterness (so little that it's hard to really say what it's like). No creaminess, not really all that sweet, despite all the malt. Gets watery after a while like many other Fuller's beers.

It's not hard to drink, and unobjectionable, but it's not really all that great either, and doesn't really live up its billing as a "winter ale" -- it simply didn't have the depth, the bitterness, the darkness, the spices, and was way too dominated by pretty much the exact same fruity character that defines most Fuller's beers.

snogglethorpe, Jan 22, 2011
Photo of Mjoepp
3.43/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark/deep amber color, small white head with some lacings.

S: Sweet malt, burnt sugar, notes of toffee and some notes of "sweet" christmas spices.

T: Sweet, but the bittering hops eliminates the sweetness quite well. Nutty and spicy. Light carbonation which is perfect for christmas beers.

Mjoepp, Dec 01, 2010
Photo of krunchie
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a re-review, original review posted 11-25-2008.

A: Pours a clear, deep bronze/dark red color with a fluffy head which disappears too quickly. Looks tasty though.

S: Definitely syrup, sweet bread, caramel and toffee. Lots of crystal malt character!

T: Toffee and caramel again, yet a little more bitter. I remember this beer as very sweet so the bitterness shocked me a bit - even though it's not very bitter. Quite a bit of a dark crystal malt flavor; walnuts and dates come to mind. The finish gets smoother and sweeter and leaves a nice nutty, toffee flavor on my palate.

M/D: Perfect CO2 for the style, however I'd love to see better head retention in this beer. The foam leaves great lacing though, but more foam would make it even better. This beer goes down like whipped cream, very smooth and rich considering it's not very high in alcohol compared to other seasonal examples with similar mouthfeel.

11-25-2008 review:

A: Copper brown, clear amber. Initially 1-1½ inch thick creamy head. Too bad it didn't stay thick for long.

S: Some roasted malts, chocolate malts. Sweet. Very bready. Syrup and hazelnuts also come to mind.

T: Yummy!!! More bread and roasted malt. Very well-balanced, especially the finish, not that much bitterness. Some toffee and caramel. Reminds me of a snack street vendors use to sell during the summer on Gotland island, where I grew up: roasted almonds (roasted in sugar, I think, and they turned out dark caramel brown - very sweet). The head on this beer is very creamy too. I wish it was a little thicker as it adds a nice whipped cream taste and feel to the entire brew.

M: Smooth and creamy. Clean and crisp mouthfeel. Very light carbonation.

D: Oh this one goes down like hot chocolate in a cozy cabin after an entire day of skiing! I could drink litres of this. AND it seems to warm me up a little bit (snow has just come to Stockholm so that's very convenient!)

This one's my favourite winter brew thus far this year!

krunchie, Nov 17, 2010
Photo of pootz
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap: Taps a deep chestnut color with some red highlights, modest cap, soft carbonation.

Aromas are fruity-spicy lightly sweet. Flavor is exceptionally discreet in its use of spices and sweet malts...lovely warm soft malty sweetness mingles with a spicy-fruity background and demure Kent hopping...well balanced without any of the sweetness, spice or hops overpowering the amalgam of all these flavors....frankly the best Winter ale I've tasted this year.

pootz, Apr 20, 2010
Photo of rarbring
4/5  rDev +1.8%
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
Fuller's Old Winter Ale from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
88 out of 100 based on 78 ratings.