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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

88 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 88
Reviews: 56
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 9.16%
Wants: 13
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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Fuller's Old Winter Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 88 | Reviews: 56 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of BeerLover99
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of Ciocanelu
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Photo of Bilianas
5/5  rDev +27.2%

Photo of profondo
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of cfalovo97
3/5  rDev -23.7%

Photo of crnipeter
3.38/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours clear coppery-brown capped by a quarter of inch thin beige head that dissipates. Poor head presentation is acceptable as winter warmers are essentially Old Ales whose head-formation may be impaired by aging.

Initially indiscernible scent improves as the beer warms revealing nutty and caramel aroma of
malt as well as spicy and orange-like aromatics that might be attributed to the hops used (Nugget, Challenger and Northdown). No trace of alcohol whatsoever.

Flavor is pronounced nutty malt supplemented with substantial herbal hop-bitterness that seems a bit exaggerated stealing the show from the malts and leading into astringent dry finish. Considering the style I'd expect more malt complexity.

Well-attenuated somewhat crispy medium body.

In short, an attenuated nutty-bitter Winter Warmer that doesn't seem warming at the outset but delivers as I progress through the bottle (500 ml into tulip, BB 10-17-2013).

Photo of Molson2000
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of GONZALOYANNA
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle. Pint glass.Enjoyed on dec´11. Bright copper color. Clear. Off-white ,medium size bubbled,froth. Creamy crown with good retention.Yeast,herbes,slightly spicy with grape notes to the nose. Sparkling upfront followed by dry nutty bitterness.Mildy toasted malts & smooth resiny with pear hues. Medium body, soft carbonation.Fruity aftertaste. Very pleasant drinkability, refreshing & flavorful. Comment: when in doubt order a Fuller´s one even not being the best of theirs you will never regret it.

Photo of smi
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

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.

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.

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.

Photo of MishaEriksson
4/5  rDev +1.8%

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.

Photo of cdwil
4/5  rDev +1.8%

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.

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.

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.

Photo of jak
4/5  rDev +1.8%

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.

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.

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.

Photo of MattyV
4/5  rDev +1.8%

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.

Fuller's Old Winter Ale from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
88 out of 100 based on 88 ratings.