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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

92 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 92
Reviews: 57
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 9.21%
Wants: 16
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-18-2002

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 92 | Reviews: 57
Photo of spinrsx
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
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
4.11/5  rDev +5.1%
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 +2.3%

Photo of biegaman
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

Photo of Kartoffeln
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
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.

Photo of peensteen
3.68/5  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.

Photo of Naerhu
3.4/5  rDev -13%
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.

Photo of Sigmund
3.95/5  rDev +1%
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.

Photo of snogglethorpe
3.16/5  rDev -19.2%
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.

Photo of Mjoepp
3.45/5  rDev -11.8%
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.

Photo of krunchie
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
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!

Photo of pootz
3.89/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Photo of rarbring
3.98/5  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.

Photo of StJamesGate
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

Photo of mrmanning
3.3/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap: Deep mahogany with a frothy beige cap that laces moderately. Nutty, fruity aroma with lots of yeasty spices and wood. Sweet caramel and sugary, nutty malts are backed by solid almost floral, hop profile. Creamy and soothing, full bodied winter ale. Good.

Photo of jwc215
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

Photo of TKempe
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Looks very clear and amber to light copper-brown in colour. The head is a bit thin but leaves plenty of lace.

Smell is malty-sweet (toffee, some chocolate) and slightly burned and grainy. Can't miss the fruity ale note (prune, apple freshness) and the hop aromas (reminiscent of tea and all kinds of spices). Alcohol is present and is blended in perfectly, giving some extra weight to the entire nose.

The taste is bitter-sweet and passes through both a fruity and a hoppy moment before becoming really bitter and dry. The aftertaste lingers for quite some time. Moreover, there is a salty or liqorice-like quality to it all.

Mouthfeel is creamy and has the exact right amount of carbonation. This beer drinks easily and is refreshing, even though it is quite saturated and bold.

Photo of MisterClean
4.52/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Bonn Lair. Good job getting this one Bonnie!!

A - Poured a dark auburnish color, with a little over 1 finger of head. Dissipated fast and left a nice trail of lacing.

S - Caramel, toffee, and light chocolate in the malt profile with some hearty spices. Maybe some clove and a pinch of cinnamon. Hop profile is very subtle with a bit of bitterness.

T - Strong notes of caramel and toffee with light chocolate. The spices really round the beer out and their appears to be some clove, maybe a little vanilla, and some cinnamon. Hops almost disappear.

M - Well balanced, with an almost full mouthfeel.

D - Overall, a good example of the classic English Winter Warmer.

Photo of Bananaman
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Fuller's is one my favourites of the English breweries. They represent everything about English bitters and ales that I like.

Pours a dark amber color with a big fluffy white head, leavs loads of lacing on the glass.

Aroma is strong of malts, English hops, nuts and some sweet dried fruits, almost wineous in a way.

Taste is really good, for being at this strength it's really powerful. Lots of malts and English hops together with those wineous dried fruits. The bitterness is fruity and nutty, really warming.

I really like this one, the only thing is that it's bit boring compared to other English ale style Christmas beers this year.

Photo of Sammy
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
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.

Photo of grub
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
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!

Photo of ABCJiugui
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on tap at deep ellum, poured into US pint glass-

A- foamy 2 fingers head with excellent retention to 1/2 finger, clingy lacing that comes in almost guinness like rings as one sips. Color is a deep, clear, reddish amber.

S- Sweet malt aroma, biscuity, bready, crisp as well, like spring water.

T- Balanced malt sweetness, biscuits, with definite english hops: bitterness is mild but present, and very well balanced, contributing to a fairly smooth finish.

M- Smooth, 2%milk/medium bodied, head adds a level of creaminess to it, carbonation is light and consistent.

Overall, unexpectedly pleasant surprise during my meal. Had a good Oakham "John Hudsen's" bitter on cask right before and wasn't expecting such a great beer right after. Definitely something I'd order again and could see myself drinking all night.

Photo of tai4ji2x
4.48/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

on-tap at deep ellum, allston, ma

i just had to put in a word for this brew, from sparse notes and a fresh memory of last night. deep ellum's menu listed this is as a "bitter", and in a way it admittedly sort of skewed me into expecting something less hearty and complex. that said, from the moment the glass was put at my table, i knew i was in for a treat. the clear reddish brown color and great foamy head were just the beginning. then came the malty yet herbal nose, hints of spice.

robust flavor went great with my cornmeal battered fish. malts and assertive but balanced hop really melded together well. maybe some dried fruit to mix things up a bit. mild bitterness, evenly distributed.

smooth and drinkable, and a sessionable beer. best surprise of the night.

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Fuller's Old Winter Ale from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
87 out of 100 based on 92 ratings.