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

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

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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: 12
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: 88 | Reviews: 56 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

Photo of StJamesGate
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
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
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
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
3.28/5  rDev -16.5%
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
3.75/5  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 +13.7%
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
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
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
3.95/5  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 -8.9%
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
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
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
4.35/5  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
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
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.

Photo of Halcyondays
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

Photo of DaveUK
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Lustious red brown with an excellent head with a ring and wisps retained all the way to the bottom.

Aroma - Creamy fruit and toasted malt. A hint of grapefruit from the hops.

Taste - Raisins and blackcurrant, fullers distinctive style, sweet and and juicy malt, with a big bitter finish with hints of smoke.

Mouthfeel - Smooth at the end and very sweet, a medium to heavy mouthfeel.

Overall - A classic fullers brew, distinctively identifying but also very tasty. A true malty winter beer. I would love to try this on cask as acidity from the carbonation was unwelcome at first.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

Photo of mdagnew
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle bought from Sainsburys..

Poured a nice dark copper colour. Light tan head poured big thick and foamy with quite tight bubbles then faded quickly to decent covering with thick edging... quite a lot of thick sticky lacing... no real carbonation to speak about...

Aroma - Lots of toasted breadiness, nice sweet toffee malts, treacle and brown sugar notes, malt loaf, rich dark fruits (prunes, figs, light raisins, some orange notes), light peppery hops, nutty sweetness, light grassy notes, some very faint oakiness, butterscotch notes...

Taste – A surprising amount of peppery and grassy hop bitterness mixed with toasted bread, burnt nutty bitterness, light caramel malt sweetness, tart fruits (oranges, figs, some apples), quite floral, some light saltiness, light earthiness...

Feel - Quite smooth initially with a good sharp bite coming through afterwards.. light bodied... extremely quaffable - i could happily drink this all night...

Overall - Another very good brew from Fullers... quite a hoppy winter warner but certainly recommended...

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