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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

84 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 84
Reviews: 55
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 8.67%
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
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Ratings: 84 | Reviews: 55 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bilianas
5/5  rDev +27.6%

Bilianas, Dec 05, 2012
Photo of MisterClean
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
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.

MisterClean, Dec 06, 2008
Photo of tai4ji2x
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
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.

tai4ji2x, Feb 10, 2008
Photo of TKempe
4.47/5  rDev +14%
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.

TKempe, Jan 13, 2009
Photo of Kartoffeln
4.47/5  rDev +14%
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 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 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 cypressbob
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle

Pours with a deep red body, nice creamy head, good retention

Smell, spices, thick malty musk coming off

Taste, thick bitter hops, dry musky finish, some hint of smoke and a nice lingering bitterness on the palette

Another great beer from fullers, they really can do no wrong. Some noticable hints and flavours of 1845, actually, this really reminds me, in look and taste of arrogant bastard, like an english hopped version

What the heck is that flavour and aroma? it really reminds of arrogant bastard :)...thus, i've been buying this alot now, its a great beer

cypressbob, Feb 15, 2005
Photo of ABCJiugui
4.35/5  rDev +11%
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.

ABCJiugui, Feb 11, 2008
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 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 foamer
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle, date best before 11/01/06

Pours a nice clear red with some rusty orange highlights on the sides. Frothy cream-coloured head with good retention. This is a pretty beer.

Smells of caramel malt with some spices. I get some hints of rum-soaked fruitcake as well. Smells a bit like Christmas...Strong aroma though, I could notice it right after I opened the bottle.

Taste is initially caramel and sweet malts and then WHAM! it develops to a dry hop bitterness with some hints of spices. I've never tried a beer where the taste changed so suddenly - it's keeping my taste buds in check.

The mouthfeel I feel to be a little overcarbonated, but maybe that's just the CAMRA in me talking. It's a little thin as well, but not too much to be a detriment.

This is a tasty winter warmer, and I much prefer this to Young's offering. One which I'll try to find on cask next time I'm in London.

foamer, Mar 21, 2005
Photo of BKotch
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

BKotch, Oct 29, 2014
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 Molson2000
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Molson2000, Sep 11, 2012
Photo of dcmchew
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

dcmchew, Nov 11, 2013
Photo of BILF
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

BILF, Jan 09, 2014
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 krunchie
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
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 stjarnflikka
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, red veer with some carbonation and a foam that hastly leaves the glass to leave a thin lacing.

Smell is malts, bread and butter at first. The comes a roasted tone together with fruit and a bitter character.

Taste is bitter, with a large maltcharacter. Malt, bread and roasted tones come again here, together with butter and a candylike sweetness.Taste is really big and nice, with a crisp touch to it.

A great winter warmer, and fuller's never seems to dissapoint me.

stjarnflikka, Jan 11, 2005
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 BBP
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
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 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 JohnnyBarman
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
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 Stocean1
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
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
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Fuller's Old Winter Ale from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
88 out of 100 based on 84 ratings.