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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

87 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 87
Reviews: 55
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: 87 | Reviews: 55 | Display Reviews Only:
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 ShawnL
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of smi
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of Poupae
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of IWannaEatFood
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

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 biboergosum
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz glass at the Underground, on the coldest damned day of the year thus far. Winter warmer, save me now!

This beer appears a solid black, with the barest of basal cola highlights, and one skinny finger of foamy, soapy, and bubbly beige head, which leaves some attractive layered webbed lace around the glass as things slowly sink away.

It smells of hot chocolate powder, cold coffee, bready caramel malt, black licorice, middling dark fruit, and mild musty, earthy hops. The taste is bitter dry cocoa, astringent coffee beans, grainy caramel malt, oily nuts, tart black fruit, wet ash, dry anise, and a strange earthy, almost medicinal spice.

The carbonation is average, noticeable yet not any sort of burden, the body an adequate medium weight, but thin-seeming at times, and a bit too edgy to be deemed all that smooth. It finishes rather dry, little changing over the course of this offering, as the cocoa, coffee, and char flesh things out.

A tasty enough dry stout, it would seem, with a soft fruity holiday twinge. A whole lot less sweet than I was expecting, but enjoyable all the same. Nice to see all these new beers from Fuller's arriving locally.

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 CalgaryFMC
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Another relatively rare Fuller's brew hits the Alberta tap scene. Hopefully this trend continues! Had a pint at Beer Revolution in Calgary, a pristine reddish-brown brew (or perhaps very dark bronze) topped by around an inch of light tan foam. Smells of toasty aromatic malt, cacao powder, caramel, a herbal or medicinal note like licorice, a cornbread sweetness, and a sour fruitiness like dried cherries ... Amazing complexity on the nose. Taste includes most of these elements as well and reminds me a bit of a Scotch ale albeit with more fruit and hops. The chocolate is downplayed in favor of a chokecherry sour fruitiness, toffee, walnuts, cane fruit, and earthy hops. There is maybe a little anemic coffee but I don't get much of this flavor here. Medium bodied, not terribly thick and with a similarly moderate (to low end of high) degree of carbonation. Finish is quite dry, with burlap sack and dry husk effects, but some of the fruitiness that pervades the earlier phases of the taste experience lingers until the bitter end. Malty, fruity, but not terribly sweet or roasty, a top-notch winter warmer that manages a pretty reasonable degree of complexity without any gimmicky additions to the brew kettle or bottle after the fact.

Photo of rastaman
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very nice, malty then bitter, with hints of toffe, chocolate and coffee, good beer, but not sensational.

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 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 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.

Photo of JanM
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pour with a clean amber color with one finger of brownish foam that disapperas quickly. The smell is of nuts, Coca Cola and licorice. taste is dominated by the bitterness with toffee, nuts and aniseed in the background. In fact, the bitterness takes some of the taste out of this beer. Served from a bottle its worth it to wait for a while before you drink since the exposure to oxygen brings out a better body 10-15 minutes after pouring.

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 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 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 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 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 woodchip
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of bsm80x
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of connecticutpoet
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A lovely ruby-red ale with a good head, this one promised quite a bit. And it delivered.

The aroma was of rich malts (caramel and some roasted as well) and the alcohol was somewhat prominent.

The foretaste was bitter, and the taste was of rich nutty malts and hints of bitter chocolate. A touch of spiciness was apparent as well, but only a trace. The bitterness lingered, a nice touch.

Good body, and a good beer to have sitting comfortably at home on a winter's night watching TV

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.

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