Fuller's Brewer's Reserve No. 4 - Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
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Ratings: 21 | Reviews: 13 | Display Reviews Only:
3.75/5 rDev +1.6%
Bottle: Poured a copper color ale with a relatively large foamy head with good retention and some light lacing. Aroma of caramelized sugar and light toffee notes is warming and interesting. Taste is also dominated by caramelized malt notes with a side of toffee with limited residuals sugar. Barrel-aging was not as apparent as I was expecting but provided a well-rounded aftertaste. Body is about average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. I really enjoyed the malt profile on this one but would have preferred a bit more from the barrel treatment.
10-17-2013 14:57:31 | More by Phyl21ca
United Kingdom (England)
3.58/5 rDev -3%
Purchased from the Fuller’s online shop, this edition is oak-aged for 365 days in Old Comte de Lauvia Armanac (VSOP) casks. Bottle No. 34361, BB End 2022 (ten years away!), served cool in a tulip-shaped long-stemmed wine sniffer.
A: abundant flows of microscopic fizziness to boot, creamy beige head lasts well, even following a force pour; the colour is dark copper to mahogany, while it turns rather tawny when seen right against light.
S: mainly malty and ripe&sweet plummy fruity on the nose, littered with traces of cherry skins and very mild toffees; given a very good swirl, sour-sweetness from overripe fruits resurfaces and goes hand in hand with the rather subtle sour-ish oakiness as of, well, Calvados instead of Armanac brandy, in my opinion.
T: a lightly musty edge of brandy’s woodiness, Calvado-like apply-oakiness and salty-sweet elements as of old pineapple mingle well in the effervescent, creamy foretaste, pairing the otherwise mildly-flavoured, nectar-ish and barley-candy like malty main theme, not unlike the Goldings- and Pale Malt-dominated Golden Pride. There’s very little sign of a “middle” taste in each sip, as the foretaste quietly grows into a pretty neutral, lightly chewy and mildly bitter finish, where the both wings of the tongue experience a somewhat… black-olive-ish spicy touch (sounds weird?).
M: due to the microscopic fizziness, the palate is kept refreshing and smooth at the same time, but this is not unexpected if judging from the fact that the ale is less than 1.5 years old.
O: All in all, I can’t seem to notice and enjoy more assertive influence from the Armanac oak-ageing on the beer base, but the musty, old-ish feel from the barrels certainly has balanced off, or, “consumed” the otherwise rich and dense barleywine base. The potential for ageing? I really don’t know. I could foresee the more exotic woody elements and yeastiness to interact and evolve into an interestingly acidic and dry-ish palate overtime, but flavour-wise it is hard to imagine any significant evolution to take place over the next five-six years. I’ve got four more bottles in my mini-cellar, so will report back if my observation is proved wrong!
02-16-2013 21:27:58 | More by wl0307
3.74/5 rDev +1.4%
Fuller's is one of the few breweries to ensure the beers they sell in fancy packaging actually live up to the aesthetic standard of the ornate boxes they're sold in. Reserve No. 4 has a head as thick as a couch cushion and a clear but blistered chestnut coloured body. It looks glorious, too glorious even for the extravagant royal navy casing from which it came.
Although "oak aged ale" is printed in bold letters across both the bottle label and packaging, neither drives the point home quite as well as the aroma does; you can smell the barrel, as well as the high-proof esters that once took up residence in it (Armagnac). In addition to the conspicuous fermented apple notes, there's also elements of vanilla, pie spices, and cream.
The flavour must have been designed for fall time: it has a pumpkin-pie-like taste that combines graham cracker-like malts with brown sugar sweetness and mulled apple esters, and finishes with hints of savory herbs (sage especially) as well as warming, vanilla-enriched oak notes. There's plenty of resemblance to a mulled cider, overlooking the fact that it's quite malty.
This is definitely something suited to the snifter. Its apple-y esters and undisguised alcohol notes are intended to slow one's consumption and encourage proper appreciation for this layered and complex ale. Looking beyond the initial flavours of oak, spiced apple, and vanilla, notes of dried fruits and honey really start to make an impression. It's a big but very gentle beer.
Fuller's Brewer's Reserve No. 4 is more or less exactly as you'd imagine Vintage Ale tasting after being infused with Armagnac (365 days worth). Despite integrating the oaky and apply nuances, it's managed to maintain its malty and distinctly English esters. In other words, expect all the sophistication of the Vintage Ale plus a little extra; well worth the asking price.
09-19-2013 03:12:54 | More by biegaman
3.73/5 rDev +1.1%
Bottle No: 26422. Best Before 2022.
Poured in to snifter.
A - Translucent dark amber colour with a thin layer of taupe coloured head.
S - Dark caramel, oak, cognac/grape and a hint of vanilla.
T - A big toasted oak presence with some sweet vanilla up front. Some fruity esters, grape notes from the cognac and a hint of chocolate.
M - Medium body, somewhat dry. Moderate to high carbonation. A little over-carbonated.
06-22-2013 14:58:46 | More by TheSevenDuffs
3.2/5 rDev -13.3%
A: Pours copper with a large airy tan head. Lots of bubbles in the liquid and the head sets quickly with a sizzeling sound. Almost no lacings.
S: There is a mild smell of the boozy alcohol from the Armagnac-oaky-barrels. Faint vanilla. Citric notes and a rather healthy maltyness. Some sourness, that doesn't go to well with the rest of the ingredients.
T: Not many surprises after the smell... The sourness is milder but still present. The boozyness is perhaps stronger. Vanilla and fruit tries to balances. Some dark dried fruits.
M: Rather boozy and rough. Aftertaste is short and mainly sweet. Carbonation is rather mild.
O: Not very well balanced. It didn't come true according to my expectations.
11-16-2012 17:46:55 | More by Evil_Pidde
3.78/5 rDev +2.4%
Slightly hazy dark copper colour with a smooth, light tan head. Fair head retention.
Fair amount of hard fruit. Some touches of the Armagnac oak. A little toasted malt.
Medium caramel and toasted malt. Touches of earthiness. Very light oak. Okay but nothing special.
Moderate body and some carbonation. Quite nice.
A lovely beer. Well constructed and a nice Strong Ale.
05-04-2013 09:21:22 | More by dgilks
3.9/5 rDev +5.7%
Pours ruby copper with a quickly fading head.
Nose shows sherry, sweet golden syrup and toffee, raisins, soft woody notes with a hint of vanilla and some soft booze.
Similar flavours at first with more port, raisins and golden syrup. Some of the oak transfers through along with some slight boozy, drier armagnac.
Carbonation is excessive.
04-07-2014 06:02:56 | More by CrazyDavros
3.7/5 rDev +0.3%
Bottle number 34814 and pours a tarnished copper hue with a creamy one finger head,lots of carbonation and some nice lacing,the smell is tart fruit,oak,chocolate,raspberries and a feint hint of that Armagnac,the mouthfeel is medium bodied with above moderate carbonation and has tastes of raspberries,fruity hops,sherry,chocolate,caramel and finished with a fruity tartness and overall I like it but thought the mouthfeel was over carbonated and could do with some ageing I'm going to have to buy another bottle of this cheers.
04-02-2013 11:09:27 | More by ADZA
3.95/5 rDev +7%
Bottle no. 30162. BB end of 2022.
Beer is dark amber in colour, with a large and frothy beige head. Head fades steadily, some lace.
The brandy is noticeable in the nose, and is accompanied by oak and some vinous fruits- grape sticks out. Caramel.
Taste is nicer than the nose, although similar. Brandy, oak, vinous fruits, caramel and some grassy hops. Quite sweet. Alcohol is noticeable but not overdone. The barrel is evident but not overpowering, works well. The base beer strikes me as characteristically Fuller's. Surprisingly, it works.
Full bodied, moderate to high carbonation level. A bit chewy.
Overall, a nice beer. I was a bit skeptical, both from the description of the beer and the reviews, but ended up pleasantly surprised.
11-02-2013 17:01:23 | More by jrenihan
4.03/5 rDev +9.2%
500ml Bottle (#27669). Wine glass. Enjoyed on feb´13. Reddish amber color. Clear appearance. Off-white & lively froth so head quickly dissipates. Intense vanilla & cinnamon fragrances, caramel malts, subtle brandy notes & sugary alcohol to the nose. Toasted malty upfront is touched by fruity, sugary & chocolate powder flavors. Medium to full body. Moderate to soft carbonation. Bitterness in the middle balances malts & provides a fruity/tartar funny palate. Subtle warming alcohol. Dry bitter finish. Kind brandy-like heat on the aftertaste.
03-05-2013 23:06:39 | More by GONZALOYANNA
4.03/5 rDev +9.2%
500ml bottle served in a Duvel tulip glass.
Bottle nr. 36756.
A: Pours a dark amber color. Quite nutty but absolutely clear. Forms a medium bubbled yellow head forming small spotty lacings in the glass. Medium to low retention but with a quite persistent thin layer that remains on the top for long time
S: Great sweet toffee and caramel malts with strong notes of wood and cognac. Booze but balanced. Fruity as it should with strong notes of dark and mainly dry fruits: cherry, raisins and plums
T: Sweet front. Strong notes of toffee, caramel malts, roasted malts. Ooooaaak! Oh boy... Strong notes of dark fruits and dark dry fruits like plums, raisins, cherry, grapes and cherrywood. Notes of cognac and alcohol
M: Heavy molasses body. Medium carbonation. Sweet malty aftertaste with strong alcohol notes. Warming beer
O: Great drinkability. Extremely well done ale. Just another Fuller's masterpiece
10-31-2013 19:57:07 | More by eduardolinhalis
3.06/5 rDev -17.1%
A - copper, quickly fading head.
S - vanilla, earthy hops, England
T - smooth, sweet, England, vanilla, very malt driven.
M- badly or should that be sadly over carbonated
O - unsure, an integrated and well made ale that seems to miss the mark, it is sweet and vanilla dominated but the over carbonation lets it down. I would love to note that the Barrel Aging rescues it, but whilst noticeable, is not a feature of the beer.
06-01-2013 11:34:14 | More by heygeebee
4.06/5 rDev +10%
Drank from my Chimay chalice. Bottle # 04540
A - Pours a nice clear deep copper colour, with an off white head that retains and laces.
S - Plenty of wood oak, small vineous and fruits. With heaps of Cognac a little coffee and fruit cake. Great stuff
T - Up front some nice spicy notes, before th dark spicy fruits kicks in, There is a really nice vineous oak flavours, The Cognac/ Armanac is very present but not overpowering with a little vanilla. No sign of the ABV
M - A little over carbonated with medium body. Would be almost silky with less carbonation.
O - Shame about the carbonation, but this is a cracking english beer with the oak flavours. Well worth a try.
06-29-2013 07:55:42 | More by eric5bellies
Fuller's Brewer's Reserve No. 4 from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
83 out of 100 based on 21 ratings.