Vital Spark | Fyne Ales Ltd

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Vital SparkVital Spark
Very Good
17 Ratings
Vital SparkVital Spark

Brewed by:
Fyne Ales Ltd
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: Scottish Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Vital Spark is a beer that is hard to categorise, occupying a space between stouts, porters and milds, but it’s unique character has created a loyal following, including among many of the top beer writers and judges. Starting with hops on the nose then giving away to rich, dark malt flavours, this deep red ale is full of roast barley in the grist and well hopped with Amarillo and Cascade hops to give a unique and delicious flavour.

Vital Spark is named after a fictional Clyde steamer boat that was captained by Para Handy in the humorous short stories written by Neil Munro in the early 1900s. The stories documented the life of the Vital Spark and its crew as the ship serviced the Argyll area in the early 20th century.

Added by foamer on 04-26-2005

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 17 |  Reviews: 10
Reviews by Zimbo:
Photo of Zimbo
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Relatively rich treacly roasty beer with a lightly bitter tang this strong mild type beer's malt dominance is quite morish. Orange and brown amd creates a seasonable dense thickish head which is rocky and clings to glass. Tasty and glowing, it really delivers more kick than its ABV would suggest.

Still to have this on cask.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of foamer
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a lovely deep ruby with a frothy, cream-coloured head which leaves some nice thick foam down the glass. Sweet malts and some hints of roasted bitterness in the nose. Strong roasted malt bitternes with hints of toffee and some coffee notes as well leading to a delicate yet lingering hop finish. Quite a nice balance between the bitterness and the toffee notes, which in other beers can get a little out of control and verging on the sickly sweet. This, on the other hand, is very nicely balanced. Smooth and creamy mouthfeel, not too heavy. A very drinkable beer, although not really in a particular style. Quite nice, and certainly worthwhile.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle. A bit pricey, but new, fresh (BB July 2012) traditional UK offerings are surprisingly rare around here.

This beer pours a clear, sharp, dark ruddy brown hue, with three fingers of tight foamy ecru head, which leaves some quite attractive honeycomb lace around the glass as it duly settles. It smells of lightly roasted malt, chocolate bar chocolate, a bit of salty meat, molasses, and leafy hops. The taste is soft toasty, bready malt, a mild chocolaty nuttiness, some dark sugar notes, and increasingly bitter weedy, earthy hops. The carbonation is fairly sedate, the body a low medium weight fighter, but smooth and a tad creamy nonetheless. It finishes clean, and just off-dry, the noble hops politely pressing their case.

I'm used to Scottish ales that smack you a bit like a North Sea 'breeze'. This is much more restrained, with more of a suggestive nature of the style, really. That said, it is pretty well flavoured, dark, and mild. Infer what you will.

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Photo of metter98
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear but very dark brownish red in color (very dark brown when viewed from afar) having no visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high frothy beige colored head that took a long time to die down, leaving a collar around the edge of the glass and some lacing down the sides.
S: Light to moderate aromas of black currants and dark malts are present in the nose.
T: The taste follows the smell, but has more in the way of flavors of roasted and burnt malts, which stand out in front of the berries. There is a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This ale is quite flavorful for a beer with a relatively low abv.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of EmperorBevis
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

gorgeous dark body and tan head full on granary aroma Really rich malty taste with a good treacle whack more solid than it's abv great stuff that must be amazing on cask

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Photo of MisterBanks6
4.38/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Pours a very dark brown, closer to ruby with a nice half inch head that leaves nice lacing. The feel is not as silky as i would have imagined but is not unpleasant. The smell of is slightly roasty yet there is scents of dark fruits such as plum and slight black current which compliments the dark, fruity and rich taste of this beer. I enjoyed this very much as a beer to sip on through the night and would be pleasant on a winters day or with a winter menu of meaty or roasty foods.

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Photo of bigred89
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of StJamesGate
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark chestnut with a creamy deep beige head that fades fast but rims and leaves speckly trails. Smoked meat, melted brown sugar, cola and a whiff of Band-aids on the nose. Soil, prune, and treacle malts with winter spice and leafy hops. Sugary mint finish and tight tingly linger. Light to medium, fizzy, good cling.

"Scottish ale"? Because... it's made in Scotland? This is a dark mild, through and through.

On the dark side of mild, with lots of whiskey-like smoke and molasses notes, almost like coffee hard candy. Stays drinkable, though. Continue to be impressed by Fyne.

2nd tasting has this still as a dark mild, but not so clear cut. The burnt toffee and sour fruit notes are not so far from a Scottish ale, there's touch of musty wood like an old ale, and the hops levels are closer to bitter than mild. Keeps you interested, no matter where it fits.

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Photo of BDTyre
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I would consider this more a dark mild than a Scottish ale.

Dark, cola like head that melts away to almost nothing, leaving tiny, frothy islands in it.

Roast malts, light hops and even a bit of celery (?!) in the nose. This carries through to the flavour: nice malty body, hints of toffee, light fruit hops...and a whiff of celery.

Good carbonation, nice feel to it. Very enjoyable and sessionable, but I still get this weird celery profile. I don't think its the lines or the cask as the establishment's other beers were great.

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Photo of Brewer1980
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

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

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a dark reddish brown colour with a decent looking head, and some lacing.

Smells sweet and a little bit boozy, oddly.

Tastes quite nicely complex, rich dark fruits which are overwhelmed by sweet caramel malts. Slight hoppy bitterness but the malts dominate.

Overall a pretty decent beer, as usual from this good brewery.

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Photo of samEBC
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of dcmchew
3.81/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of woosterbill
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Gravity halfpint at the Euston Tap.

A: Clear chestnut-red body with a solid, ultrafine head of cream-colored foam; solid retention, tons of lace. Great.

S: Densely caramelized, very sweet malts on top of some roasty chocolate notes. I'm a fan.

T: Follows the nose; very sweet maltiness, and not much else.

M: Creamy medium body. Excellent carbonation.

O: Very nice ale. I would have liked a bit more complexity of flavor, but it was thoroughly enjoyable.


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Photo of BartMcStout
3.25/5  rDev -14.7%

Photo of vauxhaulastra
2.97/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Too many acrid notes, very little smell, little malt character.

63 characters

Photo of mick303
4/5  rDev +5%

Vital Spark from Fyne Ales Ltd
Beer rating: 3.81 out of 5 with 17 ratings