Fuller's Vintage Ale | Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

672 Reviews
Fuller's Vintage AleFuller's Vintage Ale

Brewed by:
Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
England, United Kingdom

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
First released in 1997, Fuller's Vintage Ale is brewed in limited batches with each bottle being numbered. It can be enjoyed immediately, or Fuller's recommends laying the beer down to enjoy when it peaks in 3 to 4 years and consume at cellar temperature. And though it's released each year as a separate vintage, BA has been informed that the recipe is only slightly tweaked from year to year, while the ABV remains at 8.5%.

Added by Murph on 02-20-2002

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Reviews: 672 | Ratings: 1,266
Photo of mac31
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Fruit, fruit, fruit. I really like English beers. This is the most fruit driven English beer I've had. Malts are sweet and fruity. I get grape, raisin, plums from the malts. Also, I get some modest cooked caramel, biscuity, light breadiness that are apparent. There are some mild roasty notes in there too. All the sweetness is balanced out by a sly, but moderate amount of hoppiness. Hops are very earthy, which kick up in the finish. There is some slight citrus brightness. The Goldings really come through in this. Spices are soft and there is green bitterness without being vegetal. Hops are slightly minty and astringent (although not sure if the astringency comes from the hop compounds or the alcohol.) The body appeared thinnish in the beginning, but was actually medium and creamy the more I drank on. Carbonation started off spritzy, but mellowed out as the CO2 escaped the glass. If you love American styled and made beers, pass on this. If you like Belgians, more specifically quads, you will like this. This reminds of a baby quad/quad light with more roastiness and hoppiness. It's a nice beer, a year from now this would have beer more mellowed and better received (for me).

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Photo of Beersnake1
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2015 vintage poured from fridge temp. Light brown with good carbonation. Fairly transparent. Smell is caramel and vanilla, with some dark fruit and some citrus. Not too powerful. Taste is a immediately bitter, with some oak, citrus peel, caramel. Getting some blackberry and it gets a bit smoother over time. Mouthfeel is a tad thin, and the alcohol is well hidden. Overall a really nice beer

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Photo of Lewnanny
4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

superb beer.

The taste remind me the quality find in the Duchesse the Bourgogne.

This beer is among of the best one I have taste lately.

Really nice concept and I like the box.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.58/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2014 Vintage, bottle 145698.

Very milky (but no colloid sediment!) caramel-like brown-orange body, fine bubbles rise everywhere to support a velvety, cream-colored head that eventually fades to streaks of thin clouds, evidence of the chemistry of yeast taking place in my glass. Nose seduces me with rich buttery caramel, raisin, apricot, faint heat, mild citrus zip, and a bit of mineral-yeastiness. On the palette is butterscotch, mild bitterness to counter formidable sweetness, a zip of tropical fruits, woodiness like whiskey barrel. and some chalky yeast that is welcome. Body is full, but could still be heavier, and, dare i say it, more highly carbonated?? It felt a tad flat to me, but still completely acceptable.
What a treat to sip this one. Everything about it was warm, relaxing, and decadent. I wish I had a few more bottles to compare it to later on in its development. Pick these up if you see them!

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. 2015 vintage. Pours a medium orange amber with a thin, off-white head that dissipates to a thick ring around the glass, with light lacing. Aroma of caramel malt, raisins, plums, a light tea component. Flavor of caramel malt, toffee, orange, light stone fruit, surprising light tartness in the finish with light grassy hops, a bit dry. Medium bodied with light creaminess. The profile really is like a boosted up / imperial ESB, rather than an old ale. This has more light fruit and a mellower, caramel malt body than a typical old ale. Interesting that the aroma had dark fruit elements, but the flavor is more orange citrus and light stone fruit. A complex ale that does seem to be fitting for some cellaring. I bought a second bottle to try in three years.

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Photo of Schimms
4.93/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2015 Bottle
No. 132876

L: Into a tulip glass: pours a reddish orange with big frothy white head close to an inch and a half. Great lacing up front - gone by the end.

S: Sweet malt, caramel, minimal hops.

T: Sweet, as promised. Juicy raisin up front. Mmmm...Fuller's biscuit flavor - subtle - makes an appearance at the end of the taste; liquid bread. God, I love Fuller's biscuity flavor.

F: Light carbonation. Smooth. Medium to full body. Leaves my tongue slightly dry.

O: A superb ale. I could drink this every day for the rest of my life.

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Photo of stakem
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Vintage 2005 - procured from a store shelf circa 2008 at clearance discount price of $3.

500ml bottle into a thistle appears a perfectly polished mahogany color with rich khaki head 2 fingers tall that slowly fades leaving a curtain of webby lace.

Aroma is bready with caramel, raison, dates, slight herbs, apple, pear and trace minerals.

Taste is bready layers of malt sweetness - caramel, toast, vanilla, slight leafy oxidation, raison, molasses and fruity alcohol.

Medium in body, modestly carbonated and very pleasant/easy drinking. For only having 8.5% abv, it held up nicely for 11 years. Worth seeking out. Id love to know how the other vintages of this are and how they taste fresh. I am surprised more people dont talk about this as a cellar candidate as it has held up exceptionally well. Id clear shelves at $3 per bottle if the opportunity presented itself again.

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Photo of BKotch
4.44/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2000 vintage, no.44,400. Amazing. A 16-year-old beer, admittedly cellared under less than ideal conditions, pours a clear dark amber with a fluffy white head. Nose of sweet malt. Flavor, just a trace of cardboard (discounted because of the age) and otherwise sweet and fruity. Mouthfeel ridiculously creamy with good effervescence. I can't believe how good this is given its age. So well done.

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Photo of MaltyPythonsHopCircus
4.34/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 Vintage Bottle 032514
All British ingredients in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Maris Otter. Love this beer. Caramel and dried fruit. Herbal hops with a woodsy note. Finishes slightly sweet with orange rind, marmalade kind of finish. Excellent

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Photo of keithmurray
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage
Bottle number 115886

Appearance - body is reddish orange with tan head

Smell - toffee, caramel, orange peel, raisin, dates, prunes, grapes

Taste - caramel, toffee, prune, raisin, date, orange peel

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, lower level of carbonation, caramel sweetness upfront, followed by candied orange peel, in the end is a fruity blast

Overall - a nice beverage that drinks like an imperial bitter. Steep asking price, but worth trying at least once

Price Point - $9.99/ 16.9 oz bottle

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Photo of cjgiant
4.09/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2015 Vintage:
Pours a brownish amber, hazy but consistently so, with items behind the beer being fuzzy but distinct. An amber hued tan head, ends in a medium thick rim.

Nose is dark caramel with a dark fruit tang/tartness, raisin, grape, prune. But throughout all of this, there is an indistinct bitterness that counter these notes slightly. A swirl brings a little alcohol note that is otherwise absent.

The taste leans a little more heavily on the fruit notes and bitterness. I get a bit more grape and plum in the taste, ending with a somewhat of a wine taste. This wine taste is disrupted, in a sort of way, by a wooden bitterness. The interplay of these notes is interesting early. The tart-sweet fruits eventually seem to take up residence near the front, and give the back end to the bitterness.

This beer is medium in body, with a nice medium level of carbonation. It ends up a tad dry.

I did enjoy this beer, it seems well made. It is not extreme, but has a nice level of flavor and bitterness so as to not be bland. I enjoyed sipping on it on a cool evening.

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Photo of josanguapo
5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From lacasadelacerveza. Un Teku glass. Playing Grim Fandango Remastered. The very definition of a balanced beer. Everything is well executed here, and after each sip you're yearning for more. High ABV well hidden

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Photo of drmeto
3.6/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

2013 Vintage No. 012859

-pours a hazy glowing dark amber with a small to medium,foamy,offwhite head
-medium carbonation visible
-sweet orange,strawberries,rose hip tea,apricots,spicy
-spicy,caramel,orange,apricot,grainy,slight grapefruit
-medium bitterniss for the style (surprisingly hoppy still after 2.5yrs)
-finishes dry
-low to medium carbonation
-light to medium body
-slight alcohol noticeable
The "Imperial Bitter" description fits this nicely.
Good overall, but considering the hefty price tag, i was a bit disappointed.
I would take any of Fuller's regulars (London Pride,1845,ESB etc.) over this.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.06/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a teku pint. 2012 vintage.

A- Pours a dark amber color with a 1/2 inch light tan head that retains well before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass.

S- Nice aroma of toasted malt and unique hops that have an almost eucalyptus kind of note to them...Okay, I don't know what eucalyptus smells like, but it's piney in a different way; herbal, minty, green. There's also some oxidation but it complements the overall profile.

T- Nice balance of sweet biscuity malt and faint hop bitterness. Drinks super easy for 8.5% but there's not a whole lot going on. Brown sugar, dates and mild orange peel come to mind. After multiple sips are taken, the oxidation starts to really show, especially in the aftertaste. But it still works as it creates a sort of apple/pear type of flavor that's pretty enjoyable.

M- Slightly creamy with medium carbonation and a body leaning toward the fuller side.

O- The oxidative qualities of this beer work well within the overall flavor profile but I wouldn't want to taste it aged any more than this. Looking forward to trying later vintages.

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Photo of T100Mark
4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 Vintage Ale (bottle # 131446). A Euro Bomber (16.9 ounces) poured into Imperial pint/nonic glass (I felt like "going for it").

Appearance - Beautiful copper color. A little bit hazy. Mondo head! Big stickage! A sight to behold.

Smell - Big malt! Sweet. Tart. Spicy. Hoppy.

Taste - Big malt! Sweet. Tart (black licorice). Hoppy. A touch spicy. A bit herbal. Alcohol. There's a lot going on here.

Mouth - Slick.

Overall - A British Bitter with the volume turned up to 11! Very tasty! Awfully pricey! A beer for special occasions.

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Photo of Angela1956
3.14/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Sparse head, off-white, diminishing. Fair lacing. Clear body with lightly cloudy particles. Amber/tawny color. Average malt aroma with a hay/straw and nutty smell. Heavy yeast smell. Medium body, thin texture, average carbonation. Moderately sweet, light acidity, heavy bitterness.

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Photo of hennin55
4.68/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: average head, good lacing, darker brown in color
Aroma: average in hops aroma, caramel maltiness, toffee and butterscotch notes
Palate: creamy texture but slightly bitter
Flavor: average flavor with a slightly bitter finish

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Photo of stinewils24
3.36/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Has a gold, caramel, pumpkin glow to it. It has a wonderful malty, caramel, molasses scent. The taste reminds me of raisins and citrus notes, with bitter and sour hints. The texture is creamy and moderately carbonated.

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Photo of Beginner2
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Vintage 2013. Drank 3/18/17 after in my cellar about two years. Brewer says "3-4 years is peak" and this had peaked; alcohols were starting to elbow-out the sweeter, finer parts of Vintage's hop-malt balance.
Of course, every year is slightly different; using the best ingredients left from that particular year. (So, I should have kept notes on previous vintages Had...but alas, did not.)

Brought this box in hand to a dinner party that had Brits, as my way of showing appreciation for their cultural contributions. (They were wine-drinkers and none asked for seconds... I know what they missed.)

Listed in the "1001 Beers To Drink Before You Die."
Reviewed also in Roger Protz' "300 Beers To Try Before You Die!"
MJ's "Guide" doesn't rate Vintage Ale as it changes, but called it "complex, with root aromas and flavours".
Overall, a unique and classic presentation of the brewers' art. Worth the price. Worth the wait... but next time, I don't wait more than three years.

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Photo of defilli2
3.9/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer had a dark copper color, not rusty look though. I could smell the yeast and wheat when I poured it into my glass. It was slightly bitter, but enticing. Full flavored ale with caramels and malts. It was also salty had a bits of yeast in it. Very rich beer, I would drink this again.

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Photo of LampertLand
3.6/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Fullers 'Vintage Ale' 2015 @ 8.5% , served from a 500 ml bottle purchased for $6.90
A-pour is gold from the bottle to a clear amber in the glass with a small beige head leaving a fine spotty lace along the pint
S-English malts
T-complex start , true bitter finish
MF-mild carbonation , feels full body
Ov-just an ok beer , needs time in the cellar!!
prost LampertLand

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Photo of EMH73
4.44/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 Vintage. Pours a deep amber color with a one and a half inch head that settled into a one quarter inch cream. Smells of caramel, malt, molasses and some fruits. Tastes as it smells with the fruit being raisins and a hint of citrus. Very smooth and creamy mouthfeel., moderately carbonated. Looking foward to my next bottle in a year or so (2013 Vintage).

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.41/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2012, best before end of 2015.

Initial pour shows a clear rust coloured brew sitting under an inch of foam; second pour and it gets distinctly cloudy. Bottle conditioned and all.

The first aroma I notice is that of orange citrus. Beyond that, there's the usual nose of caramel malt with more semi sweet semi bitter notes of molasses.

Drinking this is pleasurable. Tastes like it smells with the addition of a bit of oxidation in the finish. Not unusual nor distracting.

Smooth mouthfeel with very little presence of the alcohol in the taste or smell.

I bought 5 editions of this curious beer, 2009-2010-2012-2014-2015. 09 was lovely, 10 not so much. I would buy this and the 09 again. ~US$10 each.

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Photo of crob3888
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Two vintages were sampled, 2008 and 2010, poured into separate snifters.

Both poured a slightly hazy Amber-copper. The 2008 had aromas of raisins, sherry, caramel, sweet plum, brown sugar, and dark breads. The 2010 had more pronounced flavors of Orange, toffee, dark breads, and a hint of the plum/raisin character that had developed strongly in the 2008.

The 2008 had significantly less carbonation than the 2010, leading to a creamier and stickier mouthfeel. The 2010 was more palate cleansing and my wife preferred that mouthfeel by a lot.

Overall, exciting to try two old vintages side-by-side like that.

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Photo of CoreyC
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage
A - Apple cider, cloudy
S - Dark fruit, stone fruit, very nice strong aromas
T - Same dark and stone fruit with a nice boozy flavor, with no alcohol burn
M - nice fairly chewy
O - very good, tasty and very smooth

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Fuller's Vintage Ale from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
4.17 out of 5 based on 1,266 ratings.
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