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Fuller's Vintage Ale | Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
93
outstanding
661 Reviews
Fuller's Vintage AleFuller's Vintage Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
United Kingdom (England) | website

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
661
Ratings:
1,224
Avg:
4.17
pDev:
14.87%
 
 
Wants:
118
Gots:
291
For Trade:
10
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 661 | Ratings: 1,224
Reviews by mikeys01:
Photo of mikeys01
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a beautiful numbered generouslysized 18.6oz brown bottle, the bottle is indeed sealed witha paper seal as would be a good port. The box was a nice touch as well, and a fairly intelligent feature to prevent excess light from entering the bottle. Pours out of the bottle with plenty of carbonation and a frothy head that dissipates quickly. Color is a slightly toasted amber with flashes of red when held to the light, very good clarity. Aroma is swollen with aged fruit, smooth alcohol, and sweet malt. Taste is oh so smooth and tasty with each flavor playing well with the others, fermented raisins and figs blending with a sweet caramel malt and just a bit of the characteristic mustiness you expect in a vintage ale. Alcohol is very subdued, almost encouraging you to drink the whole large bottle in one sitting, though its probably best shared or saved for a couple nights enjoyment. Hops play in just a bit to add a bit of citrus flavor and only a bit of bitterness. Finish is smooth with hints of oak and vanilla left on your breath..mmm.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Marius
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2006 (opened in 2015)
Pours a chestnut red ale, with some foam that dissipates quite soon, which is only normal after 9 years of ageing.
The smell is quite rich, with caramel sweetness and a very strong brandy feel up front, followed by dried fruit (figs and raisins) and a hint of alcohol.
Smooth texture with light carbonation, warm to the feel, it tastes like caramel, toffee and dried nuts, and also figs and brandy. The finish and after-taste are slightly bitter. The alcohol is perfectly incorporated in this ale - it's present in the smell as well as taste, and feels like it belongs.

Vintage 2013 (opened in 2015)
Caramel, malted sugars, faint cognac/bourbon aromas and alcohol. Very smooth mouthfeel. As the previous versions, it doesn’t disappoint. However, it is lacking the complexity and rich flavours of previous versions.
4/5

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Photo of Sammy
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Outstanding 2004 edition in year one, bottle 37989 Comes with a beautiful presentation box. I gave out a slew of these instead of single malt scotch and got great feedback while saving loads of money for more beer for me. Deliciously hoppy, pale ale with barley that remains long on the palate.

Had the 2005 edition fresh and it was a nice scotch taste, easy drink.
2006 edition showed hoppiness out front, drunk 1/3 year into release, then malt and vintage scotchiness.
Had the 2006 a year later and good soapy head but off-taste. Had it at end of 2008 and it was rich, with dried apricot, a citrus hoppy aroma, and lacey white. Had the 2006 five years later and a sweetish blend with a richer malt complexity in the finish. Still barleywinish.
The 2007 edition tasted like a young barleywine/old ale, with drying hops from beginning to end, some carmel malt secondary.
The 2008 was not astringent. Promises of a good old ale.
The 2009 was a well done old ale. Mild fruit, carmel gave it an above average mouthfeel. Not sweet, and most drinkable.
The 2010 was a good rich malting, with promise for ageing.
The 2012 was a rich maltiness, with citrus hop finish (had in '14).

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Photo of philbe311
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage - 2009 (No. 105054)

A - A finger and a half worth of cascading slightly late to develop light khaki colored froth that is equal parts airy and creamy... Audibly fizzy... Limited retention gives way to a full rich creamy mostly thick lacing... The color is a muted light-to-medium brown... There is a subtle murkiness about... A limited bit of sluggish carbonation can be seen rising along the sides of the glass...

S - Holy malt bomb batman... I love it... Bursting at the seams with rich caramel and toffee... Loaded with an abundance of dark fruits... Molasses... Light notes of brown sugar... Just a hint of vanilla... A very light whiff of booziness on the back end... Stellar with excellent depth and complexity...

T - Light brown sugar notes to start... Next comes a wave of dark fruit notes... Next there are subtle hints of toffee, vanilla and caramel... There seems to be a very subtle re component on the finish that compliments the warmth of the alcohol... The booziness lingers on the finish...

M - On the fuller side of medium bodied... Smooth and sophisticated... Coats the mouth and is a bit sticky... Some limited carbonation... The deep finish turns a bit chalky with just a touch of dryness... A light alcohol induced warmth lingers on the finish as well...

D - What a wonderful beer... Elegant... Sophisticated... A definite sipper... I found my self relaxing more and more with each and every sip... Beyond very good and just a notch below world class... I eagerly await the ability to try additional vintages... I'm not surprised that I liked this beer given the lofty expectations that I had, but I'm surprised that I enjoyed this much... Highly recommended and must for those BAs who enjoy the occassional malt bomb...

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Photo of SportsandJorts
4.16/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Vintage 2012 drank in 2014

Appearance: This beer pours a deep burnt orange, almost the color of a fall leaf with some brownish hues. A two finger creamy head forms. The head has a tannish color to it. The retention is very strong and a thin tan layer stays on the surface the whole time. As it moves around the glass it leaves behind huge foamy streaks on the glass. It is fairly hazy and almost opaque, but streaks of brightness break through the haze.

Smell: The scent starts off with a few different characteristics. The is a strong graininess to it, hinting at toasted grains and caramelized malts with no signs of roasted malts. Some strong hoppy aromas come through reminiscent of citrus, herbs and some earthiness. Overall the scent is sweet with small amounts of earthy bitterness.

Taste: The taste opens up a very slight hop bite. The taste of the hops is citrus, herbs, and some earthiness. The bitterness is quickly drowned out by a rich sweetness, caramels, toffee, and some dark fruits. The fruitiness varies from raisins to figs. Some maple syrup comes through lightly and mixes with some tobacco. Some booziness is present near the end in the form of rum or possibly brandy.

Mouthfeel: The feel on this one is thick and chewy. There is plenty of sweetness in the flavor but almost none is left behind, eaten up by mostly tobacco and some earthy bitterness. There is a slight syrupy stickiness comes through along with slight alcohol warmth.

Overall: This is easily one of the more influential old ales. It's a must try for anyone who likes the style and a staple in any cellar. The amount of improvement from one year to two is pretty substantial. This would be a fun one to do a large vertical on to see where the peak is. I think at 2+ years it is still moving upward. The balancing with the hops on this one is unlike any old ale I have had before. I look forward to slowly stocking my cellar with these boxes.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.17/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a clear dark amber color with a thin off-white head. Looks really still and dead in the glass, but this is a 2008 bottle, so that may be to be expected.

S: Kind of a strange mix of things going on here, but it's really nice. Syrupy caramel and maybe a touch of molasses, lots of dark fruit (raisin, fig syrup and maybe a little prune), toffee and a little tickle of booze. It almost smells like it was aged in sherry or rum barrels.

T: A light trace of caramel and honey-soaked malt, then some rum raisin, toffee and prune. Finishes with some molasses, brown sugar and a trace of tobacco. Mouthfeel is a touch light, but I don't feel like it hurts here too much. Says to drink by 2011, but this doesn't taste over the hill at all. Very nice.

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Photo of IckyT2012
4.07/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014: Full of raisins with a little bitter bite on the finish. 3.94
2012: Richer smell, fuller body, but the flavor isn't much different from the newer bottle. 3.99
2009: Hard to believe this one is 6 years old. It actually tastes a bit watered down, instead of stronger. It does go down a bit creamier. The bite is completely gone. The raisin flavor is nearly gone, and a touch of cognac and honey is added. Very smooth, but not as impressive a flavor as I had expected. 4.07
Fun experiment. Thanks for the recommendation to age it, but I won't be devoting cellar space to this in the future.

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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 oberon
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2005 vintage bottle #49597,poured a deep rich copper with some burnt orange tint with a short lasting one finger white head.Aromas of brown sugar and orange marmalade with a hint of caramel,sweet but very pleasingly sweet dark sweet cherries dipped in brandy,brown suger and caramel dominate with just a hint of leafy herbal hop in the finish.The alcohol is a little raw but this bottle is pretty new would love to cellar one and likely will.The 2001 vintage is one of my alltime favorite beers, give this some time and it could reach its standards I believe.

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Photo of Popsinc
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage Ale 2005, bottle #10606

It's 8pm, -8 degrees celcius & there's 10 cm of snow of the ground in Barrie....i'm very glad that i chose this beer tonight.

Pours deep amber with a nice foamy off-white head. A lighty spiced nose with hoppy notes and a pinch of fruit. The taste is gentley sweet with hop traces. A nice sponge toffee characteristic is here and lingers nicely. Mild spice, maybe some orange zest as well. Medium bodied. A nice chewiness to the beer brought on by the sweet caramel & molasses and alcohol kick. Warm, sweetn spicey finish with a mild hop trace. This is the perfect beer for a winter eveing. A nice sipper. Great alcohol warmth on the finish. Good complexity. I enjoyed it thuroughly.

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Photo of cam477
4.46/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of beerhunter13
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%

Photo of DanGeo
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%

Photo of t2grogan
3.5/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

2008 vintage consumed 1-31-10

Poured into an imperial pint. It's murky, and has a rusty orange color and doesn't really have much head.

Sweet, congac-like nose with maple, fig, nuts, caramel, and raisin. Like an old/stock ale.

Almost has a little funkiness in the nose and taste. Brown sugar, honey, apple, and subtle flowery hops make up some of the complex taste. The alcohol shows quite a bit at first but quickly mellows. Low carbonation makes the body seem thicker and that adds to the richness.

Worth trying, i'm not 100% sold though.

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Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.95/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Vintage 2001, sampled Nov. 11 2006.

Despite being 5 years old, this beer produces an effervescent carbonation that races through a clear dark maple-syrupy amber beer to form a modest two-fingers of rich khaki head. It leaves a sticky, fragmented lace.

The smell is absolutly mouth-watering. Fruity hops, raisin, nut, cranberry, dark cherry, and yes, even the aroma of fresh pound-cake, form a chorus that wafts out of the glass without even a suggestion of alcohol. As the beer warms a yeasty aroma becomes apparent.

Upon sipping I am struck first by a sweet, rich, nutty, maltiness that is soon lifted off the palate by a combination of carbonation and very soft but fully-present fruity and earthy English hops. They introduce yeasty esters of dark fruit for a bit before a warming alcohol gently creeps in and calms all the layers of flavor on top of a woody scotch character. The aftertase is a delightful vapory perfume. Cordial and berry notes emerge with continued quaffing and amazingly the more I drink this beer the more cohesive and smooth it seems to get. It is very tempting to waste the precious elixer by gulping it.

Mouthfeel is light and gives up an inital soft billow of lifting carbonation before going totally still in the mouth. This beer surpasses and defys my expectations of the style. How ironic that my highest rated-beer may be in my least-favorite style. It is complex and boldly falvorful while amazingly light and drinkable. Yes, it would go very well with a light cigar, but if you have an aged bottle of this, I don't suggest adulterating the experience.

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Photo of hopsleeroy
3.35/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage.
A-Cloudy, mysterious beer, alot of carbonation bubbles, caramel amber color
S-Caramel, earthy, biscuity, very malt forward smell
T-Slighty caramel/toffee, biscuity malt, earthy, grassy hops, not really coming together for me
M-Medium to full fairly carbonated, creamy
D-Not sure I want to drink anymore of these

I've had this before but not rated it-This needs to age a little more and I think the taste will smooth out.

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Photo of wesbrownyeah
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Fullers Vintage ale 2008 No. 126214

A- Pours a clean dark carmel-amber color with a thick off white head that leaves tons of lacing on the glass. Very appealing sight for an old ale.

S- A very complex aroma of raisins, plums, floral hops, sugar, and alcohol esters. In that order. Great harvest of scents enlighten the beer experience.

T-M- A medium to full flavored ale with mutiple complexities that are admirable in every way. Taste is of dried raisins and sweet alcohol flavor in the finish. Mouthfeel is all and all smooth and leaves a very nice earthy flavor on the tongue that is not offensive at all.

D- Great English ale i will buy at least two more for me and my brother to try... only the best!!!

An excellent ale to have and to celler for years to come i'll age one for myself also.

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Photo of BeerDreadz
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of warnerry
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of carlbrew
5/5  rDev +19.9%

Photo of Beaver13
3.43/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2004 vintage (bottle 75089), 16.9 oz bottle. Pours a slightly hazy reddish amber with a thin and fizzy head that quickly diminishes to a thin collar. 7

The aroma is lots of sharp vinous alcohol with some dark fruits and grassy hops. 6

The flavor is sweet caramel malts and dark fruits with a noticeable alcohol finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full with soft carbonation. 7, 8

Overall, it's a decent strong ale, but a little too harsh on the alcohol and sweetness for me. 7



2005 vintage (bottle 49140), 16.9 oz bottle. Pours murky dark amber with a medium creamy off white head that goes to a thin film and leaves some lacing. 7

The aroma is sweet toffee malts with sherry and wood and some fruit. 7

The flavor is sweet fruity toffee malts with some harsh alcohol in the finish. A bit port like. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and a little thin. 6, 4

Overall, an interesting old ale. Interesting to see how it's changed over 10 years. Definitely get a lot of fruit and toffee but still a bit harsh alcohol. 6

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Photo of R_Kole
5/5  rDev +19.9%

Photo of shapudding
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle #36146
Poured out a nice amber, unclear and with a quickly dissapating head that left only a dusting and bit of creamy bubbles in the corner of the glasses. Nice fruity aroma, grapes and raspberries. Peppery spice with a bit of dougheyness in there too. The carbination is just right in here, not too much. The mouthfeel is very nice, almost chewy. Good flavors, malty and caramel sweetness, bit of hoppy bite in there, not much. The sweetness is very prominant, which makes it more of a sipper than a session.

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Photo of Jason
4.32/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: No: 20845 of 85000. 18.6 oz brown Victorian pint bottle. The bottle is perfect for keeping the dregs at bay and the pint glass clear. Presented in a collectors box, the bottle is also adorned as if it were a fine bottle of Port, all the way down to the labeling and the thin paper strip which crosses the crown.

Appearance: Rich reddish amber brew with a slight chill haze, wonderful lace that floats on top. The haze goes away as the brew reaches cellar temp.

Smell: Creamy with a figgy or raisin fruity aroma, touch of dry malt and estery alcohol in the nose also.

Taste & Mouthfeel : Creamy and smooth with a big malty body, a figgy / pruney like fruit flavour is the front of the malt sweetness which lingers on forever. Hop bitterness has held together well after 4+ years ... spot on for balance and still a decent amount of flavour left. Lovely chewy mouth feel throughout with a good amount of body even in the finish. Alcohol is quite evident ... esters are lively yet are kept at a minimum. The finish has a complex intertwined hop and malt flavour for a perfect end.

Drinkability & Notes: Wow ... a masterpiece in a bottle! Aged to perfection and worth the $6-$7 a bottle. Its flavours have peaked but may not fall to a lesser beer even a year or more of cellaring. Easy to drink with very little aged flavour and no signs of oxidation.

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Fuller's Vintage Ale from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
93 out of 100 based on 661 ratings.
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