Vintage Ale

Vintage AleVintage Ale
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England, United Kingdom
Old Ale
Ranked #14
Ranked #3,208
4.19 | pDev: 10.74%
Dec 30, 2022
Feb 20, 2002
Vintage AleVintage Ale
Notes: First released in 1997, Fuller's Vintage Ale is an exceptional beer, only available from Fuller's as a limited release of individually packaged and numbered bottles and will improve for many years to come, like a fine wine or whisky. 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. When the time comes, expect a deep amber pour with notes of sherry and Cognac on the nose, and rich, complex flavours that hint at toasted grains and sweet cherry Bakewell Tart.

1998 - Champion Alexis malt and Champion Northdown hops.
2001 - Maris Otter barley malt.
2002 - Golden Promise malt and Goldings hops.
2005 - Fuggles hops.
2006 - Fuggles and Super Styrian hops.
2008 - Maris Otter barley malt and Northdown and Challenger hops.
2011 - Goldings, Organic First Gold and Sovereign hops
2012 - Goldings, Sovereign and Target
2013 - Pearl Malt.
2014 - Goldings, Liberty and Cascade hops.
2015 - Maris Otter barley malt and Target, Northdown, Challenger and Goldings hops.
2016 - Nelson Sauvin alongside classic British hops.
2017 - Denali, Laureate, Target and Goldings hops.
2018 - Maris Otter Barley and Crystal Malt. Ernest and Olicana hops along with a classic combination of Target, Goldings, Challenger and Northdown variety.
2019 - Pale ale, New Zealand Gladfield Crystal, Chocolate malt and Target, Goldings, Northdown, Challenger and Wai.iti hops.
2020 - Double Roasted Crystal malt and Jester and Godiva hops.
2021 - Pale, Caragold and Roasted Crystal malts with Target, Endeavour, Olicana and CF 182 hops.
2022 - Pale ale, Carigold and Double Roasted Crystal malts. Target, Bramling Cross and Emperor hops.
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Ratings by smi69:
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Rated by smi69 from New York

3.93/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

May 25, 2020
More User Ratings:
Photo of elNopalero
Reviewed by elNopalero from California

5/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
Review 3000!

Enjoyed at the end of 2022
Bottle no. 143884

Pours a wonderful caramel-burgundy with a thick layer of cocoa colored foam on top. The aroma is fantastic, with layers of stone fruit, plummy jammy raisin with hints of dark chocolate, leather, and tobacco on the end. The sip follows, creamy, with a lingering finish. Subtly sweet, with an effervescence that keeps it lively. A delightful sipper. Utterly fantastic.
Dec 30, 2022
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Reviewed by REVZEB from Illinois

4.66/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
Had 2010 bottle that has been cellared 12 years. At last I finally got to try this one, only took coming to London itself! Pours dark brown and murky with a short lived tan cap. Nose has a sherry note to it, the wife say cognac, either way this sweeter booziness is met with caramel, oxidized apricot, date, barley, and leather. Taste adds a bevy of dark fruit, golden raisin and a kiss of fresh cut hay on the end with the old yeast. So luxuriously smooth, sneaky light, quenching, and dry with a whisper of resin. This one is special for its style. Paired wonderfully with a pub sunday roast
Sep 16, 2022
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Reviewed by MadMadMike from Florida

4.21/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
2019 vint, bottle 06240.
Poured at fridge temp into a snifter.
There’s a casual head that lasts only a little while. Color is dark amber.
Smell is sweet malt, stone fruit, light caramel.
Taste is cherry-ish, sweet toffee. Hops are evident, but balance well within the overall profile. No real bitterness to be found.
Feel is light carbonation, smooth.
Overall, despite being bottle conditioned, I can’t imagine that anything else would develop by cellaring this beauty any longer. It’s packaging, presentation, look, feel and taste are spot-on right now.
Aug 12, 2022
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Rated by robotic_being from Florida

4.21/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
2016 Vintage drank in 2022. Amazingly rich flavor and solid carbonation. Complex and delicious!
Jul 27, 2022
Rated: 4.25 by FadetoBock from Canada (AB)

Jul 17, 2022
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Reviewed by ChrisCage from Canada (AB)

4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
2021 Vintage, bottle #139563....

A- Pours a lovely orange hued dark bronze color, is semi opaque, and the head, which is about two fingers thick, shows a shade of creamy white with toffee infusion. The carbonation appears to be somewhat mellow, with only a few columns slumbering there way upward, with the lacing showing rather well and stickily. I am being painted a grouping of cave art like animals around the inside of the glass....very nice looking overall!

S- Heavy malt profile here, with plenty of caramel/toffee sweetness, dark fruit flesh, such as plum and fig richness, various citrus nuances (tangerine, blood orange, grapefruit, pomello), and a sweet alcoholic nature, of rum soaked raisins. The finish has some interesting fruity bitter hops, which would explain what I read about the experimental CF182 variety being used here....I even detect some pineapple tropical like aromas on the end!

T- Very well balanced overall, with a wonderful blend of toffee/caramel malt sweetness, rummy raisin/plum/fig richness, slight orchard fruitiness. After I get through all of this, my palate is hit once again by a second round of malt bomb....full of sweet cooked brown sugar, dark toffee, molasses, sugarcane, and dulce de leche. The finish showcases some very British flavors found in traditional pale ales.....zesty citrus peel, tropical fruitiness and dry leafy herbal tones, quenching the palate and leading me on to want more!

M/O- I,ve enjoyed aged vintages from Fullers before and this is the first time I've had one right after release....I have to say that I am impressed with the overall flavors and richness for something so "fresh". The carbonation is smooth and allows the full flavors to release onto the palate gently, while the body is somewhere in the medium-full range. The alcohol is incredibly well hidden and soft for an 8.5% brew, but I don't believe this would be something with a high drinkability is plenty in a sitting. I appreciate the usage of experimental hops and the attempt to create something unique, which I think fits the bill here.....overall this is an exceptional English style Pale Ale, and would become a great Old Ale after several years of aging!
Jun 22, 2022
Rated: 4.35 by Hawkfish from Washington

Jun 05, 2022
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Reviewed by RaulMondesi from California

4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
This one isn’t hog wild - and it isn’t supposed to be. But what I feel, what it does to me is remind me of a gentle moment. A moment with her; not the one that was meant for me, but one that still gave me that night and made me feel. I’ll always remember you, baby, even if you aren’t in my trophy case.

Be well, my children.
Mar 18, 2022
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Reviewed by Alieniloquium from Florida

3.39/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
500 mL bottle. Vintage 2020. Pours murky amber. Smells of... cardboard right off the bat. Spicy hops with some berry fruitiness behind it. Deep caramel undertones. Tastes of sweet caramel with a combination of spicy and, again, berry fruity hops. Cardboard isn't as noticeable here, as it's got a pronounced hop bitterness. Still has a little bit, though. Medium heavy, fairly sweet. Not boozy, but hits hard after a few sips. I picked this up because I haven't seen one in a long time. My memory of this is fonder than the current experience.
Feb 25, 2022
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Rated by steverx8 from England

4.34/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
2021 vintage excellent
Feb 24, 2022
Rated: 4.34 by kodt from Illinois

Feb 02, 2022
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Rated by bmaslakov from Russian Federation

4.37/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Teste licorice, smoke, sweet pastry. Smells berries. Light carbonation, small head. Color is cloudy black tea.
Jan 11, 2022
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Reviewed by Sabtos from Ohio

4.24/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Beautifully clear copper-red under a well-retaining khaki head that slowly settles to an unevenly bubbly yet flat collar.

While it may be mildly unfair for me to rate this 2010 bottle straight up, it's clearly intended for extensive aging, which I don't feel caused it much detriment anyway.

That said, it exhibits distinct characteristics of grape and prune, and as such lands well within the intended range of emulating wine. These characteristics are accented by softly light notes of pumpernickel and melba toast before exhaling floral tobacco.

The body is smoothly slick with a lightly soft carbonation that fines out into a faintly tingling, slightly numbing, semi-dry finish. Over time, that leafy, floral tobacco verges into cigar skin to delicately dry the palate out further.
Dec 21, 2021
Rated: 4.25 by Budlum from Maryland

Nov 21, 2021
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Reviewed by 40ontarget from Colorado

4.28/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Amber with a touch of red and a finger of tan foamy head. Cherries, tart apples on the nose with caramel, tangerine, almond toffee, and malt at the end. You really have to work to pick things out though. The caramel and malt show up big in the taste. There is bread pudding with raisins and brown sugar. Medium bitterness closes this out. The feel is light carbonation and a nice creaminess. I love the bread pudding aspect of this. I would totally drink this again and would recommend.
Nov 16, 2021
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Reviewed by LanceBiggums from Canada (AB)

4.76/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75
2020 Vintage

Nice traditional and luxurious packaging, nice collectible bottle. Pours a lovely deep mahogany, slightly hazy, with two smooth fingers of off-white, beige-tinged head that recede slowly, and shockingly stick around for the entire pint despite the 8.5% alcohol content, which took me over 20 minutes to finish. The smell whollops you over the head with fruits like blackberry and plum. Ethanol is present but far from obtrusive. The dark fruit profile carries forward into the taste, complemented by marmalade, chocolate notes, subtle caramel, and even subtler earthy, zesty hops. The mouthfeel is smooth as silk, the ethanol noticeable - at 8.5% there's no way around that - but incorporated into the flavour profile. Overall, a delicious, complex, smooth, and very special beer.
Nov 02, 2021
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Rated by Electros from Canada (ON)

4.51/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Oct 26, 2021
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Reviewed by TheSixthRing from California

4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
2014 Vintage

Appearance - Pours hazy and burnt amber in color. Sandstone colored, finger width head that holds for a minute or so before scaling down to a thin, broken layer of suds on the surface, thickening up around the edge of the glass. Fair lacing, with some streaky lines and small spots making up most of it.

Smell - Raisin and toffee upfront, with some caramel, oak, nutty character and some booze.

Taste - Follows the nose. Toffee and raisin hit the palate first, with lesser caramel, oak and maybe even a hint of chocolate mid-taste. Finish adds some mild, acidic, booze and a bit of almond, reminiscent of sherry, and the aftertaste is a nice, easy blend of the aforementioned flavors easing out slowly.

Mouthfeel - Light-to-medium in body with low carbonation. Drinks smooth enough, though does seem a bit thin. Perhaps due to the 7 years of age it's been afforded.

Overall - Nice old ale. It doesn't quite do it for me like North Coast Old Stock, which is more full-bodied and flavored, but it does have some similar qualities. I wouldn't mind trying this fresh, or with a few years of age on it, though it looks like they change up the hop profile every year.
Jul 28, 2021
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Reviewed by laquebrada from California

5/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
2000 vintage, cellar aged.
Deep copper color, excellent clarity, woody and malty aroma, huge depth of flavor. No detectable oxidation or sherry character. Amazing.
Jul 07, 2021
Rated: 4.63 by evanwoertz from California

Jun 02, 2021
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Rated by Ristaccia from Nebraska

4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
May 25, 2021
Photo of zac16125
Reviewed by zac16125 from South Carolina

4.01/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
2019 vintage

Pours a slightly hazy but mostly translucent light brown with amber and ruby hues when held to light. An aggressive pour yields 1.5 fingers width of slightly off white colored head. Aroma is massive fruity esters plus a sugary sweetness, reminiscent of a candy apple. I also get huge huge caramel and toffee (maybe it’s more reminiscent of a caramel apple; maybe both). An almost bubblegum note, like that of belgium yeast. Very subtle earthy hop notes. Quite a complex and wonderful nose. Taste is notably less decadent, not nearly the sugary sweet or fruity notes. Lower end of moderate degree of bitterness, pretty big nobel hop notes. Some caramel and an almost woody character. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, ABV is unnoticeable and it is very drinkable for the ABV. I do wonder if the lighter mouthfeel and higher carbonation prevent some of the flavors from reaching their full potentials. Overall, this is a good beer but not one I think I would be prone to revisit fresh. Probably worth a cellaring for several years though, best by date looks like 10 years so may just have to pick up another and give it some years.

Apr 14, 2021
Rated: 4.04 by msscott1973 from North Carolina

Mar 25, 2021
Rated: 4.4 by BeardedWalrus from North Carolina

Mar 20, 2021
Rated: 4 by jschott75 from Illinois

Mar 18, 2021
Rated: 4.25 by ajdemma from New York

Feb 04, 2021
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Reviewed by JamFuel from Sweden

4.26/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
2020 vintage.

Pours a deep ruby with fine, soft head.

Smell is sweet and malty with notes of raisins, driedapricot, brown bread, caramel and a hint of port.

Taste is sweet and malty with some fruity hints. Notes of Pommac, raisins, apricot, brown bread, leather and port. Soft bitterness, and quite vinous on the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium to full, smooth and well carbonated.

Overall, really tasty, interested to see how it develops in the cellar.
Jan 16, 2021
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Reviewed by xander10 from England

4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
2020 Vintage, perhaps should have waited but wanted a good beer for christmas.
Look: pours crystal clear and red-brown, with a fluffy tan head. Carbonation rolls slowly up the glass.
Smell: Rum and Dark Fruits, much stronger nose than Golden Pride.
Taste: Dark Fruits, Rum and Rasin, and some alcohol burn, in comparison to it's brother golden pride the alcohol is less hidden.
Feel: Medium mouthfeel, booziness is noticeable.
Overall: Give this beer time to age unlike what I did, you will, as it seems from other reviews, gain a lot from that.
Dec 25, 2020
Rated: 4.09 by Atg1095 from New York

Dec 25, 2020
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Reviewed by hman43 from North Carolina

4.12/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
Look: It pours dark amber with an off white head. Head retention is low.

Smell: Malty rich aroma with toffee and almonds. There are very low levels of lime with orange marmalade and a hint of lemon.

Taste: It is malty in the flavors with toffee and almonds. In addition is had flavors of bread. There are also lime and orange marmalade like flavors. There are hints of lemon that become stronger in the finish.

Feel: It has a full body, but is not quite chewy. The malt dominates in the palate from start to finish. Plenty of strong alcohol warming.

Overall, there are plenty of complex flavors and the hops add an new dimension to this style.
Oct 24, 2020
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Reviewed by Spike from England

3.68/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
2018 vintage: “A celebration of Fuller’s long-lasting friendships with the hop growers, merchants, and maltsters of the UK. It has been brewed using exclusively home-grown ingredients. The beer’s passionfruit, grapefruit and mango notes might be synonymous with the ‘new-world’ hops of America and Australia, but the beer’s tropical flavours, in fact, come from the British Olicana® variety. Alongside Olicana®, Ernest hop from Kent has been added to the brew – a variety that brings apricot, citrus and spicy notes. There are also herby, pine and earthy flavours to discover, from the classic combination of Target, Goldings, Challenger and Northdown hops. As all Fuller’s malting barley is sourced exclusively in the UK, the malts are also in-keeping with the British theme of this year’s recipe. Vintage Ale 2018 sees the return of Maris Otter malt, a key feature in many Vintage Ale recipes of years gone by. Crystal malt, meanwhile, lends the beer its rich biscuit sweetness.”

L: Opaque, chestnut colour with two fingers of creamy, off-white head. Spotty lacing.
S: Fruit & alcohol.
T: Rich & malty. Treacle, rum-soaked sultanas & booze.
F: Thick mouth-coating. Finish is a bit light, however.
O: A hot and intensely boozy ale. Alcohol is too dominant and mouthfeel is oddly thin despite the initial chewiness.
Oct 04, 2020
Rated: 4.19 by Jcarriglio from Florida

Sep 29, 2020
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Reviewed by plutonash from Latvia

3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
Release: 2018
L: Copper, brown, bit hazy/murky. Large bubbles, holds a small head, mediocre lacing.
S: Butterscotch, toffee, caramel, whiskey barrel, sherry, some alcohol.
T: Caramel butterscotch as in the smell, nice malty afteraste. Some raisins.
F: Medium bodied, sweet, finish is bitterish. Can feel the booze.
O: Good autumn beer. I guess this beer varies year to year, but the 2018 release isn't that good, not worth the price tag that of ~7€.
Sep 26, 2020
Rated: 4.25 by eldoctorador from Chile

Sep 09, 2020
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Reviewed by chitoryu12 from Florida

4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
2019 bottling

Look: Very dark amber, but clear. One finger of slightly off-white head with short retention.

Smell: Sweet doughy malt, toffee, cherries.

Taste: Sweet cherries, toffee, caramel, and milk chocolate. Virtually no bitterness but a lightly metallic undercurrent, until a light stone fruit bitterness at the very end.

Mouthfeel: Chewy, with good carbonation.

Overall: A fantastic and complex ale, worthy of its price and packaging.
Aug 30, 2020
Rated: 4.23 by Insomniac from Canada (ON)

Aug 13, 2020
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Rated by Mr_Rocca from Canada (QC)

4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
2013 vintage opened in 2020
Jul 21, 2020
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Reviewed by flipper2gv from Canada (QC)

4.51/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
2018 bottle

A: Pours a nice dark amber color with a very creamy looking off-white / tan colored head. The retention is only OK but lacing is very good.

S: Smell is medium to strong intensity. Strong scotch-like apples and pears with a very strong malt base with notes of biscuit, toffee, banana bread. The aging and hops interaction also bring strong notes of figs, dates and prunes. Light amount of baking spices with mostly cinnamon and cardamom as well as a light mint. Very coherent and good.

T: Strong intensity. Strong malt attack with a ton of biscuit and sticky pudding. It develops into a strong prunes and figs flavor and finishes with a strong burnt sugar / caramel / toffee note that lingers for a long long time.

M: Absolutely fantastic for the genre and ABV. It's medium to heavy in body with a low carbonation. It's very creamy and isn't too sticky considering the flavor profile.

O: This is an excellent beer from one of my favorite genre. I think it's underrated mostly because the style isn't too in fashion these days. Excellent.
Jun 05, 2020
Rated: 4.5 by zenithberwyn from California

May 23, 2020
Vintage Ale from Fuller's
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 1383 ratings