Fuller's Vintage Ale | Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

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Fuller's Vintage AleFuller's Vintage Ale
1,303 Ratings
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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Vintage 2011
bottle # 109461

Very nice beer. Fuller's does not get the respect they deserve.

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Photo of hustlesworth
5/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2010 vintage no. 084075

A- there's nothin like that fizz when you pour a bottle conditioned beer. The head on this one rivals the beauty of any dubbel or BSDA- it's buttercream colored and bubbly and lacey and is a masterpiece floating atop this splendiforous murky burnt orange rusty colored ale.

S- imagine Fullers ESB on meth, with more pronounced toffee type aromas and lighter on the chocolatey 'darker' ones. Every type of caramel and praline, milk chocolate, toffee, butterscotch, hazelnut, raisin, date, fig, almost burnt cookies, earthy notes of pipe tobacco and leather, mineral water, and sandalwood.

T- the first thing i notice is a ridiculously concentrated flavor of toffee and deeply toasted marshmallow, leading into sweet nuttiness and caramel and a balancing earthy dark woodsy bitterness. This is an extraordinary ale. Compared to the flavor, the aroma now seems to lean on the fruity side, but the taste of melon and pineapple alcohol are prevalent, adding a fine layer of softly sophisticated heat, like chocolate with just a tiny bit of chili pepper. Fig, date, prune and black grape skin take on darker, more caramelized tones here as they would after being doused with cognac and cooked into a reduction sauce. A bit of peppery spice bounces around in the finish with lingering tea like very mellow bitterness thanks to masterful use of hops and careful aging.

MF- cream on cream on cream. Cream city, bitch. When I think of bottle conditioned perfection, I naturally think Belgian. Well, first I think quad and then I think Belgian. Anyway, it's because of what happens to the beer inside that bottle. It's zippy, natural, fresh, and sometimes surprising. Thats one end of the spectrum- this old ale showcases the other softer end which for me, often goes unappreciated. Delicate yet noticeable. Mild mannered but authoritative, enhancing the obvious generosity and quality of ingredients in such a way that it somehow (and it may be the yeast manipulating me here) seems an extension of the figurative creaminess itself, as perhaps a swashbuckler's rapier would be an extension of his own arm. Or for you beer geeks out there, darth vader's red phallic light saber. Either way, there's a seamless, streamlined melding from bubbles to body and I'd give it a 6 if I could.

D- expletives should be used here. This one hasn't even reached its 'peak' (which the brewery states is 3-4 years of aging) yet it is perfect to me after only two. I hold much delight in knowing that I can grab a couple more bottles of the 2010 to lay down for a few more years. This is a commanding beer, fit for celebration and commencement, and when we cross paths again it won't be used for amusement on a boring Tuesday night.

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Photo of TastyTaste
5/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

1999 vintage, found at some random beer store in the East Village. Fancy red box is still in great shape, despit years in the cooler.

Appearance: Poured into a Samuel Smith tulip, head is the first thing you notice, it's big, an inch or two, which means you have to pour slowly and wait while you get all of the contents into the glass. Very hazy rust brown body, with no sediment after a good decantation. Very appealing.

Smell: Toffee and raisin are big, with port like characters abounding. Sweet and dessert-like

Taste: Smooth as greased silk. Flavors are slightly nutty, slightly sweet (but not cloying in the least). Everything blends together perfectly, woody and smokey flavors giving it more backbone, hops are there (although mellowed by age), this is a beer to behold. I can't ask for more from the style.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and thick, creamy. Perfect for the style as well, and the beer.

Drinkability: A beer like this is far too rare, one that I will most likely never get to try again. Thank you Fuller's for brewing such a beer, and thank you random grocer for leaving this in your cooler long enough for me to happen upon. This is easily my favorite Old Ale I have sampled.

A big thanks to me for hauling this through Brooklyn at 6 in the morning (hungover), catching the train to Chinatown, booking it to the Chinatown Express bus stop, bringing it on a bus for 5 hours to Washington D.C., then finally dragging it to Reagan National to carry on a flight back to Minnesota (which included a layover in Milwaukee). I deserved this one.

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Fuller's Vintage Ale from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
Beer rating: 4.19 out of 5 with 1,303 ratings