Fuller's Vintage Ale | Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

670 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: 670 | Ratings: 1,261
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

Listed in the "1001 Beers To Drink Before You Die," this review will have to wait for my next tasting.
Reviewed in Roger Protz' "300 Beers To Try Before You Die!"

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

I probably should wait but I am impatient! Fullers 2013 Vintage Ale no 120398. 1 pt.09 fl oz bottle poured into a properly sized glass! It is beautiful, dark, amber-red, with an off-white to tan head of 1.5 inches that settles in at 1/4 inch cream. The nose is sweet malt, hops, caramel, toffee, with hints of cognac and toasted wheat bread. Dark dried fruits also peek through. Deep! The body is creamy, luscious, enveloping and inviting. Modest carbonation and evident ABV. It has a mellow warmth, that seems fit for a wintry day (as today). The lingering is very long, yet evident and creamy till the end. Makes me think of chewy, creamy, caramels/toffees. Great lace. Highly moreish, yet powerful. I cannot stop sipping . . ..

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Photo of Catracho5
4.17/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

16.9 ounce bottle poured into a snifter. This is a review of the 2012 vintage. Bottle has a best before date of end of 2015.

A: Pours a amber/rusty orange with an off-white head, no head retention, small amounts of carbonation, beer is cloudy and hazy, looks good.

A: Caramel, toffee, hint of green grapes, no alcohol at all on the nose, not much on the aroma, very subtle.

T: Very smooth, easy drinking, some caramel, toffee, touch of tartness like green grapes and apples, some spice, finish is of sweet citrus, like oranges, lots of subtle flavors going on.

M: Medium bodied with a syrupy mouthfeel, very easy to drink, balanced amount of carbonation.

O: A solid beer, I would like to have a fresh bottle and hopefully compare to a cellared bottle. Flavor and aroma are subtle yet this is very enjoyable. Lots of different flavors going on. I don't think I would cellar this longer than the three years it has on it.

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Photo of wonothesane42
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 Vintage. Beer pours a very nice burnt orange to light brown with a fluffy light beige head. The nose is mainly of caramel, but there is a presence of dark fruits, and a hint of molasses. The brew gives several different flavors that work very well together. Caramel and toffee come up front, this flavor fades into figs, and finishes with a hint of roasted malts and/or coffee, reminiscent of slightly burnt caramel - this is not unwelcome to my palate. Mouthfeel was a bit thinner than I'd anticipated, but was creamy and smooth. Overall this was a very delicious brew that almost made me feel was somewhere between a barleywine and a quad (maybe a hint of special b in there?) I hope to find more vintages of this in the future, some to try fresh and other to keep longer.

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

Had a 2007 vintage that I had stored in my cellar for 8years! Cracked it open in October 2015 and , well, it's as if I had poured a rainbow from the anus of a unicorn! Just pure magic juice!

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Photo of EricVonStein
4.41/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bright copper Amber colour. Clear as a bell. Off white and oily looking finger of head.

Vanilla and caramel, rich malts and a hint of roastiness.

This is a strange bed fellow. Rich caramel malts are lush and are quickly met with bitter earthy hops. Plenty of dark rye and vanilla. Bitter burnt coffee rinds. Dried spiced plum. All in the background is Oaked dark booze. Full bodied and creamy rich and smooth. All class

Surprised me with the combination of vanilla caramel and bitter hops but incredibly balanced and vibrant flavours mellowed yet powerful like a well aged spirit. Would do well in the cellar I imagine. Try if you can.

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Photo of craftbeersweden
4.09/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I bought two bottles, one to store and one to open....
I must say, I just LOVE Fuller's - The DO take their heritage and make someting beatiful of it!

Pours clear, orange to copper colored with a two finger high,white head.

Nose: Caramel malt, sugar, dried fruit, a bit of orange, butter and hops.
Taste: Caramel malt, orange marmelade, grass and syrup.
Body: Medium to full body. Light carbonation. A beatiful, thick, texture. Dry ending.

I just HAVE to store the second bottle a few years. I know it will grow better with time...

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

So some friends cracked open a ten year old or so one of these. I forget what year it was exactly, but it was undoubtedly the best beer I've ever had. It had a flavour like nothing I had tried before and I really wish I could describe it better. The box had disintegrated from age, but the beer inside was fine. This experience inspired me to grab a 2015 bottle, and I'll be bringing it to my mates cellar shortly.

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Photo of Canada_Dan
3.87/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed on the honeymoon in Lake Bled, Slovenia. From the tasting notes: Smells like an old imperial ipa, hops faded and toastiness dominant. The caramel and vanilla really shines tho

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Note: 2012 Vintage, No. 129489

A: Pours a lightly hazy orangish amber in color with light to moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising slowly from the bottom of the glass and hints of ruby red highlights. The beer had a half finger tall foamy beige head that reduces to a medium thick film covering the entire surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of toffee malts with a moderate amount of sweetness followed by a hint of green apple and just a hint of herbal hops.

T: Upfront there is a moderate to strong flavor of caramel + toffee malts and a very light hint of light fruit (green apple). That is followed by a light flavor of herbal + grassy hops which imparts a light amount of bitterness which does not linger for long.

M: Slightly heavier than medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth.

O: Alcohol is extremely well hidden and this beer is very drinkable in a style that I usually consider slow sippers. Beer becomes a little more complex in flavor + aroma as the beer warms.

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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 pagriley
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2011 vintage
Murky orange with a thin lacing of foam on surface and no head. thick viscous legs
Dried apricots and maraschino cherries. a touch of sharpness tells you this is old.
Lighter than I was expecting - oxidized with malt sweetness. Dried fruits and sherry
A touch prickly but a few swirls knocked that down. Lighter bodied, but still full and creamy

Overall a very interesting beer - very enjoyable ,but not for an old ale novice

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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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Fuller's Vintage Ale from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
4.17 out of 5 based on 1,261 ratings.
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