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 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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Photo of 303beer
3.24/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a copperish amber. Little head. Strong yeast nose. Wow lots of flavors in it. You can get some hops out of it but it is sweet primarily. Don't think I like it ad much as other beers by this company just to sweet for me

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Photo of mnredsoxfan69
4.43/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 - Magnificent! Pours an intriguing dark amber with a long lasting, two finger, ivory head, leaving long, sticky legs and lacing as it's consumed. The aroma is rich caramel and light stone fruit. The taste is more caramel, bitter marmalade and a little bit of booze. Hops? What are those? Silky on the palate with a medium body and a warming alcohol burn. Excellent. I'll be buying more and cellaring it.

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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.

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Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Brilliant dark amber, frothy off-white persistent head, alcoholic, winey, malty sweetness, caramel, fruit, grapes, peppery, full bodied, medium low carbonation, creamy, no astringency.

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Photo of titty_mcbitty
4.84/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This ale pours a beautiful burnt sienna. Not much a head until the second pour.

Licorice and sweetness is what I get from the aroma. Some malt and hazelnut.

The taste is wonderful - licorice, burnt caramel, nuts and raisins, cherries, and rum. There's more flavor that I can't even put my thumb on.

Goes down very smoothly. Light thickness and a coating flavor. Slightly viscous.

This is now one of the best beers I've had; at least for the style. In my opinion, this is a 100 rated beer.

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Photo of samtrillo
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Vintage 2012 found at Vendome on Ventura in LA.

Pours an opaque golden amber with a white head that fades to a quarter finger main stay.

Smells of sweet caramel malt with candied figs and golden raisins. Somehow I can tell it'd not going to be as intense as a barleywine.

A sweet and fruity caramel malt taste with golden raisins and fig in the background.

The mouthfeel is quite nice. Thick and substantial but not syrupy or coating. Could not guess what ABV% this was. One of the best parts was the creamy feel.

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Photo of captaincoffee
4.26/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This was the 2010. Purchased at Fuller's Brewery along with a few others. Poured amber brown with cream head. Was a little more carbonated than expected. Sweet caramel malts on the nose with just a whiff of that of that old ale funk. Really full mouthfeel with lots of mincemeat/stonefruit and dark malt. Really surprised at the flavor at "only" 8.5%. Tastes like an even bigger beer. Well done. Will taste the other 2010 I have in a couple years to see how it changes further.

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Photo of nohops4me
5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm no official beer rater, I just have some favorite tastes. So my comments here are not on the technical side. However, this past Christmas, I opened and shared a bottle of Fuller's Vintage Ale from 1999 and DAMN was that tasty. 15 years out and still kickin'.

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

Vintage 2012

The beer pours a nice light tan and foamy head that dissipates very quickly. The beer itself is a very cloudy deep amber, The beer is not so much opaque as there is clearly some sediment in the beer creating a nice cloud look. The color is a very dark amber that is very close to being brown but still has some visible orange notes.

The beer smell is fairly malty and hoppy at the same time. The malt notes really come out strong with a nice caramel and fruity smell to it. The smell also has a slight hop tinge to it that makes it even fruitier. The fruit notes tend be of a darker and sweeter variety such as figs, dates, and raisins.

The beer taste is a bit more hoppier than the smell but retains most of the characteristics from the smell. The taste also has the dark fruit notes but the hopes and even the barley are stronger. The hops add a bitter back to the strong fruit flavor while the barley add an interesting note to it.

The mouthfeel is extremely smooth even with the little bit of carbonation. The beer is heavy bodied but it goes down rather quickly.

Overall, a pretty good beer and worth getting when you can. I would highly advise to get two in order to age one since the notes taste like it will become even richer with a bit more aging.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
3.7/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage..thanks to Andrew for the opportunity.

Smells of vanilla and brown sugar along with melted caramel.

Taste follws suit, some faded hops along the finish as well...body is medium, carbonation is mild, and oxidation is evident.

I dig old ales and this is a fun beer...really should pick up a fresher bottle

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.49/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thoroughly enjoyed from the 2008 bottle, this fine old ale pours a brownish amber with a solid light tan head that lingers on as a thin pooling foam and spotty lacing. Nose of figs, dates, dark plums, and brown sugars. Flavors are excellent for it's age with figs and dates being rounded out with a subtle light hop character that lightly rests on the back. Rich and flavorful, fruit esters continue through to the aftertaste with simmering alcohol heat. THIS is fantastic. Ale is silky smooth, yet viscous, finishing sweet and delicious. A barely wine lovers dream. An A PLUS in my book, and one of the best around. Worth buying 2 bottles, one to drink, and one to lay down.


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Photo of JMS1512
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Fuller’s Vintage 2014, bottle #136346

Poured forcefully into a Duvel snifter

Sight: Great Odin’s Raven, that’s a ruby red beer. When held up to the light, the burnished brown gives off dark cherry highlights and sits under a thick tan cushion (think J-Lo’s assets). Bubbles make their way to the top of the glass from down below. Lacing has not appeared, since I’m taking sips often.

Smell: Sweet malt and fig/raisin. I don’t get any hops in the aroma, but I’ve read that’s not at all uncommon from old ales. Sort of reminds me of an English barleywine.

Taste: Wow. Malty goodness, more fig and or raisin. Just a hint of hop bitterness on the finish. Sweetness greets you in the front, perhaps a bit of caramel or butterscotch. After a few minutes in, I can better taste the drying effect of the hops. The back of the bottle states Fuller’s used three hop varieties: Goldings, Liberty, and Cascade. The first for bitterness, the second and third for zest. Well said.

Feel: Coating and oily. There’s a very slight fizz to it, so low levels of carbonation. Fine by me. I’d say a medium-plus body.

Overall: I truly enjoyed this, and the fact that it’s bottle-conditioned at will reach its peak in 3-4 years screams to me that I should grab one more, for that express purpose. Keep it up, Fuller’s, I doff my hat to you.

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Photo of kevinlater
3.8/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml boxed bottle into oversized wine glass. 2014 vintage, brewed with liberty and cascade hops

a: very clear deep orange or amber hue. a finger of tan head

s: sweet toffee, floral aromas, grapefruit, orange peel, berry fruits

t: follows the nose, but much more subdued. very soft flavour profile. has the aforementioned flavours but everything is mellow. brown sugar up front, followed by the floral and citrus notes from the hops, with herbal touches here and there. ends with a mild bitterness and a bit of a sour quality

m: medium-bodied, nearly non-existent carbonation

o: a nice ale, kind of like a mild barleywine. nothing spectacular but it's tasty

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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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