Fuller's Vintage Ale | Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

1,276 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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Ratings: 1,276 |  Reviews: 674
Photo of projectflam86
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage. 16.9oz bottle poured into my Fullers pint glass.

A- Pours a amber orange color with a thin white head that leaves surprisingly nice lacing.

S- Light noble hop aroma with some earth and spice coming through. A very nice malty aroma is present as well.

T- Big caramel malt flavor initially with waves of dark fruits and toffee. A snappy bitterness throughout with a slight warming alcohol burn. Fruity esters coming through from the English yeast and a very well balanced finish.

M- Medium bodied with smooth carbonation. Creamy feel with a nice finish.

O- A very solid brew with all of the English ale characteristics that I enjoy.

 659 characters

Photo of Doppelbockulus
3.5/5  rDev -16.1%

Photo of poppyjohn
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of JGuill
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of KAF
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of galluch
5/5  rDev +19.9%

Photo of grittybrews
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 bottle, opened 01/2012. From South Sound tasting notes:

Poured an orange copper with a finger of off-white head. Aroma of dark fruit, honey, and toasted caramel.

Moderate carbonation and a full, creamy mouthfeel. Lighter in character than expected with some toffee cookie sweetness balanced by apricot, a slightly tart dark fruit character, and some mild boozy warmth on the finish.

Very tasty treat -- exceptionally smooth overall.

 440 characters

Photo of MitchellMank92
5/5  rDev +19.9%

Photo of callmeishmALE
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of bonbini26
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of Sarunas7
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of kjyost
3.73/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

341 ml bottle consumed 1/2/12, from notes. Poured fridge cold into a sampling glass. 2009, bottle #143743

A copper body with a small small head. Quite a sweet nose with caramel being at the fore. The body has a light crystal malt character along wih some mild butter and light spice notes. Disappointed by this beer, but maybe because I had been expecting so much and had many other better beers that night...

 411 characters

Photo of nlmartin
3.67/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Blind beer # 4. This beer is gift wrapped as the previous beers but comes in a box gift wrapped and labeled #3.

No clue as to glass ware. I opened the beer and gave it a sniff test. After the sniff test the beer was served in a snifter.

A- 3.5 The body of the beer is a bright coppery coloration. The head was a thin white that quickly resolved to a thin sheen. No lacing noted on the glass.

S- 4.0 This is a very malty beer treat. The aroma of sherry wine and port wine blend well in my glass. Carmalized apple cider and pear cider aromas rise up. The beer seems to get a bit more malty with butterscotch notes as it warms up. Acidic notes wind the aroma down.

T- 3.5 Very malty sweet almost seems to be a bit under attenuated. Mixed berries, grapes combine

M- 4.0 Very smooth full bodied beer with low carbonation.

O- 3.5 This beer is a good malty treat. Seems to be a bit oxidized as the beer warms up but not in a problematic way.

This beer seems familiar but I cannot place it.

The reveal: Fullers 2009 Vintage Ale. A very nice malty treat for a chilly Cincinnati morning. Thanks Thirstyherf for another great beer. I dont know how this one never hit my radar.

 1,175 characters

Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.07/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 Edition, enjoyed on New Years Eve to close off the year properly. Poured into a nonic. A very handsome looking bottle and box set indeed.

Nice ruby-amber colour, good frothy head. Nice degree of lacing as well. Quality-looking brew.

Nose is very pleasant, and classic Old Ale - pushing into English Barleywine territory. Rich dark fruit - apple, currant, figpear, caramelized sugar, toffee, a bit of booze (port), and good pale malt.

Tastes very similar - this is a very enjoyable ale. I've been spoiled recently with the LCBO's release of the Fuller's Past Masters and other less-common brews - this was a nice cap to the whole list. Similar tasting notes as in the nose, but with a leafy hop and mild booziness to the finish. Carbonation is a touch high, but other than that there's not much to complain about.

Though I really enjoyed this brew, it really didn't wow me as much as I had thought it would. Price tag keeps this from being a regular in my house, but it's an enjoyable treat every now and then.

 1,020 characters

Photo of falcon1
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of szartman
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of eristicrat
5/5  rDev +19.9%

Photo of fx20736
4.64/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2009 Edition. Bottle# 133997.

Poured from a 16.9 oz bottle into a nonic, served between cellar and room temp.

Slightly cloudy hue somewhere between reddish amber and apricot jam. Thin offwhite head, some lacing.

aroma of honey, honeydew, dates, apricots

mouthfeel; soft, elegant, superb

taste: not in any order; warming alcohol, sultanas, apricots wrapped in a mellow aged blanket of malt with just a touch of sourness.

Notes: Well kept for bottle in a box. Mellow, chock full of fruit, this is exceptional.

 513 characters

Photo of MishaEriksson
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of jdhilt
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Forced to have this today - best by end of 2011 for the 2008 vintage bottle #130,235, pours a five+ very light tan head that fades slowly leaving some lace. Cloudy brown color with yeast left in bottle. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Caramel and light alcohol nose and flavor is caramel with a sweet alcohol finish. Another good year. $8.59 for a 500ml bottle from Beverage Warehouse Winooski, Vt.

Written Aug 2011. Best by 12/2012 for the 2009 vintage bottle #116,697 but I couldn't wait, pours a two finger cream head that fades quickly leaving no lace. Almost clear amber color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Dark fruit and light alcohol nose, flavor follows with dark fruit and alcohol. $9.99 for a 500ml bottle from Julio's Liquors Westborough, Ma. It rates a 4.5.

And this was written Dec 2010 for the 2007 Vintage:
Its time, the label says best by end of 2010 bottle #129078. Pours a off-white one finger head that fades quickly leaving some lace. Hazy amber color, with some yeast left in bottle. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Light caramel nose. Flavor is some caramel, toffee, higher ABV is hidden. Very light bitter finish. $6.99 for a 500ml bottle from Capitol Convenience Concord, NH (now closed). It rates a four.

Here's what I wrote in May 2002 for a 2000 Vintage:
Strong carbonation and head, malty, good after taste, smells like a triple. Too bad it is limited to 85,000 bottles but maybe it is a good idea - at $9.95 for 500ml one could go broke.

 1,500 characters

Photo of bespin15
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of spdyfire83
4.72/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

82nd Review
Bottle to snifter
Vintage 1999 - Bottle No. 8100
"Drink by end of 2002" - I'm 9 years late; sorry for the delay.

Enjoyed on Christmas Day while visiting London. Thank you very much Michael for this wonderful surprise. The oldest beer I have enjoyed to date.

A: Mahagoney port. 1.5+ (soft white) fingernail head on gentle pour.

S: Complex. Dark fruit (currants, figs, cherry, raisins), carmelized brown sugar, roasted dark malt, sweet molasses. Superb!

T: Much like the smell...complex, balanced, and awesome.

M: Full bodied with medium/heavy carbonation.

O: I was thoroughly surprised by how well this beer has aged. The complexity is beautiful and the balance (start to finish) is in a league of its own. Not sure if all the vintages will age like this; however, if you have access to trying the 1999, make it happen. Well worth it.

 851 characters

Photo of Elfastball7
5/5  rDev +19.9%

Photo of Balvenie
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.17/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 vintage drunk at the end of 2011. Bottle added to an order by Chris from Slowbeer in Melbourne to go with some other fine beers ordered for me by @epiclurk.

Pours a lovely gelatinous and heavy bronze-ruby colour, with a fine ring of intense bubbling around the edges. The top itself remains stubbornly free of foam, but some fine carbonation persists when the beer is tilted. Looks good.

Nose is sweet and rich, but beautifully cut through by a slight phenolic bite and the intoxicating hint of boozy alcohol, much like brandy or cognac. Otherwise, we have big notes of treacle, sawdust and slightly resinous notes which give it a brightness to counteract the overwhelming sweetness. It's gorgeously balanced as a result.

Taste is also good, with spicier notes coming in to further prickle the palate. Along with the deep port-like sweetness, this is laced with overtones of hot booze and a calm, muted clove spice. Feel is smooth and rich, but picked up and smacked about by the spark of heat and spice.

This is a lovely beer, and a really pleasant Old Ale, with deep sherry/port sweetness hit with a suitable boozy bite and some light tannins and spice to keep it alert and interesting.

It will probably last for many years to come as well.

 1,252 characters

Fuller's Vintage Ale from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
4.17 out of 5 based on 1,276 ratings.
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