Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

Fuller's Vintage Ale | Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Fuller's Vintage AleFuller's Vintage Ale
1,292 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

Bros Score:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,292 |  Reviews: 681
Photo of bonbini26
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

Photo of Sarunas7
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of kjyost
3.73/5  rDev -11%
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 -12.4%
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 -2.9%
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 +7.4%

Photo of szartman
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

Photo of eristicrat
5/5  rDev +19.3%

Photo of fx20736
4.64/5  rDev +10.7%
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 -4.5%

Photo of jdhilt
4.47/5  rDev +6.7%
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 +7.4%

Photo of spdyfire83
4.72/5  rDev +12.6%
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 +19.3%

Photo of Balvenie
4/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.17/5  rDev -0.5%
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

Photo of ChrisPro
3.5/5  rDev -16.5%

Photo of Joshgonzales79
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

Photo of SebD
4.47/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage #064897. I also bought another one witch I will be aging. (Reviewed 4-20-2010)

5 Appearance: It has a nice deep orange/amber mahogony colour to it. It has a very nice off-white creamy head that dies down slowly and has nice lacing all the way through.

4.5 Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of a caramely and toffee maltiness with nice fruity notes.

4.5 Taste: Like the aromas, it has a very nice sweetness coming from the malts with nice caramely and toffee notes. It also has a nice slight hoppy bitterness along with fruity notes. You can also taste a bit of the alcohol.

5 Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a very nice balance and complexity of flavours. Wow!

4.5 Drinkability: It's a very easy to drink beer accompanied with great flavours and aromas. It's an overall amazing Ale.

2011 vintage #008659. Aging a second bottle.

Appearance: It has a nice clear golden/copper/amber color to it. It has a nice off/white creamy head that dies down moderately and leaves some lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of sweet malts, graininess and breadiness, nice dark fruit character with some caramel and toffee.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a sweet malt and fruit feel, cherries, toffee, citrusy hops and a nice moderate bitterness.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a smooth drinkable beer accompanied with great flavors and aromas.

 1,458 characters

Photo of Wally1912
5/5  rDev +19.3%

Photo of Telestic
5/5  rDev +19.3%

Photo of chugalug06
4.38/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage

A - Pours nice deep white foamy head. Very nice. Brew is deep amber with lots of orange. Great clarity for vintage.

S - Big grape notes. Ginger, crystal malt, caramel, and slight heat dominate the nose.

T - Near perfect! Tons o big grape flavor, but more white grape than red... Big sugar and aggressive.

M - Slight over-carbonation, but not bad. Zero heat and wonderful warmth. Much better brew then most old ales. Medium body with great ability to evenly coat the mouth.

O - Wonderful Old Ale! Very glad I picked this one up last year! Highly recommended for all BA'ers to grab one in passing, this is a commercial brew that has love and thought put into it. Strange, perhaps NB, Coors, and Sam could learn a lesson or two....

 750 characters

Photo of TrickkyGangsta
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

Photo of beerandcycling88
4.24/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Very nice presentation with the fancy box and the adornments on the bottle. 2008 vintage Bottle number 143310.

A Pours a clear tawny color with short lived thin white head.

S A very strong fruity note that has cherries, and raisins with just a hint of alcohol.

T Lots of fruit with cherries, alcohol, and a hint of hop bitterness on the back to provide some balance. Also a bit of an earthy presence as well.

M thick and creamy as an old ale should be.

Overall this is an excellent old ale that is perfect for sipping, on a cold day or special occasion. It has held up quite well in the cellar for the past three years with no apparent harm. Also an excellent value at only $8.00 for a bottle.

 726 characters

Photo of jophish17
4/5  rDev -4.5%

Fuller's Vintage Ale from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
Beer rating: 4.19 out of 5 with 1,292 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.