Fuller's Vintage Ale | Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

1,278 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: 1,278 |  Reviews: 675
Photo of Exiled
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of nanobrew
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of LucienDeRubempre
5/5  rDev +19.9%

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

Fuller's vintage ale 1999 no. 11029

A: caramel colored and cloudy, tan one finger head settles to a respectable foamy cap.

S: malt, caramel and sugars, toast, astringent minerals.

T: it tastes exactly like burnt toast, sweet in a malty/caramel kind of way, bitter in a carbon/charcoal kind of way. Cigar, molasses.

M: full bodied, smooth with a good amount of carbonation considering the vintage and thickness.

O: super malty and warming, it's held up very well these past 12 years. I was expecting something nearing brandy. Not sure if the full 12 years were necessary, but it was pleasant nonetheless.

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Photo of dtivp
3.53/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 Vintage

Poured a hazy medium amber with a half finger off white head good retention and very light lacing.

Aroma of sweet malts, caramel and dark fruit.

Taste followed the nose with a caramel sugary sweetness, light malts and a very slight hop ending.

Mouth Feel was medium body, light carbonation , smooth but slightly syrupy.

Overall a little too much sweetness for my taste, its a good ale, however, a little more balance would have made it a lot better.

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Photo of setexascustoms
3.25/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2010 Vintage poured into a wine glass.

A- Deep amber, almost a maple color, not much head to speak of (very gentle pour). Little lacing, and what was there didn't have much stick.

S- Sweet malts with dark fruit, raisins and booze.

T- Again very sweet, almost cloying to me. Some raisin and some maple flavor. No real bitterness to speak of, I'm having a hard time find any hop flavors. To me, not very balanced. It reminded me of some mead my wife and I were given for our wedding, but with maple replacing the honey. Also some warming booze, this beer seems to do nothing to hide the 8.5% ABV.

M- Full and almost syrupy, very little carbonation.

O- Maybe my palate is not advanced enough, or maybe this doesn't have enough age on it. I have another bottle I'll probably sit on for three of four more years, then I'll revisit this. But I had a hard time finishing a glass. I'm not going to bash the rating too bad because this is my first strong ale, but the cloying sweetness prevented me from finishing this beer.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.39/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: no head to speak of. Amber and murky.

S: sweet, grassy, piney and green apple.

T: lots of raisin. Honey and malty.the taste is dull ad a little too much alcohol in the flavor.

M: medium body, moderate carbonation. A little syrupy.

Overall: you need to drink this one down to appreciate it.

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

This beer pours very nicely with a copper color a little hazy with a Fizzy diminishing head.

I love the way this beer smells with earthy aromas.

To me this is a balanced beer with a raisin hoppy taste. It has a little bit of a bitter finish but not overpowering.

It is smooth, balanced, average/long finish.

This is a beer that I would have ale drinkers try.

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

Long old ale, malty and complex with a greatly defined range.

Presentation: Boxed 500 ml custom brown capped bottle. The burgundy box tries to show off the vintage edition with gold detailing in design and typography, classic and with a serious presence. Inside there is a card with notes describing the previous vintages. The bottle offers an oval broadening with the details of the brew and a sealed cap. The back repeats the box note. Notes vintage 2010, and shows best by date 2013 (although the brewmaster recommends a longer age to explore its complex capacity) and #117110. Served in a tulip glass. Shows 8.5% Alc. by Vol. Served in a snifter.

A - Deep amber to amber brown pour with a fair 1/2" head, medium retention, with a fair surface memory and some lacing.

S - Good nose, sweet and while not too profound it covers the range rather well. Malty sweetness, caramel, dark fruit, raisins...

T - Taste follows the nose with a nice expansion. Long malty range, sweet, full of fruit, lower hop dash in the horizon that never takes over. Caramel, raisins, touch of peach in the sugary hop, classic touch of Goldings, back to molasses and a dash of toffee.

M - Medium-full body with good carbonation on the light side, rather smooth, with a creamy sense punctuated by a slightly sticky finish.

O - Nice sipper, complex and long.

Notes: This is quite a nice old ale, defines rather well a standard for the style, and while not for most palates if one likes it this is quite the treat.

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Photo of megahurts4
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fuller's Vintage Ale 2008

Aged approx 3 years

Appearance: light dirty brown, small head, and and a little lacing.

Smell: apples, honey, raisins, and some malt.

Taste: caramel, apples, slight dark fruit, and a light bitterness.

Mouthfeel: medium and bitter.

The aroma is very nice. I wish the actual taste were more flavorful. This is about what I would consider a bitter with the amount it has.

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Photo of BBP
3.95/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle 33101 of the 2010 Vintage.

A- Pours a clear, copper, amber with decent carbonation, and an extremely creamy head, which is thin, but just doesn't die.

S- The nose has caramel and some candied sugar. Hops are primarily grassy and slightly herbal and spicy. Slightly boozy in the aroma, but in a liquor way, rather than hinting at a high alcohol drink.

T- Rough and smooth at the same time. Sweetness and character from the malt are undeniable, and although they are well done, they slightly overwhelm the palate. Hops are subdued, but have a fair amount of presence. Some pine can be noted, and it seems to work well with the malt.

I can understand how Fullers recommends aging this. It didn't seem too smooth with ~3/4 of a year on it.

M- Mouthfeel is slightly sticky, and moderately dry. The body is Medium to full. It has a fair amount of creaminess, but nothing to write home about.

O- Overall, it a good drink, but it's just not doing it for me. I'll probably experiment with different vintages with different amounts of aging though, as I think it can be better than it was for me.

Not a fail, but I was hoping for more.

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Photo of haz77
3.55/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - 2006 Vintage. Pours a rich chestnut brown with a couple of fingers of light tan head. This slowly drops to a thin layer, but is easily refreshed. No bubbles present at all. Nice.

S - Initial smell is tart citrus, which seems strange, but once acclimatised molasses, fig, tobacco and raspberry jam are all there.

T - Rich brown sugar kicks-off the flavour. This morphs into a lighter, more rounded caramel in the middle of the drink. The fig moves forward towards the end and the hops finally kick in right at the finish, leaving a pleasantly bitter, lengthy aftertaste.

M - Full, syrupy body, with the carbonation not appearing until the end with the hops. A bit cloying until then.

D - Well crafted, if unbalanced. Maybe just not my thing....

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Photo of Seanstoppable
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage

Pours a dark amber color with 2 fingers of sticky, dark head. Decent lacing left on the glass.

Nose is somewhat malty. The bottle itself smells somewhat musty. Maybe a hint of pine.

First taste is clearly alcohol. However, after the initial shock, it mellows out. More malty flavors are present, like a light caramel, rather than a chewy caramel. Overall feeling is smooth until the finish, where there is quite a bit of bitterness and a remnant of the initial alcohol flavor. As it warms up, the alcohol and bitterness mellows out more, and you begin to be able to pick out dark fruit tastes like dates and raisin.

Overall, a fairly complex and tasty beverage. I am probably going to try to hold on and age my other bottles for a bit before trying this particular vintage again.

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Photo of
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage.

Appearance - copper-orange with a very creamy and dense white head that has excellent retention. Nice spotty lacing.

Smell - Rich butterscotch and caramel, spice, buttered toast, orange peel, dark fruits, sherry.

Mouthfeel - rich and mouthfilling with lots of carbonation.

Taste - Butterscotch, fig, plum, and a long, boozy rum finish.

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Photo of DaveHS
4.32/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2008

A-Opened with a soft hiss and immediately started gushing from the bottle. Was able to get most of it in the glass. Pours hazy nut brown with lots of big, foamy khaki bubbles. Reduces quickly, leaving spotty, sticky lacing down the glass.

S-Burnt caramel, pears, plums, maris otter malts, port wine.

T/M-One of the more vibrant English Old ales I've had. Sticky toffee and dried fruit flavors dominate, with subtle hints of chewy maris otter malts in the back end. Sweet, but never approaches cloying. Very well balanced and rich, with a warming finish.

O-Very nice stuff. A bit expensive.

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Photo of claytong
3.25/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

had a 2009 last night. enjoy the style, had mediocre to high expectations especially from the price.

appearance - almost a 4 but just was too lifeless, blood red in color, beautiful color, like no beer i have seen, but also made me think this wasnt going to taste like beer. no head or lacing until stirred and poured in the last bit then got a half inch head that died within a couple seconds and left no trace

smell - cherry and sherry, not much else, smelt sour at first opening and after pour smelt very sweet

taste - cherry and sherry and nothing else. overly sweet, and i love sweet beers. a tiny bit of cough medicine from the overly sweetness and syrup like feel

mouthfeel - syrup, odd body, medium i guess

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

Amber beer with three-finger off-white head. Foamy head and good lacing.

Sweet and complex smell. Malts, caramel, figs/raisins, and a little pine hop to it.

Taste is beautiful. It really steps up a pace in the taste. Rich and sweet with a solid hop edge. Complex. A bit of barleywine sweetness, with a nice and sweet hop--pine and a little floral. Fruit too. Ripe red apples, figs, raisins.

Creamy and well-blended. There's a lot going on in there and it all comes together to create one taste. Every element is in its right proportion.

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Photo of wagenvolks
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

[2004] - 4.5/3.5/3.5/4.5/4.0; Total 3.75/5.00

#85618 out of 95,000. Poured into a Delirium Tremens tulip.

The '04 pours with a gorgeous, ruby-cranberry body and crackles as the light khaki foam slowly builds. Head retention is surprisingly excellent for the age and ABV. Notes of browned apple flesh and slightly tart apple peel, while the background drops aromas of fig, raisin, plum, and bread pudding.

Interesting flavor, full of semi-medicinal sherry notes and a hint of oxidized cardboard. Still, the sweetness from the malt is still kicking, as is a tinge of musty hops in the background. Mouthfeel is velvety smooth, and the under-carbonated medium body is reminiscent of cask-conditioned ale. Not a bad vintage, but the aging process has taken its toll. Time to drink 'em if you got 'em for the 2004.

[2005] - 4.5/4.0/4.5/4.5/4.0; Total 4.30/5.00

#72233 out of 95,000. Poured into a Corsendonk tulip.

Fantastic appearance, with a glowing, tawny-amber body that supports a healthy tuft of bubbly custard head. Superb retention and lacing, and a carbonation trail can be found piercing the clear body of this Old Ale. Nose is crisp and malty with a healthy dose of fruity yeast esters. Not as much oxidation as the '04, as the sherry notes are dominated by English toffee, butterscotch, and gooey caramel aromas.

The flavor of the 2005 vintage has also held up nicely to the rigors of aging, and drapes decadent notes of caramel, vanilla pudding, rum, and sherry across the palate. Absolutely delicious, and the flavor profile improves as the beer approaches cellar temperature. Mouthfeel is creamy and lush, with a snap of carbonation and spicy back-end thanks to the alcohol notes. A fantastic, old Old Ale, and even though the 2004 didn't hold up as nicely, I'd be willing to bet that the 2005 Vintage has a few more years left in its tank.

[2006] - 4.0/3.5/4.5/4.5/4.5; Total 4.28/5.00

#71319 out of 100,000. Poured into a Ranger Creek tulip.

The '06 Vintage shows somewhat of a lighter, copperish hue in comparison to it predecessors. Body is relatively clear and carbonated, with a sizable cap of creamy khaki bubbles forming up top and leaving behind attractive rings of lacing. Aroma has the traditional English yeast esters alongside fruity notes of apple, raisin, and cranberry. A hint of vanilla and buttery toffee lurks in the background, but is far less pronounced than the 2005.

The flavor, however, does not disappoint. Far from it, with rich notes of toasted toffee, nuttiness, caramel-coated apple slices, leather, herbal hops, and a kiss of booze. Oxidation is nowhere to be found. Body is creamy and slightly sticky with a noticeable, yet mild carbonation level. Finishes smooth with a medicinal hint. The 2006 Vintage had me worried at first, but in the end it came through, enough to give the '05 a run for its money in terms of flavor and feel.

[2007] - 4.5/4.0/4.0/4.5/4.0; Total 4.08/5.00

#125937 out of 150,000. Poured into an unmarked snifter.

Excellent appearance, with a pumpkin-mahogany body partially hazed by yeast. With somewhat of an aggressive pour, the manila head builds well to an inch in height before slowly settling to a thin veil of bubbles. Lacing draped all across the glass. Aroma is fruity with citrus flesh and apple peel; a spicier note than the previous Vintage Ales, with subtle hints of cinnamon and allspice. Malts smell succulent and suggest layers of toffee, chocolate, and caramel.

The 2007 Vintage is a juicier version than its older counterparts, with smacking notes of apple cider, pear, caramel malt, and a dusting of English hops that add a bit of flavor and bitterness on the finish. Mouthfeel is slightly sticky, medium-thick in body, and velvety smooth all the way through. Lower carbonation level than some of the others (save the 2004). Overall, a tasty batch of Vintage Ale. Not quite as impressive as the '05 or '06, but on-par with them and certainly better than the bottle of '04 I had.

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Photo of Satchboogie
3.72/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage bottle (no 110250) poured into a snifter

A: Relatively easy pour leads to just over an inch of frothy and bubbly head. Clear dark red (just a little orange tint). Color of a red jolly rancher.

S: Dark fruits, a little spirit (rum raisin scent), caramel.

T: Very light rum raisin on the front of the tongue that warms a tiny bit. Behind that comes light caramel and bread. More fruits appear towards the finish (raisins, prune). Along with the dark fruits, there's a red delicious apple flavor underlying everything. My first impression was apple juice spiked with a touch of rum and raisins. The spirit flavor is very very light though, I don't want to overstate it.

M: Unfortunately this is rather light bodied and watery. There's a lot of great malt and yeast flavors, but everything is toned down. Feels more like apple juice than it does a big malty old ale. The flavor intensity/body was a let down after a rather good nose.

O: I really like the flavors going on in this, but the lack of body and malty "umph" leave me wanting much more out of it. I feel as it is, it's good, but it could be great. Not worth the money as is.

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Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
3.88/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a tulip

A: This is a limited edition brew bottled in 2008. Mine has the number 147,798 stamped on it (which is peculiar since the box says they only made 145,000). It pours a deep amber color with a thick, snow white head that contrasts beautifully.

S: Smells very Belgian with apricots, bready malts, some nutmeg and just a bit of booziness. At 8.5% alcohol, it’s not exactly weak but it shouldn’t be strong enough to emanate an alcohol aroma.

T/M: Taste is on par but a little better. Right off the bat it’s in your face with sweet fruitiness; blackberries, apricots, figs, peaches and apple pie pastry. It’s lightly carbonated and gives way to a slight alcohol finish at the end.

Fuller’s Vintage Ale is a lot like an overpowered Belgian which is uncharacteristic from a Fuller’s brew, but it’s really very good. I saw one more bottle at the store, I wonder how much better it will be years from now.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 Edition opened in 2009, bottle #114182. The beer poured out as a copper color with a nice creamy looking head on it. The lacing was pretty nice for this beer, I wasn't really expecting that too much. The smell of the beer had some grainy malt aroma with some hops in the mix. The taste was semi-sweet like they might have added some brown sugar to it or caramel maybe. The taste was very good from start to finish though. The mouthfeel of the beer was very nice as well, it was smooth but had a decent amount of carbonation in it. Overall this beer was way better than any other Fuller's brew that I've tried. Well worthy trying if you find some!

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Photo of joemcgrath27
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage
A - very murky burnt orange, tall off white head retained very well with solid consistent lacing
S - sweet caramel and burnt sugar, ripe fruit, and light peppery note
T - caramel and brown sugar, followed by a phenolic character, over ripe dark fruits, cinnamon, cracked pepper, and some alcohol heat
M - medium to slightly heavy, rich with a kick from both spice and alcohol, very full
O - this is a big bold beer that works in all aspects, very impressed, glad i splurged for this

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Photo of andrenaline
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle number 31,199 from the 2010 edition.

A - Pours a nice dark copper colour with a ruby red hue, finger and a half of big bubbled, fluffy, head with solid retention and some sporadic lacing.

S - Caramel and toffee notes, nice earthy hops with a touch of cinnamon and spices. A bit peppery as well, very unique.

T - Quite delicious, with a touch of ABV heat, with the caramel and toffee notes dominating the palette. The grassy hops linger alongside a nice bitterness. Very reminiscent of a fruity spiced ESB.

M - No complaints here, medium bodied ale that goes down smooth and finishes surprisingly wet.

O - Overall a very tasty ale, and I wish I had another bottle to cellar for a while. It certainly would age well over time. Next opportunity I get, I will be buying multiple bottles.

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Photo of Jazzcrop
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tastes of sugar, caramel sugar, tree branches, honey, chives, salt, mushrooms, medium-roast coffee, Fruit by the Foot, rubber, hops and a lot more that I've probably forgotten. Smells the same but it's mostly just sweet and very little else. Yep, cool beer.

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Photo of mikeyv35
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Date: 05/13/2011
Type: 500ml. Bottle
Vintage: 2006
Glass: DFH Tulip

Poured a light mahoghany brown/tobacco in colr w/ a skim coat beige head that produced nice sticky lacing. Aromas of dark fruits(raisin, fig, and plum), toffee, caramel, oak, and tobacco. The taste started off w/ sweet raisins/figs/plums up front, followed by caramel/toffee/oak, and finished w/ a mild hop bitterness and tobacco. The tobacco really hung on the palate. Medium bodied and lush. This brew was pretty easy to drink w/ the well hidden ABV and smoothness due to 5 years of age.

Overall, the 2006 is drinking alot better than it was 2 years ago when I last tried it, and was a pleasure to drink. I will be on the lookout for more 2006 bottles to sit on for a couple more years.

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Fuller's Vintage Ale from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
4.17 out of 5 based on 1,278 ratings.
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