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Fuller's Vintage Ale | Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

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Fuller's Vintage AleFuller's Vintage Ale
1,287 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: 1,287 |  Reviews: 680
Photo of birderbeerer
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
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 -2.6%
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 -11.2%
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 -7.4%
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 +6.7%
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 +3.3%
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 +0.2%
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 +0.7%
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%
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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Photo of jonandhisflask
3.73/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-murky gold amber colours, with a collar of head that rises

S-Very malty with some fruits, i get some sour prunes towards the end

T-Malts, sweet sweet malts,apples, caramels, fades to some bitteress,some creme, and vanilla

M-very creamy,medium body...little lace

O-decent beer, actually got it on sale for 4.99!
haha great price... for the actually price of 10.99 ehh would dish it out. but glad i was able to enjoy it.

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Photo of SolomonGrundy
4.26/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks like my new grill, which I thought was awesome, has taken a turn for the worse. I think the regulator is broken. That's pretty lame.

In any event: The basics: $8.99/500ml bottle (YIKES!!) and 8.5% ABV (nice)...

This beer is beautiful. It's A dark amber, very clear. Tons of super-slow rising bubbles. Nice, frothy, creamy three finger head that persists. Sheets of lacing...Gorgeous. This is Salma Hayek gorgeous...

Aromas are somewhat sweet. Very malty - lots of caramel malt in the nose. Some more subtle aromas I get are that of fig, brown sugar (just a touch), ripe cherry (maybe overripe)...smells awesome also...

Flavor is delicious. Very robust and loaded with sweet malt characteristics. The carbonation sits on your tongue, it never billows it kind of greets you and hangs out for a bit. Early flavors I get are of brown sugar, caramel malt of course, some vanilla. I also get some more herbal stuff like rubbed sage and maybe even some clove. This is fantastic beer and would do well to sit for a while as there is a tiny hint of yeast bitterness that carries throughout. Finish is long and toasty, like toasted multigrain bread. Very excellent brew, must find folks.

What I like most: Pretty much everything except...

What I like least: ...the price.

Verdict: Fantastic and near World Class brew. Find and drink and stash a couple in the cellar, folks...

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Photo of LukeK1231
3.95/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2008, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Cloudy red/peach/amber

Smell: Light fruit smell: figs, peaches, toffee, vanilla

Taste/Mouthfeel: Wonderful apricot flavor and a stickly caramel mouthfeel (tasted better the more I drank)

Finish: Slight alcohol, but OK; also smooth

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Photo of tempest
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage. Bottle No 123619

Poured clear orange-red with a soft off-white head. This beer is surprisingly hoppy and relatively light bodied. Maybe a legitimate beer to be called an English DIPA.

The light cherry and malt aroma doesn't do much for me, but I really like how the flavor develops here. At first it seemed acidic with a mix of berry and citrus fruit. But then it rolls into a richer candied orange rind and herbal spice. The finish is dry with floral caramel candy note from the malt. The barley plays a subtle background for the spicy hops, with gentle, dry fruit esters and hints of bread crust and toffee.

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Photo of Tucquan
4.17/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this in on 2011-04-21 in Columbia, PA. 2008 bottle number 136076.

A - Cloudy brown. No head with a careful pour but some alcohol legs. No lacing.

S - Figs, cherries, mild lacto yeast.

T - Lighter than I expected from the smell. Fig, light cherry, toffee, citrus, well-balanced but present hop bitterness. Alcohol is pleasant and well-integrated.

M - Medium body, light carbonation and quite oily and smooth.

O - Very well-conceived and produced brew. While not my favorite style, I quite enjoyed this, as did my wife. I would seek it out again.

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Photo of ludachris
4.42/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is one of the first beers I put away to age when I became very interested in beer. I just wrote the last exam of my university career and I thought this would be a perfect time to crack this out. 2008 vintage served at celler temp.

Its peachy brown murky body transforms into a vibrant hue of marmalade orange when held up to the light. Just over a finger's worth of fluffly and light off white head make this a fantastic looking beer.

The nose is rich and sweet. I've never had a fresh version of this but I think the aging gives it a more mellow and well rounded scent. Ripe and mushy figs and dates are the first things I'm greeted with. I also get toffee and a bit of vanilla. Crisp and vibrant slightly tangy apricots are infused with warming, sweet alcohol that furthers the complexity of this beer.

Very soft and mellow in the taste. The sweet, over ripe figs, dates, and plums aren't as assertive on the palate as I had expected. Instead, they're smoothed over; again, very mellow and with a creamy almost butter-like essence. I'm a huge fan. The finish is what made me bump this up to a 4.5. I've only had a handful of beers where the alcohol actually makes the beer taste better and this is one of them. The alcohol character comes towards the end and is pleasantly sweet, saturating the ripe apricots. Deep and rich fig notes can be picked out throughout, always keeping a pleasant sweetness in the mix.

Smooth, mellow, and creamy in the mouth. It fits nicely between medium and full bodied and is wonderfully balanced. The 8.5% ABV is detectable but again, it only furthers its flavour and complexity.

What a treat. I'm happy I waited 3 years before I opened this. Fuller's has been and continues to be in my top 3 English breweries and this beer tells me why. It took me a little while to appreciate its subtleties and complexities and that made it a more enjoyable experience. I've got the '09 and '10 sitting in my cellar right now and I'll be sure to keep buying them annually.

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Photo of vfgccp
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 vintage - drank in 2011

A – A nice looking beer. Deep mahogany amber with ~1 finger of cream-colored head. Nice retention and lace.

S – Dark dried fruits. Touch of spice: cinnamon, cardamom. Sweeter and fruiter than I was expecting.

T – The fruit from the nose is definitely present. Raisins, dried plums are anchored nicely by a bready malt backbone. Light bitterness. Spice notes of black pepper and nutmeg. Sweet, vanilla-tinted booze (Scotch?). A strange banana and clove note caught me off guard on the backend, but they actually work out pretty well.

M – Medium light body. The finish lightly sweet with a spicy note and some light char.

O – The body is a shade thin, but it doesn’t detract much from the flavor profile. Unbeatable quality for the $6 price.

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Photo of Snow81
4.95/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Clear amber haze

Head: Creamy tan head

Smell: nutty with some caramel or toffee and a little heat

Taste: Rich sticky malts with a little heat and a hint of hops on the back

Weight: Medium to heavy body with a medium carbonation

Finish: Light nut with caramel and a hint of heat with a nice stickiness on the lips

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Photo of foogerd
4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 Vintage.

A- Muddy orange/dark brown colored body, small off white head.

S- Sweet apple juice with young fresh raisins, pears and plums, very faint toffee.

T- Caramel and toffee with fig and raisins, hops make a presence giving a slight bitter balance to this mostly really sweet tasty brew.

M- Ample carbonation, wet slick feel.

O- Really a favorite Old Ale of mine, this was an excellent vintage the alcohol is nearly muted giving you the ability to really dive into the deliciousness of this brew. Seek this one out.

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Photo of prototypic
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2007-No. 121210

The 2007 release of Vintage Ale is copper in color. A little haze clouds the scene, but backlighting reveals nice orange highlights. A cream colored head tops it off. It stands about a finger tall, and is slow to recede. Lacing was sticky and moderate.

The nose is good, despite falling a little short in the strength department. Caramel and toasted malts are noted initially. Smells sweet. Probably a little sweeter than I'd like. Dark fruits are rather prominent. Smells like fig and raisin to me. There's definitely a whiskey scent in the house. It's not very strong, and complements the other scents well. Alcohol is a little noticeable, but doesn't smell overly strong. Smells good, but would benefit from a little more strength.

The flavor is quite good. It performs better than the nose. Enough to trigger a score bump. Caramel and toasted malts are the base. It is a little sweet, but not as much as the nose suggests. Dark fruit flavors of raisin and fig are noted, but are subtle and secondary. There is definitely a whiskey flavor, but is complementary and plays that role very well. An herbal tobacco flavor adds nice depth. I don't know how hoppy this is out of the gate, but there are definitely some remnants. Tastes like some form of English or Noble hops. Alcohol is pretty well buried. Finishes herbal and dry with a touch of whiskey.

Vintage Ale has a medium body. Carbonation is mid-range, but works nicely. It is smooth and easy drinking. It's definitely tasty, and I wouldn't mind going for another. Good stuff.

I've had this bottle of Fuller's Vintage Ale for over three years, and it is certainly drinking fine at the moment. Since I haven't had a fresh bottle, I can't really compare. Suffice it to say it ages nicely. I've grown to like English Old Ales quite a bit, and Fuller's Vintage Ale is definitely a fine example. It has a ton of flavor and character, and ages extremely well. Grab a few bottles and put them back. It's more than worth it.

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Photo of biegaman
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage - sampled 23/03/11.

A gradient of chestnut, auburn and gold tones disseminate to make a gloriously rich and resplendent tawny coloured beer that more than lives up to the grandeur of its packaging. The highlights are irradiant and glossy, made possible by an immaculate clarity, and make it look as though the beer has a fresh coat of lacquer. Off-white foam skims the top.

The bouquet is rich and sensually smoothing, such that I have my nose seemingly permanently pressed up against the glass, like a child peering through at a department store's Christmas display. The aroma, which showcases fruity ale yeast esters, alcohol warmth and sticky toffee pudding-like malts, is glazed in a brandied citrus reduction.

A slight sherry taste blends with flavours of honeycomb toffee, wildflower honey, toasted bread and figgy pudding before parting ways to a soundtrack of spicy, earthy hops and brandied, caramelized oranges. Bruised plum and pear are aroused in the finish as is a brief spritz of lemon, floral and grassy hoppiness and a candied, caramelly fruitiness.

A note on aging: I've been cellaring Fuller's Vintage Ale since 2004 and have tried vintages as old as 2001 - all with mixed results. Some have aged gracefully, others were decidedly past their prime. I've found no consistency regarding either vintage or time cellared. I can find no rhyme or reason in it. As with aging any beer, it's not an exact science...

That being said, Fuller's Vintage Ale is a safer bet than most. It doesn't have the thickest maltiness in the world but the alcohol presence is well integrated, as is a perceptible hop profile, and even in my least favorable experiences the beer was drinkable and appreciably flavoured. Besides that, it's a wonderful tradition (and aesthetic addition to the cellar).

I'll go on record as saying that there may be no beer better suited to cold early winter evenings by the fireplace, or by the Christmas tree, or at the dinner table with a roast bird coming out the oven. Fuller's Vintage Ale should be considered one of the beer world's most cherished traditions; it's one that I gleefully anticipate every year and will continue to.

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Photo of Chico1985
4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 vintage, bottle no. 126617. 500ml bottle in a classy red box, complete with a small paper inside describing past vintages. A little over 3 years old at this point.

Pours a mostly translucent straight up amber, I was expecting a muddy, black beer. A nice full off-white head retains well and leaves good lacing.

Smell is a mix of fruit (figs and bananas come to mind), tobacco, molasses, and maybe slight oxidation. Pretty enticing.

Taste at first is a bit of a letdown after the scent, but some warming helps alot. Sweet dark fruits and molasses make up most of the flavor, more caramel and toasty malts come into play later on, somewhat similar tastes to red wine and rum. A little bitterness from the hops but no flavors from them are noticeable.

Very nice mouthfeel, good balance and carbonation, especially for a beer with some age on it. Pretty much no alcohol bite.

Definitely improved with some warmth. Apparently this beer is at it's peak right now, and I believe it. I will be buying another 2007 to lay down for a few more years though.

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Photo of xodin
4.57/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage (The 2007 and 2008 vintages I've tried would get a slightly higher rating, perhaps even an overall 5)

Pours a crisp reddish mahogany with a thick creamy head that lingers after the pour. Wonderful aromas of sweet malt and rich caramel that you just can't get enough of. Moderately full in the mouth, chewy, with some moderate complexity, and slightly peppery alcohol notes. The chewy, caramel flavor and complexity increase as it ages, while the peppery/warming alcohol flavor mellows out. The brew is sweet and creamy through the swallow with a peppery, warming finish.

Very good brew, one of my personal favorites. I recommend getting a couple bottles every vintage; one to try now, one to keep for later.

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Photo of jrenihan
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Two reviews- 2005 and 2011. Scores are for 2011.

2011 Vintage (Drank Nov 24, 2011)

Reviewing this again to see how it compares to the six year old bottle had earlier this year.

Beer is a little lighter in colour.

Smell is not as remarkable. Still very good, and some of the same fruit scents, but it doesn't have the richness that the 2005 had. Some grassy hop scents are present which I didn't get on the 2005. This is nice, but the 2005 was incredible.

While the smell is not as good, the taste is far better in this bottle. Nice rich maltiness, strong caramel and toffee flavours, with some dark fruit flavours- some raisin. Hops are light but present. Some wood flavours. Nice stuff.

Full bodied, very mild carbonation. A little sticky.

Overall, much more pleasant than the 2005, which may have been too old or poorly stored. The changes in the beer over that period are pretty remarkable. I imagine there is a nice in between time that would be fantastic.

2005 Vintage (Drank March 15, 2011).

Pours a dark toffee colour, with about two fingers of just-off white head.

Smell is wonderful. Reminiscent of a red wine- lots of raisin, cherry, and booze. Actually, much more like port than simple red wine. Very strong.

The taste, unfortunately, does not live up to the nose. Not nearly as complex or deep. The raisin and cherry flavours are present but greatly subdued, and the finish dries out the mouth, as if there are tannins present. Very sweet. Some caramel flavour as well. Alcohol is quite noticeable, especially at the end.

Mouthfeel is unfortunately thin, almost watery. Little carbonation.

This is not a very drinkable beer. The alcohol hits hard, much more so than many beers that are actually stronger. Combined with the watery taste and mouth-drying effects, it does not go down quickly. I would prefer to simply sniff it for hours. Oh well. Perhaps this one is just too old!

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Photo of bpalfrey10
3.83/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage

A: deep reddish copper in color, small fast-disappearing tan head, excellent clarity
S: a powerful aroma, definitely some alcohol in the nose,
T: heavy alcohol up front and prominent alcohol burn afterward. tastes of dark crystal malts, molasses, maybe some licorice. very enjoyable.
M: pretty high carbonation, relatively thick mouthfeel.
D: wouldn't want to drink more than one of these in a row because of the alcohol content, but still drinkable for the style.

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Photo of bucklemyshoe
4.07/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500 mL bottle at 55 degrees into a mug. Bottle #110976.

A: It pours a deep amber color with a finger of short-lived, cream-colored head that has decent lacing.

S: Strong caramel, sweet fruits, biscuit malts, and some nuttiness.

T: Sweet dark fruits, burnt sugar, caramel, toffee, and hazelnuts.

M: The body is medium-thick with low to medium carbonation, and a little stickiness.

D: This is very good and strikingly similar to Sam Smith Yorkshire Stingo.

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Fuller's Vintage Ale from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
Beer rating: 4.19 out of 5 with 1,287 ratings
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