Fuller's Vintage Ale | Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

BA SCORE
93
outstanding
1,283 Ratings
Fuller's Vintage AleFuller's Vintage Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
England, United Kingdom
fullers.co.uk

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
1,283
Reviews:
678
Avg:
4.17
pDev:
10.79%
 
 
Wants:
119
Gots:
307
For Trade:
10
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Ratings: 1,283 |  Reviews: 678
Photo of Dentist666
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2009
Excellent ruby package. Bottle #22815
Goldings hops are promised.
Poured orange red oil ale with bubbly golden 3 finger head, receding slowly, leaving thick laces. Slightly turbid.
Very dense aroma: sweet, toffee, caramel, prunes.
Unfortunately, taste isn't very saturated, but complex: from sweet to fruits (plums and their kindred) then to powerful bitter accord which becomes round and dissolves into mild aftertaste, very spectacular transformation. Surprisingly, palate stays fresh and almost neutral, I have been waited some kind of heavy strike. Drink bravely! But I perceived a lack of matureness, this beer would be better kept on the cellar shelf for quite a few years, I'll try it once more later, sure, it will score more!

Vintage 2016
Bottle #63279
Nelson Sauvin hops.
Poured orange red oil ale with off-white 3 finger head, receding slowly.
Aroma: sweet, fruity, some Nelson Sauvin traits (rhubarb, gooseberry), sherry.
Taste: toasted malts, different fruits, alcohol touch, somewhat barrel-aged.
Medium body, round, oily.

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Photo of milkbaby9
4.62/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 Vintage, #142719 of 160000. Enjoyed on 8-24-2010. Beautiful burgundy red display box with card inside detailing the origin of this ale and notes about previous vintages. Nice paper tape seal with gold lettering over the bottle top. 500ml bottle poured into Duvel tulip because I got one and am resisting buying a crystal tulip!

Only produces a 1 finger light tan head that quickly reduces to the merest cap of bubbles even with the bubbles being released by the Duvel tulip etching. Deep red amber color that is very stunning -- initially shows a slight chill haze that disappeared when it warmed up.

Smells of sweetish malt, slightly fruity raisin bread and hint of a vinous aroma. Gets more fruity and wine-like as it warms up. The taste has a sweet malt entry and lightly tart lemony hops and then proceeds to a bit of a winey alcoholic feel. Finishes with a super big, very sweet round malt, fresh bread, yeast, and a drying bitter hops astringency that is struggling to balance out the sweetness.

The aftertaste lasts and lasts, and only a slight roastyness comes through during the long aftertaste. Super long finish of sweet and bitter, the bitterness a tad drying. Carbonation feels low, medium to medium heavy mouthfeel.

At the start, other than the highish ABV, I think I could probably drink 2 bottles of this it's so nice. But about 2/3rds to 3/4ths of the way through, I think this beer is for savoring more slowly than I've been drinking it -- it feels too much, not sure I could take a 2nd bottle. The sweet maltyness lasts too long, it's crazy. A good one to take it slow with and savor which is good considering the retail price ($10).

Very memorable! I have 5 more bottles for the future and am contemplating more. Looking forward to the 2010...

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Photo of StephenRich
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

"I have crafted this very special ale from the finest Goldings hops, Tripple malted barley and of course our unique yeast to create a truly extraordinary limited edition brew. Individually packaged an numbered, this bottle is one of only one hundred and sixty thousand produced. Although we are obliged to state a best before date of 2012, like a fine wine or whisky this mellow golden ale will improve with age for many more years. This 2009 edition marks 12 years of brewing this magnificent ale. Being bottle conditioned, the beer will form a natural sediment; so pour carefully, sit back, and enjoy this, the very finest of Fuller's ales. " - John Keeling, Head Brewers for Fuller's Brewery.

And in fact, it was bottle number 050155 which I enjoyed thoroughly with my roommate this past weekend. The Fuller's vintage is among my favorite all time bottles, and comes each year in a sturdy red box. The beautiful sentiment above by Fuller's head brewer John Keeling is printed in fine cursive on the back of every box of Fuller's Vintage Ale 2009. It comes out each year near Christmas, and I make sure that I always stock up on several to enjoy for the season, and many more to age in my cellar for years to come. A vintage ale is really a beautiful thing. Each year the brewery comes back to the previous years brew and determines how he can improve upon it, what subtle or extreme modifications can be made, or how can it be more unique and adventurous. Regardless of what the purpose of that specific vintage is, they are all crafted to be enjoyed now, and for many years to come. One of the many jobs of beer drinking is to be able to sit down and enjoy several different vintages of the same beer - ie. enjoying the Fuller's Vintage 2005 through to 2009.

Somehow also, the British definitely know exactly what to do when it comes to the vintage. Maybe its their history of brewing, or the nature of the raw materials which they grow. Regardless of any fact, year in and year out Fuller's produces a Vintage beer which makes my mouth water and drool for days if not more.

The 2009 Fuller's Vintage Ale is 8.5% abv and comes in a 500ml dark and heavy glass bottle. In my humble opinion it is among the most handsome and classy bottles in the world. Beyond that, it does come in a red box as shown here, making it a very unique beer which stands out and commands presence on beer shelves.

The 2009 Vintage pours aggressively as if it has been waiting to be unleashed out of the bottle. It flows smooth but once it hits the glass massive carbonation and life is created which mounts in the heart of the ale and rises to the surface of the beer. The head is creamy and mountainous standing an inch off the beer with an amber bronze tint glowing through a reddish tan foam.

The beer itself is slightly transparent but full amber mahogany, with reps, golds, bronze, and oak shinning through. It shows a slight haze and still much carbonation from the bottle conditioning. Bubbles form everywhere and gently rise to the top supporting the head which will gently recede to a medium film.

The nose is rich with warm malts and toffee, caramel, raisins, prunes, and soft hops. Light fruit lingers on a touch of alcohol and soft oak breaks though the back end. he hops are still there to balance the nose, and also indicate a refreshing bitter to finish this ale.

Once you get into this beer its obvious why they have been brewing it for over 12 years. Its smooth and gentle across your palate showing your tongue just how caramel and toffee flavors can be brought out of malted barley. Its exceedingly fresh and rich in body. The caramel is warm and soft leading into dark fruits, oak, warming alcohol and a touch of spice. Hops jump in at the end with a light citrus and mildly bitter bite. The overall impression of the beer is creamy toffee and soft malts.

It really is quite luxurious. The mouthfeel is elegant, full, gentle and hearty. Its a savory and gently sweet palate pleaser while still able to quench and refresh you in perfect harmony. The balance is really excellent as well - just enough bitter hops exist to subdue the malts, and the bottle conditioning creates a steady carbonation keeping the beer light in but full the whole time.

I expect, like all its predecessors, that it will only improve with age bringing more mellow smooth oak and gentle malt complexity. It should be enjoyed close to cellar temperature around 10 degrees Celsius (50F) and preferably poured into a standard British Pint glass.

It will be excellent with all red meats, roast chicken, turkey, wild game, lasagna, meaty pastas, or even just a baguette and cheese.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2008, 500ml bottle poured into tulip aug16 2010

A clear amber with plenty of bubbles feeding a short lived thumbs width of head that left a few patches of lace

S plenty of caramel with a pleasant fruity side that's complex enough that I can't single out any one fruit

T some spicy hops on top of what I smell with a little bit whiskey and some earthiness, pretty decent brew going on here but I can't see what further age would do for it, it's drinking well now and is a pretty mellow brew for the strength

M thick as can be, I'd never expect this chewiness from a beer this light in color. the carbonation has a perfect balance with the thick body of the beer. just a slight bite and the booze is nowhere to be found, I can't think of any improvements they could make in this department

D although only the feel blows me away when drinking this beer it's so well rounded and easy to drink for 8.5% I can't help but give high marks here

I've been looking at this beer for a while without trying it, now that I have tried it my curiosity will get the better of me and I don't see the other vintages I have lasting all that long. I love the box this one comes in and can only hope I have the restraint for a 5 year vertical(just need the 2010) wish me luck

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.98/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2008 Vintage Bottle No. 115676

Amber colored pour, fingers worth of head, stick and bubbly. Dissipates quickly, but leaves a little bit that stays for the duration.

Malts, sweetness, but hints of tart or mild sour notes, and noticeable yeasty characteristics.

None of the tart and yeast notes show in the taste. Heavy on the malty sweetness. Theres pleasant hops, and more prevalent citrus in the back.

Creamy and smooth, thick medium in body. Excellent.

Good on the drink, but this is something to savor.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had at a small beer tasting thanks to nimbleprop, thanks Mac. Bottle is a 2004 vintage.

a - Pours a mahogany brown color with less than an inch of off white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of caramel malts, bready malts, sugar, and a little dark fruit.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, dark fruits, sugar, and bready malts.

m - Medium body and low carbonation.

d - I thought this was a very good old ale that has held up great. Lots of good caramel malts and sweet dark fruits, would love to try again.

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

2008. A cloudy amber/orange pour with carbonation permeating. Solid frothy finger of off white head.

Aroma has some sweet malt, caramel, yellow raisin, brown sugar, fruitcake, cherry some other lighter red fruit likeness.

Flavor has more of the fruits and yellow raisin to balance out the sweet tones. Malt, caramel, toffee. Faint hints of citrus, even fainter hints of herbal pine. Little leathery tinge there with a toasty or slightly woody finish. Tingles a bit with just a tad of warming down the pipe.

It looks like it has bunch of carbonation, but it is creamy smooth. Light medium body, coats the mouth but is not sticky. Easy to drink, easy to like this one.
Excellent.

This is going to be a must stop and pick up in the Detroit area on my way back to NC when I visit Grand Rapids.

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Photo of palma
4.68/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

10 years boxed in my cabinet. 1 day chilling in the fridge.

This is a 2000 vintage, bottle #43870.
Opened in celebration of a recent personal career milestone.

Poured into an elongated snifter glass. The beer is still fully carbonated. Pours a dirty copper body. beautiful smooth yellow/beige color head.

Aroma is much milder than a typical strong ale. Dried apricots, macintosh apple and some very subtle citrus. melted butter comes to mind as well.

light maltiness, caramel and rye bread in the beginning. Middle is tons of fruit. Fig, cherry, apple. Subtle licorish and chocolate flavors also pull through somewhat. The end has an interesting mild hop bite that dissapears very quickly. surprisingly clean afterwards with a late semi-dry finish.

slightly oily mouthfeel is enjoyable. Thinner than expected overall but this is a welcomed surprise. Makes it much more drinkable in my opinion.

A decade has significantly mellowed both the aroma and flavor of this beer.
Undoubtely one of the best beers in the world. And probably my personal favorite, ever.

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

Bottle # 78199. Helluva beer. Had it stored just on a shelf in my kitchen & only chilled it a couple of days ago. Poured with a thick, foamy, frothy, fine bubble, light tan head and good lace. Color is a cloudy, amber brown. Aroma is very malty, caramel, toffee, fruit. Flavor is like aroma and the alcohol really jumps out. Body is soft, full, creamy, smooth and round including the great carbonation. Finish is like flavor including alcohol. Reminds me of some sherries. Sipping beer. Be fun to try different vintages side by side. Excellent brew. Got this from good friend Ron Kittleson, formerly of La Crosse & now in Seattle. Thanks much, man.

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Photo of divineaudio
4.82/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

imperial pint into a tulip glass. 2007 edition, bottle number 143547. the presentation of this beer is impeccable.

color is a hazy, dark reddish orange. a dense, two finger, tan head rises to the occasion and settles back to a thin cap. leaves a nice bit of leggy lacing down the sides of the glass.

smells of apricot, cherry, a little biscuity and a little musty. slight hop oil aroma and a bit of alcohol presence. i could sit and sniff this for hours.

taste is amazingly smooth and complex. toasted and carmel malts hit the tongue first followed by a warming bit of alcohol. some bready and fruity notes pop up and mingle with the hops before fading into a spicy, syrupy finish. very luxurious.

fuller side of a medium body with enough carbonation to compensate for the syrupy qualities. very, very smooth. really feels more like drinking a fine port or sherry than beer.

very drinkable, but this is definitely a beer to be sipped and savored. so good that i almost feel bad drinking it. ages very well, and you can bet i'll be saving my 08 and 09 versions for quite a while.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.88/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2008. Beer served in a tulip. Beer is dark amber / red and hazy. Forms a huge head of small bubbles that leaves a lot of lacing on the glass. Looks really good.

Aroma is sweet and malty. Mild earthiness to the whole thing. Aroma is appropriate levels. Smells pretty good.

Beer is thick and quite sweet. Not a lot of bitterness at the back but some caramel notes in the early and midpalate. Minimal carbonation. Tastes good. Drinkability suffers for me, its a little too heavy for me, probably a bad beer to start with. I think it would improve with age (duh). I'd drink it again.

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

2009 Vintage from Waitrose

A - Clear copper red. Very bright and pretty in the light. slight head that does not stick around very long

S -SWEET! Butterscotch, caramel malts, some apple and a tiny bit of booze

T - Toasted nutty flavor with some caramel and roasted malt. a bit of fruits (apple and grape) and a nice clean dry finish.

M - Velvety smooth, perfect carbonation and goes down so easy.

D - For it's strength I think this is extremely drinkable and this is a beer I typically split but am drinking alone this time, I am not complaining though.

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Photo of yuriruley
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 vintage from my local beer store.

Appearance - cloudy dark color, with not much head.

Smell - smelled primarily like brown sugar to me.

Taste - brown sugars, apples, and molasses, with a good alcohol background

Mouthfeel - was pretty smooth, with a thicker body.

Drink - went down easy, wasn't really noticing the 8.5 %.

Pretty solid beer, every time I see a British beer like this that is a vintage or bottle conditioned I have to try it. So far they have yet to disappoint, they are always very tasty beers. If you see this a bottle of this I'd recommend grabbing it.

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

2008 vintage.

pours a ruddy brown with a frothy off white head that subsides to a nice foam around the edge with patch bubbles all around the top of the beer. there is no lacing.

smells very sweet. candied ginger, molasses, raisins, some alcohol, etc.

tastes of dark fruits with a slight hint of fennel (?). there's no heat, but a cloyingly sweet taste from the alcohol. this is a nice beer and i am glad i bought multiple bottles of it.

definitely not something you're going to slam down at a bar, but very drinkable for the style.

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Photo of ADZA
4.12/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ive had this in my collection for a while and finally decided after looking at the day outside todays the day this is the 2008 vintage bottle number 06723,it pours a deep toffee/amber hue with nice carbonation that leaves a creamy two finger head that recedes to a smog of lacing across the top,the smell is a mixture of strong caramel/toffee,raisins,whiskey and alcohol,it has a pleasant syrupy mouthfeel which is like a fine port with tastes of caramel,toffee,raisins,dark fruits and some cherry alcohol heat right at the end but not over the top by any means,its definately a pleasant brew to just kick back with next to the fireplace or on a nice cold night and will continue to buy the new vintage every year.

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

2008 poured from a bottle i kept in my closet for over a year.. initial smell is very hoppy with aromas of alcohol...looks like dark copper and amber. very grainy.
t...wheaty..hoppy sweet fruit undertones.
m..great.
d. 3 or 4

Im.. just going to go drink this now. I bought it in california last year and was saving it for the right time. I strongly recommend this brew.

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Photo of BeerNemesis
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Fuller's Vintage Ale "Limited Edition" | 500 ml. | 8.5% ABV | 2008 vintage

Brewer: Fuller Smit & Turner PLC (Fuller's), London
Style: Old Ale
Bottle #: No. 130457

Presentation:
Well Fullers has certainly done a good job of making Vintage Ale look "limited edition" worthy. The bottle is enclosed in a burgundy box -- similar to one that would cradle a bottle of scotch, or a fine liqueur. The bottle itself features regal styling, including a thin paper seal over the cap that reads "Limited Edition 2008" in gold embossed script.

On the label:
"I have crafted this very special ale from the finest Challenger and Northdown hops, Maris Otter malted barley, and of course, our unique yeast, to create a truly extraordinary limited edition brew"

"Individually packaged and numbered, this bottle is one of only one hundred and forty-five thousand produced"

"Although we are obliged to state a best before date of 2011, like a fine wine or whiskey, this mellow golden ale will improve with age for many more years. For best results keep upright in a cool, dark room or cellar"

"This 2008 edition marks 11 years of brewing this magnificent ale. Further information on previous Vintage Ales can be found inside."

"Being bottle conditioned, the beer will form a natural sediment; so pour carefully, sit back, and enjoy this, the very finest of Fuller's ales."

-- John Keeling, Brew Master

Appearance:
Poured into a Duvel tulip. The head formation is quite exciting. Bubbles stream hurriedly up the side of the glass while a angry, bubbling, white froth seethes at the surface. When all is said and done, it leave behind a quickly receding 1" plume. Lacing is a bit lackluster. The color of the beverage itself is a sort of hazy, brooding dark tawny orange (#A36400).

Aroma:
Alcohol drenched figs and raisins. There's also a substantial malt profile and estery alcohol.

Taste:
The body is big and malty, accented by subdued fruity tones (figs, prunes, and raisins). The dark orange hops take a back seat, only coming forward with a zing towards the end. The esters are lovely -- restrained but always palpable. Smoky alcohol seems to hang behind all of the other flavors like a pregnant curtain of fog.

Mouthfeel:
Oh so creamy and smooth. It glides through my mouth depositing lodes of precious flavor in taste-processing recesses of my palate. It's chewy and a bit thick (though not quite full bodied), which suits it well. Unfortunately, the carbonation has waned over the past two years (assuming it was there to begin with).

Harmony:
The aroma is actually a bit deceiving. I would have expected a much more boozy drink... But that is for the better. All the flavors hold together very well. There is complexity, however tastes seem to meld together in such a way that it is difficult to pick out distinct components. Overall, quite enjoyable, though, as is often the case, "limited edition" signifies much less than one would hope.

Brewed in: 2008 (24 months ago)
Price = $7.99 at Joe Canal's

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Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.02/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

300th review!

2008 vintage.

A nice hazy orange-rose-red color with smallish tan head that recedes quickly. Nose is pretty enticing, tart cherries, a bit of must, some yeastiness, sweet malt, and a bit of alcohol. Taste follows the nose, some big malty sweetness, a bit of a vinous character, cherries, yeast, alcohol. The flavors have mellowed out nicely. MF is a bit lacking, thin, though creamy. I wish it had a bit more body. Drinkability is surprisingly good for a robust, high ABV ale like this one. Good stuff from Fuller's, worth checking out.

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Photo of jwhawkins81
3.3/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2006 Vintage No 84199

Aroma - Sweet light malt with a hint of wine and alcohol.

Appearance - Good light tan head with a trickle of carbonation. Beer was a golden red color.

Taste - Slight oxidation with hints of woody flavors a touches of muted flavors reminiscent of Fuller's 1845. Not sweet nor bitter. Initially I don't think this beer is very complex. Alcohol burn on the back of the throat.

Notes - Its good just nothing special and maybe not worth the wait. Maybe this bottle was a little mistreated before I purchased it temperature wise but not the complex flavors I was expecting and I usually love everything Fuller's puts out.

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

2008 Bottle number 132065

A - Dark caramel color with nice foamy heat that quickly goes down to a thin film

S - Smell is nice with a bit o f yeast and alcohol but with a strong malt/caramel and fruit

T - Nice balance between the sweetness and alcohol, but combined nicely. Bit of hops, with fruits and raisins.

M - Heavy with a slight tingle of carbonation. Dense and chewy.

D - Nice drinking brew. Not one to drink a lot of, just have it first and enjoy the difference.

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Photo of 100floods
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2007 vintage, Bottle # 134813. Opened April 2010.

Pours a hazy amber, leaning toward copper. The sun lights this one up, it's not that dark. Decent white head, disappeared right away to some thin lacing.

This smells AMAZING. Sweet aromas. just the slightest hint of burnt and alcohol. I wish they made a cologne outta this aroma. Each sent is there, but not dominating presents. The combined aromas make a great bigger aroma.

After 2 years, almost going on three, there's still a good amount of non-offensive carbonation going on here. Burnt and bitter flavors hit my pallet right away. This is kind of what I image a strong english bitter would taste like. The burnt flavor lingers after each sip. Medium thin body. A little disappointed it doesn't smell like it tastes, mostly referring to the sweet aspect. I've had the 2008 before this and it was waaay different, however, not a problem. Once the bottom of the bottle was poured in some more burnt malt and alcohol flavors appeared, yum.

Definitely an excellent English brew. They handle the big stuff well. I am very pleased with this. still curious as to how this tasted fresh... i'll have to wait for the time machine to come in the mail.

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Photo of Flashsp2
4.14/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Fuller's Vintage Ale 2008 into medium snifter, sampled September 2009

Pours a very interesting rose/brown color, with unfortunately no real head to speak of, just a few bubbles and a ring. I allowed the bottle to warm a good 20 minutes out of the fridge before I opened it, but it's still a bit cold to the touch. Stupid refrigerator. The nose will hopefully have more to offer. Once it warms a quick swirl generates a half inch puff of cream colored bubbles that scurry away in a bit of a hurry. Oh well, this is an English Ale, I shouldn't expect an American IPA or Brussels style gigantic sticky head.

And offer it does. Raisins and plums, candied dark fruit, figs, brown sugar, fruit cake. A touch of booze as well, but just a light touch.

The taste is very unique, and unlike anything I've sampled prior. Very nice balance between the sweetness and the alcohol, which isn't very well hidden, but meshed in quite nice. More of the figs, raisins, fruit cake, pineapple, rose petals, caramel malt sweetness. Lots of fruity esters. Maybe just a we tiny bit of hop bite. It's got some age on it, and it shows. It's just got a bit of a distinguished feel to it, not tasting 'old' in a bad way, but like it's withstood age quite well. It's hard to pin down, but I bet this beer would be very impressive with a few more years on it. I just couldn't hold out that long.

Mouthfeel is quite heavy with an almost imperceptibly fine carbonation that tingles across the tongue every so slightly. Not quite chewy, but just dense and heavy. Almost syrupy, almost.

This is a nice drinking brew. Not something to quaff, but I am enjoying more with each sip. It has an air of quality to it, and I feel like a beer of this stature should be sipped and not slopped down.

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Photo of joehiatt
2.95/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 1.5

Bottle #122117 of 145000 of 2008. Drunk March 2010.

Appearance: Gorgeous, in all respects. The bottling and packaging is unique, the bottle itself is enviable, and it only gets better once poured. The color is a rich, though light copper, the head is clean ivory with fine bubbles, though no lacing as one would expect on a bottle-conditioned ale. The beer is slightly hazy despite careful pouring (at refrigerator temps) though this chill haze dissipates with warming.

Smell: Alcohol dominates. Toffee and Raisins present. Reminiscent of a whiskey. Some vanilla as well.

Taste: Grows on you. If you aren't expecting, which you won't be, comes as something of a shock. Quite sweet, though not cloying. Back-of-the-throat burn do to alcohol, perhaps. Again, in this way reminiscent of whiskey. A little unbalanced. Maybe more than a little.

Mouthfeel: Great. The saving grace of this beer. Excellent carbonation predominantly; allows it it be sweet with out being cloying and heavy yet still refreshing.

Drinkability: Poor. Harsh aftertaste and strong, unmatched flavors made one bottle between two certainly enough to satisfy.

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

I had to try a 2009 before I grabbed a few to cellar next to the 2008. So this is the '09.
Appearance: Rich amber with a off white head which is quick to disappear.
Smell: Fruits and a bit of alcohol. Smells very sweet and fresh.
Taste: Much like it smells but with a slightly medicinal taste. Something I assume with mellow with age.
Mouthfeel: Low carbonation and the medicine taste take it down. Of course I'll re-review it after I have had one for a few years. Like the previous years, I'm sure it will age quite well.
Drinkability: Worth putting a few away for a while.

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Photo of HeroJH
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This review is for the year 2008 bottle. A real nice treat, which I'll try to pick up each year. It reminds me of old English ales, and feels like a trip back in time.

A - Dark Gold. Big foamy head. Soft. Settles to a full ring.

S - Apple, sweet malt, full.

T - tangy caramel apple. Alcohol. Sweet Malt. Dry apple finish.

M - viscous with delightful soft carbonation

D - Savor this slow, it's enjoyable. Not a session beer, and it's not meant to be.

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Fuller's Vintage Ale from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
4.17 out of 5 based on 1,283 ratings.
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