Past Masters XX Strong Ale | Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

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Past Masters XX Strong AlePast Masters XX Strong Ale
Very Good
44 Ratings
Past Masters XX Strong AlePast Masters XX Strong Ale

Brewed by:
Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Ratings: 44 |  Reviews: 33
Photo of Electros
3.57/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of olradetbalder
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of jwhancher
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of eric5bellies
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of beer_bottle
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Photo of simont1
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of dcmchew
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of CanuckRover
3.69/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Bright amber with a light head, couple fingers thick off a careful pour. Slippery lacings.

Aroma is all near-burnt caramel with a noticeable alcohol.

Bread pudding up front, starts to change as the heavy malt mingles with the yeast we all know and love. Result is fresh orange, but slightly candied. Bittering hops take over at the beginning of the end, with warm alcohol closing things out. Surprisingly juicy finish.

You're always in good hands with Fuller's. That said, not many surprises here. Definitely in the same vein as Pride, ESB, Vintage, etc.

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Photo of bark
3.59/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The colour is dark amber (30 EBC), the liquid is clear. The three finger head is beige and compact, good retention and some lacing.

The smell is malty with toffee, treacle and some alcohol. Biscuits, and fruit candy. It is a bit thin with some chemical hints in the background.

The taste is at first a bit porter-sour with some bitter notes. Hay and dried flowers from the hops. Caramel and toffee. It is somewhat thin for the style and strength, perhaps that is historically correct? Medium body. Prunes and hints of raisins in the aftertaste, together with some red berries. The finish is very malty with some dusty notes.

The carbonation is light, the small bubbles fresh and short-lived. The liquid is mid-smooth.

As said earlier, it is a bit too light. Apart from that this is a very pleasant and very English ale.

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Photo of cfalovo97
3/5  rDev -20.8%

Photo of Molson2000
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%

Photo of EmperorBevis
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ochre deep amber colour head quickly disappears but leaves pretty enough white bubbles.

Muted floral notes combine with liquorice hints on the nose aromas rhubarb, Christmas cake, peaches and nectarines.

Tastes give hints of cherry cola, burn't sugar peppery bitterness leaves the mouth but not a heavy aftertaste the alcohol is noticeable but not overbearing.

Not heavy going and nicely carbonated.

Well rounded and balanced stops the 7.5% being sickly and makes a great end of the night ale.

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Photo of Ruds
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a snifter glass to a light copper brown colour with a very small white head. The head vanished without trace in a minute or two leaving but a few bubbles atop the beer!

The nose is all about dried/matured fruits. Dates, figs, sultanas maybe a little almond in there? A sweet alcohol aroma is present but in no way excessive! Also a lingering toffee/caramel note.

The taste runs fairly parallel with the nose in the dried fruit scenario. A sweet malty flavour also comes into play allied to some subtle hopping and a little caramel.

Mouthfeel - this beer is a little over carbonated for my liking with a good medium body.

Overall a good strong ale from Fullers, well balanced in terms of flavour and strength, no real sense of 7.5% when drinking. It is just let down a little by the carbonation in my opinion.

 845 characters

3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle. Pint glass. Enjoyed on sepĀ“11. Reddish copper in color. Fairly clear appearance. Yellowish white froth. Slowly dissipated head leaves some lacing spots. Moderate malt aroma with orange zest hues. Malty, slightly citric flavor. Subtle hoppiness & bitter mouthfeel. Gentle warming sensation. Medium body, moderate carbonation. Dry finish & rough orange aftertaste. Good company in cold weather.

 407 characters

Photo of BGDrock
3.82/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes:

Appearance: amber colour; very slight mist; head fades fast

Aroma: grassy, hops come through strongly; some sweetness of citrus fruit (orange)

Taste & Mouthfeel: creamy, slightly fatty texture; butterscotch; bitter but not in a hoppy way; good carbonation and great balance

Overall: pretty straightforward flavour, but very well balanced - great play between bitter and rich maltiness; very interesting texture

 426 characters

Photo of BBP
3.86/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours clear chestnut with little in regards to head or lacing.

The aroma is fairly malty with a hint of raisin and some hop spiciness.

The flavor is somewhat consistent with Fuller's other offerings with a nice boost to the intensity. At the same time, it's still remarkably smooth. The sweetness is in the front, but the majority of the flavor is in the bitter foundation. Hops are always slightly present and the malt seems well integrated.

The body is moderately full, and somewhat heavy. The finish is dry and slightly sticky.

Overall, this was a solid addition to the fullers lineup. It definitely opens up nicely as it warms up. I can't say this is one of my favorite strong ales, but it was made well and completely worth picking up.

 748 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep amber color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma consists of deep caramel malt with semi-sweet notes with light floral undertones. Taste is dominated by a solid malt backbone with a nice touch of semi-dry caramel malt with floral notes and light dry English hops. Body is quite full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Very well brewed with a solid malt backbone from a brewery whose malt presence is always to my liking.

 493 characters

Photo of mintjellie
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Burnt orange colour with light haze. Massive white head has nice retention and lace. Nose is toasted bread, caramel, orchard fruit, raisins, and alcohol. Its flavour is malty and sweet with lightly toasted bread and caramel notes. There is a big complementary ripe and juicy nectarine character, with lighter sweet apple and raisin tones. Black tea and moderate bitterness in the lingering finish. Medium-bodied with low carbonation. Very smooth, lightly syrupy, very mild alcohol warmth. Bold but approachable flavour and lovely mouthfeel, but not quite as good as the Double Stout.

 583 characters

Photo of galluch
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of Sammy
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours peachy body with one-quarter inch of retained head. Malty aroma. The taste is malty, a bit fruity, with a bit of alcohol in the finish. Only OK drinkable. A pint is too much to more than sip and nurse over a long period. Average mouthfeel. Appropriate, if not a bit over carbonated. LCBO.

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Photo of NForr
4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a beautiful dark auburn color, with a small soapy head. Slightly foggy but pretty translucent.

Smells of spicy hops, raisins, strawberry. Some citrus. Lots of caramel. Also some alcohol.

tastes of caramel, slight sweetness, lots of alcohol - but in a good way. Warms as you drink, but also good drinkability.

Mouthfeel was a nice rich full body.

Enjoyed this one quite a lot. It felt a lot like an imperial IPA, but without the heavy bitter punch. It had the richness you find in an English ale, but more complex. Very well balanced.

 546 characters

Photo of kelvarnsen
3/5  rDev -20.8%

Photo of biegaman
4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

XX Strong Ale has a golden bronze colour that, despite its brightness and clarity, was evidently not filtered and makes no secret of its bottle-conditioning. Its deep tone suggests little malt was spared and its ability to hang on to the cottony head that formed off the pour is further evidence of more than ample grain use.

The aroma is at once malty and yeasty, falling somewhere between a classic English ale and a typical Belgian offering. It has a wealth of big, bold, bready caramel malt but also plenty of ripe fruit esters, most notably the enticing scents of apricot jelly and golden raisin. Altogether it smells almost like a Calvados-infused apple crumble.

XX Strong Ale drinks like liquid bread. The flavour is not exactly complex, but with bready caramel malt and a substantial hop presence it is, however, quite gratifying. Notes of apricot, golden raisin and under-ripe pear turn up big on the palate. It has a great deal of leafy, earthy Noble-hop flavor with hardly more than a hint of bitterness.

Come for the yeast, but stay for the malt. Rare is it for such a pale beer to have such complex malt flavors. It bears repeating: they've obviously used a lot of grain. Even at 7.5% this is an incredibly refreshing, approachable ale, and dry enough to be invigorating. If you like 1845, ESB, London Pride or Vintage Ale, then this is a no-brainer.

The brewery is right in calling this a "deeply satisfying...experience for those who love traditional English beer". There's just something distinctly British about it; a beer like this can only come from a classic brewery like Fullers. The fact that you also get to sample a delicious piece of history with this rustic, robust beer is an added bonus.

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Photo of Rijtjeshuis
4.19/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

look ~ pours a light amber colour, which is really nice. Head is good: cream coloured, soapy in texture, rises pretty large (about three fingers) off a hard pour, it falls a little quickly without any lacing. There is a bit of haze, though not fully opaque.

smell ~ very similar to a nice strong english pale ale (a little like to abbot ale). Lots of fruit (dried apricots) in the bouquet, which blends pretty nicely with some sweeter caramel tones with some biscuit/breadcrust as the support and a hint of something that seems a bit like kettle caramelization. Floral/earthy hops and some hardwater finish on the end. No real alcohol heat.

taste ~ pretty similar to the aroma in the fruity-malty balance it strikes. The malt has the same biscuit/breadcrust backbone with the same melanoidin (dried apricot) flavours and caramel. The more burnt kettle caramelization is a bit more obvious on the palate. The hop profile also makes a stronger appearance: similar floral/earthy tones, with a good helping of bitterness. This, and some carbonate water taste, balances the malts really well.

feel ~ fairly light body and higher carbonation. There's a lasting feel of cloying sweetness and alcoholic warmth that wasn't really all that good.

Came off as more of a strong pale ale that it's own thing (admittedly, I don't have much experience with British style barley wines). It was deep and complex, but the long alcoholic and cloying finish kinda threw off a good thing and really hurt the drinkability more than anything else - other than that, very good!

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Photo of jwhawkins81
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tasted on 2/1/2011

Aroma - Caramel and fruity esters with very British sweet aroma overall. Slight alcohol note in the nose too.

Appearance - Golden amber with plenty of carbonation. Poured gently so not much of a head.

Taste - Sticky and not exactly malty sweetness but morish. Notes of bitterness but not a "bitter." A balance of flavors neither sweet nor bitter, definitely not bland or even one-dimensional. Alcohol isn't hidden but only plays a light part in the flavor. A subdued British beer with a muddled bitterness and a touch of alcohol.

Notes - lots of carbonation and a thick mouthfeel. While I can't say I loved this beer I did enjoy the experience which I think is the whole point of this beer. One of the bottles I brought back from the brewery.

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Past Masters XX Strong Ale from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
Beer rating: 3.79 out of 5 with 44 ratings