The Vintage Ale series is considered to be the crown jewel product produced by Fuller Smith & Turner and it’s always spoken highly of within the craft beer community. I have had the opportunity to sample and review the 2004 vintage and I thoroughly enjoyed it, so I would expect nothing less from the 2005.
Let’s read the description of this beer from the website, fullers.co.uk.
Vintage Ale is a truly distinguished bottle-conditioned ale, crafted by Fuller’s Head Brewer, John Keeling. Each vintage is a blend of that years’ finest malt and hops, and of course our unique yeast, creating a unique limited edition brew.
Bottle conditioning means that a little yeast is left in the bottle after bottling, which will mature slowly over time like a fine wine or whiskey – well beyond the best before date that we are obliged to state. Here at Fuller’s, we recently opened (in the interest of research, of course) a few bottles of old Vintages: they tasted better than ever so stock up now and you’ll be glad you did in years to come!
I have bottle number 44,927 of 95,000.
This brew comes in a 16.9 oz. bottle and it packs an ABV of 8.5%.
The 2005 version poured a very beautiful, deep, ruby/burgundy/brown combination of color with a tight, off white crown around the top. The head was comprised of both large and small bubbles. The retention time was not great, but the lacing looked nice. As it settled it left a thin ring across the top of the liquid. I poured very easy, which allowed very little sediment to make its way into the glass.
The nose consisted of wonderful tones of cherry and other dark fruits. It was very rich and sweet. A substantial waft of yeast (very similar to the Yorkshire Yeast found in Samuel Smith’s efforts), sour dough bread, plum pudding and raisin bread. As the brew warmed quite a bit I started to detect a light sherry note also. Man, this thing smells great. It’s harmonious and very pleasing.
The taste was exquisite. Distinct dark fruit flavors combined with a creamed wheat redolence. A very light touch of alcohol. Slight hints of caramel and vanilla along with the silky smooth yeast and sour dough breadiness make this thing ever so delightful. It’s rich and bold, however it’s balanced and even. A world class flavor to this beer in my opinion.
The mouthfeel was medium, very smooth, super creamy, dry and chewy. Only the most faint alcohol warmth was felt and believe it or not, this brew still had a good amount of carbonation. A satisfactory dose of flavor was left on the palate long after the swallow also.
What a great brew!!! The 2005 Vintage has held up superbly. What a tremendous flavor and aroma. The smoothness and ease of drinkability only add to the enjoyment of this great beer. I found this batch to be a step or two above the 2004 Vintage I had a few months back, and I thought it was an excellent beer in its own right, so now I just need to find a few more vintages to try and enjoy. This is one of the better beers I have had in awhile. I believe I could have sipped on this all day. It’s super good and worth a try if you have access to it.
Feel free to leave a comment if you have tried any of the Fullers Limited Edition Vintage Ales. I would love to hear what you thought of them.
Also, follow me on Twitter @BeerApprentice and @shrews824 or find me on Google+ (Scott Shrewsberry).
Thanks for reading everyone. Until next time.
Score: 4.55 out of 5