I’ve had the opportunity to try a few of these before and they have been very enjoyable and tasty beers. I’m sure this one will be as well. This particular vintage is also the tenth anniversary series.
Now, the description 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’m lucky enough to have bottle number 118,179 out of 150,000.
It comes in a 16.9 oz. bottle and it has an ABV of 8.5%.
The beer poured a murky brown to caramel color. It had a light tan head that was of suitable size. It was soft, smooth and creamy. The retention time was excellent and the lacing was quite satisfactory. While sipping though, it dissipated to nearly nothing, but I did start to notice the clear alcohol rings on the sides of the snifter. All in all, a very nice looking beer.
At first this brew smelled of sweet grapes and prunes. Very similar to grape juice or prune juice. After a few moments however, it started to reveal wonderful aromas of caramel and substantial amounts of yeast and lightly toasted breads. A very relaxed amount of woodiness or oak was noticed too and it seemed to fit the bouquet very nicely. Like the others vintages I’ve tried, this one smelled really good.
The dark fruits subsided even more in the taste. They were still there, but the maltiness really stepped it up a notch and became the star of the show. The caramel became more vibrant and the yeast more refined. The breadiness revealed a very pleasant “toastiness” that really gave the flavor a kind of “baked fruit loaf” type of flavor. The sweetness was spot on and not cloying in the least. The “woodiness” was quite restrained, but still duly noted. Only a very light alcohol note was found too. This brew really did have an outstanding taste and it only got better with each sip.
The mouthfeel was a solid medium bodied. It was dry, super smooth, slightly chewy and very creamy. The carbonation was still excellent considering the age of the beer. A gentle warmth was felt at the very back end and a sturdy dose of flavor was left behind after the sip.
Well, this was another great beer by Fullers. I love these Vintage Ales. They are each a tad different and unique while remaining considerably similar. The balance and the smooth, round profile is what really stood out with this one. It was a joy to sip. I use the word “sip” lightly because the drinkability was superb. I tried not to rush through it, but I found myself taking bigger and bigger gulps as I went along. As with prior reviews of these beer that I’ve done, I would highly recommend picking up any vintage year and seeing how you like it. I doubt that you will be disappointed.
Thanks for reading and commenting guys. I really appreciate it.
Until next time. Cheers.
Score: 4.3 out of 5