Fuller: Old Winters Ale (England: English Strong Ale: 5.3% ABV)

Visual: Bright clear mahogany, slightly bubbly with a decent brown bubbled head.

Nose: Fruitcake, cream. Nutmeg. Cinnamon and almond fingers. Caramel.

Body: Treacle, bitter, slightly frothy. Exposed oak middle. Grapefruit and cherries intermixed. Malt. Slight ovaltine.

Finish: Burnt sausages. Brown bread. Hops, grapefruit and wood shavings.

Conclusion: A fair drink, but not one with a clear idea of what it is. The nose hints at a traditional Christmas ale – fruit cake and spice. The body then plays with grapefruit as well as the more expected cherries, and the finish plays with charred and hoppy.

Each individual element works well but together they are weaker than the sum of their parts as they do mot mesh to a coherent whole.

Not bad nor brilliant, it just can’t quite work out what to do with itself.