Fullers: Past Masters: XX Strong Ale (England: English Strong Ale: 7.5% ABV)

Visual: Mahogany amber with a surge of off white bubbles. A clear body with small degree of carbonation.

Nose: Cherries and fruitcake. Strawberry jam. Slightly sherbet style. Dry liquorice. Lemonade and ginger. Irn Bru. Lemon meringue.

Body: Full bodied. Liquorice, digestive biscuits. Strawberry jam mixes with mild hop bitterness, Slight ginger fire. Raspberry and apples. Port, scones. Somewhat fizzy and syrupy texture.

Finish: Glacier cherries and bitterness.  Liquorice again. Ginger. Madeira. Good dose of fluffy hops and bitterness. Strawberry syrup and banoffee pie.

Conclusion: Why is it that most so called traditional ales are far from traditional and instead call to recent history rather than the somewhat more impressive roots of the beer industry.  Thankfully this heavy duty beer from the annals of Fullers history goes a bit further back than most and puts paid to the idea that traditional means bland and inoffensive.

This packs in a fair ABV and flavour to match. Distinctly a Fullers ale with the fruitcake flavour and heavy malt influence, it also brings in a range of flavour beyond what most of their range can mange. Most distinctive is the fruity flavours and the strong fortified wine flavours.  Vinous yet traditional, If I had my way this would be part of their regular range, for all that its longer brewing time would probably cause them issues.  Plus it would mean I wouldn’t have to trek so far to pick it up.

Downsides – well it has a slight syrupy and fizzy feel that doesn’t bring the classiness that the other elements of the beer does, but that it probably just me being picky.  A rich fruit heavy vinous beer. Very well done.

Background: Picked up from the Fullers brewery after their tour, this beer is mainly available from the brewery shop and their website.  Apparently a recreation of a recipe from 1891. This kinda thing is always of interest to me, digging up the past and seeing how it compares.  Fullers tend to turn out good beers, though do better on their heavier beers I have found, with their lighter beers sometimes lacking in body.