Fuller: Brewers Reserve: No2: Oak Aged Ale (England: English Strong Ale: 8.2%)

Visual: Burnished amber with a small froth of off white bubbles that don’t have the hugest life.

Nose: Cognac. Black cherry and port. Overall very vinous and with notable alcohol.  Lots of grapes. Marmalade. Glacier cherries. Big malt influence.

Body:  Very rich. Fruitcake and marzipan. Lots of wine soaked raisins.  Custard doughnuts.  Slight fizzy texture. Sherbet and liquorice mix. White grapes and black cherry.

Finish: Malt loaf. Liquorice. Marmalade comes back again. Slight oak. Marzipan again. Milk chocolate covered digestive biscuits. Slight cherries and toffee.

Conclusion:  Booming is the word that comes to mind here, a word I normally use to refer to double bass or to a big whisky, but definitely appropriate.  I could also go for comparisons to the Innis and Gunn Rum Cask beer as well, which would be fair as they are both massively influenced by their time spent in the oak and deeply vinous as a result.

Despite the oak influence this is still definitely a Fuller’s beer, with all the massive fruitcake base that makes up some of the best of Fuller’s mainstream ales.  It is flavoursome, though sometimes lays things on heavily enough to be a tad sickly with the beers thick texture.  The beer tries to push everything into the foreground which makes for an amazing up front show, though it does mean that you don’t get much variation in the beer throughout its lifespan.

The oak ageing works well here, and works in a different way than all the stouts that I have seen oak aged.  It feels very much that the cognac is working alongside rather that overwriting the ale as oft happens.

A bit of a beer equivalent of a Hollywood blockbuster, very showy and very impressive, but once you are ten minutes in you pretty much know what you are getting for the full run.

This shouldn’t be taken to mean it’s a bad beer, just that it is intent on having everything it has on show at all times.  Frankly I quite enjoyed my time with it, and was glad that I grabbed a bottle while I was passing through.

Very recognisably a Fuller’s beer with the vinous ratcheted  up. It is a glitzy treat, not with the subtly of a masterpiece but still a good ale.

Background: Aged in cognac casks, this is a limited edition beer that is available mainly from Fullers website or from their brewery store. Myself I picked it up from their store after taking their Brewery Tour.  This was a beer I was expecting to play well to Fullers strengths, they tend to deal best with the heavier and more malt driven end of their spectrum. While I have had a lot of oak aged beers, I think this is a first for cognac, hopefully will be very cool.