Tag Archive: Fuller


Fullers Vintage Ale: 2000 (England: English Strong Ale: 8.5% ABV)

Visual: Hazy red brown with roiling clouds within. Toffee steamy colours at the edges. Solid banoffee pie coloured creamy head.

Nose: Fruitcake and port. Sour grapes. Massively powerful aroma. Marzipan. Banana and chocolate. Honey. Very vinous. Shortbread.

Body: Fruitcake. Dates. Glacier cherries and liquorice.  Raisins. Figs.  Slight tart sourness. Ginger beer at the back. Shortbread and slightly herbal.

Finish: Liquorice. Rum. Raisins and cherries. Digestive biscuits.  Grapes. Quite dry after a while.

Conclusion: God damn this is an old beer and you can tell. Massively vinous, hugely smooth, chock full with fruitcake flavour. Its been aged so long  that it has gained a sour tartness which may or not be considered an improvement depending on your preferences.

By this point a beer is usually viewed as being a tad over aged, and with the slight brackishness and strong liquorice it could be argued to be so here, however the oddities leads to such a full of character beer that I find it hard to care that its been technically out too long.

It’s odd that I enjoy this so much, as the young versions of the Vintage Ale haven’t really hit me as being much superior to 1845, but this is so vinous and eclectic that you would have to work hard not to enjoy it. It’s like that crotchety old granddad you love. He really should annoy you with the things he says, but the quirks that could cause anger are also what make you feel so happy in their presence.

Very big, very fun, very quirky. I’d probably not age this long myself, but since I bought it pre aged – rock on.

Background: Drunk 2012.  I’d picked this up as part of an order to get a beer for my next “Thus Drank Zarathustra” review, and was shocked to find out they had vintages going back to 2000 available. So I grabbed one. I wasn’t planning to review it for a while but limpd over at “It’s just the booze dancing” was asking on advice on if he should age his Vintage Ale. So what could a beer aphorist do but break out the bottle and help out a fellow drinker. Fullers is a pretty solid brewery and definitely works better at the more heavy duty beers than the lighter ones.  This beer has a best before date of 2003.  Oops. Also this is a full pint bottle, not the more common 500ml you get these days.

Its that time again. Thus Drank Zarathustra. Again as these take a while to make all feedback or help in getting the word out is appreciated. Enjoy

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.

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.

 

Fullers: Jack Frost (England: ESB: 4.5% ABV)

Visual: Mahogany red, toffee bubbled head that is solid and of decent size.

Nose: Quite a big dose of blackcurrant. Malty and quite syrupy. Slight pistachio nuts in there mixed with fruitcake.

Body: A solid bitterness, impressive considering how sweet the nose is. Blackcurrant juice is there but subdued. Raisins. Quite thick texture and decent amount of malt.

Finish: Fruitcake, chocolate. Slight bitter hop character. Fortified wine. Slight grapes and blackcurrant again.

Conclusion: Every time I have this beer I’m surprised. I always remember liking it, but when I look at that somewhat gimmicky and gaudy label I think “Nah, I must be getting it confused with some other Fuller beer I enjoyed”

However each time I am wrong. This Christmas (Yes its June I know, shut up) beer plays well to the heavy fruitcake style that Fullers does well.  The nose may not have helped dispel my first impressions, being slightly sickly sweet, but the main beer is much more solidly built. The blackcurrant is but one element to the robust beer. It is still quite sweet, but managed to not get sickly.

It is still going to be sweeter than a lot of Real Ale fans are going to prefer, but it’s a charming beer to me.  Not a classic of complexity like say their 1845, but it does play with a lot of flavours from the same toolbox.  A fun seasonal beer, and underneath the sweetness a darn solid one as well.

Background: Yes it’s a Christmas beer. Yes I’m aware Christmas was over about six months back.  Then again considering how late all the winter beers were released this year I’d say I’m only keeping up with their schedule.  Oddly I didn’t pick this beer up on my recent trip to Fullers brewery. I just happened to have it around so thought it would be a good time to bring it out.  Also yes, I know, that’s a half pint glass, I broke the pint glass a bit back and I’ve yet to be non lazy enough to get a new one.  I’m terrible I know.

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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.

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