Fuller’s Vintage Ale (2011)

It’s pretty rare that I go back and review a brew that I’ve had before, even though it’s from a different vintage. This was a beer, actually, the entire lineup, seriously floors me. When Kate brought this one home for me, I was very excited. I’ve come to expect nothing but liquid bliss from this brewery. Let’s take a trip across the pond…


ABV: 8.5%

Style: Old Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Vintage Ale is a truly distinguished bottle-conditioned ale, crafted by Fuller’s Head Brewer, John Keeling. Each vintage is a blend of that year’s 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 whisky – well beyond the ‘best before’ date that we are obliged to state (we think it should read ‘best after!’). Here at Fuller’s, we recently opened (in the interests 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!”

Random: I love the food that Ina Garten makes, but I find her on-air personality grating.

This one poured with a huge, three finger, fluffy, cream-colored head. It took forever to dissipated and left lots of pretty lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, burnt orange color. The nose presented with smoke and caramel malt. It was jolly good…or whatever the Brits say. The taste had some oak and a bit of smoke. It also had toffee and biscuit and a touch of vanilla. It wasn’t overly sweet, but definitely had a malt presence. The booze was really hidden in the thick body. The carbonation was plentiful. The finish was long. I really like this one. An absolutely pleasure to drink.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Fuller’s London Porter

Another quick review before I go to bed. This is from a six-pack that Katie picked up for me. Isn’t she so thoughtful? She actually read my reviews to try to pick out beers for me. This beer will also mark the last beer of my English beer theme. Next up? Six California beers…with some other stragglers thrown in before I break out some Irish themed beers for St. Patrick’s Day. So, onto the brew!

ABV: 5.4%

Style: English Porter

Trivia: According to wikipedia.com, “Fuller’s London Porter. London Porter is available in pasteurised 50 cl bottles and in Fuller’s tied houses as a seasonal cask ale.”

Random: I cant believe that Santorum is getting so many votes. Ugh.

This brew poured with a full finger of tan head on top of a dark brown body with moderate visible carbonation despite the color. The nose was absolutely divine on this brew. It was filled with roasted malts, chocolate and a bit of coffee. The taste was just as amazing as the nose. It started with a healthy dose of roasted malts, milk chocolate, coffee and a hint of sweetness. As I sipped on the brew, there was also a hint of smoke. The body was thicker than what I’m used to for a porter, but it really worked for this beer. The mild carbonation on the taste also helped with the complexity of the brew. The finish was actually pretty quick on the brew with hints of chocolate and coffee. This beer was nothing short of amazing. The body was perfect and the flavors delivered. Most definitely one of the best porters that I ever had. Another shining star from Fuller’s.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0

Fuller’s Vintage Ale (2009)

Today, Katie took me to the best brunch in New Jersey at the Molly Pitcher Inn. It was absolutely amazing. There was so much food and the desserts especially were so yummy. They had this oreo cheesecake, complete with an oreo crust. I think I gained about 10 pounds from it, but it was definitely worth it. I spent the rest of the day doing some homework and such. Now, it’s most definitely beer time.

ABV: 8.5%

Style: Old Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Vintage Ale is a truly distinguished bottle-conditioned ale, crafted by Fuller’s Head Brewer, John Keeling. Each vintage is a blend of that year’s finest malt and hops, and of course our unique yeast, creating a unique limited edition brew.”

Random: I’ve read some really great reviews about this beer. Especially this vintage.

This brew poured with a thick, two finger, off-white head that dissipated quickly and shockingly left no lacing on the glass. The body was a cloudy burnt orange color with moderate visible carbonation on it. The nose had some dark fruit, booze and sweet malt. If I didn’t know what type of beer this was, I would say it smelled more like a barleywine. The taste was very complex. Initially, I got some sweet caramel and toffee notes, but then goes into a bit of dark fruit, vanilla, and then finishes with a bit of warming due to booze, but nothing overwhelming. Everything worked really well in this beer. The mouthfeel was almost silky with perfect carbonation. It reminded me of a port…definitely a sipping beer. The finish lasted awhile and allowed me to savor each sip. Wow…now I really understand why I read all the amazing reviews of this beer. It really is that good. The two years of aging probably allowed the booze to mellow with all of the other flavors. Pick this one up if you see it.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0

Fuller’s London Pride

The second British brew for the night. I don’t know why I’ve avoided British beers. I mean, at least with IPAs I know why. I tend to really enjoy the bolder flavors of an American IPA compared to a British one, but in terms of other styles, I really need to start expanding. Let’s see how this one goes.

ABV: 4.7%

Style: English Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery, “London Pride, Fuller’s flagship beer, was crowned the Supreme Champion at the 2000 International Beer and Cider competition. London Pride was named Champion Best Bitter at the CAMRA Great British Beer Festival in 1995, and in 1979 when it also achieved the ultimate accolade of Beer of the Year. It also received the gold medal at the 2002 and 2001 International Beer and Cider competitions. Additionally, judges awarded the bronze medal to London Pride at the 2002 Great British Beer Festival in the Best Bitter category.”

Random: I hate when drag queens look better in a dress than me. It’s almost annoying…

The brew poured with a half a finger of off white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, mahogany color with very low carbonation. The nose definitely had some malt to it, coupled with some floral hops and a mineral scent to it. This was definitely more subtle of a pale ale than I was used to. The taste had a good combination of clean malt, dry grain, earthy hop and biscuit with a clean and quick finish. The body was thin with low carbonation. It was also very crisp and very clean. Although I prefer the American counterpart to the pale ale, this one was really nice and probably the best one I’ve had of the style. I’d definitely have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Fuller’s ESB

As I’ve mentioned before, I worked on a project where I compiled all of the data of styles and breweries that I’ve reviewed so far. What I found was something that I knew already. I tend to stay in my comfort zone and I favor American breweries and my favorite styles. So, what I’ve decided to do is start doing weekly themes for reviews. So, for this week, I’ll be reviewing some British beers, which I really haven’t had a lot of. The first one up is this bad boy…

ABV: 5.9%

Style: Extra Special/Strong Bitter

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “ESB’s reputation as the best British beer around is borne out by the amazing number of awards it has won. The US Beverage Tasting Institute named ESB ‘World Champion Bitter’ in 1997 and 1998. ESB received the Gold Medal in the Premium Ales category at the 2003 International Beer Competition and a Silver medal in the same event in 2004. In addition, ESB won another Silver in the Strong Bitter category at the 2002 Great British Beer Festival. And no beer has won more CAMRA awards, including Best Strong Ale in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1987 and 1991, and Champion Beer of Britain in 1978, 1981 and 1985.”

Random: I haven’t watched much Ru Paul’s Drag Race until tonight, which is unfortunate, because this season it’s hilarious.

First of all, I really loved the bottle that this brew came in. It was definitely a bit different than I was used to. The beer itself poured with a half a finger of pure white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, burnt orange color with mild, visible carbonation. The nose started with a bit of biscuit and toffee and some grassy hops. The taste started for me with a bit of a mineral flavor, but then went into some toffee and fruity hops. After a few sips, I also got a bit of toasted grain, which as I drank it became the dominant flavor. This was a very crisp beer and very clean. The booze was not a factor and the body was medium with moderate carbonation. The finish lingered with the mineral flavor and the toasted grains. This brew was amazing to me. The flavors were on point and really clean, which made this a really amazing brew. I really didn’t think that this beer would knock my socks off, and I was definitely surprised. Without question, I’ll be having this one again.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0