Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Fuller's Vintage Ale (2008 edition)

Fill date: 2008

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 17D English Barleywine

AROMA: Malty sweet with prominent dark fruit aromas of plum and cherry. There is a subtle orange scent as well possibly from the hops. Noticeable confectionery component (toffee, caramel, vanilla) as well due to the high malt content and alcohol. Surprisingly no overt or distracting oxidation. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Murky, opaque garnet/brown hue (27-34 SRM). Small, off-white suds mostly dissipate. 2/3

FLAVOR: Luscious malt complexity creates for an almost cloyingly sweet palette. Very strong confectionery flavors of caramel, butterscotch, and toffee make for a liquid candy bar experience. There is a firm fruity presence as well in the form of prunes, raisins, cherry and a bit of orange. Bitterness is quite low due to the age of the bottle, but hop presence is still noticeable to the trained palate. Though complex and delectable, actual robustness is a bit tame compared to a fresh barleywine. Oxidation is remarkably subtle and blends with the natural flavors of the brew well. 18/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; moderately-low carbonation (both characteristics have likely declined with age). Soft, smooth texture. Malty-sweet aftertaste. Alcohol is smooth with a gentle warming sensation at 8.5% ABV. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Amazing how well this bottle has held up after a decade. It likely peaked a few years ago, but was probably perfect at one point. 9/10

TOTAL SCORE: 43/50

NOTE: See my review of a 2014 vintage here: http://www.chadzbeerreviews.com/2015/05/fullers-vintage-ale-2014-edition.html

NOTE: Here's a video review Jay and I did of this beer back in 2009!

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