Thursday, December 5, 2013

Fuller's Vintage Ale 2012 (United Kingdom - London)

Fuller's Vintage Ale 2012 (United Kingdom - London) 8.5%

Just on the amber side of gold and barely cloudy with not much of a head, although I am pour it out in dribs and drabs so that I can savour this beer that I have been saving for more than a year. Sweet, nectary, peach and apple pie aroma. Apple because of some esters but pie because of the sweet, somewhat roasty malt flavours. Subdued but solid resiny hops, earth tones and a touch of alcohol blends this all together tantalizingly.

Sweetly sugary but with malt tones like barley candy, dried fruit flavours (dates, raisins) and lingering peach or marmalade tones. These sweet flavours are grounded with spicy, herbal hops tones and medium bitterness. The aftertaste is slightly bitter, earthy, with a caramelized sweetness and leather hints with a faint lingering touch of that marmalade flavour. I think the flavour of Fuller's Vintage Ale 2012 is truly delightful. If I had to describe it in only one sentence I'd describe it as such: a lighter body and perhaps slightly sweeter barley wine but with all the complexity. Bear in mind that barley wines are among my favourite beer styles of all time so this is high praise indeed.

On the strength of Fuller's Vintage Ale 2012's flavour I plan to pick up two or three of their 2013 (and 2014 and 2015 and ...) edition: one for a year from now; one for a vertical tasting with a one-year-old 2014; and one for a vertical tasting with a one-year-old 2015 and two-year-old 2014. Vertical tastings take a long horizon and a good deal of planning and foresight (not to mention a place to actually properly store the beer) so I still haven't done a proper one (once, out of luck I managed to find a few Orval bottles at an NB Liquor store that were bottled eight months apart) but this beauty of a beer from more than twelve months ago has convinced me that it has to happen.

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