Second Beer Of Christmas: Fuller’s Vintage Ale with Dan & Ryan

IMG_0157DERP I PUT IT IN A BOX. More money please.

You can see our last post for our true feelings on extra packaging, but it certainly does help to signify… uh… more effort in marketing. And an increase in price. There’s a lot of shit in boxes at the liquor store right now. But this is our Second Beer Of Christmas, so let’s dispense with the, y’know, long-term systems thinking and pound back some brews.

But Fuller’s is a good name I’m happy to pay a little bit extra for. Not this much extra, this is taking it in the shorts, but their Vintage Ale does offer some additional value in their limited edition numbered bottles (in this case nos 011618 & 011487 – if Goran had been in on this one I’m sure he would have loudly noted the issues non-consecutive bottles might present to a tasting). Fuller’s has been around since 1845, but beer has been brewed on the site of their West London Griffin Brewery for about 350 years. That’s some pedigree. They have dozens of brands of beer, pertinent to this discussion is their Golden Pride, which the Vintage Ale is based on, tweaked, and then bottle conditioned for about a year.

Once again, talking about beer, I’ve written a bunch of words where I don’t really know what they mean. Let’s dig in. Since this beer is a modified Fuller’s Golden Pride, and GP is a “barley wine”, we should probably know what that means.  Barley wines are a strong ales from a British tradition, usually with low hoppiness. (American barley wines appear to be embracing the current craft brewing trends for super-hopification, tho.) We learned before that beers really fall into two types, distinguished by how they ferment, which is specified by the type of yeast they use. This is an ale, meaning it’s a warm, top-fermented beverage. In this case, however, the beer is bottle-conditioned as well, meaning secondary fermentation occurred after bottling to produce carbonation. For this to happen, live yeast is included in the beverage to power this last change. Bottle conditioning can mean a beer with some sediment that precipitates out of the continuing yeast process, something to be aware of.

This is what iScotch does for you, our loyal readers. Sometimes we take it in the taste buds for you, so you don’t have to. Sometimes we take it in the wallet, in this case it was actually worth it. Here’s what we thought.

Dan – fresh, peach, cider
Simon – candy, mild berry
Ryan – fruity, citrus, caramel

Dan – caramelized peach, different from smell
Simon – smooth, fruity, big taste, slight bitter at end clears the tongue nicely
Ryan – maintains fruitiness while being heavier & thicker

Fuller’s Vintage Ale Limited Edition – 8.5% 500ml – $7.25 – England

Try it? Yes. Buy it? Yes.

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