Drinking 7 year old beer – someones got to do it

Fullers Vintage Ale 2003

Fullers Vintage Ale 2003, Drank by Krispy 2010

I was given a bottle of beer to try by my step-dad David the other week – and it was a little different to say the least!

It was a bottle of Fullers ‘Vintage Ale’ – still in its slightly mottled box.  Each year Fullers create a ‘best of the best’ ale – using their favourite ingrediants (malts and hops), and make it strong enough to last.  The bottle I had was the 2003 vintage – that’s right, 7 years old!  It was one of 50,000 made back in 2003 – and I wonder how many of that run are still left maturing.   The ale is obviously bottle conditioned (bottled with live yeast), and was bottled at 8.5%  I expect some very slow fermentation carries on – with the yeast trying to digest the more complex left over sugars, doing so with little oxygen.

The card that came with it did state a ‘legal requirement’ best before of 2006, but that could be ignored with an ale of this quality and strength, especially as it had been stored in a cool and dark garage.

Well I did what any beer fan would do – I opened it!   The ale was darker than the ‘golden’ description, and it had the aroma of .. oak and sherry.  There was still a reasonable level of carbonation – enough to give the ‘mouth feel’ you want in an ale, not enough to make it ‘fizzy’.  The flavour is hard to describe (I’m probably not really a supertaster who is good at that sort of thing);  very powerful complex flavour – you knew its % was strong, but the alcohol ‘flavour’ wasn’t too pronounced, probably after 7 years to merge with the other flavours.  I couldn’t pick out much hop, so was left with an oaky malt.

It wasn’t an easy pint to finish – one that you have to take your time with.  Not a beer I’d want to drink every day, but a real experience.

Fullers Vintage Ale 2003

The box, bottle, and insert card, about to be opened!

Author: Krispy

Webmaster of this and many websites over the years. I've been a Senior developer (Java JEE and Oracle DB, specialising in SEAM/JSF/Hibernate web development). Ex Lead Developer at New Scientist magazine, where I worked on creating a new WordPress based website, using almost 100% custom created widgets, plugins and theme. My own projects include websites created in WordPress and custom written with PHP and MySQL, and have my own dedicated linux server to run them from. Currently proud of; Mags Direct - a site I created for my work at the Frontline Group. An online magazine shop, which I created with almost zero budget within a week (since had a full theme upgrade). Found at https://magsdirect.co.uk/ Married, one cat. Beer fanatic (wife probably says bore) - real ales and craft beers. I have spent for too much on home brew gear, I create full mash craft beers. I spend a lot of time either going to gigs or organising them - I'm part of a small bunch of friends putting on DIY Punk shows called "The Scary Clown Presents..." our website can be found here; https://thescaryclownpresents.co.uk/ Also a fan of the local footy team - UP THE POSH!

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