Beer Background
Vuelio Top 10 Blog 2020 Award
Dec 2018

Fuller's Vintage Ale 2018, Fullers

Added: Saturday, December 1st 2018

Style Barley Wine ABV 8.5%

Fuller’s Vintage Ale is awaited every year with the keen anticipation afforded to the latest claret from Bordeaux. The 22nd vintage is a special one as it’s the first to be produced by head brewer Georgina Young, who has succeeded the just-retired and legendary John Keeling.

The beer is made with different malts and hops every year though, as Georgina stresses, the ingredients must be drawn from the UK. The grains this year are Maris Otter pale malt and crystal malt and the principal hops are a blend of new and old. The new variety is called Olicana and it’s joined by a hop called Ernest, an old variety recently discovered and grown again.

But two hops aren’t sufficient and Georgina has blended in Challenger, Goldings, Northdown and Target as well. The finished beer is 8.5 per cent, amber/red with marzipan, nougat, custard cream biscuits, walnuts and spicy hops on aroma and palate, with a long, complex finish that weaves between rich grain, fruit and spicy hops.

A few years ago I spent a memorable hour in John Keeling’s office at Fuller’s Chiswick brewery, sampling every Vintage Ale and marvelling at how they had improved and deepened their flavours over the years. With beers like this, it’s worth buying a couple and keeping one for a few years.

Waitrose £6 or order online from

Fuller's Vintage Ale 2018, Fullers