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Oct 2023

Vintage Ale 2023, Fullers

Added: Monday, October 2nd 2023

Style Strong Pale Ale ABV 8.5%

Vintage Ale 2023 (8.5%)

This the moment beer lovers look forward to with keen anticipation, the equivalent of the arrival of the new vintage of Bordeaux wine from France. Every year since 1997 Fuller’s has launched a new vintage ale in October and, unlike French claret, the brewery uses different malts and hops to present new aromas and flavours to drinkers.

The 2023 vintage is made with pale malt and DRC, which stands for double roasted crystal malt. Crystal malt is a member of the caramalt range of brewing grains that are not fermentable but which add rich nutty, caramel and butterscotch notes to beer. Crystal is a stewed malt: wet malt is moved to a kiln and heated without ventilation. This causes the malt sugars to crystalise into hard, unfermentable dextrins. DRC is the result of the grain being heated to a higher temperature to achieve the colour and flavour required.

The hops this year are all-English – Archer, Opus and CF185. The last named is a new variety that has not yet been given a name.

The beer is bottle conditioned and will improve with age: it’s always worth buying at least two bottles and laying one or two aside for ageing. The beer has rich dark fruit – raisins and sultanas – on the nose with butterscotch and a hint of coconut and floral and spicy hops. Butterscotch, roasted grain, fruity hops and orange fruit from the house yeast dominate the palate. The finish is bittersweet with bitter hops building but balanced by roasted rain, tart fruit and butterscotch.

The beer is available from selected branches of Waitrose or online from £7 a bottle.

The following Fuller's pubs have Vintage Ale on draught:

Castle, Harrow

Counting House, Cornhill

Foresters, Ealing

George IV, Chiswick

Harp, Covent Garden

Old Custom House, Gunwharf Quay

Old Fish Market, Bristol

Old Pack Horse, Chiswick

Ox Row, Salisbury

Patridge, Bromley

Plough Inn, Ealing

Red Lion, Barnes

Red Lion Hotel, Hillingdon

Roebuck, Birmingham

Victoria, London W2

Wykeham Arms, Winchester

Old Mitre, London EC1

Vintage Ale 2023, Fullers