beer reviews The Session

Session #18 – anniversary beers

This month’s session is hosted by The Barley Blog, and we’ve been asked to knock back a limited edition anniversary beer and blog about it, perhaps explaining our choice.

Well, the reason for today’s choice is quite easy – the only candidate we had in was a Fullers’ Vintage Ale from 2005. Is it more common on the other side of the pond to have limited edition beers? I can’t think of many British breweries that do it.

The trouble with these limited edition, made-for-aging beers is deciding when to drink them. The longer you’ve had them in, the harder the decision gets. You need an occasion to justify it, and what better occasion than raising a glass to fellow beer-bloggers across the globe. Oh, that and the promotion one of us got this week.

The aroma of this 8.5% beastie was overwhelmingly of alcohol, specifically a sweet sherry or Pedro Ximénez. Like PX, it coats the tongue with sugar and fruits – we got hints of apricot and cherry. We didn’t notice a lot of bitterness at the end, and in fact the finish was a little on the sour side.

I’m not sure our tasting notes bear any resemblance to what Fullers say about this vintage, suggesting perhaps that it hasn’t aged that well — or that we, and the people we bought it from, haven’t aged it very well.

Still, it left a pleasant warming feeling in the belly.

7 replies on “Session #18 – anniversary beers”

I’ve not tried the 2005 vintage, but it sounds like your bottle might have been below par – to me the sherry notes imply a bit more oxidation than you’d expect in a (relatively) young vintage ale. That and the sourness at the end probably aren’t intentional, so you could be right in thinking it was poorly stored at some point, possibly even before you bought it. Don’t give up on it though – it’s gorgeous when it’s good. I’ve got a couple of 2007 bottles stashed away, so I might drink one soon and see if I’ve got the willpower to keep the other one a few years longer.

Congrats on the promotion, btw!

Oh right. I thought by promotion you meant the Fuller’s Vintage for £1.39 promotion that everyone else was talking about earlier this week. But that was just the 2007s.

Err, congratulations.
*slinks away*

In the Richmond area, there are still a scant few ’04s lurking around and a decent amount of ’05s. I’ve got a couple bottles of each but am facing the same dilemma on when to open them.

Furthermore on that subject, it might be more common for brewers to have special releases here in the States. While it is interesting to see all these one-offs or a vintage series, it can start to get costly. I’ve been shelling out good money for beers I’m not going to touch for years!

Still on the lookout for the Fullers 2007 promotion…

I think we’ve had a 2005 before, or it may have been a 2006. We were in a Fullers’ pub and had already drunk a fair bit. I remember enjoying it very, very much, but I couldn’t tell you how much of that was due to the unique quality of the vintage, and how much was due to the number of 1845s we’d drunk just before…

I have had a 1999 and a 2002 in the last week or so( and I forgot about the Session again!), the 99 out shined the 02 significantly. The 99 had some sherry notes, a touch of cognac, loads of fruit and a Xmas cake spice character. My partner Sarah and I shared the bottle and I would rate it as being in the top one percent of beer experiences I have had.

Lumme. So it was quite good, Kieran?

We need to find somewhere better to keep our beer. I’m sure the way we’re storing it at the mo’ isn’t doing it any favours.

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