Review 01/10 (’05)
2005 Vintage, over four years old. Bottle #47750.
The aroma that is produced as soon as the bottle is opened is very intense. Quite a lot of sweet alcohol rises into the nostrils and it seems more potent than I remember in years gone by.
Pour still gives that slightly clouded, iced-tea look with a large bubbled head.
The sweet, toffee, caramel seems to have intensified and again I’m surprised by the presence of alcohol and how it makes such a strong appearance.
There also is a sneaky, spicy pepper that enters the fray – pretty interesting and odd.
All in all at this age the 2005 vintage seems to have a few tricks up its sleeve. It gave me one or two experiences (in the strong aroma, pronounced alcohol and peppery notes) that I wasn’t anticipating. All against the backdrop of the usual malt based intensity that I expected.
Review 06/08 (’06)
I STILL get excited about opening & drinking this beer. This sitting is a 2006 vintage; number 72411.
I don’t care what you say about this beer, it just keeps getting richer and more drinkable over time. The depth of the beer is extraordinary, and at the same time it is amazingly simple. This is just a HIGH class example of English brewing, and to be honest one of the VERY few English beers that actually holds its own in the bottle across the Atlantic.
Heaps of sherry and maderia notes come in wave after wave, and this is now coupled with a beautiful warming finish. The lace on the glass is exquisite (and better than I remember from the past), so I have bumped up the apearance score accordingly.
The nose also seems richer than ever with a liquor based marzipan dominating.
Review 12/06 (’04)
The 2004 vintage; number 76293 out of 95000.
$6.95 Liquor Barn, Lexington, KY, USA.
A little less clarity in the pour in December 2006 than I have seen in younger versions, and the lacing and head are not so spectacular (still good) as they have been in the past.
Outside of the appearance, much the same. Classic English bitter with everything hyped up. I know this is classified as an Old Ale – and it gets the style in terms of the amped-up alcohol and complexity, but it still maintains the wonderful biscuit malt balance that is typical of a simple English pint of bitter. Could you imagine this in a cask-aged version????
Still delicious, still magnificent.
Fuller Smith & Turner PLC