This beer has become something of a Christmas tradition for me, but then I guess that’s the idea of it. Released in a box every November, the Fullers Vintage series has been going since 1997 and are produced using what Fuller’s consider to be the ‘best ingredients’ of the year. We were lucky enough this year to interview Fuller’s Director of Brewing John Keeling and that makes this year’s beer just that little bit more special for me.
The packaging on this series is beautiful. Not only does it come in a box with a description of the year’s ingredients, but the bottles are individually numbered and also have a seal on the cap. These Fuller’s bottles are still in the ‘old’ style and haven’t yet been upgraded (I for one hope they don’t).
Upon opening the aroma is all fruit cake (or Christmas cake if you want to put a topical spin on it). There are the dark spices and fruit flowing out of the bottle. The pour is dark amber, lovely consistency and a perfect frothy white head. The first sip is sweet with the fruit cake flavours coming through on every wave. But there’s something else, something from my childhood. My Dad would bake a Christmas cake every September. Then every week it would get soaked in brandy. Every week until Christmas. I was too young to ever get to try the cake but the aroma and flavours remind me of my Dad’s 4-month brandy basting of a Christmas cake and I can’t help but smile as I enjoy every drop. Towards the end as it’s warmed you wouldn’t be mistaken if you thought this was an impy stout such is the finish and then right at the end it’s all gone a bit barley wine. Another stunning vintage from Fuller’s.
It’s the big day tomorrow and big days deserve big beers. None bigger this year than Beavertown’s Ger’onimo, an imperial stout aged in Jameson’s Whiskey Casks. In the meantime, check out what else has been going on through Storify below (or on our Storify page) and check the ‘blog directory’ here for the latest writings.