26 February 2009

Famous British reserve

Is Fuller's Brewer's Reserve No. 1 supposed to be about 30% cheaper than the Vintage Ale? I was surprised. Though there's probably something seriously wrong when I pay over €6 for 500ml of beer then make off into the night giggling at my crafty steal.

Anyhoo, this is a new one from the iconic Chiswick brewer, and is presumably the first in a series of limited edition ales they're planning to produce. As I mentioned not so long ago, barrels are in. This 7.7% ABV ale has served nearly a year and a half in whisky casks. To be honest, I don't think they did it a whole lot of good.

You get a very clear amber ale with an off-white head. The nose is slightly sour and lambicky, and there's a definite tartness on the first sip. However, it really makes you work to find the vanilla and whisky notes, unlike 1488 which shoves them right in your gob. On the plus side, I enjoyed the slight scotch-like throat burn, but overall I think I'm siding more with this Englishman than this one.

Having expected some sort of huge sticky, woody monster, I feel I got off lightly with what's really quite an understated easy-drinking ale, one which also rewards slow sipping. But I do think the price is just a bit on the high side. At €10, Fuller's Vintage 2007 represents better value, in my opinion.


  1. DrJohn1:27 pm

    Interesting comments TBN; I have a bottle of the same on my shelf (also a "reg'lur" Fullers Vintage ale). I plan on keeping them for a special occasion (like a Friday, fo instance!)

  2. It's definitely a Friday evening job rather than a first-born's-graduation-as-a-master-brewer sort of beer.

  3. The scotch I drank with this beer was what really opened it up to me. Once the the whisky notes were gone the hops jumped out. It was like getting two beer for the (excessive) price of one.I wouldn't have enjoyed it as much without the Scotch.

    The beer doesn't deserve the pomp of a fancy box and such. As you said it is easy going and doesn't really warrant being savoured in any way, save for the heading kicking 7.7% abv.

  4. Anonymous1:36 pm

    I really wasn't impressed with this beer, possibly the most disapointing beer that I have had in a wee while.

    Too close to the dreaded innis and gunn beers for my comfort - such a shame.

  5. Yeah, I've a boxed Innis & Gunn special editiony thing in my attic and I'm trying to pluck up the courage to open it.

  6. "rewards slow sipping" it certainly does and I found each mouthful a new experience.