12 Years of Beers – Fuller’s Vintage Ale

One of my longest-standing beer traditions is picking up a Fuller’s Vintage Ale from the LCBO every December. I’ve done this for probably the past 15 years or so.

12 years ago I upped my game and began purchasing more than one bottle each year. I usually would buy three bottles: one to drink right away, one to enjoy after a couple of years, and one to store away until…now.

Fuller's Vintage Ale Vertical

A 12 Year Tasting of Fuller’s Vintage Ales


I thought after I had 10 vintages I’d crack them open, but I had a nice box I was storing them in, which had two empty slots still, so I continued on until this year, where I now have 12 years of beers to enjoy for the holidays.

Starting with Fuller’s Vintage Ale 2006 and ending with Fuller’s Vintage Ale 2017, myself and some other beer people will see how things stack up year over year. What vintage do you think will come out on top? Will the 2006 still be holding up? Should I have waited even longer to do this beer vertical?

As the strength of this beer stays the same every year at 8.5%, but the mix of hops used in the recipe change, it will be interesting to see just how much variance there is from year to year. Strangely, the bottles from 2006-2012 each have a best before date of three years after they were produced. Bottles from 2013-2017 have a best before date of 10 years after they were produced. Not sure what brought about that change!

I know from my personal preferences that drinking the Fuller’s Vintage Ales when they first come out is sometimes a bit too early. They are good, but get better with a few years on them. But is 10+ years too long? We shall find out soon! I’ll be taking notes at this tasting and reporting back here soon.


About Red Hunt

A former journalist and business analyst that now works in the world of travel marketing. Based in Toronto, Red Hunt has travelled to more than 40 countries over the past 10 years. You can follow Red on Twitter @redhunttravel.