Action Figures & Their Beers: A Vintage Year!

by Beedo Sookcool
on 2011-04-06, 17:00:45

FULLER’S VINTAGE 2010

To celebrate Creature Cantina’s special 10th Anniversary, I’ve bumped this special ale up the schedule a bit. Firstly, let me just get this out of the way: Oh! Em! Eff! Gee! Right, on with the review . . . .

It turns out Fuller’s brewery has been churning out annual “Vintage” batches since 1997. Each expensive, individually-numbered bottle of these limited-run beers comes in its own heavy, high-quality cardboard box with a little card that gives the history of the Vintage lines of years past, and lots of explanatory text in fancy fonts. Swanky! It turns out that some of the batches are of very low production run, and are highly valuable. Great. Just what I need in my life: collectable beer! My brain may very well implode.

The Vintage editions are bottle-conditioned, which means they should only improve with age. (It also means you have to decant them into a glass and be careful when doing so.) So in theory, the longer you hold onto these puppies, the better they’ll be when you finally pop ’em open. Great, now if I could accurately predict the time of my death, I’d load up on these and toast the Grim Reaper with what should theoretically be the finest suds in brewing history, swallowing the last mouthful as he finishes the follow-through with his scythe.

At a whopping 8.5% ABV, this is near the top of the potency scale of beers I’ve reviewed so far (it’s also at the top of the kriffing price scale, too!), and if the wait-and-see approach works, it will only get stronger and better with time. If that’s the case, then I’ll probably die of pleasure from the bottles I’ll save for my death-bed. ’Cause the stuff I opened up to sample for the review on 18 January 2011 is already tied with Admiral’s Ale, Golden Glory, and the Brew Dog crowd for the best beers I’ve ever drunk. Even at 8.5% ABV, it’s astoundingly mellow; the hops are detectable, but they’re not overpowering. It’s slightly citrusy, with a warm, sugary-brandy-butter sort of aftertaste with no bitterness. Some beers I chug, the really good beers I nurse. This one, I savoured. While St. Austell and Brew Dog make equally delicious and/or potent beer, this stuff is a rare, painstakingly crafted treat to be appreciated for what it is. This is a step beyond brewmastery. This is brewwizardry. And to think these are the same people that make ESB, which Bill ain’t a huge fan of, and I’d place in the cloud of equal-quality middling beers that predominate the market over here. Y’know that crack I made earlier in the paragraph about the price of this stuff? Well, you get what you pay for. It’s worth it, even at £3.44 (US$5.51 at the time of writing) per bottle!

The year 2010 marks a run of 125,000 bottles of this line. (And I think I’ve managed to snag every bottle that made it into the Torbay area.) This year, it’s produced using Tipple malted barley, Golding and Fuggle hops, then further dry-hopped with Golding and Target varieties, and fermented with Fuller’s own yeast strain. Fine. Jim-dandy, hunky-dory, and ginger-peachy. Just so long as they keep doing that voodoo that they do so well. The 2010 Vintage Fuller’s naturally gets accompanied by the entire 2010 Vintage Star Wars line of figures. Bill suggested it would be even more impressive if I were to use the full line-up of “Vintage 100” figures. This is an excellent and most salient point, with just one drawback: I’ve only got, like, six Actual Vintage figures left, and apart from the two Jawas, they’ve all been defrocked or cannibalised for customs.

Drink this if you also like: Admiral’s Ale, Brew Dog, or any other outstanding beers. Taylor’s of New York Extra Dry Champagne, Pre-1996 Vintage. The beer that they serve in Asgard when they want a change from mead. Full-on, self-indulgent luxury. Beer bliss.





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