papajohn (1340) - San Diego (Mira Mesa), California, USA - SEP 3, 2002
UPDATED: JUN 14, 2004 1999 Vintage, Bottle #74280 sampled 9/3/02 to commerate my Centennial: This is my kind of brew!!! Cloudy apricot color. Small quickly demishing head. Flavor is complex: Sweet malt, mild bitterness, peach, sherry, honey, etc. Warms the face as well as the tummy. Lingering mouth watering aftertaste. Even smoother as it warms.
2000 Vintage, Bottle #72749 sampled 1/02/03, my first review of 2003: Pours a beautiful amber/copper color with a fluffy white head. Tiny bubbles rise to the surface. The nose is brandy like. Flavor: Start is syrupy sweet caramel, toffee and a little harshness from the alcohol (sometimes I like it a little rough around the edges) much like a barleywine, finish is smooth and sweet with a slight hop bite. Lingering mouth watering aftertaste. Warms your face as well as your tummy. 9/5/8/4/18 4.4 PhillyBeer2112 (2894) - Oviedo, Florida, USA - SEP 3, 2002
(1999 tasted in 2001). Nice lightish red color
with med carbonation, head and lacing.
Excellent balanced aroma: Rich dark fruit
but restrained compared to some more overwhelming
examples. A bit peppery, plus a tinge of
grassy almost spicy hops - probably faded some
from age. Flavor similar: restrained yet rich
fruitiness, a bit peppery, good balancing bitterness.
Full mouthfeel. Slight alcohol warmth. You can
feel it after finishing this big bottle. Addendum 1999 tasted September 2002: hardly any changes in the above review. A noted fruitiness and full malt palate, peppery spiciness, and smooth finish. Noticeable alcohol presence. herbjones (742) - Orange, California, USA - AUG 31, 2002
Bottle#83661. First let me say, anyone in Orange County should visit Hollingshead deli regularly. The elder Hollingshead has a stash of vintage brews that get broken out every now and then that makes it worthwhile. Now on to the beer. Pours a beautiful deep amber with a thick head. Nose is of thick sweet malt with just a hint of hop. I kinda expected this to taste like the other vintages but not so. Big mouthfeel with a sweetness at first but followed up quickly by a hop bite that just cuts through enough to bring a great balance to this beer. Very deserving of its spot in the top 50. Gusler (2652) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - AUG 23, 2002
Bottle #71069: Pours a deep amber, slight haze, head is frothy, large, beige, lace is thick sheets. Nose, deep sweet malt, hints of alcohol, light caramel undertones. Front sweet malt, the top is full to medium, the finish is hop laden, dry, acidic, and as with all its 'Brothers/Sisters' a real 'Belly Warmer'. I must agree with the previous raters, as much as I like the rest, this 'Vintage' seems much better. Ranks #101 on my current 1000 beer master list. kmeves (1098) - Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, USA - AUG 19, 2002
UPDATED: AUG 1, 2007 Bottle 57260: Pour is cloudy and produces a quickly dissipating gray head. Aroma is nutty. Initial flavor has a hint of plum and spices which transforms into sweet malty aftertaste. This brew tastes strong and warms the chest!
Nuffield (4199) - Roseville, Minnesota, USA - AUG 6, 2002
UPDATED: JAN 22, 2005 Bottle #54285, opened on 5 August 2002. Bottle opened to a burst of head out of the bottle--quick...to the sink....! (compares in this respect to the Tickle Brain strong ale.) First aroma is of dried fruit, first taste of sweetness. As others have experienced it, so too did I find this easier to drink and much more enjoyable as it went on. It is tough to say whether that is because of changing flavors or simply the effect of the alcohol. Whereas my initial reactions focused on the acidic and sweet quality of the beer (plus the relative strength of the alcoholic flavor), this mellowed out nicely and I started to concentrate more on the flavors: hops, caramel, raisins, grapes, malts. Nevertheless, I could never get past the notion, swimming around my brain, that perhaps the 1845 was Fullers’ more interesting and enjoyable beer. Heresy? Perhaps. I think perhaps I just spent too long in England to really look in wonder at a beer such as this--I think I’m a bit jaded regarding English strong ales. // I re-tried the 1999 on 21 Jan 2005, with the 2002 - 2004 also being consumed in a vertical. This beer truly did exceed the other vintages. Absolutely lovely and surprisingly rich in aromas and flavor. A perfect marriage of caramel and alcohol, and very invigorating. Bottle #67363. raindog (560) - Evansville, Indiana, USA - AUG 4, 2002
UPDATED: JUN 30, 2003 Beautiful color with milky,long lasting head.Lacey,perfectly beaded!Fruity,vinous,aromas.Slightly hoppy&oxidized aromas.Caught this one just in time.Silky,smooth,thick,palate.Big time malts with a dry,vinous finish.Sweetness and fruitiness are balanced perfectly. Still some hops(soft) in the finish also,with the slightest alcohol showing.Real tasteful alcohol presence. MaxPower (961) - St. Louis, Missouri, USA - JUL 31, 2002
Sweet fruity malt aroma,minimal head, smooth and creamy mouthfeel,sweet malty taste.
Inveigler (371) - Ferndale, Michigan, USA - JUL 23, 2002
There are few things better in life better than having your lips physically stick to the glass after drinking a fine barley wine or strong ale. This brew is extremely sweet and reminds me of a glass of Drambouie. Complex and spicy, I would highly recommend this brew. Bring it to a spring picnic and drink it under a tree as the sun sets and the world cools. heykevin (1287) - Decorah, Iowa, USA - JUL 22, 2002
Served at cellar temp. First impressions; sweet alcoholic aroma, with some hops (fuggles?) there as well. First few sips, actually first two thirds of the beer, sweet, not complex, what is the fuss about. and them boom, like a switch was thrown on, and bam the flavors start to dance. Dark fruits give way to soaring maltiness. Hops stay in the background, but assert their presence. Very nice.