damerell: (booze)
[personal profile] damerell posting in [community profile] beer4breakfast
Every year, Fuller, Smith and Turner do a Vintage Ale; it's always a strong beer, practically a barley wine, about 8.5%, but the ingredients are their pick of the year, so they vary from year to year. Amusingly, it has a best-before date, but says "Although we are obliged to state a best before date [...] will improve with age for many more years", which is pretty accurate.

They started in 1997, but we only found out about it in 2007; we buy two dozen each year, lay down [1] 20, open 2 from this year and 2 from each previous year [2], and save two for boozemergencies. However, it turns out the brewery shop stocks a lot of previous years, and we bought a chunk more bottles and made it retroactive for '06, '05, '04, '02. Some rascals have drunk all the '03, and I'd never seen any previous year except one bottle of '99 which we split in 2009.

Except last week, where I went in and found a whole stack of '00. "Oh", they say, "we found a bunch of them in a storeroom. We didn't know we had them". I came away with four because that's all the space I had in my luggage...

Anyway, the point of this rambling post is to say - I don't know what availability is like where you are (wherever you are, I guess mostly Leftpondia from the previous posts I've read here), and they're all worth a go, but I meant to write up the annual tasting one of these years to make recommendations. I didn't do this this year, but I can tell you the '06 and '07 were the best we opened, and they're not quite as pricey as earlier years; if the opportunity arises, snap them up. Sometimes people in the US sell them on ebay under the "collectible bottle" rule (which they're breaking, but who cares?)

[1] I crawl under my bed with the dust and spiders and put them where there's room. It's not like I have a cellar or anything. :-)

[2] Not all on the same day, obviously!
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