Action Figures & Their Beers - Vintage 2012
by Beedo Sookcool
on 2012-12-31, 03:36:22
FULLER’S VINTAGE 2012
Well, it’s New Year’s Eve, so we wrap up 2012 with one last beer review before we continue with the 2013 AF&TB articles. (Man, I had a much bigger stockpile of these things than I thought!) Anywho, I thought I’d finish up the year with Fuller’s annual Vintage Ale offering, teamed up with the last Star Wars Vintage Collection wave of 2012. [Rassafrackin’, brick-a-brackin’ “exclusive online wave,” my butt! -- Bill]
But it ain’t just the fact that many of us were suckered into buying whole cases of these guys online that ticks me off, it’s also how the whole last wave was handled. Mawhonic didn’t come with his racing flag. After years of Hasbro saying they were never going to make “realisitc” versions of CGI Clone Wars characters, they release three of them this year, and two of those are in this wave! A third of this wave was previously used as Wal-Mart “exclusives,” and it took them until now to get to some fairly important background characters from Return of the Jedi. (That’s not as much of an oxymoron as it sounds; background characters can be very important if you’re trying to make a nice, complete display.) Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled that we finally got them, and the Royal Guard is executed extremely well (apart from the front of his robe being too long), and includes nifty unexpected extra parts, but I think this otherwise excellent wave could’ve been handled a bit better.
Let’s get into the official Fuller’s promotional copy before I give my thoughts on this fine beer. This, the 16th Fuller’s Vintage brew, uses Goldings, Soveregin, and Target hops. “These combined with our unique yeast and organic barley grown by Sir James Fuller on the Neston Park Estate result in a wonderful limited edition brew that has a luxurious flavour.” This year’s production run was 125,000 bottles, the same as 2010. (The 2011 Vintage had a 150,000-bottle run.) As usual with these beers, this one is bottle-conditioned, meaning care must be taken when pouring so you leave the yeast sediment in the bottle. It’s given a best-by date of December 2015 (for tedious legal reasons), but it’s expected only to get better with age. I can attest that this worked with the 2011 batch. As an experiment, I took one from my stockpile about a month back, and it was better than the last 2011 bottle I had, a year earlier. So, it looks like I’m in for a heck of a good future if I keep hoarding these when they come out. At a whopping half-liter of 8.5% ABV goodness, one bottle of this stuff pretty much used up my entire alcohol ration for a whole week. But I’m not disappointed by that, and I’ll tell you why . . . .
This particular ale is probably tied with Fuller’s Vintage 2010 as Best Beer I Have Ever Drunk. Like said aforementioned Vintage, as well as many other similar potent brews, it has a distinctive sweet brandy-butter taste, but with a slight spicy toast quality to it. In a pinch, one might describe this flavour component as a bit like Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Curiously Cinnamon cereal with egg nog poured over it (you should know better than to ask how I know these things), but that would be going overboard. The spicy toast aspect is very subtle (well, “very subtle” as far as a sledgehammer gourmand such as myself is concerned), and the main flavour is the rich, smooth malty ale with sugary brandy-butter aftershocks. The aftertaste is mildly/medium tangy without being bitter, and lasts a good long time, but not quite as long as the good aftertastes on some other beers I’ve tried, such as White Horse. Still, five to ten minutes of flavour per mouthful ain’t a bad record by any standard.
Drink this if you also like: The other Fuller’s Vintage Ales, Full Bore, Peroni Doppio Malto Gran Riserva, Brakspear Triple, Dogma, Admiral’s Ale, any other high-alcohol, small-batch, superior-quality craft ales. If you see this stuff, be it in a British supermarket, imported goods store, bar with a good international beer selection, or while taking a tour of Fuller’s own brewery, pounce on it and get as many as your budget will allow. You won’t regret it. Even at £3.99 (anywhere up to US$7.19, depending on the exchange rate) per bottle, it is worth it!
Happy New Year, everyone! See you next week in 2013, when Action Figures & Their Boozes Strike Back!
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