“Now on its 25th edition, 2021 is a landmark year for Vintage Ale. At its heart, Pale Ale and Caragold malts combine with DRC®(Double Roasted Crystal), to deliver a toffee and raisin sweetness. Turning to hops, we’re showcasing younger UK varieties for their luscious fruitiness. Endeavour brings plummy tones, while Olicana® and the yet unnamed experimental hop CF182 add tropical and orange notes. All complemented, as ever, by the zesty marmalade character of our famous Fuller’s yeast.”
Glassware: English Pint.
Appearance: Light ruby red pour with an amber gradient towards the edges. A rocky two finger head forms on top and gradually retreats, leaving a lacey mess on the glass.
Aroma: Up until now we’ve only ever drunk a Vintage Ale with age on it so we’re chomping at the bit to finally try one this young. It has the same rich and sweet malt base but the big difference is the hop profile…it’s alive! The Target and Endeavour hops bring the classic floral, spicy and herbal notes but the Olicana (previously used in the ’18 Vintage) and an unnamed “CF 182” adds a fresh and fruity edge to it. Digging it.
Flavour: So much firmer when it’s young (just like us humans right? ). There’s without a doubt a sharper bitterness plus the 8.5% ABV has some bite. Still getting a lot of earthy hop character, toast, subtle dark fruits and herbals to reassure the die-hards that it’s still purely English at heart. Not to mention a deliciously malty finish that lingers.
Mouthfeel: Super smooth, slick and rounded. Low-ish Co2, medium-full body. 8.5% ABV, comes through intermittently.
Overall: You know what the similarities to wine are intriguingly comparable on many levels. One thing that doesn’t surprise us is that this series of English ales are much more charismatic when they’ve been laid down for a while. Still, a very impressive offering.