Great British Beer Festival 2011
London beer tastings 2011
Origin: London W4, England
I make no apologies for choosing a release of Fuller’s Brewer’s Reserve as one of my GBBF beer picks for the second year running (see Fuller’s Brewers Reserve No 2). I was particularly intrigued to sample it as I’d spotted the barrels tucked away in odd corners of the brewery during a visit early this year (see photo left).
The Brewer’s Reserve series has so far lived up to its name: these really are extraordinary beers, and this latest version, stronger than before and matured for 800 days in former Auchentoshan Lowland single malt whisky barrels, is the best one yet. It was available in limited quantities in cask at the festival and has just been released in a limited edition bottled version available from the Fuller’s brewery shop.
The beer I sampled from cask at the festival was warm amber with a very light head. A spiritous whisky-tinged aroma had some nice smooth malt and a characteristic orangey Fuller’s note. The very complex, richly malty and slightly syrupy palate had notes of sultanas, angelica, cherries and menthol, with developing hints of chewy lightly tannic wood. A woody vanilla finish had the sweet malt quality of the whisky and late hints of cedar smoke. The whole was very approachable and hid its strength perilously well.
A sample of the bottled version, supplied by the brewery (bottle 02793), was orange-amber, with a fine but not especially big off-white head. The aroma was rich, smooth, malty woody and whiskyish with raisin hints. There was more raisin fruit in a sweetish, slightly thin palate, alongside complex woody and mineral tones, and a spiritous note propelled more complex impressions up the nasal passages. A mellow warming finish was smooth but not too coating, with earthy whiskyish wood and the brewery yeast’s sappy orange signature.
Made at the nearest malt whisky distillery to Glasgow, Auchentoshan is a particularly smooth, sweet whisky that notably omits from its grists the peated malt so familiar from more strongly flavoured examples. It turns out to be a particularly well matched partner for this blend of Fuller’s characterful strong ales.
Read more about this beer at ratebeer.com: http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/fullers-brewers-reserve-limited-edition-no-3/150236/