16 January 2012

Don't I know you from somewhere?

It's the same story every time I'm in a Fuller's pub: I have whatever's on draught, but there's always a selection of those beautifully-shaped Fuller's bottles staring at me from the fridge. I've (almost) never resorted to buying one, however, partly because bottled beer is poor value in the pub and partly because I've heard they're not very good. Yes, Jack Frost, I mean you.

Nevertheless, when another of them -- Fuller's Old Winter Ale -- popped up in my local offy I reckoned it was time to finally satisfy my curiosity about it. 5.3% ABV and mahogany-to-amber, so very much in the English old ale bracket so far. That's where the comparison ends, though. The aroma is slightly caramelly, but the taste is dominated by hop bitterness -- acrid at the start, turning tangy at the finish. Not good. Yes there's a bit of toffee malt but not nearly enough for the winter warmer it purports to be, instead offering a hollow and quite watery middle.

This stuff is a very long way from the smoothness I adore in English old ales of my previous acquaintance, and I'd take mainstream fare like Hobgoblin and Old Peculier well ahead of it. And in a Fuller's pub: back to the ESB, no question.

Reuben has similar thoughts here.


  1. Winter Ale, Jack Frost and a few others will hopefully get retired soon, to be replaced by permanent brews of Past Masters. (XX Strong Ale now in many branches of Sainsbury's is surely a good sign.)

  2. Last orders for Jack Frost? Oh no! Well that definitely means I've got to get to London some time soon. I'll just have to figure out if there's anything else beery worth doing while I'm there...

    Delighted that the XX is going mainstream. It never arrived here and I was afraid I'd missed it.

  3. That's a great bit of news! How come your comments are showing in itallics?

  4. That's a very good question. I think the answer is "Aaargh! Because Blogger is shit!"

    I've been through the formatting controls and there's nothing there that does it. I have not yet been drunk enough to roll up my sleeves and dive into the CSS.

    1. Turns out it's not a bug, it's a feature, stemming from this new, non-linear, Wordpress-style threaded comments malarky. From now on, all comments are formatted as blockquotes and the only thing you can do about it is change the blockquote CSS to, for example, not be italic.

      Blogger In Not Thinking Things Through Shocker

  5. I'd be glad to see the back of Jack Frost.

  6. Clearly, someone in system admin central thought the earnestness of comment makers was not being properly expressed.