Every now and again, the UK chapter / collective / members of ratebeer.com take part in a virtual tasting of a beer that's widely available - usually but not exclusively from supermarkets.
I'm no longer an active rater and only an ocasional lurker on the forum nowadays so sometimes the announcements for the tastings pass me by. As would have today's if Craig Garvie hadn't tweeted about it.
Thankfully, I saw his tweet just in time. Thankfully I had a bottle of the subject beer, Fuller's Vintage Ale, stashed away. So - here's my verbatim review.
"1999 bottle no. 13286. Starts with an aged aunt's oloroso sherry breath, in turns salty and almond-sweet. Lifts into that alcohol oxidation that bypasses most of your nose and waits behind your eyeballs for you to blink. First tangs of warm toffee touched up by Airfix kit glue.
Body on the orange side of ochre. First mouthful stuns me with a caramel lifted by a heathery honey. Burlesque body; suggests plenty, offers up less than expected, still impressed by the final throes.
I keep putting the glass down, come back to it after five minutes and damn me it gets better every time. Maybe it's the temperature, maybe the remaining carbonation is dissipating and teasing out warm leather and dusty cocoa and that bit of fig that gets stuck in the bottom of the pudding bowl.
Overall score: eleventy"
If you ever feel like joining in the madness one month, take a look at what we got up to this time around and keep an eye on the UK forum for future announcements (registration required for participation).