Hmm, a quick trip to Waitrose on a Sunday afternoonand I return armed with some goodies including Fuller’s barley wine offering – Golden Pride (8.5% abv). Pouring the beer into the glass it could easlily be mistaken for a pint of regular pride, a sniff reveils an aroma that is similar. The taste is when it all starts to fall apart with a sharp chemical like whack before a strong alcohol warmth. Not quite what I was expecting, not exactly pleasant, but not rubbish either.
It is available in both 500ml and 330ml bottles.
“This superb quality premium beer is the equivalent of a Belgian ‘Abbey Beer’ and is arguably the ‘grand cru’ of Fuller’s bottled beers. At 8.5% alcohol by volume, it is as powerful as some wines. In days gone by at Christmas, as a special treat, Fuller’s pub landlords tend to keep a small barrel of draught Golden Pride on the back of the bar, dispensing to customers in strictly limited quantities. One beer writer has described it as ‘the cognac of beers’.”
The rear label tells you that this beer is an award-winning exceptionally fine strong ale of immense character and finesse. It has been brewed from Pale Ale and Crystal malts; Northdown, Challenger and Target hops. It also proudly boasts that “.. this is the finest example of our brewer’s art; truly a connoisseur’s choice”. Some claim!!The bottle holds 500ml and it is brewed to a 8.5% ABV.
The nose is quite complex with hints of caramel, Butterkist (TM) and a vague Oxo saltiness. This continued to develop with yeasty, aromatic and slightly earthy overtones. Let me hasten to add that the overall impression was quite delicious and certainly not bad or off-putting.The first taste is rich and bittersweet almost like a barley wine with traces of biscuit (? Rich Tea). This is a strong full bodied ale that is very – deceptively – smooth. Bitterness develops on the tongue with acquaintance but there are also hints of dried fruits, treacle toffee, marzipan and plum pudding. There is a satisfying, pleasurable warming glow on swallowing. The bitterness lingers refreshingly on the palate. Make no mistake, this is one heavyweight of an ale.
This is another of those brews that has to be respected. It is not one for idle quaffing. It reminded me very strongly of Young’s “Old Nick” that I reviewed a couple of weeks ago – perhaps just a little less sweet. It is an ale designed for contemplative appreciation; very much like a fine wine. I would not want to drink more than one at a sitting. Equally I would not want to serve it with a full blown meal, although thin slivers of apple or pear with a truckle of cheddar would not go amiss. Yes, I’d have an occasional one again – but I rate it just shy of the Youngs.”