I cracked when I was at Fuller's brewery the other week. As the previous two 'Past Masters' beers had ended up at my local Sainsbury's cheaper than they were at the brewery itself I'd been resisting rushing up to Chiswick to buy the latest. But seeing as I was already there I gave in and forked out the premium price that for some strange reason you often have to pay when you buy direct from the brewery.
Brewed to a 1931 recipe and 7.3% ABV I was expecting something strong and dark, which is what I got, but not everything was as I expected. There wasn't much in the way of aroma, the taste was definitely a touch vinous, though in some ways reminding me of ESB (the beer that replaced Fuller's Burton Ale), with perhaps with a smidge of Prize Old Ale. Which doesn't really say much if you're not familiar with Fuller's beers but I'm afraid that's all you're going to get.
The most surprising thing though, considering the strength, was the lightness of the body. Certainly not how Fuller's beers are nowadays, it got me wondering how much sugar was used in the recipe, and if Charlie Bamforth was right that the importance of yeast strains is over stated.
It's my favourite of the 'Past Masters' so far and if it does arrive in Sainsbury's I'll definitely be stocking up.