Full Sail Vesuvius: You Wanna Buy a CAAARRR?

When was the last time you went to buy a used car? How was the experience?  Was it fun and interesting, or was it full of pressure and some guy named Vinnie trying to sell you his grandmother’s 87 Taurus with the low miles and crush velvet interior?  Well buying a used car can be intimidating, and there are lots of pitfalls out there that can befall even the most careful of shopper.

But every once in a while you get a gem, the kind of car that you would have paid twice the asking price had you known how good it was, and you feel like you struck gold.  Well, Full Sail’s Vesuvius Belgian Style Golden Ale ain’t one of em.  As a matter of fact its in your face style reminds me of a high pressure used car salesman extolling the virtues of intermittent wipers…

Vesuvius by Full Sail is part of their brewmaster series, and while I get the idea of where this brew was going, in the end it was just too much of everything and showed a very ham handed approach to the brewers craft.

The pour was pleasing enough, pouring a golden orange with a small wispy white head that left a lot of lacing on the glass.  The nose was big, and bready.  I couldn’t see any chunks of yeast in this brew, but it was quite hazy and my guess is that was yeast, because this smell was like living across the street from a Wonder Bread factory.

But what about the flavor?  After all that is where all the counting is done.  Well it tasted like it smelled, like a big, bold, sour, yeasty mess of a beer.  It started out okay, with hints of apricot and light fruit, but then the yeast took hold and wouldn’t let go.  When the sour kinda funky yeasty flavor finally did let go I was knocked over the head with an alcohol finish.  At 8.2% ABV this brew doesn’t kid around and it was like the salesman telling me they could finance my purchase at a mere 12% annual interest!

One good thing was the alcohol at least kept the bready, yeasty mess from lingering on my palate.  I drank this whole beer, and I’m not sure why.  It was only $4.00, I should have poured it out, but it was like I kept looking for qualities to like in the brew, but alas there were none.

Vesuvius was a little like buying a 72 Ford Grenada.  At the end of the day, you got a car, but it wasn’t what you wanted and it certainly isn’t worth going back to that lot.


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11 Comments on “Full Sail Vesuvius: You Wanna Buy a CAAARRR?”

  1. Marvin
    April 28, 2010 at 2:19 pm #

    I haven’t had this years yet, but previous years Vesuvius wasn’t ever sour. It’s supposed to be a Belgian Pale. And looking at tasting notes from Beer advocate, I don’t think the sour is supposed to be there.

    • Don
      April 28, 2010 at 2:22 pm #

      Let me be clear Marvin, it wasn’t like a Brett sour. It was that Belgian yeasty sour, kind of like the film that develops on the roof of your mouth overnight when you sleep kind of sour.

      • Marvin
        April 29, 2010 at 11:51 am #

        Once again, sour isn’t a flavour I ever remember from Vesuvius. That sour screams turned bottle to me. It was slightly malty finishing dry with a belgian-y yeasty finish along the lines of cloviness. I understand the sour you are talkining about, I just don’t ever remember it being there. I digress though, I have not had this years yet so it could have changed.

  2. April 29, 2010 at 7:56 am #

    Great review, Don! Love the used car analogy. I was thinking I’d like a big “sour, yeasty mess of beer” and you said it like it was a bad thing. On the used car front, back in the day we bought a used dodge colt from a guy named Big Pete at a K&A. Big Pete was nice and the car lasted us a long time!

  3. April 29, 2010 at 11:39 am #

    I wish I could weigh in here, but I have never had a full sail beer. They don’t ship out here, and I don’t trade or order much. The high price of shipping holds me back.

    • Don
      April 29, 2010 at 11:42 am #

      The whole line of Full Sail products are available to me , but actually price had held me back a little. They are so low priced, I have thought they might not have the quality, and unfortunately, so far, I’m right.

  4. April 29, 2010 at 11:57 am #

    Hey Don,
    If you just recently sampled Vesuvius, it’s probably past its code date as it came out last summer. I had saved a bottle and after about 6 months tried it and didn’t even finish it off. Nothing like what it was in August– a good, not great, Belgian brew. That being said, their Hop Pursuit Extra Pale that is out right now is AWESOME.

    • Don
      April 29, 2010 at 12:02 pm #

      I’ll have to give that a try Steph. I did pick the bottle up a few months back and it has been in a box in the garage. So no light was hitting it, but it wasn’t refrigerated, which shouldn’t have been a problem as the temps out there have mostly been in the 30s and 40s during that time. Perhaps it had skunked a bit. I’ll try it again next year when it first comes out and see if it has a better flavor.

  5. Clayton
    April 29, 2010 at 12:02 pm #

    Full Sail has never really impressed me. I like their Session stubbies if only for their novelty but they’re also a great back yard bbq beer. As for their Reserve beers, I’ve just never been impressed, esp with their bourbon imperial stout… that was nasty.

    • Don
      April 29, 2010 at 12:09 pm #

      Well Clayton I was seriously disappointed by their Vesuvius, but others are convincing me that the bottle may have turned a little. I’ll have to try it again. I did have their black lager session brew and was very unimpressed by it. Just a lager that happened to be black as far as I could tell.


  1. Full Sail Black Gold: First Impressions Can Fool You « Beer & Whiskey Brothers Blog - March 25, 2011

    […] with their Session line of brews.  Their Black Lager and Lager  Session beers are just ok.  Then I reviewed Vesuvius, their Belgian Style Ale from their Brewmaster Reserve Series.  I was less than impressed.  So, I […]

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