Fuller's Bengal Lancer / Fuller's India Pale Ale

Yesterday I noticed that quite a few people have been rating Fuller’s India Pale Ale in the entry for Fuller’s Bengal Lancer. They seem to think that there is no difference between the two.

What’s the deal with these beers? Are they different?

I think they are the same beer. The Bengal Lancer is how it is sold in the UK, it is sold as India Pale Ale for the export markets.

It’s a slightly concoluted story. Bengal Lancer started life as a higher abv (5.3% vs 4.8%), bottle-conditioned version of IPA made primarily for Systembolaget in Sweden, so a clearly different RB entry. There may have been other differences - different hops or whatever. This information came from John Keeling the then head brewer and he regarded them as different beers. There’s an entry in the database for the 5.3% bottle-conditioned IPA.

Subsequently Fuller’s decided to release that version in the UK as Bengal Lancer. So the “Swedish” version was aliased to that. Remember that the other India Pale Ale was essentially export-only, largely to the USA. The ratings you’ve seen under Bengal Lancer for India Pale ale may well be for the aliased “Swedish” label.

Since all this happened, the abv of the “regular” IPA has been upped to 5.3% to match Bengal Lancer. I’ve also heard that Fuller’s no longer pasteurise their beers but I haven’t been able to confirm that. It may only relate to domestic beers and the exports are still pasteurised for stability reasons. I don’t know.

So, if the regular IPA is now filtered but unpasteurised it could be that it is the same beer for RateBeer purposes as Bengal Lancer. But we can’t be sure. And sorting out all the existing ratings would be a major headache.


Just got definitive confirmation from a reliable source at Fuller’s (thanks to @cgarvieuk ) that all their beers have been unpasteurised since late 2014. Which means that, in all probablity, all the IPA “family” are the same beer for RateBeer purposes since then.

I’ll get round to updating the entries and shifting ratings when I get back from holiday in a week’s time. Of course this affects plenty of other Fuller’s beers apart from IPA so it’s going to be a lot a of work and will take a while.


Thanks for looking into this one.

Just to report that, due to unforseen circumstances, I’ve had to postpone this exercise until next week.