871: Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale

Name: Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale
Brewery: Coopers Brewery Limited
Country of Origin: Australia
City & State: Leabrook, Australia
Style: English Strong Ale
Alcohol Content (ABV): 7.5%
First Brewed: 1998
Price: $3.49

Tasting Notes
Coopers Vintage Ale presents itself with a reddish brown hue, dotted by yeast, and pours with a lingering head. Note the caramel and toffee flavors and aromas that intensify with careful cellaring. Consider savoring with strongly flavored cheeses.

Ricky’s Thoughts

I am not sure if I have had anything from this brewery, but my recent obsession with cellaring beers has me excited. The picture in the book shows a 2007, and while we didn’t find that one at Total Wine & More, we grabbed a bottle from 2008. I can’t imagine there is a huge difference. It was also interesting to learn that they have people tasting, expert tasters as it were, making sure that Coopers beers taste the same over time for consistency. This beer doesn’t go through that, but I have a lot of hopes for this one. Let’s start drinking, shall we?

In the Glass: It looks like syrup in the glass. That is exactly what I had expected, too. For the ABV and the price on a beer like this, most will light up a cigar and take his or her time enjoying this one. It’s not a chugging beer, rather a beer you can sit back and relax with. There is practically no head, and a very thin, boring lace. Perfect!

Nose: This is right out of the fridge, but there is a malty sweetness to it that I love. It reminds me, from the look in the glass to the powerful aroma, of the Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA. Not the same by any means, but something you will take your time to appreciate and the experience will be worth every second. Let’s see what this beer tastes like!

Flavor: Oh yeah, buddy. That’s what I’m talking about! Again, super cold. And I will let it sit here for a little bit before I take another drink, but there is a smoothness to it, then you are hit with those malty flavors and you can almost taste the word “vintage” in the beer. You have to remember, this beer was brewed and bottled back in 2008. Each bottle has a “best after” date on it, and this one has been sitting in the bottle so long, the “best after” date has rubbed off. But according to what it said in the book, 2-3 years before you should even consider drinking this.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is boring at first, but as you take a second and third sip, you start to appreciate the flatness of the beer, and focus on the flavors and the overall complexity of the beer. Even when I tried swooshing it around in my mouth, there are hardly any bubbles. Looking at the website, and seeing Thomas Cooper’s face makes me realize just how much work goes into making a good craft beer. This is a good craft beer.

Aftertaste: The aftertaste is sweet and malty, just as I expected. Maybe I drink too much, but I could tell you what the entire experience was going to be like before I even took my first sip! That’s OK, it was fun proving myself right! I am sure there will be beers along the way that will surprise me. I hope so, or this will be a boring ride.

I was a little worried that the bottle/label didn’t say “extra strong” on it. But upon further research, I found that it is in fact the same beer. I have this obsession with finding the exact bottle in the book, from the size to the label. I know we won’t be able to do that the entire way, but when we can, I like to match the list. Big fan of the Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale. I might buy another one tonight at work! Bottoms up, people!

Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale – The bottle says: “Coopers Vintage has been brewed with choice malts and extended top fermentation to provide a strong flavorsome ale. Stored under cellar conditions the rig and full flavor of Coopers Vintage will become more complex over an extended period.”

“Coopers Ales and Stout are brewed using the centuries old top fermentation method and natural bottle conditioning, resulting in a characteristic fine sediment forming on the base of the bottle. This sediment is completely natural and can be gently mixed before stinking or poured carefully leaving the sediment in the bottle.”

Rating: 4/5

Sheryl’s Thoughts

Today we are drinking a Coopers Vintage Ale.  This is one of the beers that we just bought recently, but apparently it is from 2008?  Which is ok, since apparently it is supposed to be aged for 2-3 years before drinking anyway.  We had several Coopers beers in the fridge, and this one looked the most interesting to me.

The beer is a very reddish brown in the glass.  It didn’t have much head at all when poured out, and it looks relatively thick – you can barely see through it at all.  What it does have is tons of crud in the bottom of the glass.  There are all kinds of floaties in the bottom of this thing.  I hope I can choke down that last drink with all that stuff in there.  The beer doesn’t have a lot of smell to it.  I have to really stick my nose in there to get anything out of what is in my glass.  What I do smell is a little bit fruity, but I really can’t get much out of it.  Let’s hope there’s more taste than smell to it.

First sip… it tastes a little bit carbonated, but there is a lot of flavor there.  I really like this one.  It’s a good balance.  There’s maybe a little bit of cinnamon in there as well as a little bit of fruit flavor, but it’s not sour at all.  It just has a good balance and a lot of flavor.  I keep finding myself wanting another drink – it’s a very drinkable beer.  This is a good one, one I think I’d definitely pick again.

Rating: 4/5

870 bottles of beer on the wall…

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