Saturday, July 16, 2011

Beer review: Coopers Vintage Ale 2011

A highlight of the beer lover's calendar is the annual release of Cooper's Vintage Ale. The first edition was way back in 1998, and subsequently released annually, except for a couple of years (2001, 2003, from memory).

Every edition is different. Some drink really nicely early on, some require a little bit of additional conditioning.

I think this is a nice beer, but will be significantly better in six months. Readers will recall my interest in observing how Cooper's Sparkling Ale changes over the course of six months: the wild, green hoppiness mellows into a balanced, fruity English Pale Ale.

I expect this Vintage Ale to behave similarly. And, of course, it will keep developing for years to come. The hop profile disappears pretty much, and the malt backbone begins to take on nuts and fruitcake. Later, this evolves into sherry-like flavours, a more desirable outcome of gradual oxidation.

It was $70-odd a slab at Dan Murphy. I'm planning on drinking a six-pack in the near term, one in half a year's time, one over the course of 12-24 months from now, and one over the long term.


Guide to review scoring is on the post Beeradvocate Ratings Systems
Unless otherwise specified, these reviews are my own.
Cooper's Extra Strong Vintage Ale English Strong Ale 7.5% abv
B- / 3.48  look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a) Mostly bright copper; some particulate in suspension. Coarse, beige foamy head.
s) I get capsicum, lantana, banana, molasses & caramel. I also get a need for patience.
t) Banana bread & acetone. Licorice note. Archetypal "Coopers" flavour of pear flesh and yeast. Medium bitterness.
f) Smooth, slight heat.
o) This is a fractured beer at present; the weedy hop aroma will subside, and the bread & molasses notes evolve into a nuttier profile. Will review again in 6 months.

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