As the days grow colder and darker with the approach of winter, the minds of brewers and beer-lovers at Coopers turn to the promise of a new Extra Strong Vintage Ale to distract them from the looming chill of the months ahead. This year’s Vintage again seeks to deliver the intense aroma and flavour that loyal drinkers have come to appreciate
During fermentation our reliable ale yeast, sourced over a century ago by the sons of Thomas Cooper, produces an intense array of esters with delectable fruity notes that will endure and pamper the senses.
The proven ensemble of premium quality pale, crystal and wheat malts have been used again as the foundation of the robust flavour of this elegant Vintage Ale. Crystal malt imparts the stylish rich amber red colour, whereas the wheat malt delivers the rich and long-lasting creamy head. A masterpiece is evoked, both in look and flavour.
The visual splendour is harmonised by the characters infused by the hops. As in previous years, the use of different hop varieties is what sets each Vintage apart.
The master hop breeder at Ellerslie Hop Estate has recommended the use of Astra, a new variety grown in the pristine section of Myrrhee, Victoria. This particular hop offers candied floral and fruity tones, complementing another favourite stablemate, Melba, grown in the same region. The latter has been retained to contribute its stone-fruit and citrus flavours. The third hop is the classical Northern Brewer which was originally bred in England in the 1934, and imparts herbaceous and spicy notes into the mix. All three varieties contribute to both the bitterness and aroma of the beer.
Similar to the 2015 Vintage, a robust level of bitterness at 60 IBU is created to balance the sweetness of the malt and provide a lingering foundation to the flavour.
Dry-hopping with both Styrian Goldings and Cascade has been employed to provide added complexity with delicate aroma notes and flavours.
With the strong malt background and high alcohol content of 7.5% ABV, this beer is suitable to be consumed early, but will also stand up well to cellaring. The seeding of live yeast to carry out bottle conditioning suitably enhances the longevity of the beer.
This beer is designed to change with time as the bitterness slowly mellows and gives way to rich, sweet caramel-like characters. It is recommended that beerlovers buy a carton to enjoy the product in its youth, whilst another could be cellared to enjoy a bottle or two every few months later, and compared with both previous and future Vintage Ales.