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Rick Besserdin » Brewing News » Coopers Special Edition 2014 Vintage Ale

Coopers Special Edition 2014 Vintage Ale

Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale has become a great example of beer that is especially brewed to cellar. The Vintage Ale was first brewed in 1998 and Coopers have made a batch nearly every year since then. Each year the brewing team develops a new recipe with differing flavour nuances. Fortunately, Coopers have been kind enough to give me some samples and also invite me to their launch event, which was held at Le Bon Ton in Collingwood.

Every year they brew the same amount of Vintage Ale, which explains why they disappear from bottle shops quicker with every batch. Collectors (like me) will buy a slab, or more, and put them aside for a few years to allow them to age.

The 2014 Vintage has been brewed with four types of hops, two American (Bravo & Cascade) and two Australian (Galaxy & Ella). This year’s vintage has been brewed with more bitterness than they have had in recent years, to improve its flavour development over time.

The 2014 Vintage pours a tarnished copper colour with a beige head. It smells of citrus and passionfruit, and tastes of apricots with tangy lime marmalade. Over the next couple of years it will mellow, the head foam will become more compact, the fruity hop characteristics will diminish, and it will develop sweeter flavours similar to port wine.

If you haven’t yet tried cellaring beer, buy a six-pack of the 2014 Vintage ale. Have one now, put the rest aside somewhere cool and dark, and then try one every year to compare how the flavour develops.

Rating: 4
Beer Style: English Strong Ale
Alcohol: 7.5%
Bitterness: 45 IBU
Colour: 13 SRM
Serving Temp: 8-10°
Serving Glass: Tulip or snifter
Food Matches: Roast lamb or beef, stronger flavoured cheeses such as Gorgonzola or Stilton




Here is the release video


You can read the full press release and tasting notes below:

Coopers Releases Special Edition 2014 Vintage Ale

Coopers Brewery has released its special edition 2014 Extra Strong Vintage Ale.

The limited release beer was officially launched at three key events in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne on Friday 4 July. This is the 14th Vintage in the celebrated series.

Coopers’ Managing Director and Chief Brewer Dr Tim Cooper said Vintage Ale 2014 demonstrates the same high standards as previous vintages, maintaining the essential hop-driven characteristics that are expected from this highly anticipated brew.

“This year’s selection of hops has been given careful consideration to ensure the best combination of bittering and aromatic varieties,” Dr Cooper said.

“Four varieties – two Australian and two American – make up the 2014 Vintage Ale.

“American variety Bravo provides the foundation for the bitterness of the brew, while Galaxy and Ella from the hop-growing regions of Tasmania provide fruity aromas and flavours of peach, grapefruit and passionfruit.

“There are also layers of spicy notes to complement the citrus and tropical notes.

“The other American variety, Cascade, harmonises and emphasises the floral and fruity undertones arising from the Tasmanian hops and from our distinctive ale fermentation.”

The alcohol content remains at 7.5% alcohol by volume, retaining Vintage Ale’s title as the strongest beer brewed by Coopers and one of the stronger beers produced in the world.

Coopers’ National Marketing Director Mr Cam Pearce said winter was the perfect time to enjoy Vintage Ale.

“Limited production and strong demand in the market saw last year’s run of Vintage go quickly,” he said. “We encourage Vintage lovers everywhere to stock up early so they don’t miss out.”

Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale was first released in 1998, with further vintages in 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. The Ale can be consumed immediately, or can be stored in cool conditions to mature over a period of time.

The 2014 Vintage Ale is priced from around $80 per carton, or around $25 per six pack of 355 ml bottles.

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Tasting notes for Coopers 2014 Extra Strong Vintage Ale

As with previous Vintages, the 2014 Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale is driven by the choice of hops to be used in combination with premium South Australian maritime barley malt, crystal malt and malted wheat.

The 2014 Vintage Ale utilises four hop varieties, two Australian and two American, which have been chosen for their particular benefits in imparting bitterness and aroma.

Bravo, a super high alpha variety from America, has been chosen for its bittering properties and is added to the kettle at the beginning of the boil. Galaxy and Ella, from the hop-growing regions of Tasmania, have been added late in the whirlpool to optimise the extraction of passionfruit, peach and grapefruit aromas. There are also layers of spicy notes to complement the citrus and tropical notes.

Dry hopping of Cascade, the other American variety, harmonises and emphasises the floral and fruity undertones arising from the Tasmanian hops, and from the distinctive ale fermentation.

The yeast strain used for primary and secondary fermentation is from a family of strains used in the brewery for more than 100 years, and will enable the beer to survive a cellared journey of five years or more.

The 2014 Vintage Ale will develop subtle and complex flavour changes during ageing under cool conditions.

It can be enjoyed now while the estery, fruity flavours and hop aromas leap out of the glass, or when mellower and sweeter malt flavours develop over the next two years.

If consumed now, this Vintage Ale is best matched with dishes such as crisp, roast pork belly or fresh salmon and tuna sashimi, or once aged, with sweet desserts such as pear and macadamia cream pie.

As in previous years, the 2014 Vintage Ale is a limited release of cartons and kegs, and will be available from July.

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Written by

Rick Besserdin is a home brewer and journalist, who specialises in writing about the diverse areas of beer, brewing, and technical automotive.

Filed under: Brewing News · Tags: ,

2 Responses to "Coopers Special Edition 2014 Vintage Ale"

  1. Christine Lambert says:

    My husband has a carton of the 2004 Coopers extra strong Vintage ale cellared in a cold dark cupboard. He was wondering what it would be worth. He has no intention of drinking it at present buy was curious as to it’s worth.


    1. Rick says:

      Hi Christine, Nice to hear from you. Your husband certainly has a treasure in that slab of Vintage Ale. From what I’ve tried of the Vintage ales, they will be past their peak flavour at ten years, but I’m sure will still be interesting drinking. I’ve seen some vintage ales for sale at unrealistically high prices (well over $1000) but I don’t think they sold. You could pick a price and work your way down until it is sold. Grays Online and eBay would be good places to sell them.
      However, if they were mine I’d have a tasting party comparing the old with the new, to share and enjoy with friends.
      Cheers, Rick

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