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Rick Besserdin » Beer Reviews » Coopers 2016 Vintage – All You Need Is Time

Coopers 2016 Vintage – All You Need Is Time

Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale 2016 is another excellent brew that only requires time to bring out the best. Fresh and hoppy now, and already with a good dose of time under its belt, the 2016 Vintage is designed to become even more drinkable over the next 5 to 10 years of cellaring.

Coopers Vintage 2016

The 2016 revises the successful profile of last year’s Vintage. It uses 5 hops. A brand new hop called Astra, Melba (a relatively new hop which was used last year), and Northern Brewer (an older English hop) go into the kettle; and it is dry hopped with Styrian Goldings and Cascade, which also used last year.

The end result is a bitterness of 60 IBU, which will give it plenty of room for mellowing over years of cellaring and still remain well balanced. The malt profile is the typical Vintage pale malt, with crystal adding caramel flavours and colour.

There will be limited quantities again this year, so make sure you grab yourself at least a six pack while you still have time. Then take your time drinking them. See how the flavours develop by drinking one every few months or up to a year apart.

Coopers kindly gave me a box of three bottles to preview, but I’ll still be buying my usual slab to cellar with the rest of the Coopers Vintage family. They really improve after three or four years, so its worth waiting, (That is, if you can stop yourself from drinking them earlier.)



“Bottling Vintage Ale Takes Times” is a 132-minute video of Cooper 2016 Vintage Ale bottles passing by on the bottling conveyor belt every six seconds. Possibly a great video if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like standing at the production line at the brewing for a couple of hours. Otherwise, after the first six seconds you can work out what the rest of the video is all about.

More importantly here is the 2016 Vintage Ale launch video. It gives insight on the process and resulting beer from Dr. Tim Cooper, Simon Fahey, Nick Sterenberg and Jon Meneses.


For more details you can read the full Press release and Tasting Notes below:

Coopers Launches 2016 Vintage Ale

It’s time. One of the Australian beer market’s most highly anticipated annual events, the launch of Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale, took place today (June 28) with special events in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.

A separate launch event for the 2016 Vintage Ale will also be held in Perth for the first time next week (5 July).

The 2016 Extra Strong Vintage Ale is the 16th beer in the series that goes back to its launch in 1998 and like previous releases is expected to be quickly snapped up.

Coopers Managing Director and Chief Brewer, Dr Tim Cooper, said the 2016 Vintage Ale featured the use of five varieties of hops, which had been carefully chosen to ensure a strong balance and depth of flavours and delicate aroma notes and flavours.

“The 2016 Vintage will again deliver the intense aromas and flavours that loyal drinkers have come to expect over time,” he said.

“The master hop breeder at Ellerslie Hop Estates recommended the use of a new variety of hops, Astra, which has been grown in Myrrhee in Victoria.

“This particular hop offers floral and fruity tones which complement another favourite stablemate, Melba, grown in the same region.

“The third variety is Northern Brewer, a variety originally bred in England in 1932 which imparts herbaceous and spicy notes.

“All three varieties contribute to the bitterness and aroma of the beer.

“Dry hopping with Styrian Goldings and Cascade provides added complexity with delicate aroma notes and flavours.”

Dr Cooper said premium quality pale, crystal and wheat malts provided a foundation for the “robust” flavours, while Coopers’ reliable ale yeast helped produce an intense array of esters with fruity notes.

The 2016 Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale maintains the bitterness of previous years at 60 IBU and an alcohol level of 7.5% ABV.

The ale has also been seeded with live yeast for bottle conditioning and to enhance the longevity of the beer, which will change over time as the bitterness slowly mellows and rich, sweet caramel- like characters emerge.

Coopers Sales and Marketing Director, Mr Cam Pearce, said that as in previous years, production of the 2016 Extra Strong Vintage Ale was limited and beer lovers were encouraged to plan their purchases early.

“Many shrewd drinkers purchase a carton to enjoy while the product is young and another which can be carefully cellared and consumed gradually to enjoy the changes this beer experiences over the years,” he said.

“This is one of the few beers that is designed to age and is unique in the Australian beer market.”

The 2016 Vintage Ale is priced from around $85 per carton, or around $25 per six-pack of 355 ml bottles.

Tasting notes for Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale 2016

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 beer-lovers 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.


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

Filed under: Beer Reviews · Tags: ,

2 Responses to "Coopers 2016 Vintage – All You Need Is Time"

  1. Michael says:

    Thanks for the writeup. Do you know where we can buy the glasses? I can’t locate them on the Coopers website.

    1. Rick says:

      Hi Michael,
      Thanks for asking.
      Unfortunately, they don’t make the glasses to sell. I got mine directly from Coopers a couple of years ago. They say that they occasionally give them away for events and as promotions at pubs etc.

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