Ale and ‘earty at 140 — Worthington 1869

We’ve been cellaring beer at Schloss Shanahan since Cooper’s released its first vintage ale in 1998 – and still hold a single stubby each of every vintage. They’re right next to the Grange, in the coolest corner, of course.

What these vintage ales show is that beer that’s high in alcohol, high in hops and bottled with live yeast dismisses the old adage that all beer should be drunk young and fresh.

As Cooper’s brewer, Nick Sterenberg says, ‘Ales which undergo secondary fermentation… are bottled with live yeast that converts sugar to alcohol and mops up dissolved oxygen, extending the shelf life to around two years’.

That’s normal bottle-conditioned ale. But what are we to make of a cache uncovered at Burton-on-Trent, England, by Worthington White Shield Brewery recently?

Reports say that ales dating back to 1869 proved potable, albeit tasting more like aged fortified wines than beer.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2007