We occasionally check out the older Coopers Extra Strong Vintage ales in the Schloss Shanahan cellars – stretching back to the original 1998 vintage. Generally, over time, the hops influence wanes, and the toffee-like malt flavours become more dominant as the beers age.
We note in the just-released 2012 vintage a marked shift in the hops character – away from the pungent, resiny aromas of the 2011, to a more delicate, but still dominant citrus-like character. All of this comes on top of the rich, malty flavour and fruity character we always see in Coopers ales.
Dr Tim Cooper attributes the changes in hops flavour to the varieties and timing of the additions. This year he used five types of hops – Germany’s perle and magnum, New Zealand’s Nelson sauvin and America’s centennial and cascade.
The 2012 provides another delicious variation on this potent, bottle-conditioned ale style.
Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale 2012 355ml 6-pack $22
Coopers 2012 vintage ale retains the full body, high alcohol (7.5 per cent) and cellarability of previous vintages, but introduces a new emphasis on citrus-like hops aromatics – hovering over the familiar fruity, malty notes. The new hop treatment invigorates the full, velvety palate, too. But the satisfying, lingering hops bitterness remains.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2012
First published 25 July in The Canberra Times