Lining up the oldies: Cooper’s vintage ale 2008 to 2013

Does Cooper’s Extra Strong Vintage Ale really age well? With careful cellaring, will it, as Dr Tim Cooper claims, “mature gracefully with age and develop rounded, rich toffee characters”?

We tested the beer in early January, lining up the last six vintage (2008 to 2013), all from the Schloss Shanahan cellars, for a group of beer drinkers of various ages.

First, we compared the youngest to the oldest. The 2013 led with fresh, vibrant hoppy characters; the 2008, on the other hand, delivered smooth malt, caramel, honey and toffee-like flavours.

The middle beers revealed shades of this hop-to-malt transition, and each had its champion among the tasters. One preferred the youngest, another the oldest, and several opted for the beautifully balanced, lively 2010 vintage.

All six remained in good nick and even the oldest seemed fresh under the mature toffee-like flavours.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2014
First published 29 January 2014 in the Canberra Times