Extra Strong Vintage Ale | Coopers Brewery Limited

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Extra Strong Vintage AleExtra Strong Vintage Ale
379 Ratings
Extra Strong Vintage AleExtra Strong Vintage Ale

Brewed by:
Coopers Brewery Limited

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-07-2002

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 379 |  Reviews: 266
Photo of Sammy
3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Barleywine barley and sweet malt aroma. Nut brown colour with white head, lace. Not all that strong, and a middling body and mouthfeel. Fairly simple old ale taste with drying finish. Wood and roasted barley and licorice notes, nut brown, carmel, slightly on sweet side.

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Photo of jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared at GRG1313’s tasting.

2008 vintage.

Pours a clear copper with a foamy bone head that settles to a film on top of the beer. A foamy curtain of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is malt, caramel, and fruity aromas. Taste is much the same with caramel and hop flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that smells better than it tastes in my opinion.

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Photo of GRG1313
2.87/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 2 | smell: 5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2008 Vintage. Pours a dark copper color with a nice white head.

Stunning rich and assertive peach and banana nose. Unfortunately, flavor, character and body do not follow.

Simple malt and an upleasantly bitter hop flavor does not leave one wanting more. Short mouthfeel with turpentine unpleasant pine tar flavors. Short (thankfully) finish.

This vintage ale calls for aging. However, nothing in body, flavors or character could lead one to conclude that aging will help this dull, simple and short flavored beer with a fantastic nose. Smell it; don't drink it. Just one guys opinion.

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Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev +9.9%

Photo of djrn2
3/5  rDev -17.6%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.57/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +9.9%

Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of biboergosum
3.55/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

375ml bottle, 2009 vintage. I'm guessing that the dude on the label is the founder of the brewery, or something in-kind?

This beer pours a dark, sort of murky bronzed amber colour, with a fair bit of fine sediment, and two fingers of weakly puffy, loosely foamy, and fizzy dirty beige head, which leaves a sole vertical peninsula of lace around the glass as it rashly settles.

It smells of semi-sweet caramel malt, buttery toffee, soused sultana raisins, dried tropical fruit, spicy, earthy hops, and a threatening booze warming. The taste is fruity bready and softly biscuity malt, dry raisins and dusty figs, earthy yeast, a bit of sour ethereal citrus, and soft leafy, musty hops.

The carbonation is quite low-key, and hardly noticeable at times, the body a strong medium weight, and pretty smooth overall. It finishes off-dry, the biscuit malt and mixed old fruit character predominating, tempered somewhat by a murmouring astringent alcohol warming.

A somewhat plain vintage ale - kind of flabby all around. The well-integrated ABV helps in making this easy enough to drink, but it just doesn't grab my attention, the staid essence of English heritage perhaps my bias to bear.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.08/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

One of those great finds while in Atlanta, GA a couple months ago. Although the 'best by' date says 10-09-06, I beg to differ. This beer shows a lot of talent and character. A bottle-conditioned pour delivers a strong copper, chesnut hue with a haze due to the yeast (among other particles) within the beer. Aromas are soft, yet firm with serious notes of barley malt, over-rippened peaches and pears, with a subtle English hop character (Fuggles?). All blends so well... The taste gives a well-matured, softly textured, and seriously complex blend of Marris Otter-tasting malts that bring out the soft fruity esters while contributing a spicy, fermented edgy, yeasty flavor. Again, well-rippened peaches and pears all over the place, leaving a mouth watering sensation after every sip. Each drink follows with a soft ride with aged hops and a pleasant (albeit light) hop flavor and mild sherry (oxidized) notes that complemented the beer well. A mild metalic taste is the only deterant. The feel is a soft, creamy, malty fullness that never shows agression or fusal alcohols. Finishes with the same fruity flavors experienced in the taste with intermingling notes of hops and alcohol dryness. Turned out to hold a 1/4" head all the way to the bottom of the glass with superior lacing. This is how I expect the Fuller's Vintage Ales to perform into their prime. This beer is that good. Probably should have waited to share this beer with a few local BA's (sorry guys), but this one is all mine!

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Photo of zeff80
3.97/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 Bottle at Bailey's in STL.

A - Poured out a clear, burgundy color with a one-finger, tan head of foam. It left sticky rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of raisin, plum and other dried dark fruits. There was some malty presence, too.

T - Good plum and raisin flavor with a subtle tartness. It had some sweet caramel maltiness with a mild spice bite.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium to full bodied ale with a dry finish.

O - This was really quite tasty with 3 years of age on it. I'd love to try a fresh bottle for comparison sake.

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Photo of brentk56
3.17/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a murky ice tea brown with nary a head and very little lacing

Smell: Rich caramel malt nose with undertones of tropical fruit

Taste: Immediate domination by the malt accompanied by a quick transition of apples and orange; the finish is marred by an unbalanced blend of alcohol and phenolic band aids

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied but a bit slick (diacetyl?) with modest carbonation

Drinkability: Just a few too many flaws here and there to be very good; I'm disappointed as I had high hopes for this Aussie; is this supposed to be a malt liquor?

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a amber color ale with a medium foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma of sugar and light subtle fruity ester with nice dry caramel malt balance. Taste is a well balanced mix between some caramelized sugar with great note light dry raisins. Body is about average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Well done though additional complexity could have benefited this beer.

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Photo of LXIXME
4.2/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from an inch and a half or so above the glass leaves a big light tan head floating above a particle / sediment filled beer that is a light caramel golden color.

Initial whiff is mostly alcohol with a dark fruits and molasses background, as it sits a little the dark fruits such as dates, prunes, or plums come through with still the alcohol and molasses adding to the aroma.

A light alcohol highlights a caramel to molasses taste with accents of dark fruits, maybe mostly plums (not really to sure), anyway it is a nice mixture of tastes here.

Aftertaste is not wet and not dry but leans towards the latter.

It's up around 100 degrees outside, and I think I'd like this beer even more if the weather was on the cooler to cold side, since it kind of reminded me the way it looks like spiced apple cider with a Cinnamon stick in it with a taste that Rogue or Stone seem to aim for.

If your into beers that really don't fit into stout, IPA, Belgian or whatever style but have a pretty good and different taste you will want to try this and the price isn't to bad either.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.22/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Depending upon how you've stored it, and how carefully you pour it, Coopers Vintage Ale can be a clear amber or a murky chestnut brown. I personally feel the yeast gives it a bit more of the house yeast character, and I like that. And I also feel that this beer isn't really big enough or complex enough to benefit from aging, so I drink it fresh and go right ahead and pour the yeast in with a swirl of the bottle to dislodge it all. The head rises up but quickly settles down, fading to a whispy surface covering and thin but creamy white collar. Some nice rings of lacing are left behind, but they slide shortly back into the glass.

The nose is malty with a cereal character and lots of soft caramel. The Cooper's yeast comes into play as well, lending it a delicately fruity, apple and berry-like edge. Softly grassy and spicy hops with a mineralish edge (Fuggles and Saaz perhaps?) appear in the background like stars in the sky at dusk.

The flavor is as the aroma suggests, and the caramel character is full and rich. It hints at cocoa as well, but never really gets there, although the cereal-like graininess is solidly present. A wash of alcohol appears mid-palate, along with the yeasty fruitiness, and the two follow smoothly through into the finish. Some minor leafy and grassy hops appear, but it's mainly about malt and yeast. It lingers delicately with a bit of swirling spiciness and sublime mineralish character.

It's an interesting beer, and fairly drinkable for its strength, but it lacks the character and depth of its superior rivals. It's lighter and refreshing, and quite unique in that way. Taken for what it is, and simply enjoyed hedonistically without reference, it's quite enjoyable. Worth trying!

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Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of jlindros
3.21/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2009 vintage
Oh no, vintage with screw cap

Big creamy head, nice lacing, very hazy reddish orange color

Nose aged malt, plenty of oxidation, little yeasty, sweet candy malt, chewy nougat

Taste little bitter herbal grassy hop, more oxidation, sweet candy malt, toffee syrup, sticky, little metallic too

Mouth sticky syrupy, decent carb

Overall eh, as expected

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Photo of chinchill
3.12/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

2013 355ml bottle purchased in Dunedin NZ and comsumed the same day.

Pours dark reddish amber with poor clarity and a fizzy, short-lived head. No lacing is left on the wine glass.

Aroma: sweet and pleasant with a suggestion of cordial. Higher ABV evident here as well as in the taste and feel.

Fruity flavor with a battle between sweet and bitter.

Feel: light body; mildly astringent with some alcohol heat; low carbonation leaves this ale rather lifeless.

O: cannot recommend this old style ale despite its fine aroma.

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Photo of russpowell
3.68/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Date of 10 09 06, not sure if that's a born on or BBD?

Pours an effervescent murked (tried to pour it careful) up amber with 1" of sand-colored head, disappears fast. No head retention or lacing

S: Dates, breadyness raisins & apple skins & a hint of booze

T: Fruitty & jammy up front with big cakeyness. A little brown sugar & apple (think apple pie) follows as this warms. Fruityness (dates, apples & persimmons) persist throughout the finish, with a hint of dryness

MF: Medium-bodied with low/low carbonation

Drank alright, alcohol starts to show up at the end. I'd loved to found this back when I was in OZ, I know all the other coopers I've had were better fresh. If priced right, I'd revisit, no problem

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Photo of woodychandler
3.74/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From the bottle, first: "Coopers Vintage has been brewed with choice malts and an extended top fermentation to provide a strong flavoursome ale. Stored under cellar conditions the rich and full flavour of Coopers Vintage will become more complex over an extended period."; "Coopers Ale and Stout are brewed using the centuries old top fermentation method and natural bottle conditioning, resulting in a characteristic fine sediment forming on the base of the bottle. This sediment is completely natural and can be gently mixed before drinking or poured carefully leaving the sediment in the bottle."

Vintage 2008: "Best After [smeared].19.2008" I went with a gentle pour, hoping to leave as much of the lees (sediment) in the bottle as possible. I had barely a finger of light-tan head with decent retention as a result. Color was a muddy brown, like the nearby Conestoga River after a heavy rain. Man, but this smelled syrupy malty and given its ABV, I could see myself splitting my skull on this evening. The first sip struck me as more watery than I might have expected, but the maltiness lived up (or down) to my expectations. You had best be into sugary sweetness before opening one of these. I was getting a lot of chewy malt initially, followed by an anise wash of licorice bitterness, especially on the back end. The finish was very anise/licorice-like and frankly, it was a refreshing break from the unrelenting sweetness. I would not want a steady diet of this, but on a snowy evening, it hit the spot.

Vintage 2009: "Best After 25.June.2009 19:58". I'm solid on Hallowistmas (29 Oct 11, when it snowed!).

Again, a gentle pour, but this time with just wisps for head and a deep-amber color with just the hint of haze. Nose had a more pronounced caramel sweetness. Mouthfeel was fuller and more carbonated, suggesting that fresher may be better, especially in this case. The taste was more pronounced, as opposed to aged, and I really caught the interaction between the hops and the malt. Toffee was prevalent, but not overwhelming, on the tongue. This was actually quite pleasant, where the previous vintage was more of a challenge. Finish was very caramel, very fitting for Christmasween.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark orange with quite a few flecks and flakes floating within. I broke off the pour before some of the larger, nastier stuff had a chance to escape. The buff colored cap is small and isn't the least bit sticky. It's deflating relatively slowly, but doesn't look wonderful on the way down. There's very little lace in the beginning and a few stray splotches in the end.

The nose is reminiscent of musty orchard fruit (apples mostly) and caramel. The aroma isn't all that compelling. It doesn't smell 'strong', either in terms of how much actually reaches my nose or in terms of its character. I guess the 7.5% ABV is the sole justification for the name.

The flavor is a definite improvement. I won't go so far as to agree with the brewers that it's the beer equivalent of fine wine, but it does have a concentrated fruitiness that justifies the comparison on some level. There's a modest toasted bread flavor, some light caramel and an unsweetened tea-like quality that I associate with some English ales. Bruised apples are still uppermost, with a faint oranginess trailing along in their wake.

There's a fair amount of hoppiness (Tettang? Kent Goldings?) that easily counters whatever sweetness might be present. The middle is firm and the finish is crisp and dry. I can't really taste the alcohol, but I'm pretty sure that I would have come close to guessing the ABV if blinded.

Although the amount of carbonation is on the low end, the beer is far from underbubbled. A bigger body would have worked much better. I like my old ales to have some amount of chewiness and mouth linger. This is a lighter version of the style for sure.

Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale reminds me of a higher alcohol English pale. It could use a tad more depth and assertiveness, but it's still a worthwhile beer that I found appealing. This is my favorite Coopers Brewery offering to date and has to be included in my top handful of Aussie beers as well.

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Photo of Jason
3.84/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12.7 oz stubby brown bottle with batch # of 4-OCT/2002. Some yeast slurry is noticeable on the bottom of the bottle after a careful decantation.

Appearance: Hazed amber gold with a thin bubbly yet sticky lace.

Smell: Dried apple skin, spicy peppery alcohol and a mild maltiness.

Taste & Mouth Feel: Full bodied with a smooth crispness. Malty twang, ripe fruit of apples and tangerine peels. Faint hops with a warming peppery alcohol. Hp bitterness still has a firm bite. Fruity finish with some toasted malt and nutty yeast in the back.

Drinkability & Notes: Wow, very tasty … nice bite from the hops with the lingering spicy alcohol to complement. Went great with a plate of lamb & veal ragu over fusilli.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.24/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

"Much thanks to gottajiboo2 for bringing this beer over and shring it with me. What a treat." I will echo Phatz's sentiments here.

A - Quickly dissipating head, cascading caramel collered ale

S - Sweet Vinous sugary scents, underpinnings of wood and spice

T - The taste of sweet white grapes greet the tonque, fruity esters and subtle wood are apparent. Grainy and ice wine-like alcoholic finish.

M - Effervescent, light with subtle waves of yeasty sweetness. Medium bodied, lasting feel of sugar remains.

D - Great drinkability, this ale is welcome in doses of a pint or less. It leaves you wanting more with relatively low bitterness and mature maltiness.

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Extra Strong Vintage Ale from Coopers Brewery Limited
Beer rating: 3.64 out of 5 with 379 ratings