Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale | Coopers Brewery Limited

265 Reviews
Coopers Extra Strong Vintage AleCoopers Extra 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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 265 | Ratings: 375
Photo of kc44
3.85/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage, so something like two or three years old at this point. Great burnt orange hue, nice head that settles down into a thin layer of foamy bubbles that never go all the way away. Lots of malty sweetness on the nose, some wood, some dark fruit. The taste follows the smell fairly closely, but the good news is that the wood and fruit flavors come on strong and it is not just a simple malt bomb - well crafted and well cellared beer here. The only hint at the strength of this beer is the association of the flavors with high gravity brews; I'm not really picking up any alcohol heat. Maintains surprisingly good carbonation, unsure if the liveliness is appropriate here or not but I for one appreciate it, definitely adds another dimension to the beer. Nice and full bodied without being viscous or too sticky. Altogether, not a beer I was sure I would like, and certainly one that exceeded my expectations. Australians keeping it real here.

 951 characters

3.47/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle.Tulip glass.Enjoyed on novĀ“11.Orangish cooper. Close froth,yellowish in color.Large bubbled quickly dissipated head. Yeast, sugar,slightly toasted malt aroma & hints of candies to the nose.Gentle malty flavor at first sip.Notes of spices & brandy.Orange zest & sugar. Kind warming alcohol & bitter underneath.Fruity finish.Full body,soft carbonation.Woody aged aftertaste.Pleasant & paused drink in the evening.Well balanced beer.

 444 characters

Photo of harrymel
2.62/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Vintage 2008

Pours a maduro brown with some creamy foam accenting the top. Spot lace. Smells like malt and a hint of molasses with a solid point of oxidation. Maybe some tea like aromas. Flavor is surprisingly oxidized and fruity for the nose. Lots of wood, yeast and cherry flavor. Medium bodied with hi carb and a semi slick finish. Not a particularly impressive offering.

 375 characters

Photo of bylerteck
2.26/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Bottle from Local Provisions in Melbourne. From notes.

A - Poured a medium brown colour with a big fluffy three finger white head. Strong carbonation and decent lace with half a finger of retention.

S - Booze, lager-y, caramel, some gentle English/earthy hops.

T - Sweet malt, some off putting hop notes. Lager-y. Lot's of sweet grain. Not exactly good.

M - Strong carbonation, medium and slightly water-like body. Really cloying with a lingering oily/vegetal/medicinal slickness in the finish.

O/D - Not good. Maybe infected. Weird cloying and offensive flavours in the finish. Sad to have bought this with such high expectations.

 637 characters

Photo of notchucknorris
3.47/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown and hazy color with barely any head.

S: Caramel, vanilla and some prune. Subtle hints of oak.

T: Big and malty flavor with some dark fruit notes. Prune and some raisin are the biggest flavors. Mouthfeel is a bit thin despite the big flavors.

 257 characters

Photo of teromous
2.83/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

My review is for the same beer, under the alias "Coopers Vintage Ale" with a gold foil top and a picture of a man with a beard on the label. I'm not sure if that matters, but my review might be more relevant to a person drinking the same beer.

A: The beer is a dark rosewood color, with a thin white cap. The beer allows light through, showing lots of sediment in the beer. It is too dark to see through completely.

S: I get a faint but rich scent of malt. I get light notes of vanilla and I smell some alcohol.

T: I pick up notes of coffee, definite malt flavor, and I can taste the alcohol in the beer. The coffee flavor and some light oak comes out in the aftertaste. It would be a 4 but the alcohol flavor drops it off. I taste some esters.

M: The mouthfeel is good on most accounts. The beer is smooth which is nice, it coats the mouth well. The problem is that the beer has more of a stronger flavor than the body can support. It has a rather light body.

O: Overall it is a decent beer. I give it an average because I'm on the fence overall with this beer, which is how I feel about most average beers.

 1,113 characters

Photo of vandemonian
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale is an English strong ale with some subtle fruit flavours. It doesn't have the most interesting flavour, but is very drinkable.

A: Cloudy orange colour and a 15 mm head that fades pretty quick. 4

S: Fruity malt aroma. 4

T: Malty and sweet with some subtle slightly oxidised fruity flavours. 3.5

M: Reasonably thick and almost flat. 3.5

O: 4

 377 characters

Photo of flagmantho
3.97/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 375mL bottle into a pint glass. This is the 2008 vintage.

Appearance: rich brown hue with a thin layer of creamy ivory foam. Body has a little haze and a good helping of suspended solids. Not bad.

Smell: rich, strong malty aroma. The alcohol is definitely noticeable in the nose. Simple, but good. I like it.

Taste: strong malt flavor with some nice fruity characteristics and a distinct mustiness. Fruits are plum, raisin and a little bit of cherry. Alcohol is strong and distinct; it is more forward than many stronger beers I've had. "Strong" is highly appropriate for this beer; I like it quite a lot.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a big, heady creaminess despite what seems to be a moderate carbonation. It fits the theme well.

Overall: this beer is rough around the edges in some ways; its strength and the forwardness of its alcohol flavors impinge on its drinkability. However, that is clearly what this beer is supposed to be -- extra strong! I rather like it.

 984 characters

Photo of woodychandler
3.74/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

 2,202 characters

Photo of vancurly
3.42/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Coopers bar in Adelaide airport. $9 for a South Australian pint (i.e. NSW schooner).

a) Pours a pale caramel brown, hazy. Served in a tall fluted glass mroe suitable to pilsner than English ale. Head disappears almost immediately.

s) Banana-like esters. Wild vegetation and maybe some tropical fruit.

t) Toffee, fleshy/yeasty. Touch of warmth, with banana note again.

m) Medium weight, slightly creamy, long palate.

o) A very drinkable ale with enough complexity to keep interest. I think the bottled version is slightly better.

 547 characters

Photo of bucklemyshoe
4.03/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375 mL bottle into a snifter. Bottled: 05/17/2008.

A: It pours a cloudy dark red with two fingers of frothy off-white head with great lacing.

S:Berries, melon, banana, nutmeg, and caramel.

T: Lots of fruitiness, mild malty flavors, and a touch of booze.

M: Medium-thick with surprisingly strong carbonation.

O: This is not as strong as I had hoped but the fruitiness is very pleasant.

 390 characters

Photo of Hachiman
3.42/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had the 2008 vintage.

Poured an almost clear medium brown with almost no head. Decent lacing though.

Smelled of medium roasted sweet malt and raisins, prunes.

Tasted zesty for a three-year old beer. Aged in the bottle, so nothing from the container. Taste didn't rise to the level of the aroma: a little sweetness on the front end and bitterness on the back.

Mouth feel was slick and medium heavy.

 404 characters

Photo of Stew41
2.86/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2010 Vintage (consumed August 2011). Hard to get excited on this tasting. Flavours seem hard and unforgiving with bitter stone fruits. Some malt sweetness tries to get going but never really takes hold. Dumb phase? Have seen much better examples from previous vintages.

 269 characters

Photo of LXIXME
4.2/5  rDev +15.1%
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.

 1,079 characters

Photo of zeff80
3.97/5  rDev +8.8%
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.

 561 characters

Photo of MrKennedy
3.52/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2011 Edition, 375ml bottle purchased from Dan Murphy's Top Ryde and poured into a Mikkeller tulip style glass.

An amber appearance with orange highlights when held up to light, it has a very cloudy look to it and pours with a two and a half finger head of white foam with very tiny bubbles. Plenty of tiny bits of sediment that mostly sink to the bottom of the glass.

The smell is of pear, apple, banana and caramel with a touch of booze.

Tastes of toffee with a touch of burnt flavour, caramel with the booze coming through as well.

Mouthfeel is good, but not what i recall of previous vintages where this was one of the highlights. This is a little thin early, while morphing into the creaminess that was felt with past vintages back around a decade.

Overall, this seems a little bit young or green, maybe best to sit on for a little while.

 849 characters

Photo of doktorhops
3.79/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is one I've been saving in my fridge for about 8 months - 2010 vintage. I had a fresh one when I got the 6 pack and put the other 5 to rest in the cooler and have gradually been picking them off over time.

Poured from a 375ml "stubbie" into a tulip pint glass.

A: The most immediate thing that strikes me is how murky and brown the body is, certainly would be difficult to shine a flashlight through it. The 1cm beige head slowly settled down to 0.5cm.

S: An interesting combination of tart and sweet aromas - a touch of port and fig pudding with rhubarb. The alcohol is detectable in the smell and there is a hint of Diacetyl butteriness as well.

T: Sitting in the fridge for 8 months certainly hasn't changed the kick of flavour this brew has! There is a strong toffee malt front, followed by almost overbearing candied-plum flavour (which is where the ABV really kicks in), and ending with a tart dryness that compliments the overall experience quite well.

M: Heavy, almost honey-like viscosity which makes it the last thing you should be drinking on a menu as it entirely dominates nearly any other competing flavours & textures. The carbonation is mid-low.

D: It's a big ale, and it doesn't bandy about the subject. There is quite a bit of alcohol in this drop and considering that fact it's hidden rather well (tastes on strength par with Leffe Blonde). I would recommend it as a decent after dinner beer or with a heavy meal, but as far as sessioning goes this one should be the finale rather than something to start and continue with. One last thing to note: expect a fair bit of yeast at the bottom of the glass/bottle - if you're not a fan of this (personally I think it adds character) you may want to decant it.

Food match: Rich game meats like Venison or Kangaroo... in fact a grilled "roo" steak with roasted vegetables and a dark chocolate sauce would go down a treat with this.

 1,905 characters

Photo of EgadBananas
3.18/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 2008.

Poured an amber/copper color, very light tan head, but it doesn't stay long. Aroma is slightly fruity, malty and caramel. That carries over well into the taste, though it has a slight bitter edge and more nuttiness. Feels pretty good...medium bodied, a tad creamy and sick. Low carbonation. No real booziness to it, so it drinks easy enough, but it's just nothing too spectacular. Decent enough though....may sit on a bottle for a while

 451 characters

Photo of heygeebee
4.3/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Where do you start to review? I have five vintages in my cellar, and all are 'similar but different', and all change with time, and all are subject to bottle variation in terms of carbonation or just plain past-it-ness when the years go by.

2010 Vintage (drunk 05/2011) - pours a deep amber / copper, with a small head which fades quickly. Carbonation is good.

Aromas of toffee, caramel malt and some yeast

Taste consists of toffee, more caramel, with warm alcohol coming through, and then some bitterenes. Quite complex and it changes as it warms.

Mouthfeel is on the chewy side, very pleasant..

Overall, this stuff is excellent, and a wonderful example of Australian Brewing at its best.

2008 Vintage (drunk vertically with the above-noted 2010 on 05/2011) - pours a deep amber / copper, with no head. Carbonation almost gone.

Diluted aromas of toffee, caramel malt, sherry/port

Taste is somewhat sweeter with more malt, still the alcohol warmth coming through, but no bitterness. Good.

Mouthfeel is thinner.

This bottle wasn't a good example of cellaring - but the 2008 wasn't my favourite when it came out. Funnily enough there was little difference betwen the two years in the vertical taste.

As a comparison I had a 2007 around six months ago that I almost though of as 'a perfect beer', and would have almost gone 5s or 4.5s across the scoreboard board on. Such an integrated Christmas cake sweetness to the flavour that was to die for.

 1,455 characters

Photo of xylophonica
3.9/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Light caramel brown colour. Minimal head.

S - Sweet sugary syrup. Mild cheese & bread.

T - Very light and sweet at first. Heaps of sugary caramel flavours. Mild carbonation offsets sweeter tastes.

M - Carbonation as above is quite soft but couples well with a more bitter aftertaste.

O - So clearly this is the pick of the Coopers stable.. although it has a price to match. Very pleasant and easy to drink. Proof that Australians can make a decent beer when we try!!

 476 characters

Photo of steven9000
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml bottle, 2009 vintage.

appearance- So we got a copper gold clear color with a 2 and a half finger Kacy frothy head

Smell- Smells like an English barley wine. I get lots of pears and caramel. Seems if someone took a pear and dipped it into caramel. I also get some clove and fig and some raisin notes. Just a slight bit of alcohol.

taste-The taste i get lots of caramel. The alcohol is definitely noticeable. some sweet radians and a slight bitter finish

Mouthfeel is definitely medium to full mouthfeel with perfect carbonation.

Overall this tastes very much like a English barley wine. It was very good and at a real good price. 11 bucks Canadian for a 6 pack. Coors light 6 packs cost around the same amount so i fought it a awesome deal.

 751 characters

Photo of Nerudamann
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Look - cloudy and floating with the sediment. Copper/caramel in color with about 2 fingers of slightly dark off-white colored foam that dissipates slowly.

Smell - malty smelling, but maybe with hints of hops.

Taste and Mouthfeel - malty and sweet at the beginning, but the hops kick in in the middle, toward the finish there's a burnt chocolaty type of taste, which stays in the aftertaste. Texture is fairly well-balanced but leans more toward the creamier side.

Drinkability - a little too bitter for me in general, but still good-tasting and complex/intriguing. Very decent brew.

 626 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.55/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

 1,187 characters

Photo of burnheartsMKE
4.22/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I hastily pour this bottle into my glass overlooking the bottle's warning to be "poured carefully leaving the sediment in the bottle". So, naturally I get a tulip bowl full of deep amber-brown liquid with millions of floating particles swimming slowly around. A bit of yeast catches a carbonation bubble and rises fast before once again diving deep into the murky bottom. But I ain't scared of a little yeast and it all slowly settles 'round the basin waiting for my last sip of enjoyment.

The smell is fantastic; dry autumn leaves, a waft of fresh damp earth and a grape-kool-aid like essence all seem to bypass my nose and head straight to my tongue because I begin salivating.

First sip confirms my suspicion; this smell & tastes a lot like an American-style Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy, which is good because I am currently in love with the style (namely,Lake Louie's Warped Speed) and it's kinda turned into my go-to beer this winter. A rustic sweetness characterized by roasted caramel with a chilled out bitterness gives my mouth a full flavored yet super easy drinking experience. My only complaint is that I drank it too fast.

 1,131 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
3.48/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 Edition, no sign of a bottled on or best by or best after date.

A nice cloudy rust coloured brew, there's a small head of foam, smaller, smaller, now just a ring around the glass and a few islands in the middle. The lacing isn't half bad.

The smell, though lightish, is primarily of dark fruits and a sugar like sweetness with some alcohol poking through. As strong as this is, I expected a more assertive nose.

The taste brings the dark fruits, mostly plums and raisins, and actually very little malt sweetness....lots more of a bitterness of the fruity hop variety. Some slight tart notes as well. The more I drink, the more bitter it seems to get.

Medium bodied with fairly light carbonation...a decent mouth feel.

This is pretty much a sipping brew for me but it's enjoyable.
I've had this a few times over the years but I've never held on to one for more than a year/drank one older than a year and maybe next time, I'll give that a go. At 1 year or less, it's good but may be potentially beter.

 1,011 characters

Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale from Coopers Brewery Limited
3.65 out of 5 based on 375 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.