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

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Reviews: 265 | Ratings: 376
Photo of RoyalT
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – The body was a thick, dark orange sediment-filled pool of ale. I wasn’t able to get the head that other BAs got, but it was decent.

Smell – The malt base is filled with fruity overtones. I’m picking up especially oranges, cherries, and melons. It’s a tad spicy as well, maybe cinnamon.

Taste – The taste is good but rather clumsy. The malt backbone is hard to find. The fruits are big but kind of shallow. The alcohol is almost overpowering and well beyond what I’d expect from a “strong” ale that only has a 7.5% ABV.

Mouthfeel – The mouth is kind of watery. The ale itself is medium-bodied.

Drinkability – This wasn’t bad, but rates low on my English Strong Ale scale.

Update – I had a 2002 in 2005 and really enjoyed this beer “opened up”. There’s a yeasty background to the nose (less so at the taste) with some leafy bitterness just for good measure. It’s “malted up” after three years of storage and isn’t bad. I raised a few ratings that upped the Overall score by 0.30.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
3.87/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a bit weak for an Extra Strong "Vintage" Ale, although it's not bad if it had been named Coopers Fairly Good Ale. It pours a mud puddle brown with a thin beige head. The aroma is balanced between sweet malt and fruit, with a mild alcohol fuminess. The full sweet malt is slightly nutty with a faint taste of butterscotch. A lime-like citrusy bitterness is mellowed by apple, pear and hint of banana flavors. The alcohol is noticeable throughout, though never overpowering. Nice little bits of yeasty goodness float around like snow globes.

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Photo of beerguy101
3.76/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Medium brown gold color, medium head. Full bodied ale. Malty and fairly hoppy. Somewhat fruity, with a very strong dry finish. Very nice balance. Mouthfeel is full. Finish is very dry. Aftertaste is slightly malty. Finish is more champagne like than beer. Interesting beer. Some alcohol bite at 7.1%

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Photo of SeanChouffe
4.58/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage: 4, October 2002

This is a unique and very active beer with an attractive golden/amber color. It is very complex with a lot of fizz and a fruity cider smell. It is shameless in its quantity of sediment -- the chunks are just rolling around in the glass. The mouthfeel is smooth yet finishes with a nice bite. This beer is very pleasant, easy to drink and has a lot of great qualities. It is a little pricey, but is worth enduring the sticker shock. In the end, I felt a little disappointed that I really liked a beer with a twist off cap.

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Photo of Quaffer
3.17/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch No. 4, October of 2002. Bottle lists the abv at 7.5 %.

Appearance: This beer pours a very murky, very hazy amber-orange color. There was a ton of yeast floating around in the brew. A rough, almost white head rose up to two fingers with some coaxing and settled back quickly, leaving a thin cap of foam. This, too, has disappeared well before the beer was gone. There was no lace left to speak of.

Smell: This brew had an interesting aroma of alcohol, water, wine, green apples, and yeast. All of this was very faint and not easily detectable. But as the beer really started to warm up, an almost overpowering alcohol smell became very evident.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and very smooth, with practically no carbonation feel at all.

Taste: The taste is even more interesting than the smell. Interesting and a little bit strange to boot. Upfront there is not much at all, just a mild sweetness. But after the beer had lingered in the mouth for awhile and I had swallowed, an odd myriad of flavors arose: caramel, toffee, caramel apple, and green apple bubble gum. Along with these was the wine-like quality that I picked up in the aroma. On the finish was a burst of alcohol and a yeasty flavor that continued on as a lingering aftertaste. The alcohol flavor, like the alcohol aroma, became increasingly dominant as the beer warmed up.

An intersting, but not captivating, beer. It became much less enjoyable as the alcohol smell and taste took over. I have one of these set aside for aging that I will try in a year or two to see how it has changed. However, I don't think that this brew is big enough to age well for very long.

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Photo of JohnnyDuvel
3.11/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

If this is Cooper's "top of the line", I'm unimpressed. All of thier ales have a sour skunkiness that doesn't appeal to me. It's unfortunate, because the fruity taste underneath is pleasant enough. This one looks like swamp water, with the color and floaties. Has a weird smell, and unusual taste. The overall effect isn't bad, but for what is supposed to be a vintage beer, certainly nothing special.

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Photo of Suds
3.72/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This mahogany brown-with-orange colored brew has a bulbous, sticky tan head. The head quickly fades to a thin film of bubbles, but actually produces nice lace. There’s a lot of sediment, including large, free-floating clumps of yeast. Also, I’d say there’s a large amount of carbonation, which is (at times) audible. The aroma is intensely fruity (pear, banana, apple), with a little malt. The mouthfeel is dominated by the carbonation…the beer has potential for a nice, creamy texture, but the fizz keeps getting in the way. Taste is sweet and malty, but lacks depth and complexity. You can detect the alcohol, but it doesn’t seem to play that big a roll in the flavor. All in all, it’s really not what I look for in a barleywine.

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Photo of IrishRedRock
3.45/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I was kind of disappointed in this, but I think I set my hopes about it a little too high before I tried it. Pours a reddish brown, with no head and little carbonation. Dark malts in the aroma, but very little trace of hops, which surprised me. Has a somewhat nutty flavor mingling with a warming alcohol, but the mouthfeel is really really thin. Warming and not bad drinker, but not worth seeking out.

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Photo of yen157
3.89/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Coarse, fizzy head that had little staying power beyond a tiny bit of sticky lace. The body itself was cloudy amber with orange highlights. Chewy, toasted malt and toffee abounds in the nose, and those were mirrored in the taste. While there was no sign of hops aroma, there was a palate cleansing bitterness up front with the malt. The body was a little too thin and the finish cut short by seltzer flavor. It was a shame because it had so much potential. The 7.1% ABV did little besides warm the throat, so this beer would possibly get my vote for heavy hitting session beer of the month.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.82/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Color is a dark orange, with "floaties" running amok. It can't be an old bottle, for it's labeled as being bottled in October of '02, and promises to improve into 18 months. Perhaps I should have waited that long to see.
Head is fine, and white. Aroma is fresh and fruity, peach, apricot, melon, etc., and just a little bit floral.
Hops are very light, and malt is just sufficient. Taste is fully fruity and smooth. Sweet, tasty, rich, warm, with a lasting finish.
However, for something touted as EXTRA, and SPECIAL, and STRONG, I was disappointed. Perhaps, as they pledge, this "vintage" will improve with time. It was just "okay" for now, though.

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Photo of ADR
3.92/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch from Oct. 4, 2002...

Swampy ice tea appearance, with small chunks of yeasties. Head is minimal and lasts about 25 seconds. Aroma is of a Heath Bar, toffee-ish. Very candy-like flavors, some chocolate and buttery diacetyls, a touch of shortbread as it approaches the back of the mouth.. Hops do a good job countering any tendency toward over-sweetness. Well done, Coopers...not a killer but a fine and satisfying brew here.

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Photo of Scoats
3/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This review is of the 2000 version. The label recommends 18 months of cellaring. I let it set for a while and it was 24 by the time I got around to trying my lone bottle.

After such a long conditioning, I was expecting all sorts of interesting tastes with a long tailing aftertaste. However the amazing thing about this beer was the extra-ordinary lack of flavors; no tail, nothing. Or maybe it was all too subtle for me (though my hunch it's the beer as I had it with a totally fresh palette). The beer even lacked a noticable alcohol taste, which isn't a bad thing, but surprising for a beer whose label says to drink with caution.

I was completely underwhelmed, not disgusted just disappointed.

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Photo of Bighuge
3.15/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The amber colored brew throws out a nice head, albeit fizzy. Carbonation is evident in the glass, with CO2 surfacing rapidly in the form of tiny bubbles. A sour/fruity mix on the nose. This beer is really lacking for any distinguishible qualities on the taste buds. Surprising for a Strong/Vintage ale. There are some light nuances of fruity character. A little herbal tea like character. sIf something good can be said about this beer, it's that the alcohol taste is absent in a 7.1 a/v brew. Very drinkable for that level of alcohol.

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Photo of WilliamPhilaPa
4.47/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly cloudy bronze color; the head is solid. Pretty dominate caramel aroma with a touch of red apple tones. On the palate big caramel malt flavor upfront, red apple tones in the background which creates a tiny sweetness / sourness (very light), and maybe slightly toasted light bread. The mouth feel is extremely smooth. Overall I thought this was balanced to perfection, excellent sweetness, and the 7.1% abv. is hardly detectable. Just overall enjoyable, easy to drink, smooth, and refreshing…but a bit high in price, but I assure you it is worth a try.

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Photo of Thrasher
4.23/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brewed in 2000 and released after an extended maturation period. The 375ml bottle states: "Contains approximately 2.1 standard drinks." Muddy brown ale with soft, sticky head, with lager-like sparkling qualities that is trademark for Coopers. Surprisingly refreshing with an apple-y tartness in the middle, spritzy malty finish. Still some nice hop presence; not bitter or licorice-y like some older beers, but nicely buttery. Very tasty, seems slightly watered-down - a testament to its drinkability, but is that appropriate for the style? Otherwise superb.

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Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale from Coopers Brewery Limited
3.65 out of 5 based on 376 ratings.
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