Extra Strong Vintage Ale | Coopers Brewery Limited

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Extra Strong Vintage AleExtra Strong Vintage Ale
381 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

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Ratings: 381 |  Reviews: 267
Photo of asabreed
4.45/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz shorty bottle, Oct 2002 is the batch and bottle date, so I guess this guy's already 4 years old? Here goes.

Appearance: Because of the shitload of sediment that was poured into the glass, it's made the beer a weird hazy brown. Slightly unattractive in that sense, but also very much like something I've never seen. Odd pieces of sediment are floating around and are stirred up as I sip on it. Also, it's got a great head that's still above the beer, and decent lacing.

Smell: An odd mix of vinous grape-like qualities and sweet, dark, chocolate. Yes, odd indeed, but somehow it works very well. Some yeast, dark bread, maple, caramel, and slight toffee too. I've never really smelled a beer like this before.

Taste: Malt sweetness up front, with the vinous characteristics coming back later and right before the swallow. Some hints of sweeter chocolate are there too, along with some, brown sugar, some fruit: plum, apricot? Tons of stuff going on, and though it's slightly odd it's working very well for me, one because of the singular nature of the beer, and how quality the balance and ingredients seem. And where's the alcohol for 7.5%? Hidden, and hardly there in my opinion.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation levels are those that seem absent, then they spritz the mouth upon the swallow. This may be because the seemingly higher sugar levels, but I don't know. Either way, it ends up being a bit creamy and velvety by the end. Medium body but not cloying or anything. Satisfyingly coating, if you will.

Drinkability: I'm more than impressed by this brew, especially for the seemingly lower end reviews (meaning many significantly lower than a total of 4), but I think this is complex, satisfying, original, tasty, and altogether a great drinking experience. Make sure you decant properly if you're not a big sediment fan, though, because like Smuttynose IPA, there's tons, and it'll make its way into the glass if you're not careful. Then I ask: what did the four years do? I guess it has to be good things. Either way, I'll be getting more of this, and even if you're a bit wary, you should try it for sure.

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

Best before 10-9-2006. The pack I took it from said it was vintage 2002, but there was no indication of this on the bottle itself.

This brew was a hazy light brown offering, with a two finger fizzy head. I was surprised that it was so bubbly and carbonated.

The aroma was VERY complex... sherry, white wine, raising, and figs, with caramel malts underneath. Quite nice.

Taste was not at all fruity, unlike the nose. I detected light roasted malts, coffee with cream, and some oak flavors. Tasty indeed.

Mouthfeel was pretty darn good... nice body to rhis one. Smooth and creamy despite initially seeming like it was heavily carbonated.

Drinkability... damn good. I will have to get another one and cellar it until the date on the bottle.

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Photo of dgallina
3.2/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz brown bottle dated best-before 10-09-2006.

Poured a cloudy pale light brown with a minimal sheen of foam and minor lace; not very appetizing looking. Minimal aroma; brown sugar and molasses over a vaguely spicy whiff of alcohol. Restrained sweetness up front, develops round and pleasant wood tones in the middle and finishes with slightly metallic toasted malts and alcohol notes. Rather thin and over-carbonated for a strong ale.

Easy-drinking and utterly undistinguished.

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Photo of jarmby1711
2.74/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This is my second try of an Australian brewed English Strong Ale, and I an conclude I probably dont like the style .
This looks inviting in the glass semi hazy burnt mahogany with a persistent smal bead.
It smells pleasnatly yeasty
The first few sips are sharp with a passionfruit flavour but it becomes astringent and harsh , It is like drinking a dull rum and water.
Is it a good beer .? I dont think it is

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Photo of DaveFL1976
2.95/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale comes in a “vintage” looking bottle, and pours a deep mahogany brown, yet cloudy colour with a humongous head that crowns up over the glass without spilling over. The label indicates 7.5% alcohol and that they achieve it from “choice malts and an extended top fermentation.” The smell is a combination of aged, toasted malt and the sharpness of alcohol. The first taste to greet you is the sharpness of the high alcohol content. It’s not particularly well hidden, especially for “only” being 7.5-percent. The second taste is a toasted malty pseudo-sweetness followed, again, by the alcohol dryness. Mouthfeel is quite good, body-wise and carbonation-wise, but post-swallow, the alcohol can get to you. It’s not as easy-drinking beer as you would hope, and the “dryness” becomes a bitterness. To sum up, I won’t buy this beer again. Although it looks pretty nice, and smells pretty good, Coopers makes their Extra Strong Vintage Ale seem like the 12% Belgian that doesn’t balance out the high alcohol content. The only problem is that Coopers Extra Strong is 7.5% alcohol and does a poor job of balancing it out. All the more disappointing. I adore their sparkling ale and stout, but this beer is not one of their best.

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Photo of studentofbeer
3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

4 Oct., 2002 bottling. sienna in color, clear except for the yeasties i dropped in. oops. the head ran off except for around the rim. lots of great highlights--overall color is really nice.

very "british" character in the nose--bread, marmalade, honey. sweet. also some plum and phenolic yeast charcteristics like you get in a strong dark belgian.

a bit thin in body-- good carbonation but malt flavor has receeded somewhat leaving a lot of dryness and not much else at first. nice aftertaste however, cinammon, nutmeg and fruit, like spiced fruit/fruitcake. still some hops in the finish to dry things out. a bit acidic and possessing a phenolic character, which adds to the overall complexity and not overpowering so it doesn't detract too much (maybe it's from dropping all the yeasties in).

sure both 1845 and SLA trump this in the style category,
but this is not a bad sipper, especially if you want something a bit different.

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Photo of wl0307
3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My bottle is 2004 vintage, with a BEST AFTER date of 20/08/04. (suppose that's the bottling date?)

A: in a goblet it pours a very (Coopers-trademark) cloudy, dark and rusty-copper colour, with an off-white, foamy head settling fast to a thin layer of tiny bubbles lasting very well, against a constantly fine fizzy body.
S: quite refreshing malty nose plus mild aroma of candyish-orange, preserved-peach and a touch of light caramel; fruitcake's lightly buttery and dried-fruit (raisins) aroma sustains firmly at the back, along with a tinge of yeast, but not too much. In a sense it resembles the kind of very deep and flat raisiny aroma of a glass of semi-sweet Medeira wine left in the air for a while, yet I like it~~
T&M: first approaching is an overwhelmingly raisiny, almost madeira-wine like warm, alcoholic texture!!...the obviously creamy texture of malts is underlined by a quite floating dark-fruity and lively alcoholic, yeasty plus a bit woody feel lingering in the mouth, which turns increasingly dry and leaves a rounded but restrained palate of malts and more dark-fruits in the warm finish. The mouthfeel is very balanced, turning from a bit stimulating initially to soft towards the end, while in the aftertaste it becomes settled and dryish.
D: a quite strong beer, it somehow is quite restrained and simplistic in terms of overall flavour. Still, this is a nice beer to savour once in a while.

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Photo of Beertracker
3.54/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Coopers Vintage Ale (2000) should be served at "cellar" temperatures (50-55F) from a traditional no-nick pint glass or brandy snifter. As with most of Coopers bottle conditioned ales, this one pours up noisy with ample carbonation. Vintage Ale is dark golden/orangish amber in color with a large, loose collared white head. The aroma is ripe with orchard farm fruits e.g. Bartlett pears, ripe persimmons & slightly nutty with just a hint of spicy hops. In addition, there's some papery/winey notes i.e. oxidation in the background.

Vintage Ale starts off slightly tart and very winelike, but emerges with some nutty, toasted malt character. The maltiness isn't as generous as one's led to believe, but there's a nice balance of flavors. The finish is very crisp & slightly dry which detracts some from the drinkablity. However, the overall creaminess is comforting to the tongue and the emerging warmth lightens the soul! I recommend not to cellar this one too long, so as to savor this strongish ale in its youth. Enjoy Coopers Vintage Ale as a nightcap or paired with a simple plate of traditional Damper (Bushman's Bread), Bunya or Macadamia nuts, and/or Grabetto (goat's milk) cheese. Here's to 140yrs. of Aussie brewing & tradition!

CHEERS! Beertracker

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Photo of Zorro
3.92/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured with care to leave the sediment in the bottle.

Pours a clear copper colored ale with a skimpy head.

First sniff is very fruity with a scent of rye and a bit of ethanol. Fairly spicy scent that is quite pleasant.

Taste is fruit and rye with a little butter. A little sweet it has a brisk bitterness in the finish. A little tartness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is good.

Nice drinkable beer here but I think I can find better.

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Photo of WesWes
3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark amber color with loads of floaties and a thick frothy offwhite head that fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a traditional English ale scent, which is sweet, but with a bisquity aroma. It's bitter with a slight warmth and some burnt toffee character. The taste is decent. It has a smooth toffee flavor with a slight warmth and residual sweetness. The mouthfeel is average. It is a medium/full bodied beer with less than adequate carbonation. This is a pretty good beer. I haven't had any exceptional beers from these guys, but they all drink pretty well.

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

Batch No 4-Oct/2002 375 ml (2.2 standard drinks) from local supplier. Now well past the recomended 18 months of aging. With a gentle pour the ruddy yeast and spices stay behind leaving a clear brown ale with a modest tan head.
Caramel malt aroma hop not noticable.

Flavor of malt but caramel malt well in balance. crisp and fruity with little hop bittering. Alcohol well hidden by maltiness. Medium body and mouthfeel.
Swirlling up the yeast and other sediments in the last few ounces, I found it to be agreeable to the taste and wonder about the concern others have had re. this issue.

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Photo of AlexJ
4.17/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear mahogany brown with a thick, creamy 1 inch head of khaki. Nice retention with wavy streams of lace.

Aromas are sweet and malty, perfumed with light spices, raisins, dark fruit, leather, and sandlewood. Smells almost like an Old Ale or toned down barleywine.

Flavor is rich and fruity, with plum, raisin, hints of cinnamon, English toffee, caramel, floral hops, and a hint of citrus. Not wildly complex, but seems like it would age fantastically. Again, it really reminds me of an English Old Ale or light barleywine.

Body could use some beef, but is still medium. Mouthfeel is creamy and quite smooth with fine, pin point carbonation.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the glass chunky and hazy and overall nasty looking medium amber with a very low white head that fell in an instant and tried the lace the glass. The appearance was disgusting!

The aroma was nicely malty with a strong caramel malty presence and a nice English hop bittering component to complement.

The flavor was malty with a low caramel malt impression and well done hop bittering that balanced but was present enough to drive the strong ales' flavor from the malt to a more even stance. The beer was crisp and fruity and very well done.

The finish was just dry with a lasting citrusy hop impression coupled with a nice maltiness. The body was just above medium but seemed a bit less due to the carbonation. Alcohol was barely present in the flavor and only really came into play in the warming after consumption. This beer looks like puke in the glass. The aroma was kinda boring but the beer was spot in the flavor. Seek it out for that reason alone.

12 ounce twist off bottle. 4-OCT/2002. $3 at OUAV in Richmond, VA.

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Photo of clvand0
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It pours an amber color with a small head that falls away quickly and doesn't leave any lacing on the glass. The aroma is sweet and spicy with some distant malt character. The flavor has a nice malt base, slightly raisiny and it also has a warming alcohol sinsation. Not really my favorite style. The mouthfeel was moderate and the drinkability was just ok because of the apparent alcohol.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.2/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch No. 4-OCT/2002. Pours in my tulip glass a deep dark murky amber brown color with a small bubbly white head. I accidentally got the yeasties in there...damn. Looks nice otherwise. A mix of sweet deep caramel malts along with some fruit and raisin tones. Toffee and mellow spiciness..quite a nice robust nose.

First sip brings a nice mix of caramel, fruits and raisins. A good malty flavor that is somewhat earthy and has a dry woodiness to it as well. Fairly sweet overall with just a hint of bitterness and a dry finish on the way down that leaves a lingering grape flavor. A tasty brew!

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth with a nice punch of carbonation. For a strong ale this is a good drinking brew. I could sit down and enjoy a few of these after a hard days work. Recommended.

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

This bottle, purchased at the North Coast Co-op in Arcata, California, reads "batch # 4 - OCT / 2002."

Poured into my faithful Maudite goblet, the head rises less than an inch, but dense like creamy cream of wheat, and similar to that in color. No lacing to mention. The body is a honey-infused gold, attractive.


Golden raisins, processed white sugar; the middle is like opening a box of graham crackers, a big waft of it; the finish is a drizzle of honey and a nice twang of citrusy hop freshness.


Opens with a deep whip of sugary grapefruit bitterness at the base of my palate, elevating into a sharper bitterness that takes the upper-regions of my palate, while a dense fruit-cake sweetness spreads out below. Alcohol warmth is very evident toward the close, and maybe peeks into the flavor, a little. The finish is that crisp, rich bitterness thinning out over a landscape of rich, candied fruits, a hint of baked green apple too. Finish is moderately dry.


Bitey carbonation. The body's a little sticky on the roof of my mouth, but nothing to complain about. Full-figured.

A stand-up brew. Would go great with a heaping serving of heavily spiced apple cobbler and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.35/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I first had this beer at a bar in North Adelaide, Australia. Was a very special brew, as it was "expensive" and therfore really good back then. I've seen it around and have been looking for a single, which I finally found. It pours an oranged light brown color with a small coat of head over top. The nose is slightly raisiney, almost woody/oaky, with a tea-like tanniny quality to it. The flavor is slightly spicey, very slightly raisiney, with hints of tanniney wood. I like it. I was right to enjoy it back in the birthplace of this brew. The feel is moderate to thick with a moderate carbonation. I really don't get any of the 7.5% alcohol. This is a mighty fine beer. Really brings back some memories to this young beer drinker.

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

04/13/05- Purchased at a wine and beer shop in Sonoma, CA

Presentation- 375ml bottle with a batch # of 4-OCT/2002. Poured into my Maredsous chalice.

Appearance- Well, unlike most of the other reviews, this seemed to be one of the strong points of this beer. I received a large dirty white pock marked head that remained at least partly almost the whole glass. It also gave me very nice lacing and a nice golden-amber color. There were a small amount of yeast chunks, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Smell- Nice sweet spicy smell. Maybe even some apple and cinnimon in the mix.

Taste- Big sweet malty taste with a tiny bit of a hop twang to it. Mild spices are throughout.

Mouthfeel- Medium to lower carbonation.

Drinkability- This one was very tasty and went down super easy. At $2.79 per, this one was worth it for sure.

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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 Imbiber
4.41/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From a bottle of the 4th October 2002 purchased at Bierkraft, Brooklyn.

Lots of yeast apparent at the bottom of the bottle, so a careful pour was attempted. Even so, clumps of yeast broke free by what I can only describe as a violent carbonation level - so these were bouncing up and down in the glass like some volcanic hot spring. Bottle conditioning is great so I'll drink this time with my eyes shut. I did though rid the beer of some of the clumps and the excess carbonation by pouring into a second glass and then back again into the original.

Faint malty aroma. Taste is rich, malty, very slightly warming from alcohol. Richness comes out, this is a smooth brew that has lots of character. I could drink this all day, this is a classic living beer with nothing taken out. But it needs preparation like a cask, after this experience (and I thought I was prepared as I knew it's bottle conditioned!) I recommend opening at least a couple of hours before pouring so excess condition can dissipate, then pour very gently in one motion - don't upright the bottle until it's 90-95% poured. Dump the rest as it will be mainly yeast. It's worth it to drink this in good condition, especially as most of the people who try it as just another bottled beer probably won't.

Treat with care and you'll enjoy...

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.62/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Batch # 14 October 2002, Sampled January 2005
Pours a hazy amber orange color that is topped by a thin tan colored head, with a medium level of carbonation. The aroma is malty with some weird almost vegetal notes, as well as notes of alcohol, cleaning solution, caramel. The beer is sweet, quite well carbonated and has subtle oxidation notes of sherry. In some ways it is quite light on the palate. The taste is much more agreeable than the aroma hinted at. This is definitely slanted on toward the malty side of the spectrum, in some ways it even reminds me of diluted malt extract. Certainly interesting, and I am glad that I picked this up, but I think that it might be a bit more malty and fresh tasting if it was a bit younger.

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Photo of PorterLambic
4.39/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured out a cloudy medium brown with very little head, just a ring really, and less lace. Smell is smoke, malt, wood, green apples, raisins and hops. Taste is smoke, malt, green apple, raisins, peat, hops and alcohol (late to the party and not a bloom so much as just a presence). Mouthfeel is very rich, smooth, full bodied with an effervescence all over the mouth and tongue but biased to the tip. Warms the throat nicely. Drinkability is very high. The flavor is very complex and well balanced both to the nose and the tongue. I will be drinking this again.

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Photo of freed
3.67/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Damn - only $2.79? For a 10/2002 beer? Nice...

Poured like egg drop soup - clumpy flecks and shavings of things I really wouldn't expect in my beer. The body is a thinish, flatish, hazy bronze, and has no foam.

The aroma is a subtle blend of pale malt, spice, and wild yeast. Nothing outstanding, but nice.

The taste is pretty nice - gentle, warming, slight spice, and a nice tartness that suggests that it belongs on your tongue. Despite the rather thin looking body, it fills the mouth quite well.

Sadly, the nasty looking crap at the bottom of the glass makes you not want to finish it, which really affects drinkability.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.77/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

10/2002 bottle.

Chilled sample in a pint glass. The brew pours a hazy chestnut with tons of yeast sediment. The color actually reminds me of a cider. Aroma is of molasses and brown sugar some chocolate and ripe fruitiness too. First sip, much thinner body than expected, almost no carbonation. Maybe let it age just a bit long. The body is actually a little watery.
Flavor is sweet ripe fruit and brown sugar with some toffee too. No real alcohol presence. Beer goes down very easy and smooth, but the finish is a little empty. Not the best brew for aging I think, even with the hype on the label.

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

375 ml bottle batch # 4-OCT/2002 pours hazy with chunks of yeast floating around, orange amber color with a fluffy white head that lasts. Spicy, fruity, yeasty aroma. Spicy and peppery pear and oak flavor. Medium body with a crisp and snappy mouthfeel, finishes with some dryness.

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Extra Strong Vintage Ale from Coopers Brewery Limited
Beer rating: 3.64 out of 5 with 381 ratings