I’ve got ever so slightly unpleasant memories of the 2011 Coopers Extra Vintage Ale. And it’s absolutely not the fault of the beer. Last year I’d enjoyed a few of them (in my line of work as the Illawarra Mercury beer writer they sent me a case of the stuff. Imagine my pleasant surprise). Until the day I must have been coming down with a bug.
I had a bottle of the Extra Vintage, felt sick shortly thereafter and hurled. Then I spent the next 24 hours in bed. Rationally I knew the sickness had nothing to do with the beer but it still created a sensory aversion to the ale, which saw me give away a lot of the remaining bottles.
So I was a bit trepidatious about trying the 2012 vintage, which comes in a new bottle which I reckon looks better than the squat varieties of years gone by. But I needn’t have worried – because this year’s version is quite a nice drop.
I reckon it’s slightly more mild than last year’s vintage (but that could be because I’ve got a solid year of craft beer tasting under my belt and what tasted strong last year seems less so this year). There are some slight fruity notes, which is a pleasant surprise in what is sort of a darker beer – and you tend not to expect them to be fruity. Well, at least I don’t.
That slight fruitiness carries over onto the palate – to me there’s a definite apricot flavour. And it becomes more noticeable as the glass warms up. That apricot fruitiness hides under a nice malt flavour and it all ends with a good level of bitterness.
Coopers says the beer can be aged like wine and the flavours will change with collaring. But I’ll never find that out because there’s just no way I could leave a beer untouched for six months or <more. To me, beer is to be enjoyed now. Why deliberately deprive yourself of it.
would I drink it again?: Yep for sure. I just wish Coopers had sent me a case this year, rather than just a six pack