By Andy Young
The 2015 release of the limited edition Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale is now available off-premise and selected on-premise, nationally.
This year's brew has a higher bitterness than in previous years; Coopers has been making the Vintage Ale for over 15 years and it generally has been around 40 IBUs, this year's ale has 60 IBUs.
One important feature of the Vintage Ale is its strength, and this year's has remained the same at 7.5 per cent ABV.
The main element that is changed year-on-year is the hops that are used and this year is no different. One new hop introduced into the 2015 VIntage Ale is the Melba hop.
Dr Tim Cooper said: "Melba is one that Ellerslie Hop Estate in Victoria deliberately developed, with a mind to it being used in Cooper's Extra Strong Vintage Ale."
In terms of the character Melba brings, Simon Fahey the technical manager of lab and beer systems, said: "Melba actually imparts a strong stone fruit character into the vintage and with that I'm talking about thing like peach, hence it's probably named after Dame Nellie Melba, Peach Melba."
As well as the Melba hop, this year's vintage has Vic Secret and Ella hops and then is dry hopped with Styrian Golding and "a touch of Cascade for that extra lift at the end".
Dr Cooper added that "one of the things that we've got on our side with Vintage is the Cooper's ale yeast. That ale yeast has been in the family for over a hundred years."
Dr Cooper said this year's Vintage would suit most hearty winter meals of lamb, pork or beef, but would make the perfect accompaniment to a Sunday roast.
Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale was first released in 1998, with further vintages in 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, and every year since 2006. The Ale can be consumed immediately while flavours are fresh, or stored in cool conditions for tastings after six to 12 months of maturation.
The 2015 Vintage Ale is priced from around $85 per carton, or around $28 per six pack of 355 ml bottles.
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