Coopers has launched its 2019 Vintage Ale, which is the 19th in the series of annual special releases by the brewery.
The beer contains barley grown in the Murray Mallee region of South Australia and as ever a new combination of hops which the brewing team at Coopers have put together especially for the Vintage Ale.
Speaking at the launch in Sydney on Tuesday evening, Dr Tim Cooper said: “As with last year we now have the advantage of being able to malt a specific barley from a specific area. So this year we decided to take the Compass barley that was grown in the Murray Mallee region.
“It’s an important barley growing area, and the Compass is a very hardy variety that copes well with drier conditions and it’s also a high yielding variety. So it’s a good variety to choose, being high yielding and giving good extract, it’s a good variety to use with Vintage Ale. We get good conversion of the starch to sugars in the brewhouse.”
Dr Cooper added: “We also add some Crystal malts which helps the ale to have its nice reddish hue, which is a traditional colour we have for the Vintage Ale.”
The process of choosing the hops for the Vintage Ale is something the brewing team at Coopers likes to call Hop Idol, and this year that process saw Mosaic and Cascade hops chosen, with some Centennial hops added in the kettle.
“In the brewhouse we are putting a lot more hops in the beer than we would with something like our Pale Ale,” Dr Cooper said. “Each year we change the hop regiment, so we are looking to add different hops each year. We as brewers will challenge ourselves to look out different hops and taste them.
“We will often do one or two session where we will taste four or five of these hops, and then another session with another four or five hops and then we’ll taste combinations of hops and that’s the tricky bit where we start blending them.”
The Mosaic hop chosen by the team heralds from the US and was only introduced in 2012 and since then has become a popular hop with craft brewers and came from the same team who developed the Simcoe and Cintra hops.
In terms of what that brings to the ale, Dr Cooper said: “We are looking for balance in hops, and the main driving flavour comes from the Mosaic, supported by the Cascade. The hop aromas we are getting are apricot, pine and citrus, which complement roasted malt, nuts and toffee notes on the palate, enhanced by a clean bitterness and a smooth velvety finish.”
Like all Coopers ales, the 2019 Vintage Ale undergoes secondary fermentation and natural conditioning. Coopers 2019 Vintage Ale retains an alcohol level of 7.5% ABV.
Coopers Marketing and Innovation Director, Cam Pearce, said only a limited quantity of kegs and cartons were available and Vintage Ale lovers should act quickly to ensure supply.
“Seasonal releases of beer have become popular in recent years with the craft movement,” Pearce said. “Coopers has been bringing an annual seasonal release to market for the past 20 years and we are proud to continue this with a greater focus on the seasonal aspect and the origins of the ingredients.”
Coopers 2019 Vintage Ale is priced from around $90 per carton, or around $30 per six pack of 355 ml bottles.