It’s time. One of the Australian beer market’s most highly anticipated annual events, the launch of Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale, took place today (June 28) with special events in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.
A separate launch event for the 2016 Vintage Ale will also be held in Perth for the first time next week (5 July).
The 2016 Extra Strong Vintage Ale is the 16th beer in the series that goes back to its launch in 1998 and like previous releases is expected to be quickly snapped up.
Coopers Managing Director and Chief Brewer, Dr Tim Cooper, said the 2016 Vintage Ale featured the use of five varieties of hops which had been carefully chosen to ensure a strong balance and depth of flavours and delicate aroma notes and flavours.
“The 2016 Vintage will again deliver the intense aromas and flavours that loyal drinkers have come to expect over time,” he said.
“The master hop breeder at Ellerslie Hop Estates recommended the use of a new variety of hops, Astra, which has been grown in Myrrhee in Victoria.
“This particular hop offers floral and fruity tones which complement another favourite stablemate, Melba, grown in the same region.
“The third variety is Northern Brewer, a variety originally bred in England in 1932 which imparts herbaceous and spicy notes.
“All three varieties contribute to the bitterness and aroma of the beer.
“Dry hopping with Styrian Goldings and Cascade provides added complexity with delicate aroma notes and flavours.”
Dr Cooper said premium quality pale, crystal and wheat malts provided a foundation for the “robust” flavours, while Coopers’ reliable ale yeast helped produce an intense array of esters with fruity notes.
The 2016 Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale maintains the bitterness of previous years at 60 IBU and an alcohol level of 7.5% ABV.
The ale has also been seeded with live yeast for bottle conditioning and to enhance the longevity of the beer, which will change over time as the bitterness slowly mellows and rich, sweet caramel- like characters emerge.
Coopers Sales and Marketing Director, Mr Cam Pearce, said that as in previous years, production of the 2016 Extra Strong Vintage Ale was limited and beer lovers were encouraged to plan their purchases early.
“Many shrewd drinkers purchase a carton to enjoy while the product is young and another which can be carefully cellared and consumed gradually to enjoy the changes this beer experiences over the years,” he said.
“This is one of the few beers that is designed to age and is unique in the Australian beer market.”
The 2016 Vintage Ale is priced from around $85 per carton, or around $25 per six pack of 355 ml bottles.