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scrapes in   decent   good   excellent   sublime

Cooper's, Best Extra Stout (Australia)
A top fermented beer, Coopers Stout is brewed with specially roasted black malt and Coopers yeast. It pours a pitch black colour with a thick tan head. It is not huegely aromatic at first, just slowly releasing a deep well of malty, chocolaty aromas, but still retaining some estery notes of bannana and clove. The palate is full, rich and voluminous, coating the tongue in a thick layer of chocolate and toasty flavours, with a tugging core of bitterness and a liquorice edge adding tension. Satisfyingly long, this is a terrific stout and along with the Pale and Sparkling Ales, a star of the Coopers line-up 6.3% ABV, 33cl, Pierhead, independents.
Cooper's, Dark Ale (Australia)
Coopers Dark is made using roasted and chocolate malts. It pouts a mahoggany colour with a thick, fluffy cream-coloured head. There's a nice burnt toast and coffee aroma, but it is light too, with something floral beneath all that charry character. On the palate it is fresh, with a streak of lemony acidity and fruit quality cutting through a rich, toasty malt flavour with a nice bite of hoppy bitterness. This beer feels as if it is just lacking a little something, but is tasty and refreshing in style. 4.5% ABV, 33cl, Pierhead, independents.
Cooper's, Mild Ale (Australia)
This is a relatively new product (as of 2006) developed as a lower alchol alternative to Coopers famous Pale Ale. It is hopped with Pride of Ringwood and Saaz, with secondary fermentation in the bottle. It has a nedium gold colour and a moderate white head. There's a nice bit of yeasty, estery character, with a touch of banana aroma. It is fairly light on the palate, perhaps medium-bodied, and has a creamy flavour with a pleasant hop bitterness in the finish. Inoffensive, and nice to have a low-alcohol alternative to the Pale Ale, but not a patch on the real thing. Purchased in Australia. 3.5% ABV, 33cl, Pierhead, independents.
Cooper's, Pale Ale (Australia)
This bottle-fermented beer cascades into the glass in a great swirling cloud of yeasty, ginger-beer-coloured bubbles. The nose has caramel and a light iodine note, and a dry hoppiness. On the palate it is quite light, with a smooth texture and good flavour, without being particularly distinctive. Dry and well-balanced, I enjoyed this beer very much. 4.5% ABV, 37.5cl, ?1.39, Majestic, Peckhams, Pierhead, Surf4beer, Tesco, Threshers.
Cooper's, Premium Lager (Australia)
Coopers Lager is brewed with Pride of Ringwood and Saaz hops, and pours a pale yellow/gold with a modest white head. It is a lager with a decent, full bodied style, with a nice bit of herbal bitterness and plenty of lemony fruit on the nose and palate. Tangy and well made. Purchased in Australia 5.0% ABV, 33cl, No known UK stockists.
Cooper's, Premium Light (Australia)
This is a "light" lager beer which I guess Coopers must have felt it needed to have in its portfolio. It pours a pale yellow colour with a thin head, and the nose is lemony, a touch floral, and clean. On the palate it is light verging on watery, and whilst not a beer to linger over, it is inoffensive and could be thirst quenching I suppose. Purchased in Australia. 2.9% ABV, 33cl, No known UK stockists.
Cooper's, Sparkling Ale (Australia)
This pours (with a little agitation of the sediment) in a cloud of darker, gold/bronze with quite a tight, just off-white head. The nose is lovely, with a little hint of cinammon, fine hops and fruity notes. On the palate it is medium-bodied and smooth, with a rich moussy attack, and subtly toasty character. It is a very classy beer, with a tight-grained, bitter hoppiness and a lovely focus of quite fruity, herbal flavours and that subtle toast held in check. Long and excellent. 5.8% ABV, 37.5cl, ?1.49, Peckhams, Pierhead, Sainsbury's, Surf4beer.
Cooper's, Vintage Ale 2004 (Australia)
Very nice to have a chance to taste Cooper's Vintage Ale with a couple of years in the bottle. With a nice touch of irony there's a "best after" date printed onto the bottle rather than a "best before," reinforcing Cooper's belief that these beers are best when given a little time in the cellar. The 2004 pours a hazy mid- to dark-brown colour, with a thick, creamy head. On teh nose it presents a great pillow of thick, malty, caramel and raisin aromas, with a nice herbal edge and just glimpses of an estery banana and spice character. In the mouth it is creamy, dense and enveloping, with lots of roasted malt and toffee flavours and a lovely bitter herbal streak. This is more integrated than the new 2006 bottling tasted alongside, and is delicious with a real alcoholic kick in the finish. Cooper's vintage beers do not quite live up to the standard of Fuller's Vintage Ale from London, but my word they are still superb beers. 7.5% ABV, 37.5cl, ?1.99, No known UK stockists.
Cooper's, Vintage Ale 2006 (Australia)
What a treat to try the latest release of Coopers legendary vintage ale, brewed with extended top fermentation. This is a beer made for cellaring, so it is a bit of infanticide to open one so young, but I have a few more tucked away for future enjoyment. Tesco have just named this beer as the 'Tesco Drinks Awards? Best Import' and limited stocks are in Tesco stores. It pours a dark, hazy toffee colour with a moderately persistent off-white head that is quite thick and creamy. The aromas are immediately malty and chocolaty, with a marmalade tang and plenty of infused caraway seed and liquorice notes. On the palate this thick, smooth beer coats the tongue in a sweet-edged rush of toffee and layered bittersweet flavour. The endive-like hoppy bite begins to assert towards the finish, playing against those chewy chocolate-coated caramel and plummy fruit flavours. A concentrated and intense beer that is already superb, but will be fascinating to taste over the years to come. 7.5% ABV, 37.5cl, ?1.99, Pierhead, Tesco.
Cooper's, Vintage Ale 2007 (Australia)
Antipodean cousin to Fuller's majestic Vintage Ale, Cooper's version carries a recommendation to drink within five years of release, but many aficionados will want to experiment by keeping it further. Only around 5,000 Slightly lighter than Fuller's 2007 at 7.5% ABV, it has a deep ruby colour and light-tan head that is creamy and dense. On the nose the beer is sharper, brighter and more estery, with a quality of pure resin and plenty of clove-like spice. On the palate it is considerably more crisp too, with red fruits and masses of hoppy, juicy, lemon and resin bitterness. The malt is sweet, but the whole picture of this beer is more agile, whilst being far less sumptuous than the Fuller's equivalent. I suspect this will gain that weight and breadth with a couple of years in the cellar. 7.5% ABV, 37.5cl, ?1.89, Pierhead, Tesco.



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