Coopers Best Extra Stout

Figure 1. Coopers Best Extra Stout


Coopers Brewery, based in Adelaide, South Australia, offers complete beer solutions with both homebrew kits and recipes as well as pre-prepared bottled or draught beer (Coopers, 2010).  Coopers make purchasing easy for their clientele by colour-coding their bottled products to avoid confusion.  One of their pre-prepared bottled products is Best Extra Stout, a stronger 6.3% alc. vol. stout which is identified by theorangey-yellow colour on the label.  Coopers Brewery is an exception among large contemporary breweries in that it is still owned and run by several Cooper family members.


This experiment was designed to investigate numerous characteristics of Coopers Best Extra Stout including, but not limited to, aroma, flavour, colour, satisfaction and vessel design.


A 750 ml bottle of Coopers Best Extra Stout was obtained from a local supermarket for NZ$3.99.  The sample was refrigerated to 4oC.  The cap of the bottle was removed under controlled conditions using a bottle cap leveraging device.  The contents of the bottle were decanted into clean glass vessels.  Aroma was evaluated by smelling the beer.  Flavour was analysed by tasting the beer and discussing it with a research collaborator at great length and, subsequently, satisfaction was assessed.  The glass was held up to a standardized light to evaluate the colour and aesthetic aspects of the vessel were considered.


Results for Coopers Best Extra Stout are shown in table 1 below.

Table 1. Characteristics of Coopers Best Extra Stout.

Characteristic Result
Aroma Juicy prunes steeped in licoricey chocolate with an finish of caramel and a hint of espresso
Flavour Substantial fizziness is quickly interrupted by considerable bitterness with an almost smokey undertone and a recollection of leather, with a burnt-like coffee aftertaste
Colour Deepest brown with a splash of red culminating in an almost black pour.  The final pour provides a view of a personal, micro-universe in the bottom of the glass as thousands of yeasty ‘stars’ pepper the black ‘void’ of space … where no one can hear you scream.  A feeling of omnipotence is difficult to avoid.  Unfortunately, the ‘stars’ soon coalesce to form a beige sludge, perhaps providing evidence of the Big Crunch and the ultimate fate of our universe
Satisfaction A beer to share over good conversation, probably in the cooler months.  The carbonation detracts slightly from the drinking pleasure
Vessel Design An choppy, brown bottle, embossed with the brand name and adorned with a no-nonsense black, white and yellow label (see figure 1)
Head A fizzy caramel-coloured head steadily diminishes over 192 seconds to leave a thin coating of tiny bubbles on the surface
Drinkability 6


The beer was tasty, but the analysis revealed questions about the fate of the universe.  The yeasty precipitate appeared to model the Big Crunch (Wikipedia, 2010), however, it is beyond the scope of this study to determine the final outcome of the universe.  Luckily, since contraction of the universe may not even start for another 10 or so billion years (new scientist, 2002), it seems that there are plenty of opportunities to investigate this phenomenon through beer-related research.


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