2002 - bottle No.1 - 18.12.02
The Millennium Ale is the color of dark chocolate; a deep brown with a tinge of burgundy.
The beer is thick and syrupy, but the bitterness balances the sweetness well. It will be even better when the syrupiness and sugariness mellow. It is extremely bitter, but not harshly so.
It's got a good, if slightly sparse, head.
Geoff: “It's much better than I'd anticipated. It's well balanced and it's only going to get better.”
Lightly carbonated and almost no sediment, which is not surprising considering it was not primed and was racked twice.
It's like a botrytis wine; we couldn't drink a lot of it, but one glass is fantastic.
2003 - bottle No.2 - 29.12.03
Venue: Geoff's chambers in Melbourne
A big beer. Huge. Remarkable for its size, if nothing else.
Geoff: “It's gonna last 100 years!”
Syrupy. Tastes like molasses meets black currants. Light carbonation and little to no head. It's strong; we could taste the high alcohol content.
2004 - bottle No.3 - 14.12.04
Venue: Geoff's chambers in Melbourne
Looking and tasting like a more balanced beer.
Light carbonation. Fine, long-lasting head.
F---ing huge beer, but well balanced.
Taste: Blackcurrants and more blackcurrants, then dried fruit. Prunes?
Sweet, but not overly so.
We noted about the Millennium Ale Project: we only had a whole century to get organised.
A very nice beer.
A good after-dinner beer.
We were debating whether we should have hopped it more, but decided that we'd revisit that question in 10 years.
2005 - bottle No.4
After believing for almost two years that these tasting notes had been lost to mankind forever, they turned up in late 2007 in a pile of beer-related papers Oliver had filed away (and if you'd ever seen the amount of beer-related papers Oliver keeps, you'd understand how easily these tasting notes became lost and marvel at the fact they were ever rediscovered). We're not sure it was worth the wait, but here goes:
One of the ladies commented that “It smells like Promite and Vegemite mixed together.”
The blokes said: The colour of dark chocolate and has no head. Smells like crushed currants and other dried fruit. Well balanced and syrupy. Lightly carbonated. Tasty.
Lisa's analysis was that “it's not a sessional drink”.
2006 - bottle No.5 - 22.5.07
Venue: Oliver's house in West Melbourne
Only six months late!
Viscous. Tastes like malt (which is hardly surprising). Not overly bitter. Intense molasses/golden syrup taste.
Geoff: “Hints of Bockin' Good Beer about it.” Oliver: “But in a good way!” (Familiarise yourself with Geoff's No.41 BGB on the Our Homebrews page.)
Negligible head, but that might be to do with the glasses, which were washed in a dishwasher. Lightly, but sufficiently, carbonated.
You couldn't drink much of this. One a year is probably about right. But that's not to say it's not an enjoyable, tasty beer.
We had this before lunch, and it went straight to our heads.
Definitely a once-a-year beer.
Geoff: “Needs something to cut through the sweetness. Something like a beef tartare … a bowl of meat!”
It's becoming more rounded, in the sense that the flavours are becoming more rounded. However, more bitterness would be desirable, to counter the syrupy sweetness. We're hoping, and are confident, that the Millennium Ale will mature nicely and become less sweet some time over the next 95 or so years.
LIQUID GOLD: The 2006 Millennium Ale revealed.
ANOTHER VIEW: Check out that colour.
ANALYSE THIS: Geoff scrutinises the brew.
SEDIMENTARY, MY DEAR WATSON: The yeast cake
on the bottom of the 2006 Millennium Ale bottle.
If you like the image above why not download it as your computer's wallpaper!
Just click this link, then right-click on the image and select "Set as desktop background" or similar.
2007 - bottle No.6 - 24.12.07
Venue: Geoff's house in Jan Juc, Victoria
Geoff and Oliver have half the Millennium Ale each, and this was from Geoff's cellar. Unfortunately, the cap has started to rust due to the sea air.
RUSTY: The sea air has got to the caps.
Any ideas about how to deal with this problem would be gratefully accepted. Is recapping then storing somewhere more appropriate the answer? Maybe some wax?
Anyway, on to the tasting …
Geoff: “Jesus f---ing Christ!”
It's dark brown with a hint of red, and more or less opaque. It smells of Pedro Ximinez black sherry and tastes warming (no doubt due to the high alcohol content) and like it's packed full of berries. It's rich and delicious and the closest thing to spirits or a liqueur we've tasted in a beer.
We reckon the Millennium Ale is starting to balance out, as this bottle is much smoother than we recall previous tastings being. It would be a perfect aperitif. Likewise, if you'd bought this at a bottleshop and it had been pitched as a dessert beer, our only criticism would be that the head retention is poor.
Overall, we're pretty happy.
DECANTED: The Millennium Ale is a dark, opaque bugger and, having just
been poured, has an OK head. This soon disappears.
ON YOUR MARKS: The beer is poured. The blokes are ready.
BOTTOMS UP: Oliver samples the 2007 Millennium Ale.
GOBSMACKED: Oliver in awe of the brew.
APERITIF, ANYONE? There's a hint of the Millennium
Ale's red colour at the top of the stem.
2008 - bottle No.7 - 27.6.09
Venue: Holiday house in Rye, Victoria
This tasting was long overdue, because of work and other commitments.
The reasonable success of the previous tastings and the belief that the Millennium Ale was getting better led us to believe that this would be the best MA yet. But this tasting brought us back to reality with a thud.
That it was the 30th (different) beer of the day probably didn't help matters, but there was absolutely no head and the taste was, well, not all that great. While the comments of the two female tasters Floss and Marcelle were a bit on the harsh side, this was definitely the most disappointing Millennium Ale tasted.
Geoff: “Can I say that the Millennium Ale is taking on (more) Bockin' Good Beer qualities. I don't think that the Millennium Ale is travelling all that well, Olly.”
Marcelle: “It smells like vinegar.”
Guest reviewer Floss: “Auaugh.”
Oliver: “A very disappointing experience. Let's hope this is a blip.
2009 - bottle No.8 - 31.12.09
Venue: Geoff's house in Jan Juc, Victoria
Geoff: “It is 38 degrees celcius outside. But if it was the middle of winter and you were sitting next to a fire and you'd just had a root and you were having a ciggie it might be all right.”
Marcelle (wincing): “Oh, fuck.”
Guest reviewer Craig tried to say something nice: “I'm biased because I know the brewers.”
Craig's wife, Carolyn: “It smells like Vegemite or Bonox.”
Lisa, not holding back: “You can't expect the guest taster to finish it.”
Craig: “I'm not finishing that.”
Geoff: “It would be very nice with icecream. It tastes like black sherry.”
Oliver: “Yeah, we said that last year.”
It's extremely malty, but very bitter.
Oliver: “It does smell like vegemite. But it's quite tasty.”
We decided that it shouldn't be looked at as a beer when being drunk.
2010 - bottle No.9 - 12.12.10
Venue: Oliver's house in West Melbourne, Victoria
Geoff: “Are you sure you didn't pick up a bottle of Bockin' Good Beer by mistake!” (Yes, we know we've said that before. Don't know about Bockin' Good Beer? Check out Geoff's No.41 homebrew.)
Geoff: “It's not deteriorating. It continues to be hale and hearty.”
Intense grapey taste. Tastes like fortified wine. (Yes, we know we've said that before.) A complex beer. Very, very light carbonation.
Lisa: “Tastes like Ximenez that's gone bubbly.”
Marcelle: “It doesn't taste like any Ximenez I've ever tasted!”
Oliver commented that “It's actually a pretty nice beer.” At which point Geoff just looked at him.
READY: Just poured and asking to be imbibed.
DARK: The Millennium Ale is like a black hole;
light gets sucked in and can never escape.
FIRST SIP: Oliver begins tasting the ninth bottle of Millennium Ale.
RUBY RED: This pic taken outdoors shows the
real colour of the Millennium Ale.
2017 - bottle No.16 - 28.5.17
Oliver: I don't reckon we're going to be drinking much of this.
Geoff: Ooooohh, f---. It smells like petrol.
Oliver: I reckon it smells like ...
Geoff: Sump oil? Or a sweaty diesel mechanic's shirt?
Oliver: It has the appearance of prune juice.
Geoff: Ooooh, shit. Oh f---.
Marcelle: Are you enjoying that?
Geoff: No. It's disgusting. I don't know how to describe it because I've never tasted anything like it. I seriously feel like I'm about to spew. Jesus. Oh, for f--'s sake.
The yeast cake in the bottle was stuck firm, and like a black hole.
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