Apr 11, 2011

Dominion Millennium Ale

I’m not sure if it was a subconscious bitterness or just a quirky coincidence, but I haven’t had any product from Old Dominion Brewing since their sale to Fordham Brewing Company in an ABInbev-backed purchase. This has been the first beer from the company that I’ve had in the past four years — after having a sixer of their brews in my fridge at any given time.

At any rate, this barleywine has been around for several years, but I had never seen it before until a recent trip to Wegman’s a couple of weeks ago. I figured this would be a good opportunity to reintroduce myself to a brewery who treated me well at a couple of the festivals they used to hold in June at their northern Virginia brewery.


Millennium Ale pours an orangish amber in color with a light tan head that faded quickly to a thin ring.


Along with a little booze from the 10.5% ABV, there’s also a light hoppy presence along with earthy (not-too-sweet) honey and lightly toasted bread. The hops have a tropical fruit character to them.


For as high of an alcohol content that this beer has, it’s masked quite well. This brew is deceptively drinkable. It’s an English Barleywine in style so the hop levels aren’t as in your face as our American version, but that’s not to say there’s no hop presence at all — there’s alight bitterness and tropical citrus character to the brew. The honey is a nice addition to the mix as it adds just a touch of sweetness to the malt backbone that drives this beer.


For a fairly fresh and young barleywine (Jan 28, 2011 bottling date), this beer was surprisingly smooth and drinkable. I’ve had beers of this style just as young that felt more rough around the edges than this one. I’ve set a bottle aside to see how it turns out over the next year or so. I don’t think it really needs time to mellow as it’s really smooth now. I just want to see which direction it goes.


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