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Dragon's Milk - New Holland Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Dragon's MilkDragon's Milk

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

4,460 Ratings
THE BROS
86
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,460
Reviews: 1,282
rAvg: 4
pDev: 13.5%
Wants: 261
Gots: 1,073 | FT: 42
Brewed by:
New Holland Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: beernut7 on 08-12-2002

A barrel aged Imperial Stout with roasty malt character intermingled with deep vanilla tones, all dancing in an oak bath.

2014 Bottles are 11% ABV
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,460 | Reviews: 1,282
Reviews by Archimetez:
More User Reviews:
Photo of mfnmbvp
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, vintage 2014. 11.00% abv listed on the label. At long last I am finally getting around to trying the legendary New Holland Dragon's Milk that I always see.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - It pours a dark cola color but appears a near opaque black in the glass. Barely conjures a half finger of mocha head that disappears fast. Some good fat sticky lacing.

S - A buttery creamy aroma. Vanilla, cream, oak wood, mustiness, caramel. A very moderate but pleasant aroma. The creamy / buttery vanilla characteristics are dominant though. Mouthwatering, to be sure.

T - Taste follows the nose: cream, vanilla, caramel, oak wood, and some hot boozy bourbon warmth. Sweet and sugary, with some underlying notes of chocolate and dark roastiness. A touch of dark fruits.

M - The feel is extremely smooth & creamy, with mild bourbon alcohol heat.

Overall, a very enjoyable and underrated bourbon barrel stout from New Holland.

New Holland Dragon's Milk -----4/5.

Photo of Yeheshua
4.72/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Like this one a lot. Seems I'm an "outlier," so I need to elaborate. The bourbon flavor does make it a bit harsh, but that's balanced by a smooth creaminess that makes a great combination. The heartiness of the underlying stout itself is top notch as well, but I'm really not one to go into flowery descriptors so this will have to do.

Photo of rafer21
4.98/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Wow, definitely a sipping beer. But amazing flavors and aroma.

Photo of robgutie
4.31/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I think this gets overlooked becasue its so widely available but a really great stout. Stronger whiskey notes than other similar overall enjoyable.

Photo of Hoploaf
4.84/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

One of the best stout commercially available.

Photo of StoneTSR
4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

APPEARANCE: Coming out of the bottle the liquid is a very dark brown and once it is in the glass it appears nearly black. Shining a light through the back of the glass results in some very pretty, ruby red highlights standing out against the black backdrop. The head fizzles up to about a quarter-inch before fading into some patchy wisps that stick around on the surface of the beer for nearly the entire glass. Lacing is minimal.

SMELL: There is a ton going on here, with big vanilla, chocolate and caramel aromas. The combination smells a lot like fresh baked brownies. A hint of oak and a touch of roasted coffee beans is also present.

TASTE: In the nose, the vanilla, chocolate and caramel were all pretty equally represented, but in the taste the chocolate wins and comes through strongest. Vanilla and caramel tie for second as a hefty dose of coffee and oak bring up the rear of the field. Hints of anise and dark fruit also dance around the palate, especially towards the finish.

MOUTHFEEL: Of course the body is big, but not as big as you might expect. The Dragon’s Milk goes down silky and smooth with a strong, but not overwhelming sweetness. The balance is actually quite nice with a subtle bitterness coming from the coffee notes.

OVERALL: Since New Holland’s arrival in Colorado this has quickly become a go-to for me. I love big, imperial stouts and I love bourbon barrel-aged beers…it’s a treat to be able to have both any time of year now.

Photo of JJKBeerLvr
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

Sampled November 2014 from bottles in pint glass. Tasted both the 2013 and 2014 vintages side-by-side.

Appearance: Very dark color. Tan head was not very thick and it did not last as long as some other stouts.

Smell: Strong roasted coffee aromas, with a smell of some sweet chocolate. Nice combination of aromas.

Taste: Full-bodied with great balance of malt, coffee, and chocolate flavors, with a little hops for added dimension. Could also taste a hint of the oak barrel, which added another interesting dimension. The combination of strong hops and roasted malts and strong alcohol give this drink big powerful flavors.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, but very smooth, almost creamy.

Overall: Great stout. Best if you enjoy a combination of malt, coffee, chocolate, and hops flavor with oak barrel influences. The label lists 10% alcohol, and it does taste like it. This is definitely the taste of an excellent stout. The 2013 is more intense than the 2014. Do not know if this is due to the year it was made, or whether it is due to the year aging.

Photo of TheCraftBrewReview
4.46/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – 93: This hard-hitting imperial stout pours with an extremely deep black hue – even when holding up the beer to the light, nothing gets through. The head was rather thin around 1/4 of an inch, but left a thin veil of bubbles that played along the surface. The 750mL bottles come with an impressive label from a marketing perspective – a black dragon curled on top of a bourbon barrel – signifying the defining characteristic of the beer. The foiled bottle top is a nice touch.

Aroma – 93: Perhaps the most impressive attribute of this beer is the smell – roasted malts are immediately present but intermingle nicely with bourbon and vanilla. The smell is distinct, yet very smooth.

Body and Texture – 91: Despite the darker overtones of the beer and the stout characteristics, the initial mouth feel was more moderate than heavy, which I found to be surprising. As with most stouts, initial notes of a coffee/chocolate blend are certainly present, but as the beer warms, the ABV really kicks in, greeting the owner with a warm vanilla presence.

Taste – 94.5: One of the most important characteristics for me when grading taste is how true the beer is to its marketing. Are all the flavors and infusions present that I expect? If so, how do they mix? Dragon’s Milk is described as a barrel-aged stout with roasted malts and deep vanilla tones in an oak bath. This couldn’t be more spot on. Given the double-digit ABV I was expecting a real kick in the mouth while sipping on this, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The word that I keep coming back to in my mind is smooth. There are a variety of shortcomings that could have ruined this beer – the bourbon flavor not delivering, not enough vanilla notes, or the malts becoming bitter or overwhelmed by the alcohol content. None of that happened. (The only side effect of me pounding down the entire 750 mL bottle in one sitting was pretending that I was a dragon and thinking I could fly – be forewarned that having more than two glasses of this stuff will knock you on your butt).

Overall – 93.4 (Excellent): Each of the contributors on this site has their own particular niche that they frequent – Ed and Nick are fans of IPAs,Tom will frequently sample double IPAs and strong ales, and while I will drink anything that is cold and unique, I’d consider stouts and porters to be my “areas of expertise”. The bourbon-barrel aged craze of 2014-15 shows no signs of slowing down – yet for all the eye-rolling that one can do regarding the trend, lumping this beer into a broad category does it a great injustice. Although I’d still have to rank Goose Island’s Bourbon County slightly ahead of it in overall taste, this beer is available to a much bigger market at a much more reasonable price. New Holland has combined the perfect combination of roasted malts and sweet vanilla together in a marriage that will have enthusiasts “flying” back to the store for more.

Purchase Value (B) – “Bombers” are typically more expensive than their six or four pack counterparts, and I’ve seen a four pack available for $14.99 locally. This is priced just about right considering the high ABV and fantastic taste. A beer that I would recommend aging and serving close to room temperature.

Photo of oberon
3.61/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep deep brown with a one finger tight head that settles quicly leaving a nice sheet of lace behind,some nice caramel aromas along with some malted milk and some of the oak left behind very nice.Very lactic flavors for an old ale malted milk and deep woody flavors along with some chocolate with alate sourness wich I didnt care for much.A very flavorful big beer but not a fan of the sour finish.

Photo of tectactoe
3.64/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

One of the first "big" stouts that I tried on my expedition into the craft world. Now that I've had many more, I can review this one respectively. Pours a very dark brown color, black in spots, with super-deep ruby shades at the very edges of the glass and top of the beer. The pour isn't as thick as you'd expect for a typical 10% ABV stout.

The tan head is pretty small and recessed, but hangs around for a while before vanishing into a simple ring around the glass. The nose is pretty heavy on this one; booze, dark cocoa, oak and woodiness, sugary vanilla, sharp, dark figs and dates. Sweetness is far more apparent on the nose than any kind of bitterness, typically expected for heavy stouts.

The taste of Dragon's Milk is far more powerful and commanding than the aroma would ever lead you to believe. Hefty handfuls of roasted malts begin to the lay the groundwork for this complex monster. Musky, wet oak and wood chips, burnt brown sugar, molasses, dark, bitter cocoa beans, sharp vanilla sweetness, and most of all, heavy booze. Many 10%+ ABV beers do all they can to mask and hide their alcohol content, but not Dragon's Milk - the booze is right on the front lines.

The booziness adds a huge level of robustness and power, causing you to respect it with slow sips and a drinking session likely to go beyond a half an hour (at least). As expected, this beer just continues to open up with warmth. The booze gets stronger, the vanilla is sweeter, the cocoa is darker and more bitter. I don't sense much of a hop presence in this beer. It might be there, but I sure as hell don't taste it. The mouth is silky and slick, albeit still a bit more thin than wanted/expected. Carbonation is pretty subdued overall, but it's not really a nuisance.

My tastes have changed greatly over time, and Dragon's Milk doesn't quite impress me as much as it once did. However, it's still not an awful choice considering there aren't many "year round" bourbon barrel aged stouts on the shelves. It's a bit too hot to enjoy in any quantity, but it's a relatively decent introduction to the style. If you remotely like Dragon's Milk at all, you're gonna love plenty of other BBA stouts.

Photo of MadScientist
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: A deep, dark ruby brown almost black with good clarity. The head is a medium light brown with small compact bubbles and average retention.

S: A moderate oak aroma having mostly chocolate and vanilla characteristics with a light touch of cinnamon. There is moderately-light malt sweetness with some roasted and chocolate malt aromas. There are no hops aroma.

T: Rich malt flavors with oak and some bourbon like character. The oak brings a fair amount of vanilla that plays well with others, complimenting the chocolate and roasted malt flavors. The is a moderately hops bitterness with no hops flavor. A light touch of fruity ester having a little bit of fig and prune-like flavors. The balance is about even between the malt sweetness being countered by the hops bitterness and the alcohol. The finish is slightly sweet with a roasty, chocolate aftertaste.

M: A creamy, medium-full bodied beer with a moderately-light carbonation. No astringency and a slight slickness on the tongue. The alcohol is very apparent, being a touch boozy at first but its a gentle warmth afterwards.

O: A nicely balanced oak aged stout with some alcohol warmth.

Photo of brownbeer
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage

Dark brown with russet highlights and a sandy brown head.

Bourbon is the first thing I notice upon putting my nose in the glass and inhaling some of the liquid:) Toasty cocoa and oak notes hangin' out with some vanilla and molasses biotches. Not overdone or overpowering aroma, it's just pleasant.

Some boozy heat on the tongue, but that's okay being that there are noticable bourbon notes for it to stick to. Toasty caramel, chocolate, and bourbon flavors lead to a warm feeling in my tummy; the body has some soft richness, but could use a touch more. It's no oak aged yeti, but I have faith in aging a bottle or two of this for a few. Mellow this sucka out.

Photo of The_Beer_Connoisseur
5/5  rDev +25%

One word to describe this beer, that being AMAZING. I never thought I would be able to rate a beer as a 5. Even my favorite beers I wouldn't give a 5 to cause the aren't perfect. This beer hit the top in every way imaginable.

Photo of SIRIUS2
4.02/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a chalice style glass.

A: Pours dark translucent brown. No head. No Lacing. At first couldn't spot any bubbles at all but managed to see a few breaking the surface every few seconds.

S: Mellow chocolate is immediate on the nose, with faint notes of vanilla. Even though the aromas are relatively light, they are certainly interesting.

T: Wow! "Dragon's Milk" is an apt name for this brew. It has a very complex set of flavors that include chocolate malt, vanilla, and just a hint of oaky goodness. It tends to the sweeter side, but is not too sweet. Nice.

M&D: Mouthfeel is heavy and smooth, nice and chewy. This is classified as an American Strong Ale but I find the texture and mouthfeel closer to a good Milk Stout. The only criticism that I really have on this is that the carbonation was practically non-existent. A few bubbles would have been great. That aside, the drinkability is still good and I very much enjoyed it. Recommended.

Photo of bdkucharski
4.94/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had at the Brews, Blues, and BBQ festival in Westland, MI... in a plastic cup.

A - Black with a thick bubly cocoa-brown head

S - Malt and booze.

T - Sweet booze right off the top, a little caramel and roast with a vinous nature including the oak.

M - Thick almost like a milkshake.

O - I might be putting on the home-state rose colored glasses here, but I find this beer to be outstanding. I had this in a bottle in the middle of a wreckless 25 beer tasting and it still rose to the top of the list, even with a tired palate. I highly recommend trying it at least once to see if its up your alley.

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.38/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The Dragon's Milk pours from the bottle a deep dark red tinted black with a sparse, bubbly tan head that falls to a ring around the top. Spotty lacing on the way down...almost no light getting through. Aromas are quite perplexing. I get hints of sweet caramel along with lots of dark fruity tones. There's some oak in the background along with an roasty, toasty aroma. Maybe a hint of licorice and some citrusy hops are thrown in as well. Kind of muddled.

First sip brings some roasty dark malts upfront..slightly sweet with caramel. Infused with a lot of dark fruity, berry flavors and some dry woody tannins as well. A bit of sourness shows up mid palate and is not that pleasant. Finishes with a slight hint of vanilla and citrusy hops and a bit of astringency. An interesting brew...alcohol is well hidden.

Mouthfeel is somewhwat light...I was expecting a bit more body. Nice, fast paced carbonation. Seems a bit lacking to me. I'm glad I got to try it but it didn't grab me enough to come back for more.

Photo of blitz134
3.71/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Really dark body, garnet highlight when held to the light. Light tan head on top. Voluptuous head 1" thick that reduced slowly leaving thick lacing behind. Good head retention. Strong ales are a unique category, so being a little atypical isn't a fault really. This has everything I'd look for in appearance, even if it might be a little dark.

A little bit of everything in the aroma. Milk chocolate and other toasted malts even bordering on a touch of char. Caramel as well. More malty than hoppy, but some slightly floral hops show though. Kind of porter/stout like overall. Smells nice, but as soon as the head reduces much of the aroma goes away too.

The flavor and mouthfeel area a disappointment to me after the inviting aroma. Mouthfeel is somewhat thin and watery. Flavor doesn't linger for too long as it washes away quickly. I can definately pick out the slightly astringent oaky flavor but I think it covers up a lot of the other stuff in this beer. Some of the dark malts come through, but just barely. Not nearly as complex as the aroma hinted at and its one sided nature with the oak gets a bit old.

Drinkability is okay. For 9% it is hidden away well, but the lack of flavor and weak mouthfeel don't do it for me.

Photo of SD-Alefan
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a tulip.
The beer is black with a very thin, tan head and spotty lacing.
I get a big hit of roast coffee from the aroma as well as some vanilla and bourbon and a little dark chocolate.
The taste is chocolate and coffee up front followed by lots of bourbon and booze. As it warms, a little vanilla and milk chocolate as well.
Mouthfeel is very smooth with a lingering, boozy warmth.
Overall, quite tasty and it certainly isn't hiding the bourbon.

Photo of Beaver13
2.74/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

22 oz bottle. Pours a dark reddish brown with a thin tan head that quickly goes to a collar.

The aroma is oakey and vinous with a big chocolate and peat malt base and a touch of tart and sour dark fruits. As it warms, old cheese and strong alcohol comes out.

The flavor is sweet chocolate malts with some vinous alcohol and plums. It has a smooth woody finish. As it warms, a lot of alcoholic and tart (almost sour) fruitiness comes out (cherries, plums). The mouthfeel is medium bodied and velvety.

Overall, it was not as complex as I had expected. I liked the first sip, but the more I drank of it, the less I liked it. The alcoholic tart sourness started to become a bit overbearing. It kind of reminds me of liquid fruit cake.

Photo of alarmclock314
4.39/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This is a smooth beer and tastes mostly of bourbon, vanilla, and oak.

Photo of bishopdc0
3.19/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark black with a nice tan head.
The lace is sticky tan and remains

The aroma is sweet notes of vanilla caramel and oak very nice.

The taste is mostly alcohol and oak. I wish I had let it age but it was the only bottle I bought on a trip across the country. Its a an ok taste but I would let it sit to dissipate the alcohol and try again.

Photo of Jason
3.82/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz brown bottle with a vintage date of 2011 on the label.

LOOK: Dark brown, nearly black with ruby edges. Good lacing even if it is a bit thin.

SMELL: Oaky, vanilla, barrel juice, boozy, mild char, toasted bread, burnt raisins, fig jam

TASTE: Very smooth, wood, char, mildly fusel, vanilla, burnt sugar, dark chocolate, chicory, booze soaked raisins, charred drying finish

A really good barrel aged brew that rides the path of a stout, a big beer that you'll need to sip. Very well balanced, had fun drinking this one.

Photo of merlin48
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle pours a clear, dark chestnut body with a large tan head. Excellent retention and large rings and splotches of lacing are left on the glass.

Aroma features malty caramel, accented by vanilla. Notes of bourbon and smoky charcoal are also prominent.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy yet well carbonated.

Taste is malty caramel, backed by a solid, if vague, hops bitterness. Vanilla is prominent. Accents of bourbon, charcoal, and oak add a pleasant complexity. The 9% abv is well disguised. Finishes dry and smoky.

Very well executed. Reminds me of a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, but this is more complex and has a better feel. Glad to see New Holland brews coming into Kentucky and southern Indiana.

Photo of Billolick
4.17/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ouncer, new graphics, i didn't see vintage/freshness dating, pours dark, dark mahogany, initially shows a dark mocha head, recedes down to a splotchy film and leaves lightish slippery lace. Nose is of dark bread, licorish and some background woodyness. Notes of rum, dark fruit, figs and raisins, more dark wood, molasses, and an underlying layer of wood. Nice sipper, bold and flavorful. More high test Michigan brew.

Photo of Homebrew35
4.09/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a bit of white head. Blackish body, brown is easily seen when the glass is tilted. Nice alcohol legs and minimal lacing.

Big vanilla, bourbon, alcohol, carmel, toffee, carmel and raisins. I could smell this all night.

Tastes of burbon, vanilla, rum raisins, alcohol. The alcohol tastes doesn't detract too much from the overall flavors. A light bitterness, chocolate and roast finishes out the flavors.

Medium bodied with a slightly oily coating finish. Low carbonation.

Overall this is a very solid barrel aged beer. I'd like to see it a bit more opaque and maybe a bit more head. The smell and flavors are quite good. It may not be the most interesting but for the price at $8 a bomber it's hard to beat.

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Dragon's Milk from New Holland Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 4,460 ratings.