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Dragon's Milk - New Holland Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Dragon's MilkDragon's Milk

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,286 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,286
Hads: 4,795
Avg: 3.95
pDev: 26.33%
Wants: 282
Gots: 1,349 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Dragon's Milk Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,286 | Hads: 4,795
Photo of tavernjef
4.16/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep and dark root beer brown during the pour settling an even darker tarred brown thats nearly black. It has just the faintest of hints to light getting thru at the edges and bottom. Huge frothy dark tanned foam whips itself into a firm stacking and keeps a steadily thick amount consistantly present on top. A thin, whispery sheeting of lace coats the entire glass and sticks like glue. One very nice looking Strong ale!

Aroma is mildly present but firm and pleasing with mostly chocolate being the main staple before vanilla, dark cherry, dates, and deep bourbon notes take in the rest of each wiff.

Taste is more of the same with a rounded, overall tone of chocolate infused with bourbon hints and tenderly noted with a bold vanilla and caramel backing and some brief seepings of dark fruits do a bit of work to tang it up some. The finish is totally worth it as its complexity is quite nice with fluffy chocolate and slippery cherry/date hinted bourbony heat. Reminds me of a simpler G.I. Bourbon Cnty Stout.

Feel is a solid medium with a firm and creamy front and middle then finishes well as noted in the taste with a nicely textured fluff and warmth that coats the mouth and gullet fairly well and with a length thats favorably yummy and memorable.

Can't help but think this is more like a stout, but as a Strong ale its a nice change of pace and suits New Holland and the name "Dragon's Milk" very well and is a solid brew to drink down and warm up with in these chilled Wintery evenings.

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Photo of imagineiii
2.76/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Aggresive pour yeilds a dark brown, almost porter-like appearance. Good inch of off white, large bubbled head. dissipates slowly, leaving decent lace behind. no complaints here.

Smells like a chocolate porter. dry, very faint bourbon notes. nothing spectacular at all.

This is where it falls apart. Initial taste is a strange and uncomforting astrigency on the tongue. Followed by dryness of a porter that doesnt hold much of a bourbon flavor. After taste is chemically. Alcohol is well hidden tho.

Aside from astringent taste, the beer has a nice weight to it. It isnt too bad in the mouth but it falls apart after.

Drinkable, I dont think so. Im wondering if I can finish it.

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Photo of Beerasaurus
3.06/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tried this on tap as the Black Tulip was unavailable.

Appearance was similar to a stout, dark with a tannish head, though the head was minimal.

Maybe my nose wasn't working, but a didn't detect any real aroma.

The taste almost an overpowering oaky/bourbon flavor, not my favorite.

Mouthfeel was somewhat milky.

Worth a try, but for the High Gravity offerings, I'd go with the Black Tulip.

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Photo of BretSikkink
3.73/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Dark brown color that borders of black very closely, but there is some coloration along the bottom edge - a ruby highlight. Sticky lacing.

The aroma is very woody, predominantly oak. It's a little overbearing. Lots of chocolate notes, i.e., mild roast with some sweetness and a little dark fruitiness. Vanilla bean and fusel alcohols are all over the back end of the nose.

The flavor is a bit overly sweet for me to really say I like it. The oak is a little too dominant for me - I guess maybe bourbon barrels would have worked better with the char and vanilla characters exhibited elsewhere.

Some roasted malt again, with the molasses component mixing with a sweeter side. The vanilla is pretty evident, with, again, the fusel alcohols not far behind.

The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, and the finish is all vanilla. Pretty interesting and unusual, but not quite up my alley.

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Photo of WakeandBake
4.44/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black pour with ruby edges,one finger tan head.Aroma of vanilla,chocolate,burbon,oak,and dark roasted barly very nice. Flavor is complex and changes as it warms,sweet boozy vanilla creamy oaky honey burbon goodness. Full creamy mouthfeel,chewy and sticky.This came highly reccomended, I now agree.... Good stuff !

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.53/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled at the Extreme Beer Fest on 2/15/08: Hmm, this tasted like a stout to me. I also tasted coffee, raisins, and prunes. There was a background sweetness in the taste. Enjoyable.
Aroma: 7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Flavor: 8/10
Palate: 4/5
Overall: 14/20

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Photo of Talisker
3.4/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bottle purchased and poured on 12-25-08 (priced at $7.39, so it had better be good!). No vintage or other freshness marking on bottle, but I'm assuming it's the "2008" version.

Generally "porter-y" - has some chalk in the texture, reminds me of powdered milk. Slightly burnt flavor, more dry than sweet overall. Nice vanilla roast on the nose, but a noticeable alcohol burn at the back of the throat brings this one down for me.

Hard to pin down as a style. I'm happy I tried it. Not a bad beer, but not one I'll rush to track down again.

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Photo of HIFF
3.43/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a dark stout like color with a nice thick foamy head. Nice welcoming aroma of vanilla, toffee, and oak. Strong ale flavor with hints of the oak barrel in which it was aged. Also tasted tones of vanilla and roasted barley. This was a thick ale almost stout like. I would only want to drink one or two of these in a sitting. Overall a very complex brew and one that I look forward to trying again in the future.

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Photo of hellbilly
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

the first bottle i had of this was terribly infected and very sour. this, on the other hand is incredible. it reminds me of an imperial porter... but not.

pours a very dark burgundy brown. the head is tan but minimal and manages to leave some spotty lace on the glass in it's short time on this planet. vaya con dios, my friend!

aromas of vanilla cream, coffee, roasty grains, chocolate and brown sugar fill my nose. as it hits nearly room temperature, the bourbon-y/spicy/woody characters really start to come in to play.

the flavor is much like the aroma... lots of roast/malt powdery goodness, coffee, milky chocolate, caramel, vanilla and faint barrel/earthy notes with a spicy kick on the finish. coffee really hangs on in the aftertaste as the belly gets nice and warm from the booze. extremely 'well' bodied but seemingly light for how much flavor it packs in. it's not sticky as it has a pleasant acidity and spiciness to cut through the richness...

i must have been drinking a lot of craptacular beer lately because i actually had to stop what i was doing to enjoy this...


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Photo of beer2day
4.42/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a redish tint. Slight tan head with little retention. Stong chocolate, vanilla aroma with hints of coffee. Oakiness varies bottle-to-bottle. Mouthfeel brings memories of milkshakes. A very, very good beer. Would love to try this on draft.

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Photo of UDbeernut
3.96/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured into 10 oz snifter

a: deep brown/amber with a silky head with decent retention

s: chocolate, vanilla, and coffee aroma

t: chocolate, vanilla, coffee, and I do notice the alcohol as it warms. Very nice tasting.

m&d: creamy mouthfeel, slightly higher ABV does not make it a session brew.

Very good Ale.


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Photo of Bung
3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark red/brown pour, almost no head to it. Not a strong aroma, slight coffee and toffe. Pretty malty with carmel and slight chocolate. Nice warming going down, 9% abv not offensive at all. Had some other bourbon barrel aged beers, I don't get much in this one from oak barrel.. Reminds me of Highland Brewing's Tasgall Ale. Not bad at all though.

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Photo of HeyItsChili
3.67/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a blackish-brown with very, very little carbonation and a fleeting tan head.

S - Woody/oak fumes, chocolate, vanilla.

T - Powerful. The first thing that appears to me is the oakiness of the whole thing. The oakiness cradles within it some vanilla and maybe faint black coffee with malty goodness sprinkled in. Not a heavy aftertaste with this one.

M - Akin to 2% milk.

D - I downed a single bomber of this and didn't care for any more. This is a complex and carefully crafted beer that isn't necessarily my favorite style.

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Photo of waltonc
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Glad to see BA updated the photo for this one. Another delicious New Holland product. We had one of these over Thanksgiving after several other diverse and strong beers and thought it a tad weaker and less bold than we remembered. So I decided to try another one tonight and compare. Similar to what I remember from Thanksgiving, but this is my first beer of the night, and it's great.

A: Cola color with lacing that sticks around.

S: Love this smell. Chocolate, vanilla, oak, toffee.

T: Same smell notes are present in the taste, though as noted above, it's not as bold as I remembered. Could just be that I've been drinking a lot of strong stuff lately in comparison, because the first time I ever had this I was blown away by how sweet and powerful it seemed. in any event, the taste is nicely balanced and very rich.

M: Creamy, almost milk stouty. Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

D: This beer is in no danger of being poured out. Love it. It should be available in 12 oz bottles though.

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Photo of sudsface69
4.64/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Man, I love winter. Not only for the snow and the crisp, cold air, but for the BEER!! And this one is definitely one that I can't wait to get my hands on as soon as it is released. Maybe it's because I'm also a big bourbon fan, but I really like this beer. In the nose, you can gather right away that this beer has spent some time in bourbon barrels. It has aromas of bourbon, toasted marshmallow, vanilla, sweet cream, chocolate, and a hint of spice. I also love the mouthfeel! Nice and creamy, (feels and tastes like there was some lactose thrown in to provide residual sugars) with a roundness and depth that just fills the mouth with goodness. The only downside to this beer is that (at least out of the 22oz bottles) the head is a little thin and tends to disappear quite quickly. I'd love it if the head were a little creamier and stayed around a little longer. Nonetheless, this is still one of my favorite winter beers. A bit pricey, but definitely worth it!

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Photo of drxandy
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'07 Dragon's Milk on tap @ Crunchy's in East Lansing 8/6/08

opaque deep dark blackish brown, tan head fades, mmm

smells of nice heavy lactosey(? maybe oats?) chocolate, bitter, creamy depth, roasty alcohol, dark fruit, rum

taste is appley compared to fresh, alchohol muted nicely, sweet thick malts, slightly roasty, bitter, malts dominate, creamy complex chocolate, nicely mellowed compared to fresh but i think i prefer the aggressiveness of fresh, light alcohol heat, rum, raisins, plums

mouthfeel is heavy, thick, rich, a complex sipper, loads of amazing flavors mmmm

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Photo of rhinos00
4.27/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass.

A- Dark. From a distance looked like motor oil sitting in a glass. Tints of reddish brown colors were produced when light hit the glass. There was a half fingers worth of cream colored head that reduced to a thin ring as the beer was consumed.

S- Pleasant, but simple. Notes of cocoa and coffee beans were present. Hard to deduce much else.

T- Much more complex taste than the aroma led to believe. Definitely can pick out flavors of coffee beans and cocoa. Really enjoyed the oak finish as it brought out strong vanilla flavors. The only knock I have on this beer is that there was nothing that stood out. While there was a complex mix, they were all blended together in subtlety.

M- Medium bodied with some carbonation. Left a clean crisp finish. Left the palate somewhat dry after consumption.

D- Delicious flavors make this highly drinkable. The 9% abv was hard to detect until the slight burn in the chest kicked in.

Overall, a must try. The fact that I can't get over is that it is such a complex beer, yet the flavors are so equal in part that there isn't a distinct taste. If only some of the flavors were more pronounced...

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Photo of biegaman
4.12/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An opaque charcoal black with auburn prints and highlights of maroon when held directly to the light. Darkened and quite lusterless, it's a very dull, shadowed appearance. I'd never observe any head, regardless of the angle on pouring, but note a thin off-white envelope which embalmed the beer and doted all parts of the glass.

The aroma is pleasing but far from decadent. There are crisp toffee wafers and a light presence of cocoa beans. Beyond that you'll have to get your nose wet to discover exactly what lies within; as hard as I sniff I fail to discover anything more. I try to imagine dark caramel, rich rum-raisin, vanilla custard and strong espresso but I fail to pick any of it out.

The taste falls a little closer to the mark, boasting notes of raw, unprocessed vanilla bean, gourmet roast coffee, rich caramel, hints of black licorice and unrefined cocoa. The oak is now wholly apparent, imparting hints of ash and dry untreated wood. There's a surprisingly generous dose of coconut. Still, it won't be enough to crack the top of my best-of list.

The oak imparts much needed dimension to the beer. It adds vanilla, an ounce of sweetened spice and just a touch of tannic quality. Those notes of chocolate reside on the palate showcasing both bitter and sweet; that combination is enticing. The alcohol percentage never shows and this achieves a very drinkable status that will only improve with a little warmth.

New Holland's decision to age this in oak barrels was most likely a smart one. Although it is a quality stout, or whatever Beer Advocate chooses to list it as, the beer no doubt benefited from a little extra complexity. It's certainly something that will suit the cellar and makes a more than worthy pick up if you're fortunate enough to find it.

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Photo of hwwty4
4.23/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jtrockchalk for this one.

Poured a 22oz beer into my Unibroue tulip. This beer pours a thin, chocolate brown, with a big creamy light brown head and left sizable lacing down the sides of the tulip. The aroma is heavy oak, vanilla, chocolate, molasses, and what reminds me just of a hint of bourbon. I actually think this is the oakiest aroma I have ever had the pleasure to smell in a beer. The taste is chocolaty up front with oak playing a much lesser role, just imparting some vanilla and woodiness to the flavor profile. Milk chocolate and cream come through. This is really a tasty brew. The mouthfeel is a little light for how big his beer is but not really off putting. This is a really good beer and one that I think I will be searching out again.

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Photo of rudylaw
3.23/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Finally getting around to tying this... pours black with absolutely no head.

I smell vanilla and oak and really nothing else.

I'm getting a lot of the same in the taste... maybe some figs or dates up front. Pretty lean, milk-stout like taste.

As it warmed, it got better... but there's no need for me to ever drink this again. I wouldn't turn it down, but I'd rock a FFF Moloko instead. I think the whole milk stout / strong ale or whatever the heck this is classified as -- style leaves me a little bored.

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Photo of Douglas88
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle thanks to Daniel. Pours a dark brown/red color with a large light-brown head. The aroma is very nice; lots of roasted notes, some chocolates, some woody aspects also. The taste is excellent; initially sweet malts, milky and thick roasted malt flavors, some sweet chocolates, and some light and earthy wood flavors in the finish. Very easygoing, and hardly hot at all. Very decadent and extremely milky. Some alcohol present, but overall, a very quaffable brew. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of kinger
4.18/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well blended ale, this one is smooth and delicious. Pours dark like a stout with a creamy off white head, nice lacing and retention. Aroma is a light mix of coffee, mild chocolate, and some caramel. Rich and ever so smooth mouthfeel, this one has a soft finish that is remarkable. Flavor is exceptional nice mix here of lightly roasted malt with bitter coffee and milk chocolate. After a while I could taste a nice helping of vanilla along with some very mild hops. There is barely a hint of the high abv which helps to make this smooth and drinkable. What a nice treat indeed.

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Photo of flyphisherman
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at Bevco in TC, MI for $6.99.

Refered to as "The crown jewel of New Holland Brewing Co." Dragon's Milk is a high gravity ale, aged in oak barrels. Besides the 8.5% ABV, it boasts stunning complexities, and is singularly distinct. The term "Dragon's Milk" dates back to the 1600's in England; essentially an "October beer": a consequential style attributed to the lack of refrigeration needed in the summer months. Whether this style is an authentic reincarnation, that is unknown.

Appearence: a very deep ruby tone exists beyond the otherwise jet-black body when inspected via sunlight. a thin layer of lacing clings to my McChouffe Chalice, albeit somewhat sparce. the initial two finger head disipates to an almost non-existant meniscus.

Smell: Subdued. Malty. Roasted grains. My ol'factory is tickled by dark chocolate and vanilla. background consists of caramel and figs. maybe burnt cocoa.

Taste: Talk about intense! Chocolate and coffee with a warming alcohol effect. a little overwhelming from the start. but once the carbonation dwindles and the temperature nears room, Dragons Milk is suprisingly drikable and satisfying. the warming sensation is what keeps my lips to the glass. Dont get me wrong this is supremely complex, there is a lot going on and I do reccomend letting it mellow while enjoying. Basically, savoring it in the span of a half-hour or more. This way the complexities seem to be more specific and certainly more decipherable. Thanks to New Holland's Barrel aging process, the oaky, earthy flavors only accentuate these afformentioned complexities. Note: The dark malts do overpower any hop presence.

Mouthfeel: Can you say "viscous?" Indeed very chewy, it lingers longer than most styles of this calaber. Gets better with every sip.

Drinkability: Surely not a "session beer" its definately a "sipper." A perfect fit for a chilly winter eve, after an outdoor activity. I drank the 22oz Bomber this fall while handing out candy; it is arguably one of Michigan's finest examples of an "American Strong Ale."

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Photo of becktone
4.51/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From notes 11-8-08

Eye: Unfortunately this one lacks when it comes to the eyes. Nice deep red in color when light passes through it, dark ruby, otherwise it is a very dark brown. Head is non-existant. No lacing, bad head formation to begin with. 3

Nose: First thing I notice is the hugely complex boquet of aromas going on in this beer. Deep malt profile accented by notes from the bourbon barrels that this beer was aged in. Vanilla is upfront with some hints of coconut as well. An overall soft tone permeates the beer, a nice mellow, warm oakiness. Caramel is also present, giving rise to some malt aromas that work in conjunction with the bourbon aromas. Maybe some soft chocolate tones in the background as well.

Tongue: Really cool beer. Lots of flavor going on here. First thing I got was a smack of chocolate on the tongue, then some of the bourbon notes-vanilla and some oakiness. Really nice soft toffee and caramelly flavor weaves its way in there, inbetween chocolate and bourbon flavors. I'm almost tempted to claim that there is some lactose in there, the beer has a real smooth character and has some flavors that are associated with the addition of lactose. Alcohol is well hidden. Leaves the mouth with some oaky flavors. This is a real nice complex well rounded brew. Every sip brings something new out in the flavor, right now I'm getting strong bourbon notes-the buttery, warm vanilla like flavors of bourbon are playing in my mouth giving this beer an extremely long lasting flavor. This is by far the best beer that makes use of a bourbon barrel that I've had...and yes I think that it is better than Bourbon County Stout from Goose Island, there's just so much more bourbon here.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability: Extremely smooth on the palate and easy to drink. Sure I don't think that I'd quaff this, its definitely a sipper...It'd be great to warm up with on a cold winter night. Body is full and heavy, creamy with a velvet like smoothness. Carbonation is at a perfect level, low so as not to interfere with the smooth body. This is one that I'll definitely recommend to anyone. This is one I can easily see myself buying again.

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Photo of craytonic
3.64/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pitch black brew, no head.

Smell: Oak, vanilla, dates, and (grain?) alcohol.

Taste: Dominant oak, with malts and grain, some dates, molasses, rasins, then unplesant, overpowering alcohol taste.

Mouthfeel: medium body, slightly thin alcoholic finish.

I liked the wood, but it had to compete too much with the high ABV.

I hope to re-review, had it at a restaurant and was a little rushed, and it was served too cold.

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Dragon's Milk from New Holland Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,286 ratings.