Dragon's Milk - New Holland Brewing Company

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Dragon's MilkDragon's Milk

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very good

1,278 Reviews
very good

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Reviews: 1,278
Hads: 4,728
Avg: 3.95
pDev: 26.08%
Wants: 277
Gots: 1,281 | FT: 39
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
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Reviews: 1,278 | Hads: 4,728
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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Photo of tpd975
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to SeaBass.... Now Kick His Ass!

A: Pours a nice dark blackish brown hue with an average head. Good retention and some legs on this one creates nice lace.

S: Nice aroma of caramel, vanilla, molasses, bourbon, and toasted grain.

T: The flavor is more of the same though the barrel does not push through quite as much as I hoped it would. There are hits of chocolate that I did not pick up in the nose.

M: Nice medium body, smooth and creamy with good carbonation.

D: Not bad, not the beer I had hoped it would be, but good nonetheless.

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Photo of waldoiverson
4.29/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

bomber into nonic, the bottle i got was silk screened with white label and does not match the picture as of the time posted

A: Nearly black, small amount of light penetrates and shows brown coloration, tiny brown head, one finger max

S: malted milk balls and the oak is very clear, vanilla and chocolate, yum!

T: chocolate milk-like with strong vanilla and alcohol on the finish. bitterness comes in last. for 9%, the alcohol is kept in check quite well

M: Smooth but not so smooth that it makes it actually seem like chocolate milk, good level of carbonation to clean the palatte.

D: ABV is the only kicker but this is a staple of my fridge.

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

A: Pours a deep dark hazy brown into a snifter with about 2 cm of head that dissipates quickly to leave a thin film of bubbles on the top. Laces all the way down the glass.

S: Smell is a complex combination of coffee, milk chocolate, and cherry.

T: Taste incorporates all of the elements of the smell, but there is a lot more going on in this beer. The last half of each sip gives you a mild taste of bourbon and warming alcohol. As the beer warms, you can really taste the effects of the oak barreling. The oaky taste also contributes hints of vanilla and butterscotch.

M: Carbonation just slightly more than a stout, and is textured with medium body. The higher ABV makes it difficult for me to believe that you could session it, but my fondness for the style, as well as Kentucky bourbon makes me think that I could have 2 or 3 for sure.

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Photo of madtowndmb1
3.94/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this beer on-tap at New Holland

A: A very nice dark brown/black color, with very little lace, but it did seem to linger for the entire glass

S: I love this beers aroma's! Seemed malty sweet, earthy, fruity and a touch of alcohol all at once.

T: As complex as the scent seemed to be it didn't come across as much as I had hoped in the taste, but still good.

M: For as dark as it is, sure was thin. Which is kind of bad for a beer that much more than 6oz's is alot of it!

D: Can't drink a ton of it, and by ton more than 12oz's would be a ton.
I would recommending trying since most places only serve it in small amounts anyways.

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Photo of Pehlman
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to my good buddy Mauerhan for hooking me up with this beer!

A: A suprizingly dark ale. Very little head or lacing. But the head I can see is a golden tan.

S: Very present malt aromas as well as the smell of the barrell. Slight hint of the alcohol in there as well. But well hidden.

T: Awesome! Dark fruit with a bit of a woody backing to it.

M: Also very nice. Im not a fan of heavy carbonation so this beer is perfect to me.

D: I could have this beer often but I couldnt have more than 1 glass at a time.

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Photo of Mauerhan
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

this has been sitting in my spare room for about a month.
chilled this afternoon then cracked as the redsox came back to tie a 7-0 lead. way to go tampa bay.

pours a dark brown. not much of a head even on a rather aggressive center pour. nice rich ruby highlights when held up to light.

smell is rich malty, some chocolate, oakie goodness, and a slight hint of vanilla.

taste is satisfying, as in the smell i get a nice amount of malts, a nice woodsy aftertaste with a warmth that leaves me happy. not great, but pretty decent none the less.

a very smooth drink with moderate to low carbonation.

i would most likely grab this beer again if i had the chance.

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Photo of johnd513
3.55/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured this bomber into my 20oz glass. This beer pours black with a nice frothy head that sticks around awhile and leaves some decent lacing. Smells of chocolate, malt and alcohol. The taste is very dry like dark chocolate with some cherry taste at the end. The taste from the wood is also very prominent and must contribute to the dryness of this beer but not in a good way. The mouthfeel is smooth but a little dry. Drinkability is moderate. I finished the bomber but it certainly did not wow me. Overall I am glad I tried this beer but I expected much more when I purchased it.

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Photo of jcdiflorio
2.18/5  rDev -44.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

22oz brown bomber with a cool white silk screen label with a dragon and barrel on it. Severed into a nonic glass. Very deep mahogany color with some rudy red highlights showing through with a tan creamy head with fair retentionleaving bits of webby lacing down the glass

Very earthy aromas with some woody boubon heat comming through and deep burnt carmell notes as well.

Lots of clean barrel wood tastes upfront with sweet vanallia candied carmell,not as boozy as the aroma would indicate.Smoother than anticipated,lacks complexity has clean sharp bitterness with a citrusy edge. Lacking carbonation with a syrupy edge that i'm not too fond of. Leaves bitter chocolate lingering with sone slight soured tartness. Not harsh,just not real pleasurable. Not a beer that i would drink again,but not repulsive either. Kind of boring,had a hard time finishing the entire bottle,the first half went down twice as easy as the last half.

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Dragon's Milk from New Holland Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,278 ratings.