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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

1,278 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,278
Hads: 4,725
Avg: 3.95
pDev: 26.08%
Wants: 277
Gots: 1,280 | 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: 4,725
Photo of darkbeeronly99
1.23/5  rDev -68.9%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

I see quite the disparity in reviews here. I bought a 4 pack of bottles of this stuff, and after 1 beer all I can say is - yuck. My favorite beers are OldRasputin, Bell's Expedition,Weyerbacher15 and Brooklyn Black Choc Stout - so I love dark syrupy beers - but this one was horrible. It had way too much of an alcohol/cough syrup type vibe and the combo of how sweet it was with the alcohol and I can see getting sick after a few of these. Almost no head on the pour and after a minute, there was no head at all and the beer comes off as 'flat'. Avoid this one. Maybe they do have quality control issues, but they aren't getting my money on the chance I get something different.

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Photo of hopstorm
1.61/5  rDev -59.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

I really think they should have to tell you if the "oaken barrels" they use had whiskey or bourbon in them first. Only because thats all I could smell, and all I could taste. When I purchase a beer, generally, I'd like that beer to taste like beer. Not hard liquor. This is one of those for people who can appreciate bourbon-esque like beers. Reminds me alot of Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. Which I also found dreadful.
Poured from a 22 oz bottle. The look was pretty much what I expected, dark and almost inviting. The smell made me cringe, straight bourbon-whiskey-alcohol. Then the taste. I just plain don't like whiskey, and this is all I tasted. For what it is, the mouthfeel was the only thing this has going for it. Light for the ammount of alcohol, and if I liked it, I could sip it all night long. Drinkability is pretty much a 0. But it only goes down to 1. Says on the bottle that this is New Hollands "crown jewel".... Well, give me those rocks and stones over there please.

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Photo of ibop
1.71/5  rDev -56.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Instead of paying $14 for a 4 pack, found a loose bottle for $3.50. I was anticipating what the label stated, deep vanilla notes and can be paired with dark chocolate.

The ONLY thing the label live up to was the way too high 10% alcohol content. This percentage killed and masked any supposed vanilla notes at all. The nose wafted between a light caramel to stale beer. I washed my glass beforehand to ensure a sterile receptacle.

This was horrid swill and much too strong, bitter, sour and malty for my palate.

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Photo of ABVerageJoe
1.87/5  rDev -52.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

A: It looked dark. Really dark. Nearly black body with just a thing white head. Left behind thin white lacing as well.

S: Smelled mostly like whiskey. Maybe a faint cocoa powder, but mostly just whiskey

T: It tastes like it smells, whiskey. The alcohol is overpowering. Although the brew is only 10%, it tasted like it could have been 20. I could tell it was a familiar taste, but couldn't put my finger on it. Passed it to my little sister who nailed it right no the head. "Irish Car Bomb". It tastes just like an ICB and if you like those you'll love this. I tried to pick up the vanilla notes which the bottle hinted at, but I caught none of them.

M: Heavy and smooth. Swirl it around in your mouth and it will just feel like alcohol fumes.

O: I'm not a fan. Tastes like whiskey more than anything else, definitely not what I'm looking for in a beer. My older brother loves whiskey, so I got him a bottle. He didn't love it, but drank it. I would not get this again.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of david131
1.96/5  rDev -50.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I feel strange about this beer. I usually love big beers... this one was just a mess.

A- Came in a pint glass with minimal off- white head. The color was a very dark as night red. It's almost black. the head does not stick around for long and just leaves the unexciting dark liquid behind.

S- I am instantly hit with molasses. The next thing that comes to me is a strong bourbon/ whiskey odor. I struggle to get anything more out of this.

T- The flavor is the same as the smell. The molasses was smooth up front, which was kind of nice. But then the overwhelming whiskey hits. It is over-bearing and causes me to wince every time I take a sip.

M- Pretty thin for what it is. Burning from the whiskey. Not something I wanted to savor.

D- I really regretted getting this. I feel like I could appreciate a beer that is barrel aged, this was just way overbearing and it was not "milky" in any sense of the word.

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Photo of Mulciber_Volcanus
2/5  rDev -49.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I have to say, since New Holland makes one of my favorite beers, I'm disappointed.

The first time I had this beer, it presented a great color and pleasant smell. On the front end, it was milk chocolate with a slight salty twang, but it finished with a nauseating taste of briny seawater. It was shocking. I promptly sent it back, assuming their keg had gone bad.

At another restaurant, I decided to give it another try. Unfortunately, I had the exact same experience: a salty brine that turned my mouth inside out and left me very thirsty.

It seems that a small percentage of the people who have this beer have a similar experience. Perhaps it's genetic, like those who think cilantro tastes like soap. Perhaps it's just bad on tap. Perhaps it's a bad beer. I don't know, but I won't be trying it again.

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Photo of yamar68
2.05/5  rDev -48.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours an odd looking murky brown sludge with a fizzy tan head. No clarity. On the nose there is tons of chocolate and aggressive burnt wood. This is a real one directional aroma. The taste tells the same story: too much wood that somehow brings some chocolate to the table. The more delicate notes of the base beer are completely overwhelmed by the oak. Low drinkability. One of the worst fiscal decisions I’ve made lately...

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Photo of Beerlover
2.09/5  rDev -47.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2

reviewed from notes 11/25/12
Pours clear and almost black in color can barely see through it unless you hold it up to the light then its very dark reddish brown. Smells very oaky and sweet with notes of vanilla low high carbonation tastes extremely overpowering...nope IS overpowering, way tooo rich! gut-rot! style I'd give a 3 out of 5 over all for me thoe a 1.5. The local craft beer magazine here "The Growler" I usually agree with but the review on this one couldn't be more off: "Super creamy stout" I find the body very thin for a stout. "Loads of caramel" I wish, I didn't even get a hint of it! "Tootsie Rolls" where?! "Roasted nuts" Nope!

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Photo of OrangeCharlie
2.16/5  rDev -45.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A: Pours a dark black with a thin tan head.

S: Toffee, caramel, and roasted malts.

T: Coffee, caramel, and roast. A touch of bourbon with some woody oak notes towards the end. Strong, hot alcohol presence on the finish was a big turnoff. This just shouldn't happen in an 8.5% beer.

M: Good medium body, good carbonation.

D: This brings me back to the hot alcohol, which really ruined this beer. It became less appealing as it warmed as well, which made the hot alcohol much stronger.

Clearly, the hot alcohol was my biggest problem with this beer. I would give this another shot if it was cellared for a few months as it can possibly mellow out the booze, but from this first impression, this was a tough one to get down.

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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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Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
2.22/5  rDev -43.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 1.75

A: Clear, but as dark as used motor oil; just a hint of red mahogany shows through on the fringes. Head is 2 fringes of froth the color of toasted marshmallows, and lasts a good while before giving way to thin lacing.

S: Sweet malt, dark fruit, chocolate, and booze. A lot of booze...

T: Malt is sweet, almost cloying. Then there's an onslaught of flavors: dark chocolate, raisins, coffee, vanilla beans... It's a bit overwhelming for a brief moment, but then comes a harsh kick in the mouth as a bitter, chemical taste comes through. I can't quite place it, but it's as if someone poured bad grain alcohol into the vat to up the potency. Eventually it fades, leaving a residual taste of butter and fruit jam on burnt toast.

M: That heavy booziness on the nose is overpowering in the mouth. Some imperial stouts hide their high ABV's well, but not so this one. I can hardly pay attention to the carbonation or other sensory qualities. There's also a dry, nearly astringent finish, not that I'm worried about that at this point. Seriously, I've had 40% ABV whiskey that was smoother and less boozy than this stuff!

O: Looked good, smelled fine. Unfortunately, it all fell apart when it hit my mouth. An expensive drain pour.

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Photo of KeefD
2.28/5  rDev -42.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

8.5% ABV. Dark brown, ruby edges, small tan head that was gone in less than a minute, very little lacing. I'm not getting much out of the aroma. I'm really hoping it's because it was poured rather cold. I'll give it a few minutes to warm up. OK, starting to warm now, some sweet, light fruity aroma starts to come out, some whiskey-ish alcohol, red grapes, and light chocolate. Flavor is a little strange to me. There's some very light, almost watery chocolate flavor going on, definite oakiness throughout, and a grassy, earthy component in the finish. There's the grape flavor again. What the hell is this? I'm starting to get a stale red wine flavor in the aftertaste. Ugh, this thing finished bad. It's very light bodied for the color. Maybe I just don't like it because it's dark and expect it to drink like a stout or a porter. It tastes more like a doppelback fermented with ale yeast and aged in oak. The taste and aroma does improve slightly as it reaches room temperature. Not my thing, but hey, I'll finish it anyway.

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Photo of Herrless
2.29/5  rDev -42%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I have to admit I purchased this beer because of the name. After trying this beer I had to read the reviews of others and was surprised with the high scores. Maybe I got a bad bottle?

I had the 22oz bottle and used an Imperial Pint glass. The pour was black with a nice tan head. I did not have the problems others have had with it foaming up too much.

The taste was very oaky with chocolate, malt and black cherry notes. It had a very acrid taste that made this unenjoyable to drink. I kept thinking that it would smooth out when it warmed up and it never did.

The reviews of this beer are all over the map. Some people experiencing LOTS of head and others none. Makes me think that there are bottling problems with this one.

My recommendation: Buy at your own risk.

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Photo of afoltz2
2.3/5  rDev -41.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A - good dark color for a stout, a little disappointed by the lack of head, around a quarter inch.

S - good, strong smell with a hint of a possible coffee flavor.

T - the initial taste was good, but the immediate aftertaste was pure alcohol. I felt like I had just done a shot instead of drinking a beer

M - I swished a mouthful around to get different tastes, and it gave me a slightly numb feel due to the high alcohol content.

O - a very potent brew, high ABV with a strong alcohol taste. I was disappointed by this one, and I am a fan of stouts. I sampled it next to Guinness and Left Handed Milk Stout, and preferred both of those. I think if this beer were 2-3% lower ABV, it would compare much more favorably, because it did have a good initial flavor.

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Photo of fishacura
2.3/5  rDev -41.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I was sadly disappointed in this one.

A: Poured well a deep rich color but with absolutely no head. I knew I was in trouble...was expecting a rich thick head but got probably a 1/16 inch that fizzled quickly.

S: Smell was malt and chocolate. Was thinking maybe I was being too harsh.

T: IMHO, terrible. Let me stress I am a malty beer lover and do not like overly hoppy beers like IPAs. This was like drinking maple syrup however.

Just not very impressed with this one at all.

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Photo of Pepper7
2.33/5  rDev -41%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.25

Highly overrated, I feel like the alcohol taste is not covered up at all, that's the taste that really stands out on this one, overpriced as well, not an imperial stout fan, but I've paid a lot less Jackie O's dark apparition, which was outstanding.

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Photo of se7enchurches
2.34/5  rDev -40.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This is a review of later (than the previous review) bottles i have had of Dragon's Milk, purchased last week from a tiny bit further away from the brewery (Ann Arbor). The following phenomenon is consistent across three bottles worth that i have tried, pulled from at least 2 different cases (bought my own case, some from the shelf, and one from the cooler, and all three groups taste the same).

I now completely understand the disparity in reviews on this beer.

This bottle was sharp and acrid, filled the glass 95% of the way with foam as soon as I started pouring it, and bears little resemblance to the bottle that i previously reviewed.

There is a sour twist to the smell of the beer, and like i said it foams up ridiculously. It still has the good, rich brown color. Upon tasting it, the sourness is even stronger, overpowering what little remnants there are of the smooth, creamy dark ale that i loved in the earlier bottle.

I do not know exactly what causes these differences; it seemed like a bad batch but I can't really be sure. A look at some earlier BA reviews shows that at least occasionally, other people have definitely encountered this bastard cousin of the "real" Dragon's Milk over the course of the brew's existance. Much more so than can be chalked up to the normal occurance of beer going bad.

It is rather disappointing to have fallen in love with a beer that lives 5 states away, and end up nabbing a case of that beer which tastes nothing like what you liked at the brewery. New Holland needs to figure out what is causing so many "bad" bottles, and fix this issue, both in sour taste and in overcarbonation.

When this beer is good, it is one of the best i've had, but I can't really support the sour version.

Be careful with this beer, and if you get a sour tasting bottle, know that there are MUCH better ones out there.

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Photo of semibaked
2.34/5  rDev -40.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours black with just a little light shining through with no head and looks like it is flat.

S - Big oak smell right up front, some booze, coffee, and maybe a little black olive juice.

T - A lot of Oak and Bourbon flavors and pretty much overpower anything else in the beer.

M - Oily and thin bodied.

D - Wow does this suck, I think they just said "hey will put this in Oak barrels and it will be good because everyone else is doing it". The Oak and bourbon are way overpowering, just bad brewing in my opinion.

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2.36/5  rDev -40.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Deep brownish black body with a lovely huge monster tan foamy head that includes some huge hollow bubbles. Like what you get if you made a root beer float. nose is a soft chocolatey malt feel with a bit of smokieness on the side. Now this is where the brew goes south for me... Enters the mouth kide day old cold coffee and quickly sours on the second half of the palate, which is not what I expexted. Finishes with that same sour and maybe a hint of nuttiness. Where is the oak and I was expecting a little more dark richness, and complexity from the look in the glass and from what I had heard about this beer, but polar oppisites. Odd, but I guess I could have had a bad bottle.?

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Photo of demuzik
2.38/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

I had been anticipating this one for a while, finally got to try some on tap. My local tappery called this one a "American Strong Ale"; I think American Stout - as classified here - is a closer category. Definitely not enough hop backbone to balance out the overbearing sweetness of this brew.

The color is fine - a dark, opaque, stout-ish brown.
By the aroma alone you can already tell this is going to be one sweet beer - literally, sweet. The taste is not bad and somewhat interesting on first sip; tons of malt, caramel, sticky sweetness - but as you may have gathered from my tone, this sticky sweetness quickly caught up with me and left me reaching for water, not enthused about finishing the glass.

I guess this could classify best as a "dessert beer", served in small quantities when you want overly-sweet, imbalanced beer, but otherwise, I'd avoid it.

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Photo of cserrato02
2.45/5  rDev -38%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

STRONG whiskey flavors, somewhat unbalanced. It seems to me that they loaded the beer with whiskey just to get to an 11% ABV. This is a sipping beer for me. Does not go well with a meal in my opinion.

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Photo of stompwampa
2.48/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

My first impression of this beer was great. It had a unique smell...very full and some hints of vanilla.

The color was dark brown with a tan head that disipated quickly.

My first taste was like "Wow! This is a great beer!"

And then I had a few more sips and it became very hard to drink.

The flavor is so full and sweet that I had a hard time drinking another. It really does have a syrupy taste to it.

I picked up a 4-pack of bottles and I found myself choking down the last three. It's just too much. Too filling, too thick. Overall, it's hard to drink. The taste really isn't that horrible...it actually has a unique and rather pleasant flavor...but it doesn't sit well with me.

It's worth trying for sure. The first few sips were great.

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Photo of jackndan
2.5/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

New Holland Dragon’s Milk: from a bottle. Pours a deep, almost impenetrable brown/black. Not much head, what it had was off white, and left a thick coating down the sides. The aroma is sweet, and although, its probably just the name, smells like a chocolate milkshake.

The first sip, and damn, this was not what I expected, it is extremely thick/creamy and smooth, taste’s very much like bailey’s and coffee, except even more sweet and almost cloying. Really unusual tasting beer, there is a definite smokiness to this brew as well. I can’t say I like this beer, and then after much consideration, I realized why: this beer is very similar in smell and taste to Ensure, the protein drink. The bottle notes that the alcohol level is 10%, but its hard to note. Cripes, I can tell this is well made, but I’ll have to choke down at least half of the bottle.

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Photo of EricMichael
2.51/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

appearance - Black garnet with little head. Normal amount of carbonation for a stout and an appearance to be expected of a stout.

smell - Potent. At first whiff, vanilla-oak then immediately overcome by only what I can describe as bourbon alcohol.

taste & mouthfeel - This stout is smooth going with a flash of alcohol at the end. It's hard to overcome the potent oak/bourbon alcohol. If you focus enough you can catch hints of the usual stout flavors of chocolate and coffee. They are quickly replaced by strong American oak.

overall - If I was a bourbon fan, this might be a stout for me. However, the stout aspects that I love were overwhelmed. I wish I had some dark chocolate to clean my palate.

poured into a stein

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Photo of Lauthaha
2.52/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a deuce-deuce into a wine glass for maximum enjoyment.

Appearance: Opaque and black, with soft hints of red and/or mahongany. Thin tan head which does not stick around very long. Doesn't look overly thick or too thin, I like the look of this brew.

Smell: Immediately smell the oak. It's woody to the point of being perhaps just a touch over the top. Very little hop action, but the malt is prevalent in a strange way. Upon further review, it definitely smellls like merlot or cabernet sauvignon. I don't want my beer to smell like wine, so I'm not impressed.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Simply put, much like red wine poured into a stout. Gentle carbonation allows the oak flavor combined with some chocolate/vanilla candy taste to envelop the palate. Strange grape attribute is not welcome here. Aftertaste is all wine.

Drinkability: I don't think I would purposely buy this beer again. If somebody else were to buy it and offer a taste, I would not decline, but only because we sometimes need to be reminded that price does not always equal quality.

Bought this after forty-five minutes at the store, staring at an endless supply of beer. Kinda wish I would have opted for my first decision, but then again, without moving forward, I can never refine my taste. *Shrug* No go, New Holland.

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