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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: 4,790
Avg: 3.95
pDev: 26.08%
Wants: 282
Gots: 1,346 | 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: 4,790
Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.19/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Dark brown with transparency around the edges. Short tan head. Legs, and some lacing.

S - Bourbon. Hot and full of caramel notes and wood.

T - Like the nose, there is a lot of bourbon. Chocolate and roasted grains underpin. A slight bitter edge, but not astringent. A decent, but not overly complex, combination.

M - A big warm ball of booze. No hiding ABV here. But the beer does go down smooth.

O - A reasonable price and true bourbon character are definite upside. Fairly straight-forward, not a lot of nuance, but tasty nevertheless.

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Photo of MaineBrewing
4.66/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - poured a thick black motor oil consistency with a slight light tan head that wasn't long for this world. Spotty lacing was a welcome surprise for such a high gravity beer.

S - ridiculous amount if intensity to the aroma. I just drank/reviewed a sebago slick nick and struggled to put words to what I was smelling on the nose, this on the other hand is very distinct. Smells like a delicious roasty sweet RIS dripping over a slab of oak that has been aging whiskey for a decade. On top of that someone drizzled some chocolate and chucked on a few vanilla beans for good measure.

T - taste matches the nose, but much more smooth. All the flavors of black malt, roastedness, chocolate, vanilla, and whiskey meld into one sweet smooth amalgam of deliciousness. I've let this age for only half a year and am surprised at how well the flavors have come together, the alcohol is not even present.

M - thick syrupy under carbed, sweet. Nothing u wouldn't expect for the style.

O - this beer is great, no distro in maine yet for this brewery and it's sad. Very smooth and well balanced for a BBA stout and the lack of any alcohol aroma or taste is welcomed. Very refined, would certainly grab this again if I come across it.

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Photo of threeviews
4.47/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle (2014 vintage) with no freshness date poured into a Rastal Teku 2.0 stemmed glass.
A- Pours nearly black with brown highlights at the edges of the glass. The head was minimal, yielding about a 1/2-finger, coffee colored head with weak retention. To the eye, it does not seem to possess the viscosity as some other Imperial Stouts I sampled. (4.0)

S- Caramel, Chocolate, Vanilla, Oak, Char, nuts and some roasted notes are all present in the nose. As it rises to room temperature, some bourbon sweetness starts to blossom. (4.5)

T- Fairly simply, yet packed full of flavor. Caramel and vanilla sweetness up front followed by some bourbon and oak tannin. The finish is dry with flavors consisting of chocolate and coffee. No alcohol burn after the sip. (4.5)

M- One of the lightest bodies I have experienced for an Imperial Stout labeled as 11%ABV and could only be classified as medium. The carbonation is not shy and helps keep the beer feeling light on the palate. Although not nearly the most dense Imperial Stouts out there (and yes, I do like beers of this nature with a bit more body and alcohol heat), Dragon's Milk more than makes up for this in its drinkability. As such, I can easily envisage drinking 2-3 of these in a sitting. (4.5)

O- Assuming that the label is true to its contents, the absence of alcohol burn in the nose and flavor is nothing short of impressive. Coupled with the fact that this is a year-round BBA Imperial Stout (~$15 4-Pack) and one that you don't need to risk life and limb to procure, Dragon's Milk is a more-than-worthy alternative to all the other 'white whales' swimming about the craft beer marketplace. Yes, I will purchase again. (4.5)

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Photo of NickTheGreat
4.16/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L (4) – This beer is DARK.

S (4.25) – You get a little bit of the bourbon smell. Not a lot, but you can tell it’s there.

T (4.25) – This beer is solid. It has the bourbon taste, but not too much. I’ve never had any of their other stuff, so I don’t know how to compare. It is not quite BCBS, but an acceptable alternative.

F (4) – It isn’t as thick as BCBS, but it is pleasantly think. About the right level of carb, and not a whole lot of alcohol burn. It’s nice.

O (4) – Overall I was wanting to see how it compared to BCBS. It’s not quite there, but if you couldn’t find BCBS and had this, you’d be happy. I had this at the end of the night, but I tried not to let that cloud the score.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Bottle from Colonial Spirits.
Pours a deep dark brown with faint garnet at the edges and a smallish bubbly beige head that dissipates quickly. Aromas of roast, caramel, vanilla, light wood and bourbon with a faint cardboard. Little to no hop aroma, this one seems a bit sweet based on the nose. The flavor is roasty caramel with hints of toffee, vanilla and light oak. Light fruity notes midway through with a sweet bourbon and brown sugar linger at the end of every sip. Medium body, light level of carbonation. Nice easily assessable barrel aged stout. The oxidation in the nose is a little off putting, but the beer is quite tasty.

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Photo of kevinlater
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

650ml bottle into goblet. 2014 batch, 11% abv. bottled on october 15, 2014. enjoyed on the evening of december 13, 2014

a: dark black with ruby-caramel highlights at the bottom of the glass. a slim finger of tan head

s: roasted malt, whisky, chocolate. slight oaky vanilla. good barrel presence, perfectly balanced between stout and aroma notes

t: not quite as balanced as the nose. huge whisky presence in the front, along with some dark fruits. the chocolate and roast flavours play shyly off of the still-strong barrel character here and there come mid-palate. mild bitterness at the end with lingering whisky tastes

m: little carbonation, medium & slightly slick mouthfeel

o: a really unbalanced beer, but i still find it quite tasty. could definitely benefit from age, or having more stout flavour presence. this will really satisfy barrel-aged beer enthusiasts

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Photo of keithmurray
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2013 vintage

Appearance - Dark brown almost black body with tan head

Smell - Whiskey, oak, coconut, dark chocolate

Taste - dark chocolate, whiskey, oat, coconut

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, medium carbonation, sweet, sticky, slightly boozy

Overall - a nice bourbon barrel stout, not as aggressive as a BCBS. Worth a try for lovers of the style.

Price Point - $15.49/4 pk 12 oz bottles

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Photo of ZebraCakez
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

A: Deep brown (almost black) with almost no head, save for a small layer of tan froth on the surface.

S: Big coffee notes, and a strong barrel presence. There is a chocolate aroma as well, it is not as strong.

T: This is a big beer. It makes no jokes about its barrel aspect, and the alcohol is always present, but super strong coffee and chocolate notes return quickly. There is a light vanilla aspect on the finish. A fantastic stout.

F: Medium to heavy body, very smooth creamy feel, almost no carbonation.

O: This is a fantastic beer. It may not be on par with a few of the other heavy - hitters in the same category (which are often near-impossible to find), but it is certainly worthy of a spot on the shelf in my fridge.

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Photo of DaveBar
4.27/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Purchased at the LCBO for around $8.00 for a 750ml bottle. Served at 8deg C in a tulip

A- Nice opening and pours a tiny head that is gone fast. Super dark.

S- The bourbon is there all the way. Nice malt.

T- The bourbon is there but I want more coffee and chocolate. Just a touch lacking on those departments. Put a touch more in and you have a BCBCS. Nice blend though.

M- Pretty good. Nice creaminess. Not a milk stout but has some characteristics of it

O- Nice beer. Bought 3. One now and two later. Looking forward

Food Pairing

This wonderful little beer went well with...... Braised short beef rib. Nice thick beef rib braised then backed to tender perfection. Tomato sauce based.


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Photo of The_Beer_Connoisseur
5/5  rDev +26.6%

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.

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Photo of spinrsx
4.04/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

650ml Bottle from the Ottawa LCBO for $8 or so

Appearance - Dark brown colour with an average size frothy/fizzy beige head. I can't make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for around 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, coffee, vanilla

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, chocolate, and coffee. There is also some vanilla and a bit of a bourbon flavour.

Overall - An interesting brew. Not over the top in sweetness or bourbon, but still packs a punch in ABV. Very drinkable and a nice well rounded flavour. I guess I was expecting something more robust, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Can't see this improving with age really, seems about perfect now.

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Photo of docoman
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

This was one of my first BA stouts and at the time thought was fantastic, but now that I've sampled many others... it's still good, but like others better. Has a sweet more of a creamer taste compared to others that are more chocolate and coffee flavors.

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Photo of zhewitt98
4.75/5  rDev +20.3%

Such a great stout. bought this back in September and put it in the cellar until last night when I put it in the fridge. opened it up tonight and man, this is what a bourbon barrel aged stout should taste like. Just enough bourbon to taste but not overwhelming. I only wish it poured a larger head. at 11% I'm already feeling it

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Photo of bnes09
4.4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Jet black. Thin tan head. Nice lace patches.

Most abundant aroma is bourbon and oak. Hints of lactose. Mellow roasted character.

Moderate roasted flavor with dark chocolate, wheat toast and toasted nuts. Mild sweetness. Subtle, earthy hop. Smooth, rich bourbon oak in the end. Very well balanced.

Full bodied. Well carbonated. Somewhat sticky feel.

Awesome barrel aged double milk stout. Stands up to the best barrel aged stouts I've had.

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Photo of chihomebrew312
4.75/5  rDev +20.3%

Great beer with deep complexity. Overall pleased with the profile, though a thick brew. Dark and opaque pour with a frothy head. Definitely better for cold nights and slower sipper.

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Photo of pkalix
4.44/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

finally got my hands on one of these.... thinner than I expected, but tasty. can taste the bourbon barrel in it. a decent brew, indeed. smooth, no coffee notes, which is very much appreciated.... I feel they are adding coffee to cover up mistakes just as some are adding mega hops to cover up their IPA mistakes(?). or not. but this is a good one!
Dragon's milk, indeed! but how many dragons will allow their milk to be put into a barrel?

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Photo of dd43
4/5  rDev +1.3%

There's no hiding 11% ABV in the 2014 bottlings. Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a big 'ol red wine glass fit for a big ol' stout. Yes by beer glassware sucks, working on it.

Minimal tan head, receded without much ado. I learned from the last two bottles to let this warm up a smidge before indulging. This beer smells like a stout that was left to age in bourbon barrels. Fitting given it's construction. You also get the alcohol vanilla extract smell as others have described.

Somewhat difficult to pick up flavors besides vanilla, the malt is present in a stickiness on the lips and palate but I didn't get any sort of roasted notes like what you find in imperials or even standard issue stouts.

The inky color and boozy aroma belie the mouthfeel of this beer. By no means thin, but not what I would describe as dense and creamy either. Carbonation is appropriately on the low side.

A stout meant to be enjoyed in single servings, as far as I'm concerned. Knocking several of these back might knock you into tomorrow. Honestly this might be better if pared back to 10% as in years past, I don't see the value proposition in amping it up to this level. The alcohol suppresses some of the more muted malt flavors you'd expect to find in a proper stout, even BBA varieties.

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Photo of JJKBeerLvr
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

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.

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Photo of FaradayUncaged
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

This one's a superb tutorial of proper drinking temperature.

Poured from a 22ouncer into a tulip glass. Straight from the beer refrigerator ~40* which was far too cold. The nose and subsequent taste was overpowered with the higher ABV and tannin/oak. The finish was a bit puckeringly sour.

After warming to 55*+ it really came alive. A whole different beer! Much more caramel, chocolate and vanilla on the nose and initial taste. All of those balanced well with the oak. I'd even say the mouthfeel became a bit more pleasing, though overall it remains light on carbonation and 'thickness'.

Overall a pleasing sipper for a style that I don't typically gravitate towards.

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Photo of StoneTSR
4.43/5  rDev +12.2%
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.

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Photo of Flashy
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

Purchased in Vermont for $14.99 a four pack (when did we start getting New Holland?). Nice stout, nice level of bourbon flavor- but lacks the thicker body that I like in this kind of beer.

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Photo of matt_duthie
4.07/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours with a thin khaki head, reduces to an even thinner cap, some lacing. Not quite black, letting some light in around the edges and a little pocket of deep dark red you can see through when held to the light.

S: Bourbon, vanilla, sweet dark fruits, bit of chocolate, roasted malts. Nice.

T: Follows the nose, big bourbon and vanilla, almost more like a BBA porter than big imperial stout. Finishes dry and slightly bitter. Quite good but not incredible.

F: A little lighter body than I expected/remembered, silky smooth and coats the palate. Light-medium carbonation is just about right, could use to be a little more full-bodied.

O: I really like this beer, a solid but different take on a bourbon-barrel stout than you'll find elsewhere, pretty approachable for 11% with good barrel character, and easy to find anywhere in MI. Also sweet name and cool bottle art.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.66/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle vintage 2014:
Beer pours dark, as expected, with some light peaking through at the edges to give the impression that it is a fairly clear beer, and could be a hue or two lighter that black. Head doesn't build up much with a decent pour, but light tan bubbles do form enough to cover the surface briefly. The head gravitates towards the edges, but does leave some remnants on the surface. Lacing is present, but fleeting.

Nose is a weak. What I do get, I have to search for, but it is dark roast mocha coffee and just a hint of wood (and maybe some bourbon). That's about it, the some "proper" smells, but not as strong as I would want.

The initial tastes aren't as deep or roasted as I would expect. The beginning actually reminds me more of a typical brown ale than a stout. I start with a white raisin like taste, but a toasted coconut flavor follows fairly quickly. I do get some "average joe" coffee notes in the middle, but there's also a strange sweet tartness throughout the middle and end tastes (flat cola is the closest I can come up with, but not sure that's quite it).

My initial thoughts of the feel was it was pretty smooth and gave me an oatmeal stout impression. Funny that the feeling became less prevalent after a few tastes. I still think the carbonation plays quite well in the middle tastes, and I think the end feel is a bit silky. This is countered by a mildly light body.

I am torn on this beer. I do not think it's that great, but I'm not sure it's as bad as I am rating it. Even though I rated body the highest, I wish it were a bit thicker. About the only other thing that maybe justifies the ranking is a seeming lack of any bourbon notes that I could recognize (maybe it's what adds the "cola" taste I mentioned).

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Photo of ricknelson
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

Nice Chocolate Vanilla taste, vanilla nose, solid lacing. The bourbon barrel aging comes thru but not too strong; especially for an 11%er. My first experience with New Holland; I'm impressed. Think this would be even better with nitro, its a little on the thin side; think it would also be better if aged a year. My rating of 4.25 is pretty generous I think; maybe closer to a 4.

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5/5  rDev +26.6%


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