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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 CMB2012
3.94/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, no bottle date that I can find, but it is from the 2011 vintage, and this bottle says 10%abv, not 9%. Served at cellar temperature in a 16oz stemless snifter.

A- Pours a deepest brown, no light gets through this at all, unless tilted to thin it out. In the latter case there is a small amount of dark brown cola color. At first I get a small amount of white, tan foam, this does not stick around and quickly thins to nothing but some frothy bubbles. There is some lacing though.

S- Very strong oak and vanilla upfront in the nose- Somewhat smokey and general wood/earthy characteristics. I also get some burnt caramel and creamy chocolate- not dark or bitter chocolate. There is a noticeable corn smell, conjuring memories of caramel corn (no telling if this has anything to do with the barrels, if they had whiskey?). There is definitely some booze in the smell, mostly at the tail end, also hiding in the vanilla. Slight burn, but not too strong. Digging deeper I get some dark fruits- prune mostly, perhaps cherry, blackberry, and currents as well. Pretty complex aroma, but the oak is somewhat cloying (this does not make the beer any less desirable at this point).

T- Wow, complexity corner. Deep dark fruits, overtones of oak and vanilla, nice warming alcohol to finish (based on this I am willing to bet bourbon barrels... yep). Peppery chocolate, with raisins, prunes, and blackberries, washed back with some spicy bourbon whiskey. The whiskey character is much stronger than I expected, and I am weary of deciding whether I like it or not. I do like a good bourbon, but in my beer?

M- Not as thick and viscous as you might think. The beer is definitely carries full bodied and chewy characteristics, but there isn't much carbonation and at times seems almost watery. For the amount of flavor and complexity here, I could wish for some more body.

O- This is an intriguing beer indeed. A lot to contemplate and necessitating a lot of time to do so. I only have a 12oz bottle, but I will sit on it for some time, especially at 10%. I say try it if you haven't had it and definitely try if you are interested in oak aged beers. I came back to this beer after a couple years because I did not enjoy my first experience, but my palate has matured so I gave it another go. All in all, I think it's too much. There is a lot here to satiate, but there is also a lot left to desire. I have little to no experience with aging beers, but I would guess this could use some.

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

Served in a pilsner glass.

Dark, but not black. Thin white head, one finger.

Oversweet vanilla, not hop presence.

Good, a standard in barrel aged stouts. More sweetness than anything else.

Thick, black oil like a good stout should have.

Reliving and old beer, and it works as a drinkin' beer but nothing special.

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Photo of soulfly967
4.32/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep brown color, with a thin light tan head that quickly diminished to a ring around the glass.

The smell was magnificent. Oak, vanilla, caramel, and some nutty character. Some bourbon was evident as well.

Taste was just as good. Vanilla, oak, caramel, light roasted malt, and dark fruits. Some alcohol was present at the finish, with lingering vanilla on the tongue.

Mouthfeel was very creamy and nicely carbonated.

Overall, drinkability was good on this one. I will be looking for this one again.

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Photo of rawthar
3.77/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A- Pardon me if I mistake this for a stout, in its black slithering body and capaccino head, there's nothing to really distinguish until I hold it to the light and see red rays meander through, betraying its differences from the opaque I'm accustomed to. Not sure how to rate to this style, so I'm comparing to a stout.

S- Caramel, lots of burnt oak (yeah that's practically cheating), sweet hot hints, some toasted marshmallow, a bit of grain, and some dry undertones under all the heavy duty malts. I'm impressed...and yet again, this does nothing to dissuade me from calling this a stout (even an Impy).

T- Not quite as impressed, but still pretty damn good. The sweet burnt sugars and the smoky wood just don't seem to meld together so well as they do in the nose, although separately, they are interesting, to say the least. Maybe some very dark chocolate, or even some very roasted mocha showing up here. I think this guy could have stood some aging, and I plan to get another for that purpose. I would guess that with a few years, this could clean up extremely well.

M- Hot alcohol burn on the way down, otherwise a smooth milky treat that means business.

D- This is where it suffers. A little too much of everything without the nice Imperial balance. Again, I think aging would repair this.

I got no beef with Dragon's Milk that aging couldn't cure.

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Photo of pinyin
4.11/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served on tap in a 10 ounce glass.

Perfect two fingers of head and a lighter black brownish color.

This is a complex stout and the tasting notes keep changing throughout depending on temperature and glass breathability.

Upon first sip it almost tastes like coconut oil, or somehow this exact chemical compound is formed during the brewing process. I really thought I was drinking a super concentrated form of coconut water for a few seconds, until the aftertaste hits.

This stout is not too heavy, infact it's somewhat light and bubbly, just a smidge heavier than a dark carbonated porter.

This is a boozy tasting stout at 10% but well worth the burn.

The aftertaste is that of a perfectly aged bourbon whiskey. Reminded me a lot of Johhny Walker Green.

Overall an excellent offering from New Holland, although the name Dragons Milk is somewhat deceiving because this isn't really too sweet like a lower ABV% milk stout would taste, and Dragon Stout (the legendary stout from Jamaica) has already used this name for years.

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

Appearance: Upon first inspection this strong ale looks more like a stout. Jet black with two solid fingers of light tan head. Only when held inches from a light source does it look anything other than opaque. Near the light it reveals itself to be a deviously dark brown with reddish highlights.

Smell: A strong punch to the nose of pure bourbon. Oak notes go hand in hand. These mostly overwhelm but there are sweet aromas of vanilla and caramel cowering in fear somewhere in the backdrop.

Taste: New Holland doesn't mention whether the oak barrels they used for Dragon's Milk were previously owned but judging by the taste I'd reckon they had a past life harboring some form of whiskey. With every sip I expect an impending burn down my throat and warmth in my stomach. But no this is just beer. After the onslaught of whiskey and oak deliciousness the vanilla from the smell can be found if only for a few moments on the finish. The caramel however seems to be lost in a sea of Kentucky's finest.

Mouthfeel: Again like the appearance this beer seems have aspirations of being an Imperial Stout. There is a rich creaminess not often seen in strong ales. The body is fairly full as well. Knocked it down a bit because the carbonation was a bit strong.

Drinkability: To me this stuff tastes like a good whiskey without the kick in the ass. I've sampled it a few times already and I can certainly see myself dropping another $8 on a bottle. At 10% I wouldn't recommend quaffing them though.

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Photo of BeerandWhiskeyHQ
4.39/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Black with a small mocha head, looks dangerously enticing, good lacing
Smells strong of roasted malt, coffee, sugary and has slight bourbon barrel notes
Oh wow! Medium/heavy mouthfeel, rich and abundant in roasted malt and coffee. There is also mild vanilla and a slight hint of that 10% ABV in the finish
This is a very good stout and I like it an great deal. And it’s a really good price in my area at least which sweetens the deal. I don’t think this beer gets enough credit, to be honest, if it had the name “Stone” on it people would probably think much higher of it. Anyways, I really like it and always recommend it- and so should you!


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Photo of imaguitargod
4.59/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pour from the tap to a medium head that lingers for a bit then mellows to a white cream around the rim of the glass. Dark, blood red in color. One can easily confuse this for a sweet stout or porter if not careful. It has a sweetness that can only be described as "aged". High in alcohol which when combined with the sweetness makes it kinda like as fine liquor. Only about 2% bitter and extremely smooth. I want the dragon that makes this milk!

~Jonathan Passow

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Photo of GoldHorde
3.15/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Pours a molassy dark brown - NOT opaque however - light penetrates through with an amber glow. The aroma of vanilla is there - but no clue of the wood. The initial mouthfeel was lighter than expected as this is billed as from the High Gravity Series and I had expected a maltier (thicker) body. The first taste revealed the high gravity was more at> alcohal content than malt and thus more watery. This can be appreciated in many circles - I recall a friend's college dorm homebrew recipe called "Beggers Blend" impressively gifted in a high gravity Alc-by-Vol content that was sought after for any late hours party (it was basically a dextrose bomb). That comment aside, this beer definitely has more craft at work than those creations. The oak shows up in the flavor in front trumpet while the vanilla plays Montovani (cascading background strings). I'd like to see more work on this creation more at> heavier body while maintaining the Alc-by-Vol. It is a nice beer with a great name and crafte base that deserves a little further in refinements.

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

Pours very dark with a thick, dark head. Strong lacing as I drank from my favorite mug.

Very pleasant aroma. Slightly sweet.

The alcohol flavor jumps right out there. Vanilla, oak and some slight sweetness. Some slight mild roasted flavors as well.

Very smooth mouth feel. Goes down well. Possibly too well for a 22oz bottle of 10% beer. This is one to share! A 12 oz bottle would suit me better.

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Photo of ryantho00
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a great beer that has a few different subtle flavors and tastes.

It pours to a deep robust chocolate brown-black hue that has a nice brown lacing that sticks to the side of the snifter I chose to drink this out of.

I detect honey, chocolate, vanilla, coffee, oak, biscuit, and bourben in the first sniff.

I get a deep oaky musty and bourbeney coffee, chocolate caramel taste that leads way to an acidic slightly alochol aftertaste that is blalnced with a matly vanilla finish. I get a lot of vanilla in the 2011 -vs- the 2010 edition. I prefer the 2010. There is slightly too much of an alcohol and vanilla acidic taste that isn't as nice as the more balanced 2010 version. Maybe the barrel was different. Overall this is one of my favortie beers ever. Smooth creamy greatness that goes down easy and smooth, very deliciously balanced stout that is nicely aged and very well done.


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Photo of isubsmith
4.67/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I've had this in bottles many times so I decided to try a half barrel of it at home.

Appearance: Very dark brown, perhaps mahogany if you look through it at a light. Nice creamy head, lots of lacing, probably more than I remember from bottled versions.

Nose: The first few glasses out of the keg are unbelievably good. Chocolate, woody, toffee, some vanilla and bourbon. Sweet, caramelized sugar. Some of the alcohol is there when it warms up a bit.

Taste: Mirrors the nose, but even more complex. Smooth, bourbon flavors up front. Then some vanilla and maltyness. Finish is chocolate goodness.

Mouthfeel: Lower carbonation, but I was also using 85% N2/15% CO2. The partial pressure CO2 was probably a bit off, but frankly I enjoyed it anyway. About the same bite as the bottle has, so it couldn't have been too far off. Medium body, very creamy.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. Just remember to stand up once in a while and take stock of your facilities before you get in trouble.

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Photo of Tallboy
3.92/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have walked past this bottle many times at my local "Wine Connection" recently and thought it had a realy cool looking label,but alas would always find something else to take home....that all changed untill yesterday when i finaly decided to go for the win.

Poures: A warm chestnutt brown/black from the DBL deuce and formed a pleasing looking deep tan head , that seemed to linger till the end in my pint glass.

Smell: Was rather inviting after getting used to the oak...full of sweet rasins, milk/honey,amaretto,and pecans this has got it all.

Taste: Wow.... toffee, espresso, ritch chocolate. slightly sweet but the one thing that realy stands out was the vanilla taste towards the end. It was utterly fantastic and made me drink one more than I proably should have.

Mouthfeel: Nice and wet going down , it was just so velvety smooth.

Drinkability: This rates verry high on my all time favorite list. Definitely don't pass this up while exploring on your next Beer Adventure.

Overall: The flavor is in constant battle over the aroma to "overtake" command of your senses. This is a "beer" brewed for the sole intent to make you enjoy the moment and forget about your worries and the world around you!

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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 mexikrainian
4.58/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz poured into a Stone tulip.

Appearance: black with thick, tan head and smooth lacing.

Aroma: malts, molasses, licorice, coffee, dark fruits, and chocolate.

Flavor: chocolate, sweet malts, licorice, syrupy and vanilla.

Mouthfeel: smooth, creamy texture that lasts from start to finish

Overall impression: phenomenal stout! can have two or three in one session.

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Photo of plusorminus
2.73/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Poured a deep dark brown with a thick creamy head, but that was the highlight of this beer.

S: Overpowering alchol smell with slight hints of vanilla.

T: Can taste the oak from the barrels along with the hints of vanilla can be tasted. With the strong alchol smell I would think it would overpower the taste, but it did not.

M: not bad at first but sharp tang at the end.

D: Was drinkable but could not get over the sharp tang at the end.

Overall I was not very impressed with this beer. With the 10% Alc. can get you buzzed pretty quick.


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Photo of CRichardsMN
5/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark red brown with a varied tan foam head that builds up slowly then falls fairly quickly. Leaves a dense foam ring and a nice sticky lace after each sip.

Very complex blend of sweet toffee and caramel, hazelnuts, coffee, chocolate and oak. Incredible.

Hugely full and sweet roasted nuts and sweet caramel flavors. No hops or bitterness; smooth, clean and leaves a nice lingering woodsy / coffee aftertaste. Fairly prominent alcohol taste adds to the sweetness.

A little crisp (fizz) but immediately smooths out and rolls on through.

Comes in a 22oz bottle (marked 8.5% ABV) and is the perfect sipping beer when its a little cold outside. So smooth and full.

I bought this beer at the beginning of my beer journey. I must admit that I was drawn into the marketing and picked it up because of the cool label (and because I really didn't know anything about styles at the time). I actually mistook it as a stout until reading more into it. It was immediately my favorite beer and I now buy any "American Strong Ale" or dragon labeled beer out of tribute to this beer and to see if any other is even close to this. I actively seek out this beer and always have one tucked away in the back of the fridge (away from beer thieves) for special occasions or when I am tired of other styles. I'll share a bottle with someone but only if they will appreciate it. This is my #1 favorite brew.

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Photo of Tifore
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a snifter.

A - Pours pitch black with a two finger deep tan head. The head looks so nice and frothy, and then quickly dissapates to a white cap and small ring around the glass.

S - Smells very much like bourbon. Very strong smelling, overwhelming bourbon and alcoholic notes followed by some vanilla and oak and light carmel notes as well as chocolate.

T - Tastes like a malty bourbon. Lots of alcohol on the breath followed by bittersweet chocolate and smooth vanilla notes.

M - Mouthfeel is heavy with light carbonation on the tounge. Very boozy as well. I'm going to cellar a bomber of this I have and hope that the booze settles some.

D - This is a heavy drinker, one or two and thats about all I'd be able to take for a night. Great beer though, just curious to see what ageing will do this beer. I'd love it if the bourbon stays and the alcohol tones mellow.

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Photo of Donco
3.71/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Having tried this for the third time, I'd have to say it is a decent barrel aged stout. However, for the price (outside of MI) it probably does not warrant a higher rating. I don't even consider comparing this to BCBS which to me, is a bourbon barrel aged stout unto itself. So, I would compare this more closely to Fegley's Insidious bourbon barrel aged stout: a more comparable, lower level version of the style. After trying both, I'd recommend getting your hands on the Fegley's first and then the Dragon's Milk. I understand there are many fans of this beer. But I would not buy a 4 pack at the price I paid ($16) again.

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

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A- Pours a deep blackish brown that lets just a little bit of light through. Almost entirely opaque with about one finger of creamy tan head. Great lacing as well.

S- Sweet malty smell with notes of chocolate and coffee.

T- Sweet up front with chocolate flavors and a hint of coffee. Finishes with a oaky aftertaste. A little taste of alcohol too.

M- Full bodied and creamy mouthfeel. The sweet and complex flavors mask the 10% ABV well.

O- A tasty brew with a variety of complex flavors. I enjoyed the aged oak taste that this stout provides. It is both interesting and delicious and the ABV certainly packs a punch.

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Photo of Prostman81
3.3/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I didn't read any of the reviews before drinking this beer, but going back now and looking, I have to say I'm quite surprised at some of the comments.

I appreciate that this beer is black but not opaque. It has a very nice aroma to it, having exactly what I'd expect for such a beer.

The taste is really what brings this down for me. After an initial taste of some slight coffee, oak, and vanilla tones, the alcohol slams the tongue and kills whatever other complexity might be there. After I had 1/2 the beer, I could've sworn I was actually drinking straight bourbon. I kept sipping gently, hoping that I'd get used to it, but the alcohol was there to the very end.

Interesting to try, but the extreme obviousness of the alcohol just ends this one for me. I enjoy beers that were crafted to employ the alchohol as a compliment to the other flavors, not just a one-sided blitzkreig on the tongue. If this WAS to be an alcohol assault from the brewer's perspective, then they did it quite well. I won't be trying this again though.

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Photo of paperbackfoster
3.18/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Serving: 12oz bottle, poured into snifter.

A disclaimer: Right off the bat, I'd strongly argue that this beer is more of a barleywine than a stout. I can see the argument for an American strong ale as well, but I find so much in common with a barleywine that it's hard for me not to evaluate on those standards.

Dragon's Milk pours a dark, near-black pour with no head. A shimmering, cocoa-powder ring of carbonation appears as a late bloomer, creeping up the very top edges of the beer.

One sniff reveals the esters (more on that later), a vanilla bean sweetness and toasty malts.

This beer is incredibly sharp up front, the roasted malts hitting immediately. The body is intense, full of dark fruit notes - prune, plum, fig, and raisin all come to mind. The hops ride in right along the notes from the oak barrel aging, a woody, resinous palette. The finish is almost like drinking brandy - hot, alcoholic, but carrying the lingering notes of all flavors that came before.

Mouthfeel is big, full, round. A booze stew.

Dragon’s Milk makes for a fine sipping brew, enjoyed like a fine scotch. I also have no doubt that this beer will age nicely. That said, I find it occasionally overpowering. The esters give you a nice menopausal hot flash on the way down, a sharp edge that usually seems rounded out to me. I almost find the flavors to be numbing - drink this after dinner, not alongside. Again, I strongly argue that this doesn't fit the same niche that a strong ale or stout would fall under for me. The body is too fruity for another style (savory as it may be) and the alcohol content is far more noticeable than stouts of similar ABV, as well as all I've said before.

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Photo of buffettfan
4.65/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber, into a large snifter.

Apperance a very dark brown, when held to the light, you can see a hint of dark, ruby red. A thin strip of off white head rimming the glass.

Smell was more like a whiskey, or bourbon, with a hint of vinilla.

Taste, was to say the least, awesome! A heavey alcohol/ bourbon flavor up front. A malty flavor sort of takes over, then gives way to an oaky, wood flavor, and finishes with more whiskey/alcohol taste left in the your month.

Mouthfeel is strong, heavy and warm.

Drinkabilty, well, if I could get this in Arizona, it would always be in my fridge. I enjoyed this beer a lot, one of the better beers I've had in the last year! I'll be seeking out more of this!

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Photo of Lambstrong
4.29/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark mahogany color, little in the way of a head and what forms doesn't keep.

Aroma: Caramel , chocolate and lots of vanilla. You can really smell the sweetness.

Taste: Slight phenol notes followed by rich chocolate and oak. his is followed by a strong vanilla aftertaste. This is one of the only beers I've had whose characteristics changed this much.

Mouthfeel: Light velvety with not a lot of carbonation.

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Photo of LunaChick
3.82/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew is best served at cellar temp to allow the fullness of the flavors to come through. It pours almost pitch black with a fizzy head that quickly desolves to a ring that laces the glass. When cold the aroma is alcohol and wood and maybe some malt. Once warmed it takes on a completely different aroma--and flavor. At cellar temp the rich vanilla comes out and the oak mellows. The flavor is a nice splash of oaky vanilla. The oak isn't overpowering though. There is a not so subtle twang of alcohol--this is a big big beer and you feel it . Maybe the recipe has been tweaked given what I've read from prior reviews.
In the mouth there is subtle carbonation and a very full bodied flavor that is alcohol warm but still smooth. Not a high drinkability rating--this beer will smack you.

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