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New Holland Dragon's Milk (Bourbon Barrel Stout) - New Holland Brewing Company

Not Rated.
New Holland Dragon's Milk (Bourbon Barrel Stout)New Holland Dragon's Milk (Bourbon Barrel Stout)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

3,580 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,580
Reviews: 1,153
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 13.82%
Wants: 182
Gots: 613 | FT: 35
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:
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 added by: beernut7 on 08-12-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of New Holland Dragon's Milk (Bourbon Barrel Stout) Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,580 | Reviews: 1,153 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Prostman81
3.25/5  rDev -18.3%

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.

Prostman81, May 19, 2011
Photo of Agold
4.43/5  rDev +11.3%

2011 Vintage poured into a duvel tulip. Pours very dark, but not pitch black. It has a medium amount of head which recedes to a ring with a thin film of bubbles on top. Pretty nice, especially considering it is 10%. The aroma is extremely oaky, with vanilla, chocolate, and a very mild dark fruit presence. The oak does a very good job complementing the rest of the beer. It does not overpower the beer, it adds to everything else the beer has to offer. The taste is very nice as well. The oak is at a very good level, and if it was just a touch less sweet, it would be perfect. Oak, coco, vanilla, roast, but all playing very well with eachother. The mouthfeel is a bit light with a good amount of carbonation. Overall, a very pleasant surprise.

Agold, May 17, 2011
Photo of BelgiumBill
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%

I paid $7.99 for the bomber. According to the bottle this is the 2011 vintage and part of their High Gravity Series. The label says the ABV is 10.0% (BeerAdvocate reports it is 9%)

I often open a new bottle with dinner and break out my pen and little notepad. My 4 year old daughter likes to smell each one I try. When she smelled this I asked her what she thought. She said, "chocolate!" She'll have to wait 17 more years but it was obvious to a 4 year old that the nose was dominated by chocolate here.

It poured a dark brown, near black with some ruby tones. It gave a thin tan head.

The flavors were of cocoa, coffee, toffee, and toasty vanilla derived from the oak barrels. The oak was evident and I'd guess they are using American oak barrels and the oak was upfront and French oak would have been too subtle for the brew, though might have been nice and subdued.

Dragon's Milk gave a long finish with a bit of alcohol bite on the side of the tongue and a little bit of oak tannins drying the mouth.

Overall, very nice, though I might prefer New Holland's Night Tripper slightly. I'd buy this again. Good stuff and while not cheap at $7.99, still a decent value for a bomber when others charge over $10 for lesser beers.

BelgiumBill, May 16, 2011
Photo of CCalvert
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%

I've had this numerous times from a 22oz growler , but only a few from tap. Tap is by far better. But I do like the feel/taste of the ale from both, and will continue drinking it. Goes down great on chilly nights.
The first impression I always get is the hint of burnt oak, which is good, not too overpowering. Next thing I noticed was the very sweet malt/caramel, and vanilla tastes. The latter being very subtle to me. The alcohol taste is next. Though for me not too strong. To me anyway, it felt just right, smooth and not forced.

CCalvert, May 15, 2011
Photo of Retsinis
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%

A friend brought (thanks bigturo) picked this up while on vacation in Chicago, and brought it to a recent tasting. Review from notes.

A: Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Bruery tulip glass. The beer pours a rich brown with a ruby red hue around the edges. A small quarter inch of creamy light tan head rose, and receded. Minimal lacing.

S: Intially I picked up pretty strong scents of vanilla and sweet caramel malt. There is a toch of oak, and some dark cherries in there too.

T: Malty caramel, oak, light bourbon, but a clean bitterness on the finish. The vanilla is less prevalent, sadly in the taste then the nose.

M: Light mouthfeel for what it is, lightly carbonated which was ok, but it was also a bit syrupy, sticky, and thin.

O: Good, but not great. This was stacked up to some pretty heft stouts in the tasting, so I hope to try it again on it's own sometime.

Retsinis, May 13, 2011
Photo of DCon
3.98/5  rDev 0%

Had on-tap @ the Wolf Public House in Ballwin, MO. Tapped into a Snifter and Enjoyed only one (like always with this beer). Keg is from March 22.

Appearance- Darkest brown you can get with a 1.5 finger of tan head. Has quick retention head, and has a ton of lace that makes rings sticks to the side.

Aroma(first time having an "Aroma" section)- Has a strong dark chocolate and bourbon aroma. There also is a "fake" vodka scent on the backside.

Taste/Mouthfeel- There is a woody character that starts of this experience and then a huge bourbon after taste. I enjoyed this a ton but it has WAY too much of an alcohol taste. There also is a raisin/plum taste in here as well. It is Full Bodied, Medium Viscosity, and gritty. Bourbon aftertaste.

Overall- Huge flavor and taste but seems like a mixed drink with bourbon. I'm not sure if I could recommend this for everyone and the drinkability is very hard.

DCon, May 05, 2011
Photo of mdvatab
2.83/5  rDev -28.9%

Poured from 22oz bottle into bordeaux wine glass.
"Vintage 2010" (Not finding a bottled-on date...)

Aroma: Cocoa Krispies, sweet caramel, chocolate malt, bourbon, cola, coconut, and vanilla notes. The aroma seems to get better w/ each sniff, and really had me looking forward to tasting it.

Appearance: Looks like cola when light passes through the beer as it's poured. Much lighter in color than I'd anticipated. Bold coffee-colored once in the glass with tinges of ruby. Not opaque. One finger of head quickly falls to a thin layer of splotchy foam, and then to a circle of foam around the inside of the glass. On a related note, many of the labels of the other bottles on the store shelf were torn for some unknown reason. I now see that there appears to be dried beer on the outside of the bottle, presumably from the (hand?) bottling process. The notion that this was hand bottled is appealing, but the appearance of the outside of the bottle is amateurish and reminds me of my early bottles of home brew.

Flavor: Not nearly as complex as the aroma, unfortunately. Light molasses sweetness up front. Boozy alcohol then creeps in, and is followed by a very slight but noticeable metallic twang. The finish is bittersweet and hot. The flavor of this brew is reminiscent of DFH World Wide Stout ("did someone dump a shot of vodka in my stout?"), but is slightly better IMO.

Mouthfeel: This beer is much thinner than one would expect from a brand called "Dragon's Milk". It definitely leaves a peppery alcohol burn in the mouth and throat.

Overall: Not a bad beer, but definitely lacking in body and depth. For the money, I know I can find other high-gravity brews which are balanced with more body and malt flavor. The aroma really lead me to believe this was going to be a great one, but I was a little let down.

mdvatab, May 05, 2011
Photo of claspada
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%

Aromas of dark roasted espresso beans with ample amounts of dark baker's chocolate. AS it warms you get slight alcohol, oak and light vanilla.

The taste starts off with milk chocolate cocoa powder and some oakiness that fades into a bitter dark chocolate boozy finish. One again as you let this warm to the appropriate temperature you get lesser notes of coconut and vanilla and a more prevalent sweetness/fruitness that is undetectable initially.

Mouthfeel was full with the oak aging helping to dry out the complex high ABV, maltiness and overall flavor profile. Overall I really enjoyed this beer, not as good as I first remember when I sampled it on draft at the original Savor, but still good non-the-less.

claspada, May 04, 2011
Photo of MikieV
4.1/5  rDev +3%

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.

MikieV, May 02, 2011
Photo of Daniellobo
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%

Sweet and very woody ale, a touch too hefty and blunt but a good drink.

Presentation: 22 oz brown capped bottle with foiled top. Paper label with a poor design of a dragon's silhouette over a barrel. It used to be screen-printed and it looked much better resolved and attractive. Brief narrative in the back label with main characteristics and food pairing. Even shorter than in the screen printed version... Shows vintage 2011, 23° Plato, and 10.0% Alc. by Vol. Served in a snifter.

A - Black to dark brown pour with dark brown edges, short lived fizzy head, fair memory ring and small touches of lacing.

S - Wood, wood, and more wood, settling… hint of vanilla and caramel and a bit less of the raw woodiness. Roasted notes… Chocolate…

T - Initially the taste is predominantly woody, not so much subtle vanilla and caramel oak notes, that while there actually are dominated by a hefty raw wood sense. Not uncomfortable bur rather assertive. Luckily it gets woven with roasted malts, touch of faint coffee and in particular a thick and boozy chocolate sense over the wood as it settles, and that pairs rather well the brew to the finish.

M - Medium-full body with soft if tingly carbonation, good thickness as it permeates the palate and a boozy warming dash as it finishes.

O - While initially and at some point it may feel a bit mono-chord it packs enough quality and sense of self to make it quite worthy if not particularly memorable.

Notes: Revisiting the brew that was the first review I made for beer advocate. And sure enough not only my palate and understanding has changed but my memory too? I really don´t recall this so much as an American Ale but as a Strong one, but fair enough it seems fitting in that category. Alcohol has increased from the 8.5% I noted to this 10%, and likewise with the °Plato from 19° to 23°… Not too big a change but the added gravity lingers with too mono-chord a woody sense, a bit too straight forward. Ultimately it drinks well, but compared to what I said last time I may not be necessarily looking forward to a repeat of this one in a good while.

Review 08-12-09:
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | drink: 4

Daniellobo, May 01, 2011
Photo of zaphodchak
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%

Opaque black body with 1.5 finger head of foamy ecruwhite head. Ton of lacing.

Nose is slightly boozy, slightly of coconut... which differs from my memory on draft.

Taste is boozy, some toffee raisin, and definitely a bit of that coconut. This definitely needs to warm up (speaking from experience) to let all the flavor out, otherwise it just tastes like booze.

Mouthfeel is creamy, like a nitro stout, but from a bottle.

This is a super-strong stout; definitely for sipping, and sweet, not hoppy. I highly recommend trying this if these are the things you enjoy in a stout.

zaphodchak, May 01, 2011
Photo of badboyrsl84
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%

Pours jet black with a really fizzy head that moves on far to quick. Surprising for a imperial stout.

Smell - right away I get a ton of cocoa. Some vanilla and some oak.

Taste - starts off lots of chocolate. Some oak in the middle and finally it finishes with a little more oak and this slight metallic taste everyone has been talking about with this one. Although it's not overwhelming it still is present.

Mouthfeel - it's got that carbonation I was talking about. The alcohol is present in the backend.

Overall - the metallic taste kinda set this one back for me. It's good thought.

badboyrsl84, Apr 30, 2011
Photo of Holland
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%

Served on tap at the brewery in Holland, MI.

A: dark brown color, light head and small lacing of an off white color.

S: scotch, oak, malt, some sweetness

T: the scotch taste hits you hard, then you can get to the vanilla and sweetness and malts

M: bit thinner than expected, but still decent body

O: drinkable, but not all the time. I love this beer because it is one that helped turn me on to craft brews. To be fair, though, there are better beers out there. This flavor is very sharp, and I like that it differs from other oak aged stouts in that. Could be aged more to tame it, but then it wouldn't be Dragon's Milk.

Holland, Apr 28, 2011
Photo of BasementBer
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%

A: Not a major head of foam. Darker off white head of foam, deep dark red to brown. Doesnt build that classic stout head.

S: Scotchy oak with roasty chocolate notes. Very pleasent aroma.

T: Wow. Nose is chocolate and roasted malts, middle is vanilla notes with a slight cocoa puffs familiarity, finish is boozy but sweet. A really delicious beer.

M: sweet on the tongue and chewy thickness, flavor hangs around on the tongue and in the nasal passage. However, its the boozy aftertaste that keeps this from being perfect as it burns a great deal. If it was less strong i would say it 'warms', it doesnt.

D: Absolutely an excellent once in a blue moon beer for desert.

BasementBer, Apr 27, 2011
Photo of TheDTrain
3.6/5  rDev -9.5%

Recently the D Train has been trying a lot of New Holland's brew. Per usual, Dragon's Milk was good but not great....certainly can't justify the $4.00 I paid. Pretty creamy yet quite dry on taste. Some good vanilla tones and a very pleasant oak/booze blend on the back end.

I feel this is a brew that tried to be complex, but everything gets too muddled together. The higher the price tag, the higher the D Train's expectations. The Force is strong in this one, but Dragon's Milk is not a Jedi yet...

TheDTrain, Apr 26, 2011
Photo of ottovon
2.93/5  rDev -26.4%

shared with whiterascal

A: pours out a dark black, with a brown head that faded rather quickly.

S: i get a lot of vanilla. i also get some oak and roasted malt and chocolate. there is some sweetness and a bit of alcohol in the nose.

T: there is a lot of oak. i also get a metallic taste, and there is an acrid bitterness. there is roasted malt and some dark chocolate. has a weird sweetness that is mixed with alcohol that i cant really describe, but i dont like it.

M: has a medium body with low carbonation.

O: this is not a beer that i would seek out again. there are much better stouts out there. i dont think i would drink this again. it isnt quite a drain pour for me, but it is close.

ottovon, Apr 22, 2011
Photo of jayhawk73
3.98/5  rDev 0%

A- Pours a dark brown/red w/ average to below average lacing. Off white one finger head, which disappears fairly quickly. Really dark beer.. Not much carbonation as well.

S- Oak/Whiskey smell is really out front on this one. Very sweet, with vanilla some malt and a touch of vanilla hanging out in the background.

T- Very sweet, w/ a port type of vibe to it. Oak, plum, malt and alcohol all present. Nice. The warmer it gets, the more the oak goes into the background and the plum comes out as the primary taste.

M- Very smooth, with a definite oak alcohol feel. Feels like I'm drinking a port at times. Definitely an alcohol burn aftertaste that's not very subtle. However, this is not a subtle beer.

O- A good beer that borders on great, but not quite there. I did enjoy this one, and it improved remarkably the more it warmed up. Definitely worth a try if you like the style.

jayhawk73, Apr 19, 2011
Photo of dmfrench
4.22/5  rDev +6%

Unique, super light bodied yet fruity-cocoa flavorful Irish Dry/Barleywine hybrid

A: Deep, clear ruby body, though it appears black without a backlight. A two finger buff head forms off the pour, but settles fairly quickly to a thin film.

S: Bit of an Irish Dry vibe going on... malted milk balls, powdery baker's chocolate, dark fruit, cream, faint dusty hops. As the beer warms, more fruit comes out and chocolate goes way back, to the point that it's no longer a Stout nose. Essentially no alcohol. Others have noted them, but I cannot get vanilla, oak, or any other barrel-borne scents.

T: Light, whipped cream body carries mostly dark fruit and considerable earthy, zesty, acidic hops. Malted milk balls and cocoa come through, as does a bit of alcohol. Vanilla is more apparent, but not dramatic. Overall, the flavor is fairly complex, becoming more homogeneous as the beer warms. Vaguely reminds me of an even lighter Stone IRS with more fruit... that, and an Irish Dry. Finish is sadly a bit short.

M: Exquisitely light and fluffy for carrying such big flavors. Carbonation level is great.

O: Very interesting, unique beer. The effortlessly light body is something to behold. Will definitely revisit, but I don't think it's destined for my top 10.

dmfrench, Apr 18, 2011
Photo of IZoot
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%

I've heard good things so here it goes,

A-pours pitch black with a quarter inch of head which disapates quickly leaving a light tan ring around the glass, decent lacing.

S-strong bourbon oak, vanilla and roasty goodness.

T-taste doesn't exactly follow the nose, lots if booze, whiskey-esque, roasty malts, rich chocolate and subtle vanilla notes.

M-nice carbonization, finishes well but leaves something to be desired.

O-overall a quality beer, would revisit this again, I'm aging a few bottle so I'm curious how's this goes down with some age on it. Hopefully the boost aspect mellows a good bit.

IZoot, Apr 16, 2011
Photo of lurpy1
4.95/5  rDev +24.4%

Just a spectacular beer. Dark as night, goes down smooth, with a beautiful bourbon-y finish. Has enough alcohol to kick like a mule, but that's all masked by the smoothness. Probably my imagination, but seems like I can taste the oak cask, and that's a good thing. Great with steak. Unconditionally recommended.

lurpy1, Apr 15, 2011
Photo of cdkrenz
3.98/5  rDev 0%

Thank you Krista.

A - Black body topped by a medium to dark brown head of a couple inches in height. Nice head stamina.

S - Mild aromas of chocolate, clove and anise.

T - Nice mild chocolate and medium to long roasted malt flavors. This is a nice tasting stout.

M - The brew has a smooth creamy texture. It goes down very well... probably too well.

~ This is a the kind of stout I would go out and drink through an evening. The kind of beer that fits very well into the style category by not overwhelming in any character.

cdkrenz, Apr 15, 2011
Photo of crashdavisinoh
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

A-Dark...black...thick...motor oilish

S-Bourbon right off...alcohol...vanilla is also present but is subtle. Smells sweet as well...sugary...caramel.

T-creamy smooth and bourbony....can taste the booze to be sure...hints of chocolate, vanilla, oak...some fruit maybe. I am impressed with the level of complexity here...so much going on yet each has its place and they sing together in harmony.

M-The thing that surprises me most about the beer is that it looks like it would be very heavy...and don't get me wrong...it is heavy but not as much as I expected. Little carbonation present which is perfect.

D-it packs a punch...a heavy punch...but this is one of the most drinkable high ABV beers I have had. I can easily sip mulitple bottles and enjoy each one more than the last.

This is the beer that got me into craft beer...so it will always hold a special place in my heart...and mouth...b/c sentimental reasons aside...it is a damn fine beer.

crashdavisinoh, Apr 14, 2011
Photo of PreacherBrewer
3.33/5  rDev -16.3%

A - Pours motor oil black and sports a thick brown head that dissipates fairly quickly. Lacing is minimal (could be do to the poor quality glassware available to me right now).

S - Smells of vanilla, oak, chocolate, and alcohol.

T - Notes of vanilla, milk chocolate, lactose, heavy oaky presence, pepper, and a slight alcohol burn.

M - Full bodied and slightly syrupy. Not overboard, but significant.

O - A par big-ass american stout. It's good, but doesn't stand out from the rest. If you come across it and are in the mood for a big ass stout, this will do the job quite well.

PreacherBrewer, Apr 14, 2011
Photo of Jeffo
2.48/5  rDev -37.7%

Got this one in a trade with boatshoes a while back. Thanks a lot man!

From a bomber into a snifter.
Vintage: 2010

APPEARANCE: A brown, thin, transparent pour yields a one finger, medium looking, tan head with good retention. Dark brown body with lots of active carbonation everywhere. Very high levels of carbonation for the style. Head slowly fades to a good foam cap. A good wisp remains until the end and leaves some decent lacing down the glass. An alright head on this one, but the body is just to thin and light for the style.

SMELL: Medium nose of roasted malt, caramel and coffee, as well as a decent dose of sweet milk sugar and vanilla. Oak notes from the barrel are there as well. A nice nose for sure, though it could be a little bolder.

TASTE: More oak in the flavor than in the nose. Oak, some roasted malt, then lots and lots of alcohol. Lots of spicy booze for the ABV. A bit of bitter chocolate and light vanilla notes at the finish, but most of the nicer characteristics about the nose have been replaced by spicy alcohol. A bold and lingering aftertaste has hints of chocolate and bitterness, but is mostly alcoholic and metallic even. It’s like they brewed a quad and threw in some imperial stout for fun. Not horrible by any stretch of the imagination, but not right either.

PALATE: Medium body and medium, prickly carbonation. Not creamy of smooth really, goes down fine and finishes dry on the palate. Some heat and spicy booze linger on the palate. Too hot and not creamy enough.

OVERALL: Not an epic failure per se, but nothing even close to a success either. The spicy boozy qualities just didn’t fit, making the stout taste somewhat metallic. I’m not quite sure what went wrong here. Perhaps one brewer wanted to make an imperial stout and the other wanted to make a quad, so they just made both, blended them, and threw it all into oak barrels as a band aid. Whatever happened, it didn’t quite work out all that well, and it certainly didn’t quench my thirst for a stout. Dare to be different, I guess. Glad to have finally been able to try this one, but I’ll pass on it in the future. Thanks for the fun trade boatshoes.

Jeffo, Apr 13, 2011
Photo of CMB2012
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%

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.

CMB2012, Apr 11, 2011
New Holland Dragon's Milk (Bourbon Barrel Stout) from New Holland Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 3,580 ratings.