Dragon's Milk - New Holland Brewing Company

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Dragon's MilkDragon's Milk

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very good

4,175 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,175
Reviews: 1,205
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 13.78%
Wants: 220
Gots: 820 | FT: 36
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
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Ratings: 4,175 | Reviews: 1,205 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bishopdc0
3.1/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark black with a nice tan head.
The lace is sticky tan and remains

The aroma is sweet notes of vanilla caramel and oak very nice.

The taste is mostly alcohol and oak. I wish I had let it age but it was the only bottle I bought on a trip across the country. Its a an ok taste but I would let it sit to dissipate the alcohol and try again.

Photo of Dizzle32
3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Heard a lot about this beer so I thought I would give it a go. Overall this beer has a great good oaky aroma. I poured into a goblet to enjoy. A dark pour with nice lacing. First sip was very warm. A nice flavor but the alcohol is the overwhelming characteristic. If you do not mind a truly warming beer this might be for you. I would drink it again but only on a cold night.

Photo of keysofebony
3.13/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Got this in a 'make your own 6 pack' at the liquor store I work at. I always love a good stout so I'm looking forward to this one.

Appearance- dark dark brown and a red hue when held up to the light, but otherwise too dark to see through obviously. The head is slightly off-white and died down real quick. Hard to get started up again. Zero lacing.

Smell- This smells awesome. I swear it smells EXACTLY like a sweet cigar! A bit boozy, but just a dark and heavy smell. I get tobacco, vanilla, and sweetness. Unlike any beer I've smelled before.

Taste- Very boozy. A kind of off-putting boozy-ness actually. Very sweet as well, with kind of a nutty chocolate bite too it. It has a cheap oak taste and almost strikes the tongue similar to whiskey. Unique...I think it would age to become a great beer, and perhaps if it were colder it would take more bite away. (serving just below, but basically room temp) The cheap wood taste comes through at the end, almost like i licked a piece of pine.

Mouthfeel- carbonated smoked-chocolate whiskey. Thin for a stout but VERY sweet.

Overall- I thought about buying a 6 pack of this a the store, but I dont think I'll get it again. If I were I would age it at least 6-8 months it would be better but I feel like it is too young. If you like whiskey and you like beer, try it. My recommendations to the brewers: finish dryer and use a better wood.

Photo of Hazer115
4.38/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep dark black with a thin (less than 1/2 inch) tan creamy head.

S: My first impression was a dark chocolate with hints of dried apricot, and dark roasted malts, following by a good kick of alcohol. As the beer warmed I got more fruits and more alcohol and a little bit of coffee

T: The taste had many different notes to it as it warmed. My first couple of sips, in my opinion were taken when the beer was a bit too cold, had an iced dark coffee with hints of banana and strong alcohol finish. As it warmed, I picked up more dark chocolate and apple, with a very pronounced apple aftertaste.

M: Smooth with a good level of carbonation. A little sip went a long way in coating your mouth with the full flavor of this brew.

O: Overall, I would definitely recommend this to friends. If you take the time to let it warm to the proper temperature and taste it a little bit along the way, you will get to experience many different notes in just one glass.

Photo of DIM
2.83/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

a: This was black and it poured with a small fizzy head.

s: Oaky rubbing alcohol, vanilla, a hint of whiskey, and a little milk chocolate.

t: The barrel had a pretty harsh affect on this beer. A strongly alcoholic rubbing alcohol flavor dominated. There were hints of vanilla and chocolate, but not all that much.

m: The barrel thinned this one out.

o: Not terrible, but I definitely won't buy anymore. There are better BA stouts out there that aren't hard to find.

Photo of Gushue3
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage 12oz bottle poured into snifter

A- comes out of the bottle very dark, almost black and sits in the glass flat black. The head is a smaller 1 finger and is slightly off white. It doesnt have too much retention and leaves very little laving.

S- The first thing I get is chocolate and a roasty scent followed up with a slight alcohol sting. Theres a tiny hop bitterness hidden in there but very small. Not a ton of smells going on, but whats there smells nice

T- Roasty smoke gets me upfront along with a bitter chocolate. The woody oak comes through in the middle as well as an alcohol bite that isnt really that bad. Theres a sweetness like caramel or toffee in the end that follows to the finish which is slightly bitter. Nice things going on here.

M- Big thick feel with little carbonation. chewy and heavy is what i like in stouts. mouthfeel is spot on.


Photo of doughanson78
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks to bobpack for this.

A: Very, very dark brown, almost black. Has deep red highlights when held to the light. A half finger mocha colored head that fades quickly. Leaves some decent lacing.

S: Lots of sweet milk chocolate and lots of vanilla. Some butterscotch coming through. Light hints of bourbon and oak. A touch of caramel.

T: Sweet chocolate and vanilla upfront, but only for a second until the bourbon takes over. Bourbon and not much else. A light butterscotch coming through and lots of alcohol in the finish. A light oak aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied. Light carbonation. Decent creaminess. Lots of alcohol warming in the back of the mouth and throat.

O: A bit to much bourbon for me. The smell had me excited. But the bourbon and alcohol smash everything that was awesome in the nose. Still a decent stout.

Photo of deg
3.23/5  rDev -19%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The beer is a good dark color. Brown. Unfortunately, there's not much of a head or carbonation. I can't quite make out what I smell, it's too faint for my messed up nose. I liked the initial taste, chocolate and a hint of something else. I was reminded of bourbon. I get an alcohol like aftertaste which I didn't like much. The mouth feel is nice and creamy.

Photo of dtivp
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep dark brown, near black, no head a very little lacing.

Aroma of dark chocolate, oak and hints of vanilla.

Taste of roasted malt, bitter dark coffee followed by a slight dark fruit sweetness, vanilla and a hint of alcohol.

Mouth Feel was light leaning medium body, low carbonation, balanced, a little thin with a slight alcohol warming.

Overall it is a nice flavored stout, needs a little more thickness would make this a top notch stout.

Photo of drtth
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into in a large snifter glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically. This bottle is from the 2011 Vintage.

Appearance: As poured the beer is a nice dark brown, almost black color with a 1/8” light tan head that covers the large surface area nicely. The foam recedes soon but leaves an island of foam and an irregular ring around the glass. While not much lacing is left by the head on its own, sipping leaves a large area of speckled lacing with a few legs here and there.

Smell: The aroma is pleasantly tinged with vanilla, oak and chocolate and at first can be picked up several inches away from the glass. After the nose becomes accustomed the snifter still focuses the aroma nicely in the nose.

Taste: The flavors are a very pleasant mixture of dark chocolate from the malt and vanilla and oak from the oak aging. I don’t pick up any hops here and the presence of the alcohol is detectable only in the form of a slight sweetness to the taste and there isn’t any burn. While the dark roast malt is clearly present here there is very little of that “almost burnt” character that shows up in some Stouts.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied and very smooth, with very light carbonation. The finish is medium long, begins in the light sweetness of the vanilla/chocolate/oak mix and then gradually fades to bitterness and a nice long dry after taste that doesn’t bite or burn.

Drinkability and Overall Impression: I’ve found this one to be a one a night beer with the 10% ABV, but each sip follows naturally from the last and invites the next. I’ll be quite pleased to have another one. While I expected this to have a bit of alcohol burn because of its youth, that didn’t happen and so I think this one is just fine as fresh as it is. My overall impression is of a well made Stout with a very nice flavor combination and a really nice mouth feel. I recommend giving this one a try.

Nov., 30, 2013

Tonight I'm having a bottle of this that has been in basement storage for over 2 years. The beer has held up very well and my impressions are pretty much the same as when the original review was done. I think the flavors may have softened a bit over the last couple of years but it is still smooth and tasty with no obvious signs of oxidation. The Bourbon flavors may have come forward a bit more but the whole is still very nice.

Photo of Pete0714
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this 22 ozer into a pint glass.
Appears dark brown with scant light brown head.

Smells strongly of vanilla and roasted mocha coffee.

Taste was similar to smell with vanilla abounding with the toasty flavor aswell as a smokey spicy note on the tongue.

Mouthfeel wasthick and syrupy yet smooth.

Overall a pretty good heavy stout. Hard to categorize as it seems to defy some categories. Good to try and appreciate

Photo of wowbagger
2.88/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Quite dark, moderate head. Not much of an aroma, mostly of chocolate. Initially, very sharp bite of and licorice, alcohol and carbonation which persists. Some spiciness in the aftertaste.

Overall, a unique stout though I'm not blown away. I'd definitely suggest it be tried, but I can't see drinking a lot of it. Probably best shared on a cold night.

Photo of alexgash
3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle. Vintage 2011.

Dark maple syrup brown body. Small, gauzy, tight, light khaki head. Some lacing. Dark and milk chocolate on the nose, along with notes of vanilla, oak, whiskey, butterscotch, cocoa nibs, and roasted coffee.

Roasted malts up front. Coffeeish bitterness stays. Milk chocolate and rummy dark fruits follow and flesh out the palate. Notes of wood, vanilla, and rum throughout. Hints of soy sauce and licorice too. Warming finish, with lingering caramel-chocolate sweetness and oakiness. Medium-full body with a slightly thinner feel than expected. Not too bad.

Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
3.05/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a dark brown and settles opaque, letting just a little bit of light through; a thin layer of tightly packed bubbles coalesce into a creme colored head.

S: Aroma is potent with licorice, raisins and chocolate. Sweet maltiness and hints of alcohol linger behind.

T/M: Tastes predominantly of black licorice and a slight alcohol twinge with a low to medium amount of carbonation. The alcohol seems to strengthen after time and leaves a gratuitous warming sensation. Hints of chocolate combined with the licorice are reminiscent of anise and roasted malts bring up the finish. The oak is veiled by the warming sensation of the alcohol and overpowering licorice, but is there.

Not bad really, but tastes a little too boozy.


Photo of nickhiller
3.45/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

S: Cherry Coke, Juicy Juice, Nescafe (like a stale cafe/Starbucks), multi-grain bread, lots of alcohol (nail polish remover), the cheese aisle at Whole Foods, balsamic vinaigrette without the acid.

T: Coke, vanilla, chocolate, roast/char.

M: light body, warm, burning alcohol.

O: too sweet, too thin, too carbonated. As barrel-aged stouts go, this one is lacking body and is out of whack with the high carbonation.

Photo of dorianmarley
3.63/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dragon's Milk pours a dark, rich black without much head.

The smell has a lot of wood, like a Highlands scotch. It also has the smell of a clean, German Ice Bock. There is some sweetness to the smell too, like a milk chocolate.

The taste is a sweet vanilla, with some molasses. The wood is prevalent and nice. It has some smoke in the aftertaste. The wood is not as prevalent as a bourbon-barrel-aging would be. It is more subtle but always there. It is the most balancing component of the beer.

The mouthfeel has a milk-like coating; 2%, not creamy.

Overall, it is good and rich, like a fried Oreo. Get one at the state fair, talk about it with your friends, but don't stock your cupboard. It is just too sweet. The wood is great, though: nuanced, mellow. That does not get old at all.

Photo of angrybabboon
3.35/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for half of this beer

Review adapted from notes taken 5/6/11

Appearance: Pours blacks with a tan head and some nice lacing

Smell: The wood is pretty obvious - oak, bourbon, burnt malts, vanilla, chocolate - somewhat interesting, with some sweetness

Taste: Doesn't really work all that well - burnt, a bit woody, some vanilla - a slightly unpleasant lactic acidity, tastes wrong - somewhat oxidized - very bitter, some hops - some chocolate, some undesirable sourness

Mouthfeel: Medium body, low carbonation - could really use a bigger mouthfeel, more smoothness, less lactic

Overall: Worth a try, but that's about it

This isn't terrible, but the flavor really did not appeal to me. The lactic quality is too strong, and this is also a bit too woody. I guess I could understand why some people would like this.

Photo of elginirishpunk
3.33/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Very odd aroma of alcohol and rich chocolate/molassas. Very low amount of carbonation, very smooth and clean taste. Taste begins as a rich chocolate coffe flavor and then followed up and palet cleansed with the rich creamy/milkiness. Over all for the price and the hype be hind this beer I was not really impressed. You can get a much more inexpensive and more consistant beer from several other companies.

Photo of Vonerichs
3.63/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Standard fare for a stout. Black with a little cinnamon head.

The smell is pleasant with vanilla, chocolate, and roasted malt.

The taste has the same tones as the scent, but it's boozy as hell. The oak gives it a chemical furniture taste, too.

Mouthfeel is thick and hot. Too hot.

This was an ok stout, but the woody aspect of it is too much. The price point is waaaay off.

Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter. Low carbonation. Extremely dark, but not quite black. Aromas of oak, vanilla, cookie dough, chocolate, and some alcohol. Flavors of cola, toasted malt, and vanilla predominate. There's a little bit of booziness, but not enough to detract from the flavor. Mouthfeel is a bit thin.

I didn't think this was a bad beer. Given the scathing reviews some of my fellow BAs have given it, I wonder if NH hasn't modified it in some way. It's hard to find too much wrong with this beer, but I'll try. For one thing, I didn't particularly care for the cola flavor. Second, at this price I would expect a bit richer flavor. If you haven't tried it this year (2011), give it a whirl.

Photo of StoutHunter
3.05/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

I picked up a bottle of New Holland's Dragon's Milk last month for $7.99 at Boyne County Provisions. I have had this beer many times and I have always thought it was pretty good, but since I have been trying a lot of good barrel aged stouts lately I thought I would see how I feel about it now, so lets see how it goes. 2011 vintage. Poured from a brown 22oz bottle that was foiled into a snifter.

A- The label on this beer is pretty simple with a picture of a barrel and dragon, the dragon looks nice. It poured a very very dark brown color that is pretty much the closest you can get to black while still being brown. It had two fingers worth of off white head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and left no lacing.

S- The aroma of this beer is pretty damn sweet and with a heavy presence of bourbon. I get a little chocolate, coffee, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and vanilla. The main players in the aroma are the sweet roasted malts and bourbon, not really that balanced or complex.

T- The taste of this beer is much different then the aroma lead me to believe. It starts off with lots of rich malts that have a little roast to them that imparts a mild coffee and milk chocolate flavors, but the malts are not nearly as roasty as they should be for a stout and the lack of roast lets the other flavors show up too much. The malts have a moderate amount of sweetness but its toned down a lot compared to how sweet the aroma is, after that comea all the dark fruits with some dates, plums, and raisins showing up the most. After that is the bourbon which is pretty nice and oaky with a nice hint of vanilla. The bourbon flavor is pretty evident and seems a little harsh at first but after a couple sips it really grew on me and proved to be a nice addition to this beer. The alcohol is slightly warming but it doesn't make this beer come off as being hot. The finish is smooth and slightly sweet with some oak, vanilla, and bourbon showing up in the aftertaste.

M- Somewhat creamy and on the light side of being full bodied, the lighter body makes this beer have a little better drinkability then normal. Carbonation was at the low side of medium and worked pretty well with this beer, I don't think I would change it.

Overall I have to say that this is a pretty average beer, but I still find some quality that I really like about it, but as a whole it's just average. My main beef with this beer is that it just isn't as roasty as a stout should be, if you market something as a stout it should have a good amount of roast to it, with that missing it lets all the other flavors take over and in the end that didn't make it very stout like and if I was given this blind there's a good chance I would think this is a barrel aged Barleywine or an old ale with a slight amount of roast to it. I did like how drinkable this beer is, I find that barrel aging can hurt the drinkability a lot of the time, but on this beer it really doesn't matter and the mouthfeel doesn't make it too filling plus for 10% the alcohol isn't that in your face. I can see how some people may be turned off by the heavy bourbon and oak presence in this beer, and I think that's because there isn't enough roast to balance it out, but if you sip on it, take your time, and let it warm up you will find that the flavors that the barrel imparted are really nice and not as in your face as they seem at the start. What I liked most about this beer was the mouthfeel, usually I like my stouts thick as oil, but the lighter then average body really works with this beer and find it to suit it perfectly. What I liked least about this beer is that it's called a Stout, it should have much more roast, instead of a heavy presence of dark fruits that makes it closer to a barrel aged old ale or Barleywine. I will still buy this beer on occasion, it can'r hold a candle to KBS, but anytime I want a barrel aged beer it is available, and availability can play a big part in what I buy sometimes. I recommend this to fans of barrel aged beers, but don't expect to be blown away buy the base of this beer cause it doesn't live up to the name. Even though this is pretty much the most popular beer in their lineup, there are a couple other beers from them I would rather have that are lot more to style and better tasting. This was the first barrel aged beer I ever had and at the time it was super robust and big, but after trying much other stouts I find I still like it, but not as much as I used to it and it's much more average then I first thought. As a whole New Holland is a pretty good brewery, maybe next batch you make you can set aside some of those barrels for Pilgrims dole, now that may be an epic beer, think about it.

Photo of tvv375ia
2.78/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from 22oz bottle into pint glass

A-dark brown almost black with 1 finger head

S-I got alot of bourbon smell to start and the a little chocolate coffee note

T-more bourbon then some bitter chocolate finished off with bourbon

M-nice carbonation, not as creamy as a nitro stout but good

O-wasn't as impressed with this as I was hoping, I wanted more oak taste and not as much bourbon it just made the 10% alcohol stand out more

Photo of garymuchow
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared bottle with a friend. Thanks John B. Surprisingly mild aroma. Dark roast, mild sweetness. Also a surprisingly light color that is see through (for a stout) with dark red hints. Coffee, nice roast, oak with a nice vanilla flavor. Moderate to slightly bigger feel with a slightly greater carbonation than I anticipated. Overall I liked the well balanced oak that offers nice blending flavors with out dominating or covering the other flavors.

Photo of clint1019
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Black in color with a thick creamy head.

S - Roasty malt, Oakyness, bourbon, & chocolate.

T - Rich Malt flavor with chocolate and a big bourbon flavor.

M - Full Bodied.

O - Would be a great beer on a cold winter day. Maybe with a hot bowl of chili.

Photo of YumYumGumGum
2.55/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Okay, there are a lot of great reviews of this beer and I must've missed the train because it was very very average. This tasted like alcohol from a home brew with to much water added to the primary.

A: Very white head with small amount of lacing when poured into a bar glass from a 12oz bottle. Bottle was dark color like a stout with a decent amount of light coming through.

S: Mostly chocolate roast, with a twinge of sour milk (Which was a good thing).

T: Alcohol with a watered down milk chocolate flavor, and did get and woody flavor from the barrels. The kind of wet sweetness was average. It was very drinkable, just not what I expected from this "High Gravity" series from New Holland. All they did was bump up the alcohol, I didn't get any new body, and I used to really enjoy Dragon's Milk.

M: Pleasant, low carbonation, and if you like to use stouts as your main drinking beers, use Dragon's milk.

O: Don't buy this, its expensive here in VA and New Holland seems to be riding on the back of the reputation of the 09 vintage.

Dragon's Milk from New Holland Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 4,175 ratings.