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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

1,279 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,279
Hads: 4,740
Avg: 3.95
pDev: 13.67%
Wants: 276
Gots: 1,285 | FT: 39
Brewed by:
New Holland Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: beernut7 on 08-12-2002

A barrel aged Imperial Stout with roasty malt character intermingled with deep vanilla tones, all dancing in an oak bath.

2014 Bottles are 11% ABV
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Dragon's Milk Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,279 | Hads: 4,740
Photo of beagle75
3.17/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Opaque black color with less than one finger of diminishing light beige foam head. Scant lacing remains on the glass.

S: Roast is moderately intense and unctuous, while bourbon is approachable, like a children's breakfast cereal. The smell becomes remarkably savory as the beer warms. Spirit is detectable, but not oppressively boozy.

T: Begins off-dry, with dark chocolate, vanilla, and oak. Acidity is strong into the boozy middle, where aromatic bourbon becomes overbearing at times. The finish is ashy and moderately bitter.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, acidic and warm on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This is a mediocre bourbon-treated stout, able to boast an appealing mid-range smell but unable to follow up with its other qualities. The flavor is beguiling for a couple or three beats until acidity surges and the playbook goes out the window. Textures struggle similarly, but without much in the way of an upside to offer counterpoint. Sometimes in artisanal beer you don't get what you paid for; and sometimes, as in the case of this relatively low-priced beer, you do.

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Photo of CWBlues
3.17/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a tulip.

A: Pours a dark black with a half finger off-white head that dissipates quickly and leaves no lacing.

S: Roasted malts dominate the nose, with a little coffee and vanilla rounding it out. A little raison, or prune. Some kind of fruit like that.

T: Oak. Oak oak oak. I don't get much more than that. A lot of vanilla on the back end. Some soy sauce on the back. Not liking that much.

M: Relatively silky. Heavy body. Smooth. Not overly difficult to drink.

O: It's ok, for being what it is. Not sure I would pick it up again. I can't quite get past that soy sauce taste.

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Photo of DaveFL1976
3.18/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at the Michigan Brew Fest AND in the bottle. I'm averaging these two experiences together to get the less than impressive score you see here.

On tap and fresh, this was amazing. Coffe, chocolate, silky smooth, oaky and oh, so drinkable.

In the bottle it was sharp, acidic, acrid and lambic-sour. Is this Brett? A drainpour. The only thing that seems consistant about Dragon's Milk is its unpredictability. I'm going to take my bottle back to the beer store and ask if I can have another one as a replacement. If that doesn't taste like the Dragon's Milk that I love, I won't be buying any more.

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Photo of abashore
3.18/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Initially a chocolate taste with a little sting at the end. The barrel aging comes thru after a few sips. I'm not a stout drinker but I wanted to try something new.

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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 deg
3.18/5  rDev -19.5%
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.

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

12oz bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a very, very dark brown, just a shade of black. Two and a half fingers of dense off white head forms on top of the beer. Retention is good.

S: Sweet caramel, milk chocolate,bourbon, and a bit of coffee and roast. I also get a distinct malted milk ball smell in the background. This could use more roast and chocolate to balance all this sweetness.

T: Tastes similar to how it smells. Lots of sweet caramel and milk chocolate with bourbon in the background. Also some sweet lactose. Behind that, I get some coffee, stronger than it was in the aroma. This still does not have enough roast or chocolate for the style. Booze is strong, but appropriate for the style.

M: Medium thickness with creamy carbonation.

O: There is not nearly enough roast or chocolate in this beer to be world class. There are no major defects to the beer and the bourbon adds complexity, but I want less sweetness and more robustness in my RISs.

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Photo of bishopdc0
3.19/5  rDev -19.2%
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.

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Photo of ne0m00re
3.19/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 2.5

Served on-tap in a brandy snifter at Betty's in Columbus.

A: Black with an amber hue. The soft, big tan head disappears after your first sip and you're left with a thin lace.
S: Heavy fruity bourbon and vanilla.
T: More of the same with some roasted malts. I'm not a big fan of these one-note stouts.
M: It has a full body but it's a crisp beer with an alcoholic bite. The mouthfeel is in-balance and really is this beer's saving grace.
D: If I stuck around, I'd order a different beer. This definitely is a brandy-snifter beer.

Overall, the intense vanilla bourbon flavor overwhelms the beer. I would order a local brewpub's stout over this anyday.

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Photo of byronic
3.19/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Fantastic pour with minimal head, smells inviting all be it a bit boozy. The taste was dominated by barrel flavours and lots of roasted malts, I could barely discern any sweetness. The mouthfeel is quite smooth bordering on slick and the abv hits home in the finish.

This one was a miss for me and did not meet expectations. The Barrel aging and alcohol presence overwhelm what could be the finer points of this brew.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.21/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter. 2011 vintage.

2.5 A: Dark brown, close to black color. Pour didn't really yield a head.

4.0 S: Bourbon is the strongest component of the nose. Leathery, earthy, and mildly fruity with a touch of astringency. Booze is nearly hidden, but what isn't is almost rubbing alcohol like. Underneath, there is chocolate, molasses, and a moderate roastiness.

3.0 T: The taste, as compared to the nose, is bland. There isn't really anything that sticks out above the baseline of flavor intensity. Bourbon is light in flavor, but does add a pleasant warming. The base beer is even lighter and the chocolate and molasses in the nose are nearly gone completely. This tastes more like watered down bourbon rather than a stout aged in bourbon barrels.

3.0 M: Lighter medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Lacking in creaminess and body. Seems almost watery.

3.0 D: There's too many great barrel aged stouts to consider this one again.

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Photo of dgfair
3.22/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle served in my Delirium snifter.

A - Pitch black with a huge fizzy tan head. Lot of carbonation released when I popped the bottle, so I knew I was going to be in for a fizzy one. Almost looks like a very thin stout.

S - Definite smells of bourbon, vanilla, oak, and sweet sugar. A little bit of sticky malt aroma with a little bit of a syrupy fruit cocktail smell. Definitely pretty complex.

T - I can definitely taste the vanilla, the oak, and the bourbon...that's all fine and good. However, this bottle has perhaps gone south. I'm getting quite a bit of a sour flanders red type taste, probably oxidization. I don't think it's intentional, because it clearly clashes with the delicate oak and just doesn't taste right. I've had this one before, and it definitely didn't taste like this.

M - Very fizzy and bubbly in the mouth. I would love for this one to be a little smoother and creamier, especially to go with the barrel flavors.

D - Better the first time I had it. Not terrible, but just not a great offering. Probably won't be revisiting this one at the price point.

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Photo of rudylaw
3.23/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Finally getting around to tying this... pours black with absolutely no head.

I smell vanilla and oak and really nothing else.

I'm getting a lot of the same in the taste... maybe some figs or dates up front. Pretty lean, milk-stout like taste.

As it warmed, it got better... but there's no need for me to ever drink this again. I wouldn't turn it down, but I'd rock a FFF Moloko instead. I think the whole milk stout / strong ale or whatever the heck this is classified as -- style leaves me a little bored.

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Photo of keysofebony
3.23/5  rDev -18.2%
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.

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Photo of kzoobrew
3.23/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Color is very dark brown almost black. As others have previously said the style is questionable. While the brew may not be the perfect example of an American strong ale I disagree that it is a stout or porter.(on reconsideration the brew does have some similarities to Breckenridge Vanilla Porter in taste) Luckily beer does not have to fit perfectly in to styles to be enjoyed.

Smell mostly of chocolate/toffee. Light coffee fragrence is also present.

Taste of vanilla and coffee quite strong up front. As the flavor sits you do taste the woodiness in the brew. Although i feel a bourbon barrel may have added a more desirable flavor I don't hate the oak.

Drinks very smooth very light mouth feel for a high abv brew.

I feel another bottle may be necessary to cement my overall opinion about this brew. I will definitely try again, may also buy one to see how it does in the cellar.

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Photo of moulefrite
3.24/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Strong and black like a good cup of coffee. Little head, but a tad bit of sticky matter does cling to the glass. Aromas are at once of wood, with butter, roasted coffee and creamy chocolate in the background. The mouthfeel is quite lush. The carbonation is rather mild. Flavors run fairly deep, yet come back always to the wood-like a dry sauna at times. Some bitter chocolate/cherry like flavors are to be had, as well as strong, bitter chicory notes and malted milk. This is an interesting drink, yet I feel it is perhaps over-oaked? Try it if you see it, especially on a cold Winters night.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.24/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Near solid black on the pour. Head is a dark tan. Decent head retention leaves a small cap with small chunks of lacing. Minimal to moderate carbonation on the pour. Small clumps of a cap. Small collar.

Smell: Bourbon barrel. Vanilla and a ton of caramel. Roasted malts. A touch of almost char. Some dark fruit. Raisin and a hint of dark cherry. Cocoa powder. Hazelnuts. A hint of old coffee. Milk chocolate layered through the back. Oak punches through as it warms. Deep woody notes. Some mild hop notes. A touch of pine. Licorice and raisin. A touch of leather.

Taste: Licorice soaked with some bourbon. Some heavy vanilla and oak notes. A touch of butterscotch with some backing toffee and marshmallow. Big and sweet. Touches on molasses. Malts are heavily roasted offering up some solid caramelized sweetness with a slight burnt element. Hops are very minimal with pine and an herbal element. Marshmallow and even a touch of coconut. Lots of raisin. A touch of oxidation. Clean. Solid backing woodiness to the whole thing. Sweet. A touch of alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Slick and creamy. Minimal carbonation.

Overall: Distant dragonkin.

Better than I remember. Bourbon is well layered but ends up dominating a bit. Base beer runs a touch sweet as well and the two elements don't quite meld. Still, it's tasty.

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Photo of KBomb
3.24/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dragon's Milk has some admirable color to it: dark ruby brown that almost looks like a syrah. It clings to the glass a little bit. Smell has a hint of cocoa, a little coffee, and roasted malts. Moderate strength ale flavor runs through and through, fine sweetness complimented by a little bit of plumb in the background. Lacking the bourbon flavors one wants in a barrel aged stout. I detect something a little "off" though. There is a bit of astringency that doesn't go well with the oak flavor. Not very heavy considering the style, but not all that palatable.

A high bar has been set for barrel aged imperial stouts. Dragon's Milk just does not live up.

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Photo of mlockman
3.25/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Not much spectacular flavor or aroma going on from the bourbon barrel aging. There's definitely a hint of barrel-flavor, and the price is right for the bomber, but I just wasn't impressed.

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Photo of Cisco619
3.25/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into Weyerbacher tulip glass. Bottle reads "Vintage 2011" Thanks to DaveHack for the bottle.

A: Deep reddish brown with a half finger of khaki colored head that vanishes to a thin filmy cap that lingers on the roof of the beer.

S: Bourbon greets the nose followed by bakers chocolate & a hint of chocolate. A nice, roasted malt aroma rounds out the nose.

T: Follows the nose, tastes of the barrel alot. Over powers the base beer. Akin to drinking a whiskey. Slight roasted malt flavor, but definitely strong barrel flavor.

M: A little watery for something that has so much essence of the barrel. A little tingle from the carbonation greets the tongue. Ends dry with a bit of an alcohol burn.

O: Great hints of barrel, but lacking in some area. Great aroma. Drinks a little hot. I wonder how this will be drinking in a year or two.

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Photo of PatrickKellyCT
3.26/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of a 12 oz bottle

Pours a very dark brown almost black with little to no head.

Smells strongly of bourbon and vanilla.

Tastes strongly of bourbon and vanilla, boozy, you can taste the 11% at the finish

Mouthfeel is nice and rich, creamy, smooth

Decent beer, but way too bourbony and boozy for me. I prefer a stout where the coffee and chocolate flavors are profiled, this one is not balanced at all. I'll finish it but it may take me all afternoon, it is definitely a "big" beer.

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Photo of billyzoom666
3.26/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass at room temperature. This thing just looks ominous. It's a dark, dark amber color with just the lightest tint of red around the edges. You can smell the roast malt from across the room. Very "bourbony" smelling up close. Maybe it's the oak barrels. A bit too strong for my liking. This definitely has an interesting taste. There's a huge alcohol bite throughout. This is like sipping a tumbler of Jim Beam Rye. No doubt that this is a one and done for me. Overpowering, but good. I like stuff with a little less ABV, but I'm glad I tried this.

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Photo of ebby82
3.27/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a black hole like sludge into a tulip glass with barely any head.

The aroma is strongly of coffee and roasted malts. you can also smell the oak.

The taste is intense. It overwhelms the senses with a very alcoholic taste. Also the presence of oak, vanilla, and coffee.

Overall, I think this is just a little too boozy and or wood flavored. I think a year or so of aging would mellow it out.

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Photo of EricCioe
3.27/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This pours very dark brown with brown highlights, not much head. On the nose there are powerful notes of alcohol, vanilla, raisins, and sugar. In the mouth the sweetness is overwhelming, hardly any roasted malt or hops to balance the sweetness. The booze heat makes for a nice long finish, though the body is too sticky for me.

Overall, this is probably a bit too sweet and the bourbon doesn't really integrate all that well. Also I'm not convinced this is a stout, more like an imperial brown or old ale.

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Photo of buyBinboaVodka
3.27/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Taken from notes on May 13th.

a-poured into goblet with a very dark roasted coffee color. Almost no head at all with thick choppy lacing around the glass.

s-Smells of dark chocolate, warm vanilla, and roasted malts

t-it does not taste as good as it smells. very strong alcohol presence and vanilla and cocoa notes. The hot alcohol sweetness lets it beknown that it is there at all times.

m-moderate carbonation with a thin bodied feel to it. alcohol throughout the palete.

o-I think this fell a little short of expectations. I had high hopes for this beer and I'm left wanting something else. I will reach for the Poet next time. At least I really enjoy that beer.

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Dragon's Milk from New Holland Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,279 ratings.