1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.
BA SCORE
89
very good

3,457 Ratings
THE BROS
86
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,457
Reviews: 1,136
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 13.85%
Wants: 165
Gots: 558 | 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: 3,457 | Reviews: 1,136 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jegross2
jegross2

Illinois

3.78/5  rDev -4.8%

Reviewing the Dragon's Milk Ale from New Holland Brewing Company. This is one of the few year-round, always available, easy-to-get-a-hold-of beers that is aged in oak barrels.
Score: 88

2011 vintage 12 oz bottle served in a snifter glass.

Appearance: Dark brown color, a faint hint of light slices through the beer to reveal small patches of translucent dark red/brown. Pours a thin tan lacing that dissipates into nothing. 4/5

Smell: Very bourbon-forward. An oak/vanilla-mocha aroma dominates the nose, with faint cherry/maple and black licorice notes. Lots of sweet bourbon and chocolate too. 4/5

Taste: Very sweet dark fruit and maple front that subsides into vanilla and chocolate flavors. Lingering finish of dark chocolate, sweet vanilla, maple and bourbon. Some fusel/alcohol flavor. When chilled, this beer is decently balanced for a beer that has such a pronounced bourbon and vanilla flavor, but it gets real hot when it warms. 3.5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium body, light carbonation. Interestingly oily, slightly sticky finish. A little alcohol warmth. 4/5

Overall: This beer is surprisingly delicious. I tend to stray from most heavier oak aged beers because I do not love the "brown liquor" flavors of oak and vanilla, but this beer is very balanced. For a 10% ABV beer, this one is surprisingly drinkable. Definitely a sipper, though.

Recommendation: If you are looking to try your first oak aged beers, this is a great starting point. Dragon's Milk is very accessible and not too costly for what it is. More seasoned beer drinkers should enjoy this one's complex flavors as well.

Pairings: BBQ meats. Would go well with dinner at the Brickhouse or Famous Daves.

Cost: $15.99 for a four pack, $8.99 for a 22 oz (bomber) bottle.

11-12-2011 08:23:51 | More by jegross2
Photo of scottyshades
scottyshades

Florida

3.78/5  rDev -4.8%

2010 batch for $3 a bottle

A: Pours a pitch black color with a small foamy khaki color cap. Retention is minimal.

S: Right off the bat you get the barrel aromas - wet wood/oak, bourbon in the nose (despite the fact that there is no bourbon), lots of vanilla, caramel, toffee.

T: The flavor is pretty interesting...its similar to BCS, but much thinner and with less bourbon/vanilla/richness. Actually pretty good. Alcohol is extremely warming (not unlike BCS), vanilla, chocolate, lots of oak, a touch of lactose, and maple syrup. Pretty complex, but not really balanced, and a little thin.

MF/D: Viscous body, smooth and creamy feel. Finish consists of vanilla and oak with a touch of bitterness/sourness.

Notes: This is like BCSs ugly cousin...a little thinner, sloppier, and less complex, but still good.

09-18-2010 20:05:52 | More by scottyshades
Photo of amandebates
amandebates

Illinois

3.78/5  rDev -4.8%

Appearance: Very clear. Deep brown which glows ruby red when held up to light. It came out with a very thin layer of creamy off-white head. As I drank there was minimal lacing on the glass.

Smell: Sweet, caramel malt. The smell wasn't present enough for my personal preference when I first got it, but I could smell it a little more as it warmed up.

Taste: Caramel, oak, clean bitterness followed by a delicious sweet whipped cream finish that lingers after swallowing. Great balanced flavor.

Mouthfeel: Delicate, tingling carbonation. A little bit of a thicker, syrupy feel, but nothing too sticky.

D: Very drinkable for a slightly syrupy stout. I think I could drink a few of these in a night and enjoy every bit.

This is a more simple, and very well executed stout flavor profile. No complex malt flavor, but everything that is there is very well balanced. I've had this a few times and it's one I look forward to having again. I'd recommend it.

12-05-2010 03:55:51 | More by amandebates
Photo of Mauerhan
Mauerhan

California

3.78/5  rDev -4.8%

this has been sitting in my spare room for about a month.
chilled this afternoon then cracked as the redsox came back to tie a 7-0 lead. way to go tampa bay.

pours a dark brown. not much of a head even on a rather aggressive center pour. nice rich ruby highlights when held up to light.

smell is rich malty, some chocolate, oakie goodness, and a slight hint of vanilla.

taste is satisfying, as in the smell i get a nice amount of malts, a nice woodsy aftertaste with a warmth that leaves me happy. not great, but pretty decent none the less.

a very smooth drink with moderate to low carbonation.

i would most likely grab this beer again if i had the chance.

10-17-2008 04:25:17 | More by Mauerhan
Photo of Arbitrator
Arbitrator

California

3.78/5  rDev -4.8%

Chilled bomber into a glass, courtesy of Hexxed. Thanks buddy!

A: Pours an absolute pitch black with amber highlights at the edges. Has half an inch of cream-colored head that recedes quickly into a collar and light film on the brew. No lacing to speak of.

S: Tons of oak, followed by smoke, tobacco, roasted malt, and dark chocolate. The heavy emphasis on wood is kind of off-putting. There's a small caramel-floral note; did these barrels contain bourbon?

T: Follows the nose and adds some things. There's initially a strong oak and vanilla flavor with some smoke and tobacco lurking just behind. Roasted malt and chocolate make appearances toward the end of the swig. Nice flavor. I actually thought it tasted more like a stout than anything else.

M: Medium bodied, with carbonation on the lower side that gives it the body a pretty creamy feel.

D: This is a solid beer. Nothing to go apeshit over, but I certainly enjoy it. I'd have it again and might be in a mood to track down a second bottle sometime.

05-16-2009 00:10:10 | More by Arbitrator
Photo of deejaydan
deejaydan

Michigan

3.78/5  rDev -4.8%

**Fall 2004 release**

Nice lacing, and I can't believe the head retention given the ABV of this beer. Pours dark brown, but there is a hint of dark amber/garnet if you hold it up to the light. Smells like freshly crushed chocolate malt, with a hint of the bourbon mixed in. Taste.. slightly astringant/woody tones overpower other flavors going on. There's just enough residual sweetness to keep drawing you back for more. It's surpisingly light and fluffy in the mouth. This is a beer that is a good winter warmer style of beer. Like when you just get done snowblowing the foot of snow that fell overnight, and it's 5 degrees outside.

01-22-2005 18:53:49 | More by deejaydan
Photo of sidetracked
sidetracked

Illinois

3.78/5  rDev -4.8%

Pours clear, almost black, very dark brown with ruby highlights. Good initial light brown head. Ring of bubbles lingers.

Aroma is wood with a little vanilla and baker's chocolate. Light sweet molasses present. Some alcohol.

Upfront taste is sweet molasses, wood, vanilla, brown sugar. Finish is similar but with more pronounced wood and alcohol--still slightly sweet. Wood comes across as kind of soggy at times though.

Medium body, light creaminess, medium carbonation, syrupy. Sticky lingering finish.

Dragon's Milk from a bottle drinks much better than on cask. Flavors meld better and compliment each other nicely. Barrel aging adds some nice vanilla, but the wood flavor is just alright. Overall a good beer--would have again.

6/20/2011

12-29-2011 03:35:02 | More by sidetracked
Photo of Dizzle32
Dizzle32

Minnesota

3.78/5  rDev -4.8%

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.

10-01-2011 02:01:11 | More by Dizzle32
Photo of TheBierBand
TheBierBand

Ohio

3.78/5  rDev -4.8%

OK... if this is an American Stong Ale... Then I am a MONKEE's Uncle!... This is an American STOUT or a Porter all the way....

Poured out ebony and produced a light tan head in the glass. The head lasted and the dissipating foam left slight lacing on the glass.

Taste: very sweet like a caramel stout with a slight coffee back-up from roated malt. Vanilla taste adds to the sweetness.

MF: very smooth and rich... maybe a touch UNDER Carbonated.

Drink: Too sweet for my taste.... still a solid Amercan Stout.... certainly NOT an american Strong Ale!

04-28-2008 15:26:21 | More by TheBierBand
Photo of madeofsteel
madeofsteel

Michigan

3.8/5  rDev -4.3%

This is my first formal review of any beer, beyond jabbering on about how great or horrid it is, so I decided to pick something familiar. So please, bear with me.

A - Poured into a mug, dark reddish-brown with a thin tan head that disspates quickly, leaving a ringlet behind. Some lacing.

S - Smells like roasted malt, and faint smokiness, probably from the oak. Moderate booze smell sort of detracts from it, however.

T - Almost tastes more like a rauchbier at first, with the oak lending a smoky flavor, with strong hints of whiskey. Finishes beautifully with a more basic stout flavor that is nicely complimented by notes of vanilla. Many of this beer's flavors start show through and balance out as it warms.

M - Light carbonation, with a rather buttery, dry finish. Some heat from the alcohol kind of takes away from it.

O - There's a reason I go back to this beer. Being fond of stouts and most rauchbiers, it's nice to have something with that smoky flavor that has the subtleties that this beer does. I would recommend it to anybody that enjoys stouts or smoked flavors.

11-03-2011 03:08:21 | More by madeofsteel
Photo of prototypic
prototypic

Ohio

3.8/5  rDev -4.3%

Thanks to hoppymeal for the bottle. Much appreciated.

Appearance: It pours a very dark, chestnut color. There's some light getting through around the edges giving it a slight red tint. The head is a light chocolate color and is minimal. Perhaps half a finger deep. It was very quick to disappear and left light lacing.

Smell: The nose is weak and disappointing. There are some dark fruit (raisin and plum) aromas lingering. Chocolate malts emerge and seem to be primary feature. I'm not picking anything that really resembles oak, bourbon, or spices. That's perhaps even more disappointing than the strength shortcoming.

Taste: It definitely picks up here. Chocolate malts are indeed the primary feature, but there's some roasted flavors in there, as well. There is a slight bit of raisin and plum that adds some depth. Surprisingly, there is a nice oak flavor in there that really adds a lot to this beer. You can tell a little bit off whiskey rubbed off on it. It's not a really strong flavor, but it is nice and plays its role well. Alcohol is only faintly noticeable, but has a bit of a warming effect. Finishes sweet and warm.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: This feels really light for what it is. Frankly, it's a little too light. Carbonation is very low. It's actually creamy and smooth, but it could still stand a little thickening. Drinkability is good. It goes down smooth and easy. I can't say I'd drink more than a bomber though. That's plenty in a sitting.

Dragon's Milk is a pretty good beer. Yeah, the nose is too weak and the body a little too thin. Those are my main complaints. But, I enjoyed this beer more than I thought I would after the first sip. It's unique in its flavor, body, and feel. It's certainly worth a try if you run across a bottle.

08-27-2008 01:37:37 | More by prototypic
Photo of largadeer
largadeer

California

3.8/5  rDev -4.3%

Bomber shared by chswimmer. Thanks, Craig. Dragon's Milk has a milky, draconic appearance to it. If I didn't know any better, I'd swear that it was, in fact, the milk of a dragon and not a mere strong ale from some mediocre brewery in Michigan. Amazing.

It smells strongly of bourbon and caramel. The label doesn't state the kind of barrel used, but I'm guessing whiskey of some variety. There's an undertone of vanilla and raw grain, and it has an almost chocolate-caramel candy sweetness. It's fairly mild on the whole, lacking the lactic viscosity I'd expect from a pint of real dragon's milk.

The palate is rather boozy, toffee and vanilla flavors running rampant alongside oak tannins and a dash of chocolate. The body is full, but more like 2% milk, definitely not like the milk of a dragon. It finishes with a nice balance of tannins, alcohol and malt, exhibiting some lingering notes of chocolate and caramel candy. Pretty good stuff overall, though the name is a bit misleading.

06-09-2010 19:34:44 | More by largadeer
Photo of thebierbrewery
thebierbrewery

Indiana

3.8/5  rDev -4.3%

Served ou tof a 12oz bottle.

A- Not as dark as a stout, deep mahogany color. Slight head retention.

S- Carmel raisin with big time alcohol/bourbon, some oakiness, slight cardboard, some vanilla

T- Balanced, heavy on bourbon in the beginning, slight vanilla in the end, minimal oak flavor. There is a nice smootheness to it.

M- Medium body, light carbonation, has a slickness in the beginning and then a nice dryness in the finish.

D- It depends if you like bourbon or not, nice balance. It is a smooth beer, the warmer it gets the more aromas and flavors come out.

01-25-2011 02:24:36 | More by thebierbrewery
Photo of brystmar
brystmar

Texas

3.8/5  rDev -4.3%

"Vintage 2010" bottle into a tulip.

A: pitch black with minimal head and mild lace. Looks slick and oily.

S: chocolate, oak, and booze all rush forward leaving traces of vanilla behind.

T: mmm, roasted malts! Sweeter than expected up front, then comes the oak, finishes milk chocolatey & dry. Solid for an IS.

M: thin and oily with minimal carbonation, but reasonably well-suited to the style. As always, I prefer thick and creamy...but that's what she said. ;)

D: has about the right amount of alcoholic warmth you'd want/need from a brew of this style; doesn't cut into its drinkability at all. Still quite flavorful and drinkable when warmed to room temperature. Not a favorite of mine, but a respectable offering nonetheless.

03-22-2011 04:19:07 | More by brystmar
Photo of fauxpunker
fauxpunker


3.8/5  rDev -4.3%

A: Pours black with a thin, quickly disappearing, tan head. Opaque, but not motor oil thick like I was expecting.
S: Can definitely smell oak and vanilla. Some chocolate as well. All malt.
T: Sweetness hits up front along with a roasted coffee undertone. The vanilla not also makes an appearance. Alcohol pops up on the end giving it a somewhat sour finish.
M: Full, but not chewy. Carbonation seemed a bit low. Despite the alcohol in the taste, it doesn't really burn. It definitely warmed me up.
O: All the pieces are there but they don't quite come together like I'd hoped. The ABV isn't hidden as well as in others I've had. Not bad by any stretch. Great way to warm up on a cold day.

11-25-2012 17:38:50 | More by fauxpunker
Photo of Phelps
Phelps

Arizona

3.8/5  rDev -4.3%

Read about this one a while back and have been wanting to try it for a while. Finally got a chance this past weekend in Chicago. Here we go...

A rough pour gives birth to a light mocha head with bubbles big and small. It exits after about a minute, leaving a simple ring with a splotch in the center and nice rows of lattice lacing. The liquid seems at first to be an impenetrable black, but a hold up to the light reveals notes of dark amber and cranberry red. Some bubbly effervescence is even visible.

In the nose: sweet mocha, dark chocolate. Notes of cinnamon, granola, and sourdough. Love those breakfast flavors. Pretty noticeable flowery hops adds some interest.

Interesting. I get, at first, soy sauce and raisins. This one's sweet. Very sweet, actually. Almost like a red dessert wine, with a tiny bit of oak. The beer's label says this is a stout with deep roasty flavors -- I disagree. This is definitely more of a strong ale...and I see that's what Beeradvocate's classified it as. Alright. Subtle waves of dark chocolate, espresso and even some vanilla are suggested at the finish; these flavors become more pronounced as the beer warms, but never fully blossom. Alcohol comes through the nostrils, tingling and burning.

I'd call the mouthfeel medium/medium-light. We need to come up with more descriptions for this stuff. It's an interesting swallow; more like juice than beer. Once again, letting the beer warm improves it a touch. The mouthfeel becomes creamier, silkier.

Despite a slight mislabeling by the brewery, Dragon's Milk is a decent beer. A little on the expensive side at the $8 I paid for it, and if you're looking for classic roasted flavors, it's not your thing. But worth seeking out. Curiosity satisfied.

04-29-2010 06:53:50 | More by Phelps
Photo of marchoftheclouds
marchoftheclouds

Illinois

3.8/5  rDev -4.3%

Appearance - Can't see through it ... that's promising! Not much head,but at 10% ABV, that's to be be expected.

Smell - I mostly smell a raisiny, sweet smell ... also very promising.

Taste - there is a slight bite of something ... possibly a slight uncharacteristic flavor that doesn't seem like it belongs. Maybe a hop / malt disagreement?

Mouthfeel - ever so slightly a bit too carbonated for a perfect beer, in my opinion, but a good mouthfeel in general.

Overall - not bad, but my expectations were higher by previous info I was given. Wouldn't turn it down, but wouldn't make it a go to beer either.

12-08-2011 05:37:55 | More by marchoftheclouds
Photo of Holland
Holland

Illinois

3.8/5  rDev -4.3%

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.

04-28-2011 14:37:06 | More by Holland
Photo of ClockworkOrange
ClockworkOrange

Pennsylvania

3.8/5  rDev -4.3%

Poured from a 22ounce bomber bottle into my shaker glass. Shared with brothercannon. The ale appears an opaque dark brown color with about an inch of ecru foam. Notes of oak, vanilla, milk chocolate, caramelized malts, mellow alcohol, slightly nutty/fruity. Medium to full bodied with ample carbonation for an old ale. Tasty stuff. Check it out if you happen upon a bottle.

06-29-2009 15:41:23 | More by ClockworkOrange
Photo of sisuspeed
sisuspeed

New Hampshire

3.8/5  rDev -4.3%

Poured into a pint glass, Dragon's Milk has a dark brown body with a slight red tint. A little bit of head forms at first, but quickly fades.

Sweet, oaky, wood drifts up from the glass. Caramel and other sweet malts mix in as well. Almost reminds me of a syrupy candy stored in an oak barrel. Would love to have a stronger aroma of this.

The first couple of sips pull out toffee, alcohol and oak. Vanilla comes out nicely from the barrel aging as well as some tannins. Malts are quite sweet, caramel like. Much like the smell, the flavor is warming malt candy with oak. Pretty good stuff if you like sweeter beers and a good oak presence.

Mouthfeel is a bit on the watery side. I'd like to see a heavier body to pair with the warming alcohol and some of the harsher aspects of the wood. Carbonation is about right.

Drinkability is pretty good. A sweet beer and the ABV is somewhat noticeable, but the oak is well done. One bottle is about the perfect serving size.

Overall, I thought this was an enjoyable brew. New Holland did a really nice job with the barrel aging and brought out some nice vanilla notes from the oak. This beer is probably the closest I've come to liquid toffee. Not something I would drink all the time, but I'll probably pick up another bottle if I see it around.

03-09-2010 01:55:45 | More by sisuspeed
Photo of jrallen34
jrallen34

Illinois

3.8/5  rDev -4.3%

I drank this from a 12oz bottle into an Orval glass.

The beer pours a dark brown with a light tan head that rises only about half a finger and is gone pretty quickly. The lacing is light.

The aroma is medium and very nice. Its very malty lots of sweet chocolate with a nice smooth oak finish.

The taste is a little to sweet and watery for my tasty. The sweetness isn't balanced with much oak or bourbon so its a little offputting.

Overall, good start bad finish. Has some potential.

03-09-2010 03:09:55 | More by jrallen34
Photo of rwdkosak
rwdkosak

Missouri

3.8/5  rDev -4.3%

Poured into tulip producing a very dark brown with thin head. Nice notes of coffee/cocoa, very light vanilla, woody nose. Taste followed suit though chocolate present initially and just the slightest smoke hints up front accent the nose. Overall mouthfeel is good, nice, smooth, easy to sip though there is a bit of alcohol taste which, at 9% ABV is understandable though this isn't something that's going to be part a very long session. Good beer though and happy i've got more in the cellar.

04-24-2009 03:17:23 | More by rwdkosak
Photo of Richardberg
Richardberg

New York

3.8/5  rDev -4.3%

A - mahogany color, small layer of cream head on top doesn't last long, but foam is fairly sticky.

S - rich caramel malts, bourbon, oaky vanilla, raisin

T - just what the smell predicted. In equal strength, too, if not more. Some booze in the finish.

M - medium body, doesn't have much sticky/coating quality, but carbonation keeps it interesting

D - enjoyable in many ways, but pretty strong ABV is noticeable. Adding the aged oaky flavors on top makes it fairly rough going.

01-25-2010 03:50:12 | More by Richardberg
Photo of Qbdoo
Qbdoo

Illinois

3.81/5  rDev -4%

A near-great monster. Maybe because it's my first bourbon barrel stout I was a bit overwhelmed by the taste of the alcohol, or what seemed like it. I loved the look and texture, but kept feeling like someone had dropped a half-shot of bourbon in it. It got better as it warmed and I adapted. Looking forward to trying it again, especially on a cold winter's night.

Re-review on 8/21/14

Smoother, less boozy tasting on tap. Has a nice vanilla taste and is surprisingly drinkable for such a big beer. This has gone up a notch or two in my estimation.

09-07-2013 18:29:10 | More by Qbdoo
Photo of Jason
Jason

Massachusetts

3.83/5  rDev -3.5%

12oz brown bottle with a vintage date of 2011 on the label.

LOOK: Dark brown, nearly black with ruby edges. Good lacing even if it is a bit thin.

SMELL: Oaky, vanilla, barrel juice, boozy, mild char, toasted bread, burnt raisins, fig jam

TASTE: Very smooth, wood, char, mildly fusel, vanilla, burnt sugar, dark chocolate, chicory, booze soaked raisins, charred drying finish

A really good barrel aged brew that rides the path of a stout, a big beer that you'll need to sip. Very well balanced, had fun drinking this one.

03-30-2012 03:09:45 | More by Jason
New Holland Dragon's Milk (Bourbon Barrel Stout) from New Holland Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 3,457 ratings.