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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: 4,731
Avg: 3.95
pDev: 26.08%
Wants: 277
Gots: 1,283 | 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: 4,731
Photo of brokenleadedcask
3.04/5  rDev -23%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes

Poured a dark reddish brown but it is too light, I shouldn't be able to see through this at all. The head didn't last that long and some intermittent lacing. Smells of oak, vanilla, little bit of chocolate and some diacetyl. Upon tasting, strong Bourbon, oak tannins, small amount of coffee, and has some spiciness to it. In the mouth, it's thin. There are no lingering flavors or coatings, which would be fine if it where a lighter beer. This was one of my segway beers, helped me appreciate better beer. I think my palette has evolved, it's more difficult to finish this time. It would be an interesting experiment to age one for a year or two and see how it mellows.

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.04/5  rDev -23%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Pretty average at best here. Hoped for much more. Thin look, no quality base beer stands out, overpowered by the barrel character. Not bad, but just expected more having tried the chili version... which is much better

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Photo of AaronHomoya
3.05/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22 oz brown bottle.

Pours a dark, near-black color with an impressive dark colored head. The smell is a nice, complex blend of sweet malt, slight roast and vanilla aromas. The taste, however, I just couldn't get into. It's sweet with a sour milk taste that was just too strong and funky for me. Interesting, but not pleasing in my mind. The sourness overcame the hints of vanilla and malt and just left me wincing. Mouthfeel was nice and smooth with good body. Overall, an interesting beer but just too sour tasting to be enjoyable.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.05/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a dark cola color that isn't entirely opaque. The mocha-colored head is nice and creamy, and about two fingers high. It fades down to about a half finger after a while, and leaves nice rings of lacing on the glass.

S: Wow, this is sweet. There isn't much bourbon on the nose...but there is a solid oak presence, giving off very strong vanilla notes. Beneath the vanilla are strong chocolate and molasses tones. Aromatically, it strikes me as an enjoyable-yet-straightforward dessert beer.

T: There is a bourbon presence here, but it's pretty basic...the vanilla notes are massively bold yet they lack the additional subtleties of a BCBS or Parabola to make them stand out. I also notice touches of chocolate; otherwise, this is more or less a vanilla/tannin bomb. Even a single 12 oz bottle can become wearisome to drink.

M: Quite sweet, yet with a drying, tannic finish. I'd actually reckon it's a bit too tannic on the back end, verging into mild harshness. I could also use a bit more body to properly support how syrupy the texture is.

O: It's not undrinkable, however its sweetness is way too fatiguing. Even worse, the beer itself seems designed to showcase the barrel notes, but they're far too basic to really succeed at that, either. For about 6 oz, I thought this was pretty good; for the other 6 oz, I couldn't wait for it to end. So, if you're gonna try it, make sure you split it with a friend, and don't expect BCBS.

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Photo of Beerasaurus
3.06/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tried this on tap as the Black Tulip was unavailable.

Appearance was similar to a stout, dark with a tannish head, though the head was minimal.

Maybe my nose wasn't working, but a didn't detect any real aroma.

The taste almost an overpowering oaky/bourbon flavor, not my favorite.

Mouthfeel was somewhat milky.

Worth a try, but for the High Gravity offerings, I'd go with the Black Tulip.

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Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
3.06/5  rDev -22.5%
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.


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Photo of SickGnar
3.08/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: A super dark brown, burgundy hue when held to light, quite clear, small light tan head that keeps a nice ring, but leaves minimal lace.

S: Sweet, estery, & alcoholic – not dark or robust at all. You really have to hunt to find even the barest ghost hint of roast. Big & boozy in a floral way. Good touch of vanilla. Good strength. But not that appealing and not really stout-like at all.

T: Very sweet & very firmly bourbon-esque oak & vanilla. Roasty grain in the background. Spicy & peppery more from alcohol than from hops. A faint touch of dark crystal to the sweetness. Hops are there but grassy and a touch astringent. Minimal finish other than a hint of vanilla and booze. Way late in the finish a barely decent roast comes out. Roast grows and sweetness gets a tad richer & more malty as it warms, but still . . . . .

M: Sweet and full with soft carbonation. Not syrupy but getting there a bit – and a touch cloying. Oaky tannins & some sticky sugars for texture. Though thinned by alcohol. Sweet with just a hint of drying in the finish as much from alcohol as from roast or anything else. Warming is surprisingly minimal.

D: Big and potent – more a strong darkish ale than any sort of stout. Too much barrel & not enough stout. Way too much booze. And especially given the richness it should have as a stout. High octane, but not in a good way. Almost not possible to finish. A very slow sip and cringe. Only manages a 3.0 on the firm and reasonably nice oak/vanilla character throughout.

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Photo of trumick
3.08/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep dark amber with little to no head and some lacing.

Scent is of sweet dark roasted malts with dark fruits and spices also noted some alcohol.

Taste follows the nose with sweet, sweet malts and dark fruits with some pepper hints. Finishes sweet with alcohol at the end. I didn't notice much of a balance, too sweet.

Mouthfeel is thick, almost unpleasant, carbination is on the low side.

Drinkability for me is below average. This beer is too sweet with little to no balance, it needs something.

This almost reminds me of an Imperial Stout, but much too sweet, again not enough to balance it out.

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Photo of Mooslerfitness
3.08/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I love stouts but i guess I dont care for ones that taste like straight up bourbon and dietcoke searved in a burnt oak vessel no vanilla I could smell or taste if u like this style u love this me never again

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Photo of justintcoons
3.09/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2011 vintage.
12oz poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a transparent black with red/chestnut highlights. Ephemeral head is quickly reduced to nothing. Thin layer of film is left on the glass with sparse and spotty lacing.

N: Beautiful oak notes right off the bat along with subtle vanilla and bourbon aromas. Semi-sweet chocolate, notes of black coffee and rich caramel also make an appearance.

T: Subtle bourbon, caramel and roasted barley on the front of the tongue. Toffee, whiskey booze, faint semi-sweet chocolate and faint vanilla mid-palate. Finishes with scorched candy sugar and a good amount of oak.

M: Medium bodied, creamy, very dry, bitter and warming.

O: The tastes are way too subtle for a barrel aged Imperial Stout, almost watery. Kind of tastes like watered down whiskey with some burnt sugars added. This beer comes off very weak. Meh...

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Photo of chadn
3.1/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Review is of the 12-oz bottle, bought from a corner store in november 2011.

Appearence: dark dark beer, like a proper stout. Poured like water, almost no bubbles, but after a few seconds a small head formed.

Smell: sweet and alcohol. Fruity, slight chocolate and bourbon flavors.

Taste: Full and sweet. Fruity, slight chocolate and bourbon flavors.

Mouth: Initially full body that turns light and clean very quickly.

Overall: Tastee, but initially too sweet for me, although that fades away nicely into a clean finish. The oak barrel age was not as noticeable as i would have liked. The 10% is very well hidden - I would have guessed more like 7%. Combine that with the clean finish and it makes this a very strong drinkbale beer.

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Photo of Jeronimo
3.11/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Purchased 22oz bottle at B&B liquors in Grand Rapids, MI for $6.99. Poured at room temperature (65 F) into a pint glass. Having serious head control problems, I havn't even poured an ounce of beer in and my glass is full of foam that will not die. As I add more it continues to foam out of control. I have never seen anything like this. Now it looks like a icecream float. After waiting 5 minutes for it to stabilize a bit, I get my first sip.

Appearance: Very dark, nearly opaque, a dim glow makes it through the sides of the glass as I hold it up to the light. A tan fluffy head lingers for a long time after the beer is poured. Thick clumps of lacing stick to the sides of the glass. I have never seen head like this.

Smell: Very aromatic, tart, sweet, spicy, a hint of wood.

Taste: First flavor I notice is a bold tartness, sweet but not oversweet, beginning to taste the malt as it washes back, a trace of hops on the sides, balanced grape-skin bitterness, lingering tart-bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Thinner than I expected for a 9% beer, going flat b/c of the foam I think.

Drinkability: Aside from the initial difficulties, not a bad beer, I would like to try one chilled and see if that fixes this. Maybe I have a bad bottle, Im gonna read other posts after this and see how they describe this. I expected something richer and less bubbly. Oh jeez this beer is a hazard, it just foamed all over the place as I refilled, or attempted to refill my glass. gotta wipe down the keyboard. I have a hard time imagining this is what the brewer intended. tasted alright though.

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Photo of dsa7783
3.12/5  rDev -21%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

First of all, this is not an American Strong Ale... According to both the bottle and my taste buds, this is definitely an Imperial Stout at best... The oak presence is not as nearly as overwhelming as initially imagined, however the brew does impart a small yet noticeable oak-aged flavor that is manifested in the subtle vanilla overtones that flow vigorously throughout the drink...
Not a session beer by any stretch of the imagination, yet nonetheless, an interesting concotion...

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Photo of stxSS07
3.12/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From notes:

A- Pours a very dark brown. Nearly black with some brownish-red hues around the edge of the glass. Khaki head leaves some nice lacing.

S- Hit with a huge amount of oak as soon as I cracked the bottle. Hints of bittersweet chocolate and vanilla slip through along with a roasted malt character. This was the high point of the beer for me.

T- Picking up some vanilla notes from the wood, dark roasted characters as well. Oak playing a huge role. Finishes really hot and boozy...a little too hot and woody for my liking.

M- Very thick and chewy. Coats the mouth as a big stout should.

D- This was a bit of a letdown for me. I had heard great things, but I have to put this in the "average" category for stouts I've had. Maybe I had it too hyped up going in?

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Photo of popery
3.12/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

2012. Pours dark brown. It's lighter than expected and and I can see through two to three inches of liquid to the bottom of my little snifter. Small beige head. Pretty good retention and lacing for the style and strength. The aroma is dominated by sweet bourbon. Stout flavors are sitting in the background, mostly just contributing some sweet caramel and chocolate.. The bourbon is nice enough, if a bit simple. Lots of vanilla and toffee. Taste is similar. Everything about this beer just seems simple and sweet. There's some more nice milk chocolate, caramel, sugar cane, vanilla, maybe a touch of pepper, but little depth. Good deal of booze in both taste and aroma. Mild oak. Maybe a touch of roast in the finish. Mouthfeel is smooth and kinda sticky. Finish is sweet and boozy. At first blush, I thought this beer surpassed my low expectations, but ultimately, I think my memories of sips at tastings and whatnot were spot on. It's better than Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, which I admit is a pretty low bar, but it's still just a sweet, simple beer dominated by sweet, simple bourbon flavors.

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Photo of xgrigorix
3.13/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Brown 22 ounce silk screened bottle, no dates.

Dark chestnut brown. Dense beige coloured head collapses quickly, leaving some patchy lace. Racing lines of carbonation.

Soft bourbon aroma.

Caramel, Vanilla, oak. Lather, rinse, repeat. Off dry finish. Teh bourbon flavour - the charred oak - becomes more pronounced as it warms. A slight warming of the throat. Full bodied, moderate carbonation. Left me wanting more.

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Photo of ngandhi
3.13/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

New Holland does a lot for the beer world by being gutsy enough to release this beer. Above all, it shows the potential for oak aging beer which allows, if nothing else, for beer to be taken more serious.

The oak qualities are tremendous. The velvety mouthfeel, slight creaminess, and latent bourbon flavoring are all otherwise unattainable. When cold, the nose is a plasticky yeast smell -- this is definetly the New Holland super attenuative yeast strain. I've found it to give off similar odors as Nottingham dry ale. It is also quite apparent in the taste.

At cellar temp, Dragon's Milk opens up to more oak character. Most notably, there's some vanillin and mocha notes that might actually be a result of the interplay between the yeast and bourbon. However it happens, the taste is primarly a plastic mocha laced with bourbon and the finish is all bourbon with even a hint of island malt! I can't say I want this in my beer, but it's clearly what they wanted and man is it fun to figure out.

There's nothing more I want than a brewery to take some chances. For as small as they are, it's a wonder they can afford to do this. Support them.

Relax, relax.

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Photo of KingG
3.13/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Received in a trade a while back.

22oz bottle shared with my friend.

Poured into a Duvel tulip glass at cellar temp.

Appearance is good. Dark plum color with an enormous tan head. Looks like there's a lot of carbonation.

Smell is above average. Bourbon dominates. Dark berries in the background.

Taste is average. Initial flavor of bourbon hits then a sourness develops on the palate. Hints of dark fruit. Metallic aftertaste. Not impressed.

Mouthfeel is below average. Way too much carbonation here. Champagne-esque mouthfeel. Too bubbly.

Drinkability is average. Half a bottle was more than enough.

Overall: I had high hopes for this brew and it failed to deliver. Don't know if i had a bad bottle or what but i wasn't impressed with the mouthfeel or taste. Not a horrible beer but not a good one either.

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Photo of FernMaster
3.15/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Tulip.
Meeeh! Right out of the bottle I was going, "meh." The pour was uninspired, there was absolutely no head. PBR has head, how does this fail to have head? The look is fine else wise, it looks like any dark beer. The smell is meh, very faint not distinct, just average. Actually it almost has no smell. Try and swirl this, I dare you, you'll won't get any noticeable scent. The taste, I swear I've had this beer before. Oh wait, no I haven't it's just that Dragon's Milk has such an average taste that you'll swear you've had this before. The beer proclaims that it was aged in Oak Barrels, yet I can't taste it. It's about as disappointing as having a bachelor party in your friends with basement with no stripper. (Story behind that comparison.) The proclamation that it was aged in Oak barrels was the reason I bought this beer and that it was called Dragon's Milk, that's cool. You know how hard it is to milk Dragons? It's impossible because they don't exist, silly. My roommate and I spent more time trying to identify what it tasted like, which is detrimental to the enjoyment factor of the beer. But when your beer is completely meh, you have to find enjoyment somewhere.

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

Thanks again to maximum12 for this beer, another gift from secret santa 09. Poured into a smuttynose tulip. The beer pours a deep dark brown, almost black, with a ruby glow around the edges. There is a one finger off white head that quickly fades to a tight ring and leaves very little lacing.

The smell is sweet dark fruits, dark chocolate, bourbon, vanilla and oak barrel. The smell is pretty simple and straight forward, but true to the style.

The taste is overly sweet. Too much vanilla, bourbon and malt. There are hints of dark chocolate, but they never get bitter and the barrel is almost non-existent in the flavor.

The beer is well carbonated for the style, but the mouthfeel is a bit harsh. The alcohol is a little overpowering for only being 8.5%, and the drinkability suffers.

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

22oz bottle poured into a snifter

Pours a deep chestnut brown with a one finger mocha colored cap. Head rises and falls really quickly. Little to no lacing left behind.

The aroma is a little muted. Some milk chocolate, bourbon notes, and a little bit of dark roast. Pretty straightforward.

On the palate, this guy follows the nose. Milk chocolate with bourbon come out of the gate first before bitter dark roast takes over in the finish. Meh. There is nothing here that is separating itself from the rest of the pack.

Medium body with a touch of booze in the finish. The carbonation is a little high.

I like my barrel aged beers to be big and bold. This guy is neither. Straightforward and slightly above average in spots.

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Photo of cproioi
3.15/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a dark ruby color with a creamy white head that is seated on top. The nose is full of dark malts, chocolate, vanilla, oak and bourbon. The taste comes in with the same notes ion the aroma with a little more accents on the chocolate and the malts. However, it tastes a little oxidized sadly enough. It's a wonderfully creamy body that leaves a wonderful finish that lingers suggesting to take another drink.

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

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

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Photo of smakawhat
3.17/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Vintage 2013, poured into a large snifter glass.

One of the lightest barrel aged stouts I've seen. Deep mahogany brown, comes out a perfect light chestnut from the bottle, and looks a little watery on the pour. Head is very light tan about a finger, and disappears pretty quickly. Leaves a thin puck, slightly filmy looking, with a bit of leg action. Like the lightness but not the slickness, otherwise looking alright.

Interesting subtle nose. Light hints of caramel and butterscotch toffee. Quite clean smelling and seems like it could be a wet palate. Light hint of booze and fusel burn on the aroma.

Interesting palate here. A sharp quick carbonation hits my mouth, with a bit of strange sting. Real bizarre bitterness on this, and sooty charring. Wet bodied, but manages to have a bit of caramel and butterscotch angle similar to candy. A bit of a warm boozy heat, and almost well bar drink cheap booze aftertaste. Slightly candied sweetness but not overly sugary, with some taffy like quality, and a mouthfeel that just gets quite thin and doesn't coat.

The beer actually starts off pretty good, but strangely gets a bit more thin and lifeless as time goes on. There's nearly no flavor in the back palate or the finish either which seems real odd and doesn't give a good round oak character. I get the sense this beer spent barely any time at all in a barrel.

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Photo of plastik
3.17/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A. Dark color. Ruby red highlights. Not as dark or thick as I'd like.

S. Sweet and malty.

T. Very flavorful - Dominant oak, vanilla undertones, syrupy and sweet, yet a bit bitter on the start and finish. Not really a fan of the oak, it comes off to strong. Also the alcohol is a bit forward, more than i feel that it should be.

M. Lacking body and substance. The mouthfeel is actually very disappointing, this brew is thinner than I'd expect from a stout.

D. No thanks, I wouldn't have more than one.

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