Dragon's Milk - New Holland Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Dragon's MilkDragon's Milk

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

4,595 Ratings
THE BROS
86
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,595
Reviews: 1,318
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 13.47%
Wants: 272
Gots: 1,169 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,595 | Reviews: 1,318
Photo of cvstrickland
3.66/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22-ounce bomber poured into a pint glass yields a deep dark brown body with a tinge of chestnut highlights and very little off-white foam that rests as a thin broken sheet with a big-bubbled ring. The additional pour is aggressive, hell, bombs-away-style, from some serious altitude--yet also fails to puff up the lifeless head at all, even though the beer stream was given lots of in-the-air-time between bottle and glass. I am not at all impressed as the words 'flat' and 'insipid' leap to mind as the virtually headless drink leaves only a few tiny specks of lacing.

Smells lightly of molasses with a nice tinge of oak with a roasty note lurking in the wood.

Rich malt profiles dominate the sweet flavor; there's toffee with caramel, brown sugary molasses, dark and nutty roasted barley with a pleasant bitter note and a firm dry oak backing with a lightly acidic coffee aftertaste. Despite the utter flatness in the appearance, the beer still tickles the tongue with carbonation, keeping the drinkability decent.

My hopes and expectations for this beer were high, and not met. Ho-hum. Next.

Photo of tastybeer
3.67/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is pretty close to black topped by a slightly tan tight head. Small with stringy + scattered lace. Aroma has a lot of milky cocoa, bready malts, light fruit that's somewhat jam-like. Taste is similar with molasses, smoother, and has a mellow carbonation. Not bad at all but alllmost too sweet for me. I decided this would make an excellent dessert beer. Texture is mellow, buttery, and perhaps milky. Drinkability suffers a little with the intense sweetness.

Not bad, but a little heavy for a anytime but during dessert beer.

Photo of Riverwarrior
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Smell = Roasted malt and bourbon/oak aromas.

Taste = Sweet malts upfront, caramel, and a slight bourbon/oak rounding out the flavor. A faint hop bitterness appears at the finish. The alcohol was truly hidden.

MF = Rich, smooth, creamy, and low carbonation.

Overall, after smelling the bourbon/oak aromas, I was afraid they would ambush the flavor. This was certainly not the case. This beer was amazing. The flavors were complex yet gentle. It made for an incredible beer.

Photo of brstilson
2.97/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance
I tasted this ale in a room-temperature glass mug. The liquid was refrigerated. I noticed immediately the head was quite small, only about 1/4 finger or so, and it dissipated rapidly. Dragon's Milk is very dark. Darker than a brown ale but not quite as dark as a stout. Some red hues also peek their way through in the right light.

Smell
The smell consists mostly of roasted malt. I could detect no hop aroma. There are also hints of vanilla and chocolate, as well as smoke.

Taste
The taste has a strong roasted malt and vanilla flavor. Hop bitterness is present but it imparts no flavor. This beer is extremely malty--to the point of almost being unpleasant--and could have used more hops to balance the sweetness.

Mouthfeel
Dragon's Milk is extremely thick and syrupy. It's more like one is drinking some sort of beer concentrate mix than actual beer. It coats the mouth in slightly sticky film not unlike a warm Coca-Cola.

Drinkability
One thing is for sure, this is not a beer that most would be able to drink at a normal rate. With a consistency like that of whole milk, it will fill you up fast, being almost a meal in itself.

Overall
It could be worse, but I can't help but feel that this is a beer with an identity crisis, trying to be a belgian strong ale and an imperial stout at the same time, utterly failing at both. It certainly is an interesting experiment, but unfortunately it's following a trend that I see with many American microbrews.

Too often we have a beer like this with no subtlety, where everything is turned up to 11. Instead of making it complex and interesting, it actually makes the beer quite dull and boring. Everything is intense, so nothing stands out, like a modern music mix where all the tracks have the same volume level: loud.

I don't regret the $9 a paid for the bottle, but this definitely isn't going to make my regular drinking rotation.

Photo of timtim
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

black with dark brown and blood red highlights. tan head is very small and fades quickly leaving minimal lace. nose and taste... pretty well balanced mix of wood, a hint of smoke, vanilla, a little dark fruit, and some herby root beeryness like sassafrass or sasparilla. medium full body with a slight boozy warming finish that is welcome in an ale of this sort. i thought it went nicely with some sausages and burgers on the grill, so i ranked it very high in the drinkability category. decent beer.

Photo of bboven
3.03/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I heard so many great things about this beer.

Appearance is deep mahogany with slivers of garnet highlights, semi-opaque. The head starts small and fades to nothing after a few minutes.

Aroma is dark fruit, huge vanilla from the oak and HUGE fusel alcohol.

Big vanilla flavor from the oak hides the great malt characteristics that are dying to shine if only they weren't so overshadowed.

Mouthfeel is very slightly carbonated, enough to make it fall flat. Sticky malt characteristics finally show up here but it's just too late.

Way too much emphasis on the oak in this beer, I have two more bottles that will be cellared in the hopes of knocking some of the green off the ale. Definitely oak aging gone extreme, but with less than stellar results.

Photo of paulthebeerguru
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

New Holland Dragon's Milk (Oak Barrels)
22oz brown bottle

A: poured into a snifter. Dragon's Milk pours a very intense mahogany color that is practically pitch black. Very minimal tan head with, with practically no retention. Faint lacing if it is even that much.

S: Sweet roasted malts, with a lot of sweet cherries. Some serious alcohol aromas in the nose as well. I am pulling some hints of toasted coconut.

T: Some serious roasted malts, with some hints of coffee, toffee and some lactos. I am getting some coconut and cherries from the barrels, along with some serious oak. The fruits are right up front, then the roasted malts come through.

M: surprisingly, very smooth and creamy. Medium body which was shocking, since I expected something a little more dark. Good carbonation.

D: Wow! Such an amazing beer, with a great mouthfeel. This is a beer anyone should try, especially if you enjoy barrel-aged beers. I really enjoyed this brew at noon after just waking up.

Photo of avalon07
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: When I poured this beer from a bottle to a pint glass, it had a black color and a thick consistency. There was a quarter inch head and some good lacing.

S: Not exactly an overpowering aroma, but solid. Strong presence of malt, chocolate and a bit of hops.

T: When you drink this, you get a big shot of coffee, then chocolate, then roasted malt. There's also some caramel in there as well. Very tasty and pretty complex.

M: This had a fair amount of carbonation and a smooth finish. It's not quite a full-bodied beer, but not a medium-bodied, either. Something in between.

D: This is a drinkable beer. It's a little on the heavy side, but it has a solid taste and a goes down easy.

Photo of dnichols
4.24/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My ex-father in law was born in Holland, MI. For years I associated Holland with the conservative Dutch Reformers who frown on beer (and all alcohol). Now comes this brew which I shared with friends who came home to help repair my ailing computer.

A: It poured a dark black body that when back lit was ruby red. The head was a moderate dark tan despite an aggressive pour. The head receded fast to a ring around the collar and there was a modest and diminishing lacing.

S- After resting it emitted the aroma of richly toasted malts, vanilla and caramel as well as hints of chocolate, nuts and bourbon.

T: My first impression was not all that favorable but as I got deeper into the beer my esteem grew. It had a smooth rich roasted malt flavor with hints of chocolate, caramel and vanilla. The flavors of the oak added to the nutty flavors and the hops were recessive but gave the back side a touch of tang and diluted coffee. The high ABV was well hidden.

M: It had a medium creamy body with low carbonation and a warm sweet finish.

D: This beer grew on me. It is light enough to last long into the night but the high ABV would catch up with me and cause an early end to the night. My respect for Holland, MI was reestablished by this nice solid brew.

Photo of birchstick
4.37/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This poured a very dark with a minimal head. It smelled delicious, with vanilla, caramel, and cocoa scents coming through. Dragon's Milk tasted as delicious as it smelled. It started out with a vanilla and dark chocolate. The aftertaste consisted of the burnt oak that was advertised, with a hint of bourbon. All in all, this was delicious. It was sweeter than I was expecting and all of the flavors mixed very well to create a very enjoyable tasting experience, however it is not one that I can drink in large quantities.

Photo of gmfessen
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, beer pours thinner than I had expected and looked like new motor oil but appears a deep brown in the glass with a thin, yet firm looking head that leaves nice gobs of lacing all over my glass. The smell is nice; a complex boquet of dark fruits, oak, chocolate, vanilla, brown sugar and only a hint of sweet alcohol. The taste is very similar to the nose, with all of the flavors melding quite nicely and a warm alcohol bite at the end. The mouthfeel is on the light side for what I had expected and the beer could use just a tad more carbonation. Drinkability is relatively good, a sipper not a quaffer.

Photo of kzoobrew
3.23/5  rDev -19.5%
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.

Photo of abankovich
4.28/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a very nice deep brown with a very light tan head that faded somewhat quickly. Lacing does linger down the side of the glass as I'm drinking this one.

Smells warm with some chocolate, toffee and caramel notes. Alcohol is also present very lightly in the nose.

The taste I am loving. Up front the alcohol hits very slightly followed immediately by a delicious vanilla flavor. Roasted malts and chocolate are also present but that sweet, sugary vanilla is the most prevalent of all the flavors.

Mouthfeel is medium to thick with a slightly creamy feel overall. Definitely smooth going down.

Drinkability on this one is pretty high. 8.5% isn't too outrageous and nothing about this beer makes me think I wouldn't want to have another as soon as I'm finished with this one.

Photo of bigdeuce
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is true. This is no American Strong Ale, but I have seen it listed as some type of English Strong Ale. Anyway, it is some type of Imperial Stout in my estimation. Nonetheless, this is an outstanding beer. Scents of deep chocolate, cherries, robust coffee shine through. Tastes similar, very light and unique. Heavy ABV not well detected. An a great looking opaque beer. I did not see a large foamy head, but it still is worth pouring and looking at. A nice well rounded nightcap, brew!

Photo of TheBierBand
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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!

Photo of pmcadamis
4.52/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I tried this at Lunar in the 'burbs while celebrating my bachelor party. It came to me in a 9 oz snifter.

A - Black as tar with a dark brown creamy head that shows really nice retention and leaves a lot of lace on the glass.

S - Dark and creamy to my nose, this is full of dark chocolate candy notes and strangely enough I smell peanut butter.

T - Rich chocolatey ovaltine! This is sweet and chocolatey with some nice supporting hops. Tasty as hell. This is like drinking Hershey's dark chocolate syrup straight up.

M - As full bodied as motor oil, this is creamy, silky, smooth, and really thick.

D - Outstanding! This is a killer beer! I love the name, the high ABV is nice, and the flavors are damn tasty.

Photo of Bitterbill
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I got this in a trade with joe1510. Thanks Joe!

This pours a very dark brown with reddish highlights and about a 1 finger head of tannis foam. Average head retention but it does have some nice lacing.

The smell is dominated by caramel malt but I also get some roasted malt, vanilla, and wood. Pretty nice nose.

The taste has notes of caramel and roasted malt, toffee, a real oaky flavour, and a bit of dark fruit but mostly caramel and toffee and it's hitting my tastebuds nicely. Oh, now I'm noticing a bit of vanilla; it's stronger in the smell than in the taste.

The body is thinner than I expected though it is quite creamy, carbonation is on the low side, and the abv is hidden pretty well.

Because of it's smoothness, I find it quite drinkable.. a very nice American Strong Ale indeed. I'd drink it again.

Photo of russpowell
3.94/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cheers to joe1510 for this one!

Pours chestnut tinged ebony with 1 finger of tan head. Average head retention & lacing

S: Dark fruit & bourbon with some vanilla as this warms

T: Dark fruits, vanilla, oaky dryness & bourbon up front. A touch of chocolate gives way to raisins, some leafy hops, dryness, caramel & a bit of cherry brandy as this warms. Finishes dry with bourbon notes, a bit of burnt candi sugar,

MF: Chewy with low carbonation, some nice slickness as this warms

Drinkability is good for the style & ABV, but you feel this baby warming you from the get-go! One best consumed on a cold night by the fire. versus the (finally) warm spring evening grilling steaks I chose. A solid American Imp Stout

Photo of edmedina
3.44/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark color almost that of a stout or porter with little or no head. Aroma is very mild in this one. You do get a hint of vanilla almost a malty vanilla really. First sip you get the light taste of carmal malt and vanilla in there. The after taste is really when the oak really comes through. This is a well balanced beer but I"ll have to be honest. When I see the color or read oak aged, I expected something more out of it. Don't let the taste foll you it is a a well balanced beer that can be enjoyed by many.

Photo of JohnGalt1
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz reviewed in my notebook a couple weeks ago... bottle supplied from SAS.. thanks for the opportunity.. my share in my New Belgium snifer.

1" head.. no lacing... very dark brown beer.. verging on black.. Dark ruby highlites when held to a light... very clear.

Aroma is chocolate/toasted malts .. with a little caramel.. low vanilla but definitely present.. smells creamy... dark dried fruits as it warms.

Flavor is thick caramel and toffee... bourbon and vanilla.. toasty oak.. very smooth.. nothing bitter.. a little bit of cola. Medium body.. could use a little more viscosity... plummy notes along with raisin... low carbonation adds to an already milky/silky brew... surprisingly drinkable..

Sorry guys.. wish I had more.. again, taken from a paper notepad. Thanks, Steve.

Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a very dark garnet color with a thick 1/4" head of tan bubbles that appears to want to hang around for quite some time. There is some lace forming on the glass even after the pour.

Aroma: A little bit of spiciness from alcohol is the first thing I get, and then the focus turns to the dark malts with some dark caramel, sweet nutty malts and a hint of chocolate in the background.

Taste: This is a really tasty beer. I don't know quite how to classify it. I get some vanilla and the dryness that comes from wood aging in the flavor along with what tastes and feels like oatmeal. There is quite a bit of slickness to this beer, and the alcohol also plays a big role on the palate. There is some defined warming in the finish to linger for some time. The hops are barely noticeable.

Opinion: This is a really tasty beer, and is really reasonably priced at $7 for a bomber of such a complex beer. I like the mouthfeel especially on this beer as it coats your palate with a pleasing flavor and texture that lingers until the alcohol comes and cooks it away. I would definitely drink this beer again.

Photo of hellcatsjg
3.73/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Black beer but not pitch black. Almost no head present and no lacing either. Not much to look at.

Smell: Nice but faint aroma of malt, coffee, with a hint of the oak.

Taste: Malty and creamy up front, with the flavor giving way to a sweet vanilla and oak flavor in the middle. The finish is oak and alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Kind of let down here. Almost no carbonation at all. A bit more activity in the mouth would help some. The aftertaste of oak and alcohol is nice, if not a bit overpowering.

Drinkability: Good beer, but could be improved a little. Quite smooth though, and easy to drink. Worth a try.

Photo of Goliath
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown, almost black with amber hues around the edges. Ther eis a thin light tan head that develops on top of this brew with poor retention and no lacing.

Aroma is weak, but notes of chocolate, caramel, and vanilla are present.

Taste is alright, some chocolate notes but not mluch else.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and lightly carbonated.

Drinkability is moderate. Easy to consume, but flavor is lacking.

Photo of younger35
3.32/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Picked up this brew from Whole Foods for about $8.50. This will be my first brew from New Holland. Drank out of my Deschutes Black Butte Porter pint glass.

Appearance- Pours a very dark brown with hints of dark maroon highlights around the edges. Absolutely zero head, zero lacing, zero cap and a super thin collar that looks really out of place. One of the worst looking brews I've ever seen.
Smell- Very soft tones of vanilla bean and light bourbon oak. Some chocolate and caramel hide behind the vanilla but nothing real crazy. A bit more subdued than I was hoping but I'm sure the taste will be a bit more my style.
Taste- Much more intense than the nose. Starts with a sweet caramel/bourbon mix that is more bourbon than caramel. Lots of vanilla and toasted oak really come through in the in the middle before a dark bitter roast cuts some of the sweetness. This brew has more of a vanilla side to it then I've ever tasted before. Fairly hot from the 8.5% ABV but not enough to really take away from the tastiness of this brew.
Mouthfeel- This brew feels exactly like it looks. It's really thin and has very little body with almost zero carbonation.
Drinkability- This brew is a rollercoaster. It looks horrible, smells pretty weak, tastes damn good and feels as horrible as it looks. I guess what really matters is how a beer tastes and this one is tasty. As a beer to review, this one looks bad on paper. BUT, if I was just sitting watching football or something this is a tasty barrel aged brew.

Photo of Contagion
4.87/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

It comes in a 1 pint, 6 fluid ounce bottle. That's a total of 22 ounces for those of you that don't want to do the math themselves. It comes in a brown bottle with the name on it and the picture of a dragon over a barrel, very eye catching. There is also some informative writings about the beer on it.

The beer is a dark coffee color that light doesn't pass through. Very much like Guinness or Murphy's Irish Stout. When poured into the glass it forms a nice firm half-inch head tan in color. I've been drinking on this beer for 20 minutes and the residue of the head is still along the edge where the beer and glass meet.

The smell is heavenly. You can smell the oak of the barrel, a hint of bourbon and a hint of vanilla, coffee and malt. The smell itself was enough to make Ktreva want to take a sip, and she doesn't like dark beers. I don't think words can describe the taste, but that won't stop me from trying. The taste is like happiness. Roasted malts with a hint of vanilla and bourbon entice the tongue and mouth. There is a very slight bitterness to it that enhances the flavor. Even Ktreva liked the taste, and she doesn't like many beers. This is a beer to be savored and appreciated, not gulped down to get another. What is even more surprising is that it is High Gravity ale with 9% alcohol by volume. Tasting this beer you would not suspect that at all.

The texture in the mouth is very much like milk. It's extremely smooth and doesn't leave a bad aftertaste. It coats the mouth and throat as it easily passes by in a pleasant way.

I've never had a beer like this before. When I say it's unique, I truly mean it is a one of a kind. This is the type of beer that beer lovers hope to find, and then are disappointed, when after sampling it, they can't find it anymore. It is a bit pricey at $6.99 a bottle, but well worth the price. If you ever get a chance to sample one, you'd be a fool to pass it up. There are only a handful of beers that I've had the pleasure of tasting that goes into my, "Special guest" category, but this is one of them. If I know I'm going to have an avid beer drinker over, I'll make sure to have a couple of bottles of this fine elixir in the house. This would be the 30-year single malt of beers.

Dragon's Milk from New Holland Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 4,595 ratings.