Dragon's Milk - New Holland Brewing Company

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Dragon's MilkDragon's Milk

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very good

1,258 Reviews
very good

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Reviews: 1,258
Hads: 4,636
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 13.23%
Wants: 271
Gots: 1,201 | FT: 40
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
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Reviews: 1,258 | Hads: 4,636
Photo of centurian62
4.57/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After skipping out on work early, a co-worker and I decided to swing in to the NHB world headquarters (Holland, MI) and have a brew. Having never tried the Dragon's Milk, I decided it was time...and I'm glad I did. At 10% ABV, I expected the alcohol to be over-powering and make the beer tingy. Not the case at all! It was very smooth for a stout and the oak aging came out in full vibrance. The only way I would have guessed that it was 10% was the fact that I could feel a slight buzz from 1 beer. I would highly recommend that you don't miss this one if you are doing a West Michigan craft beer tour! (603 characters)

Photo of Hazer115
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

O: Overall, I would definitely recommend this to friends. If you take the time to let it warm to the proper temperature and taste it a little bit along the way, you will get to experience many different notes in just one glass. (957 characters)

Photo of fauxpunker
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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. (689 characters)

Photo of quad07
3.62/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I picked this up at UFS, $5.99 for a 22oz dark brown bottle with a pry off cap. No bottled date or freshness date that I could find. 9%ABV.

I poured it into my large 23oz beer glass and did not produce much of a head at all. The head was a light tan color that did not leave much lacing behind. When held up to the light it appeared a very dark brown almost a motor oil color with slight reddish highlights around the edges. You could see the very tiny bubbles struggling to the top like most high gravity beers.

I like the smell! You could smell oak barrel ageing with some smoke and raison. I could not smell any hops or floral aromas.

Now when I tasted this first thing I noticed was liquorish and anise and a small amount of carbonation on my tongue. It was surprisingly sweet with creamy liquorish texture. Very little hop taste. After the third or fourth sip some slight bourbon like flavors were present and a very notable warming affect.

I could not finish the whole glass because after it warmed up it was to sweet or rich and I had enough. I felt very hot and was ready to open a window. Would be great to share or needs to be in smaller bottles.

I really liked this ale but it was too much for me at one sitting without a meal.

Cheers (1,251 characters)

Photo of PrAndo
4.27/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Deep ruby, burned carmel, aged bourdon

S - bourbon, bourbon, bourbon, and oak. Man alive this smelled good.

T - bourbon with oak and malt. Is that a bad thing?

M - not as heavy as I expected, but rather perfect for the intensity of the flavor.

D - couldn't have more than a few but I'd like to try! (307 characters)

Photo of thebierbrewery
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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. (569 characters)

Photo of JorgeOjeda
4.21/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Is a great value, people will confuse this with the oak barrel. Is a great beer. Not that expensive. Nice to the taste, great foam texture. Easy to drink. I would buy it again for real. I comes as a bomber. I was surprised I couldn't find this beer here. (254 characters)

Photo of ef88
4.4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured 12 oz. bottle into snifter.

A: Dark--very dark. It looks like I'm drinking a Coke (ok, a porter might be a more fitting comparison) out of a snifter. Beige head, about one-and-a-half fingers. Very little lacing.

S: Licorice, toffee, and caramel. Maybe even some raisins. An interesting and satisfying smell to this one.

T: I'm getting toasted malts, cream, dark chocolate, and alcohol. I'm a fan.

M: Good body; after each sip, the creaminess of this ale hangs out on the roof of my mouth for a bit, which I like. Pretty chewy, too.

D: I could definitely sip on a couple of these, which is more than I would first assume for a dark strong ale of 9%.

Very glad I tried this one after hearing rave reviews about it for so long. (737 characters)

Photo of FarmHouseJam
3.51/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours very dark, possible red coming through when held up to very bright light. Sort of a light body, with alot of carbonation and alcohol coming through. Mild head light brown to white color. Not much on the oak flavor, age would probably help round out the flavor of this brew for me at least. (295 characters)

Photo of hwy61mb
3.69/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I poured this 2010 vintage from a 12oz. bottle into a snifter. I can smell it right off the bat, without even putting my nose in it. Its dark, but not opaque - not as dark as most stouts that I have had. Little head, basically none except for a ring around the edge of the glass. There is also minimal lacing. The smells are of the roasty, caramelly, vanilla variety - with a healthy does of booziness.

This hits me in the front of the mouth first with a tingling sensation. The taste follows the nose, it is sweet and malty, but also a touch bitter in the finish, along with plenty of booze. As it warms up, the oaken flavors and smells begin to reveal themselves. This is a sipper for sure, but it's real good. (713 characters)

Photo of Dizzle32
3.77/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Heard a lot about this beer so I thought I would give it a go. Overall this beer has a great good oaky aroma. I poured into a goblet to enjoy. A dark pour with nice lacing. First sip was very warm. A nice flavor but the alcohol is the overwhelming characteristic. If you do not mind a truly warming beer this might be for you. I would drink it again but only on a cold night. (375 characters)

Photo of beerismysavior
4.19/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Aroma: slight woodiness, vanilla presence, alcohol in the nose, cocoa

Appearance: pitch black, beige colored head, microfine bubbles, head dissipates quickly, moderate head retention to the glass.

Taste: definite alcoholic presence, slightly metallic, no presence of oxidation, slight char character

Mouthfeel: Highly viscous, lots of residual sugar hangs on the ‘stach/lips.

In need of inspiration, I reached for two things last night. A fresh New Holland Dragon’s Milk and my headphones. I clicked on Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy and started to write this review. I gave the beer a steadfast pour into my miniature beer glass. The brain synapses began firing and I knew what was happening… Homebrew. I’m standing in my New Jersey apartment, covered in sweat, hungry, and a little buzzed. I’m casually sipping a heavy ass stout listening to Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy and eagerly awaiting for the boil to finish. Early days of homebrewing in college.

Nothing in my life will ever again be quite like that. I’ll never forget the relentless drive, continued exhaustion, destroyed floors, sore hands, jammed fingers, burnt thumbs. You see, Houses of the Holy was meant to die in a parents’ basement somewhere in New Jersey. We brought it back to life on an old school record player and it transformed our understanding of the world. Brewday was the most sacred time; phones were rendered useless, cares were tossed aside, TVs were turned off, and nothing could deter our much desired pain. It was masochistic. We would bust our ass for 8 hours doing all-grain mashes on our only free day. Nothing could take these precious moments from us. Broke, hungry, crazy. The way we wanted to live back then. I know now that our reward was not the beer we produced, but the experience we shared.

I’ve not gone astray from my roots, but begun budding into a legitimate plant. I’ve matured into more of an adult, dedicated my life to being a beer professional. This is the first beer that has brought me back to the early days in a long ass time. It seems fitting that we associated so strongly with a record that had the same effect, and religious allegory to boot. You see, listening to this, drinking these types of beers is when it all became divine for me. I never even saw the seventies, but when brewday rolled around I don’t imagine we were any different than a bunch of 20 somethings back then. We were technology students, doing everything in our power to stand in contrast to all of our peers, avoid being a soulless ladder climber. We liked listening to vinyl, making beer on a not-so-technical system and avoiding our early adult life concerns.

Dragon’s milk is not the best stout I’ve ever had, I’ve tried far too many at this point to say that any one stout is the best I’ve ever had. My understanding of beer has grown great in its complexity, and every part of me is proud of this. Another part of me misses these early days, when I was falling in love for the first time, finding my calling in life. A fresh New Holland’s milk stout it sticky sweet, sort of like an amateur homebrew might taste. Back then, I had a favorite style. It was sticky sweet, super-alcoholic stout. I’d drink these during the boil, contemplating everything and nothing all at the same time. Occasionally I’d just sit back and listen to the music.

My palate has refined, and I’ve transgressed having a favorite style. This beer, and this album, brought me back, if only for a moment. This is why I do this, this is why I dedicated my life to it, and this is why I give a damn. These are rare moments when I recall some of the greatest memories in my life. Age and experience will do this beer well, much like it has done well for me. Thankfully, I have several to lie down for a couple months. Maybe it will taste just as great several years later, I know Houses of the Holy sounded just as amazing 40 years ago. This beer will forever be a tribute to late adolescence, the beauty that age may bring, and the power of finding my true calling in life.

I’ll never forget what fresh New Holland Milk Stout tastes like; young, rambunctious, and filled with passion. (4,204 characters)

Photo of BoilerMo
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Excellent roasted aroma followed by a smooth mouth feel and an oaken finish. It is an excellent Imperial and the stronger ABV can be tasted in the finish. Great sipping beer on a cold night. (192 characters)

Photo of WillKorn
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a very unique beer that is awesome in flavor. The first time I had this I absolutely hated it, but have really developed my liking for stronger beers, which this certainly is. This beer is also very good to cook with as well, adding great flavors. (255 characters)

Photo of bluto1998
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Tried this out one night with my wife. Very surprised. First taste strong bourbon flavor. You can taste the bourbon through out and it really grows on you. Great beer to share after a good meal around the camp fire! (215 characters)

Photo of EmGM
4.94/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look: super dark brown
Smell: chocolate notes, heavy malted notes
Taste: creamy, heavy, thick, chocolate, espresso, slightly nutty
Aftertaste: warm, the thick heavy flavors stay with you for a bit
Overall: really excellent beer, would recommend for people that like stouts (272 characters)

Photo of ericmunley
4.02/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a Dragon's Milk (on a bartender's suggestion) here at the Backyard Ale House in Scranton, PA.

Appearance is standard stout fare. Poured into a Murphy's pint glass...Dragon Milk is pure black with a lacing, cream colored head.

This New Holland offering smells of oak, roasted malt and a little bit of chocolate and coffee. Smells delicious...can't wait to dive in.

The oak indicated in the nose really comes through in the taste. A fan of oaked stouts like Stone's Oaked Arrogant Bastard will appreciate this beer. Surprisingly smooth for it's oakiness. The vanilla adds an almost milk stout like taste to this otherwise bitter stout.

Dragon's Milk isn't the thickest stout I've ever had, but it is chewy and smooth. The mouthfeel is far above average.

At 8.5, this is far from a session beer. However, an after dinner beer it certainly is. I can see myself enjoying two of these on a night spent with my beer and thoughts.

New Holland's Dragon's Milk is definitely a beer worthy of a stout fan's palate. The price is reasonable, it is fairly common and thoroughly enjoyed by this reviewer. (1,105 characters)

Photo of sudsface69
4.64/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Man, I love winter. Not only for the snow and the crisp, cold air, but for the BEER!! And this one is definitely one that I can't wait to get my hands on as soon as it is released. Maybe it's because I'm also a big bourbon fan, but I really like this beer. In the nose, you can gather right away that this beer has spent some time in bourbon barrels. It has aromas of bourbon, toasted marshmallow, vanilla, sweet cream, chocolate, and a hint of spice. I also love the mouthfeel! Nice and creamy, (feels and tastes like there was some lactose thrown in to provide residual sugars) with a roundness and depth that just fills the mouth with goodness. The only downside to this beer is that (at least out of the 22oz bottles) the head is a little thin and tends to disappear quite quickly. I'd love it if the head were a little creamier and stayed around a little longer. Nonetheless, this is still one of my favorite winter beers. A bit pricey, but definitely worth it! (966 characters)

Photo of perryw
3.38/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased a single 12oz bottle, labeled with "Vintage 2010" and 10% ABV. Poured in to a large wine glass.

It poured nearly black with a tiny cream colored head that disappeared almost immediately. Tiny amount of lacing as I went through the glass.

The alcohol smell is overpowering, mixed with some vanilla. The same vanilla taste was present. Maybe some chocolate as well.

Feels pretty smooth & creamy in my mouth, not overly carbonated.

This is good enough, but I'm glad I just bought the one bottle. (506 characters)

Photo of Chris_the_Tartar
4.11/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Bourbon and ethanol smell. Taste is strong on the ethanol, with bourbon and vanilla notable. Feel is a definite strong point, thick and creamy. Comes off almost like (rice?) pudding. Overall really good, not too sweet for a milk stout, but the bourbon could have shined through a little more. (292 characters)

Photo of tomfitz18
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L: Dark brown, almost black, small creamy tan head, inviting
S: Smells strong, boozy, like bourbon. Also chocolatey, nutty, and sweet.
T: Malty, strong alcoholic taste, sweet, chocolatey, hints of vanilla and nuttiness.
F: well carbonated, smooth, slightly heavy, burns as it goes down throat like bourbon.
O: a strong after tasted, could see it pairing well with ice cream. I liked this beer and thought it was very tasty. Would definitely recommend. (451 characters)

Photo of ToggleEyes
4.65/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bought this in the new 22oz bomber. Poured out a mohogony black. formed a big pilowy head in my Pint. the smell was great, that of sweet rasins, coffee, milk and honey. The taste is awsome. Sweet chocolate, toffee, and espresso. It also has just the right carbonation with a small alcohol burn and a thin mouthfeel that lets you enjoy big gulps at a time. This is very easy to drink which always is most important in my book. I am now glad New Holland switch to a bomber style for this beer, I can easily put one down in one sitting. (533 characters)

Photo of Prasm
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours thick with a small head. Medium plus expressiveness on the nose, showing chocolate milk, coffee, and subtle vanilla hints. Big, thick, and creamy in the mouth - carbonated chocolate milk with a little bourbon kick. Definitely a niche beer, very focused flavors, but very delicious - I like it. (302 characters)

Photo of msgraves
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a snifter from Dilly Deli in Mariemont, OH.

Presented as a deep, deep reddish-brown with minimal head and mediocre lacing around the edge of the glass.

What first hit me with the aroma was the astringency/alcohol and complexity of a fine bourbon. Lots of vanilla and chocolately sweetness compounded with some oak. Plenty of bourbon character to this one.

Again the bourbon shines through but with enough malt backbone to support it. Many of the aromas are mirrored in the taste: vanilla, chocolate, malt, alcohol.

Felt a little thin in my mouth. However, the beer finished sweet and lasted a moderate amount of time.

Look forward to having this one again. (671 characters)

Photo of jadejaws
4.01/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Even though it is a high ABV beer and that is understood, the taste of alcohol is overbearing at first. Further in, the beer has a distinct flavor of bourbon and toffee. Excellent beer just know what you are getting into at 10% ABV. I would drink this (slowly) again and enjoy it very much. (290 characters)

Dragon's Milk from New Holland Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,258 ratings.