Dragon's Milk - New Holland Brewing Company

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Dragon's MilkDragon's Milk

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very good

1,278 Reviews
very good

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Reviews: 1,278
Hads: 4,728
Avg: 3.95
pDev: 26.08%
Wants: 277
Gots: 1,281 | 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
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Reviews: 1,278 | Hads: 4,728
Photo of glid02
4.02/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


Pours one shade from black with a half-finger tan head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of large amounts of vanilla and butterscotch. Also present are sweet caramel malt undertones with slight amounts of roasted malt flavors.

Tastes good. A combination of sweet caramel malt and roasted malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by sweet butterscotch flavors. Midway through the sip hints of light chocolate flavors make an appearance before being crowded out by smooth vanilla. Finally, hints of earthy oak come into play and carry through to a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a smooth thickness with nice carbonation.

Drinkability is OK. I finished my glass without a problem however I'm not sure about another.

Overall this was a very nice beer however the sweetness from the barrels was just a bit over the top and hurt the drinkabililty for me. Still, a good beer that should be on par with Crème Brulee as far as love-hate relationships.

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Photo of claspada
3.83/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aromas of dark roasted espresso beans with ample amounts of dark baker's chocolate. AS it warms you get slight alcohol, oak and light vanilla.

The taste starts off with milk chocolate cocoa powder and some oakiness that fades into a bitter dark chocolate boozy finish. One again as you let this warm to the appropriate temperature you get lesser notes of coconut and vanilla and a more prevalent sweetness/fruitness that is undetectable initially.

Mouthfeel was full with the oak aging helping to dry out the complex high ABV, maltiness and overall flavor profile. Overall I really enjoyed this beer, not as good as I first remember when I sampled it on draft at the original Savor, but still good non-the-less.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.37/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got a 32oz fill at my local place for 8 bucks

A - Poured a nice deep amber with a nice bounty of fluffy head. Very carbonated for a bourbon oak beer.

S - Very light bourbon and oak tones with an underlying sweetness of caramel and candies

T - Hands down one of the smoothest bourbon barrel beers I ever had the privilege of drinking. I swear it drinks like an IPA. Well hidden bourbon with light yet playful notes of oak and vanilla with a finish of sweet caramel and vanilla flavoring.

M - Surprisingly it drinks like a medium body stout. Smooth and creamy.

Overall after the half fill was gone I wished I had more then the ABV hits you. Dangerously drinkable. When I think of New Holland Dragons milk will always be the beer I associate it with as the best I ever had.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.84/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of Gusler
4.07/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer piles forth from the brown silk screened bottle a deep brown with a large creamy tan head that slowly fades to nothingness leaving a fine thick sheet of lace to cover the glass. Nose is a hodge-podge of aromas, vanilla, Oak, caramel, toasted malt, hops, very complex to say the least, start is slightly sweet with a tinge of tartness, grain profile decent, and the top light to middling in feel. Finish has a moderate acidity, the hops delightful with the Oak flavor lasting to the very dry end, also a bit of tummy warming from the 9 percent ABV, certainly a beer to age.

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Photo of avalon07
3.83/5  rDev -3%
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.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.65/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received a midnight black brew with little head (don't know if beer or bartender) but left some spider lacings as I drank. Some wood and sweet malts came through in the smell, plus some coffee malts. A little thick and syrupy with the body, the beer contained a good oak taste with some sweetness and a little coffee malt, among other malts. The oak kind of took over and this is a good beer, but not a standout beer. ABV hidden pretty good as there is a smoothness riding through this beer, including the backbite. I'd have it again but I'm not going out of my way to seek it.

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Photo of dirtylou
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had a couple of these sitting in the "cellar fridge" since the summer, or earlier

appearance: quite dark and creamy, a deep plum color, some creamy white head with ringed lacing

smell: sugary sweet/sour, chocolate covered cherries, creamy vanilla aromas. quite sharp

taste: quite interesting...chocolate covered cherries really stick out, some nice alcohol burn, very sugary...nice oak and vanilla flavors...Im pretty impressed by this one...the flavors are quite explosive

mouthfeel: very much a red wine afteraste, medium bodied, sugar tingles on the tongue

drinkability: pretty drinkable

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.66/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle I picked up at From the Vine in Dublin, OH last year on my way to DLD. Into my Duvel tulip

A: Reddish brown with ruby highlights and rather exceptional clarity. There a thick mocha-colored head that recedes to a disk, leaving a rather patchy network of lace. Good looking beer, this!

S: Rich caramel malts are noticeable with some dark fruit (prunes). Oak is prominent with a lot of wood and vanilla. Just the wee bit harsh, with some alcohol creeping in as it warms up

T: Opens up with a combination of caramel and oak with some vanilla and some pleasant oxidation. The mid-palate is not existent and this beer could really use something there. A little alcohol and some tannins appear on the finish and provides the bite needed to keep the sweetness in check.

M: Surprisingly thin, this could have used a little more heft. Carbonation in the bottle is a bit much. The finish is mildly tannic and enjoyable

D: I'm going to enjoy the rest of the bottle, not sure how often I'll buy this, though.

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Photo of ccrida
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage bottle poured into my Delirium snifter, Dragon's Milk is dark brown with a light tan head leaving light, scattered lace.

Smell is not to robust, oak and coconut, with a little roast.

Taste big, there's loads of vanilla, caramel, alcohol, and some wood notes as well. Not the most elegant beer, it's really quite a monster, although not unpleasant.

Mouthfeel is pretty creamy, decent viscosity, very dry on the finish.

Drinkability is pretty good. Even though the 10% ABV is obvious, it's clean. The flavors aren't too well integrated but generally satisfying.

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Photo of xnicknj
3.35/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into snifter glass. 2010 vintage.

Pours a fairly thick black color with a thinner crop of tanned head, leaving some spotty film and lacing behind.

Scents of sweet licorice and chocolate, smoky edges, some alcohol heat and earthiness on the back end.

Begins with some syrupy sweetness and roasted earthy malt. Bitter hops coupled with dark chocolate and molasses. Light smoke with some woodiness and soft bourbon notes. Finishes with some additional alcohol heat, understated vanilla, and a bit of anise.

Fuller body, sticky and syrupy, decent carbonation. Drinks pretty decent, although I really would have liked more barrel presence and better meshed flavor. This is one of those beers that I've passed up about 200 times before and now I kinda see why.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.6/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle poured into a New Holland imperial pint.
Vintage 2011, 23°P, 10% ABV, Pairings listed, F021 printed on the neck (June 02, 2011).

A - Clear and deep mahogany, ruby brown while pouring, Dragon's Milk relinquishes it's color for a deep, foreboding blackness in the pint. Topped by a thick khaki head with good retention, laces remains caked to the glass.

S - Maybe it's just the name playing tricks on me, but I get a lactose sweetness beside the milk chocolate and smooth roasted malt. Light charred oak accompanies the bourbon aroma so prevalent and sought-after in Dragon's Milk.

T - Robust and flavor-packed, Dragon's Milk features a complex malt profile of roasted notes like coffee, milk chocolate, and cocoa with smooth, more subtle oak and bourbon characteristics than the majority of other similar beers out there.

M - Smooth, supple, and full-bodied, Dragon's Milk has a nice level of carbonation that keeps it from being overbearing. Warm alcohol and mild roast bitterness (to balance) linger on the finish but remain in check so it doesn't become a booze-bomb.

O - New Holland's crowning jewel, Dragon's Milk, is rich and flavorful but not boozy nor potent to the point of being cloying. A perfect balancing act of malt sweetness, bitterness, and smooth alcohol, Dragon's Milk is great fresh and even more complex and deep with extended age. I recommend buying multiple bottles of each vintage to visit this real treat over time!

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A-Pours dark brown. Lots of light penetration. Looks like a Brown Ale. Consistent lacing rings. Head is tan and frothy.

S-The barrel lends a delectable nose of maple syrup and wood. The bourbon/whiskey notes are far from coercive. They mesh with the sweetness exceptionally well. Light chocolate and some lactic milk notes. Great use of the barrel.

T-Again, the barrel shines. It is a bit more aggressive than the nose. Milk chocolate. Light roast. Like dipping a piece of toast into bourbon. Light molasses and maple syrup. Booze comes out. Quite lactic. Vanilla milkshake with a shot of whiskey. Pretty cool, but I like the nose a bit better.

M-Buzzing carbonation. Body is not very full. Booze dries you out a tad. It is pretty drinkable.

O/D-A pretty tasty brew. A cool take on the barrel-aged brew. Not a sludgy, viscous and overly barrel dependent beer. It is lighter, more lactic and the barrel presents itself in a different manner. I truly enjoyed this but I didn't really love it.

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Photo of barczar
3.99/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown opaque color with garnet highlights at the edges and a thin later of milk chocolate head that dissipates leaving no trace.

Booze, malted milk balls, molasses, and oak lead the nose, with nutty roast malt forming the backbone. Hints of plums and raisins surface, and a hint of earthy hop.

Flavor is dominated by dark fruit initially, raisins, figs, and alcohol linger throughout. Roast malt surfaces late, with oak and a hint of citrus rounding the profile. As it warms chocolate dominates the taste.

Body is fairly thick, with minimal carbonation, and an alcoholic warmth can be felt throughout the sip.

A very tasty brew that could benefit from a little aging to soften the alcohol. Would definitely buy again.

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Photo of barnzy78
4/5  rDev +1.3%

This was one the first craft beers I was introduced to - it's time for a review.
12oz bottle, Vintage 2014, 11% ABV. I remember this being less ABV in previous years and described as "ale aged in oak barrels" (like the photo to the left) rather than the updated description of "bourbon barrel stout". Not sure of when and why the change. Marketing perhaps.
A 4 - thin foamy tan head atop a dark brown cola-like colored body
S 4 - vanilla, oak, boozy bourbon, roasted barley, caramel
T 4 - boozy with bourbon, vanilla, oak, roasted barley, dark chocolate, earthy and peppery on the finish
M 4 - fuller body, very smooth, lower carbonation, alcohol is expectedly noticeable
O 4 - always a good one to come back to. It's been a few years, but just as good as I remember.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aroma is interesting - somewhat smoky like a stout, but with a strong alcohol bite like a barleywine and a decided overtone of oak. It pours a dark, warm, chocolaty brown with a fairly thick beige head that is not all that persistent. Flavor is somewhere between a stout and a barleywine - oak dominates, and there is some "stouty" smoke-coffee-chocolate flavor plus quite a strong alcohol bite like a good brandy. Texture is sharp, edgy and tingly, going down more like hard liquor than beer.

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Photo of tectactoe
3.64/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

One of the first "big" stouts that I tried on my expedition into the craft world. Now that I've had many more, I can review this one respectively. Pours a very dark brown color, black in spots, with super-deep ruby shades at the very edges of the glass and top of the beer. The pour isn't as thick as you'd expect for a typical 10% ABV stout.

The tan head is pretty small and recessed, but hangs around for a while before vanishing into a simple ring around the glass. The nose is pretty heavy on this one; booze, dark cocoa, oak and woodiness, sugary vanilla, sharp, dark figs and dates. Sweetness is far more apparent on the nose than any kind of bitterness, typically expected for heavy stouts.

The taste of Dragon's Milk is far more powerful and commanding than the aroma would ever lead you to believe. Hefty handfuls of roasted malts begin to the lay the groundwork for this complex monster. Musky, wet oak and wood chips, burnt brown sugar, molasses, dark, bitter cocoa beans, sharp vanilla sweetness, and most of all, heavy booze. Many 10%+ ABV beers do all they can to mask and hide their alcohol content, but not Dragon's Milk - the booze is right on the front lines.

The booziness adds a huge level of robustness and power, causing you to respect it with slow sips and a drinking session likely to go beyond a half an hour (at least). As expected, this beer just continues to open up with warmth. The booze gets stronger, the vanilla is sweeter, the cocoa is darker and more bitter. I don't sense much of a hop presence in this beer. It might be there, but I sure as hell don't taste it. The mouth is silky and slick, albeit still a bit more thin than wanted/expected. Carbonation is pretty subdued overall, but it's not really a nuisance.

My tastes have changed greatly over time, and Dragon's Milk doesn't quite impress me as much as it once did. However, it's still not an awful choice considering there aren't many "year round" bourbon barrel aged stouts on the shelves. It's a bit too hot to enjoy in any quantity, but it's a relatively decent introduction to the style. If you remotely like Dragon's Milk at all, you're gonna love plenty of other BBA stouts.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to ThirstyBird for the opportunity to try this one. Served in my Maudite tulip. Poured opaque black with virtually no head other than a tan skim and a frothy band around the shoulders. Some lacing, but virtually no adherence. Nose was sweet and malty; chocolate, alcohol and the ligthest trace of wood. Taste consistent with nose; however, some vanilla is also revealed, as well as a mild coffee character. Mouthfeel is between light- and medium-bodied with very little carbonation. Extremely smooth and creamy; not at all viscous. Alcohol is very well-hidden. A nice alternative to an RIS in that it's packed with flavor, but lighter in body. Would make a wonderful dessert beer.

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Photo of rfgetz
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark brown, nearly black with minimal head, but decent lacing. Smell is of oak, vanilla extract, dark chocolate, nuts, cherrys and a hint of coffee. Taste is very plesantly oak forward, with good roasted grain, cocoa and nut flavors. Cherry flavors in e background. Present is a vanilla extract taste, a good quality oak should impart a natural vanilla like taste itself, but this seems artificial. Definitely a little boozy, and not necessarily in a good way... a tad fusel. Good soft yet medium body, light on the carbonation. I want to like this beer even more than i did, but things need to be blended and mellowed a bit better.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.84/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. No bottled date.

(A)- Pours a dark black color with just the tiniest bit of dark brown highlights. Absolutely no head formation even after a rather vigorous pour.

(S)- A general roastedness of malts. A bit of raisin & molasses-like coffee. Finishes with a touch of vanilla & brown sugar sweetness.

(T)- Basically, just like the smell foretold, only with an obviously present warmth. Rather sweet.

(M)- A good carbonation level for the style. A relatively good balance to it. Just has a small level of boozy warmth going down.

(D)- Definitely New Holland's best offering and perhaps their most popular too. Still a little sweet like most of New Hollands offerings, but not overly so. I wouldnt mind having this once and awhile.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.27/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber courtesy of fthomasl, thanks bra! Pours quite black, very little highlights. Tan foam fades quick and leaves little lacing.

Nose is vanilla, chocolate malty, bourbony and alcoholic! Nice blend of different scents. Maybe even some licorice and anise as it warms.

This is a very nice surprise, easily the best New Holland brew I have had. All the flavors blend together very well. Sweet and roasty with licks of vanilla rum and chocolate. Smooth, adequate mouthfeel. I am enjoying this quite a bit...It is nothing outstanding, but at the same time everything a barrel aged stout/strong ale should be. Very drinkable.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap at The Daily Growler in Upper Arlington, OH.

Pours a dark opaque black with a one inch head and not much lacing.

Smells include dark roasted malt, vanilla, and some oak.

Not much bourbon flavor in this BA stout, it's more of an oak and vanilla story. Some chocolate and roasted malt flavor. I might be spoiled now by other intense versions of this style, but this seems slightly muted. Good flavors, but would prefer a stronger barrel character. Quite sweet, slightly cloying.

Medium bodied, sticky sweet mouthfeel, coats your mouth. Not much alcohol present.

A good beginner's BA stout, I think, but not one of the greats.

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Photo of champ103
3.7/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a nearly pitch black color. A one finger tan head forms with good retention. Some sticky lace is left behind.
S: Roasted malt up front. Chocolate and coffee is strong. Slightly smoky and some dry wood.
T: Lots of roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, and sweet vanilla. Lots of dry wood. A light grainy flavor. Plenty of fusel alcohol.
M/D: A full body that is low on the carbonation. Creamy and smooth. The fusel alcohol makes this a one and down. Though a nice beer to sip on.

This is a nice beer. Big and something to sip during a contemplative night. Recommended.

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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 ZAP
4.47/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Highly enjoyable drinking experience with this one. Dark brown bordering on black.

Barrel properties are quite apparent on the nose...oak...bourbon...light vanilla..

Full bodied...solid carbonation...pretty smooth and velvety in the mouth...

Taste is loaded with oak, and bourbon...roasted maltiness....a little bit of dark cocoa as well..

Finishes dry....booze is hidden but becomes noticable on the long finish..

An excellent strong ale I will likely purchase again.

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Dragon's Milk from New Holland Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,278 ratings.