Dragon's Milk Reserve - Vanilla Chai
New Holland Brewing Company

Dragon's Milk Reserve - Vanilla ChaiDragon's Milk Reserve - Vanilla Chai
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Style:
American Imperial Stout
Ranked #1,682
ABV:
11%
Score:
91
Ranked #4,927
Avg:
4.05 | pDev: 8.64%
Reviews:
69
Ratings:
313
From:
New Holland Brewing Company
 
Michigan, United States
Avail:
Rotating
Wants
  17
Gots
  77
SCORE
91
Outstanding
Dragon's Milk Reserve - Vanilla ChaiDragon's Milk Reserve - Vanilla Chai
Notes: Combines robust malt character with the luxurious nuance of sweet Chai. Aged in white-oak bourbon barrels, Vanilla Chai Dragon’s Milk is a concert of luscious flavors.
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Reviews: 69 | Ratings: 313
Photo of ravisingh
4.09/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Tried this at Eli Cannon's in Middletown, CT. Came in a tulip glass with about a half inch of head leaving behind middling lacing. The aroma is roasty with a slight hint of chai. The taste is dark and roasty with some boozy notes. It's better than the coconut banana that's for sure. Decent stout.

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Photo of andrenaline
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nice flavour combination with the chai coming through nicely on the nose and surprisingly forward on the tongue. The vanilla is more subtle and comes through on the finish. Classic Dragons Milk with subtle barrel presence creates a base that pairs well with the vanilla chai additions. Fantastic.

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Photo of chinchill
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle.
Pours with a good beige head over an opaque near black body.
I'm a big fan of Dragon's Milk but not of chai. Not surprisingly then, I like this less than the original and some of the other variants. It is, nonetheless, very good, and it's almost exactly what I would expect. There's an obvious but not overpowering contribution of chai spices and vanilla, with the base Dragon's Milk clearly present.

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Photo of spacecake9
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours dark with a 1/4" of tan, creamy looking head.
S - The aroma is full of chai spice.
T - The flavor is quite interesting with the chai spices, vanilla and some chocolate.
M - Very creamy with low carbonation.
O - I love stouts, and I really like the different flavors in this one.

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Photo of Suds
4.36/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Black and thick, with a tall tan head...this beer is substantial. The aroma is intense with vanilla and cardamom....malt and sweet chocolate. The taste is malty, with continued vanilla and chai. A bit of sugar, thick and intense chocolate and coffee notes, along with bitter hops. The warming sets in a bit later....boozy and notable. This is a complex and very interesting beer.

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Photo of ichorNet
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was a pretty big fan of the coconut rum barrel version of this, as well as a pretty solid proponent of the base beer itself (it's easily the best widely-available, year-round bourbon barrel stout and it's available in an affordable format to boot), so when I saw these available to buy in four packs or as single bottles, I had to jump at the chance to grab a single to see what it was all about. I'm not huge on vanilla chai flavors, but I can definitely appreciate their solid inclusion in a nice, big, roasty and sweet stout such as this. Guess we'll see if they can pull that off!

Pours a luscious deep brown, bordering black, topped off with a dollop of creamy beige foam that sinks to a small, retentive and modest rim atop the dark beer's body. Smooth-looking with a color as devoid of light as motor oil, this definitely looks the part.

The nose feels a bit more subtle right off the bat than I anticipated. I'm getting some cardamom, woody tannins, light notes of vanilla and dark chocolate and some subtle caramel/toffee working its way in there as well. If I sniff real deeply, I can get some cinnamon, coffee and roasty grains. This is definitely less intense than the coconut rum barrel DM, but I guess I can appreciate that they didn't go too heavy-handed with this flavor combination, as it could easily get out of hand (and has in some chai-flavored beers I've had).

Flavor is more forward with a nice dose of cardamom and cinnamon-laden chai tea upfront, frothy and genuine with a light vanilla note that plays off the bourbon barrel. Some stiff tannins from those staves start to come out in the finish, while the mid-palate is awash in decadent milk chocolate and roasted barley. Spice is noticeable but definitely not over-the-top, and I appreciate the balance they achieved here. It could probably stand to be a little more bourbon-forward, but I barely taste any alcohol, let alone 11%, so I guess that's a win for drinkability and mouthfeel.

Speaking of, this is smooth and only lightly roasty in texture, and the herbal, spicy flavor of chai upfront kind of biases the tongue to those flavors, finishing off woody and pleasant, with a surprisingly dry closeout to each sip. Not bad, but not as good as Coconut Rum or even regular DM. I appreciate trying it but probably won't jump at the chance to get more of it. Solid.

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Photo of Jadjunk
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"Combines robust malt character with the luxurious nuance of sweet Chai. Aged in white-oak bourbon barrels, Vanilla Chai Dragon’s Milk is a concert of luscious flavors." Brewed in the style of an American Imperial Stout aged in oak barrels with vanilla and chai added. Available in 12 oz. bottled 4 packs and on limited draft.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a snifter glass.

(Appearance) Pours a creamy frothed head of a light brown color over a near black body. Retention is average and lacing is light and spotty. 4

(Smell) Imperial stout notes of dark chocolate, moderate roast, lightly toasted oak barrel tannins, moderate vanilla and bourbon character, slightly enhanced with additional vanilla character and the spicy herbal aroma of chai tea leaves. Potency is moderate. 4

(Taste) Even more bourbon character forward from the top, strong oak tannins and bourbon subtleties, vanilla slightly more potent than usual. Even stronger than in the aroma is the intense chai tea impact, moderately spicy and very potent in flavor for a unique flavor combination. Potency is moderate. 4

(Mouthfeel) Texture is slick, lightly creamy, smooth, medium dry. Carbonation is modest, generating a medium frothiness and a mildly crisp finish. Body is medium+ for the style, shy of heavy overall. Balance is slightly more oak tannins and roast bitterness over sweetness. Alcohol presence is moderate and there are no off characters. 4

(Overall) Another unique spin on a popular series, the chai comes through stronger than ever, but the vanilla plays a modest role in drawing out the bourbon more for a richer and smoother beer. Solid variant and worth a shot. 4

New Holland Brewing Company's
Dragon's Milk Reserve: Vanilla Chai
4.00/5.00

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Photo of FriedSlug
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A dark beer with a tan head that leaves a bit of lacing. The aroma is filled with coffee, vanilla and chai spices with the cardamom and cinnamon showing up the most. This nice creamy beer is pleasantly sweet with a huge hit of vanilla, cardamom and black pepper spice. There is a bitter char finish with lingering sweetness. This is a very well done chai beer.

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Photo of HopBomb515
4.01/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Black, thin appearance, medium head and great lacing. Aromas of spice, burnt toast and Bourbon. Notes of tea spice, vanilla char, oak and Bourbon. Sharp carbonation smooths to creamy by finish, medium body, and lightly dry.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.27/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Bean brown pour that develops into a dark black color in the snifter. A thin ring of head sits on top.

Aromas of dark chocolate, peanut butter-chocolate, coconut, cinnamon, and a dash of vanilla.

The flavor is initially some burnt malts and pot coffee, followed by licorice, and finally hits of chai. Still, a boozy flavor peeks through and throws off the flavors. Hot, boozy, cinnamon-licorice-rum.

Feel, again, super thin. But not as thin as the others? This sample is actually more on par with a thicker porter, not a brown ale. Are all Dragons' Milk not created equal? Lots of burn here though too. To be fair it's an 11% beer.

Overall, probably the best Dragon's Milk...BUT, still not worth buying again.

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Photo of Czequershuus
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a flat black with a small head. The aroma offers up caramel, vanilla, brown sugar, toffee, and no roastiness. The chai is very apparent early in the tastes, with cream and vanilla, caramel, toffee, browned toast, banana, and prunes. The mouthfeel is very thick, sweetly syrupy. Overall this is a a bit on the sweet side for me, but still enjoyable.

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Photo of russpowell
3.71/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours ebony with a pinky of mocha colored head. Pretty good lacing & head retention

S: Carob & vanilla

T: Vanilla & Chai as advertised, faint mocha notes up front. Cinnamon, a little vanilla & chai as this warms, some dryness as this warms. More of the same in the finish

MF: Medium body, slight carbonation & very warming

Not bad, but I prefer the regular version

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Photo of Sabtos
3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pouring bright brown filling to total black with large uniform tan head dying to a thin blanket.

Hmm, the smell is coming across as minty chocolate, like Andes, for some reason, I guess maybe the Chai and barrel combo has translated to mint. Wow, I mean, that's all I can get on the nose, and no, I have not recently ingested a breath mint!

Smooth, frothy chocolate with vanilla-coconuty oak and that mint-like chai is present again in flavor. A little heat lingers on the back end, but it doesn't quite seem like bourbon, maybe closer to rum.

Thankfully I'm not getting a potpourri effect like some Chai teas can bring. Feel is a relatively full body, semi wet.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.84/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Pours dark, near black, cola brown with a coca powder colored, half finger width head. Sub-par retention results in a mostly barren surface with an island of suds found in the middle of the glass and a razor thin ring around the edge. No lacing found aside from a small handful of tiny spots.

Smell - Follows the promise of the label - prominent chai spice (cinnamon and whatnot) upfront with lesser vanilla. Underlying chocolate and some sweet bourbon qualities.

Taste - Follows the nose. Plenty of chai flavors upfront and throughout with mild vanilla sweetness. Underlying chocolate adds a nice, subtle base. A hint of bourbon mid-taste, and a bit of milk chocolate in the finish. Aftertaste lingers with the aforementioned flavors, but chai spices still hold firm.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation. Silky smooth texture. Goes down stupid easy for 11%. Warms the belly slightly. A bit thin, but can't deny the smoothness.

Overall - Interesting brew, and mostly enjoyable, though I think the chai dominates too much of the total experience. The chai spices, I will say, do well to compliment the warming sensation of the bourbon character. Ultimately though, not my ideal BA impy stout.

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Photo of Ltdsaint
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: Beautiful rosy brown head that dissipates after about 2 minutes, dark charcoal black body with mild hints of sanguine.
S: I smell, off the bat a slight fragrance of vanilla, a strong sense of cinnamon, and even a little pumpkin. Could even be a little cherry, not too much of a smokey finish, but a decent oaky scent. A meager malt smell.
T: Many similarities in the taste, as described in the smell. No a very boozy brew, but very nicely crafted into a pungent texturized milk stout. Off the bat it is recognized as milk stout in its texture and format, but not exactly surprising, with the smell and taste.
F: I would describe this as syrupy and a bit creamy, doesn't strike me as extremely carbonated as well.
O: This is a great milk stout , but not fantastic. It is also the fall where I live, so that comes into play in my review.. Wish the Bourbon flavor was stronger in this sucker, but overall its a great milk stout, and I would most certainly drink it again!

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Photo of zeff80
4.09/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap. Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a small, thin head of foam. It smelled of vanilla, chocolate and chai spices. Nice roasted malt, coffee and chocolate taste with a hint of vanilla and spice.

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Photo of stortore
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into a snifter.

Pours a dark brown, opaque and fizzy looking. A small, quickly dissipating head with some cling. Smell is malt, chai spices, vanilla, oak, light chocolate, maybe a whiff of bourbon- maybe. The taste follows the nose with the malt and chai spices, more chocolate, some bourbon, oak, vanilla. Smooth, good, but a little lighter body, appropriate level of carbonation.

Enjoyable, and I liked it. As with all the variants, not as roasty or full bodied as the original. As a chai stout, it's good. not special.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

2016 vintage 12oz bottle poured into a tulip, bottled 1/20/16

A- pours a dark, nearly opaque black color with. Small foamy khaki colored head that reduces to. Ring around the glass

S- aroma is a nice mix of cardamom, black peppercorn, ginger & anise spices up front. Oaky bourbon mixes with a vanilla and caramel sweetness and chocolate to close it out

T- spicy chai flavors up front with highlights of cinnamon, cardamom & ginger. Sweet vanilla kicks in mid-palate, along with oaky bourbon barrel, caramel & chocolate. The finish is peppery, with lingers of more chai spice and vanilla

M- medium body with moderate carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel that turns a bit watery into the finish

O- my favorite dragons milk variant, the chai spicing is a great addition

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Photo of pants678
3.04/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Black with thin head foam.

Wood, vanilla and tea.

Barrel and cardamom is harsh for a vanilla beer. Spiced are a new touch to the stole but feel out of place. Feel look like there's a better version that's vanilla only. The base stout has a simple milk chocolate flavor that works.

Hard to tell bc of the harsh finish.

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

look: dark mahogany. Moderate tan head on the pour. Handsome brew but i want my stouts nasty dark.
smell: Vanilla to be sure and though not familiar with Chai i guess that soft spiciness is it. Nice addition.
taste: nicely melded vanilla and chai with the base beer. Roastiness, kind of a milkshake quality. Nicely done.

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Photo of StoutHunter
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Short Review. I normally don't care for Chai beers too much, it's almost always overpowering and most of the time it doesn't work as well with the base beer as I would hope, but not with this beer, the chai blends seamlessly and it makes for a great mocha chai flavor that I really like. I'm impressed, New Holland showed they got some major skill with this one, it's easily my favorite Chai Beer, great job guys, I highly recommend it.

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Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was given a 12 oz bottle by a friend. The bottling stamp says this one was made about four months ago. Poured at cellar temperature into my Samuel Smith pint glass.

L: Pours a deep cola brown--glows a bit red at the edges where the light can make it through--with a fantastically dense inch of khaki head that really sticks around forever and leaves significant lacing on the glass. That's a nice-looking beer.

S: Deep roasted malt notes with significant sweeter caramel playing on top. Riding above all of this are notes of chai tea, cinnamon, dark chocolate, and vanilla. More subtle bourbon plays around the edges. Solid nose.

T: Sweet caramel malts register first. Accompanying these are more toasted/roasted and chocolate malt flavors--quite sweet right out of the gates. The next flavors are those of chai tea, cinnamon, and vanilla, all of which seem to accentuate the sweetness. The middle has a greater chocolate quality, and it brings the introduction of the bourbon flavors (along with some building clear/warming alcohol). The back end doesn't diminish in sweetness, but it does bring a culmination of the chai, vanilla, and bourbon flavor, as well as quite a bit of warming alcohol and a good deal of chocolate malt flavor. There is some lingering bitter at the close, mingling with some of the boozy flavor. Not as much roastiness in the malt bill as I had expected: this one definitely favors the sweet.

F: This one is pretty firmly medium-bodied. It's quite creamy, well-carbonated, and just a bit syrupy, leaving some substantial bitter and booze on the palate.

O: I remember reviewing Dragon's Milk a long time ago and giving it a pretty poor score, primarily for its syrupy body and what I thought its overwhelming booziness. My tastes have changed a bit since then, and I've come to appreciate strong stouts in all their hefty glory. This one is pretty enjoyable. I don't know if I'd place it anywhere near a KBS or BCBS. The chai just doesn't do a whole lot for me among the other flavors going on, and the sweetness gets to be a bit too much for me. For what it sets out to be, though, I think New Holland did a great job. I'd recommend it to others who like barrel-aged flavored stouts, but I probably won't be going out of my way to find it again.

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Photo of NoYouDidnt
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on draft. Looks perfect. Black appearance. 1 1/2 finger tan head. Smell is of vanilla, cinnamon, cream, bourbon. Taste, has a real nice cinnamon, and milky taste. Even a cinnamon from a hot cinnamon candy. Those favors dominate. Vanilla and some chocolate in there too. Overall, this is real nice. A sweeter cousin of dragons milk. Love it.

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Photo of WunderLlama
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into snifter

Black liquid, brown foam quickly settles to a brown ring of bubbles

Aroma of chai tea, vanilla

Taste of chai, vanilla, bourbon, interesting flavor combination, different

Suds up and settles down quickly, feel a little of the alcohol,

Good beer, like it but wouldn't be a constant go to, something different

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Photo of larryarms847
4.14/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours rather thin and a cola like dark brown/black with a frothy finger of cream white foam.

Roasted malt, tea spice, chai, and nice vanilla sweetness.

The vanilla and chai interact spectacularly with light creamy sweetness and some mildly spicy tea flavors enveloped by a light roasty and chocolaty character.

Light-medium bodied, medium carbonation, light, crisp, cola like.

Overall, if this had a thicker body it would be even more awesome than it already is.

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Dragon's Milk Reserve - Vanilla Chai from New Holland Brewing Company
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 313 ratings