Dragon's Milk Reserve - S'mores Bourbon Barrel
New Holland Brewing Company

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American Imperial Stout
Ranked #401
Ranked #1,704
4.25 | pDev: 8%
New Holland Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Reviews: 52 | Ratings: 206 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of TheSixthRing
4.01/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours near black with cola brown edging, with a tan, half finger width head that fizzes away a tad slower than soda, leaving behind a mostly barren surface. No lacing.

Smell - Nice aroma, with hints of vanilla and bourbon, then chocolate and lesser graham cracker character.

Taste - Chocolatey upfront along with some graham cracker and marshmallow sweetness. A hint of bourbon and barrel finds it's niche mid-taste, and follow through to the finish. Good balance of the "S'mores" infusion and the more classical "Dragon's Milk" flavor.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with fair carbonation. Smooth, slick and with a hint of creaminess. Damn smooth for 11%.

Overall - Good beer, and perhaps one of the better Dragon's Milk variants I've had, but not better than the OG or some of the better variants. Something is just missing. A bit of smokey character would have gone a long way to bring that classic campfire experience to life, but it's simply not there. Smooth, as all the Dragon's Milks are. Would I buy it again? This came in a gift pack for $18 with two glasses. Good deal, but not unless I suddenly break both glasses would I feel the need to buy this again.

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Photo of ovaltine
4.34/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours as dark of a brown color without being black as possible with a dense tan head. Milk chocolate and char notes highlight the nose, and there’s also vanilla and oak from the barrel. No sign of the s’mores, unless the vanilla is masquerading as marshmallow.

The s’mores show up on the taste, with the milk chocolate and barrel notes combining with the sweetness from the marshmallows to glide into the barrel notes on the taste to yield a really balanced BA imperial stout with zero discernible booze.

That’s difficult to do with an 11% ABV beer. New Holland did this exceptionally well, IMHO.

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Photo of lucius10
3.79/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Sweet, whiff of Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies, and hint of cinnamon aromatics on this one. Ha!

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Photo of Shanex
4.91/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A world class Stout from New Holland and courtesy of Superspak

Bottled on 12/04/17

Poured in a Guinness pint, Strong aromas and flavors of milk, caramel and brown sugar.

Overall, most outstanding beer! Very creamy and glad I could trade with Ian so I get a chance to sip on it. Cheers.

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Photo of Snowcrash000
3.66/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pitch black coloration with a medium, foamy head. Smell is dominated by Graham crackers, with lighter notes of roasted, caramel malt, chocolate, vanilla and just a hint of bourbon and oak. Taste is a little more balanced than the nose, with the graham crackers still standing out, but being more nicely balanced by roasted, caramel malt and chocolate, with lighter notes of marshmallow, vanilla and a stronger, almost sharp bourbon presence and just a hint of earthy/musty oak and herbal hops. Finishes bittersweet, with a light bitterness and some roasted malt and "s'mores" notes lingering in the aftertaste. Full mouthfeel with a medium/rich body and medium carbonation.

I never had S'mores, but this beer tastes just like I would imagine them to taste like as well. It took a while to grow on me, but the initial sweetness is balanced nicely by some roasted and bitter notes and while it does feel a little bit artificial when it comes to the Graham cracker and marshmallow notes, there's still a nice chocolate, vanilla and bourbon presence to make up for that. All in all a little too sweet and artificial for my taste, but still just about enjoyable enough. First it grew on me, then I found it difficult to finish, just too sweet and artificial athe end of the day, ended up drainpouring the last third of it or so. At least serves as a good reminder never to buy another stout with "natural flavorings" ever again though.

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Photo of stakem
3.59/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into a snifter appears black with khaki head that fades leaving spotty lace.

An aroma of biscuit and gram crackers with a hint of vanilla.

It tastes bitter and herbal with a booze vanilla aftertaste.

Its medium in body with modest carbonaion. A decent thing to try, dont need to have it again

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Photo of Suds
4.26/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

My wife bought this brew for us. It came in a set with wonderful glasses. The beer itself is a dark, nearly black liquid. Medium-sized tan head. The aroma has an intense chocolate aroma...milk chocolate. I also get marshmallow, which explains the name. Wild. The flavor has a biscuit, malt, and sweet flavor. More chocolate and some light roasted notes underneath. Very full and smooth. Dangerously good at hiding its ABV. Wonderful.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.34/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 ounce bottle, bottled on 09/13/18. Served in a New Holland Dragon's Milk chalice (2 glasses came as part of the gift pack the beer was in), the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch tan head that stuck around a little while. There's also a decent amount of lacing. Aroma is nice, the brew smells like milk chocolate, graham crackers, roasted malt and vanilla. I think the taste is similar to the aroma, but I think there's the addition of some bourbon and wood flavor along with a bit of marshmallow. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's slick and a bit creamy with a moderate amount of carbonation. I thought it was pretty good, and it really does remind me of S'mores. Wish there was a little more barrel/bourbon in this, but that's a very minor complaint. I know I'd like to drink this again!

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Photo of michaelsmith11
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Look: Pours a dark black with a small tan head. Smell: Out of the bottle I got some graham cracker and vanilla. As it warmed the bourbon notes started taking over. Taste: Same situation as the smell, as the glass warmed the bourbon notes became more and more pronounced. Feel: It did not have a lot of carbonation and it had a medium mouthfeel. It was a little thin but not too bad. Overall, this was a good beer but it was almost like two different beers based on how it warmed up over time.

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Photo of Sabtos
3.92/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Dull black with a fuzzy latte film.

We did this blind after having BA Marshmallow BORIS and wow, New Holland's was very similar--it's got that Swiss Miss cocoa and dunked graham game going on, with some peanutty roast via a crisp, thin body that finishes semi-dry.

It works but has a light, tangy sweetness and there isn't a lot of barrel. It's not too sweet but wow, after having some big misses, this is definitely one of their better Dragon's Milk variants.

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Photo of bobhits
2.78/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 3

Quick review on this one. The nose is a lot of marshmallows, chocolate, and some well I could call it gram cracker though it's more a caramel and breaded malt.

The taste really does have a lot of marshmallow in it. Really nice chocolate notes, some hops given it a bit of citrus, and I almost even get a bit of that burnt marshmallow on the finish. They really went for the smore and hit it especially on the finish.

Now here's the problem, the body on this is THIN! It completely takes away from enjoying it.

The result is a pretty blah beer despite have a really interesting flavor profile. I'll also say I didn't get much bourbon on this one. There is some whisky here but it isn't over powering to other flavors.

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Photo of beersampler6
4.26/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Amazing. This is the type of Dragon’s Milk Reserve that New Holland is known for. Tried this one on tap at Knickerbocker New Holland. Nice very dark brown, almost black color with a little tan head and very spotty lingering lacing. Smells of nice toasted graham cracker and just a little bourbon. Tastes of toasted graham cracker, creamy marshmallow, vanilla, wood, bourbon, caramel, malt and some faint type of spice. Very smooth, slightly creamy mouthfeel. Just the right amount of carbonation. I don’t even like s’mores but I would drink this any given day. High ABV is very well-hidden. Very well done! Amazing beer from an amazing brewery with very high standards (and expectations) for their Dragon’s Milk Reserve line.

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Photo of Chuckdiesel24
4.78/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had this on draft from Beer Temple in Chicago. Obviously it's not fresh, but BT is known for doing a great job with proper storage, and this beer really settled into something special.

L: Poured with a hefty head that stayed in part until I was finished.
S: Chocolate and vanilla.
T: Graham cracker in a way I haven't tasted in a beer. Bourbon character wasn't there at first, but for the last third it came out which was very cool - felt like the beer really evolved at different temperatures.
F: Super creamy, thick.
O: Wasn't expecting a ton and this turned out to be a personal favorite of beers I've ever had.

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Photo of larryi86
4.31/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thank you FlintB for this
12 oz bottle, dated 6/2/17, poured into a tulip

A- Black with a small mocha head

S- Chocolate, marshmallow, bourbon, some vanilla, touch of graham cracker.

T- Chocolate, bourbon, vanilla/marshmallow, charred oak, some roasted malts, hints of graham crackers.

M- Smooth, medium to full body.

O- Less sweet and more balanced than Salted Caramel. Easy to drink and enjoyable.

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Photo of kemoarps
3.8/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Second up in a side by side by side. Part of the incredible generosity of @FlintB during NBS BIF#007.
It could be my imagination, but I feel like this one is slightly darker and almost more of a burgundy hue to it than its brethren (or at least the salted caramel). Poured into a mini-snifter it gets the same rush of fuzz to cap it, that quickly fades. This one gives a little more of a ring though and has just a little more of a whisp across the middle, like a middle aged man who is slightly less bald than his brother.

Nose is again sweet right off the bat but has a brighter sweetness to it than the salted caramel. Definitely a bit of marshmallow and maybe a hint of roasty malts behind.

Again with the sweet lead in, unsurprisingly. Marshmallow and vanilla start us off, then it shifts gears, slightly less jarringly than the salted caramel, but again a little disconcerting, bringing in the alcohol bourbon with elements of oak but also a little more of that slightly sour vein that courses through. The backdrop for this one steers a little closer towards char, but doesn't ever really commit. The finish offers a little more bitter coffee though.

Not as round and smoothe of a body as the salted caramel, a touch more crisp and clean, but still pretty hefty carbonation. Finish is more of the not-quite-char/ashy-but-a-nod-in-that-direction of the malts.

I feel pretty similarly about this one as I did the salted caramel. Interesting component aspects, and definitely offer up what the label says, but I'm just entirely convinced that it all comes together, but grateful to have gotten the chance to try it. Thanks Brian!

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Photo of SammyJaxxxx
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz bottle.

A: Deep dark brown, no light passes through. A finger's worth of caramel colored head. A thin film remains throughout drinking the entire glass.
S: Smells like an adult smore-burnt marshmallow, dark chocolate and just a hint of alcohol to remind you this isn't a child's drink.
T: Marshmallow and vanilla up front. A solid taste of dark chocolate and a slight campfire char.
MF: A slight alcohol burn that should be there at 11%, thick and slightly slick.
O: I really enjoyed this. The only thing missing is a little bit of graham cracker but that would probably be overwhelmed by the other flavors. I wish the flavors melded a little better but it is still an excellent entry in the category.

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Photo of stortore
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into a snifter. Bottled 6/12/17, had 7/6/17.

Pours a deep brown, opaque, with a half inch, quickly dissipating head and light, clear, spotty lacing. Aromas of vanilla, malt, cocoa, sugar cookies, light marshmallow, chocolate, some graham- more as it warms. Great smell. The taste is vanilla, chocolate, cocoa, malt, light marshmallow and molasses, some graham. A light bitterness on the finish. Smooth, well carbonated, somewhat creamy, a good medium body.

Does a good job of being s’mores, this is easily one of the best variants. Great aroma. Like it.

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Photo of Franziskaner
4.16/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black in color with no penetration to light. There's a fingernail of brown around the rim and faintly covering two-thirds of the top. The nose is sweet cinnamon, marshmallow, and vanilla. Definitely one of the best dessert stout aromas I can recall. I'm tasting vanilla, marshmallow, cinnamon, and sweet bourbon appears at the back of the palate. The mouth is chewy, sticky, and warm with alcohol.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle. Served in a tulip glass. Pours a dark cola brown body, opaque and essentially black. One finger off white head, short retention and bits of spotty lacing. Smell is surprising because they actually pull off the s’mores aromas. Marshmallow and graham crackers galore, slightly smoked chocolate malt, light whiskey sweetness, slight oak. The s’mores flavours dominate on the palate which is awesome, although the graham crackers fade a little on the palate compared to the aroma. Still, awesome combination and I am pleased they were able to execute as such. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, standard Dragon’s Milk feel, slightly lower carbonation within normal limits for the style, slight and very minimal booze trailing off. A really well executed adjunct stout, and I haven’t come across a beer that pulled off this combination of aromas and flavours.

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Photo of 2beerdogs
4.17/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to FlintB for this one.
I've always enjoyed Dragon's Milk, but this variant is a beauty.
Deep brown with a creamy cocoa colored head.
Smell, it's all about the nose. What a glorious round, complex, toasted coconut meets toasted marshmallow, graham cracker pie crust meets subtle bourbon barrel, smooth chocolate...so much going on.
Flavor follows the nose for the most part but flavors are slightly subdued in comparison. Not a minus at all, it's a tall order to follow THAT nose. Flavor finishes oh so subtle with a warm alcohol caress.
Body is fairly full, lite carbonation.

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Photo of gatornation
4.34/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark brown/black color with a tan head. Smells delicious with graham cracker ,marshmallow, vanilla,chocolate and bourbon. Taste is as advertised it a smores with a nice bourbon barrel to compliment this brew. All components of this brew work well together with a nice barrel finish. This is my favorite of the reserves was very impressed with the barrel on this one,glad i bought 2 bottles..

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Photo of BenHoppy
4.33/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Didn't like this fresh but aged 11 months it's delicious. Very balanced with bourbon, chocolate, and vanilla with hints of graham crackers along with a creamy, fluffy marshamello texture. This beer was best aged, poured into a snifter, and drunk warm.

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Photo of ModernMeat
4.67/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I really enjoy the original Dragon's Milk, however, I found it hard to escape the bourbon flavor.

This S'mores variant of the Dragon's Milk balances everything VERY impressively to me; I doubted the beer's ability to translate the flavors considering my criticism of the original.

Pours very similar to it's father. Dark and smooth with a lighter head (I think the S'mores may produce a lighter head). Immediately after pouring even, I smell perfectly what the beer delivers: an extremely solid S'mores flavor with a wonderful bourbon balance.

I experience this beer in very distinct layers that seem to mesh and blend as it goes down. First taste for me was a more rounded bourbon flavor, strong chocolate flavors. Quickly after I noticed strong graham cracker followed by a nicely executed vanilla that seriously helps bring the marshmallow in.

I have tried 4 or so S'mores beers and this one did it incredibly.
A dessert beer that isn't too sweet, an almost hidden 11% weight and a present but not overbearing bourbon flavor.

Very impressed. Makes me more eager to find and try some of the other Dragon's Milk variants out there.

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Photo of larryarms847
4.21/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours slick and oily dark brown with a slight transparency but sits near black in the glass with a finger off brown foam.

Richly sweet notes of vanilla, graham cracker and chocolate are accompanied by a nice roastiness and a very subtle whiff of oaky bourbon.

Chocolate and roasted malt provide a nice bitterness to balance the deliciously sweet and noticeable graham cracker and vanilla flavors. The bourbon is slight but the oaky barrel is more noticeable.

Full-bodied, low-medium carbonation, rich, sweet, smooth.

Overall, a delicious brew and worth seeking out!

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Photo of Sparty1224
3.97/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Brief Review:

O: Typical NH Dragon's Milk variant here. Nothing special. Big and boozy, with swirling flavors of chocolate, marshmallow and vanilla that feel very disjointed and don't come together much. Only nice thing is that it actually smells like S'mores.

Recommendation: It's a nice end-of-summer beer, but nothing too special.

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Dragon's Milk Reserve - S'mores Bourbon Barrel from New Holland Brewing Company
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 206 ratings