Dragon's Milk | New Holland Brewing Company

very good
1,490 Reviews
Dragon's MilkDragon's Milk

Brewed by:
New Holland Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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
2016 Bottles are 11% ABV

Added by beernut7 on 08-12-2002

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,490 | Ratings: 5,667
Photo of buckslayer50
4.59/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black with a tan head, you can smell the roast and bourbon right away. They specifically mention vanilla on the bottle and I get a ton of that and a lot of bourbon too. That isn't a bad thing though, I found it to be really good and for this to be a year round offering is outstanding. I grabbed a bottle in Georgia because we don't see it here in Florida and if we did, I would buy it very often.

 413 characters

4.11/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

For me its just another BBS. Nothing ground breaking and after I had some exotic BBS in Vegas this one would be on the low end. Pours dark like midnight while you get those strong hits of the BB. Minimal head when poured due to the heaviness of the stout.

 256 characters

Photo of NorthernMichiganLogan
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bought this beer with intentions of drinking after a midnight shift. The thought was one and done, and enjoy it. This beer did that with its 11% alcohol. The taste is what surprised me, it was good. You could smell chocolate and bourbon when the beer was cracked open. The other reviews were not lying when they said, "you could get drunk off this beer by smelling it." The taste is magnificent. Upfront you get carmel, chocolate, and malt. The finish is boozy like bourbon, but very smooth. It's a pleasant and drinkable high octane beer. I'd drink it again and suggest it in the future. Nice job New Holland.

 610 characters

Photo of wilson32
3.57/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

First tried this one a while ago when New Holland Brewing was a smaller operation and it certainly is not small anymore. This is a unique beer, guaranteed to "put hair on your chest" as they say. It is a talk dark pour - and what you see is what you get. Very bold, rich flavors, with a bourbon flair to it and even that hint of chocolate. The taste hangs around in your mouth - for better in the beginning, for worse in the end.

I can see why a lot of people would be drawn to this beer - gives the all around experience and tries to fit into this niche, however I think it would be middle of the road if stacked up against other similar brews.

 647 characters

Photo of ordybill
4.34/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass. The appearance is a dark, thick, black color with a medium sized tan head. the aroma is cocoa, oak and sweet molasses. The taste has a nice bourbon bite and brings in the cocoa and oak. A really good brew.

 255 characters

Photo of justme
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Liked this one a lot. Big flavors more malt than hop but that's all right with me. Enjoyed in a glass in the back patio at the Dive Bar with a good friend in Worcester. Couldn't ask for more.

 191 characters

Photo of Jeffsta1
3.82/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown color, pale tan head, moderate lace.

Smell is mild, malty. Chocolate, cocoa. Ovaltine.

Flavor of cream soda, currant, cherry. Too fruity for a stout.

Nice rich mouthfeel. Not overcarbonated.

Finish is good, not intense.

 234 characters

Photo of Baba_la_Baba
3.3/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

The high rating is a mystery to me unless it's buoyed by brand loyalty. Really it's just mediocre as BB stouts go. I'd describe it as a BBS light. Light body, light on the "scotchy" vanilla, light color at the rim, light on the chocolate, raisin, anise, molasses, and everything else that I like to find in a BBS. Fairly pronounced acidity and roasty bitterness on the finish. That may have been the last bottle I will ever drink.

 430 characters

Photo of kentuckyboy
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the first brew i've had the privilege of experiencing from New Holland and i must say, it was phenomenal! Nothing less than i had expected! I love barrel aged beers and am always excited when i get to try a new one.

Onto the review:

Poured into a Guiness glass and served cold

Look: Jet black with a nice fluffy and retaining head; beautiful.

Smell: Strong bourbon & chocolate. In that order. feel i could get drunk by just smelling this beer! well it is 11% alchohol, afterall.

Taste: Bourbon. bourbon bourbon bourbon! With a nice malt backbone and delicious chocolate aftertaste. Thick and creamy; just right! The alcohol is very prevalent in this brew

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy! VERY creamy. unlike anything I've ever had to be honest! I now understand why its called Dragon's Milk :)

Overall: Impressed! An excellent barrel aged beer! outstanding! i enjoyed every sip i had of this one. For a guy who prides himself in how much he can drink, this 11% alcohol ain't no joke! I am very impressed by New Holland and they seem to really know what a craft beer is. Will definitely buy again and am looking forward to trying more brews from them. Cheers!

 1,169 characters

Photo of GreatStoutman
4.02/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled 9/16/15 - so its about 8 months old. Had this one on Thanksgiving and it was pretty hot; its definitely mellowed out, but at the expense of some of the barrel flavors.

Smell of oak and vanilla, lots of bourbon, plenty of alcohol showing up in the nose.

Taste is similar, with strong roasted malts, vanilla and lots of oak up front. Sweet bourbon and booze show up later. Not picking up much bitterness.

Feel is somewhat thin for this size beer, but its got some life to it, mild carbonation and dry finish.

Overall, this is a great year-round offering and a good entry point for bourbon barrel beers.

 612 characters

Photo of Riff
4.14/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Just didn't live up to the hype, there are better bourbon barrel stouts out there. Nice, black pour with a finger width of tan head. Pleasant aroma. Body was a little thinner than I expect from a stout. Strong hit of bourbon at the front with a very sharp note of alcohol shortly afterwards that I've not had from other BA beers. Finish was smoother but lingered for too long for my tastes.

*Editing* Have since been working on the other three bottles from the 4-pack I bought. Much smoother results and getting a smooth, creamier feeling. Slight notes of vanilla flavor, sweet with a hint of a dark roast. I'll take it the first bottle was just a dud, thankfully.

 666 characters

Photo of OldManMetal
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This bourbon-barrel-aged imperial stout has the requisite black body, sparkling and orange-litten, and a brief-lived medium pebbly tan head leaves good bands and cavelets of lacing. The nose is medium in intensity: a tasty blend of molasses, cocoa and bourbony booze atop a more subtle oak character. On the palate, it is a bit more assertive, but still in keeping with the nose: a seamless, fairly rich blend of milk chocolate, molasses and toffee, backed by a fairly boozy bourbon flavor and subtle oak notes. In net, it lands a bit on the sweet end of the balance. The finish is surprisingly clean, just a modest hit of toffee; the linger is a mild, tartish, thin chocolate/oak flavor that stays around for a few minutes. The mouthfeel is on point for the full body, and is slightly warming; the texture is nicely sticky/creamy, with just a hint of pepperiness from the restrained carbonation. (12 oz bottle, 51 days after pkg)

 930 characters

Photo of R_N_Roop
4.75/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Really enjoy the velvety creaminess of this stout. Hints of the bourbon from the barrel aging come through on the finish.

To take the tasting experience to a different level, I suggest pairing the beer with the New Holland Beer Barrel Bourbon, aged in the barrels after the beer is bottled.

 292 characters

Photo of brewskifan55
4.36/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a taster glass. Thanks, Dylan!

A: Black with brownish tint. A half finger off-white head that dissipated fast. Sudsy lacing.

S: Bourbon comes in strong followed by Licorice, brown sugar, molasses, chocolate and vanilla.

T: Follows nose with a nice shot of bourbon into dark chocolate, vanilla and molasses. Roasty and smooth.

M: Medium with medium, thick carbonation.

O: Takes an already stellar brew and bourbons it up a few notches. A terrific sipper. Glad I got to try it.

 502 characters

Photo of philvish
4.54/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Really good barrel aged stout. I've had quite a few and had this with a meal out of the bottle. Poured nicely, delicious aroma and great taste. A little too strong for my preference (it hit me hard) but delicious.

 213 characters

Photo of zshaft
3.19/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

got some of this stuff and I am not excited cause burbon aged is not my thing. pours nice jet black like all stouts with rather tHin head. nose is like burbon and some burbon with maybe some light toffee. taste is more hard alcohol with oily mouthfeel making the flavors roll down the tounge and making this experience worse. alcohol burn at the end. while the burbon is not to intense its to much for me. I can get this down but not an enjoyable time. I don't get this aging trend. I don't like shots in my beer. lets get this over with so I can have something good.

 579 characters

Photo of HopBomb515
4.01/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pitch black with a tan head that stays as a cap and laces decently. Notes of oak, vanilla, choclate and bourbon. Medium body, light for a stout, light heat from the alcohol and pretty clean finish. The flavors are simple, straightforward and fit the bill for an easy to acquire barrel aged stout. The body is thin and the mouthfeel suffers, lacking the creamy and full feel of a truly great stout. It's not the best but it isn't trying to be.

 446 characters

Photo of bbtkd
3.91/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

New Holland Dragon's Milk. The first time I had one of these, it was my first BBS and I thought it was too bourbony. I've had enough BBS's that I now enjoy them, and this is a fine example. Searching for the variants.

 217 characters

Photo of gshak
4.21/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a 2015 edition at the local Bevmo, for $9.99 a bomber. Heard many a good thing about this beer so absolutely had to try it.
A - pours nearly flat with a very small head that drops to a ring with no retention. I've come to expect this of BBA beers, so no real knock there.
S - aromas of bourbon, wood, chocolate, roast and plenty of dark fruits.
T - tastes roasty, with plenty of dark fruits. As the beer gets warmer, the bourbon and chocolate begin to come through.
F- thinner mouth feel than the 11% abv would suggest. Almost medium full, but not quite :)
O - overall a good BBA stout at a reasonable price. Will Crack open the other bottle in 6 months and report back.

Time to report back.
Re-review, sampled second bottle (2015 edition, bottled Feb 2016). At this point in time, the beer is 10 months old.
A - A vigorous pour yielded 2 fingers' width of offwhite head that receded into a thin ring that lasted the full distance.
S - Dark fruits, raisins, prunes, lively pomegranates, roasted malts. This is more characteristic of a belgian dark ale than a rich imperial stout.
T - Everything promised in the smell, plus a generous dose of brown sugar. This is closer to a BBQ than a BBA-IRS.
M - Medium. I think the 11% ABV has been achieved by the addition of some simple sugars, instead of just malt. For comparison: Ten fidy, Bells expedition and Founders IRS are all sub-11% ABV, but have a more malty character than this beer.
O - If this were a blind taste test, I would have sworn that I was drinking a Belgian dark ale, or BBQ or even a barrel-aged scotch ale. Imperial stout...not so much. A good beer none the less, and an excellent bargain for a 4-pack at $18 or thereabouts.
Rating - As an imperial stout - 3.95/5, as a BBQ or Scotch ale - 4.3/5.

 1,774 characters

Photo of Harrison8
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours black, with a medium-thin khaki head. Short head retention with only a handful of lacing dots left behind. Deep roasted malts, vanilla, and oak make up a dark aroma. Taste is sublime, with roasted malts, vanilla, oak, and bourbon. Feel is thick, and smooth. Not the most creamy or robust though. Overall, a sublime imperial stout. Readily available, and pleasant to drink give this one high regards for me.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

 440 characters

Photo of Radome
4.24/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tasted from a 12 oz bottle into a wine glass (the best I had in a hotel room).

L - Dark brown color and clear when held up to the light. Head is off-white and not persistent.

S - Great aromas of chocolate, vanilla and oak. I have to use my imagination to detect bourbon whisky in the background. Aromas not as assertive as some in this style.

T - Sweet, malty flavors dominate. I get bread, chocolate, low coffee and low bourbon whisky. No hops or yeast notes evident, as expected.

F - Medium to thick body. Low but creamy carbonation. Moderate alcohol burn. Hops bitterness keeps the sweetness at bay, but bitterness is not a factor that comes to the forefront.

O - A great bourbon barrel stout but not as huge and complex as some.

 746 characters

Photo of Stevem68
4.06/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a dark chocolate color with a light mocha head. Aroma is roasted malts with a hint of chocolate. Flavor is chocolate and roasted malts with a hint vanilla. Has a clean finish and overall it's a really nice stout.

 218 characters

Photo of Parker472
4.37/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours dark, but not quite motor oil. A very small dark-brown head that dissipates quickly.

S: Coffee, chocolate, dark fruit, and BOOZE. You can really smell the bourbon on this one, but it doesn't overpower.\

T: There's a lot going on here, but it's not overly complex. The chocolate and vanilla hit the tongue at the very beginning, and it finishes with bourbon and cold brew coffee. The alcohol is definitely there, but it doesn't have that "sting" that a lot of bourbon barrel stouts are notorious for. Sweet, but not too sweet. A magnificent balance.

F: One of the creamiest, thickest stouts I've had. Feels great on the tongue and all the way down.

 667 characters

Photo of BeernOnThe4thOfJuly
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Hearty whiskey nose with chocolate. Significant bourbon flavor at the beginning that transitions to a very sweet and rich chocolate/caramel mix. Strong whiskey washes back in on the finish. Very complex, and extremely good.

 226 characters

Photo of nawpnawp
3.89/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This is a very solid BA stout. It doesn't have loads of coffee/chocolate like other super popular stouts (ie. kbs, uncle jacob's), but I prefer it that way. It isn't overly sweet, but as the description state, I am digging the roasty malt backbone.

Overall, I'd buy it again if my cellar was empty and I was craving a BA stout. It certainly offers something a bit different.

 378 characters

Dragon's Milk from New Holland Brewing Company
3.98 out of 5 based on 5,667 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.