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Dragon's Milk | New Holland Brewing Company

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very good
1,442 Reviews
Dragon's MilkDragon's Milk

Brewed by:
New Holland Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

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

Added by beernut7 on 08-12-2002

For Trade:
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Reviews: 1,442 | Ratings: 5,460
Photo of jrallen34
3.84/5  rDev -3.3%
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 claspada
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%
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 Jwale73
3.97/5  rDev 0%
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 cbutova
3.87/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

A- Black with a small head that has lower-end retention. A cloud and ring leave a small amount of spotty lace.

S- Notes of dark malt, whiskey/oak and molasses/sweet caramel malt. It fades a bit but is still nice.

T- A fairly strong whiskey and oak presence above a roasty scotch ale-like malt backbone. It has just a bit of a medicinal strong dark fruit note.

MF- Moderate body with slight creaminess and a fairly oily feeling. Some warmth and lower end carbonation suits the flavor.

DB- Good stuff. It reminds me sort of Backwoods Bastard with less whiskey and a more roasty-Stout feeling. It is strange because they don't even mention Bourbon/Whiskey on the bottle or website. The medicinal hint is my only small rant here.

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Photo of barnzy78
4/5  rDev +0.8%

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 glid02
4.02/5  rDev +1.3%
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 maximum12
4.29/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fond of this one & already had it several times, including fresh on tap at the brewery. Also introduced a friend to it, & this was the first bomber he ever bought.

Black, with only a tiny little ring of white. Smell is always a highlight; dark malts & vanilla rising, with a sliver of wood.

Dragon's Milk taste follows that forumla closely. Big, dark, roasted malts come skulking out of the pint glass, followed by a collection of lesser impressions: vanilla, oak, chocolate, with only the hint of the barrel coming out at the end. Full, rich, satisfying, & very easy to quaff for a 9% brew.

Excellent beer, as always. A readily available barrel-aged brew that's easy to get & not priced to heart-attack levels? Sign me up. I should be drinking this one more often. Tip o' the cap to New Holland once again.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.96/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

Served on tap in a snifter

Appearance- Served a deep brown colored brew with a tiny tan colored head. The head fades almost instantly leaving just scant lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is of a sweeter caramel, milk chocolate, vanilla and a coffee smell with a strong presence of roasted malt. Mixed with these smells is a moderately strong oaky and bourbon smell, producing when combined with the sweeter and roastier smells, a very warming smelling brew.

Taste – The taste begins with a sweeter caramel and coffee flavor upfront. There is some milk chocolate in the taste upfront with both becoming stronger more toward the middle of the taste. The caramel fades slightly in the middle however, leaving a slightly drier flavor. This loss of caramel is replaced by some flavors of vanilla later in the taste. In the end a strong bourbon, boozy, and oak flavor come to the tongue. These are accompanied by some earthy hop flavors as well as an increase in the roasted malt and bitter coffee characteristics of the brew to leave a lightly bittered and roasty boozy warming taste on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the average side in terms of its creaminess with a carbonation level that is a bit on the higher side. The feel is a bit off as a creamier and thicker body would have really be much more appropriate for the boozy, oak, and roasted flavors of the brew with a lower carbonation level allowing all the darker and boozier flavors time to linger on the tongue.

Overall – A tasty and boozy stout. It has a great warming and oaky flavor with a slow drinking style, even with the slightly lesser mouthfeel quality, it is still fantastic.

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Photo of champ103
3.7/5  rDev -6.8%
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 Gusler
4.07/5  rDev +2.5%
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 AgentMunky
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into an Ommegang glass. Vintage 2011. From notes. Reviewed 25 June 2011.

A: Dark black, with ruby glints in the light. Very little head.

S: Lots of whisky -- bourbon, oak, vanilla, alcohol. Not very strong, but what's present is very good.

T: Nice, but subdued. The maintaste is sort of vanilla-sweet. The aftertaste is slightly drying and very bourbon-y. Sweet all around and not much else. Considering the name, disappointing.

M: Full, rich, creamy, and scrumptious. Little carbonation.

O: A big, punchy-sweet imperial milk stout. Decent, but I prefer other imperial stouts. Not recommended, but it's not unfortunate. You might buy one just to keep the bottle/label.

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Photo of dirtylou
4/5  rDev +0.8%
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 BeerFMAndy
4.6/5  rDev +15.9%
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 ccrida
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
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 Suds
4.24/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice Beer! Much better than I expected. It pours a dark, reddish-brown that's nearly black. The head is a medium-tan, although it falls somewhat quickly. The aroma is what makes this beer so enticing. It's woody, smokey, and has a huge, intense vanilla note. Wow. Strong malt, and a roasted-nut scent behind the wood, this is complex and very rewarding to sniff. Alcohol is folded into the aroma as well, with a brandy-like boozy-ness. The taste is drier than expected with a lot of warmth and malt. Roasted notes, and a bit of grain. Medium in body. This is good stuff.

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Photo of ZAP
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
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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Photo of Resuin
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a snifter. This is a 2013 vintage.

Appearance: Pours a black coffee color, with some hints of brown around the edges and leaves a finger of spritzy tan head that fades almost immediately to nothing.

Smell: Nice, full aroma: roasted malts, licorice, coffee, mild dark chocolate, toasted oak.

Taste: Toasted malts, toasted oak, coffee beans, vanilla, alcohol, hint of dark chocolate. Fairly full flavor, with some good complimenting components that play well with each other (particularly sweet and bitter).

Mouth-feel: Low to medium carbonation with a light to medium body (for a stout). Finishes with a bit of heat.

Overall: I thought this was a decent stout. Nice stout flavors, along with some bourbon barrel influence, make this one an enjoyable brew. A bit thin in the body but pretty well done for what it is.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

On tap at Fresh Craft. Dark black, almost no head whatsoever. Aroma is slightly boozy, touch of barrel. Flavor is good, vanilla, booze, barrel and stout. The body is a little thin. Overall, not bad, I'd like a four pack please.


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Photo of xnicknj
3.35/5  rDev -15.6%
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 Cyberkedi
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
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 BMMillsy
3.48/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3.5

I really need to revisit this one, as the few times I had it I don't think I was ready for BA stouts. One of the most unique beers I have had. Pours black with heavy bourbon and vanilla notes. Tastes like those root beer barrell candies, vanilla and bourbon on the finish. Very warm alcohol. A bit sweet for my tastes, and mouthfeel is rather thin for a stout, especially one with that Imperial name in it. Would like to try and rerate this later. Strange, but extra points for its uniqueness.

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Photo of Pencible
4.89/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This poured much darker than expected, at a nearly opaque dark ruby with almost no head. It smelled very similar to a scotch with strong oak and leather notes, rich caramel malt, and a bit of smoke and alcohol. It tasted like aged and refined oak, light smokey leather, earthy barley and rich caramel malt, along with a bit of vanilla and sour cherry hops. It was somewhat thick with no carbonation, and had a lasting fairly sweet aftertaste. Overall this was one of the most distinguished tasting beers, and definitely one of the best oaked beers I've had. It had an intricate and delicious flavor, that was very clean and drinkable, with good body. I love everything about this beer.

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Photo of tectactoe
3.64/5  rDev -8.3%
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 twiggamortis420
4.27/5  rDev +7.6%
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 ThisWangsChung
3.05/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a dark cola color that isn't entirely opaque. The mocha-colored head is nice and creamy, and about two fingers high. It fades down to about a half finger after a while, and leaves nice rings of lacing on the glass.

S: Wow, this is sweet. There isn't much bourbon on the nose...but there is a solid oak presence, giving off very strong vanilla notes. Beneath the vanilla are strong chocolate and molasses tones. Aromatically, it strikes me as an enjoyable-yet-straightforward dessert beer.

T: There is a bourbon presence here, but it's pretty basic...the vanilla notes are massively bold yet they lack the additional subtleties of a BCBS or Parabola to make them stand out. I also notice touches of chocolate; otherwise, this is more or less a vanilla/tannin bomb. Even a single 12 oz bottle can become wearisome to drink.

M: Quite sweet, yet with a drying, tannic finish. I'd actually reckon it's a bit too tannic on the back end, verging into mild harshness. I could also use a bit more body to properly support how syrupy the texture is.

O: It's not undrinkable, however its sweetness is way too fatiguing. Even worse, the beer itself seems designed to showcase the barrel notes, but they're far too basic to really succeed at that, either. For about 6 oz, I thought this was pretty good; for the other 6 oz, I couldn't wait for it to end. So, if you're gonna try it, make sure you split it with a friend, and don't expect BCBS.

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Dragon's Milk from New Holland Brewing Company
3.97 out of 5 based on 5,460 ratings.
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