Dragon's Milk | New Holland Brewing Company

BA SCORE
89
very good
5,702 Ratings
Dragon's MilkDragon's Milk
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
New Holland Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
newhollandbrew.com

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
5,702
Reviews:
1,497
Avg:
3.98
pDev:
13.07%
 
 
Wants:
350
Gots:
1,797
For Trade:
44
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,702 |  Reviews: 1,497
Photo of cokes
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The crossroads between magenta and black with a receding tan skim.
Oak is evident from the get-go. Some traces of heavy cream, but the woody, vanilla, sourish/buttery tinge of the oak is the ringer here.
Begins meagerly malted with nods towards both coffee and prune. As an exercise in oak-aging, this is unsurpassed, as it brings all sorts of toasty, vanilla-sweet hazelnuts, and woodsy tartness. Yeast mingles well with a rich lather of churned butter. Forget about hops.
This is a simple ale on wood, and therefore impersonates something more complex than it really is. It has little malt structure to speak of. I could drink this all fucking night because I adore the oak hues imparted here. But that in itself does not a great beer make.
Oodles of potential here and I plead for New Holland to tweak this as they go along. It's nice as it is (at least for oak fans), but, this pushes strongly for something deeper, somerhing more profound, more erotic.

Right now, it settles for Showtime, but with some attention, it could blossom into full-blown, hardcore mouth porn.

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Photo of Skidz
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out dark brown and sits nearly jet black with bits of crimson showing through the sides. Nice sized brown head fades quickly to the sides, leaving litte on the surface.

Smells of roasted grains, quite malty. Some fruity esters show through, namely pears. Light hints of cocoa powder. Wooden sides and lightly nutty.

Tastes faintly sweet up front, good malt structure. Roastedness come out quite well and is balanced by a good amount of hop bitterness. Dry, wooden tones push in from the sides and from which seeps out a delicate warmth of alcohol. Flavors of dates, old raisins and chocolate syrup accumulate between the grainy flavors. Finish is dry and holds onto a spicy hop bitterness and lingering malty sweetness.

Creamy and well carbonated. This beer could benefit from a smoother feel with less interference from carbonation. Body is medium-full, but puts out quite a bit. One bottle is easily consumed. Tasty all the way, a bit grainy at times, but definately has it where it counts.

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Photo of Rastacouere
3.67/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown body wears a light off-white ring. Bold cakey smell in which you’d have put a pinch too much salt. Original lactic chocolate maltiness, rather complex in the nose, hard to analyze and know what to do with it. Raw grainy dryness chases the potentially fatiguing sweetness. Somehow a powdery cocoa flavor lingers and evolves into a coffeeish highly roasty ending full of dark malts. Smooth round body with soft carbonation. Well contained oak flavors do not attenuate the flavors, not to speak of the totally dismissed alcohol. Worth seeking just because it’s so unique.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured black with a translucent amber/ruby highlight all through the glass. The head was low and very compact.

The aroma was oak, bourbon, coffee, caramel, chocolate and some dark fruitiness (prunes, plums and raisins).

The flavor was vanilla, chocolate, coffee, caramel, slight bourbon and more dark fruits.

The finish is dry with a lingering oak astringency and bittering with a hint of vanilla. The body was med full to full.

12 ounce bottle. A very complex brew. More body would certainly enhance the beer and could make it truly world class.

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

Pours with a clear dark brown color with ruby tint. Has a nice tan head that sticks around nicely. Aroma is wonderfully complex -- it has some reserved sweetness with oak and vanilla notes...wait until it warms a bit, and a little roast also comes through.

This beer is well balanced and has a surprisingly dry finish; as the beer warms a little, the vanilla notes become somewhat more pronounced.

An enjoyable beer. I like the oak and vanilla over some other examples that can add overpowering bourbon flavor.

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Photo of jimdkc
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with mahogany highlights when held up to the light. Thick, rich dark tan head that recedes quickly. Smell was not as strong as expected. The nose was of dark-roasted malts, maybe a bit of vanilla, with a hint of alcohol. I think the beer was too cold for my first couple of sips... letting it warm a little brought out the flavors better. Taste was roasty malt, dark chocolate, with a little oak wood in the background. Occasional hints of bourbon and slight fruityness were present, also. Finish is smooth and dry, and the alcohol kind of sneaks up on you. Probably one of the more drinkable 10% ABV beers. Full bodied with a creamy mouthfeel. Very nice.

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

Nice dark pour. Sticky carbonation that peppered the glass from top to bottom. Very dark mahogany brown in color. The creamy head of tan colored foam slowly receded from the rim of the glass and left a delicate lacing that looked like a pork fat netting (but didn’t taste much like it).

The aroma is complex. Charred oak along with a sharp roasted nuttiness. Some stale cardboard/pencil shaving like notes, burnt apple wood and a fruity alcohol. The taste is quite drinkable for a strong beer. Oaky and complex, roasted and full of all things good. Medium bodied that finishes with a warm and rich alcohol bite. Overall, very smooth, clean. The oak barrel aging really compliments the rest of the beer.

Excellent.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.23/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep dark black hole appearance sucks up all colors and ounce of visible light with a frothy tan head leaves very nice thick lacing all around my pint. Aroma: Great herbal mix with an herbacous highlights upfront oak aromatic with chocolate and coffee highlights. Taste: Flavor depth is incredible the oak flavor highlights this big stout quite nicely. Vanilla stands out among the chocolate, coffee, and herbal hops not bad at all. Mouthfeel: Full body smooth carbonation no hint of the alcohol in the flavor which is good but somewaht dangerous. Drinkability: Wow, so drinkable great blend of flavors here with the oak barrel aging adding to the overall experience very tasty and smooth.

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Photo of putnam
4.49/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Raspberry paste and peppery, charred vanilla appear first on the nose - reminds me of Rodenbach's Alexander. On the palate it is VERY milky and cocoa-flavored. Like Ovaltine, literally. Nearly dry, there is nothing astringent or difficult about the drink. Rootbeer, chocolate milk and strawberry soda patter upon the creamy, milky texture. I wonder if the blatant, confected, chocolate Slo-poke flavor is the result of natural cocoa, the yeast, or was it put there as an additive?

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

The aroma is deep and malty with intense toffee notes. Some dark fruit aromas compete with diacetyl. There are big vanilla and cocoa notes as well as a hint of tannins.

The beer is dark brown, almost opaque with slight ruby highlights and a suprisingly persistent (given the alcohol) tawny head.

The first sip gives a big toffee and caramel splash with cocoa right behind. The swallow is not cloying at all despite the sweetness. I do not get tannins per se despite the label's claim, but the swallow is drier than I would have expected, perhaps from the oak. The finish is very chocolatey, warming and somewhat spicy.

The mouthfeel is delightful. It has a medium full body but it is very creamy with medium low carbonation and no astringency.

If you ever wondered what a Tootsie Roll would taste like in beer form, this is it. If you never wondered what a Tootsie Roll would taste like in beer form, you should. This may be the consummate dessert beer. It would be fascinating to know how this shapes up after three or four years in the cellar.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow! Drinkable! A dark brown brew with a tan head of foam. Aromas are all over the place. Vanilla, chocolate, cream/milk (?), a bit of oakiness and a bit of a strange, lingering, alcohol-like aroma (bourbon?). The taste is a straight up creamy mix of coffee, cream, chocolate, vanilla, and some other undestinct hints. The mouthfeel is creamy, smooth, and very easy to drink. The drinkability is amazing for a 10%abv brew as well. This one is really a winner! So unique and drinkable, yet high in complexity and abv! Why is this brew not highly regarded on BA!?

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Photo of beergeek279
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in the 12 oz. bottle into a goblet. The color is a very dark brown, with a wispy white head. The smell is a coffee/chocolate roasted malt smell. The taste is a chocolate-ish malt sweetness with a very little bit of hoppiness, and a barely noticable alcohol. Mouthfeel is average. As for drinkability, maybe a few.

Thanks to trbeer for the bottle. Reminds me more of a porter than an old ale. Not a bad beer, and one that I may well have again.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.67/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brewed with Premium 2-row, Cara 45, Munich malts. Honey, de-bittered Black Belgian candy sugar. Nugget and Willamette hops.
OG=18.1P, 8.0% ABV, 87.4 IBU.

Opaque dark-brown with dark amber highlights, forming a small, but sticky dark-tan head of fine bubbles. Carbonation is very mild. Retention is poor and lacing is good. Aroma begins with rather mild resinous hops, pronounced pineapple, a wholesome sweet chocolate undercurrent, and distant sweet Munich grain husk. Rolling the brew in my goblet glass produces the aroma of vanilla beans. Mouthfeel is silken and syrupy with a medium-dense body. Taste begins with a surprising and very pronounced milk chocolate character, similar to Rogue Chocolate Stout, followed by vanilla bean, husken malt, mild herbal and earthy hops, a brief whiff of alcohol, and a lingering, semi-astringent syrupy finish with suggestions of oak. Alcohol is mildly perceptable, and becomes slightly more apparent as it warms. The bourbon and oak character is most pronounced in the finish, but it is relatively mild. The aging in oak barrels has imparted noticeable characteristics in the mouthfeel and carbonation level. Cleanly fermented.

Considering the mild, yet immediate pinous hop aroma, I was pleasantly surprised that this was not your typical overhopped barleywine. This is amazingly well-balanced, rich with subtle complexities, very smooth, and most importantly, easy to drink. Another winner from the alchemists at New Holland!

2004 Edition-(10% ABV, 32 IBU per the website, which doesn't make Zymurgical sense) Comparing this to last years, this aroma is much richer with milk chocolate...the resinous hops are not at all evident...lots of vanilla and mild bourbon character. Vanilla is hugely evident with winey oak character in the late nose. Mouthfeel is very smooth with mild carbonation. Silken with a medium-dense, syrupy body. Wonderful stuff. Taste is out of this world...lots of milk chocolate, mild roasted malts, syrupy malt body in counterpoint with tons of vanilla and a late oakiness with moderate woody astringency. Bitterness is mild but nicely balanced with lingering notes of bourbon in the finish. Great stuff, I think better than last years batch. Alcohol is never intrusive but sometimes evident in warmth only.

Upon re-review 02-23-05, I am picking up distinct sourness...the chocolate is nearly all gone, and the silken mouthfeel is now aceticly harsh. Gobble your stores up now, it's quickly depreciating with age. Those oak barrels must have added some lacto or something that is going crazy in the bottles.

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Photo of maxpower
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown-black color, has a good creamy brown head that leaves a nice lacing in my glass. Sweet roasted chocolate and coffee aromas, sweet fruity woody, smokey chocolate and coffee flavors. Nice milky bitter-sweet finish. Medium-full body with creamy and smooth mouthfeel, alcohol well hidden, very nice.

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Photo of beerluvr
3.58/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tannish colored head settling over clear deep brown liquid. Strange nose on this one, aromas of funky plastic and milk chocolate perhaps? Tastes of leathery astringency, anise, and woody tannins wrapped in a slick oily mouthfeel. The 10 percent alcohol is very well cloaked here. Finishes with more dryish woody character behind some malt sweetness. A strangely interesting brew, I'd love to age a few and see what develops over time.

Thanks to CRJMellor for the bottle.

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Photo of ngandhi
3.13/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

New Holland does a lot for the beer world by being gutsy enough to release this beer. Above all, it shows the potential for oak aging beer which allows, if nothing else, for beer to be taken more serious.

The oak qualities are tremendous. The velvety mouthfeel, slight creaminess, and latent bourbon flavoring are all otherwise unattainable. When cold, the nose is a plasticky yeast smell -- this is definetly the New Holland super attenuative yeast strain. I've found it to give off similar odors as Nottingham dry ale. It is also quite apparent in the taste.

At cellar temp, Dragon's Milk opens up to more oak character. Most notably, there's some vanillin and mocha notes that might actually be a result of the interplay between the yeast and bourbon. However it happens, the taste is primarly a plastic mocha laced with bourbon and the finish is all bourbon with even a hint of island malt! I can't say I want this in my beer, but it's clearly what they wanted and man is it fun to figure out.

There's nothing more I want than a brewery to take some chances. For as small as they are, it's a wonder they can afford to do this. Support them.

Relax, relax.
ng

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Photo of CRJMellor
3.73/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep, depp maroon, almost black. Decent tan head that settles rapidly leaving bits of lace up and down the glass.
Aroma is scotch, sasparilla, cream soda and almost metallic soda kind of scent.
Flavor has a heavy hint of scotch, cream soda notes and minor hint of chocolate. Faint hint of bitterness at very end.
Mouthfeel is full yet thin, hate to refer to it again but very close to soda. Alcoholic kick at back end dominates the palate.
Drinkability is only slightly better than average mainly do to soda-like tendencies and pretty heavy alcohol.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.37/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: frightfully dark, deep plum color, with a generous, frothy, creamy, light tan head above, lace-leaving, slowly subsiding.
Aroma: chocolate, cream, vanilla...interesting...buttery, with a whiskeyish tinge, as well.
Taste: unusual, the vanilla lingers, a woody, chocolatey character dominates. Small hops, rich malt, and the 10% Abv is sneaky, not kicking into the flavor in the least. Oh, here it comes...fruitiness comes in toward the end, raisiny, plummy, ...such a nice little brew, a great buttress against this ridiculous sub-zero January chill.
I've had this on-tap before, at the Autumn Brew Review lat fall, and wasn't so charmed...this bottle changed my mind. Were I a Michiganite, Dragon's Milk would have a coveted spot in the icebox.

9-11-2006
2 1/2 years later, it's finally available in MN, in bombers, and is as good as ever. Wonderful nightcap on a very bad day, the day my 5-year old cat died. Helpful in providing some relaxation and a small amount of liquid comfort.

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Photo of marburg
4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ignoring for a moment the style of beer to which this brew supposedly belongs, isn't this something else? Quite a trip if I may say.

Dark, translucent body with a big, bubbly brown head that dissipates very quickly. Vanilla bean, cream, and roasted grains envelope the nose. Fascinating. Perhaps the most bizarre taste/mouthfeel combination I've run across in a long time. Smooth and light bodied. Reminds me of flavored skim milk in many respects, so I suppose the name is appropriate. Very lightly roasted grains finish it off but are not to be outdone by woodchips, raw earth, vanilla extract, and a teaspoon of chocolate syrup.

Interesting stuff. Very, very drinkable for something with a 10% abv.

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Photo of granger10
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This one pours out as if a black hole but it is transparent when put directly to a light. The head is weak and really light in color compared to the darkness of this beer. Lots of lacing on the glass. The smell is of something burnt and chocolate. The taste is extremely unusual. Really creamy, really milky, really sweet (chocolate/coffee). Burnt coffee beans come into the picture the more I drink it. An earthiness arises (maybe the hops?) Not bitter at all, nor is the yeast flavor noticed, nor even the alcohol. Really woody in an aggressive way. This is definitely a beer that needs to be tried because of it's unusualness.

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Photo of Jables
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep black with a thin off white head

Aroma is sweet caramel and fairly strong smoky notes can be detected. Very strong milk chocolate notes as well.

Taste is heavy of chocolate and caramel w/ some bitterness as from nice dark chocolate. This has a very balaced flavor.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy.

Drinkability is high despite its high alcohol content and great intriguing flavor.

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Photo of jackndan
2.5/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

New Holland Dragon’s Milk: from a bottle. Pours a deep, almost impenetrable brown/black. Not much head, what it had was off white, and left a thick coating down the sides. The aroma is sweet, and although, its probably just the name, smells like a chocolate milkshake.

The first sip, and damn, this was not what I expected, it is extremely thick/creamy and smooth, taste’s very much like bailey’s and coffee, except even more sweet and almost cloying. Really unusual tasting beer, there is a definite smokiness to this brew as well. I can’t say I like this beer, and then after much consideration, I realized why: this beer is very similar in smell and taste to Ensure, the protein drink. The bottle notes that the alcohol level is 10%, but its hard to note. Cripes, I can tell this is well made, but I’ll have to choke down at least half of the bottle.

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Photo of Winter
4.53/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours near black in color with garnet highlights near the bottom of the pint. Creamy brown head flattens to the surface of the body. A quick swirl revives it. Aroma consists of milk chocolate, roasted malt, barley and cream. As the ale warms a vanilla-like sweetness and just a hint of alcohol can be detected. Lovely full-bodied mouthfeel that's velvety smooth. Initial flavors consists of chocolate, rich malt and grain (barley). A slight hop bitterness cracks near the back of the tongue and breaks up the sweetness. The finish has hints of oak, vanilla and a ghost-like milk chocolate taste.

The alcohol is undetectable and Dragon's Milk is unbelievably smooth and drinkable for its 10% abv. Flavors from the oak aging are not quite as complex as I expected. I thought there'd be a greater presence of bourbon in the flavor profile, but I didn't pick up on that. Nonetheless, this is an awesome brew.

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Photo of moulefrite
3.24/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Strong and black like a good cup of coffee. Little head, but a tad bit of sticky matter does cling to the glass. Aromas are at once of wood, with butter, roasted coffee and creamy chocolate in the background. The mouthfeel is quite lush. The carbonation is rather mild. Flavors run fairly deep, yet come back always to the wood-like a dry sauna at times. Some bitter chocolate/cherry like flavors are to be had, as well as strong, bitter chicory notes and malted milk. This is an interesting drink, yet I feel it is perhaps over-oaked? Try it if you see it, especially on a cold Winters night.

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Photo of ADR
2.57/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

On tap, Autumn Brew Review 2003...

Burly opaque black with a 1/4 inch head of decent persistence. Ring laces. Hugely diacetyl aroma, so much so that its like artificial butter on movie popcorn. The flavor moves beyond that in even stranger directions, quick sweetness, tons of lime juice mid mouth and a crashing finish that reminds me of German Black Forest Chocolate Cake with cherries. Long and lingering impression in the aftertaste. Does have alcohol notes. Geez, this is weird, a little gunky and as far away from any Old Ale as I can think of. I'll give it different -- but I won't say I like it particularly much...

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Dragon's Milk from New Holland Brewing Company
3.98 out of 5 based on 5,702 ratings.
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