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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

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Reviews: 1,442 | Ratings: 5,460
Photo of thebierbrewery
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served ou tof a 12oz bottle.

A- Not as dark as a stout, deep mahogany color. Slight head retention.

S- Carmel raisin with big time alcohol/bourbon, some oakiness, slight cardboard, some vanilla

T- Balanced, heavy on bourbon in the beginning, slight vanilla in the end, minimal oak flavor. There is a nice smootheness to it.

M- Medium body, light carbonation, has a slickness in the beginning and then a nice dryness in the finish.

D- It depends if you like bourbon or not, nice balance. It is a smooth beer, the warmer it gets the more aromas and flavors come out.

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Photo of nitro0292
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Just about as dark as they come, with a quarter inch head after an aggressive pour. Head dissapated quickly, but left good lacing throughout.

Aroma was malt and chocolate, not getting much oak. Carbonation was low, with a thick syrupy mouthfeel.

VERY sweet, no hop presence at all. Could not drink more than 2 of these due to the sweetness and strength.

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Photo of Qbdoo
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A near-great monster. Maybe because it's my first bourbon barrel stout I was a bit overwhelmed by the taste of the alcohol, or what seemed like it. I loved the look and texture, but kept feeling like someone had dropped a half-shot of bourbon in it. It got better as it warmed and I adapted. Looking forward to trying it again, especially on a cold winter's night.

Re-review on 8/21/14

Smoother, less boozy tasting on tap. Has a nice vanilla taste and is surprisingly drinkable for such a big beer. This has gone up a notch or two in my estimation.

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Photo of seebus
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - bottle has a painted label (classy) but an avg graphic of a dragon and a barrel (ok) but a nice though mostly empty back story is painted on the bottle as well (they redeem themselves!). i poured a generous portion of the bomber into a snifter, and i drizzled enough in to get a nice, parchment-colored head. the head dissipated pretty soon, kept some of the nice foam swirls and oily bubbles i like to see on higher gravity dark beers.

S - definitely soft, malty, and warm. the snifter helped to capture some alcohol vapor, but i still had to do a little searching to find it under all that lovely malt.

T - a bit like a dark raisin bread. slightly bready, but it's under all of that heavy malt. take a breath after you swallow and you can feel that alcohol if you pay attention.

M - not bad. full enough with all that heavy malt taste, although it's a bit grainy at times.

D - now, this is a heavy beer--tons of malt and high gravity. if you take that into account, the drinkability isn't too bad. this is certainly for sipping. be patient; try to rush this one and it will get you.

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Photo of Jeffsta1
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

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Photo of wiscokid920
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle poured into Pint Glass

A- Dark opaque brown to nearly black. Nice lacing but a tad bit thin. Head fades rapidly

S- Bourbon, Vanilla, Molasses, Oaky Char

T- Follows the nose well. Welcomed with bourbon, vanilla, and molasses which fades into a nice dark chocolate and sweet booze finish. Surprisingly sweet.

M- Creamy and smooth. Not a lot of carbonation. Starts out thin and heads with a chewing body.

O- One of the best barrel aged brews I have had. Very well balanced. It’s a delicious big beer that deserves to be enjoyed. An excellent offering!

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Photo of Natural510
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, 2010 vintage.

Deep, dark brown-black, a bit flaccid in the foam/lace department until shaken in the bottle and poured.
Scent is vanilla-heavy and fairly sweet with a hit of musty oak.
Flavor is very sweet with vanilla and malt; notes of whiskey and wood. Moderate booziness which is apparent but blends well and does not overreach.
Somewhat thin in body, though in all fairness this is not intended to be an imperial stout.
The flavor (and milkiness+strength) illicits comparisons to a 'foreign-extra' stout. As such carries a similar flavor profile, with the oak contributing to the necessary dryness, but weaker in body and subtlety. On its own, not bad if you like your stouts sweet.

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Photo of Buck89
3.81/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a snifter. Thick motor oil-like pour with a shy tan head that disappeared quickly. Aromas of smooth bourbon and roasty malt. Taste followed suit, with a strong roasty presence up front followed by oak and bourbon. Thick, sticky finish.

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Photo of radioscooter
3.81/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

"High Gravity Series" is right.

Beautiful almost black coloring. Typical caramely stout frothy head.

I don't find this as sweet as other reviewers have. But I like them SWEET so...let's call it sweet-ish. Certainly not overly sweet by any definition.

Aroma is java-ish and cocoay. First tastes are of cocoa, vanilla bean, coffee, and maybe a little fruit, but just a touch.

Very creamy and seductive on the tongue. Syrupy, clings to your lips.

As it sits, - mostly rich dark vanilla, and burnt brown sugar, with a tinge of devil's food cake.

Tasty. Could drink a few but not an all-nighter. VERY boozy. Not overly so - but make no mistake squier.

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Photo of output01x
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A vigorous pour gives way to a slow growing 2-finger creamy tan head. A near black body shows hints of crimson when held to light. The head diminishes after a couple minutes but leaves thick lacing clinging to the glass.

Bittersweet chocolate and dark roasted coffee beans are blended into a creamy aroma that beckons me to continue smelling this beautifully aromatic beer.

Light and creamy malt up front, quickly followed by a heavy alcohol. A light dry coffee aftertaste finishes each sip nicely.

Full bodied and creamy with medium carbonation. Thick and a little sticky, it coats the mouth well.

The flavor was a little too alcohol-packed for my preference considering this beer is 10% ABV. I would have definitely preferred more coffee/chocolate notes to mask the alcohol.

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Photo of jegross2
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing the Dragon's Milk Ale from New Holland Brewing Company. This is one of the few year-round, always available, easy-to-get-a-hold-of beers that is aged in oak barrels.
Score: 88

2011 vintage 12 oz bottle served in a snifter glass.

Appearance: Dark brown color, a faint hint of light slices through the beer to reveal small patches of translucent dark red/brown. Pours a thin tan lacing that dissipates into nothing. 4/5

Smell: Very bourbon-forward. An oak/vanilla-mocha aroma dominates the nose, with faint cherry/maple and black licorice notes. Lots of sweet bourbon and chocolate too. 4/5

Taste: Very sweet dark fruit and maple front that subsides into vanilla and chocolate flavors. Lingering finish of dark chocolate, sweet vanilla, maple and bourbon. Some fusel/alcohol flavor. When chilled, this beer is decently balanced for a beer that has such a pronounced bourbon and vanilla flavor, but it gets real hot when it warms. 3.5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium body, light carbonation. Interestingly oily, slightly sticky finish. A little alcohol warmth. 4/5

Overall: This beer is surprisingly delicious. I tend to stray from most heavier oak aged beers because I do not love the "brown liquor" flavors of oak and vanilla, but this beer is very balanced. For a 10% ABV beer, this one is surprisingly drinkable. Definitely a sipper, though.

Recommendation: If you are looking to try your first oak aged beers, this is a great starting point. Dragon's Milk is very accessible and not too costly for what it is. More seasoned beer drinkers should enjoy this one's complex flavors as well.

Pairings: BBQ meats. Would go well with dinner at the Brickhouse or Famous Daves.

Cost: $15.99 for a four pack, $8.99 for a 22 oz (bomber) bottle.

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Photo of scottyshades
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 batch for $3 a bottle

A: Pours a pitch black color with a small foamy khaki color cap. Retention is minimal.

S: Right off the bat you get the barrel aromas - wet wood/oak, bourbon in the nose (despite the fact that there is no bourbon), lots of vanilla, caramel, toffee.

T: The flavor is pretty interesting...its similar to BCS, but much thinner and with less bourbon/vanilla/richness. Actually pretty good. Alcohol is extremely warming (not unlike BCS), vanilla, chocolate, lots of oak, a touch of lactose, and maple syrup. Pretty complex, but not really balanced, and a little thin.

MF/D: Viscous body, smooth and creamy feel. Finish consists of vanilla and oak with a touch of bitterness/sourness.

Notes: This is like BCSs ugly cousin...a little thinner, sloppier, and less complex, but still good.

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Photo of deejaydan
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

**Fall 2004 release**

Nice lacing, and I can't believe the head retention given the ABV of this beer. Pours dark brown, but there is a hint of dark amber/garnet if you hold it up to the light. Smells like freshly crushed chocolate malt, with a hint of the bourbon mixed in. Taste.. slightly astringant/woody tones overpower other flavors going on. There's just enough residual sweetness to keep drawing you back for more. It's surpisingly light and fluffy in the mouth. This is a beer that is a good winter warmer style of beer. Like when you just get done snowblowing the foot of snow that fell overnight, and it's 5 degrees outside.

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Photo of steelcutoats
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Here is another prime example of the High Gravity Series from New Holland Brewery. I first sampled this beer at Fathead's down in the Burgh', and wasn't sure if I'd ever get the chance to see it appear in my native Greensburg. A few months later it showed up along with "The Black Tulip" in the beer cooler down at The Headkeeper.

I poured about half of the 22 oz. "bomber" into my trusty tasting snifter. It poured with little head, which quickly vanished. The color was a clear, dark brown....not opaque like a stout. The smell was full of dark roasted malts and chocolates. The taste was a mixture of the same. This beer boasts a 9% ABV, but does an awesome job of hiding it. Another classic example of what the addition of wood to beer can do. The oak aging imparts a nice dryness in the finished products with hints of vanilla and other subtle flavors. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of sidetracked
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear, almost black, very dark brown with ruby highlights. Good initial light brown head. Ring of bubbles lingers.

Aroma is wood with a little vanilla and baker's chocolate. Light sweet molasses present. Some alcohol.

Upfront taste is sweet molasses, wood, vanilla, brown sugar. Finish is similar but with more pronounced wood and alcohol--still slightly sweet. Wood comes across as kind of soggy at times though.

Medium body, light creaminess, medium carbonation, syrupy. Sticky lingering finish.

Dragon's Milk from a bottle drinks much better than on cask. Flavors meld better and compliment each other nicely. Barrel aging adds some nice vanilla, but the wood flavor is just alright. Overall a good beer--would have again.


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Photo of captaincoffee
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours extremely dark brown with a small-to-medium head that has good retention and leaves spotty lace. Nose is a bit like booze-soaked cake with cocoa, but is a bit light for what's expected. Taste is about the same...also a bit light (for an 11% ba stout) with some rough edges in the finish. Mouthfeel is a bit thin (again for an 11% ba stout). Overall, a reasonable beer for the price and being ba, but a bit disappointing.

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Photo of thebeers
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Black with a finger of tan head. Aroma of chocolate and oak-heavy bourbon. Roasted malt and a little chocolate up front in the taste, with bourbon flavor the most dominant and a slight alcohol burn. There's a slightly astringent and fairly clean finish that's pretty nice. Medium bodied, with a splash of cream and strong carbonation in the mouthfeel. A decent BBA stout. It scratches that itch, but nothing out of this world, either.

2015 vintage, January 2016 bottling date.

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Photo of TheBierBand
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

OK... if this is an American Stong Ale... Then I am a MONKEE's Uncle!... This is an American STOUT or a Porter all the way....

Poured out ebony and produced a light tan head in the glass. The head lasted and the dissipating foam left slight lacing on the glass.

Taste: very sweet like a caramel stout with a slight coffee back-up from roated malt. Vanilla taste adds to the sweetness.

MF: very smooth and rich... maybe a touch UNDER Carbonated.

Drink: Too sweet for my taste.... still a solid Amercan Stout.... certainly NOT an american Strong Ale!

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Photo of Richardberg
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - mahogany color, small layer of cream head on top doesn't last long, but foam is fairly sticky.

S - rich caramel malts, bourbon, oaky vanilla, raisin

T - just what the smell predicted. In equal strength, too, if not more. Some booze in the finish.

M - medium body, doesn't have much sticky/coating quality, but carbonation keeps it interesting

D - enjoyable in many ways, but pretty strong ABV is noticeable. Adding the aged oaky flavors on top makes it fairly rough going.

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Photo of suburbeer
3.79/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

22oz with the annoying foil. Bought in Asheville, NC on vacation.

Appearance: Poured thinner than expected. Dark brown not black. Essentially no head in the wine glass I had to drink out of. slight tan bubbles around the edges

Smell: Bourbon, vanilla, oak, syrup, fig Surprisingly little malt smell

Taste: Bourbon, chocolate, wood, sweetness. Dark fruit pokes through occasionally around the bourbon. Very little bitterness to balance the sweetness.

Feel: Slick, sweet stout creaminess despite pouring thin for the style.

Overall: Really hit the mark on this particular evening. Enjoyed and will keep one on hand but it takes a mood to really enjoy. unbalanced sweetness and bourbon is perfect sometimes even if the beer isn't all the time.

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Photo of Hyptochrons
3.79/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

dark brown, nice looking brew. nose is pretty weak, touch of chocolate, roastyness, and maybe a hint of vanilla, but mainly getting a harsh alcohol scent as well as an offputing aroma that i cant really describe. taste is okay but only marginally better than nose - theres something unpleasant about it that i cant put into words, but its not something ive experienced in an imperial stout before. not much in terms of bourbon notes, but definitely boozy in a rubbing alcohol kind of way. honestly its not a terrible beer but i would recommend skipping it... drinking bourbon aged imperial stouts that are mediocre just isnt worth it.

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Photo of sisuspeed
3.79/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass, Dragon's Milk has a dark brown body with a slight red tint. A little bit of head forms at first, but quickly fades.

Sweet, oaky, wood drifts up from the glass. Caramel and other sweet malts mix in as well. Almost reminds me of a syrupy candy stored in an oak barrel. Would love to have a stronger aroma of this.

The first couple of sips pull out toffee, alcohol and oak. Vanilla comes out nicely from the barrel aging as well as some tannins. Malts are quite sweet, caramel like. Much like the smell, the flavor is warming malt candy with oak. Pretty good stuff if you like sweeter beers and a good oak presence.

Mouthfeel is a bit on the watery side. I'd like to see a heavier body to pair with the warming alcohol and some of the harsher aspects of the wood. Carbonation is about right.

Drinkability is pretty good. A sweet beer and the ABV is somewhat noticeable, but the oak is well done. One bottle is about the perfect serving size.

Overall, I thought this was an enjoyable brew. New Holland did a really nice job with the barrel aging and brought out some nice vanilla notes from the oak. This beer is probably the closest I've come to liquid toffee. Not something I would drink all the time, but I'll probably pick up another bottle if I see it around.

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Photo of Phelps
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Read about this one a while back and have been wanting to try it for a while. Finally got a chance this past weekend in Chicago. Here we go...

A rough pour gives birth to a light mocha head with bubbles big and small. It exits after about a minute, leaving a simple ring with a splotch in the center and nice rows of lattice lacing. The liquid seems at first to be an impenetrable black, but a hold up to the light reveals notes of dark amber and cranberry red. Some bubbly effervescence is even visible.

In the nose: sweet mocha, dark chocolate. Notes of cinnamon, granola, and sourdough. Love those breakfast flavors. Pretty noticeable flowery hops adds some interest.

Interesting. I get, at first, soy sauce and raisins. This one's sweet. Very sweet, actually. Almost like a red dessert wine, with a tiny bit of oak. The beer's label says this is a stout with deep roasty flavors -- I disagree. This is definitely more of a strong ale...and I see that's what Beeradvocate's classified it as. Alright. Subtle waves of dark chocolate, espresso and even some vanilla are suggested at the finish; these flavors become more pronounced as the beer warms, but never fully blossom. Alcohol comes through the nostrils, tingling and burning.

I'd call the mouthfeel medium/medium-light. We need to come up with more descriptions for this stuff. It's an interesting swallow; more like juice than beer. Once again, letting the beer warm improves it a touch. The mouthfeel becomes creamier, silkier.

Despite a slight mislabeling by the brewery, Dragon's Milk is a decent beer. A little on the expensive side at the $8 I paid for it, and if you're looking for classic roasted flavors, it's not your thing. But worth seeking out. Curiosity satisfied.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22ounce bomber bottle into my shaker glass. Shared with brothercannon. The ale appears an opaque dark brown color with about an inch of ecru foam. Notes of oak, vanilla, milk chocolate, caramelized malts, mellow alcohol, slightly nutty/fruity. Medium to full bodied with ample carbonation for an old ale. Tasty stuff. Check it out if you happen upon a bottle.

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Photo of ChrisMon02
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle poured into a snifter glass.

Good looking deep brown color with a small head that expectedly dissipates quickly. Smells of bourbon, chocolate, burnt toffee and light vanilla. Taste follows the nose with the bourbon dominating. A bit hot and quite warming on the swallow. Very thin body. Watery and in my opinion this is what holds this beer back. Could be so much better if the mouthfeel was thicker. Overall a nice offering but needs refinement.

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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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