Dragon’s Milk: Slow Down Big Fella

There are certain things in life that make my overactive mind settle down.  Johnny Cash can do this, as can the plainly written books of John Steinbeck.  For some reason cooking on the grill falls into this category as well.  All of these things have a meditative effect on me that blocks out the chaos of the everyday and slows down the wheels long enough for me to reflect on the things that matter.

Well, I have another item to add to this eclectic list; New Holland Brewing’s oak-aged ale, Dragon’s Milk.  So what makes this oak aged ale so special?  Well it starts with the pour, which inky black with a lovely tan head.  One look into the glass and you know you’re dealing with a serious brew.

Then there’s the nose.  This is a beer that you hold on to while you drink it, bringing it up to your nose again and again just to enjoy its lovely aroma.  There are dates and figs, some malt, and a whole lot of oak barrel there, all dancing together in perfect harmony.

Upon taking the first sip, you are greeted with dried fruit flavors, which give way to a delicious bitter chocolate then a woody oaken finish, with a hint of bourbon trailing behind.  The mouthfeel is substantial, as the beer sinks silkily onto your tongue to tickle your taste buds.   From start to finish, this beer is pure pleasure to be savored.

This is an awesome beer to curl up with and drink slowly, which at 10% ABV is probably wise.  Sometimes I’ll even take a nip or two of Knob Creek whiskey while I enjoy a Dragon’s Milk, which brings out the bourbon qualities in the beer and the sweet flavors in the whiskey.

Learned beer nerds point to the value this brew represents.  For about $8.00 per 22oz. bottle, you’re getting a very special beer.  It’s a tremendous bargain.  I probably shouldn’t be sharing this fact here, as New Holland may get wise to the fact that they could charge a lot more for this delicious brew and sell just as much. Well, at least to me.

You gotta love the Dragon.

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Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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32 Comments on “Dragon’s Milk: Slow Down Big Fella”

  1. Rob Crozier
    February 3, 2010 at 10:57 am #

    Wow, sounds great! I hope I can find this one at the store!

    • February 3, 2010 at 11:05 am #

      You sure can, Rob. Left end of the beer aisle, three shelves up!

  2. Don
    February 3, 2010 at 10:58 am #

    I’ve been looking for this out here, but so far no joy! Sounds like a great brew.

    • February 3, 2010 at 11:06 am #

      If only you knew someone in New Jersey who could send you one, Don…

      …and a Southern Tier Oat, too. Oh well.

      • Don
        February 3, 2010 at 11:14 am #

        The Southern Tier is finally starting to trickle in here. We got some old Krampus yesterday, I think it is funny they send their overflow to Idaho well after the season. Kind of like the superbowl tee shirts that are made up for the loosing team and get sent to the Dominican Republic after the game is played. We also got the Ja Vah, and just an ale of some sort. Still no Oat or Black IPA.

        Funny guy…

        • February 3, 2010 at 11:50 am #

          Get that Jahvah and don’t bother with the Krampus. it was the one ST beer I’ve had that I thought was ordinary.

  3. February 3, 2010 at 12:58 pm #

    It’s been a while that I’ve had this one. I must have lived in KY. I do remember liking a few of the New Holland brews.

    • February 3, 2010 at 1:32 pm #

      This is the only thing I’ve had from them and it’s terrific. I’m not sure if they’re a one-hit-wonder brewery or if it’s all good over there, but Dragon’s Milk is quickly becoming the centerpiece of my Saturday nights.

  4. February 3, 2010 at 1:36 pm #

    Dragon’s Milk is a glorious thing. You’ve got to try the Imperial Hatter, Pilgrim’s Dole, and Night Tripper now too. New Holland doesn’t make much that’s stellar in their normal line, but their big beer line-up is a force to be reckoned with. Dragon’s Milk is probably the favorite beer of my lab, and is a staple of any outing we make to the bar across the street, as well as any celebrations we may have. Excellent choice.

    • February 3, 2010 at 1:47 pm #

      I’ll have to keep an eye out for their other big beers. Right now all I’ve seen is the Dragon’s Milk.

      There’s only two breweries I know that are excellent across all offerings; Victory and Troegs, but I haven’t had any of the non- imperial stuff from Southern Tier, so they might fit the bill as well.

      Still, many breweries make one or two awesome beers and everything else is average. Maybe it’s a business decision, something for the nerds and something for the everyday beer drinker. They probably sell more beer that way, at least regionally.

      • February 3, 2010 at 4:29 pm #

        My experience with victory has been similar to most breweries, a few good, most meh. I can’t get Troeg’s in MI, unfortunately, but I’ve heard good things. Everything I’ve ever had from 3 Floyds has been incredible, and I proudly spout the good word of Founder’s brewing to every listening ear. Southern Tier has done almost everything right with their big beers line, and their 12oz line-up’s not bad. Lagunitas also seems to be doing everything right, except for maybe their anniversary ale this year was a bit weak. For a while I thought Stone could do no wrong, and then they released Oak Aged Arrogant Bastard, they’ve since fallen out of favor with me aside from a few select releases.

        As far as business is concerned, I believe you’re correct. It’s costly to make these big beers, and I doubt that the profit margin for the brewery is as big. It’s tough dealing with such polar opposite demographics of beer drinkers, and it’s certainly a stretch to get most beer drinkers to enjoy a beer worthy of an 8 dollar price tag. My personal opinion about the enjoyment of beer is it completely changes once you start brewing. A lot of my friends refined their palettes to a considerable degree after their first and many subsequent homebrew experiences. It’s tough to appreciate 120 ibus of hops if you don’t know what a hopflower actually tastes like.

        • February 3, 2010 at 4:41 pm #

          I keep thinking about brewing, but I hardly have time to DRINK beer (I do somehow find it, though). Is brewing something I can do with the kids? Seriously, my kids are forever baking in the kitchen with their mom, why not brewing in the basement with dad (who is watching mom make beer because she’s a research scientist and won’t blow up the house)?

        • February 3, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

          There is no reason brewing can’t be kid friendly. Think rootbeer, and gingerale. The problem is, there will always be a an extremely low level of alcohol generated by the yeast while the bottles are pressurizing. Get the kids to make something small (ie a real rootbeer, or cream soda or something) and you can make a larger pot of something alcoholic.

        • February 3, 2010 at 5:05 pm #

          hmmm…maybe they can play with the wort…

  5. February 3, 2010 at 3:35 pm #

    I think this brew is fantastic. And Johnny Cash.
    You should try to seek out their Black Tulip. Great name, great beer.

    • February 3, 2010 at 3:44 pm #

      Black Tulip sounds like it’d go well with the Man in Black…

  6. February 3, 2010 at 9:50 pm #

    Do it Jim. If it blows up it will make for a great post!

    I’ve seen the Dragon’s Milk @ Total Wine so I know I can get it, I’m just holding off a bit on the beer acquisitions. Interesting comments, I recently tried New Holland’s ‘The Poet’ which is a porter or stout (i forget) and it was truly a let down for me. Not impressed at all and I’m easily impressed.

  7. February 4, 2010 at 8:55 am #

    Loved this beer (my take on it – http://www.simplybeer.com/blog/2009/11/12/got-dragons-milk/) The aroma was probably the best part. But for me it was like drinking bourbon spiked chocolate milk. I snagged 2 more bottles of it a month back at the Liquor Outlet in Bounton for next year.

    • February 4, 2010 at 10:23 am #

      I’ll agree, Peter, as long as you throw some dates or a few figs into the concoction.

      It’s now a regular pick up for me. I bought two last Friday (one for me and one for my wife) and wound up enjoying them both myself, as she had a head cold. You sneeze, you lose!

  8. Matt Broo
    October 19, 2010 at 3:24 pm #

    No Chocolate in this beer-touch of vanilla. This great beer is aged in old oak whiskey
    barrels and is made in Holland Michigan. The after taste is as good as the first sip.
    For some reason I tend to go to sleep a bit early after one of these.


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