Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New Holland Dragon's Milk Ale review

New Holland Dragon's MilkToday I'm continuing my review of a select number of Michigan beers that I tried during my recent visit to the state. It's always a pleasure to be able to sample beers that I cannot buy here in Colorado and I take every opportunity I get to try something new. I'm a sucker for anything that's barrel aged and when I saw this beer from New Holland Brewing Company of Holland, Michigan I knew I had to try it. New Holland's offering is called: New Holland Dragon's Milk Ale, an ale aged in oak barrels.

Now while I didn't get to visit the brewery, I did manage to learn that this brewery has been in operation since 1997. New Holland runs both a production brewery as well as a pub-based brewery and a distillery where they make their own line of brandy.

Dragon's Milk Ale is part of New Holland's High Gravity Series and is only available in kegs or in 22oz bomber bottles. It's classified as an American Strong Ale. The ABV rating seems to vary by batch. The bottle I sampled showed an 8.5% ABV, but their web site claims some batches are as high as 10% ABV. BeerAdvocate's web site listed this beer at 9.0% ABV. So your sample will vary based on the batch you try.

Appearance: Dragon's Milk poured a dark, dark brown color with slight ruby edges. It was served a bit cold, this beer didn't produce much of a head at all and there wasn't any lacing to speak of. That can be somewhat typical of bigger beers but temperature probably had something to do with it. I decided to let this beer sit several minutes to warm up before tasting.

New Holland Dragons Milk AleAroma: Being an ale that's been aged in oak barrels, I expected to get some interesting aromas from this beer and I wasn't disappointed. The woody and vanilla overtones were definitely present here. It's one of the first things I detected after pouring this beer into the glass. I also got a full nose worth of caramel and dark roasted malts. The aroma was very pleasing.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel was one of medium to thick bodied. The ale tingled the front of my tongue. The beer slightly coated the back of my tongue and after swallowing gave me yet another sensation and taste that was enticing as well. Call it an after glow affect.

Taste: The ale itself was very tasty from the start. Rich malts blended with a woody base and vanilla overtones. The malt was noticeably sweet but is offset well by the wood and slight bittering hops. The affect of this beer was very smooth and warming. Despite being a high ABV beer, I had no difficulty in drinking this ale.

At first I might have been fooled into thinking this was a stout, but the dark malts in this beer are not quite as roasty as other dark beers. There's a lighter tasting balance put into this brew. Still, it's too dark to see through and will give some subtle hints of the darker, roastier malts.

I split the 22oz bottle with my relatives and everyone seemed to enjoy this beer. I would definitely buy this one again. American Strong Ales are one of my favorite styles. Look for this beer when you travel to Michigan and the Great Lakes area and you won't be disappointed.

Related articles:
- Avery Ale to the Chief (American Strong Ale) review.
- Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard review.
- Odell officially taps their Woodcut oak barrel series.
- Bell's Two Hearted Ale review (Michigan beers).
- A taste of The Livery (Benton Harbor, MI).

This article came from FermentedlyChallenged.com
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