Friday, 20 February 2015

Dragon's Milk Bourbon Barrel Stout

Dragon's Milk Bourbon Barrel Stout comes from the Town of Holland, in the Great State of Michigan. It's brewed by the New Holland Brewing Co. and comes in a big ol' 650mL bottle that's all the more imposing when you realize that the nearly opaque jet black liquid within contains a whopping 11% alcohol! The stout pours with a nice cowl of tawny head.

Dragon's Milk has an ultra-sweet nose, with malty everything, boozy notes (bourbon barrels after all), and, as promised by the label, "deep vanilla tones, all dancing in an oak bath." This woody beer has a well sanded mouthfeel--smooth and thick.  While I'm typically resistant to wildly sweet dark beers, this one was quite agreeable to me. It does its damage on the malt side of things, with very little bitterness evident, and has creamy vanilla notes. There is also a bit of raisin-y pipe tobacco in small measure. At the finish, there is a sharp strike of boozy heat, and that's where the bourbon flavours imparted by the barrel-aging process are most evident.

Truthfully, I've had better strong stouts, and better barrel-aged ales, but I got to this stuff just before dinner on a beautiful fall Friday evening when all was right with the world, and I found it really satisfying. It kicked my night off right--don't even imagine driving after a dance with Dragon's Milk. Pulling my critic's hat away from the drink faeries, this beer is too sweet and, if you strip away the barrels, I'm not sure that the underlying stout is all that remarkable. Still, well worth the price of admission. While this beer would pair well with an after dinner cohiba, my pre-dinner value stogie activated some flavours all the same. One must make do, you know.

Rating: 8.0 out of 10.

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