New Holland Dragon's Milk Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout (Revisit)

The first time I tried this beer, I had no idea what I was getting. I was at a bar with a football game on, and I was in the mood for a Guinness, but this was the only stout they had on tap. Anyone who knows something about beer would have told me that you don't go drinking any stout expecting it to be Guinness, or you will be disappointed - even by a great beer. It's like eating popcorn expecting butter and getting cheese; cheese popcorn is great, but when you are expecting butter, you aren't getting what you want.

The dark brown beer is indistinguishable from black, and the light tan head is difficult to coax out of the beverage that isn't as syrupy as other bourbon barrel beers I've had in the past. I'm not complaining - just noting the difference. Likewise, the head stays at least a little bit as a very thin sheet of bubbles right in the middle of the glass. The aroma is cherry, oak, bourbon, and oats.

First sip is rich and interesting. It's definitely got a dark, roasted oak flavor mixed with some bright vanilla and then mixed again with the solid earth tones. It is complex and heavy in totality; and the alcohol of the bourbon adds to the liquor sense of the beer.

Tip-in is thicker than the pour lead me to believe, and the oak and earth are combining to make it substantial, but the roast hasn't come in yet; instead, it's almost sweet with a brown sugar that has been seared. The middle is roasted malt goodness with more of an oak-oat based syrup than the brown sugar of the tip-in while the vanilla again makes things interesting. The finish is a stronger oak with a lot more of the bourbon shining through while earth and syrup recede.

Bottom Line: Now that I've come to know this kind of beer, I've come to really like it. This is a rich, clean version of the style.



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