Michigan’s New Holland Brewing went on a bit of a tear in 2018 — bottling three seasonal editions, four sours, five limited batches, and three special reserves to complement the six core offerings it has widely available. The last of the three special reserves available this year is a variation on the widely available Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout.
Let’s take a look at both the original and the reserve expression.
New Holland Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout – Lots of lovely vanilla and dark chocolate on the nose, could easily be mistaken for a solid chocolate coffee stout. The malted flavor and bourbon really hit on the palate and finish, which is nice and lingering. The bourbon isn’t as overpowering as you are prone to encounter in some beers of this style, and it has enough complexity to warrant cracking opening another bottle. 11% abv. A- / $8 per 22 oz bottle
New Holland Dragon’s Milk Reserve Banana Coconut Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout – New Holland’s barrel aged reserves can be hit or miss depending on the experiment. The Coffee and Chocolate and Mexican Spice Cake releases were both notable and enjoyable, while the S’mores and Blueberry Reserves were well-intentioned attempts that coated palates with excessive marshmallow, caramel, and fruit, respectively. Thankfully this bottle falls into the former category rather than the latter. It is most certainly as advertised: heavy coconut and faint banana on the nose, not unlike a slice of banana cream pie, with a mild hint of bourbon after it sits in the glass for a spell. The coffee and bourbon aren’t as present as the original bottling, nor as aggressive towards the finish. On the whole, fans of flavored stouts should be well pleased with a pint of this on a crisp autumn evening. 11% abv. B+ / $8 per 22 oz bottle