Stout month rolls on! I realized I had more stouts in my fridge than I originally realized. It’s not really a big problem, but I actually am happy to start clearing them out of there. I think February may be the best month for Stouts because it starts to really clean the fridge out for the spring months. Don’t get me wrong, I am loving stout month, but I will definitely be drinking stouts slightly more sparingly when this month is finally over. Of course I do have a few different 750 ml that are stouts, and I’m clearly having a few different beers here and there that aren’t stouts as well. So I haven’t let stout month rule my life just yet.
Anyway, I have considered picking this bottle out of the fridge on multiple occasions; however, I always seem to make another selection. It isn’t that I was afraid it wouldn’t be good, instead I just always found another route to take. This was only really picked for its stout qualities, or it may still be sitting in there as I type this. I originally picked this one out for a few different reasons. First of all, I am always interested in the things released out of New Holland. Multiple times I have considered buying one of their beers, but I just talk myself out of it as my beer basket gets heavier and my wallet gets lighter. This is a 120z which made it light on the wallet and a little easier to consume in one sitting. Secondly, this is a stout that has been aged in oak barrels. I’ve talked a few different times about the obsession with aging in different types of barrels, but I still can’t stop myself from buying them.
I have blogged about one New Holland brew before this one; however, I really do need to start picking up more things from them. They always seem to have really good looking stuff. Anyway, their website states that Dragon’s Milk is the crown jewel of their brewery. They have also said that it is the painstaking result of their creative and scientific process. It sounds to me like they have put a lot of thought and effort into this one, so I’m really happy to get an opportunity to taste this one.
Keeping with the theme of the month, this one pours out a very dark black color. I’m not sure how to say this, but it doesn’t seem to have quite the same dark rich blackness as some other imperial stouts I’ve had this month. You can almost see some clarity in there, but it’s kind of a trick. It’s still impossible to tell the clarity of the beer at all. You can make out some of the carbonation right around the edges of the beer; however, in the long run, you really don’t see a whole lot of carbonation here at all. A very light layer of head develops on top of the beer, but it dissipates really quickly. There isn’t a whole lot of lacing that develops on the side of the glass, but you do get some of that sticky residue lingering quite a while.
There are a couple of things that dominate the aroma of the beer. The roasted notes are definitely pretty big here. The coffee isn’t overwhelming like in a lot of other stouts that use a lot of roasted scents, but the coffee is definitely still present here. There is certainly a lot of vanilla found in the beer as well. The vanilla has a really strong extract type of smell to it. Another really big aroma here is also the large quantity of bourbon and booze. The oaky wood scent is here as well, but I definitely get a lot of booze that seems like it comes out of a bourbon base. I’m not certain the oak aging had any bourbon connected to it, but it seems like the aging brought that feel out anyway.
I was really surprised at how well-balanced this beer was as I took my first sip. There are a few tastes that seem to come to the forefront, but it seems like they all manage to fit together really nicely. There is a really sweet and malty intro to the beer. I was a little surprised how long it lasted before a major other flavor enters into the equation. The maltiness is met with a little light coffee flavoring. The coffee is a nice way to work into the ample roasted notes that exist till the finish of the flavor profile. Following the roasted notes is a bourbon burn that isn’t harsh enough to ruin this beer for people who dislike a strong alcohol taste. As the light burn mellows, you get a lot of vanilla and roasted notes to finish off the characteristics of the taste. There is certainly a little earthy wood quality to it here at the end as well.
This beer has a really nice blend of syrup and carbonation to it. I would still say there is a little more syrup than carbonation, but you have to expect that with an aged beer. The aging also brought out the boozy quality in this beer, but it isn’t harsh at all. This helps make this beer a little easier to drink, and it also allows a greater audience to enjoy it. The roasts and vanilla on the finish have a great warming effect that make it a great sipping beer for the winter months.
This beer has only increased my desire to try even more beers that are coming out of New Holland. I have consumed quite a few stouts over the last few months, and I think this might be one of the most well-balanced beers I’ve had in that time span. If you still haven’t picked up a stout this month, you really need to see if you can find this one. This beer does not disappoint!
Teacher Beer: A