Retro Review: New Holland Brewing Company Dragon’s Milk Reserve: with Raspberries (2014)

Brewery: New Holland Brewing Company
Beer: Dragon’s Milk Reserve: with Raspberries (2014)
Style: American Double/Imperial Stout
ABV: 11%
Character: Local raspberries were added to the barrels in the final stages of conditioning
Ratings: BA: 87 | RB: 93
Metal Connection: DIO – Killing the Dragon

BeerMetalDude Rating: 5/5

I really wish I had more time to get this site all dolled up perfectly, but I guess I have to be an adult and make decisions that better my living situation, which means I have to work at a paying job, rather than working full time on this site. The reason I bring this up here is because I had to make this one part of the Retro Review section. I drank this beer back in January 2015. This was a trade beer from my good buddy, and fellow beer blogger, Jorge Espinoza of animebeers.com. We still do trades but not as frequent as we did back then.

I really wanted to include this beer on the site, and since I still see people checking into this beer on Untappd, I figured I’d let you all know what I thought about this beer, in case you get to get your hands on this one. Later that year, I believe New Holland changed the format from 22 oz bomber bottles to 12 oz 4 packs.As far s I can see from their website, this variant has been retired, and in 2016 a newer version was released called Dragon’s Milk Reserve: Raspberry Lemon. New Holland is now available in Texas, but I really hope this new variant makes it this way.

The design of this label is pretty simple, yet eye catching, cause those who know their beers will know from first gaze that this beer is a New Holland Dragon’s Milk beer variant based on artwork and colors used. Like all their other Dragon’s Milk beers, the label features a drawing of a barrel with a clip art flying dragon layered over the barrel. The difference in each bottle is the color of the dragon and ribbon on the bottom that displays the variant type. This one is in purple.

Poured into a 5 Stones Artisan Brewery snifter glass, this beer appeared a thick, opaque black color with a very, very dark ruby red hue that could be see when held up to the light. It was topped with a half inch tan foamy head. As the head vanished, it left a trace of stickiness around the top of the snifter, but there was no real head retention, and no lacing down the glass, as with moth barrel aged beers.

Raspberries are present in the nose which adds a slight tartness to this amazing base beer. Good traces of dark chocolate, bourbon notes, oak wood, lots of oak wood, milk lactose sweetness, dark fruits like raisins, plums, dark cherries, fresh baked cake, and a little caramel. Raspberries and oak wood linger in the nose after each whiff.

The taste was sweet dark chocolate, fresh raspberries, oak wood, bourbon sweetness and heat, grape juice, red wine, dark bread like Pumpernickel, vanilla, raisins, plums, figs, dark cherries, and a little caramel. The raspberries and oak wood hit my palate up front, and the rest of the flavors followed. Tart and sweet raspberries linger in the throat just like it hit the nose after each swill. Good presence of bourbon and oak wood at the end as well.

Good medium-heavy body thickness with an oily, syrupy mouthfeel and low carbonation. There was a little heat from the bourbon barrel. Nice dry finish which works well with the fruit and oak wood aftertaste.

Overall, this beer was damn impressive and worth the 5/5 rating I gave it. I loved the presence of the raspberries in this Barrel-aged Stout. I wonder if any of these are floating around within my reach somewhere. I would love to get my hands on another bottle to see how it held up even more since I had it last.

Metal Connection: Hundreds among hundreds of choices for this Metal Connection, as I was wanting to pair this beer with a song that has the word “dragon” in the title. There was one song that stood out from the rest, as it is from the late and legendary Heavy Metal icon, Ronnie James Dio. I really don’t need to introduce you to this man, but I’ll give the short short version. His first band was formed in 1957, but it was the band, Elf (1970-1975) which was more well known the previous bands, so I won’t mention them all. Mr. Dio went onto sing for Rainbow from 1975-1978. He then went onto replace Ozzy Osbourne as the vocalist for Black Sabbath from 1979-1982. In 1982, he formed his own band simply known as Dio. This band was put to rest in 1991, when Dio rejoined Black Sabbath, but that only for 1 studio album, so the Dio band was resurrected in 1993 and lasted until his death on May 16, 2010 from stomach cancer. The last recording Ronnie James Dio ever did was in 2009 when he and the members of Black Sabbath formed the band Heaven & Hell, and released 1 album. I was lucky enough to catch that band on tour. Who knew that would be the last time I would ever get a chance to catch the legend live. The last studio album from the Dio band was Master of the Moon in 2004.

OK, so that was the short short version of the man, the myth, the legend’s musical career. Now let me tell you about the song for this Metal Connection. The song is called “Killing the Dragon,” which is from the album of the same name that was released in 2002. This was the band’s 9th studio album. This song was also the opening track to the album, and it is a fitting and perfect song for that. After a 25 second organ intro, the music comes in like a bat, err, dragon outta Hell! An opening galloping riff will have you head banging from the moment it kicks in. The killer vocal style and patterns laid down by Mr. Dio is another perfect example to why this man was such a true legend in the field of music. The vocal patterns alone makes you automatically think of dragons, demons, mythical creatures, swords, and all the like. Very epic! Of course the title will make you think of mythical flying dragons breathing fire and all that, but I really do think there is a deeper meaning after reading the lyrics to this song. Each verse is about a different subject matter, something dark and evil in people’s everyday lives. The killing of the dragon is ending the bad shit around the subjects of each verse. You be the judge. The video is a lyric video and tribute put together by a fan.

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