Monthly Archives: October 2011

Review of New Holland Drangon’s Milk

For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be trying the New Holland Dragon’s Milk produced by the New Holland Brewing Company located in Holland, Michigan.

I’ve never sampled this brew before.  It’s an oak aged stout, which I tend to like, so I’m hoping for good things with this one.

Let’s read the description from the website,

The beer you hold in your hand, Dragon’s Milk Ale, is a crown jewel of New Holland Brewing Company.  It is the unrivaled result of painstaking processes – both creative and scientific. 

We could tell you about the centuries-old tradition of the term, Dragon’s Milk, or we could tell you about the history, craftsmanship and challenges of important, the beer inside this bottle. 

Expect a complex ale with a soft, rich caramel-malt character intermingled with deep vanilla tones; all dancing in an oak bath.  Unmistakably distinctive example of New Hollands’ Art in Fermented Form

Sounds enticing.

This brew has an ABV of 10.0% and comes in a 12 oz. bottle.

The beer poured a very deep brown color with a significant amount of ruby red showing through the middle and around the edges.  The head was tan in color, very smooth, creamy, soft and full.  The crown was of very good size, had very nice retention and left behind some very attractive lacing.  This thing looked pretty darn good in the glass.

The aroma began with hints of Bourbon soaked oak.  Sweetness was added by tones of chocolate and some light vanilla hints.  I found just a tad of dark fruit and caramel.  Both seemed to be held back quite a bit to let the oak and whiskey shine.  As the brew warmed, the beer seemed to lose some of it’s balance.  The alcohol really started to step up and define this beer more and more.

The taste lets the Bourbon rise to the occasion and the chocolate blends ever so nicely with the woody/oaky savors.  The vanilla seemed to be quite a bit more relaxed in the taste than it was in the aroma, however I also stumbled upon some sugary sorghum that did add some reinforcement in the “sweetness” department.  The overall taste was rather robust and potent, although it still had a nice bit of complexity.

The mouthfeel was medium to medium/full.  It was smooth, dry, creamy and chewy.  The alcohol started with a hearty burn, yet gave way to a pleasant warmth on the swallow.  The palate was left with a nice dose of flavor after the sip.  Not bad here.

Personally, I think it would be beneficial to let this beer age for a year or two to let the alcohol “settle in.”  It seemed a little “green” to me.  It still had a very full aroma and good flavor, but the drinkability was not all that high.  One bottle of this would be all I could handle for an evening I think.  I would still recommend giving this beer a try though.  Especially if you like the “oak aged” stuff.  I think I will try to seek out more stuff from New Holland and see how they stack up to other brewers that I’m more familiar with.  Overall, I have read some very nice things about the brewery and their beers, so I’m eager to see what else they have to offer. 

Have you guys had the New Holland Dragon’s Milk?  What did you think of it?  Would you be able to recommend another brew from these guys?

Thanks for reading and commenting everyone.  Until next time.


Score:  3.65 out of 5
Grade:  B       

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Posted by on October 28, 2011 in Country: USA, New Holland


Review of Sierra Nevada Ovila Dubbel

For today’s craft beer review I have a beer that I’m really excited about trying.  It’s the Sierra Nevada Ovila Abbey Dubbel crafted by the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company out of Chico, California.

I have seen this beer on the shelves numerous times, but for some reason I have never picked it up.  Well, I bought a bottle and all that’s left to do now is review it. 

First, let’s find the description from the website,

Ovila Abbey Dubbel is brewed in the abbey tradition, and perfect for the rebirth of spring.  Clear and deep copper in color, this Abbey Dubbel has a complex and rich malty sweetness with hints of caramelized sugar.  The aroma is a heady and layered mix of fruit and spice with hints of clove, raisin, and black pepper from the use of an abbey-style yeast.  Released late March 2011.

How ’bout a pour???

The beer has an ABV of 7.5% and it comes in a stunning 25.4 oz. bottle.

It poured a murky brown to burgundy color.  A light tan head was formed from a relatively easy pour.  The crown was small, tight, smooth and creamy looking, but it had quite a bit of fizz as it started to settle.  The retention time was not great, however the lacing looked worthy.  After a few minutes the cap was gone and it left only a scant film on top for a bit, yet after a few more minutes it was gone too. 

The first thing I noticed about the smell were the cloves followed by a nice yeasty backbone.  Dark fruits and baked breads were there and accompanied by peppery spice.  It was not quite as rich, robust or complex as I was anticipating, but it was still pleasant, balanced and nice. 

The taste seemed a bit heavier on the spice of pepper and cloves than did the aroma.  I got a slight taste of alcohol also.  Dark fruits of figs, raisins and plums brought out a genuine sweetness.  A very good, sturdy toasted bread and yeasty component gave it a substantially “rounded” flavor.  I also noticed a touch of brown sugar along with an almond type of savor.  After the brew warmed considerably, I began to recognize the most faint touch of over ripened banana.  Not bad….. it tasted pretty good I thought. 

The mouthfeel was a sturdy medium.  Chewy, smooth, creamy and dry.  A little bit of alcohol warmth was felt at the back of the throat, however the flavor didn’t seem to stick around on the palate as long as I would have liked.

Overall, I thought this was a pretty solid beer.  It’s not quite a “world class” beer in my opinion, however it has some good qualities.  It tastes nice and the ease of drinkability is to be commended.  I think it’s worth a try if you happen to see a bottle.  It has many of the proper characteristics that would define a traditional Abbey Dubbel.  I didn’t think the Ovila was near as rich and robust as some of the Belgian versions, but there is still plenty to be excited about with this one. 

Be sure to let me know what you thought of it if you have tried it.

Thanks for reading and commenting.  I enjoy all of the feedback and opinions.  Until next time. 


Score:  3.7 out of 5
Grade:  B

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Posted by on October 27, 2011 in Country: USA, Sierra Nevada


Review of North Coast Scrimshaw

For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be trying another beer from the North Coast Brewing Company located in Fort Bragg, California called the North Coast Scrimshaw.

As many of you know, North Coast Brewing generates a very good product regardless of style, so I’m expecting this beer to be more of the same. 

From the website,, I found this description.

Named for the delicate engravings popularized by 19th century seafarers, Scrimshaw is a fresh tasting Pilsner brewed in the finest European tradition using Munich malt and Hallertauer and Tettnang hops.  Scrimshaw has a subtle hop character, a crisp, clean palate, and a dry finish

Let’s give this beer a try shall we?

This beer comes in a 12 oz. bottle and at a lighter 4.4% ABV. 

It poured a hazy, yellow/gold, honey color.  The head was very bright white and very small.  Very little retention and very little lacing was left behind.  I was a little disappointed with the look of this brew.  Most North Coast beers look really nice in the glass, however this one was a little lackluster.  Oh well, let’s just see how the other aspects hold up.

The nose had touch of piny hops along with some earthy and “buttered” tones.  Fruity aromas of lemon citrus as well as wheat and grain hints gave way to a yeasty smelling backbone.  Not a whole lot going on here I didn’t think, although it had enough to keep me interested. 

The taste brought forth a commendable punch of bitterness.  The lemon citrus started meager, but became more prevalent and sour as the beer warmed.  Some hints of toasted bread and yeast helped pull some of the tartness off the lemon.  Not bad. 

The mouthfeel was medium/light, crisp, clean, refreshing, smooth and mostly dry.  The carbonation was so-so and the tongue and roof of the mouth were left with quite a bit of flavor to enjoy. 

This was a solid Pilsner I thought.  It’s not a “traditional” Pilsner like one would find in Germany, but rather a little more closely associated with a Wheat beer I thought.  It’s nothing too complicated, but it’s nothing dull or boring either.  Just a pleasant drink that would fit nicely with Spring or Summer.  I, personally, don’t think the Scrimshaw is the best brew that North Coast produces, but it’s still worth a try if you happen to see it.  It could very well be the beer you’ve been looking for. 

Be sure to let me know what you think of it if you happen to try it.  Thanks for reading and commenting guys.  It’s most appreciated.  Until next time.


Score:  3.4 out of 5
Grade:  B-

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Posted by on October 26, 2011 in Country: USA, North Coast

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