New Holland Dragon’s Milk Reserve Vanilla Chai
New Holland Dragon’s Milk Reserve Vanilla Chai is an American Double/Imperial Stout aged in white oak bourbon barrels with vanilla and chai spices, 2016 vintage, 11% ABV. Bottled on 01/20/16, opened on 05/04/16.
This beer pours with a dark color, nearly black, with some deep brown and cola color when held in the sunlight. A nice tan head on top to start, but it fades to a wisp and a ring before too long. The spices and vanilla are certainly evident on the nose and are mixing with a mild roast and some sweet chocolate, caramel and mild bourbon. I was afraid this was going to be too much, too artificial tasting, but it is working for me. Up first on the palate is the chai, strong but genuine and it is quickly followed by the base beer; a touch of dry oak is overtaken by strong notes of alcohol and chocolate covered caramels. The finish/aftertaste has a vibrant vanilla bean flavor that has somehow survived the past four and a half months and the stout itself! A tad boozy at 11% ABV, but the mouth-feel and carbonation level is spot on for me.
I’m always happy when I am wrong about a beer, and this one turned out to be one of those occasions. Although a touch on the sweet side overall there is also enough complexity to make up for a slight lack in balance.