3/14/21: Peanut Butter Weekend--New Holland Brewing's Dragon's Milk Reserve: Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout with Peanut Butter and Cocoa Nibs

12:24 PM

Did you read my post yesterday? If you haven't, I highly recommend you do so. Today's post won't be heavily reliant upon it in any way (you can definitely read this one as a stand-alone) but I might touch upon topics you'll understand more readily if you've read yesterday's.

Now that I've said all of that, let's get to today's beer: New Holland's first Dragon's Milk Reserve of 2021 (21R1 from here on out), featuring peanut butter and cocoa nibs. I love Dragon's Milk and I love Reese's Cups, so this seems like a beer tailor-made for me.

The stout clocks in a 10% ABV, which is a little lower than what Dragon's Milk Reserves normally hit. According to its official page, 21R1's the Dragon's Milk you probably already know, but with the flavor of peanut butter cups. The stout was aged in bourbon barrels for three months before it was finished on cocoa nibs and peanut butter (not Reese's brand peanut butter, at least from what I can tell). 

The first waft of my bottle provides sweetness from the months the stout spent in bourbon barrels: vanilla, oak, and bourbon. A return visit imparts milk chocolate aromatics. I'm a little surprised at how little peanut butter there is to be found here. I can suss out a mild nuttiness, but that's about it. The beer garnered seventeen whiffs from Purrl, meaning that it's actually as good as I think it is. I guess I was simply expecting a little more peanut butter on the nose.

My first sip is a milk chocolate sweetness on the fore (the cocoa nibs mingling with sweetness of the bourbon barrel-aging process) with some peanut butter making its presence known just before the finish, where it hangs around with bourbony, chocolatey goodness. That ABV isn't super prominent; 21R1 has a slight warming sensation, but that's it. The whole thing tastes like a chocolate velvet cake with peanut butter icing.

The mouthfeel is velvety smooth, which absolutely fits with everything the stout has going on. Look at that, two velvety peanut butter stouts in as many days. I guess I'm a lucky guy, huh?

Okay, so I know I just compared this beer to a chocolate cake with peanut butter icing, but it also reminds me of those Reese's-inspired donuts you can get at any number of donut shops. You know, the chocolate cake donuts with peanut butter icing and chocolate sprinkles (or, if you go to one of the fancier donut shops, bits of peanut butter cups) on top? Yeah, you know the ones.

The last time Michelle and I saw my parents, we hit up a local donut shop for breakfast and I got one of those Reese's-inspired donuts. It was as good as it ever was. We shared a really nice breakfast of donuts and coffee with my folks before they had to split and head home. I can't wait to see them again.

Overall, I have to give New Holland's Dragon's Milk Reserve: Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout with Peanut Butter and Cocoa Nibs a 9.0/10. It's a really great chocolate BBA stout with a nice yet subtle addition of peanut butter.

What I've learned between yesterday and today is that New Holland knows how to work peanut butter as an adjunct. Whether keeping it mild or heavily accenting the base beer, it seems like brewers looking to utilize the additive should wholly embrace it. If you second-guess what you're doing with it, it's too late. I really hope I can find more peanut butter beers of New Holland's caliber.

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