Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Lord Imperial Stout - 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Lord Imperial StoutBourbon Barrel Aged Dark Lord Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

182 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 182
Hads: 690
Avg: 4.52
pDev: 18.36%
Wants: 1,874
Gots: 109 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
3 Floyds Brewing Co. visit their website
Indiana, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  15.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mcallister on 04-29-2006

Dark Lord aged in bourbon barrels for one year. Recently has used a blend of barrels from Heaven Hill, but has also been Woodford Reserve and others in the past

Formerly known as Oak Aged Dark Lord.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 182 | Hads: 690
Photo of vacax
4.25/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a viscous black, oily with coating properties from both malt and alcohol. A few bubbles around the rim of the glass are compact and stick around. Aromas waft up of dark malts, maple, dark fruit, oak, umami, bourbon, and mineral elements. Most of the overly sweet malt characters from Dark Lord are here replaced by thick oak with spirit notes and a bit saltier than the regular liquid dessert.

The flavor brings the same loads of dark malts to the tongue, in addition to being brownie batter a lot of oak pops up, minteral, even tealike and oxidized flavors pop up a bit. I could see how some people would prefer this to regular Dark Lord, as the oak changes a lot of the sweetness into an oaky more savory experience, though molasses and malt is still here. Body is full and viscous with a coating feeling on the palate and a palpable low-moderate carbonation to match.

Interesting twist on Dark Lord, not as sweet, but I think I prefer the sweeter malts to the oaky twist in this case. The flavor is intense, which is fine if the taste is perfection, but this isn't quite it.

 1,087 characters

Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.25/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Draft at DLD.
Served dark as night with only a slight ring of head around the perimeter of the glass. Smell is absolutley luxurious. Deep roasted malts, chocolate, and bourbon are the front runners. This is a big beer, no doubt, the alcohol is there and warming.
This beer is mellowed a bit by the oak aging. Not the brute that the DL bottle is. This is a great beer, but not huge and robust as say a GI BCS.
The guys at FFF have taken barrel aging to a whole n’other level. Other brewers could take notes from them.

 520 characters

Photo of billab914
4.25/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Got to have a small glass of this at Dark Lord Day 2010. The pour was pitch black with some dark chocolate lacing clinging to the sides of the glass. It's one of the darkest and thickest looking stouts I think I've ever seen. It left a little lacing on the glass but not a lot.

The aroma had a big vanilla and oak wood presence with a good amount of bourbony alcohol flavor to it as well. It also had dark chocolate, roasted malts and a little dark fruit to it. The barrel added a very nice complex aroma to it, it was a little strong but didn't overwhelm the beer.

The taste also has a large oak, vanilla and bourbon presence to it. The bourbon flavor gave it a warming alcohol finish. Also present were some dark roasted and chocolate flavors but they definitely took a backseat to the barrel flavors.

The mouthfeel was nice and thick with low carbonation. Very nice mouthfeel on it considering I like thick and heavy stouts. Drinkability was decent although the alcohol and barrel characteristics were a little strong. The 4-5 oz glass that I got was plenty for me.

Overall a very nice modification of Dark Lord. I enjoyed the glass I had but probably wouldn't have gotten another one, especially if this was a beer available all the time. It felt like the barrel characteristics were a little overpowering and became the main flavor of the beer instead of Dark Lord being the main flavor with some barrel characteristics to enhance the complexity. Don't get me wrong it was delicious and great for the serving size they gave out, just couldn't justify any higher scores for it based on that.

 1,599 characters

Photo of brystmar
4.24/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to cosmicevan for sharing!

Decent looking, nothing special here though. Strong, smooth bourbon aroma takes over to blend with roasty malts and sugary sweetness.

The underlying taste is a more mature version of DL complimented by sweet, smooth, rounded bourbon. Not too much complexity here: just bourbon. Cognac DL was much more interesting, and a significantly better variant overall.

Still a great beer, but a big step down from the Cognac in my book. But then again, I'm not a bourbon lover.

 504 characters

Photo of Alpar
4.23/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Dark Lord Day 2011.

Well worth the wait.

A: Dark with no head just like the others.

S: Damn fine Bourbon bliss!

T: Ok, I tasted the bourbon at first and it was smooth, but after going back and forth between this and the vanilla DL I developed this Graham cracker taste which complemented the vanilla's marshmallow flavor, unreal!

O: Overall I have to say it was one of the best beer experiences of my life but the vanilla is better if I had to have only one.

 479 characters

Photo of woodychandler
4.22/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This had a thin, dark brown ring of head at the top of the beer. There was absolutely no carbonation visible and it was like looking at the surface of a still, dark lake. It was black, black, black in color. Even the white bits was black. The nose was hugely sweet and malty with notes of chocolate, vanilla, and bourbon. The mouthfeel was incredibly thick, like pudding. It was incredibly viscous and could probably stand in as heavy-weight motor oil during the summer, in a pinch. There was also an intense heat on the tongue and I simply could not get past the combined heat and bourbon flavor. The finish continued with a lingering heat.

 641 characters

Photo of genog
4.22/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Got to sample this one at DLD 08.

Poured into a tiny plastic cup a black charcoal color with a thin layer of light tan head resting on top the entire time. Had more lacing than the original Dark Lord.

Smell was bourbony, oaky and kind of like a port with big dark fruit notes.

Taste was very complex with sweetness and smokiness dancing together on the palate.

Mouthfeel was very smooth and creamy, with a warming alcohol presence.

 438 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.21/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the 2013 Firestone Walker Invitational held at the Paso Robles Event Center in Paso Robles, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, vanilla, bourbon, and alcohol aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa and vanilla flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty and woody bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with some nice barrel aged aromas and flavors.

 685 characters

Photo of BucketBoy
4.2/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2012. Heavy booze, sweet Dark Lord balanced by some nice roast in both the nose and the flavor. Vanilla, marshmallow, some oak in the taste. Probably the best part of this beer is the near motor oil mouthfeel. Very enjoyable! Thanks, Frank.

 240 characters

Photo of Steamhead
4.18/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The '09 was, in my opinion, a step down from the regular Dark Lord and two steps down from Vanilla Bean Dark Lord. This seem the least polished of the three. The nose was hotter, the mouthfeel had lost some of the rich creaminess in exchange for a bitter wood tannin, and just did not leave a great impression. Still a solid beer that most breweries would sell their soul to produce, but for the perfection that is expected with Three Floyds it was good, but not great.

 469 characters

Photo of hooliganlife
4.17/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 dark lord day pour

dark as night, no head what so ever, no retention, no lacing, just thick black stout.

tons of oak with subtle hints of vanilla and booze. light scents of dark fruits

mild sweetness, tons of oak which gave off a nice subtle vanilla favor. bits of molasses. the roasted malts took the back seat and the hops were also overpowered by the brute oak flavor.

very thick, a bit syrupy, mouth coating

this was good, very good, but the least favorite of the dark lords. the oak was a bit powerful so too much of this and i would be wanting to move on.

 571 characters

Photo of timc100
4.15/5  rDev -8.2%


Pours very dark brown near black oil, very minimal heavily burnt over-roasted head. Oily consistency in the glass.

Smooth sweet aroma of port, umami-soy sauce, vanilla, dark chocolate, sweet oak, dark fruits and a touch of bourbon. Tastes follows the nose well - a lot of port, umami, dark fruit and chocolate. Very nice sweet vanilla and booze on the finish. Very vanilla forwards as it warms.

Beast of a beer, drinks like a port - kind of strange liquor. Do not pick up on nearly as much bourbon as I anticipated and hoped for, but it still works well. I anticipated this being much richer in espresso and dark chocolate considering the 2011 is the base. The PVW was significantly better

 708 characters

Photo of maximum12
4.15/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yet another version of this fine beer.

This one took me by surprise - by oaked, I assumed this beer was "oaked" so the big bourbon slap in the face almost made me cry.

Again, just like the regular Dark Lord in most respects, but with a massive overdosing of barrel aging that's up front & in your cage. Kudos to 3F for trying to improve & tamper with an already great beer, but this one feel just a bit short; the bourbon was over-aggressive for me, drowning out some of the best aspects of the regular Dark Lord. Some of the creaminess was disrupted, & the great towering blade of malts was compromised.

Still a very good beer & one I'd never turn my nose up at, but also a good example of turning a great beer into just a very good one by laying too much of the barrel into the glass.

 792 characters

Photo of mdm46410
4.12/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at DLD '08. Poured a thick used motor oil opaque black/brown with a thin mocha head. Not so much lace, but a thick oily residue was left clinging to the sides of the cup. The aroma was robust and full of strong coffee and chocolate with a hint of detectable bourbon. Same for the flavor. The bourbon was not overpowering or intense, it just added another layer of complexity. The mouthfeel did not suffer from the barrel-aging. It was thick and sticky as ever. A great beer, but I still prefer my Dark Lord without the bourbon.

 534 characters

Photo of zrab11
4.12/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at DLD 2011

A-poured a motor oil black with a tiny tan head and alittle bit of lacing

S- Has a strong bourbon smell up fron followed by some dark fruit notes as well as come chocolate and malts

T- Has a strong bitter chocolate flavor up front followed by a nice malty middle and then finishs with a pur bourbon kick.

M-Full bodied with nice carbonation

O-Overall this was a top notch beer. Not as good as Vanilla DLD by any means. Well atleast in my opinion. In my little circle of 8 guys at DLD this was all their fav. besides me. Very good beer but just alittle too much bite and hottness to love it. Will have it again at DLD for sure.

 660 characters

Photo of yourefragile
4.12/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

4 ozish pour in a plastic cup at Brickskeller 3F tasting. I interpreted this to be the 2010 release of the 2009 DL aged in whiskey barrels, not the 2009 Oak Aged Dark Lord. Either way...

Pours an extremely sludgy, viscous syrup like dark brown, near black with a non-existent head and no signs of carbonation. So yea, appearance is pretty much as expected for style, but nothing exciting. Aroma is hot and abrasive, assaulting you while the glass is still on the table. Immediately hits you with bourbon and oak. After letting acclimating to the booze and burn, other notes from the base DL are apparent, including chocolate, coffee and more oak. Very sweet, raw and complex aroma. Mouthfeel is very thick and chewy, silky and long lasting on the palate, near perfect. Flavors follow similar pattern to the nose; overall extremely sweet and it takes a moment to get past the oak and bourbon to pick out the subtleties of the original dark lord, and it that its primarily chocolatey. This isn't a 13% ABV beer that you can said hides its alcohol well either as there is a noticeable burn associated with each sip. This was an unexpected to treat to try, but overall I was left feeling like this in an instance of an amazing beer + more amazingness (barrel aging) != doubly amazingness. Overall some of the complexity is sapped out of this by the dominance of the boozy and oak flavors.

 1,385 characters

Photo of MasterSki
4.12/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

I've had this two years in a row in a plastic cup pour. I took some brief notes this year, so here it goes - a lot of this will be complementary to my review of Dark Lord (when I finally get around to reviewing the regular variety). Some of this text is borrowed from my Vanilla-bean review, where appropriate.

A - Think quick-dissolving mocha foam, nice ring of lace, pitch black with a hint of red at the edges. It's about all I expect from a 13% RIS.

S - Oak-barrel, but not the stupid amount I experienced in oak-aged Behemoth. There's also a touch of vanilla and almond that I get from most good barrel-aged brews, plus the cadre of "regular" Dark Lord smells. It's different from regular Dark Lord, but not a huge improvement.

T - I found the oak-aging to simplify the taste of Dark Lord in a way that wasn't altogether positive. The oak-aging really brings out the booziness and heat and smooths out a lot of the really interesting flavors from the regular Dark Lord. It's still pretty delicious, but just slightly acerbic.

M - Thick, near milk-shake consistency, with tons of residual stickiness, and low carbonation. This is the way RISes should be down - other brewer's take note.

D - This is a mild step in the wrong direction - takes the least drinkable elements of Dark Lord and amplifies them a little bit. It's hot, palate-beating, and not really much more interesting than the regular variety. Worth trying, but not worth waiting hours in line to try.

 1,472 characters

Photo of JDV
4.08/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at DLD. A nice treat after waiting in the cold for hours. Poured pitch black with zero head and enjoyed in a small plastic cup, just the way it was meant to be had. Smell is rich sweet, sticky molassesy malt with a light bourbon and alcoholic vanilla aroma. Taste is rich, semi sweet, chocolatey, dark fruit fig like flavor with some soy sauce like quality too. Rich oily mouthfeel and light carbonation but a sufficient amount. Really good stuff.

 454 characters

Photo of CooperEllis
4.04/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From HayesEz.

Dark brown flat in the center, tan to the edges. No head.

Solid Aroma, easily the best part of this. Molasses, boooze, vanilla, brown sugar.

Taste is a bit thin. Vanilla extract, bourbon, malt. Notacibly different from the regular DL which I often find soy/burned/malt. This was solid, if unspectacular.

Not much to the body, a bit of a sticky mouthfeel, and still a bit thin. Odd, more bourbon than stout.

Really good, enjoyed it. The other people I split it with enjoyed it as well.


 513 characters

Photo of sweemzander
4.03/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had on tap @ DLD 2010! Huge thanks to BeerFMAndy for snagging a glass of this for me!

(A)- Pours thick & black as night. Produced a quickly dissipating brown head.

(S)- A rich dense molasses with a rather potent woody bourbon-like burn

(T)- Rich, with a big woody & bourbon-like sweetness with some dark cocoa & molasses. Very similar to the smell.

(M)- Dense, but thinner than the vanilla bean variation. Has a good carbonation level. A big, almost dry woodiness, yet has a bitterness too from the roasted malts.

(D)- A good stout. Not as successful as their vanilla bean variation in my opinion, but has its own special qualities the other ones do not. Unique and interesting on its own. I would also like to see how this one ages, but yet again, this is only available one day a year!

 792 characters

Photo of Viggo
4.03/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had myself a glass of this at DLD 2007. Was really looking forward to it!

Pours a deep opaque black, no light escapes, thin tan head, some lace spots, very oily. Smell is powerful, sweet, lots of cherries, and chocolate, oaky vanilla, alcohol, and oranges. Taste is similar, strong oaky vanilla, caramel, chocolate, roasty goodness, more tangerine/orange and alcohol. Mouthfeel is full bodied with low carbonation. This is from notes, but I really recall not being too impressed with this. Still very good, but I think I was expecting too much.

 547 characters

Photo of Phelps
3.87/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the tap at Dark Lord Day, served in the brewpub inside a tiny snifter. This particular variant of Dark Lord spent time in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels.

Inky black with a teeny tiny head that fizzled away to nothingness. Very thin ring.

Sweet nose. Molasses, light coffee, dark cherry, vanilla, hints of oak. Sugared and syrupy.

Heavy bourbon at first, though the flavor lightens at the swallow. Lots of dark cherries, vanilla, brandy, molasses, hints of coffee, toffee and dark chocolate. Mostly the sweet stuff.

Medium, buttery body expands in the mouth. Oodles of alcohol on the tongue and in the nose. Heavy, syrupy, but not cloying. Fairly clean finish.

I’ve enjoyed the oak-aged Dark Lord in previous years, but this isn’t as smooth as I remember. I might actually prefer the un-aged version, and I definitely prefer the vanilla-aged version.

 873 characters

Photo of HoboAGoGo
3.86/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into the lil' plastic cup, with a dark ass body, a nice thick head, and no chance of sun escaping from it. The nose was coffee rich, slight chocolate, but heavy on the bourbon. The tongue has everything you'd expect from a Dark Lord, smoother on the hop,but very rich chocolate, a nice roasted coffee flavor, but once again, a lot of bourbon. I had a bit of a difficulty drinking this one down, the alcohol burn was a bit much for me, I think the beer could do well just aging in a barrel as opposed to a bourbon barrel, that's my two cents though.

 555 characters

Photo of pepsican
3.85/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Thanks to joey and random guy in line for tastings of this. Black as night, no head. Aroma was heavy on the molasses and bourbon. Huge bourbon intro with chocolate, molasses, and alcohol. Finishes very boozy, syrupy. A bit over the top for me, not very drinkable. I had a 4 oz glass and it was a bit too much. Still one of the most flavorful and unique beers I've come across.

 376 characters

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.76/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Thomas for this one. Side-by-side with all the other BA Dark Lords. Bottle 123/420 into a snifter. From notes.

Same appearance as the others.

Big bourbon notes on the nose. Very sweet. Some chocolate, dark fruit, fudge, and cocoa powder. Solid.

Sweet plum, prune, chocolate. Low booziness lingers in the background. Sweet soy sauce in the middle. Molasses, fudge in the finish. Some chocolate also. Fudge in the aftertaste. Really good. Not as bold as the Pappy version.

Same feel as the others. Oily, slick, viscous, slightly sticky aftertaste.

This isn't as impressive as the Pappy Dark Lord. However, there's more balance here and a touch more subtlety. A solid beer.

 686 characters

Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
99 out of 100 based on 182 ratings.