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

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Lord Imperial Stout
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BA SCORE
100
world-class

589 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 589
Reviews: 173
rAvg: 4.56
pDev: 9.65%
Wants: 1,686
Gots: 77 | FT: 0
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 589 | Reviews: 173 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of coldmeat23
4.87/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: approx 45 - 50 degrees
VINTAGE 2009 (Had @ DLD)

Much like Dark Lord, this one is solid black. It has a small head of tan foam that dissipates to a ring aound the edge of the surface. Lacing is a touch better than the 'regular' version, but still not very much. It's still very thick and viscous, sliding down the sides of the glass.

This is where it steps out away from it's brother. Nice big oakiness joins the chocolate and coffee notes. Dark fruits are still present, just a little more subdued. Wonderful bourbon-like notes. The vanilla is brought a little more forward. Nice caramel toffee notes.

Taste follows the 'regular' version, as well. This one brings along nice notes of charred oak, vanilla and bourbon. Molasses comes forward a touch. Lots of brown sugar notes. Slight hint of tobacco.
The oak aging really mellows the flavor profile out, making this one not nearly as sweet as the 'regular' version and giving it a drier finish.

While this one is still full-bodied and creamy and yes, thick, it loses just a touch, comparatively. If I weren't comparing it to it's brother it would score perfect anyway, but this one is slightly less, in that sense. In the 'regular' DL review, I said it deserved to be rated with a 7 for mouthfeel. This one still deserves a 6.

While this beer is incredible and totally worth the wait to get the chance to try it, I think that I actually prefer the 'regular' DL just slightly better. That shocks me, because I love barrel-aged brews, in general. I just like the big, bold, malty sweetness in the other one, which is toned down in this one.
Also, the booziness is more prominent in this one, which is not a bad thing, but it's better when you don't know that it's there.

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.78/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on-tap at DLD.

Poured in a little plastic cup, I would have transferred it to my sampling glass but a few of us bought several glasses of each to pass around, so it stayed in the plastic.

The stuff is rich and black, just a wisp or two of mocha around the edge.

It smells richly of roasted malts, espresso, and the with the certainty of oak. Not as stunning as the vanilla variant but good in its own right.

Tastes like Dark Lord would - rich with dark malt and bitter chocolate, but with an oak edge that is very nice. The wood pushes the sweetness of the beer back a little, providing some nice balance. Lots of espresso and booziness on the swallow, and a long finish of the same. The thickness of the beer helps it hang around, also subduing carbonation somewhat.

An awesome part of the day, we had one and ordered three more.

Photo of Damian
5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Drank on-tap at Dark Lord Day 2009
Served in a plastic cup

The beer poured super thick and dense, like used motor oil. Not a ray of light penetrated this sludgy mass. A small, frothy, clingy, coffee-colored head capped the liquid.

The aroma was simply amazing. Sweet, robust and complex with strong indications of oak and bourbon. Lots of vanilla-like sweetness. Some brown sugar and caramel notes appeared as well. Boozy without being overly alcoholic.

The taste was just as astounding as the smell. Sweet, rich malts came through strong up front. Coffee-like. Deep and dark yet super smooth and not overly roasty. Bourbon and molasses were also noticeable. Lots of vanilla and oak too. Dark fruits appeared in the center. The lingering finish was oaky and whiskey-like. Brown sugar notes were apparent. Overall, incredibly interesting and quite complex.

The mouthfeel was ridiculously good. Ultra-heavy and creamy with a fine, mild carbonation. If there is a more rich and dense brew out there, I have yet to try it.

Drinkability was simply off the charts. The beer was incredibly smooth and balanced. Sweet for the style without being cloying. At 15% ABV, it drank like something half its strength.

This beer alone made my 1,000 mile journey to Dark Lord Day 2009 worth it. Simply put, Oak Aged Dark Lord Imperial Stout is the best beer to ever pass my lips.

Photo of SykDoc
4.97/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had on tap at DLD '09 and reviewing notes.

Poured into a plastic cup. It pours a thick, motor oil black. A minimal dark brown head forms and quickly reduces to almost nothing. The left over oil slick on the glass is great.

The aroma was fantastic. There were nice levels of oak mixed with the usual suspects of intense dark chocolate and sweet malts. There was also a nice mixture of tobacco. Mild coffee notes.

The flavor was fantastic. This was a nice blend of the standard dark lord with a healthy, but not overwhelming oak taste along with a pleasant bourbon that rounds out the complexity.

The mouthfeel as expected, thick and smooth. It has a low level of carbonation that highlights the flavor superbly. Full bodied and somewhat sticky at the finish with a nice level lingering on the tongue.

This was fantastic. I love Dark Lord and this is comparable and I believe I am actually rating it better. I would love to compare this head to head with the original. It is very drinkable and about the only thing that may hinder drinkability is the strength but I will getting my hands on this again in the future, extremely good.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.77/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A huge thanks goes out to an unnamed BA who helped me out with this one. Quite possibly the biggest think on my bucket list of beers. I have been waiting far too long to try this one. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass.

The pour was black as night. Small head of tan faded quickly leaving behind only the slightest bit of brown clinging to the sides of the glass. Seriously black as night on the pour here though with an intensly dark look to it. The aroma was wonderful. Tons of oak notes here hit you first with the sweet molasses and tobacco notes following up nicely. Smooth, subtle and wonderfully complex flavor here. Not the harsh oak, I found this to be very close in flavor to the 03 BA speedway, mature would be the best word for how it tasted. Really very well done. Very sweet tasting, especially on the finish here with notable light vanilla touches that mingled well with the oak notes and really full feel on this one, about as thick and creamy as a beer can get. Alcohol noted, but not overwhelming.

Overall this was soo worth the wait for me. A wonderfully complex beer that was accented perfectly. A different beast the the DL itself, this is something I would love to see come around much more often.

Photo of Beerkovich
4.8/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This would be my favorite beer of all time if it weren't recently dethroned by its brother, Vanillabean. One of the best liquids on the planet. Every year I build it up, but it just never ceases to blow me away.

Appearance: black tar, with a thin mocha head that soon dissipates into psychedelic swirls--coats the sides of the cup with a translucent film that does not budge. LOOK AT IT!!!

Nose: HAHAHAAA!!! All I can do is laugh. What kind of BEER is this?!?! Toasted oak, bourbon, molasses, vanilla, butter toffee, still a trace of dark fruit, and then just so much more that I just can't even describe--maybe the byproducts of yeast reactions that I don't understand--I don't know.

Flavor: Holy god. This stuff brings tears to your eyes. It just makes you shake your head and wonder how the hell something like this is even made by humans. This is in the same tier as Napa reserve cabernets and Ardbeg single malts. In the words of my Uncle, upon trying it for the first time two years ago, "HOLY SHIT THERE ARE FLAVORS FLYING AT ME FROM ALL OVER THE PLACE!!!" Again, dark chocolate, buttery charred oak, bourbon, vanilla, intelligentsia espresso, yeast flavors, mineral flavors, molasses, port, fruit, but listing these words simply do not do it justice. A lot of oak aged beers have a similar flavor profile to this....but just do not even approach the mind-boggling sophistication of this elixir. Astoundingly good.

Mouthfeel: Heavenly. Like a mature, top-tier wine or a mature, barrel strength whiskey--oily, viscous, creamy, silky,....but way heavier!

Drinkability: what more can I say? I still vividly recall the first time I tried this at Dark Lord Day '06. I had never tried any version of DL before, and while waiting in line to pick up my bottles, a friend of a friend walked up to me and handed me the rest of his cup and I swear I do not remember anything that happened for the next five minutes. Time slowed down, others' voices became distant...I had an out of body experience. All I could do was shake my head, flail my arms, and grin like an idiot.

And as others have attested, somehow the vanilla bean version is better...so do I have to change one of my 5's to 4.5?

Photo of nrbw23
4.97/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Looks just like the regular DL. Pitch black with a brown head.

S- Smells like the normal DL with a more bourbon, nutty and wood smell. I think this one smells good.

T- Follows the regular version with a bigger bourbon taste and nice amount of wood as well.

M- Huge and thick and low carbonation.

D- Sipper just like all the other Dark Lords and easy to drink.

I had all three of these pretty much back to back and gonna give the edge to the vanilla bean but I don't think you could go wrong with any of them. Nice work!

Scored a couple of glasses of this beast again at DLD '10 and its a great brew.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Dark Lord Day 2009.

A: Very dark with a small tannish head.

S: Sweet malt with bourbon, oak, dark chocolate, coffee, and dark fruits.

T: Much the same as the nose, but with more of the oak presence coming through, especially as it warms.

M: Very heavy with low carbonation.

D: Excellent. The taste only gets better as it warms--one of the best sippers around.

Photo of MPLS
4.28/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From memory...10 oz pour @ the brew pub, so this one was in glass and not plastic. I remember them saying it was from '08.

A: Big, bold, and black like DL. More head from this guy than the vanilla bean DL from what I remember.

S: Big bold roasted malt, bourbon, chocolate, molasses, alcohol.

T: The barrel adds what I picked up as bourbon and some dryness akin to oak barrels. This guy felt bigger than any of the other DLs, ABV is probably the same, but bourbon characteristics made it seem higher. Great up front roast, not as much sweetness as the other variants of DL, but big dry finish.

M: Thick and viscous, would not have it any other way.

D: Another way to celebrate DLD and will try this guy again next year. Big beers are wanted by my taste buds.

Photo of dukedevil0
4.45/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Sampled at Dark Lord Day '09 in a clear plastic cup.

A: Pours like a black hole, with no light getting through and some copperish/khaki colored bubbles that settled down to almost nothing.

S: Smells very similar to the original of course with some additions; major chocolate, slight roast, but more vanilla/butterscotch flavors similar in most oak aged beers

T: just like the scent, the flavor was also obviously very similar to its regular DL brethren; chocolate big time, slight roast, and the addition of some vanilla, butterscotch with much more of a boozy flavor finish. I don't know if this had ANY bourbon addition to the aging process or if they were just normal barrels or oak chips or what, but it definitely seemed like there was some bourbon in this.

M: Super creamy and coated everything it touched. Low carbonation, similar to a syrup but it matched the rest of the beer excellently.

D: I really enjoyed the flavor and addition of different tastes from the oak aging, although it seemed to increase the boozy alcohol flavor big time which sort of cancels out each other. If they could keep the flavor additions and knock down the alcohol, then this would easily overtake the regular DL for me.

Photo of pwoods
4.37/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled at DLD '09

Pours jet black, no light, thick as motor oil. Oily and resinous on the glass. A moderate head forms and has some retention. Decent lacing throughout. Great depth from the barrel aging. Very woody and oaky with that wisp of vanilla. A very small smoky character in the back that I wish was bigger. The barrel really rounds the beer out, making the deeply roasted malts more enjoyable. Taste is much the same. The barrel blends everything very nicely. A touch of cherry comes out as it warms but it's nearly hidden behind all the other potent flavors. Body is fuller than full and is a bit chewy. Carbonation is somewhat low but manages to make the beer velvety nonethelss. This a very big beer. It drinks decent for the size but it's huge and wants you to know it. The barrel and aging does wonders for the beer.

Photo of younger35
3.63/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this yesterday at Dark Lord Day '09. It was so nice to be able to get a glass of Oak Aged Dark Lord and Vanilla Bean Dark Lord, plop down on a couch and compare/review them. Great job by FFF this year. Drank from a classy plastic cup.

Appearance- Pours a jet black with a sort of soft, creamy dark tan head that sticks around for quite some time. A weak cap and thick collar remain the rest of the beer leaving a light bit of lacing (copied from the Vanilla Bean Dark Lord, they were exactly the same).
Smell- Loads of deeply roasted malts, a bit of sweet molasses and some very woody oak. The smell isn't necessarily harsh but the oak is fairly pungent. Some vanilla and milk chocolate along with some licorice and a touch of smoke. Some dark fruits as well but the oak really is fairly dominant.
Taste- I don't necessarily think that the barrel aging really helps Dark Lord (unlike the Vanilla Bean). I find it to be semi astringent with almost too much barrel. Plenty of vanilla still though and a bit of bitter roasted coffee. The sweetness seems to be quite a bit more advanced that the regular Dark Lord as well. Tons of bourbon soaked cherries, prunes, dates, figs and any other overly ripe dark fruit you can think of. Finishes with a touch of smoke and a bit of boozy oaky bourbon like quality.
Mouthfeel- Big and rich and creamy with a smooth silkiness and a bit of boozy astringency.
Drinkability- Uhh... Out of the three Dark Lords this one was by far my least favorite. Just not a big fan of the barrel aging which is weird because I usually enjoy the added complexity. Maybe I was just a bit spoiled by the Vanilla Bean? Either way glad I got to try it.

Photo of Sean9689
4.59/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ DLD '09.

Pours black with a brown head with nice lacing along the cup. Smell is amazing, you just want to eat it! Chocolate, malts, oak, roasted nuts. Very rich on the nose, I was excited what it's going to taste like! Taste is just as good. Very rich, sweet, and epic. Mouthfeel is think/rich, perfect for a RIS.

Photo of MasterSki
4.12/5  rDev -9.6%
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.

Photo of Cedromar
2.76/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

So...yeah, I had one full glass of OA Dark Lord an hour ago. It's was horrendous. I got my toes crushed by the keg and then when I tasted it after waiting a couple hours for it, it just was a huge let down.

Looked pretty good, the smell was average of average DL, no Vanilla or Oak in the scent.

Taste- Wow, this sucks. I'm sorry, normal '09 DL = OMG. '09 OA DL=bad. No taste of Oak at all and overpoweringly sweet. The few drops I had of Kaggen and Surly Two beat the shit out of this brew.

Mouthfeel- Good, just like normal DL, thick and delicious.

Drinkability- It tasted awful, somewhat like '08 Darkness awful. I can see if people like it, but it had no taste of Oak at all. NONE. No wood. Vanilla bean DL was AMAZING though.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.63/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Black, soulless body with a thin, dark tan head. Everything the original Dark Lord is, both in aroma and taste, but now given a hearty soak in bourbon -- something I highly recommend. Strong bourbony accents blend in well with the other strong flavors. Thick, somewhat sticky body with almost nil carbonation. Enjoyed at this year's DLD, it really helped take the edge off standing around for hours upon hours in a line.

Photo of egajdzis
4.3/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured an opaque black color with a small, quickly diminishing, dark tan head that left sticky tan lacing on the glass. Aroma of bourbon, roasted malts, chocolate, smoke, nuts, and dried fruits. Taste of sweet chocolate, roasted malts, mocha, maple syrup. brown sugar, smoke, bourbon, with a fair amount of alcohol coming across. A Dark Lord mouthfeel should be a little more vicious, but either way, it's a pretty solid beer... I still prefer the cask of regular DL I had at the Maproom in 04.

Photo of hopdog
4.45/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark black with reddish/brown edges and an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of wood, bourbon, chocolate, roast and dark fruits, Tastes of wood, stronger bourbon, vanilla, roast, chocolate, brown sugar, espresso, and molasses. Medium alcohol finish. I do like bourbon so I enjoyed the bourbon quality to this.

Photo of Blursimarsi
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(Bottle, thanks to SQNfan) If Blursimarsi cannot come to Dark Lord Day, then Dark Lord Day has to come to Blursimarsi. Pours compact dark brown to black. The aroma is fat with oak/bourbon up front bringing tones of vanilla, coconut, light smoke and alcohol. In addition, lots of malt roasts with dark chocolate and chocolate ice cream as the most notable but there is also some room for coffee/espresso. Sweet sugary and dark fruity with tones of molasses, maple syrup, rum raisins and prunes. Hints of raspberries, nuts and celery. The flavour is medium to heavily sweet, light to medium bitter and medium to heavily roasted/burned. Bourbon, vanilla, coconut, dark chocolate, rum raisins, burned caramel, some coffee, mint-ish alcohol warmth, molasses and light smoke. The mouthfeel is extremely fat and oily yet smooth, soft and velvety with a balanced sticky ending. Aftertaste of bitter chocolate, coffee, bourbon hop dryness and molasses. Full bodied. Extreme but well balanced. Wow!

Photo of Monsone
4.45/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Dark black with a slight brownish particulate floating about

S - Big aromas of molasses, coffee, bourbon, sweet dark fruit and dark malt.

T - Sweet, bourbon, dark cherry, coffee, dark chocolate and dark roasted malts.

M - Holy crap. Thickest beer I have ever put in my mouth. Like heavy whipping cream the color or the standard used motor oil. Chewy as hell.

D - Just a complete palate trashing beer. This is for sipping and only one (if you could get much of this anyway!).

Overall, amazing beer though I still prefer standard DL and Darkness better.

Photo of Crosling
5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Draught, Dark Lord Day 2008. Original Dark Lord is a 5.0 beer for me, a 1 year barrel aged version just takes it to another level. Has the smoothness, intensity, layers of flavor and incredible body of Dark Lord, with additions of whiskey, charred oak, vanilla and coconut. One of the best beverages I've consumed.

Photo of JDV
4.08/5  rDev -10.5%
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.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled this many times at Dark Lord Day the past few years. Always arrives in the plastic cup, but that doesn't detract from this massive brew. Impenetrable black, oily, viscous and thick with a layer of deep dark tan foam on top. Looks like 10K+ mile used motor oil. Aromas reek of deep dark malts with notes of coffee and chocolate all drenched in a wonderful, woody bourbon that jumps out of the cup to greet you. It's really hard to describe but it all comes together perfectly and the aroma is divine.

Sipping this brings you immediate warmth as the big, dense malts collide with the rich bourbon and wood notes. Chocolate, caramel, coffee and molasses all work in as it flows down. The brew is on the sweeter side but never becomes too sweet as it's nicely balanced with a solid bitterness. Finishes with lingering bourbon notes. Simply amazing.

Mouthfeel is big, viscous, chewy and heavy. It's so damn good, albeit a bit hard to drink when you are standing out in the sun. After the tasting tables, a cup of this is usually what does me in every Dark Lord Day. Still, given the chance I would drink this until I fell down. Spectacular stuff that I look forward to every year!

Photo of bassmantin
5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bought a cup of this for $5 at Dark Lord Day. Definitely worth it.

It has all the great characteristics of the regular Dark Lord (great mouthfeel, incredible malts, you know...), but the oak aging mellowed the super-sticky sweetness which was my least favorite thing about regular DL. It's great what the aging did for this beer.

I generally say that aging isn't worth the expense, but in this case it mellows the beer and further adds to the great complexity.

Photo of mdm46410
4.12/5  rDev -9.6%
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.

Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 589 ratings.