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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 hero27
4.9/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap @ the 2006 Dark Lord Release Party.

Pours a thick, syrupy black..the head is modest and a dark caramel color. Aroma is heavy coffee, oak, vanilla, and chocolate, with some alcohol creeping out as well. There's definitely an oaky, bourbon kick to it, but the bitter chocolate and roasted coffee flavors still take the stage similar to the bottled Dark Lord. Amazingly balanced between the bold hop character and the array of tastes..just fantastic. Mouthfeel is expectedly thick, and very coating..yet smooth as velvet. Remains remarkably easy to drink for a beer of this magnitude.

Felt privileged to try this one.

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Photo of brew3crew
4.83/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at DLD 11. had to wait about an hour to try it but it was worth the wait.

A-Pours a jet and souless black. no life exists in this glass
S-Great bourbon smell. not too much but not too little. I love it when it is like this
T-Wonderful. Very subtle bourbon makes this a very drinkable beer.
M-Medium body, creamy and smooth
O-Great beer overall. wish they made more of it!

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Photo of Lunch
4.62/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Courtesy of a generous trader served at a small tasting by an equally generous host into a tulip glass. This review is for the 2010 batch.

A: Pours nearly black with a motor oil quality with no head to speak of. This is a thick beer that looks quite syrupy and leaves nice legs on the inside of the glass. This was served along with Vanilla Bean Dark Lord and both looked pretty much identical.

S: The oak is really showcased in this and it is really nicely done. Notes of chocolate, molasses, roasted malts, vanilla, and booze.

T: The oak yet again is quite forward and coats the based beer beautifully and is never overpowering. Chocolate appears along with roasted malts, vanilla, and just a hint of alcohol.

M: Full-bodied and extremely thick with just a hint of carbonation. Nothing to complain about here.

D: If it weren't for the extreme richness of this Imperial Stout, I feel that I could drink this all day long.

Overall I must say that beer is absolutely fantastic and I am still shocked that I was able to try this! My Highest Recommendation.

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Photo of jeonseh
4.83/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had a chance to try this the Tuesday after DLD in an empty FFF brewpub so I had a chance to write a proper review. Served in a stemless goblet that looked like a rounded old fashioned glass.

A - Black as anything. Super dark and absolutely no light can get through this one. Nice and thick as well as they body just coats the glass. There was a bit of a mocha colored head when it came out but as with any beer with this much head, it had no chance at all of surviving. Have to say it managed to leave a few bubbles on the surface that reminded me a bit of a black swamp that one would see in a horror movie. Have to say this did leave a lot of lacing for a beer that barely had any head as the whole little glass was spotted with lacing.

S - A huge nose that is filled with odors of vanilla, caramel, and toffee. Definitely can tell the effects of the BA as I could smell the cinnamon and whiskey spices even from far away. I was surprised to notice that I actually smelled some cherry and plum/prune dark fruits odors in there as well that gave this beer some added complexity.

T - Yikes, this is one beer that manages to be both flavor packed and yet subdued and balanced. At first, i get a big sweet, vanilla, toffee, and caramel flavors that roll in. After this and towards the end of the beer is when I start to notice how those spicy Woodford reserve barrels have affected this beer. Can just taste the effects of the oak and the spicy cinnamon and pepper it imparts. Also seemed to get a hint of cherry and plum in the beer as well as roasted cocoa and chocolate. Have to love having all that in there together.

MF - Just a bit thinner than I like my RIS's to feel. It does have really nice prickly feeling on the tongue that goes well with all of the spiciness that we find as a result of the oak aging.

D - Lets just say that this is a 13% huge stout and yet I have no trouble at all drinking the whole glass. This is a beer that just makes you want to have more of it. It is complex and flavor packed and I never felt overwhelmed or tired of drinking it. Each sip brought a new experience to me. Love that I got a chance to actually sit down and try it in an experience other than DLD because it let me really appreciate all that it is.

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Photo of karst
5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served at the 2006 Dark Lord release party. $6 per serving - priceless!

Dark that is espected from a monster stout. Fine golden head rest above the darkness of the glass.

Aromal of oak barrel that complements the espresso, dark roasted barleys, chocolate, dark fruit nothing in the Three Floyds pub rivals this aroma.

Taste of decadent dark chocolate espresso malt with prunes, figs and caramel/chocolate-covered-cherries.

Mouthfeel is prototypical - the oak permeates all and seems to clean up the intense flavors. Alcohol is unnoticable in a sea of aromas and flavors. Perilously drinkable.

The pre- release Imperial Stouts offered up by those making the pilgrimage were a nice prelude but quickly fade from memory with the arrival of this at the booth. An excellent meal from the whole roasted hog added to the experience.

My complements to Nick Floyd and his crew for all their efforts in bringing another excellent vintage of the Dark Lord. Hope to return soon. Enjoy the bottle of Cherry Stout from Missouri!

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Photo of gueuzedreg
4.26/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle 134/420? from '12 in to a Goose Island Glass

A- Dark brown. Lacing is sticky. When I bob the glass left and right, the lacing sticks. Good retention.

S- Bourbon, dark fruit/fig, molasses, light woody oak hint in the back. I am getting soy sauce in this too. ha

T- This has more of the base beer character than the vanilla. Very sweet, almost comes off as rum because of the sweet base beer. I know that people say that the ba DL's shed their sweet DL characteristics. I am not getting that much here. I enjoyed vanilla a lot more. I am getting a lot of that sweet soy characteristic.

M- This is the shining part of this beer for me. Not the category that I want my Bourbon DL to shine, but it is what it is. Nice and chewy. Viscous

O- I was a bit disappointed with this variant. I have only had vanilla, but I am excited to try the other variants.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of Thehuntmaster
4.97/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle 15.0% Abv.
Served lightly chilled in an over sized wine glass
2012 Vintage
Bottle Number: 393/688

I am not sure I can thank futura123 enough for sending this my way, I never thought I would get the chance to try the bourbon version of one of my favorite beers!

Appearance: As with the regular Dark Lord, the barrel aged version pours out thick and viscous. The beer appears pitch black in the glass, but a back light reveals some deep red along the edges. A rough pour yields a small, creamy, tan coloured head that, as expected, fizzes away pretty quickly. A swirl coats the glass in a thick yellow tinted film, that fades into heavy alcohol legs.

Smell: Good lord, as with the regular DL, the nose here is absolutely sublime! If you don’t like sweet beers, I think this is one to avoid! The initial nose offers copious amounts of sweet toffee, chocolate fudge, salted caramel, caramelized (nearly burned) brown sugar, bourbon and sweet vanilla. Further contemplation and warming yields: Liquorice, a little coffee, dark fruits (cherries and raisins), oak and molasses.

Taste: As the nose promised, this is one of the most delicious beers in all of beerdom, I have a feeling that my glass is going to disappear far quicker than it should! Flavour notes include: Sweet toffee, chocolate, caramel, fudge, butterscotch, bourbon, vanilla, oak, caramelized sugar, dark fruits, molasses and liquorice. There is a touch of the 15% noted in the finish, but I couldn’t bring myself to dock a point for this as the rest of the flavour is just that good!

Mouthfeel: Perfect, absolutely perfect! The body is thick, chewy and quite sticky, with a medium level (usually too high for my tastes, but it works so well in this case) of insanely smooth carbonation.

Overall: Bourbon Dark Lord is one of the few beers that far exceeds any and all hype surrounding it - this is easily one of the best beers I have ever had had! I would absolutely kill for a shot at the vanilla bean version!

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Photo of beachbum1975
4.48/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Had the honor of trying this at DLD 08, thanks Nick! :)

Insane, Black Death (mixed with a shovel full of Black Plague) and a little charred motor oil (after being removed from a car that hasn't had an oil change in 10,000 miles).

Brown, slimy, super-sticky legs (maybe tentacles) that don't fade, ever. Fine bourbon all over the nose, all in one glass cup. This beer sticks to the glass (and may actually be melting it).

In a word, "Ferocious".

I am not a fan of most bourbon barrel-aged beers. Most are too sweet for my palate. This beer represented the bourbon-style of beers the way I like 'em. It kept true to form, in that it wasn't overpoweringly sweet, but fiercely "bourbonie" or carried a very strong alcohol in the nose and mouth.

This drink is truly a meal in itself. Not for the tame drinker - this beer kicked my ass and it will kick your ass, as well.

If FFF's ever bottled this, I recommend Flame grilling a super-thick porterhouse to crack open one of these with friends. Don't drink it alone!

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Photo of s1ckboy
4.77/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2012 Bottle with about 10 months of age on it. Bottle # 532/688

A - Black Body, very thin brown head.

S - Bourbon, oak, vanilla, raisin, plum, brown sugar.

T - Bourbon, oak, lots of vanilla, tons of dark fruits, hint of coffee, very sweet finish.

M - Very thick, syrupy. Little carbonation.

Fantastic beer. Very reminiscent of Black Tuesday, both really boozy & sweet, though this is more balanced.

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Photo of beergod1
4.33/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured Black with small tan head. Aroma is mostly deep, rich Dark fruit with some Cocoa and a hint of roasted malts. Flavor is as smooth as it gets with a hint of alcohol, Coffee, chocolate, sweet malts and thick heavy molasses that stained the glass with every sip. Several layers of flavor. This is a real good Imperial Stout, But just as good as what I can get around Ohio & PA. (Voodoo, Hoppin’ Frog...) And I don’t have to stand in line for those.

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Photo of ChadQuest
4.73/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Alewatcher, nuff said.

Looks like Dl generally does, opaque and inky, thick and viscous. I personally love how Dl looks, it has everything i want in a big stout.
The aroma only shows a glimpse of the power this beer has, there is a bourbon wisp but nothing that overburdens the rest of the base beers great attributes, incorporated and building.
The flavors have that quick bourbon and oak jab, and comes in some melted dense caramel, with some light dark fruit notes. Rounded out by a mixture of chocolates both milky and semi-sweet and you have the best of the vintage(pre-11) DL variants.

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Photo of spicelab
4.31/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 656/688. Massive thanks to mulder1010 for sharing. Reviewed from notes.

Dark chocolate, short of jet black, with a modest dark tan head that abates quickly to a resilient collar.

Decent amounts of burnt toast, tarry volatile barrel notes, woody liquorice, vanilla and coconut. Doesn't hint at what's to come.

Unabashedly decadent. Choc-caramel slice, big-time vanilla fudge, chocolate mud cake. Dessert in a glass.

Thick and viscous but super smooth. Zero, repeat zero hint of booze. Unreal.

Utterly transformative barrel-aged treatment of a base beer that I ordinarily don't care for at all. The barrel reins in and smoothes out the sickly excesses of regular Dark Lord brilliantly.

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Photo of rhinos00
4.3/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Finally got to try this one. On-tap at DLD '10.

A- Poured a dark, chocolate brown color. Looked very thick, like motor oil. Produced minimal amount of head. Dissipated instantly.

S- Sweet malts with molasses. The sweetness in the aroma was very potent. The background had a slight hint of vanilla, bourbon and tons of oak.

T- Much like the aroma, actually exactly like the aroma. Sweetness upfront from various malts and molasses. Some bourbon and vanilla in there as well. The finish was dominated by an overwhelming amount of oak. Really wanted to give this a 4.25, but couldn't...so I rounded up.

M- I loved the mouthfeel of this beer. Thick, chewy and viscous. Coated the palate very well.

D- I'm glad they served this in a small 6 oz. glass (could of been 8 oz.). If I had any more it would have been very difficult to put down.

Overall, a very good beer. That being said, at $9 a pour, I will pass from now on...much better bourbon, oak-aged beers out there at a better value.

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Photo of Atron67
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bought this at the 2008 DLD and had both the vanilla bean and and oak aged versions.

overall i think they were better than the regular dark lord. the vanilla being alot better in taste with the vanilla blending in amazingly, however the nose of the vanilla bean aged was overpowered by the vanilla flavor. really creamy all over the place for both of them. the bourbon was much mor subtle on the nose, however also really good.

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Photo of badbeer
4.43/5  rDev -2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Was pitch black in color with a brown head that retained very well and managed to leave some lacing behind. Nice aromas of vanilla and bourbon, with oak coming into play as well. There was also some roastiness, but the vanilla and bourbon seemed to be the strongest. Taste is a blending of vanilla, maple syrup, bourbon, wood, with a finish of some coffee and bourbon. Mouthfeel is thick and very smooth, the bourbon seems to almost lighten it up just a tad, however. Carbonation was on the lower side of medium. Great beer, and probably even more enjoyed in the winter months by a fire, but this sample was enjoyed out in the sun at DLD.

If you are desperate to find out what this beer is like, buy a Bourbon County Stout. BCS is 99% of what this beer is, IMO.

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Photo of beerhan
4.43/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

2011 vintage served on draft at 2013 dark lord day.

A - Jet black just like the standard dark lord. Thin brown lacing after a faint cocoa head.

S - Bourbon up front of course with lots of dark fruit, figs, milk chocolate, caramel, sugar

T - What you smell is what you get. An intense whiskey bomb that is very mellow. Lots of chocolate and dark fruit but not as pronounced as in the regular version. Less sweet and more woody for lack of better words. The barrel character really shines through and highlights the base beer.

M - No carbonation really but that is to be expected. Almost a little too sweet to the point where it hurts to drink. Alcohol is there but it goes down smooth enough that you can't feel it right away.

O - Absoulteley delicious and more well rounded than most bourbon barrel stouts. I am not sure if the bottle cost is worth it but this is a nice beer and that is what counts.

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Photo of baggio
4.35/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Once again thanks to BA Dsgolovin for hooking me up with this rare brew.

Apperance: Dark, dark, brown with a light brown head.

Aroma: Bourbon, Chocolate, Alcohol, Syrup.

Taste: Bourbon, Soy, Chocolate, Syrup, Coffee and a hint of alcohol.

Palate: Quite drinkable albeit being on the sweet side. Plenty of carbonation.

This was so much better than the normal Dark Lord. It didn't feel as cloying and sweet. Would love to try this again with some age on it.

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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.

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Photo of SykDoc
4.97/5  rDev +10%
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.

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Photo of Auracom
4.42/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

2 oz. of the 2011 Bourbon variant on-tap at DLD on April 27th, 2013. Thanks to Wes for giving us his second glass, otherwise we'd have missed out entirely.

A - Basically identical to the regular version. Perhaps a tad more of that rich oil coating.

S - Plentiful bourbon whiskey melding over raisins, fudge, batter, pencil shavings, and sherry.

T - Dense oak that's been super-saturated with bourbon (albeit slightly generic). Deep cocoa, honey graham cracker, molasses, prune, and massive raisin.

M - Medium-heavy body, carbonation low enough to not be immediately detectable, dry finish.

D - Few base beers change as much in a barrel as Dark Lord. I certainly appreciate the transportation and would never decline a taste.

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Photo of abrand
4.55/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Brought to me in line at the 2010 DLD while in line by a very generous gentleman.

The oak aged DL pours jet black with a small ebony head that quickly fades and leaves no lacing. Smell is chocolate, sugar and LOTS of oak. The wood characteristics dominate all other aspects of this beer. The taste is similar to the nose with Oak up front, some chocolate malts and nuts in the middle, followed by a wood finish. Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy. Great tasting stout but I agree with others in that the oak may be just too much. It is a great cousin of Dark Lord but not sure I could handle much more than the small sample I received.

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Photo of fiver29
4.27/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Dark Lord Day 08. This is an oak aged version of the 07 batch. Pours a thick black color with a tan head. Has a nice aroma of oak and chocolate. Has complex flavors from bourbon, oak, chocoalte, licorice, and a candy molasses. These flavors blend well together and has a smooth alcohol finish. Nice brew.

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Photo of MarkIntihar
4.83/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed on-tap at 2011 DLD! Called "Bourbon Barrel" Dark Lord on the chalk board in the tap room.

A - Pours jet black with almost no head. Looks chewy and awesome!

S - Maple bourbon on the nose at first, followed by some dark fruits and raisins. Also pick up some of the traditional Dark Lord soy sauce type of scent.

T - Taste is initially bitter dark chocolate, followed nicely with the vanilla bourbon presence. Finish is very hot, almost pure bourbon. Delicious!

M - Very smooth at first, with the bourbon sting again coming through slightly in the finish.

O - Overall an exceptional beer! Glad I took the time to review it!

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