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Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord - 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark LordBourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord

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BA SCORE
100
world-class

257 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 257
Hads: 1,251
rAvg: 4.62
pDev: 4.11%
Wants: 3,801
Gots: 222 | FT: 10
Brewed by:
3 Floyds Brewing Co. visit their website
Indiana, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  15.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mcallister on 04-27-2008

Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout aged in a variety of Bourbon barrels with vanilla beans.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 257 | Hads: 1,251
Photo of Raziel313
4.52/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

So finally knocking this off my beer bucket list.
Look: Black, oily. No head decent retention

Smell: Very small hints of the barrel character. Marshmallow and dark chocolate. Roasted malts.

Taste: Tastes like marshmallows a bit too sweet but not cloying

Feel: Nice thick mouth feel. Wish it was still a little thicker.

Overall: Regular dark lord definitely is above and beyond sweet. After trying the regular I knew that the barrel would add what the regular is missing, which, is balance on the sweetness and some more dryness to it. Now clearly like all beer hyped whales this just doesn't live up to the perfect beer in the whole world reputation that it has. It is however a great world class brew and amongst my top beers I have ever had. All in all I am glad to have simply tried this and happier to never give up as many beers as I did for this one ever again. (877 characters)

Photo of Domvan
4.99/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Aside from the fact that this beer overtrades and sells for way too much (in the black market) for what is essentially liquid in a bottle.

This was easily one of the most unique and best beers I've ever had

Chocolate marshmallow fluffyness with a light booziness. It was a perfect storm of ingredients all in one beer. Definitely a huge difference from regular dark lord (372 characters)

Photo of LethalChickens
4.95/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

2013 Vintage. Drank in July 2015. Like others have said below. It lives up to the hype. It smell just like it tastes. It is very sweet with tons of vanilla and bourbon flavor. Having more of this in your life would be a good thing. (237 characters)

Photo of ScottJWing
4.63/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2012, amazing smell, marshmallow bomb. A bit too sweet and the vanilla had fallen off a bit but still a world class brew. Not sure its worth what it commands to trade, however. Curious to try a new batch. (204 characters)

Photo of mportnoy
5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one given the hype. Boy was I surprised. We shared the 2015 vintage and it was amazing. Vanilla, marshmallow, and bourbon are incredibly well integrated. Creamy, wonderful mouthfeel. Nice and thick. We opened BC Vanilla Rye right after it (one of my personal favorites) and it was one noted and almost undrinkable next to the BVDL. World class. (391 characters)

Photo of csaxon128
4.44/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pretty disappointing with this. Very little vanilla in the nose just lots of sweetness and barrel character.

Taste: Lots and lots of sweetness with a pretty thin mouthfeel. Marshmellows. Glad I got to try it. (210 characters)

Photo of timc100
4.56/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 vintage

Pours just like all other dark lord oil, sits in the glass heavy. Sticky sweet, boozy aroma of vanilla, vanilla extract, marshmallow, and that typical dark lord fudge and molasses. Not a lot of whiskey and oak presence. A complete assault on the pallet - very sticky, chewy, and syrupy. Tons of the vanilla sweetness paired with the base sweetness takes hold on the mouth, finish is long and sweet.

Delicious beer. Heavy, boozy and sweet. Lacks the complexity and depth of some of the other stouts out there, but still very impressive. (557 characters)

Photo of jlindros
4.85/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

OK, so this has been one of my whales for a long time, and I was shocked to find out that rudzud had actually acquired it! So tons of thanks to Matt for finding this and sharing it with me. The big review #4000 for this puppy!!!!!!!!

Bottle #706/934 2012

Light fizzy head, disappears fairly quickly, little lacing, legs that never fall, blacker than black midnight, crazy dark motor oil sludge like.

Nose is phenomenal, tons and tons of dark malts, little booze but very little, nice fudgey cocoa caramel, big chewy cocoa and fudge. Mild vanilla, some real vanilla and touch of barrel vanilla, nice barrel notes, oaky with hint of bourbon, even a hint of candied raisin, touch of cinnamon and baking spices. More toasted oak, vanilla and baking spices come through more as it opens and the fudgey cocoa malts fade.

Taste brings big cocoa, creamy milk chocolate and dark choc, fudgey as Hell and liquid chocolate bliss. Then baking spices, tons of them, with cinnamon, etc. Then barrel, nice toasted oak, mild vanilla oak, decent bourbon and barrel juice, mild candied raisins again, brown sugar, etc. Great caramel, and toffee, caramel creams, even hint of butterscotch. Decent vanilla but not a ton, nice vanilla butterscotch toffee candy. Hint of booze, finish is sticky, little syrupy, no real booze, lingering caramel toffee, nice vanilla finally, vanilla city, toasted oak and bourbon with more dark choc.

Mouth is fuller bod nice thick rich velvety thing, decent carb, no real booze.

Overall out of this world! Pretty much hit my expectations for one of my few Carmen Sandiago like beers. So much awesomness of vanilla, bourbon, barrel, cocoa, and everything in between. I could drink this forever. So glad it's a high mark like a 4000.

From the start of reviewing beers, it was more of a fun hobby, mostly to see how my own tastes changed as I tried new beers. In fact, I had about 50 beers before I started posting my reviews, for which I wrote notes down and retried the beers to see how my notes changed as I went. When I was finally satisfied I was ready to post my reviews, I finally did. Now 4000 reviews later I'm barely keeping my head above water, and there are so many new beers on the horizon I don't know what to do about it. I keep wanting to start a youtube or blog review, but lack the resources to do it, esp with family. Someday I'll be there, but for now BA is my haven of beer enjoyment memories. (2,431 characters)

Photo of Flight317
4.51/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

14'. It was really good it was just overwhelmingly sweet. I like vanilla in my stouts for sure. It's likely my favorite adjunct. This was just a bit much. If I somehow came across another bottle I'd trade it away in a heartbeat for another couple whales I'd been hunting. (271 characters)

Photo of Prospero
2.33/5  rDev -49.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.75

2013 vintage, bottle 156/711 - Little to no head when poured, super sweet initial taste & aroma, followed by green apple (slight sourness) on the finish with a slimy mouthfeel, barely vanilla and any signs of barrel are completely masked by INFECTION. Glad I got to tick this with a very generous friend, but looking forward to trying it as FFF intended. (355 characters)

Photo of Kramerbarthomer
4.88/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

'13 Vintage: Serious signs of infection with sour milk taste completely overwhelming the palate. Will re-review when I try another vintage.

Re-scored based on my second taste of an uninfected bottle. Just be careful when trading for the '13 vintage. (250 characters)

Photo of jstunna24
4.99/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Absolutely amazing. The aroma is incredible. One of the best smelling beer I've ever tried. It smells like liquid marshmallows. The taste is sweet but complex. Vanilla, bourbon,chocolate, and toffee intoxicate your mouth. Truly a treat. Definitely worth seeking out! (266 characters)

Photo of WolfsbaneBloom
4.95/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Tasted like bourbon cherry cordials. Had a '12 and '15 back to back. '15 was surprisingly smoother with the '12 still having a nice bourbon bite in the finish. Both were absolutely sublime. (189 characters)

Photo of Ready4aHeady
4.75/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2012 Vintage, #442/934, pored into a bourbon county tulip glass
Pours purple-black with slight foamy head
Nose is molten chocolate, brown sugar, bourbon, and vanilla
Taste is chocolate fudge, marshmallows, and green tea
Mouth feel is slick, oily, and creamy-- much thicker that your average stout
Overall, on the sweet-side but not cloying, booze is present but balanced, vanilla and fudge predominate and make this a delicious stout.... on par with BCvanilla '10 with a little more chocolate flavor.... Very Nice! (514 characters)

Photo of SportsandJorts
4.54/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: pours syrupy and oily. Pitch black. No head and viscous boozy legs. Dark as night.

Smell: super sweet marshmallow and chocolate. Notes of molasses and syrup. Roasted malts and dark fruits.

Taste: opens up with molasses. Lots of marshmallows and brownies. Some notes of syrup and dark fruits. Light roast.

Mouthfeel: slick and syrupy. Not very boozy. Sweet but balanced by roast at the end

Overall: after tasting regular dark lord I did not have high hopes for this one. amazingly it does a good job of living up to its reputation, although I would not give up the amount of amazing beers that this trades for, great complexity and great flavor. glad I got to try it but until the value decreases, the face value is actually too much for me, I will not be revisiting this unless at the generosity of a friend. (824 characters)

Photo of BWCampbell
4.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours like motor oil with a khaki head that quickly disappears. Smells of soy sauce, vanilla sugar, and some barrel (which I think is slightly lost). Taste is similar, exceptionally sweet. Honestly, I was kind of underwhelmed. Vanilla Rye was universally preferred at our tasting. (280 characters)

Photo of smb
5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

More than worthy of the hype. There is literally nothing I can think of to change that would improve this beer. It even maintains a half-inch thick mocha head.

There's a depth of flavor and complexity that's richer than any other barrel aged beer I've had... including BCBS Vanilla, Rare, Parabola, BA Vietnamese Speedway, etc... This is just more enjoyable. At 15% you taste no alcohol and only get a slight, but pleasing warming sensation as it goes down, with massive marshmallow, chocolate and vanilla-oak goodness lingering forever.

I can't do it justice by attempting to analyze and explain. This really is the Dark Lord of barrel aged beers. I need more. (664 characters)

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.97/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

'14 vintage, received in a trade with greatgazoo. Thanks man!

This one pours a dark, inky and oily black, with a lighter, sugary-looking film on top. A small quarter inch head dissipates basically immediately. No lacing.

Smells just incredible, huge vanilla bean and marshmallow aroma, some sweet chocolate, and dark fruits galore.

This seems to amplify the positive aspects of Dark Lord, downplay the negative aspects, and add some whole new great vanilla-soaked aspects to it. This is definitely unbelievably sweet and syrupy, but it's a delicious sweet, not a taxing sweet, so it's ok. Even after one year of aging, the vanilla character is still so forward. Beyond the sweet sweet gooey vanilla marshmallow flavor, there's a lot of the usual Dark Lord dark fruit flavors, lots of cherry and raisin, with some brown sugar and chocolate. There's only a little bit of bourbon, just at the back behind the other flavor blasts.

This has no alcohol feel to it, at all- which is amazing. It's definitely warming, and by the end, you're feeling the rush, but you wouldn't know it along the way. This has one of the thickest bodies and mouthfeels I've ever encountered in a beer, very silky and chewy, at the same time. Fairly low level of carbonation, but still there, keeping it drinkable.

This is a decadent dream of a beer. I can see why it's so highly regarded. It was worth the long wait to finally try this one. (1,418 characters)

Photo of Mcj6986
3.88/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.75

The body , aroma and look of this thing were beautiful... The taste is where it falls flat. People blast regular Dark Lord for sweetness, and while I haven't that, this one says enough to make that assessment true. It is way way way too sweet... Like make my teeth hurt after drinking just 8 ozs of it sweet. Maybe the best body I've had on a beer, but I can rank this up there with some of the other beers I love (DB Huna, Prop, etc) when the act of drinking it, just isn't very enjoyable. (493 characters)

Photo of rudzud
4.79/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Shared with JLindros and Kyle. 2012 vintage 706/934.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a great oily black hue with big legs and and a good halo. Beautiful.

S - Aromas of fudgy chocolate, nuts, bourbon, caramel, very little booze, loads of fudge and bourbon barrels. The vanilla is super faint.

T - Taste is loads off chocolate, caramel, chocolate cake, rich bourbon, finish of vanilla, super rich, loads of nutty chocolate and bourbon, nice semi sweet sugars and toffee caramel, just delicious.

M - Mouthfeel is really creamy, silky, velvet, no booze.

O - Overall this beer was incredible, great chocolate, super rich bourbon and fudgy chocolate. Glorious, this isn't hype...this is real.

Serving type: bottle (725 characters)

Photo of dgilks
3.58/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Simply not an amazing beer. Overly boozy without delivering the sort of magic one expects of such a hyper stout. Vanilla bean is not substantial in presence. (157 characters)

Photo of _morandi_
4.97/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Truly an experience.
Appearance is black-as-night and opaque as you'd expect from Dark Lord. Very little head that settles as a small ring. Has legs for days.
The nose is a loads of vanilla with hints molasses and slight oak/booze.
The taste follows suit with heavy vanilla, fudge, sweet molasses, slight bourbon oakiness as booze but largely sweet and perfectly hidden by the vanilla. Never cloying, like a perfect dessert you can't get enough of.
The mouthfeel is stick-to-your-guts phenomenal. This is a beer to chew on and enjoy over time. Slow sipping and letting it come up to temperature will be rewarded.

Bourbon Vanilla Dark Lord is an experience unlike any other beer I've tried. Just perfect. I thought a bottle like this could never possibly live up to the hype, but it far and away exceeds it. Well worth seeking out. (845 characters)

Photo of rlee1390
4.7/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Great vanilla flavor. Bourbon is there but mild, some oak. Chocolate as well. The soy sauce present in regular Dark Lord is not found at all. Thick as motor oil. The real deal. (181 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
3.75/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2014 vintage side by side with regular '11 DL.

Dark black-brown pour, with a minimal head that held at a tiny ringlet. In the nose, vanilla and mildly sour milk, light notes of roast/coffee. Sweet chocolate and vanilla in the taste, good bourbony warmth, molasses, ashy marshmallow, some icky soy sauce and sour milk, leaving a stale aftertaste and making me want to rinse my mouth out. Still, not overly sweet as I expected. Medium body, not as sumptuous as I like a big stout to be. Decent overall, but not really that great compared to other BA stouts. And certainly nowhere near the value it typically costs to obtain. (Fortunately I got it for basically next to nothing.) (677 characters)

Photo of TampaRainman
4.76/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

VBDL '14

A: Pours deep dark brown, a shade lighter than the pitch black I suspected and not as oily and thick as I was expecting. Still looks damn good. Not much head. A faint rim.

S: Vanilla, cinnamon, molasses, Vegemite. Marshmallows. Delightfully odd and intriguing. The savory/salty soy-esque notes are in the background of the sweeter smells.

T: Sweet burnt vanilla caramels and dark chocolate Hershey's syrup. Back end bourbon, but make no mistake--this beer belongs on a Sundae.

F: Really soft, nicely viscous and creamy. Full bodied and very pleasant.

O: This is a really tasty beer and the barrel and vanilla treatment surely transforms and elevates the base DL (which I typically enjoy). The sweetness made KBBS (enjoyed side-by-side) taste bitter by comparison. This beer is meant to be shared and enjoyed among several people. You'd have to have a serious sweet tooth to dome this beast. (918 characters)

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 257 ratings.