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

Not Rated.
Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark LordBourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

252 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 252
Hads: 1,229
rAvg: 4.62
pDev: 9.31%
Wants: 3,758
Gots: 219 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 252 | Hads: 1,229
Reviews by cwc:
Photo of cwc
3.5/5  rDev -24.2%

More User Reviews:
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 StevenSpringer
4.98/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Worth the hype. Marshmallow bourbon chocolate nose. Taste matches the nose. There needs to be more of this in the world. (120 characters)

Photo of Stevedore
4.94/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Was able to try the 2013 vintage of this thanks to Dustin at a whale tasting 7/13/2013. Poured into a BCBS snifter, probably 5 ounces.

Basically this beer smelled like bourbon chocolate marshmallows but in liquid form. It has such a strong, pungent aroma that makes me smile. There is a bit of the barrel here but for the most part it is a delicious smelling bourbon marshmallow.

It pours a pitch black, incredibly thick and viscous body that comes with a minimal head & retention. Not a ton of lacing.

The flavour is straight up sweet chocolate marshmallows with some bourbon and hints of coffee in the background. This beer is not subtle at all. I wouldn't call it complex but everything it does, it goes beyond what anyone would expect even of Three Floyds. Insanely rich and savoury but not necessarily instant diabeetus like the regular Dark Lord is, if that makes sense. Its super sweet but it comes together in a good way.

Mouthfeel is perfect. Smooth, rich, roasty and carbonated well enough. Aftertaste is a slick bourbony marshmallow feel that makes me smile.

Overall, this beer gets super hyped for a reason which I now understand completely. It is so ridiculously unbalanced and complex, it's awesome. I don't have the trade ammo and it probably isn't worth all the craziness surrounding it but it is an incredible beer, probably the best imperial stout I've ever had the chance to drink. And that includes the BCS Rare we drank at the same tasting.

Re-review: the 4 of us bought into a single 2012 vintage bottle of Bourbon Barrel-Aged Dark Lord aged in Vanilla Beans. Bottle # 58/934. So its about a year and half old now. Poured into an unlabeled snifter today, 12/8/2013.

Still pours a perfect opaque black body, with a nice mocha collar that sticks around with good retention. And well, the nose is still intense 100% bourbon chocolate marshmallows, one of the best smelling beers I've ever had. Its not the most complex, but it is the most incredible nose out there. And of course the flavour is incredible- the vanilla does cover up some of the complexity of the base beer, but it replaces it with bourbon chocolate marshmallows that is just so sweet yet not the type of sweet that Grey Monday brings; its easily drinkable and so enjoyable. Mouthfeel is definitely full bodied, silky and smooth drinking without much discernible heat. Again, this is a beer that is phenomenal and one of the best I've ever had. I can't believe I've had this beer twice in the span of less than a year, but it is well worth it. The main difference between the 2012 and 2013 vintage is that the bourbon is a bit more muted in the 2012 vintage compared to the fresh version. This beer is probably still best drank fresh, but it will certainly hold up over time if cellared properly. As before, I understand the hype and trade value behind this beer 100%. Thank you Matt, for being generous enough to send this one to our group.

Re-review: 2014 vintage poured into a FFF/DMC snifter 6/21/2014. Essentially, I am finding this year's vintage to be significantly sweeter than the last two vintages. There is more of the base Dark Lord and less of the vanilla bean contribution. The vanilla bean comes out more as it warms up, but even then it's still a shadow in comparison to 2012 and 2013. I felt the same way when I drank this at this year's Dark Lord Day, and I am now able to confirm this opinion with the pour I got tonight. While I won't tweak the scoring here, I certainly would not recommend trading for this year's if you've had this one in years past. Honestly, if I were to change the scoring, it'd be something like a 4.4/5, just a tick above regular Dark Lord. I'd even argue that the '14 Brandy Dark Lord we drank right after this beer was more interesting. That's how disappointing this year's vintage was compared to the last 2 years, with 2013 being the superior vintage. (3,892 characters)

Photo of phantastiic
2/5  rDev -56.7%

2013 vintage with the orange wax.

Opened on 10/17/14

The 2013 vintage was awful. It smelled like rotten milk and tasted infected. I had 2014 side by side with the 2013 vintage and 2014 blew 2013 bvdl out of the water. Sadly, 2013 was an expensive drain pour for my entire tasting g group. Did not get any marshmallow smell or taste, but lots of the rotten milk smell and taste. Was disgusting. (401 characters)

Photo of CuriousMonk
4.37/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The '13 DL was a major let down as it was too cherry/sweet for my tastes, so I was eager to try a '13 BBAVB DL. Pours motor oil black/brownish with a thin mocha head that quickly dissipates without leaving any trace on the glass. Smell is sweet with roasted malts, tons of vanilla, quality dark chocolate, dark roast coffee, vanilla fudge, bourbon, charred wood, coconuts, molasses, caramel, honey, toffee, burnt cookies and hints of sweet soy sauce. The cherry taste from the regular DL is very present along with sweet with roasted malts, tons of vanilla, quality dark chocolate, sweetened dark roast coffee, honey, vanilla fudge, caramel, toffee, fresh oak, bourbon, charred wood, roasted nuts, sweet soy sauce and sweet liquorice candy. Mouthfeel is silky, sticky sweet, round, slightly boozy and near full bodied. Finish is sweet and tiny bitter with roasted malts, dark roast coffee, vanilla essence, bitter chocolate, vanilla fudge, toffee, caramel, bourbon and charred wood. Probably a bit too sweet for my taste, but glad to have tasted the vanilla beans which made this DL a better beer! (1,097 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 wpqx
4.75/5  rDev +2.8%

I got to finally capture my white whale at Dark Lord Day 2014, so my review is of the most recent batch. I drank this August 10th, poured into my FFF Teku glass.

The color is similar to regular Dark Lord with a sweet dark layer of head.

Smells incredibly sweet, more vanilla on the nose than bourbon.

Taste is almost unbearably sweet. The vanilla was incredibly strong in this one and to go along with the natural diabetes bomb regular DL is, it was like drinking dessert. Not enough bourbon character, perhaps it needs more time.

Overall, this was a damn good beer. I'm a fan of regular Dark Lord so although it's sweet I would certainly enjoy another bottle. However due to the insane hype and absurd asking price I'd resist the urge to trade half your cellar for a bottle. Maybe I set my expectations far too high, but this just came a little short of the beer I was expecting. (891 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 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 forever lingering.

I can't do it justice by attempting to analyze and explain. It really is the Dark Lord of barrel aged beers. I need more. (663 characters)

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

This is the 08 vintage, aged a whole year.

Here's what my notes say:

"God's cum. With Vanilla."

That's stupidly vulgar. Even when I was in high school I wouldn't have thought it was clever. It's the kind of thing a frat boy might say if he were trying to sound hilariously deep. By all rights, I should have tossed it out and written up some better notes.

But here's the thing--it was written in earnest. This beer is vulgar and it is divine, simultaneously the most pornographic and heavenly foodstuff to have ever entered my mouth. This beer is so great it makes even the most juvenile metaphor seem poetic.

There's nothing else for me to say about this beer. I'm not a poet. It was life affirming, how about that? It made me happy to be not dead, and it gave me a reason to keep on living because I will someday get another chance to drink it. (851 characters)

Photo of tectactoe
4.65/5  rDev +0.6%

Photo of t2grogan
5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of brownbeer
4.47/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the brewpub and I think it would be the 09 vintage. The beer is midnight black in the glass with no head at all. The taste and aroma still has the goodness of Dark Lord, meaning the burnt chocolate, coffee, and dark red fruit aspect is still there, just with an added blast of vanilla, smoothing everything out. It had a nice and chewy mouthfeel, and though the carbonation was low, it had just enough. I tried it next to the oak-aged, which I wasn't a huge fan of, but this one I liked a lot. They should bottle or growler some since everyone puts up with so much hassle to try it. (592 characters)

Photo of Schlais
5/5  rDev +8.2%

Photo of cjn40277
4.88/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Dabeel
4.5/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of delaced21
4.5/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of SkiBum22
4.44/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle # 346? / 934
Stone Imperial Russian Stout Snifter

A - Pours jet black and is completely opaque except for a thin film of brown atop the glass when held up to light. Half a finger of creamy dark mocha/milk chocolate colored head. Decent lacing

S - Big sweet aroma, lots of vanilla and bourbon but also some caramel, dark fruits, cherry, chocolate, a bit of coffee and oak from the barrel, smells pretty delicious.

T - Tons of creamy sweet vanilla up front blending into a mix of chocolate covered dark fruits, molasses, and coffee. The finish is a slight hint of licorice coupled with a deep warming from the alcohol.

M - Big mouth feel, not overly carbonated but enough to make this beer delicious, coats the palate, very smooth drinking.

O - This is by far the sweetest beer I've ever had and I just had Chocolate Rain recently. This beer almost lived up to the hype but just too sweet for me to put it on the same level as Rare, Bourbon County, Black Tuesday and other top barrel aged stouts. (1,006 characters)

Photo of NWer
4.75/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of warnerry
4.5/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of JonNobles
4/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of tjthresh
4.06/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pour is rich and black with some nice brown head, just as you'd expect from Dark Lord. I get mostly vanilla and coconut with just a bit of coffee in the nose. I get more bourbon in the flavor than anything. Full and rich body as usual. Dry roasted finish. (259 characters)

Photo of aquazr1
4.68/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 252 ratings.