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Marshmallow Handjee (Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord) | 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

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Marshmallow Handjee (Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord)Marshmallow Handjee (Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Indiana, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 15.00%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout aged in a variety of Bourbon barrels with vanilla beans.

Added by mcallister on 04-27-2008

BEER STATS
Reviews:
280
Ratings:
1,392
Avg:
4.65
pDev:
20.43%
 
 
Wants:
4,225
Gots:
262
For Trade:
11
User Reviews
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Reviews: 280 | Ratings: 1,392
Photo of themaj
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

So my first review was of the 2011 vbdl I had on draft at dld 2014. Was lucky enough to get a 14 vbdl and sat on it until today. 2 weeks before dld 2015 so almost exactly 1 yyear.pure perfection!!

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

OK, let me preface this review by saying, I did not take notes on this, but I have had it twice: At Dark Lord Day 2010, and at Pizzaria Paradiso in Georgetown (DC) for a Three Floyds Dinner.

This is the best beer I've ever had, and probably ever will have. I will travel anywhere to get this if it's available, and would trade anything if they ever bottle this.

The appearance is perfect, jet black, very dark lingering head, lots of lacing.

Smell is crazy, it is like every good thing in a barrel aged RIS beer thrown together, with huge vanilla, chocolate, malt, alcohol, etc. all at once. It's the type of beer you know will be huge, and you hope it even comes close to tasting how good it smells. I kept a plastic cup from dark lord day, and seriously it smelled of the aroma of this beer for weeks, that is how pungent and beautiful the smell is.

The taste fulfills all expectations of the smell and much more. Massive flavors of vanilla, oak, malt, chocolate, coffee, alcohol burn and more go on in some sort of harmony that is hard to understand. I know i am a guy who likes big flavors in general, but this is unreal. Seriously unreal. This is the type of thing that makes you feel unworthy but at the same time so glad you have the privilege to have this divine liquid. This is the type of thing you do not forget.

Mouthfeel is absolutely awesome. Completely covers your mouth and throat. It lingers so long it's unbelievable. You could taste it minutes after you had it, it seems you could get up take a nice walk and come back and i'd still be there.

Drinkability I gave a 4 because this thing is just huge. There is no way you could even try to have two of these next to each other because its just too much to take in that quantity. That being said, if I had to pick one beer only to have forever, this (at this point) is it. << Edit. I will give this a 5 now because I crave this beer all the time. If It was at a bar, I would only drink this. Therefor, It's getting a perfect 5 from me.

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Photo of RMelyon
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had on tap on DLD 2013, and at a bottle share in May 2015. Beer doesn't get any better than this. It looks like it should, smells like it should, and tastes even better than it should. No perceivable burn, even at 15%. Simply the best beer I've had. It lives up to the hype.

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Photo of ryanfolty
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

July 3, 2013 - bottle shared by Joe. This will be rating 1492 for me (on RB), the year that Columbus discovered America. Fitting since this beer marks my discovery of something that is at the same level as Goose Island’s BCS Rare. Yes, what I thought was my one and only 5.0 rating now has a companion. How can I say this is as good as Rare? Well after drinking, my wife and I say to Joe that it is one of the best beers we have ever had, but not sure it is better than Rare. What does Joe go and do, yes he pulls a Rare out of his cellar and we do a blind impromptu tasting!!! I admit on this day the Vanilla DL was better than the Rare (I was able to choose each correctly), but the Rare did not taste quite as good as when I had it initially. I can’t thank Joe enough for his generosity on this night. I guess I will put some actual beer comments in now. Of course this was a black pour with tan head. The aroma and taste were magical blends of chocolate, vanilla and bourbon. Each one in perfect harmony that created an other worldly experience. 2012 vintage, bottle 408 of 934.

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Photo of smb
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2013 vintage

L: Pours sludgy and oily black, nothing shines through even when held closely to the light. Maintains a mocha halo across the entire glass... impressive for a year in barrels.

A: Marshmallow, vanilla, milk and dark chocolate, oak and some almond aromas all coming through. These all are just vividly wafting out and around the glass.

T: Follows the nose but magnified, especially the marshmallowy vanilla. There's a depth of flavor here that's richer than any other barrel aged beer I've had... including BCBS Vanilla, Parabola, BA Vietnamese Speedway, BA Monsters Park, etc... certain aspects of those may be more complex, but this is just more enjoyable.

M: Mouthfeel is thick and rich with massive marshmallow-esque vanilla bean, milk chocolate and oak goodness lingering forever. At 15% there is no real taste of alcohol and only a slight but pleasing warming sensation on the drink down.

Overall: I can't do it justice in words, but it really is the Dark Lord of barrel aged beers. More than worthy of the hype.

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Photo of eifster82
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

VBDL '15.

Heavenly, is the first word that comes to mind when describing this beer. Pitch black appearance with very small 'brown' ring upon pour on outer edge of glass. Smell is of vanilla and marshmallows infused with bourbon. The taste is extraordinarily complex and delicious. Again, marshmallows and vanilla are abundant and nothing like in Vanilla Rye or Madagascar. Much more infused and bourbon isn't overpowering the dominant flavors. The feel and aftertaste is so smooth and delicious, I felt like drinking a s'more with a nice bourbon addition. It's not boozy by any stretch, but present enough to notice.

This is the best stout I've ever had and possibly the tastiest thing I've put in my mouth. I've had Prop '14, Black Tuesday Reserve '13, Rare '15, CBS '15, as well as a multitude of other but this beer is unlike any other and deserving of it's 'white whale' status. If ever given an opportunity to taste, do not think twice.

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Photo of mynie
5/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

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Photo of jstunna24
4.99/5  rDev +7.3%
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!

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Photo of Domvan
4.99/5  rDev +7.3%
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

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Photo of owenbrau
4.98/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Very excited to try this and it did not disappoint! 2014 version, big toasted marshmallow smell with a little bourbon. Taste is chocolate and vanilla up front with a marshmallow finish lingering on the tongue. So drinkable it's scary for 15%. It is one of, if not the best beer, I have ever consumed. Bourbon Barrel stout is my favorite style though I can not see how anyone could not love this beer.

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Photo of masterchiefMD
4.97/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

sampled at DLD 08. I am a huge vanilla fan. This was the smoothest richest best tasting beer i have every had. It let me CRAVING more. color was very dark just a shade under black. Smell was as good as the taste. The vanilla to me wasnt overwhelming, just enough during the aftertaste. They need to think about doing think again.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.97/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.97/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at DLD'09.

I've been holding out hope that this would reappear for this years event after having missed it at last years.
Pours very dark brown almost black with a nice quarter inch of head forming on the pour. Smell is vanilla. Check that. The vanilla in this beer is so decadent and inviting I can't put it into words. Taste is among the best beers I have every had. Very nice creme vanilla in the flavor, plenty of roastiness and coffee show up underneath. This is a monstrosity of a beer. Incredibly smooth and velvety. This was easily among the top beers of the entire weekend. This beer is right up my alley. I could drink a whole lot of this stuff. No sign of the abv in this. Exceptional beer that I could drink everyday.

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Photo of Sabtos
4.97/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark black with a lazy mocha head the straddles the edges and almost looks like chocolate skin.

Dark fudgy chocolate and roastiness wafts off the glass, while none of the coffee or sugar from the base brew really come through. I also would sometimes perceive cherry or raspberry in the base, but again none of that carries over to this variant. A very nice oaky roastiness with comforting, warming dark chocolate make for very enticing aromas.

Vanilla rounds out the flavor making it less sweet in some unfathomable way and the aging has given it a slightly frothier, creamier body which is just heavenly. I'm glad to say the bourbon does not create a boozy heat, but works with that vanilla bean and all the other additional ingredients already in the Dark Lord base to truly make for that toasted marshmallow effect. On top of that fudgy characteristic, it's absolutely delicious.

Viscous, thick and gooey, but just fluid enough to continue to qualify as beer. I perceived no booze heat at all, which is seemingly totally squashed by the high quality vanilla element.

This is an unbelievable achievement. Maybe it was a lucky fluke that continues to work out in small doses year to year, but I've never experienced this in any other BA beer, and a lot try to use the same ingredients. I'm not sure how you can plan to attain this kind of flavor with natural ingredients intentionally, but either way, they did it. It lives up to the hype, which is unfortunate for anyone that actually wants a full bottle. I had this on draft at DLD 2016.

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Photo of raveskdr
4.97/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Finally getting around to review this. Had it yet again on tap at Dark Lord Day (and got a chance to tick it out of the bottle as well). Poured into an oddly shaped glass inside the FFF brewpub on DLD.

A - Completely dense viscous blackness. Very little carbonation.

S - Vanilla. Vanilla. Vanilla. Slight roasted coffee. Vanilla.

T - Vanilla. Vanilla. Vanilla. Just incredible flavoring of pure vanilla. You get some of that smokiness and some roastiness, but this is a vanilla dominated beer.

M - Incredibly decadent and rich yet smooth for such a high alcohol beer.

O - One of the best beers I have ever had. This beer is just incredible. I could drink the hell out of this beer. All the hype this beer has ever got is completely deserved. I am glad they bottled it so that some people could get some without going to DLD. It's just as good out of the bottle.

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Photo of _morandi_
4.97/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

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Photo of nrbw23
4.97/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I missed this one at '08 Dark Lord Day so this is one that was must for this year.

A- Pretty much like the DL that I drank on tap minutes before this one. Pitch black with a nice brown head.

S- Just like the regular version with the exception of vanilla. Wow make that a ton of vanilla.

T- Thought it tasted just like DL with an up in your face vanilla. Wonderful my favorite of the three DL.

M- Big full and I think a little bit lighter in carbonation than the regular.

D- Very awesome beer wish I had some more.

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!

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Photo of coldmeat23
4.97/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

Like it's brothers, this one is also black. Less than a finger of foam forms the head and quickly disappears. It leaves a few bubbles around the edge, but that's about it. No real lacing to speak of, but the slick oiliness still coats the glass.

Hey whadda' ya' know? It smells like vanilla!
Seriously though, the vanilla scent practically jumps out of the glass and grabs you. It's wonderful. It's not an artficial scent either, it smells like true vanilla extract, as it should. This mixes in with the nice roasted malt scents. The large chocolate and Intelligentsia coffee notes are still here, but they are dwarfed by the vanilla presence. Light hints of bourbon-ey oak are detectable. Dark fruits, molasses and caramel can be found, if you look.
This one should get a rating of 6 for the smell.

Oh yeah, that's the stuff. Man, is this good!
The smooth, tasty vanilla just melds with the bold chocolate and coffee flavors and creates something amazing. I don't believe that I can describe it accurately. It's that good.
That which I found to be perfect has been made more than perfect.
This one should get a rating of 7 for the taste.

The mouthfeel loses nothing with this one. It is still that huge, rich, thick feeling. Beautiful.

3Floyds have taken their own perfect creation and made it rich and decadent. This is amazing. While it would best serve as a dessert or special occasion brew, I wouldn't be able to stay out of it, if I had it at home.
This might be the only brew that I drink, next DLD.

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Photo of atrus138
4.97/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Note: Some of this is copied from my review of the original Dark Lord, since it shares a lot as far as appearance and mouthfeel go.

Everytime I've described a beer as looking like motor oil has been a lie. THIS is a beer that looks like motor oil. No head whatsoever. This beast is far too dense for a head. It has its own gravity and pulls any head into itself. The glass is absolutely stained yellow after drinking. Epic. As far as smell goes, I've never been more excited to drink a beer after smelling this. It's rare to smell a beer so aggressive in its sweetness. However, despite the extreme sweetness of the smell, it's not TOO sweet. It's more of a naturally sweet smell. Taste is absolutely delicious. For me, it was a glimpse of heaven. Pure sweetness. Everything I could hope for in a beer. Chocolate, coffee, vanilla, brown sugar, and dark fruits. Sheer bliss. After swallowing, it's like my entire digestive system up to and including my stomach is coated with this stuff. Normally, with such a huge beer, I'm a bit more conservative with dropping a 5, but I would have this anytime I can.

This is a totally, and in my opinion, much better beer than Dark Lord, and that is saying something. The scores are the same for each, but the 5s on the smell and taste on these have more teeth to them.

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Photo of abrand
4.97/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After hearing that the vanilla bean DL ran out while in line at DLD, I was so disappointed that I missed a great opportunity. And then a local Munster native comes through out of no where and has a half a glass still and generously lets myself and fellow BA Hooliganlife sip the remainder.

The appearance is jet black with no head in the glass. Assuming the initial pour left the same thin tan head as the other dark lords. Smell is much sweeter with lots of vanilla which I absolutely love. Nice chocolate backbone. Taste is unbelievable. The sweetness balances out the chocolate, malts, sugar punch that dark lord has. Mouthfeel is thick and oily. This may be the best stout I have had. The vanilla presence really changes the make up of a great beer. Even though I only got a couple sips of this it was heaven in a cup. If only this was bottled....

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Photo of TStron
4.97/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at DLD 2010

A - Very Dark. No head but I didn't see the pour and am not sure how long it sat before the waiter served it at our table.

S - Rich vanilla aroma with hints of bourbon. Smells amazing.

T - Great vanilla flavor that is powerful but doesn't dominate over the slight oak and bourbon notes mingled with molasses. Just the right amount of sweetness.

M - Smooth as can be. Low on carbonation. This beer is full of flavors that linger well after a small sip has been taken. This allowed for a 6oz glass to last a long time. Didn't come off as too thick. Just right.

D - I could drink this anytime. I don't think the vanilla would ever get old over the course of many glasses and the alcohol seems about right. Would love to test this hypothesis but unfortunately I was only able to get a small glass about 6oz.

I waited in line for 4 hours to get into the brew pub on DLD and it was absolutely worth it. Any fan of stouts should make trying this a priority and the first thing you do if you make it to DLD. I am amazed at how well the actual thing stood up to all the hype.

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Photo of TheBronze
4.96/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

2013 bottle #216 of 711
Opened on 9/14/13 and shared with three friends.
Poured into a Hill Farmstead raised snifter.

A - Pours dark and viscous as you would expect. Little to no head with slight bubbles forming. It was hard to spend much time on the appearance because of…

S - The smell. Dear Dark Lord, the smell. Toasted marshmallows soaked in bourbon, vanilla, toffee, carmel, chocolate. I waited to take my first sip for some time. The experience of smelling this beer was just so enjoyable, I didn’t want it to pass.

T - Taste mostly follows the nose but the marshmallow is not as present. Vanilla leads but is well integrated. A viscous, creamy blend of vanilla, chocolate, toffee, carmel, bourbon with very subtle features of the base Dark Lord pleasantly present in the background to remind you of the beer’s origins. Decadent, but by no means over the top. I could have easily and happily handled at least half the bottle of this if not more. The stout is somewhat sweet, but again the sweetness is simply a feature of it and is not dominant. Just delicious.

M - Lightly carbonated and full bodied. Coats the mouth nicely, and there is nothing cloying about this. Very smooth, and easy to sip and savor. Alcohol is well hidden. A very full bodied stout.

O – This is probably the best beer I’ve ever had. It is hard for beers such as this to live up to the hype, but I must say that this one does. I even sealed the empty bottle overnight just so I could smell it again the next day. I certainly hope to enjoy it again someday.

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Photo of nrs207
4.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Had alongside the base beer. 2013 vintages for both.

A - Quite dark, has a little tan head. It looks a little darker and a little better than the base beer.

S - Smells like some sort of vanilla/brownie mixture. Incredible. There's just a hint of the barrel, but it's nice because it lets the vanilla and chocolatey aromas shine through. I have no idea how this is the same beer as the non-barrel aged version.

T - Just like the smell. Loads of vanilla and fudge. It's truly a dessert beer, but at the same time I could've had the entire bottle. The bourbon barrel is just barely there, cutting the sweetness just a bit. It's as sweet as I'd like this type of beer to be. When it's around room temp, I get a little alcohol, but very light and only when it's very warm. Hides it extremely well.

M - Smooth, rich, creamy, no burn from the alcohol. It's almost perfect. I think if it was just a tiny bit fuller it would've gotten a 5.

O - I'm so happy this lived up to the hype. Took a lot to get, but I think it was worthwhile. One of the best beers I've had.

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Photo of WolfsbaneBloom
4.95/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

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Photo of LethalChickens
4.95/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

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Marshmallow Handjee (Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord) from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 280 ratings.