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Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord - Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

923 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 923
Reviews: 217
rAvg: 4.72
pDev: 8.47%
Wants: 2,976
Gots: 165 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub visit their website
Indiana, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  15.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

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

(Beer added by: mcallister on 04-27-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 923 | Reviews: 217 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sean9689
4.3/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap @ DLD '09.

Pours black with a brown head which leaves some nice lacing, once gone. Smells amazing...VANILLA...lots of it! Some malts and milk chocolate in there as well. Tastes exactly like DL + vanilla which is a wonderful combo! Mouthfeel is perfect, an awesome beer to swirl around and savor. I would go for this again and again (I did so @ DLD)...awesome/epic beer!

Sean9689, Apr 26, 2009
Photo of aerozeppl
4.3/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap in the pub during DLD. I had one and liked it but had to have a second to make sure.

A:Black. That is it. There was no head. Only bubbles. It straight up looked like motor oil and both variants had legs when swirled in the glass.

S: The nose was that of ok that is what vanilla smells like Even with a big a beer as Dark Lord is the vanilla was up front. Alcohol. Molasses. Chocolate. Roast. Insane complexity.

T: Vanilla was huge up front. It had so much going on it tasted like it was barrel aged. What impressed me the most about the barrel aged versions of Dl was they played down on the beers weaknesses while bringing out their strengths. The vanilla cut down on the booziness and brought it into a whole different level.

M: Motor oil. Super thick. No carbonation.

D: I had 2 tasters of this then carried a grown man out of a mosh pit. All day. One of the best vanilla bean beers I have ever had. Makes VBBCS seem like ginger beer. That being said I cared for the bourbon version more but I was in the minority in my group.

aerozeppl, May 05, 2011
Photo of nickd717
4.33/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well, I had this beer from a hand bottle awhile back, and my review of that got deleted, so then I hauled my ass all the way to a random corner of Indiana to try it on tap. Unfortunately for VBDL, the hand bottle was better, but I'm reviewing the tap version this time.

This pours really black and thick, appearing to have a final gravity somewhere in the 'hood of 1.050. The smallest of brown heads sits on top. I'm talking brown, not tan. The head is dark on this bad boy.

From the glass wafts a scent of vanilla bean and Dark Lord. By Dark Lord, I mean rich chocolate, coffee, roast, caramel, soy sauce, molasses, and a mess of other subtle notes. Lots going on. Some whiskey and barrel notes in there as well.

Flavor is heavy on the vanilla. Roast, chocolate, coffee, Indian dessert sugar (which they actually used in this), candied dark fruits, oak, and bourbon. On the finish, I get an odd smoky note and a little soy sauce. Some booze as well. Even as sweet as it is and with some mild off-flavors of sorts though, it's a damn good beer.

The palate is thick, and it is also slick. Sorry about the unintentional rhyme there. Carbonation is very low.

Overall, what do I say? This is a behemoth of a RIS. In a way it's hard to get down, and in another way it's very drinkable because it's just so awesome and intense. I gave this an A+ before, but wasn't that impressed this time. This was excellent, but I liked the regular (2010 vintage) and oak-aged versions better.

nickd717, Apr 26, 2010
Photo of jsh420
4.35/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on tap DLD

while i could not track down where in the hell this beer was at in the clusterf*** known as DLD - some kind people i met shared some with me

black black shiny motor oil black with small tan film of head

smells you guessed it vanilla with dark roasted chocolate malts

taste could not live up to the nose or maybe it did - the beer was just too sweet - big flavors of vanilla chocolate coffee and the sugar!

mouthfeel was much thinner then regular DL - very slick

drinkability - while i savored every sniff and sip it just was not as good as the regular DL

jsh420, Apr 25, 2010
Photo of jmarsh123
4.35/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black with a very small brown head fading away into an oily ring. Good sludgy lacing down the glass.

Intensely sweet aroma. Dark chocolate, vanilla and molasses. Maybe a touch of oak.

Major sweetness bomb. Loads of dark chocolate, fudge and vanilla with just a touch of roastiness. Very dessert like quality although it's hard to drink more than a few ounces of this. The addition of vanilla and booze helps balance out the rough flavors of the base beer.

Very thick mouthfeel although maybe not as much as I'd expect. Low carbonation.

Great beer although drinkability is low due to the intense sweetness. Much better than regular Dark Lord, but probably not quite worth the hype.

jmarsh123, Jul 23, 2012
Photo of aasher
4.35/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was enjoyed at DLD. I was walking around with a couple bottles of Cisco sours in my hands and this random BA asked me if I wanted to try Vanilla Bean Dark Lord. That's a funny question to ask someone haha. The beer was a viscous midnight black with a dark khaki foamy lacing around the edges. The aromas were a nice mix of chocolate, coffee, caramel malts, and sweet vanilla. It tasted like a well aged BCBS. It was a little sweet however, as you'd expect. It was smoother than any Dark Lord that I've had out of a bottle and very drinkable. The sweetness is the only thing holding this one back but it's the best over the top vanilla beer that I've had yet.

aasher, May 02, 2011
Photo of kimcgolf
4.35/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed at FFF pub on Dark Lord Day '09. Pours from the tap to a very brownish=black color with thin skim of a dark brown head that lingers thru mid-glass. Aroma is an overwhelmingly pleasant mix of vanilla, roasted nuts, chocolate and molasses, with just the right amount of the 14% alcohol. Mouthfeel is almost syrupy full, and the vanilla explodes in the taste. Nice, long warming finish. Didn't enjoy quite as much as the Bourbon Barrel aged DL, but a damn good beer.

kimcgolf, Aug 23, 2009
Photo of Patrick999
4.38/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Hand-bottled. Sampled courtesy of Maltzilla. It's thick and dark as you would expect, not a ton of head.

Aroma? I bow down to the vanilla gods. Never smelled that much vanilla in a beer before.

This is some intense, sweet bourbon vanilla. Some of those I was drinking with thought it too sweet, but I thought it was on point. It tasted like candy, but to me that's to its credit. I don't think it bore too much resemblance to regular Dark Lord, this was all about the vanilla. 13% alcohol? Buried under vanilla sweetness.

I think I had about a 2-3 oz pour, and even that was a bit too much. An ounce and change is probably all I needed....not too "drinkable" in the normal sense of the word. Tasty, with a godly aroma, but pretty sweet. So, I'm "only" giving a 4.38 A rating.

Patrick999, May 15, 2011
Photo of SPLITGRIN
4.4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Once again the same big thick blackness as regular oak aged DL. It has legs like trunks that stick to the side of the glass. No head at all. The nose is distincly sweater than the regular oak aged with a noticeable sweet vanilla base. The sweet vanilla up front and very prominent with first sip, but approachable. The super syrupy sweetness then yields to some slight sour feel on the back of the tongue and seems a bit thicker than the regular also. Almost honey like. Mouthfeel is a big sweet thickness. Nicely drinkable but maybe a bit to much tingle to the sweetness on the back of the tongue. You only need a little of this one.

SPLITGRIN, Apr 28, 2008
Photo of brystmar
4.4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opened the 2011 & 2012 Vanillas next to each other to kick off our tasting with all 8 BA DLs. Thanks to Denise for bringing this one!

Gloops out of the bottle with minimal head and lace. Boozy and sweet aroma opens up bourbon-forward, concluding with a pleasant vanilla finish. Deserves a 4.25, but I'll round up.

While the '11 was predominantly sweet marshmallows, this one starts off as a bourbon-infused stout with vanilla support showing up towards the end. Dark fruits, heavily roasted malt, candy sweetness, and more robust bourbon round things out midway through. Body is thick, but not as viscous as the '11 Vanilla.

Swallowing summons a fantastic blend of flavors in the back of your throat which is initially boozy but quickly melts into a smooth, vanilla-infused nectar. This aftertaste is magical, rivaled only by Apple Brandy BA Huna & b1 Chocolate Rain.

The '11 Brandy Vanilla ended up being my favorite of the 8 variants, followed by '12 Cognac, then this '12 Bourbon Vanilla. Our group seemed in agreement that Vanilla DL was the best of the treatments, but we were divided in choosing a superior vintage. Both were fantastic!

brystmar, Jul 28, 2012
Photo of vacax
4.43/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Vanilla Bean Dark Lord pours the same oily black substance as the standard Dark Lord, stickily coats the glass in brown film and alcohol, and has a few tight beads of foam along the extremities of the glass. The vanilla is immediately present in the nose, but at an excellent level of balance. Oak or vanilla beans can be readily overwhelming, but the vanilla here is robust yet delicately sweet. The vanilla nicely matches the variety of thick sugary malts present, dates, figs, also a bit savory and some molasses.

The flavor has the same base thick maltiness of all varieties of Dark Lord, but the vanilla bean helps to blend the sweet elements together and smooth out the rough edges. The vanilla is up front and emphasizes sweet dark fruit, brings out a bit of sherry-like oxidation and smooths out soy-sauce like features leaving a finish rich with cocoa and cookies. Body is of course robust and palate drenching, which is nice with the lovely vanilla flavors. Carbonation stays low to moderate, allowing the thickness and flavors to linger. A delicious beer and of course rich, as tasty as it is it can weigh heavily on the palate.

vacax, May 02, 2010
Photo of BarrytheBear
4.43/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Chad...thank you very much for the opportunity.

Dark and mostly still

Smells of sweet vanilla and melted chocolate

An extremely rich and sweet beer that has its bourbon presence overshadowed by the gobs of vanilla and marshmallow that throw their blanket all over the base beer. Bourbon plays a gentle but distant second fiddle. Residual sugars hang out like the tough guys they are...thumbing their jeans and smoking their heaters. Really rich but handles its abv well.

There are some nice flavors here that mark a definite improvement on the base and I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to try this bottle without giving up what this beer would require in a trade. That said, unless you're one of those fortunate BA's who has unlimited funds and/or cellars, no beer is worth what this beer demands. I personally thought the TG Assassin we drank prior was a more enjoyable overall beer. Drink your great beers, don't chase whales...stupid term anyways...and if your life's happiness really depends on whether you have the chance to drink this beer...find good people who like to share.

A nice beer...but not a life changer.

BarrytheBear, Dec 15, 2013
Photo of beachbum1975
4.43/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Notes taken from DLD on 4/26/2008. Finally made it to my 75th review and here it is...

Appearance: Pours SUPER, UBER thick. Definitely the thickest, chunkiest beer I have ever seen in a glass. If fact, it's so thick, it reminds me of the blob, because when you shake it in the small glass, legs don't form on the walls, but rather a brownish sludge with like black specks of the Mexican Vanilla bean, beige granules, etc. Blackish brown, ominous and murky. No sunlight can penetrate through this badboy. It looks like the grim reaper fermented some Dinty Moore beef stew!

Smell: Smell was amazing. A super creamy, natural vanilla bean and alcohol hit me first. Further sniffing yielded almost a slight cherriness, black licorice and heavily roasted malts.

Taste: Cream and vanilla jumped out at first. This, as can be expected, is FULL bodied and a dinner all unto itself. Flavors are SO rich, dark and flavorful, my brain was doing somersaults. Again, extremely rich and hearty with flavors with linger in your mouth for some time. Moderate alcohol, after vanilla burst subsided. Vanilla enriched Dark Lord says it all. Lots and lots going on.

Mouthfeel: Thick, thick, thick and full body with many levels of complex dark flavors. Flavor lasted a while after drinking it. Little to no carbonation, just super gooey and rich.

Drinkability: Great sipper, but by no means a sessionable beer. I really enjoyed the portion given to me off tap, but I think one was enough for my palate.

beachbum1975, Jun 01, 2008
Photo of Treebs
4.43/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml waxed bottle, 552/934, served in a Deschutes snifter. Big thanks to Andrew (nasty31) for the share.

A: Pours a jet black color with a nice sized dark mocha head forming on the pour. It recedes a medium sized ring and leaves some splotchy lace along the way.

S: Light bourbon up front, but the sweet vanilla pushes right through that. A great toasted malt presence follows that with some light milk chocolate on the finish.

T: Instead of bourbon up front the vanilla is the star here (obviously). There is a mild background bourbon that is incredibly smooth. As Dark Lord is already a pretty sweet beer (especially the 2011) I felt the added vanilla bean made this border on cloyingly sweet. Thankfully there was enough roast and dark chocolate on the finish to cut through some of the sweetness.

M: Heavy bodied with a light chew to it. Teeth coating sweetness with a medium to low carbonation. Definite warming as it goes down.

O: I think if the vanilla bean was slightly restrained it would have been an even bigger homerun. That being said, this was absolutely delicious and I would not hesitate to try this again. The 4-5 ounce pour I received was just perfect.

Treebs, Aug 11, 2012
Photo of kbutler1
4.43/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Draft. Finally found my notes for DLD and getting these in to review! Draft. Poured into a plastic cup which I then put in my Founders KBS tulip glass. Poured straight black with a slight dark tan head. The initial aroma is the vanilla followed by a sublte sweetness and dark malts. The taste is amazing IMO. The vanilla is so smooth in this one. Dark chocolate notes as well. Love to see it bottled. The only thing to date to compare to this was the BCBVS that I had at Great Taste.

kbutler1, Aug 20, 2010
Photo of maximum12
4.43/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So...transfer over my comments about the regular Dark Lord, which is fantastic, & add some vanilla sweetness to it.

I'm not sure the vanilla adds to Dark Lord in a positive manner, but it sure changes the character of the brew. The vanilla makes what was a smooth, drinkable, fiery, malty RIS into a sweeter, even smoother, tamer version of the 'Lord. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but this is still a first-class beer. Excellent, & one I'd love to have a few glasses of some day.

maximum12, Aug 16, 2009
Photo of Atron67
4.43/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

had this on tap at DLD. just found my notes and so putting it in.

A- dead black body with only the tinyest amount of head anywhere on it.

S- huge huge vanilla character that is almost overwhelming. it is kept really good however though because even though the vanilla is really strong, the roasted dark malts underneath stay with it and give it a great complexity.

T- the taste of the vanilla is much more subdued here. it blends in really well with the rest. a little sweeter than i was expecting but not really sweet either. strong roasted characther. very strong and delicious. a great sipper that was highly enjoyed

M- hugely creamy as well. very light carbonation, lingers on the tongue a long while

D- pretty damn awesome, one of the many great DLD brews i got to drink but sadly none to bring home

Atron67, May 02, 2008
Photo of TurdFurgison
4.45/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at DLD 2008. This looked and tasted like 2007 Dark Lord (to the best of my recollection) with a nice vanilla component (a la Haagendaaz vanilla flavor). Very thick and jet black, reeking of rich malty aromas. God this is a massive beer, so thick and oily and flavorful, and the vanilla flavor came through as a nice compliment. The real draw is the mouthfeel, this was as thick as the final pour from a DL bottle, very coating when you drink it.

This and the Oak-aged were selling for $5/sample (not sure of the size, but it was a small cup <12oz). Unfortunately I'm guessing it will be quite difficult to find this beer again.

TurdFurgison, Apr 27, 2008
Photo of FondueVoodoo
4.46/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Rutager for opening this up as part of a bottle share. 2013 vintage (492/711).

A: Pours completely black with about 1 finger of tan coloured hear which quickly dissipated.

S: Huge upfront notes of vanilla, burnt toffee and sweet sugars - similar to a toasted marshmallow. Background notes of milk chocolate, sweet malts and molasses.

T: Follows the scent with vanilla, toffee and toasted marshmallows. Notes of dark dried fruit of plums and cherries in the background.

M: Thick and oily body with minal to non-existent carbonation.

O: This was an amazing dessert beer and while sweet, it wasn't offputting in any way. Perfect to share with friends in front of a fire on a cold winter night.

FondueVoodoo, Oct 29, 2013
Photo of brownbeer
4.47/5  rDev -5.3%
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.

brownbeer, Apr 27, 2010
Photo of iadler
4.48/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to immobilisme for bringing this over to our recent tasting. Bottle #606/934.

A- Pours a standard DL pitch black color with a one finger dark mocha head that leaves minimal lacing behind.

S- Rich fudge, bourbon, vanilla syrup, with hints of wood, burnt caramel, raisins and plumb. Judging from the aroma, I'm assuming this is going to be fairly sweet.

T- Rich, sweet and decadent with Chocolate malt balls, uncooked brownie batter, vanilla, cream, smooth bourbon, caramel and raisins. Bordering on being too sweet, but the bourbon helps keep the sweetness in check.

M- Thick syrupy body with a low to medium carbonation. The abv. is nowhere to be seen.

O- A liquid form of dessert. Tons of chocolate and vanilla mingled with bourbon makes this a very flavorful beer. While very sweet, this was not as sugary as the regular DL. A bit too sweet to have more than a few ounces, but still one of my favorites of this year's BA treatments.

Thanks again, Todd!

iadler, Jul 27, 2012
Photo of Rutager
4.49/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Rodkin for this long time want. 2013 bottle (492/711) drank with the 2013 base beer and shared between 6 at last night's tasting.

Appearance. Pours thick and black with just a ring of light brown head.

Smell. Big vanilla and sweet chocolate. Much sweeter nose than the base beer. Marshmallows (maybe toasted marshmallows), toffee, and a touch of molasses. Had my nose in this one for a while and kept coming back for more.

Taste. Sweet toffee, vanilla and marshmallows, light amount of cherries and dark fruit, and burnt sugar. Sweet, but not like syrup. The level of sweetness goes really well with the flavours.

Mouthfeel. Full body, low carbonation, a little bit sticky.

Overall. Great beer. Very sweet with flavours reminiscent of candy, a great desert. This was shared between 6 of us and was about the right amount. I couldn't imagine drinking even half a bottle to myself. Would love to have it again but certainly won't be seeking out another for what it trades for.

Rutager, Oct 28, 2013
Photo of Dabeel
4.5/5  rDev -4.7%

Dabeel, Jun 05, 2013
Photo of delaced21
4.5/5  rDev -4.7%

delaced21, Jul 29, 2014
Photo of warnerry
4.5/5  rDev -4.7%

warnerry, Apr 24, 2013
Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
100 out of 100 based on 923 ratings.