1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

858 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 858
Reviews: 215
rAvg: 4.73
pDev: 8.46%
Wants: 2,811
Gots: 152 | FT: 5
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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 858 | Reviews: 215 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of brystmar
brystmar

Texas

4.4/5  rDev -7%
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!

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2012 19:42:48 | More by brystmar
Photo of vacax
vacax

California

4.43/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

05-02-2010 18:37:31 | More by vacax
Photo of BarrytheBear
BarrytheBear

Wisconsin

4.43/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2013 05:33:57 | More by BarrytheBear
Photo of beachbum1975
beachbum1975

Ohio

4.43/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

06-01-2008 21:14:57 | More by beachbum1975
Photo of Treebs
Treebs

Illinois

4.43/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2012 15:22:55 | More by Treebs
Photo of kbutler1
kbutler1

Minnesota

4.43/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

08-20-2010 19:43:41 | More by kbutler1
Photo of maximum12
maximum12

Minnesota

4.43/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

08-16-2009 13:30:47 | More by maximum12
Photo of Atron67
Atron67

Wisconsin

4.43/5  rDev -6.3%
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

Serving type: on-tap

05-02-2008 01:35:20 | More by Atron67
Photo of TurdFurgison
TurdFurgison

Ohio

4.45/5  rDev -5.9%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

04-27-2008 23:36:58 | More by TurdFurgison
Photo of FondueVoodoo
FondueVoodoo

British Columbia (Canada)

4.46/5  rDev -5.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2013 17:36:10 | More by FondueVoodoo
Photo of brownbeer
brownbeer

Missouri

4.47/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

04-27-2010 00:41:13 | More by brownbeer
Photo of iadler
iadler

Illinois

4.48/5  rDev -5.3%
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!

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2012 22:56:45 | More by iadler
Photo of Rutager
Rutager

British Columbia (Canada)

4.49/5  rDev -5.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2013 01:03:42 | More by Rutager
Photo of Dabeel
Dabeel

California

4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

06-05-2013 19:47:22 | More by Dabeel
Photo of warnerry
warnerry

Michigan

4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

04-24-2013 01:32:28 | More by warnerry
Photo of rhoadsrage
rhoadsrage

Illinois

4.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a semi-transparent plastic cup)

A- This beer had an inky black body that stains the cup with every slosh and no sign of carbonation or light is visible. There is a bit of a dark tan head that fades before it makes it to my hand. The thin ring of dark tan head last for the beer.

S- The first smell is like a black molasses custard with a soft fusel heat at the finish. There is a nice black roasted malt nose with hints of tar, and charcoal. The vanilla comes through softer and has a slight sweetness to it.

T- The big black bitter inky taste of black malt has notes of black-strap molasses without the metallic or sweet notes, tar, and black prunes. The finish is has a nice bitterness with a good amount of fusel alcohol taste. After a few sips I notice the vanilla bean that taste a bit sweeter and does a nice job of off-setting the dark malt flavors.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel that is sticky in texture but thins out nicely with the alcohol heat at the finish.

D- This monster is all dark lord with some nice accents from the vanilla bean. I don't think it would be possible to have the vanilla flavor overpower the beer. This is a young beer and the fusel alcohol is pretty hot, and I think age could really help this beer get cleaned up.

Serving type: on-tap

05-16-2008 17:44:45 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of Reappropriated
Reappropriated

California

4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

03-24-2014 20:32:56 | More by Reappropriated
Photo of DerekQXQX
DerekQXQX

Illinois

4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

04-27-2014 13:28:39 | More by DerekQXQX
Photo of azorie
azorie

Florida

4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

01-05-2012 20:32:10 | More by azorie
Photo of Beezee
Beezee

Illinois

4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

02-21-2012 04:42:12 | More by Beezee
Photo of SpeedwayJim
SpeedwayJim

New York

4.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Denise for this one. Side-by-side with all the other BA Dark Lords. Bottle 650/934 into a snifter. From notes.

No head, spotty lace, pitch black, with big, oily legs.

Notes of bourbon, vanilla, mint, and marshmallow. Very lively in the nose. Fresh too.

Sweet plum, vanilla, bourbon, chocolate, sweet prune, fudge, smores. Sugary finish. Delicious! Not at all hot either.

Medium bodied with low carbonation. Oily and smooth with a bit of heat going down. Sticky, lingering aftertaste. Complements the flavor perfectly.

This was the best of the 8 variations for me. Amazing taste that wasn't too heavy with a fantastic, clean, fresh, enticing aroma.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2012 14:10:18 | More by SpeedwayJim
Photo of schmidtmattsays
schmidtmattsays

Illinois

4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

06-29-2014 21:27:12 | More by schmidtmattsays
Photo of Gonzoillini
Gonzoillini

Illinois

4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

04-27-2013 14:14:14 | More by Gonzoillini
Photo of rouhlas3
rouhlas3

Greece

4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

05-26-2014 07:30:49 | More by rouhlas3
Photo of Omensetter
Omensetter

Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

04-29-2014 03:36:54 | More by Omensetter
Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
100 out of 100 based on 858 ratings.