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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

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BA SCORE
100
world-class

258 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 258
Hads: 1,257
rAvg: 4.62
pDev: 9.31%
Wants: 3,803
Gots: 223 | 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: 258 | Hads: 1,257
Photo of MCain04
4.21/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks Kieran for opening this up for us! 2013 vintage. Poured out at slightly below cellar temp.

The pour is surprisingly light, was expecting a darker motor oil pour. Little head, if any.

The smell on this is heavy, heavy on the vanilla. Definitely a lot of sweetness, from vanilla, malts, and bourbon. You get some additional toffee, caramel, and roasty notes, but dominated by vanilla.

The taste is so vanilla-heavy it's insane. It really does overpower most of the other flavor profiles. The bourbon and barrel notes play nicely off the base beer, which is cloyingly sweet at baseline. Unfortunately there is a pretty apparent metallic taste that doesn't fully resolve with warming.

Mouthfeel is smooth, low carb, medium bodied. Sticky finish.

Overall, this is a sweet, sweet beer, which is one of the most vanilla-forward beers I've ever tried. The metallic taste was a big set back for me though. This was beat out by Black Tuesday and Melange 1 in our tasting, in my opinion. Given the price of admission, between what it takes to trade for and even the price tag for purchasing, there are better beers out there. This is overhyped, in my humble opinion! (1,167 characters)

Photo of rodkin
4.25/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap at Hunahpu's day 2013.

Pours dark, dark black, small light head.

Smell is massive vanilla, chocolate, some coffee, vanilla, maybe a bit of caramel, more vanilla. Outrageous vanilla.

Taste follows the nose. Really big vanilla, chocolate, coffee, sweet malts, dark sugar, maybe a bit of fruit. Really overwhelming sweetness and vanilla.

Mouthfeel is smooth, moderately thick, low carbonation. Oily.

This was very tasty, and I was really glad to try it. That said, it's pretty overwhelmingly sweet. I wouldn't want to have more than a 3 oz pour of this or so at any given time. (587 characters)

Photo of Sean9689
4.29/5  rDev -7.1%
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! (377 characters)

Photo of fiver29
4.3/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Dark Lord Day 08. Batch was 07 barrel aged with vanilla bean. Poured pitch black with a tan head. Has a very heavy mouthfeel and is very thick and syrupy. Smells very sweet with a touch of oak and alcohol. Tastes overly sweet. Has way too much molasses and vanilla flavors. It overpowers the whole experience. Has some complex flavors including coffee, wood, roasted malts, and has a nice smooth finish with an alcohol touch like the other Dark Lord beers. Only issue with this one is its too sweet upfront. And has on some sips too much molasses/vanilla sweetness that overpower an otherwise beer that could be more balanced with its other complex flavors. A group of about 10-15 or so of us couldn't finish our glass because of it. (743 characters)

Photo of nickd717
4.32/5  rDev -6.5%
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. (1,478 characters)

Photo of JonathanC
4.32/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

BVDL 2012, 8 oz pour, nice motor oil pour with dark brown lacing. Vanilla was present in the scent as well as a sweet bourbon aroma.
Beer was very smooth, and hid original dl taste with the vanilla and bourbon. Having a small pour may make this one seem greater than it is, having a glass really allows one to break it down. I am not much of a dl fan and thought that having the vanilla and bourbon was an improvement, but to say the least I have had better stouts. The base beer becomes increasingly present as one drinks. It is a great beer, but one that is overhyped. (571 characters)

Photo of jmarsh123
4.33/5  rDev -6.3%
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. (696 characters)

Photo of SykDoc
4.33/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

At DLD '09. What an event and I knew this was going to be available and fortunate enough to have tasted and rated it.

Poured into a plastic cup. It pours like a thick black almost like motor oil. A dark brown head forms minimally but disappears leaving minimal lacing. What I love is the discoloration that is left on the cup when you're finished.

The aroma was as expected with fairly heavy notes of vanilla. The chocolatey tastes are defintely still present with a nice component of brown sugar, which I didn't quite expect.

The taste was a bit too much vanilla for me. I expected a large amount but not quite that much, which overwhelmed me slightly. However, the glorious chocolate and malty sweetness with some coffee still makes it quite good.

The mouthfeel comes across as the standard dark lord. It is very full bodied with a good level of carbonation. It is quite thick but stays reasonably smooth to me. The vanilla again dominated a bit too much and I felt it played out here as well.

It's Dark Lord, need I say more. For my palate, I would have liked the vanilla to be a bit gentler but wow, it is a very good beer and although I probably could not drink a lot of it in a sitting, I will definitely be trying to get my hands on it again at DLD '10. (1,266 characters)

Photo of kimcgolf
4.34/5  rDev -6.1%
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. (471 characters)

Photo of aerozeppl
4.35/5  rDev -5.8%
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. (1,041 characters)

Photo of M-Fox24
4.36/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Much appreciation goes to Tim

Year: 2013

A: Mocha’ish, but black, thick, and sticky for the most part. Trivial head, minor retention, and maybe some lacing

S: Aroma of chocolate, vanilla, mocha/cocoa, and a marshmallow essence…bourbon, espresso, whiskey, some caramel candy, faint soy sauce, malt, and oak make their way through the nasal path as well

T: Lots of vanilla, bourbon, and very sweet. Reminiscent of the nose with notes of marshmallow, chocolate, malt, etc……..

M: Surprisingly not too syrupy, given how I commented on the sweetness and thickness above. Nonetheless, the body is indeed oily, but pleasant and tasty

O: A very sophisticated brew with many integrated parts (695 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 aasher
4.38/5  rDev -5.2%
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. (668 characters)

Photo of antoines15
4.38/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

had on tap at DLD '10. Very delicious. Is it the fifth best beer in the world? probably not but that's the rarity factor I suppose.

Pours dark as, well, dark lord, with minimal head but it was in a small plastic cup.

Smells awesome, like dark lord and a little bit of vanilla, hmm...

Tastes like dark lord and a little bit of vanilla, hmm....

Mouthfeel is again similar to dark lord, thick and sweet and sticky, eww.

Not highly drinkable, in fact, I probably couldn't have more than the sample draft that I had. But that's probably on par for the style.

Very good, not my favorite, but glad I get to drink it every year, if only for bragging rights. (655 characters)

Photo of brystmar
4.39/5  rDev -5%
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! (1,146 characters)

Photo of Patrick999
4.39/5  rDev -5%
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. (781 characters)

Photo of jsh420
4.4/5  rDev -4.8%
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 (571 characters)

Photo of SPLITGRIN
4.4/5  rDev -4.8%
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. (634 characters)

Photo of BarrytheBear
4.41/5  rDev -4.5%
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. (1,157 characters)

Photo of maximum12
4.41/5  rDev -4.5%
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. (488 characters)

Photo of vacax
4.42/5  rDev -4.3%
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. (1,140 characters)

Photo of beachbum1975
4.42/5  rDev -4.3%
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. (1,486 characters)

Photo of Treebs
4.42/5  rDev -4.3%
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. (1,177 characters)

Photo of kbutler1
4.42/5  rDev -4.3%
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. (483 characters)

Photo of Atron67
4.42/5  rDev -4.3%
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 (810 characters)

Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 258 ratings.