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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

266 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 266
Hads: 1,301
Avg: 4.64
pDev: 9.48%
Wants: 3,922
Gots: 236 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
3 Floyds Brewing Co. visit their website
Indiana, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  15.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mcallister on 04-27-2008

Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout aged in a variety of Bourbon barrels with vanilla beans.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 266 | Hads: 1,301
Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.97/5  rDev +7.1%
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 Mcj6986
3.88/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.75

The body , aroma and look of this thing were beautiful... The taste is where it falls flat. People blast regular Dark Lord for sweetness, and while I haven't that, this one says enough to make that assessment true. It is way way way too sweet... Like make my teeth hurt after drinking just 8 ozs of it sweet. Maybe the best body I've had on a beer, but I can rank this up there with some of the other beers I love (DB Huna, Prop, etc) when the act of drinking it, just isn't very enjoyable.

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Photo of rudzud
4.79/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Shared with JLindros and Kyle. 2012 vintage 706/934.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a great oily black hue with big legs and and a good halo. Beautiful.

S - Aromas of fudgy chocolate, nuts, bourbon, caramel, very little booze, loads of fudge and bourbon barrels. The vanilla is super faint.

T - Taste is loads off chocolate, caramel, chocolate cake, rich bourbon, finish of vanilla, super rich, loads of nutty chocolate and bourbon, nice semi sweet sugars and toffee caramel, just delicious.

M - Mouthfeel is really creamy, silky, velvet, no booze.

O - Overall this beer was incredible, great chocolate, super rich bourbon and fudgy chocolate. Glorious, this isn't hype...this is real.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of dgilks
3.58/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Simply not an amazing beer. Overly boozy without delivering the sort of magic one expects of such a hyper stout. Vanilla bean is not substantial in presence.

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Photo of _morandi_
4.97/5  rDev +7.1%
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 rlee1390
4.7/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Great vanilla flavor. Bourbon is there but mild, some oak. Chocolate as well. The soy sauce present in regular Dark Lord is not found at all. Thick as motor oil. The real deal.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.75/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2014 vintage side by side with regular '11 DL.

Dark black-brown pour, with a minimal head that held at a tiny ringlet. In the nose, vanilla and mildly sour milk, light notes of roast/coffee. Sweet chocolate and vanilla in the taste, good bourbony warmth, molasses, ashy marshmallow, some icky soy sauce and sour milk, leaving a stale aftertaste and making me want to rinse my mouth out. Still, not overly sweet as I expected. Medium body, not as sumptuous as I like a big stout to be. Decent overall, but not really that great compared to other BA stouts. And certainly nowhere near the value it typically costs to obtain. (Fortunately I got it for basically next to nothing.)

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Photo of TampaRainman
4.76/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

VBDL '14

A: Pours deep dark brown, a shade lighter than the pitch black I suspected and not as oily and thick as I was expecting. Still looks damn good. Not much head. A faint rim.

S: Vanilla, cinnamon, molasses, Vegemite. Marshmallows. Delightfully odd and intriguing. The savory/salty soy-esque notes are in the background of the sweeter smells.

T: Sweet burnt vanilla caramels and dark chocolate Hershey's syrup. Back end bourbon, but make no mistake--this beer belongs on a Sundae.

F: Really soft, nicely viscous and creamy. Full bodied and very pleasant.

O: This is a really tasty beer and the barrel and vanilla treatment surely transforms and elevates the base DL (which I typically enjoy). The sweetness made KBBS (enjoyed side-by-side) taste bitter by comparison. This beer is meant to be shared and enjoyed among several people. You'd have to have a serious sweet tooth to dome this beast.

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Photo of 3_floyds_local_13
5/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The absolute perfect beer for me. Poured pitch black with no head. Just a straight vanilla bomb in the best way possible. Just delicious toasted marshmallow and vanilla fudgy amazingness. Could not give this thing better marks or I would.

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Photo of ramay86
3.14/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Too incredibly sweet to justify such high esteem. Overbearing, cloying, oily.

It's a fine beer, but I honestly don't understand the allure. It's a gimmick, if anything.

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Photo of dar482
5/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The beer is black with barely any head

The aroma comes out from just pouring it. Fudge, chocolate, vanilla.

The flavor follows with licorice, huge vanilla bean (like French vanilla ice cream), fudge, brownie, dark fruit, cherry, coconut. The beer is sweet like a dessert beer, but still balanced compared to the base. The beer is extremely clean with a touch of bourbon heat.

This one did not disappoint and is one of the best beers I've ever had. Dangerously delicious and drinkable.

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Photo of themaj
5/5  rDev +7.8%
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 owenbrau
4.98/5  rDev +7.3%
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 deebo
4.75/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2014. Still sweet but the bourbon and vanilla beans really work well here and cut the sweetness intensity a bit. This is a delicious big brew. No hint of alcohol whatsoever. Well done.

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Photo of JonathanC
4.32/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
4.37/5  rDev -5.8%
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!

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Photo of M-Fox24
4.36/5  rDev -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

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Photo of larryarms847
5/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours motor oil black with a thin layer of caramel tinged foam, thick and viscous, one of the most enticing pours I've ever had.

Heavy and sweet vanilla on the forefront, but not overpowering, is soon met with a sweet and spicy hint of bourbon. Perfectly balanced, if I could smell this all day I would love that.

Smooth and sweet vanilla sits gently upon a rich bourbon backbone. Perfect sipper.

Viscous, sweet, sticky, but enough bourbon to cut through the dessert like flavors to make this a real treat.

Overall, this one will sit in my Top 5 for a long, long time.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.9/5  rDev +5.6%

A - Pours dark, dark black in color with a very thin toffee colored lacing ring.

S - Vanilla, some sweet caramel, dark chocolate malt, some bourbon effervescence, and hints of oak.

T - Oak, vanilla, sweet chocolate molasses, bourbon, and moderate heat in the back of the throat.

M - Thick, full bodied, slippery, velvet on the tongue and a decent amount of heat.

O - Despite the hype and set the ratings aside, great beer, hands down.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.85/5  rDev +4.5%

So this basically rulz as hard as anything. Poured out jet black with a bit of brown mocha head on top. Subtle ring of foam around the edge of the glass. Light lacing. The smell gives off some boozy vanilla reminiscent of bourbon. Some definite heat on the nose. The taste has big amounts of roasted sweet malt with vanilla. Lingers a bit like candy on the tongue. It's not cloying but leaves a beautiful aftertaste. The mouthfeel could be a little thicker but still remains thick enough for the style. Good slick feel with subtle carbonation. Overall, since it was the fresh batch the heat from the 15% was a little heavy but still very smooth and slick. Highly enjoyable, very thankful that I got to try this from a generous Millerbaffoon. Awesome stuff!

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Photo of phantastiic
2/5  rDev -56.9%

2013 vintage with the orange wax.

Opened on 10/17/14

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

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Photo of mrn1ceguy
4.75/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This review reflects the 2012, 2013, and 2014 version, all done with about a year age on each beer. The 2012 was an easy all 5 with a smooth, sweet and tasty BA stout. Then 2013 was over the top sweet, knocking everything done to 4.5 because it was just overwhelming. Then 2014 brought everything together at 4.75 while having a smooth while still sweet BA stout that you could enjoy.

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Photo of tmryan21
4.86/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

2014 Version.

Popped this with a group of friends and family for my 30th birthday. Poured about 7 oz. into a snifter.

Look: Pours like motor oil - black. Very little tan head which disappeared rather quickly.

Smell: A LOT going on here. Marshmallows, chocolate, currants, and vanilla are the easy ones to pick out. Booziness from the bourbon is evident as well.

Taste: Unbelievable. Very sweet and dessert like. It was like drinking a chocolate flavored marshmallows. Booze was evident but not overpowering (maybe due to waiting 5 months to open).

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, thick, creamy, smooth, and, low carbonation. Very little booze burn present.

Overall: Really happy to share with everyone and worth the $50 at DLD 2014. Hoping I will win another golden ticket soon. I would definitely grab this one again, as it lives up to all of the hype.

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5/5  rDev +7.8%

AMAZING... We popped open a 2014 bottle this weekend. Everyone was a little nervous, would it live up to the hype or fall flat on its face. We cut around the wax and POP FEEZ...AROMA.! beautiful strong bourbon barrel with hints of coffee and sweetness.. POUR (snifters) as we all expected thick dark color with a small caramel head that did not stick around long. TASTE... It took a while for everyone to bring the glass to our mouths, even tho the AROMA and POUR gave us more hope that it WAS going to live up to the hype.. So we went for it and AMAZING.. every flavor comes out.. the bourbon barrel..vanilla..coffee and dark fruit sweetness.. beautifully well balanced... it lived up to the hype!!!

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Photo of wpqx
4.75/5  rDev +2.4%

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

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

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

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

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

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 266 ratings.