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Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord - 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord
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BA SCORE
100
world-class

1,085 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,085
Reviews: 233
rAvg: 4.71
pDev: 9.55%
Wants: 3,544
Gots: 175 | FT: 7
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: Ratings & Reviews
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 1,085 | Reviews: 233
Photo of Rutager
4.5/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

Photo of Deuane
4.89/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

BIG thanks to Kegatron for getting our group the hookup at DLD.

A-Much like Dark Lord with a deep black/brown body and a reddish tinted dark brown head that reduced to a thin veil and left spotty lace.

S-My verbatim comment upon the initial whiff...This smells just like my grandma's meat and raisin pie WITH vanilla! Wow, this is so nice.

T-Mmmm, mmm. The vanilla really smooths things out and takes the harsh edge off. Lots of vanilla, dark chocolate, brown sugar, caramel and dark roast.

M-Heavy bodied but amazingly smooth and viscous. Long lasting flavours.

D-Off the hook! This takes DL and ramps it up a notch, Without question one of the most tasty, drinkable and interesting beers I have had. Amazing!

Photo of Sean9689
4.29/5  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!

Photo of ehammond1
4.57/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On Tap

2012 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Paso Robles, CA

Black throughout and thick in body, though it appears thinner than untreated Dark Lord. Very small brown head on my pour that leaves the glassy oily and spotted with lace.

Rich and sweet aroma of dark chocolate, sweet and earthy vanilla, oak, whipped cream, coffee creamer, and a little bit of brown sugar. Really, really nice.

The flavor is incredibly well integrated and marvelousy smooth and drinkable given this beer's astonishingly high ABV. The vanilla, oak, and whipped cream flavors are dominant, along with big notes of dark chocolate, and mild roast. Pretty amazing stuff.

Medium to nearly full bodied with low carbonation.

A beer I'd written off as one I simply would never be able to try: it's worth the hype (whatever that means).

Photo of birchstick
4.62/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 347 of 934 - 2012 Vintage

A - pours black in color with a nice white rim on it

S - nose is a beautiful bouquet of vanilla, bourbon, and sweet milk chocolates

T - sweet vanilla upfront moves on to goey milk chocolates. Spicy bourbon with a nice amount of vanilla moves in to mix things up on the palate. Ends with the vanilla and bourbon. Sweet, fudgy chocolates, vanilla, and bourbon is the theme to this beer. Mmmm

M - smooth and full bodied

D - really sweet, delicious, and complex. Something about this beer put it into the 5 category taste wise for me, making this a serious contender against any barrel aged beer out there. Now, on to the rest of the series...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/62508184@N03/8159864035/in/photostream

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
5/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - um, dark...opaque. Seems a small crime to serve this kind of beer in a plastic cup, but when you're surrounded by 4000 of your closest friends, whaddya gonna do? Minimal lacing, no cover and just a scant presence of dark mocha bubbling on the collar.

Aroma - intense vanilla and roasty malts. Wow. We purchased several oak and vanilla samples and you could always tell which one was the vanilla by smell alone.

Taste - big vanilla blending with the dark roasted, chocolatey malts.. the essence of the bean is fantastic. The swallow is very roasty, with espresso notes and some smooth abv as well. Molasses and licorice on the aftertaste. The finish is long, heady, and delicious. Feel free to lash the dark lord with vanilla beans whenever you please.

Mouthfeel - thick, oily, bring it on.

Drinkability - what a fantastic brew. Megathanks to Robert the Lithuanian for the righteous hookups. May your new Beer & Sweat glass enjoy many fills of fine brew.

Photo of fredmugs
4.5/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of greenspointexas
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of beergorrilla
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of homebrew311
4.52/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Sampled 2012 and 2013 side by side. Will review the 2012 vintage. Pours a thick brownish black. The nose is loaded with vanilla bean paired with deep dark fruits, currants, chocolate, berries, and boozy bourbon. The vanilla bean manages to stand above the rest of the flavors which is impressive considering how bold of a beer Dark Lord is. The taste is very sweet like the base beer, but the barrel aging and addition of vanilla take it to a much different level. I find the base beer to be a bit too sweet, but when the sweetness is tempered with bourbon and vanilla, it just works. There is still a fair amount of boozieness, but it is tame compared to the base. Mouthfeel is thick and mildly carbonated. Overall, this beer is very good. I don't know that it meets the monumental level of hype it has surrounding it, but it is delicious nonetheless.

Photo of hilgart1
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of jsh420
4.4/5  rDev -6.6%
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

Photo of CraigTravor
4.7/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of DarthKostrizer
4.75/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of GbVDave
4.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a 16oz cup at Three Floyds 4/26/08. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!

A: Black, black, black. Used motor oil from a Diesel engine black. Small and creamy dark brown head.

S: Unbelievable aromas of chocolate, vanilla, dark fruit, brown sugar/molassas, rye bread, cherry, and a bit of booze.

T: See above. It's crazy how so much flavor is packed inside this beer.

M: Sticky! This sticks to everything. Like drinking a RIS milkshake.

D: Suffers slightly, like all the other Dark Lords, from the appearance of alcohol towards the end of the glass.

Photo of ncaudle
4.75/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of Sparky44
4.75/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of jzeilinger
4.9/5  rDev +4%

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.

Photo of Jeffo
2.56/5  rDev -45.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to a few people we were able to put together the entire vertical and almost all the BA variants. Lots of fun gents!

From a 750 into a snifter
2012 vintage
Bottle 921 of 934

APPEARANCE: Just like all the rest of them. Pours relatively clear for an imperial stout. Produces a small, one finger medium-looking head that quickly fades to a wisp and ring. Black body in the glass with some carbonation evident. Only a ring remains until the end and leaves no real lacing down the glass. A little too light a pour and an average head at best.

SMELL: Vanilla extract reminding me of those vanilla candles you buy at bath stores. Artificial and somewhat off-putting. A touch of bourbon barrel under the chemical vanilla aroma, but not much. Unfortunately this is one-dimensional and artificial, especially compared to the brandy vanilla version.

TASTE: Touches of bourbon barrel and oak peek through, but this is a one-dimensional vanilla extract bomb if there ever was one. All vanilla up front and into the swallow, then a big, vanilla dominated aftertaste with some oak and sweet caramel trying in vain to get through. Tough going and very little complexity.

PALATE: Slightly lighter than the base beer, but still big enough. Just like the other DL variants as well. Medium body with medium levels of carbonation. Creamy enough, goes down fine and finishes rather sticky on the palate. A bit of a burn and some heat lingers.

OVERALL: I can see why some people might like this. There is lots of vanilla, much like a vanilla cake or something like that. As a beer though, this is not something I'd want more than a small taste of. One dimensional, artificial and quickly tiring, this is not something I'd get too excited about drinking again. The brandy vanilla version was more natural than this one. Still, definitely a fun pair to try. Cheers gents!

Photo of vonnegut21
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of baybum
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of JohnParadee
4.75/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of Hanzo
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of thewimperoo
4.75/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of Stevedore
4.94/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Was able to try the 2013 vintage of this thanks to Dustin at a whale tasting 7/13/2013. Poured into a BCBS snifter, probably 5 ounces.

Basically this beer smelled like bourbon chocolate marshmallows but in liquid form. It has such a strong, pungent aroma that makes me smile. There is a bit of the barrel here but for the most part it is a delicious smelling bourbon marshmallow.

It pours a pitch black, incredibly thick and viscous body that comes with a minimal head & retention. Not a ton of lacing.

The flavour is straight up sweet chocolate marshmallows with some bourbon and hints of coffee in the background. This beer is not subtle at all. I wouldn't call it complex but everything it does, it goes beyond what anyone would expect even of Three Floyds. Insanely rich and savoury but not necessarily instant diabeetus like the regular Dark Lord is, if that makes sense. Its super sweet but it comes together in a good way.

Mouthfeel is perfect. Smooth, rich, roasty and carbonated well enough. Aftertaste is a slick bourbony marshmallow feel that makes me smile.

Overall, this beer gets super hyped for a reason which I now understand completely. It is so ridiculously unbalanced and complex, it's awesome. I don't have the trade ammo and it probably isn't worth all the craziness surrounding it but it is an incredible beer, probably the best imperial stout I've ever had the chance to drink. And that includes the BCS Rare we drank at the same tasting.

Re-review: the 4 of us bought into a single 2012 vintage bottle of Bourbon Barrel-Aged Dark Lord aged in Vanilla Beans. Bottle # 58/934. So its about a year and half old now. Poured into an unlabeled snifter today, 12/8/2013.

Still pours a perfect opaque black body, with a nice mocha collar that sticks around with good retention. And well, the nose is still intense 100% bourbon chocolate marshmallows, one of the best smelling beers I've ever had. Its not the most complex, but it is the most incredible nose out there. And of course the flavour is incredible- the vanilla does cover up some of the complexity of the base beer, but it replaces it with bourbon chocolate marshmallows that is just so sweet yet not the type of sweet that Grey Monday brings; its easily drinkable and so enjoyable. Mouthfeel is definitely full bodied, silky and smooth drinking without much discernible heat. Again, this is a beer that is phenomenal and one of the best I've ever had. I can't believe I've had this beer twice in the span of less than a year, but it is well worth it. The main difference between the 2012 and 2013 vintage is that the bourbon is a bit more muted in the 2012 vintage compared to the fresh version. This beer is probably still best drank fresh, but it will certainly hold up over time if cellared properly. As before, I understand the hype and trade value behind this beer 100%. Thank you Matt, for being generous enough to send this one to our group.

Re-review: 2014 vintage poured into a FFF/DMC snifter 6/21/2014. Essentially, I am finding this year's vintage to be significantly sweeter than the last two vintages. There is more of the base Dark Lord and less of the vanilla bean contribution. The vanilla bean comes out more as it warms up, but even then it's still a shadow in comparison to 2012 and 2013. I felt the same way when I drank this at this year's Dark Lord Day, and I am now able to confirm this opinion with the pour I got tonight. While I won't tweak the scoring here, I certainly would not recommend trading for this year's if you've had this one in years past. Honestly, if I were to change the scoring, it'd be something like a 4.4/5, just a tick above regular Dark Lord. I'd even argue that the '14 Brandy Dark Lord we drank right after this beer was more interesting. That's how disappointing this year's vintage was compared to the last 2 years, with 2013 being the superior vintage.

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 1,085 ratings.