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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

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BA SCORE
100
world-class

982 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 982
Reviews: 218
rAvg: 4.71
pDev: 9.13%
Wants: 3,067
Gots: 165 | FT: 9
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: 982 | Reviews: 218 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Hanzo
5/5  rDev +6.2%

Hanzo, Apr 21, 2013
Photo of oldp0rt
4.75/5  rDev +0.8%

oldp0rt, May 23, 2013
Photo of Kmlund
4.75/5  rDev +0.8%

Kmlund, Sep 11, 2014
Photo of Rutager
4.49/5  rDev -4.7%
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 Overlord
4.68/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Many thanks to Shane for sharing this brew. If he ever visits the O.C., I owe him.

Pours a dark, viscous black. It's a handbottle, so much of the carbonation is gone. Perhaps a few splashes of bubbles.

Smells like a chocolate vanilla milkshake. Maybe a hint of maltiness, but primarily, it bombards you with sweetness. The mouthfeel is syrupy, thick, and overwhelming. Huge dark molasses/chocolate notes, and a ton of vanilla. Really an incredible brew.

Yeah, it was slightly oxidized, but not as much as I expected. Still delicious, and handily beat out other "fresh" brews.

Overlord, May 02, 2009
Photo of mcallister
4.68/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Looks like the regualar Dark Lord which is black, inky and thick Poured with virtually no head except for some tan spots of foam.

Smells of black fruit, thick dark chocolates with some residual sugar shining through. Vanilla comes through but is still a little laid back compared to the thick chocolatey, coffee aromas. Caramel, black licorice and earth.

Huge thick and creamy. Just an absolute monster of a beer. The vanilla bean aging seems to have smoothed out things more than added vanilla flavor. Now there is a good vanilla bean flavor in the middle and onto the finish but it is still just a huge visceral dark chocolate, sweet malty, coffee induced monster of a RIS. Black fruits, and some hints of hop on the finish. Creamy rich and full of alcohol, mollasses, and hints of honey suckle.

mcallister, Apr 27, 2008
Photo of grub
4.18/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

sampled on tap at three floyds on dark lord day, april 25/09.

pours deep opaque and inky black with a small dense dark brown head. the head drops fairly fast but leaves spotty lace behind.

aroma is great. big blast of vanilla, anise, caramel, and fruity citrus sweetness. light alcohol. lightly toasted whole wheat bread. biscuit. crackers. dark and bittersweet chocolate. bit of coffee with cream. light lactic sweet and sour character too.

taste is good. my first thought is actually white chocolate rather than the dark and bittersweet chocolate i got in the aroma. sure, they are there too, but the vanilla and the light lactic sweetness makes me think more of white chocolate. light coffee with cream again. biscuit and whole wheat bread. light alcohol. light citrus - orange and tangerine mostly. anise and vanilla.

mouthfeel is great. silky smooth medium-low carbonation level. nice big chewy body.

drinkability is surprisingly good. it hides almost all of its alcohol with a near-perfect balance. nice level of vanilla that compliments rather than dominates. good stuff. that said, i wasn't as blown away by this one as i was with the oak aged dark lord. maybe it's just my palate at this late stage of the day, or maybe it's my lack of appreciation for vanilla, but i'd take regular dark lord or even the oak aged version over this one.

grub, May 05, 2009
Photo of nickd717
4.33/5  rDev -8.1%
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 Jeffo
2.58/5  rDev -45.2%
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!

Jeffo, May 15, 2013
Photo of thewimperoo
4.75/5  rDev +0.8%

thewimperoo, Nov 17, 2011
Photo of hilgart1
5/5  rDev +6.2%

hilgart1, Nov 23, 2012
Photo of Sparky44
4.75/5  rDev +0.8%

Sparky44, Mar 23, 2013
Photo of jsh420
4.35/5  rDev -7.6%
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

jsh420, Apr 25, 2010
Photo of fredmugs
4.5/5  rDev -4.5%

fredmugs, Apr 29, 2013
Photo of beergorrilla
5/5  rDev +6.2%

beergorrilla, Aug 10, 2014
Photo of seeswo
4.5/5  rDev -4.5%

seeswo, Apr 29, 2012
Photo of vonnegut21
5/5  rDev +6.2%

vonnegut21, May 27, 2014
Photo of greenspointexas
5/5  rDev +6.2%

greenspointexas, May 04, 2014
Photo of nrbw23
4.97/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I missed this one at '08 Dark Lord Day so this is one that was must for this year.

A- Pretty much like the DL that I drank on tap minutes before this one. Pitch black with a nice brown head.

S- Just like the regular version with the exception of vanilla. Wow make that a ton of vanilla.

T- Thought it tasted just like DL with an up in your face vanilla. Wonderful my favorite of the three DL.

M- Big full and I think a little bit lighter in carbonation than the regular.

D- Very awesome beer wish I had some more.

I had all three of these pretty much back to back and gonna give the edge to the vanilla bean but I don't think you could go wrong with any of them. Nice work!

nrbw23, Apr 29, 2009
Photo of dfhhead25
5/5  rDev +6.2%

dfhhead25, May 24, 2014
Photo of ktrillionaire
4.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On-tap at DLD 2011. I must say I was skeptical about this beer as I do not hold regular DL in the highest esteem, but after trying delicious Oak-Aged DL, my expectations are lofty...

A - Pours an exceptionally oily black hue, and is capped with only a modicum of black bubbles. Many beers are compared to used motor oil, but this one is the doppelganger.

S - Holy (unholy) sweet vanilla! I mean, this is completely insane; the nose is a paradigm of vanilla-laden decadence. The vanilla is so rich and intense that it saturates (and nearly overwhelms) my sensory faculties. Vanilla orchids in bloom do not smell this potent. The qualities of the base beer (and barrel), in an aromatic sense, are mere minutiae that bring added layers of complexity.

T - The taste is amazingly delicious; truly beyond superlative. It is tremendously sweet and ridiculously indulgent, and yet it has a huge amount of sophistication. Notes of vanilla saturate every nuance of this beer, though not as much flavor-wise, as compared to the aroma. Under the rich vanilla I get a plethora of sublime notes including coffee, toffee, caramel, oak, sweet booze, coconut, milk chocolate, creme brulee, burnt sugar and date puree.

M - Silky and satiny and ultra-enhancing.

O - Amazing stuff; totally beyond worthy of the hype.

Review #1100

ktrillionaire, Jun 13, 2011
Photo of DonFrap
5/5  rDev +6.2%

DonFrap, Oct 27, 2012
Photo of jampics2
4.78/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On tap at DLD 2010.

Finally! I couldn't believe when it was handed to me buy the FFF volunteer minion - I owe you, dude. 2 6oz plastic cups went into my snifter, producing just a touch of head on top of this thick black beer.

Smell is out of this world. The vanilla beans are so inviting and smooth. Touch of chocolate and molasses.

Taste is perfect. It's a toss-up for me between this and VB Bourbon County for the best tasting beer I've ever had. I'm a vanilla freak, love using it to kick up porters and stouts I brew, and this is just so damn good. Chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. A touch of wood and roast. This is like a liquefied Hostess cupcake. And I love it. It's an indulgence that's only once a year and thank god, I imagine drinking this weekly would lead to diabetes.

Mouth is dense, thick, and lovely.

Drinkability takes a hit just because every sip is probably 25 calories. Also, the alcohol is just a bit noticeable at the end.

A legend that I feel lucky to have tried. A wonderful beer!

jampics2, Apr 25, 2010
Photo of baybum
5/5  rDev +6.2%

baybum, Apr 29, 2013
Photo of jegross2
5/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Today I finished law school. I decided to celebrate in epic style. This is review #250. How fitting that all the epicness align.

Reviewing the incredibly rare and highly sought after Vanilla Bean Aged Dark Lord from Three Floyds Brewing Company. This is bottle number 500 out of 934.
Score: 100

2012 vintage bottle from the April 28, 2012 Dark Lord Day release. Served in a Surly Darkness snifter and enjoyed on 05/11/12.

Appearance: Pours a jet black color that is completely opaque save for a thin film of brown atop the glass when held up to light. Half a finger of creamy dark mocha/milk chocolate colored head at pour settles into a ring around the glass. Average lacing, but awesome retention and cling. 5/5

Smell: Rich and sugary vanilla and bourbon-y molasses. Lots of sweet raisin, brown sugar and creamy milk chocolate. Dark fruit and a little caramel. A little wood too. No booziness whatsoever despite 13% ABV. 5/5

Taste: Rich and sweet, but not overly sweet. Sweet, creamy vanilla and milk chocolate upfront and in the finish. A little warmth on the palate, but no booziness. Ample doses of sweet raisin on midpalate and in the finish as well. Sugary vanilla frosting and sweet brown sugar on the midpalate too. There's a smooth, somewhat subtle bourbon backbone. 5/5

Mouthfeel: Full-medium bodied, no carbonation. Syrupy mouthfeel. Sugary sweet finish. Not overly heavy, which works perfectly with the flavor profile. 5/5

Overall: This beer is decadent. Rich and delicious, this is the ultimate digestif. This beer was a little hard to finish by myself at 13% ABV given the level of sweetness (it is not diabetes-inducing like the regular Dark Lord), but that is why I enjoyed this one with a few friends. This is truly one of the most tasty beers made, and it's completely on par with how Bourbon County Vanilla is currently drinking. I think I ever slightly prefer the Bourbon County Rare to this, however.

Recommendation: Seek a bottle of this out, but don't trade your rare to get it.

Pairings: Digestif. Seriously. Just enjoy this one on it's own.

Cost: $50 for a 750 ml bottle.

jegross2, May 11, 2012
Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
100 out of 100 based on 982 ratings.