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

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark LordBourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord

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BA SCORE
100
world-class

1,209 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,209
Reviews: 253
rAvg: 4.72
pDev: 9.32%
Wants: 3,711
Gots: 220 | FT: 13
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
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Ratings: 1,209 | Reviews: 253
Photo of BWCampbell
4.53/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours like motor oil with a khaki head that quickly disappears. Smells of soy sauce, vanilla sugar, and some barrel (which I think is slightly lost). Taste is similar, exceptionally sweet. Honestly, I was kind of underwhelmed. Vanilla Rye was universally preferred at our tasting.

Photo of chaz01
3.06/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I got to taste a couple of sample pours while standing in line at DLD thanks to the friendly folks in Columbus who were able to get a couple of full cups out of the brewpub. Re-poured into a 4 ounce tasting glass.

A: Milky off black color. Beer still had a thin brown collar around the rim.

S: Tons of Vanilla, boozy alcohol and very sweet syrupy aromas. I took a couple of whiffs of this -- very pleasant on the nose.

T: This tasted like a frozen ice cream drink with creme de cacao (such as a Brandy Alexander) that had melted.

M: Very thick and rich, low carbonation. Mouthfeel was very much like melted milkshake -- certainly interesting but not what I want in a beer. Very chalky, chocolate finish.

D: I realize drinkability is not the same as availability, but how drinkable can a beer be that's only available at one place for about 45 minutes a year, and then only in 3 ounce pours? I consider this a gimmicky beer -- if it were more readily available it would be something you would want to try once, but then move on to something that taste more like beer than a vanilla milkshake.

Photo of jokemon
4.63/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I had the ability to get this at DLD 2013. It was the 09 version on tap.

Pour is jet black with a hazy brown head on it.

Appearance is thick and muddy, black with the slightest bit of head.

Smell is vanilla foremost and than the boozyness hits you, whoah!! I miss the boozyness of the older BCBS beer, they seem to be going for more chocolate now so I welcomed this.

Taste is just like the smell. Dark, vanilla, booze.

Truly an amazing beer, for me it still does not beat the overall flavor of BCBS Cherry but it s definitely at the top of my list of one of the best beers I have ever had.

Photo of MPLS
4.55/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This one and the 08 barrel aged DL will have to come from memory, as I am not going to be that guy to carry around a notebook. I was in DLD for the experience not to walk away with reviews. With that said, what an awesome event!

A: A healthy pour into my plastic cup, really should have brought glassware, but it would have inevitable broke on the parking lot floor. Big and black, minimal head, oily looking, with nice brown swirl on top.

S: Roasted malts, vanilla, tobacco, pleasant sweetness.

T: I focus on the vanilla, the sweetness of this and chocolate really shines. Other elements of the DL are there, but more subtle with the sweetness: Roasted malts, burnt molasses, etc. The vanilla adds a layer of creamy sweetness to an already good beer.

M: Thick as you can be boy! Motor Oil + alcohol :D

D: High ABV presents the biggest challenge to drinking a lot of this stuff, but it's mouthfeel is amazing.

Photo of iconoklaztor
5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Alrighty, so...I was able to try this at DLD 2011! I was able to grab 2 glasses at the pub and enjoy them slowly!

First the appearance is what you would expect! BLACK and THICK like you would expect from an ebony porn star!

The smell was sweet and malty! I couldn't wait to taste this brew!

The taste was sweet, heavy, and very filling! It was damn near perfect!

I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to have this year round and quite frankly its damn near the only thing that keeps me going back to DLD. It sure isnt the hassle of getting tickets!

Overall this is possibly the best beers Ive ever had!!!

Fantastic!!!

Photo of punkrkr27
4.9/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at Dark Lord Day '10. Pours as dark as dark can be with a tiny bit of loose brown bubbles and lots of brown coating the glass as it swirls. Massive dark fruit notes, chocolate and a little coffee. This is much more smoothed out than fresh Dark Lord usually is. There's none of the harshness or green apple, more like a 1-2 year old bottle. The vanilla beans really come through and taste distinctly fresh. There oxidation like soy sauce at the end and it's a touch cloying but otherwise a truly amazing beer. The body is incredibly smooth and full with low carbonation.

Photo of wpqx
4.75/5  rDev +0.6%

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.

Photo of hombrepalo
3.64/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

8oz pour at Dark Lord Day a few years back. A total mess in my opinion. Thick and clumpy with very little head, left a coat of motor oil sheet on the plastic cup. Smells of vanilla extract, chocolate and licorice. Taste is similar with a strong Kick of alcohol, finish is nausiating with a thick sweetness left in the back of the mouth. Really hard to finish 8oz, can't see why this is so highly rated, would like to retry this for a second look.

Photo of birderbeerer
4.7/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

won at DLD 2012! Drank about six weeks later. Friend won another won that we'll let age for a year or three.

Pitch black and syrupy with a thin but stubborn head.

Beautiful smell, the bourbon isn't too huge and vanilla and cocoa come through. Very sweet smell.

The taste is just as sweet. All sweet in fact. It's an enormous dessert beer at this point, and it lacks the dark fruit and roast flavors that come through in a dark lord that's been aged a few years. Over the course of splitting the bottle, the sweetness just dominated, and the beer became somewhat one-noted.

Great thick, creamy mouthfeel. An amazing and huge beer. Can't wait to have another. I imagine this is hard to beat once it has aged a long while.

Photo of Fux
4.82/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

One of the highlights of last 2013 CBC. The keg was gone within a quarter but I was lucky enough to get two glasses of this!
A: Black, opaque, dense. Small mocha head which holds pretty well.
S: Fabulous nose, complex, deep, on vanilla, chocolate with a woody scent, cherries, slight touches of dark fruits.
T: On the palate, I got mainly chocolate, roasted malts, some ashes and also vanilla, bourbon, dark fruits and sherry. This is not exactly an explosion of aromas but more a travel within savors. The one you want to go slowly into and stop to pitch your tent wherever you're pleased enough to stay.
M: The mouthfeel is exactly the same as in the regular version, that is simply perfect. Smooth, light but high bodied, never sticky, perfectly drinkable, also perfectly sippable!
O: Vanilla does a great job in this beer, perfectly mixing with the cherries and ashes notes of the base beer, giving more complexity and richness. This one is probably worth the hype!

Photo of tarheels86
4.52/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Three Floyds dinner at Paradiso Georgetown. Thanks Barnaby!

A- An ink black pour yields little more than a wist of a dark, Martian red head. Swirling the viscous liquid creates giant brown staining on the snifter. No head formation. No lace. Lots of impending residual sugars.

N- Aroma is quite exceptional. The Woodford Reserve bourbon is really what gives this beer it's character, not the vanilla bean. Nose is spicy Woodford Reserve bourbon, spicy oak, vanilla, chocolate milkshake, coconut, marshmallows/s'mores, and a touch of green apple oxidation as it warms.

T- Very sweet and chocolate milkshake like. An unreal amount of residual sugar turns this into a viscous dessert. Rich, buttery solid bricks of dark chocolate, espresso ice cream, raspberry dark chocolate, some cherry syrup play on the tongue.

P- Viscous, oily mouthfeel. Definitely a sipping beer. Very good.

Photo of raveskdr
4.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Finally getting around to review this. Had it yet again on tap at Dark Lord Day (and got a chance to tick it out of the bottle as well). Poured into an oddly shaped glass inside the FFF brewpub on DLD.

A - Completely dense viscous blackness. Very little carbonation.

S - Vanilla. Vanilla. Vanilla. Slight roasted coffee. Vanilla.

T - Vanilla. Vanilla. Vanilla. Just incredible flavoring of pure vanilla. You get some of that smokiness and some roastiness, but this is a vanilla dominated beer.

M - Incredibly decadent and rich yet smooth for such a high alcohol beer.

O - One of the best beers I have ever had. This beer is just incredible. I could drink the hell out of this beer. All the hype this beer has ever got is completely deserved. I am glad they bottled it so that some people could get some without going to DLD. It's just as good out of the bottle.

Photo of kdmcguire10
4.67/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Gorgeous beer with silky appearance and a half finger mocha head.

Smell is obviously tons of fresh vanilla bean. Also a big roasty profile and some booze soaked figs.

Taste is like an incredible dessert beer. Super sweet, to the point of being cloying. The vanilla comments the beer perfectly but the residual sugars start to overpower the beer. A little less and the beer would be more balanced

Luxurious mouthfeel. Thick, coats your mouth and lingers. The sugar sticks to your lips long after your swallow. Woke up the next morning and it still coated my mouth

Overall this is a great beer. My preference would be to get the sugar level down just a tad to let the other aspects of this beer come into the spotlight a bit more

Photo of youngblood
4.92/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Poured a dark brown. Reminded me of Cocoa. Had a small tannish head.
S - Smelled strongly of vanilla (duh), cream, espresso, chocolate, slight alcohol. Very complex, vanilla might be a bit over the top though.
T - Woah. Very creamy vanilla flows onto the tongue. Has an amazing depth to it. Chocolate, coffee, slight nut, flavors really go on and on here.
M - Great mouthfeel. Very full and smooth. Slightly chewy.
D - Way high drinkability for a 13%+ beer. Alcohol is hidden very well.

Photo of hayesez
4.64/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Received my plastic cup worth early on Dark Lord Day this past weekend. So tough to fully appreciate, given the conditions, but I digress. Had a couple of glasses at last year's Dark Lord Day and was disappointed by the over-sweetness that the vanilla added. Dark Lord (specifically 2006 and 2008) has been my favorite beer for a few years now, and I personally thought that the vanilla bean was actually a detractor. This year's however, I felt the vanilla bean was incorporated very well.

As deep and dark as the standard Dark Lord with no light passing through...or is that the plastic cup. A short brown head is quietly settling on top of the viscous black beer. No lacing left on the plastic upon completion.

Wonderful, wonderful smell. I was very disappointed with the cloying sweetness of the 2009 Dark Lord and was very hopeful that this vanilla bean version could help out. The smell of vanilla is definitely prominent on the nose. Alcohol is completely masked, but sweet chocolate, malts, and caramel-syrup sweetness are evident.

Vanilla is still extremely pronounced . Fortunately, this was much smoother, creamier, and less sweet that last year's Vanilla Bean Dark Lord. I'm so impressed by how sticky, creamy, and smooth the Dark Lord is. Still has that roastiness to it as well as that Dark Lord finish. Still, just a bit too much on the sweet side for me. Dark fruits round it off - I gotta admit, I still really enjoy this thing, even if it is a bit too sweet.

As I mentioned, Dark Lord is still one of my absolute top beers. I had a great time at this year's Dark Lord Day and got to try all three. I have to admit that the Oak Aged version is my favorite, followed by the standard 2010, and then the Vanilla Bean - although it is still an outstanding drink. Mouthfeel is nearly perfect, but drinkability takes a slight hit due to the sweetness. Overall, this is still an outstanding variation of a fantastic beverage. Long live Dark Lord Day.

Consumed: 4/24/2010

Photo of Ready4aHeady
4.75/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2012 Vintage, #442/934, pored into a bourbon county tulip glass
Pours purple-black with slight foamy head
Nose is molten chocolate, brown sugar, bourbon, and vanilla
Taste is chocolate fudge, marshmallows, and green tea
Mouth feel is slick, oily, and creamy-- much thicker that your average stout
Overall, on the sweet-side but not cloying, booze is present but balanced, vanilla and fudge predominate and make this a delicious stout.... on par with BCvanilla '10 with a little more chocolate flavor.... Very Nice!

Photo of Poser
4.75/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Tried at Great Taste. The hype is well-placed although I said at the time that I don't know if I could take more than a 6 oz pour.

Pours dark black with a frothy top that dissipates quickly. Strong vanilla flavors that overpowers everything else but there were some roasted malts hiding out somewhere. My mostly-wine-drinking friend said that it had characteristics like a good port and I have to agree. Vanilla was a *little* more muted in the taste and lets you realize the chocolate and woodsy flavors.

This one is a real treat.

Photo of khumbard
4.92/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap in the brewpub alongside the BBADL on Dark Lord Day at about 11am....

A - Pours thick, black, with little head. The top kind of reminds me of an oil slick.

S - The nose on this beer is awesome. Huge vanilla, followed up by the oak, bourbon, roast, coffee, and chocolate. This is going to be a complex, sweet beer.

T - Lives up to the nose... very sweet, but it actually works well. The vanilla is up front and very tasty. Followed up by the rest of the flavors represented in the BBA DL. Complex, sweet, delicious.

M - Thick, viscous, low carbonation, like Dark Lord should be. Always a pleasure.

O/D - This beer is one of the best I've had. Probably the highlight of an awesome DLD for me. Having it side by side with the BBA DL really gave me an idea of how good this one really is. Lives up to the hype, and I can't wait until next year to have it again!

Photo of Weebay
4.79/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Very dark brown,

S- Strong vanilla aroma and burbon and sweet chocolate.

T- Vanilla up front that fades to a burbon sweetness. Really very excellent.

M- Not as viscous as I expected, very nice.

This was an excellent beer, considering the ABV it went down very easily. Well worth the trip and ticket related stress to get to try it.

Photo of CaptinRedBeard
4.77/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sampled on tap at Dark Lord Day. I got in line to get into the brewpub as soon as I got through the gates. This was a smart move. Because, the rest of the day the line to get in was insanely long. After a short wait outside of the pub I was allowed inside. As I approached the bar a tall thin man, with his face tattooed, that looked eerily similar to Dez Farrara from Devil Driver, held out an extened hand holding a small glass of thick, dark liquid. "Vanilla Bean Dark Lord?" He asked. I gladly took the glass from his hand to begin my experience with this fantastic beer.

A: Black, like burnt motor oil. Black, like Satan's soul. No head, no lacing, just legs that stain my glass.

S: Vanilla, sweet vanilla comes wafting from my glass. It's hard to decipher anything in the nose beyond this. But, there are hints of coffee and chocolate. If you search for them.

T: Very sweet, but simply fantastic. An incredible creation of an Imperial Stout. The vanilla is still the flavor that clearly stands out the most here. But, it is balanced and rounded out with flavors of burnt sugars, chocolate, coffee and roasted malts.

M: Used motor oil. Very thick and mouth coating, but very smooth as well. Something like the greatest milkshake that you've ever had.

O: A wonderful beer, that was worth the trip alone. I'm ready to go back to Dark Lord Day next year, just to get another glass of this phenomenal brew. If this was ever bottled, I'm afraid that I would do evil things to get my hands on a bottle(s). I'm not the biggest fan of regular Dark Lord. But this, is a whole different animal entirely.

Photo of cubs943
5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I really liked this beer.

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

Appearance: Pitch black. A thin head around the edge. Very little carbonation.

Smell: Roasty dark notes with super sweet bourbon. Almost like smelling toasted marshmallow smores.

Taste: Very bourbon forward. Sweet. Integrated very well.

Mouthfeel: A bit thinner than I would have expected or hoped for. Spreads very well across the palate.

Overall: This was a very good beer. Was this a world beater? Na uh. Extremely well integrated and wonderful bourbon notes, but lacking in complexity compared to the Port BA Dl and not as well integrated or as BCS. Sidebar: Cuvee de Port BA DL+BVDL+BCBCS was without a doubt the best beer I have ever had. Hands down.

Notes:2012 edition, Bottle #413/934

Photo of JonathanC
4.32/5  rDev -8.5%
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.

Photo of Hesscabob
5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The story, I think is just as good as the beer...

Waited in line at DLD for drafts. Saw BA Plead the 5th, figure lets get that. That tap ran out with about 5 people in front of us... double sunshine appears on the dry erase board. Get 2, and figure we waited long enough lets get 120 minute - 2... The crowd goes crazy on the right hand side and I see BA Vanilla Bean get put on the bored... I was speechless and my buddy handed the dude $20 and we had BA Vanilla Bean in our presence. Best part of DLD '14.

A - Black, impermeable, abyss, tan head.

S - Vanilla, roasted marshmallow, subtle (perfect in my opinion) bourbon oakiness, more vanilla, sweet aroma.

T - Although we had about 15 other notable stouts prior to BA VB DL, this stood out with the vanilla being smoother than a clean shave. Coats the palate with an everlasting sense of campfire marshmallow, mixed with bourbon, and sublte dark fruits. (Every grown mans wet dream), hides the 15% very well until you have a few ;)

M - Although enters as if motor oil, the draft was carbonated perfectly, smoothest mouthfeel on the front end, the chewing I cant help to do to taste the fruits of 3 Floyd's labor and the finish was, wait for it, LEGENDARY!

O - That question that gets asked throughout life about what 3 things I would bring if I were trapped on a deserted island, I now know for sure 1 of them. Best beer in the world, hands down.

Photo of PatrickInAustinTx
5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Was overwhelmed by how well this one delivered on all levels. Thanks for opening Mgr78704.

Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 1,209 ratings.