Marshmallow Handjee (Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord) | 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

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Reviews:
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Ratings:
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Avg:
4.65
pDev:
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Marshmallow Handjee (Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord)Marshmallow Handjee (Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Indiana, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 15.00%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout aged in a variety of Bourbon barrels with vanilla beans.

Added by mcallister on 04-27-2008

User Reviews
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Reviews: 275 | Ratings: 1,372
Photo of TStron
4.97/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at DLD 2010

A - Very Dark. No head but I didn't see the pour and am not sure how long it sat before the waiter served it at our table.

S - Rich vanilla aroma with hints of bourbon. Smells amazing.

T - Great vanilla flavor that is powerful but doesn't dominate over the slight oak and bourbon notes mingled with molasses. Just the right amount of sweetness.

M - Smooth as can be. Low on carbonation. This beer is full of flavors that linger well after a small sip has been taken. This allowed for a 6oz glass to last a long time. Didn't come off as too thick. Just right.

D - I could drink this anytime. I don't think the vanilla would ever get old over the course of many glasses and the alcohol seems about right. Would love to test this hypothesis but unfortunately I was only able to get a small glass about 6oz.

I waited in line for 4 hours to get into the brew pub on DLD and it was absolutely worth it. Any fan of stouts should make trying this a priority and the first thing you do if you make it to DLD. I am amazed at how well the actual thing stood up to all the hype.

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Photo of abrand
4.97/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After hearing that the vanilla bean DL ran out while in line at DLD, I was so disappointed that I missed a great opportunity. And then a local Munster native comes through out of no where and has a half a glass still and generously lets myself and fellow BA Hooliganlife sip the remainder.

The appearance is jet black with no head in the glass. Assuming the initial pour left the same thin tan head as the other dark lords. Smell is much sweeter with lots of vanilla which I absolutely love. Nice chocolate backbone. Taste is unbelievable. The sweetness balances out the chocolate, malts, sugar punch that dark lord has. Mouthfeel is thick and oily. This may be the best stout I have had. The vanilla presence really changes the make up of a great beer. Even though I only got a couple sips of this it was heaven in a cup. If only this was bottled....

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Photo of jsh420
4.4/5  rDev -5.4%
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

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Photo of jampics2
4.77/5  rDev +2.6%
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!

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Photo of sweemzander
4.57/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap @ DLD 2010!

(A)- Pours thick & black as night. Produced a dark brown head that dissipated down to bubbles after a minute.

(S)- A rich dense molasses & vanilla with some dark dark cocoa & coffee. Plenty of bourbon notes.

(T)- Rich, with a big vanilla sweetness with some dark cocoa & molasses. Very similar to the smell. Has some bourbon-like characters.

(M)- A big dense monster that is almost chewy, but with a good carbonation level. A big vanilla sweetness, yet has a bitterness too from the roasted malts.

(D)- An incredible stout that I finally understand why it gets such rave reviews. A big richness & sweetness to it that fits its name/style. However, any more than 8oz. of this at a time would be too much for me to consume. Would love to see how this would age, but sadly, this is only available one day a year! If you go to DLD, make this your top priority. . it ran out awfully quick this year.

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Photo of MrMcGibblets
4.77/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

finally, after several DLDs and much waiting and effort, got to have a couple of these. had it in the pub, so it was served in proper glassware to boot. not much head though. has all of the flavors, aromas, mouthfeel, etc. of reglar DL along with huge vanilla flavors and aromas, harmonized with attributes from the oak barrel aging. sweeter than regular DL, with big warming vanilla flavors crawling down your throat. alcohol/booze manage to stay relatively well hidden. lots of big charred ripened dark fruit. hands down the best and most complex, balls to the wall RIS i've ever had. if you go to DLD, make it your #1 priority to taste this. heard they only made two barrels.

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Photo of hooliganlife
4.77/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 dark lord day, shared by a nice drunk guy inside the warehouse. apparently, they had a bunch of this. gotta love the locals...

pour was jet black with zero head and zero lacing and retention.

very sweet on the nose. the vanilla was there but not as in your face as i would have expected. light roasted malts, light floral hoppiness. a wee bit of booze.

flavor was huge, quite complex. the vanilla was there but it balanced this out. it cut back on the sweetness a bit of the regular dark lord, it mixed perfectly with the roasted malts, coffee, and hops to bring all of the flavors together. this was the booziest of the bunch though.

very thick, coats your mouth and teeth. a bit of alcohol burn. light carbonation.

this was my favorite of the bunch. it was the most complex and the most fun to drink. nothing was overpowering and everything was balanced.

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Photo of hawks10
4.84/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at Dark Lord Day 2010...6 ounces or so, more than enough to get a good idea of what this beer is all about...

Pours thick and oily, viscous black liquid with a bit of dark brown head, no different than regular Dark Lord...

Smell is much more complex and inviting than regular Dark Lord...for one, the vanilla in the 2010 vintage is very forward and very enticing...you also get your typical roasted malts, chocolate, molasses and a bit of alcohol in the nose, much like any other imperial stout...

Yummm, definitely a better tasting beer than regular Dark Lord (and after having a horrible bottle of the 2009 vintage a few weeks ago, this one made me very happy). Vanilla is very prominent, it's not just a name! Very sweet, chocolate, brown sugar, molasses, a tiny bit of bitterness from the roasted malts and a bit of a drying oak presence as well...but overall very sweet and loads of vanilla...

Thick, creamy, smooth, coating, slick...and any derivatives of those words...full bodied, chewy, medium carb...

What a great beer from FFF's, I for one think the regular Dark Lord is over-hyped and not as good as most make it out to be (still think it is pretty damn good however) but the vanilla bean Dark Lord definitely lives up to the hype...don't want to wait another year for more...

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Photo of largadeer
4.67/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Received from stfun37. Thanks!

Pours black, oily and dead flat. Looks much like regular Dark Lord, but even less carbonated.

The nose is loaded with vanilla bean goodness. The intensity of the vanilla is nearly identical to a vanilla milkshake. There are hints of chocolate and alcohol, but they're almost completely overwhelmed by vanilla. Totally one-dimensional, but it's an amazing dimension.

The taste, in contrast, is much more complex. Vanilla is dominant, but it's backed by milk chocolate, dates, prunes and light alcohol. The mouthfeel is rich and chewy, flat and creamy. It finishes roasty and bittersweet with light woody tannins. Delicious, this is far better than regular Dark Lord.

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Photo of tpd975
4.92/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Hand bottle provided by Gunhaver

A: Pours as dark as they come, a very evil flat black. No real head to speak of loss of carbonation due to the hand bottling. It is a very thick beer that literally stains the glass.

S: Nice real vanilla notes. Roasted malt, coco puffs, and subtle wood from the barrel.

T: Loads of real vanilla bean right from the start. Rich dark chocolate and roasted chocolate malt. Darkened brown sugar, and hints of oak.

M: Very full in body, lacks carbonation which you don't even seem to miss with this beer.

D: Insane. It was a nip bottle shared between a few. Really wish I had more. It is reason enough to go to Dark Lord day!

Thanks Geiger!

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Photo of movingtrain
4.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This might very well be the best beer I have ever had the opportunity to try. Sampled from a plastic cup at Dark Lord Day 2009...a small pour, but completely worth it...I went back to the table for seconds.

Poured a super dark black with little to no head and very little carbonation.

Smells like Dark Lord...molasses, brown sugar, chocolate, sweet olives, figs, some oak aroma.

Tastes like Dark Lord, but with a syrupy sweetness imparted from the vanilla beans. Very rich, complex, and incredibly palatable.

Of all the beers I was able to sample on DLD, this one stood out...even above the regular Dark Lord. It was complex, and the vanilla beans added a new dimension to an already outstanding beer. It was great to have had a chance to try this, and my only wish is that some day it is put into bottles, as well.

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Photo of kimcgolf
4.34/5  rDev -6.7%
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.

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Photo of fiver29
4.3/5  rDev -7.5%
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.

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Photo of maximum12
4.41/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

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Photo of craytonic
2.99/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pitch black, oil slick black, just what you would expect.

Smell: Oddly not vanilla, I only get that on the taste. Bit of alcohol with some other aromas I can't pinpoint. Chocolate cake batter or chocolate-vanilla pudding? Best I can do.

Taste: I get tons of fake vanilla poured into a regular dark lord. Also tastes a good bit sweeter to me. Alcohol, molasses, karo syrup, melted chocolate, brown sugar, roasted malt, semi-sweet chocolate (the kind you would put in a chocolate chip cookie). Please cut the vanilla by 2/3.

Mouthfeel: Exceptionally smooth, somehow smoother than the regular version?

Drinkability: I have always been picky about vanilla, and I don't get vanilla bean, I don't get vanilla extract, I get the cheap fake vanilla, in mass. I don't see the appeal, for me this is regular DL with some fake vanilla and sugar added. Mouthfeel is much improved though, somehow. Probably would be good on ice cream. By itself, a sweet fake vanilla mess; I need a pliny to clean my palate. I hate to have the lowest rating for this ever, but I find it to be a sugar and fake vanilla trainwreck. It is good for 2-3oz and then you need an IPA.

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Photo of rudylaw
4.87/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ DLD, GTOM

Dark Lord + vanilla. It's just about that simple. Looks like DL, smells like DL what with the molasses, cocoa, dark fruits, brown sugar plus a vanilla-infused explosion of creamy goodness right off the bat!

It's a pretty boozy incarnation, but the vanilla smooths it out to where this is just a pleasure. It's a chewy, viscous stout that goes down smooth as can be, even on a 90 degree day.

If you love DL, this will take that love to another level. A perfect example where tinkering with a recipe that's already a winner can sometimes yield incredible results.

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Photo of Poser
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

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Photo of madtowndmb1
4.52/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tried this at The Great Taste,

Poured a pitch black, even in the blazing sun no light got through. The smell was perfect, sweet vanilla with a touch of coffee and chocolate. The taste wasn't quite as good as the smell but very impressive. Very similar to the nose, but a touch heavy on the vanilla. Threw of the balance of the nose. M:&D: were both very easy on the palate. Not sure I'd want more than 6oz's but it would be one of the most enjoyable 6oz's!

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Photo of dukedevil0
4.87/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled this at the Great Taste of the Midwest 2009 in Madison, WI out of my GTotM tasting glass. Missed this at DLD 09 so I was not going to get hosed on this day!

A: Pours like a black hole, with no light getting through and some copperish/khaki colored bubbles that settled down to almost nothing.

S: Smells very similar to the original of course with very nice vanilla addition and some minor "barrel aged" scents.

T: just like the scent, the flavor was also obviously very similar to its regular DL brethren; however, whereas the original Dark Lord tastes like a thick chocolate beer shake almost, the Vanilla Bean variety is much more vanilla forward (surprise!) without being over-vanillaized if that makes sense. The addition of the vanilla makes this a great variant and possibly even better flavor-wise. The only possible downside is that there is a bit of heat from the alcohol, but it's easy to look past it when the flavor is so spectacular.

M: Super creamy and coated everything it touched. Low carbonation, similar to a syrup but it matched the rest of the beer excellently.

D: There is no doubt that this style isn't meant to be drinkable, but I think that this is one of the shining examples of making this style as drinkable as it can be. The flavor is incredible, and I long for each next sip I take. The only potential downside is the heat from the alcohol. I'm willing to give that only a slight docking of rating.

I've had the original Dark Lord a few times in different vintages and there is no doubt that it's an amazing beer that is well deserving of all the hype. However, I think at least in the flavor department, this one rules as my favorite of the varieties (and definitely challenging for my favorite beer completely). I'd love to try all three side-by-side in a tasting to see how I'd rank them in that sense, rather than having them on separate occasions. I'm glad I finally got to try this and man was it worth the wait.

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Photo of alcstradamus
4.77/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Capped off my day at the 2009 Great Taste of the Midwest. I knew this one was being tapped at the very end, so I rested my palate most of the day and only tried random things here and there. I was ready for this one!

This was definitely my highlight. It poured with the creamiest, fluffy head of any Dark Lord version by far. Smell was similar to other versions. Taste was off the charts. There was an extra sweetness not present in the regular Dark Lord, and while I thought that the new flavors in the Oak Aged version were a hindrance, the extra flavors in this Vanilla Bean version were magnificent. It was such a smooth, subtle vanilla sweetness that did not distract in any way from the already monstrously sweet behemoth underneath. It just complimented well. Full bodied and thick as hell, this one nearly deserved a perfect 5 but it is extremely hard to judge drinkability based on 4 oz...especially when that 4 oz. was plenty satisfying.

UPDATE: The 2010 release of this was a top quality beer, but not as good as I had remembered the previous vintage to be. In fact, I liked the Oak Aged Dark Lord a bit more this year. Going to drop my rating just a bit to account for the perceived drop in quality (or perhaps it just was never worthy of my original 4.95 rating to begin with)

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Photo of pepsican
3.98/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Served on tap at the Great Taste of the Midwest. Black pour with a small tan head. Vanilla and chocolate dominated the aroma. Flavor was vanilla, coffee, toffee, caramel and maple syrup. Viscous, syrupy sweet, big, boozy. Ouch. 3 oz was plenty but man was it good.

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Photo of alleykatking
4.82/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally reviewing my DLD notes. Had on tap of course at the wonderful DLD!

A- This pours a pitch black as oil color. What else were you expecting from a DL? Good mocha colored head that was only a half finger if that. Lacing was well...not really there. I mean it was in little forms and the beer coated itself on the sides as well. This is like a dream come true.

S- This unlike the Oak Aged is more centered to the Vanilla. big accents of vanilla is what I smell right off the bat with hints of burnt coffee, chocolate, brown sugar, and darker fuits in the mix. Underlying all of that I get hints of a burnt oak smell with some warm alcohol to it. This smells like a wet dream to me...heh.

T- Oh wow where to begin. The vanilla is at the forefront of this beer giving it a very sweet begining. Almost right after the initial sweetness of that comes the chocolate and brown sugar highlights before coming to the coffee stout taste. Even the light hints of oak I could taste throughout this beer. As it warmed I thought you could taste the alcohol a little more in it. This beer is just fantastic though and I couldn't get enough of the taste. Just...well...wow!

M- This had a heavy mouthfeel to it. I couldn't get over the fact that it just clung onto every part of your mouth as it raced down the throat. It left a nice thick sticky feeling on your palate that even when I'm finally writing this review I can almost feel. Carbonation was great for the style and I can't think of a beer that could compete with this as far as what it left once it was finished with my palate.

D- I could drink glasses of this if I could. Sadly, I can only do that one day a year and well....I can't wait for next year. Everyone should get a chance to try this liquid "black gold" at least once. And I'm talking fresh not some hand bottled thing!

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Photo of tjthresh
4.06/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pour is rich and black with some nice brown head, just as you'd expect from Dark Lord. I get mostly vanilla and coconut with just a bit of coffee in the nose. I get more bourbon in the flavor than anything. Full and rich body as usual. Dry roasted finish.

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Photo of ThaBobfather
5/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

*Notes from DLD*

Pours the basically perfect opaque, black that its basic version does. Also has the thick, frothy dark chocolate colored head that makes it so beautiful.
Smell is hypnotizing of roasted and sweet malts, chocolate, coffee, caramel, and that twinge of vanilla that adds such an extra layer of complexity to it.
Taste gives me the roast and coffee up front then finishes, blended well, into the chocolate and vanilla.
Finish is crisp and refreshing, the after-taste is astounding with a complex blend of all of the beers flavors, not just the vanilla of malt, but also the coffee and chocolate stay around.
The vanilla flavor mellows out any bite a previous version might have, it goes down incredibly smooth.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.87/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ the Three Floyd's Brewpub during Dark Lord Day '09 on 4/25/09. I actually picked up 2 5 oz fills of this while in the brewpub, nibbled at them a bit to get my take, and then took them out to my crew in line for their tasting and enjoyment of this awesome brew. Initially served in a smallish snifter and then transferred into clear plastic cups for the journey outside.

The pour is all classic Dark Lord. An inky motor oil look that is topped by a thin layer of menacing looking burnt and blistered mocha colored head that quickly retreats to the outer edges. Surprisingly little lace but this just coats the sides of the glass with oily goo. The aroma is in a word, DYNAMIC! Vanilla just owns this bouquet, I mean you can literally smell it a foot away from your nose. Getting in closer reveals some, also quite awesome, underlying notes of chocolate roast, dark fruits, molasses, and coffee. A bit of oakiness from the barrel and some lightly warm heat elements makes themselves known as well. Holy shit...do I have to drink this? Can't I just sit here and sniff this the rest of my life?

The taste is almost unlike anything I've had before. Much the same as the aroma, the taste is all about the vanilla. What is tremendous about this though, is the way the sweetness of the vanilla emboldens the other sweet characteristics of the Dark Lord. Black currants and raisins mix with chocolate, molasses, and brown sugar to create a thick and sticky goo that reminders of eating an alcoholic piece of Shoo-Fly-Pie. Just unbelievable. Huge notes of roasted malts and espresso lash the backend, leaving a fantastic long lingering finish of bitterness and tangy sweetness that just won't quit. The mouthfeel is huge and filling in the mouth with a massive beefy creaminess that holds all of these huge flavors together. I also detect a bit of slickness to this as well, probably a result of being in a barrel. As for that 13% ABV, it's right on target with how it feels in the regular Dark Lord. Meaning it's definitely there in the body but barely in the taste. I think that the addition of vanilla in this actually helps smoothes the profile out and takes even more of the harsh edges off this. Just a fantastic feel and drinkibility here for a beer this big & bold.

I had just a small taste of this @ DLD '08 and that just whetted my appetite in anticipation of them hopefully having it again at this year's event. To be able to sit down and properly enjoy this was just a great beer moment for me. Dark Lord is one of my favorite beers anyway but to add vanilla to this as well, basically turning it into an even more delicious and decadent dessert beer, makes this one of the best beers I've ever had. I'm all ready looking forward to next year!

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Marshmallow Handjee (Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord) from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 275 ratings.