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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.

265 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 265
Hads: 1,299
Avg: 4.64
pDev: 9.48%
Wants: 3,913
Gots: 235 | 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
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Reviews: 265 | Hads: 1,299
Photo of kkipple
4.8/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Ok. Alright. Stop the presses. This may just have been the best beer I've had, ever. Read my over-long review of Dark Lord. Sublime. Then tack on an absurd smoothness and some new flavors courtesy of the vanilla beans, and you have this masterpiece. Somehow, it's even sweeter and smoother than the pedestrian (ha!) Dark Lord. A dessert beer? A deathbed beer? Who knows or cares when you're tasting this?

I may never have it again, but stars above, this was heavenly. If you attended Dark Lord Day '08, and tried it... well brother, you KNOW.

Absolutely spectacular. I cannot praise it enough.

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

I am glad I had the opportunity to try this at Dark Lord Day. Review taken from notes.

A - Markedly dark as used motor oil w/ a faint chestnut rim, headless w/ legs that stick like dark brown sugar water or port wine.

S - Creme brulee, vanilla as intense custard - slightly floral like the bean derived from the opium plant. Sweet dry sponge cake/angel food w/ a slight bean and sugar cookie like aroma dipped in melted chocolate.

M - Thick, syrupy and gently sweet for all of the malt fullness. Relatively still as far as carbonation goes, w/ dry earthiness and oily bean in the finish w/ subtle booziness.

T - A fine custardy and light cream taste w/ hints at eggcream and creme brulee w/ sweet toasted graham cracker and caramelize brown sugar and perhaps a smattering of bittersweet cocoa and more super concentrated pure vanilla bean goodness infused in custardy stout w/ caramel accents. The flavor is rummy w/ a hint of hops. The pine notes of the hops make the taste far from cloying, just nice and sippable - The taste is intense to say the least. A veery dessert like vanilla flavor that lingers coating the mouth and allowing the dessert impression last for a long while.

D - I loved this sweet, but more vanilla version of Dark Lord. The vanilla intensity was great and undeniable in the ale, bordering on spirits in flavor w/ rich smooth maltiness and possibly less drinkable than the more dry oaked version, but still tenacious and intense all the way through. The kind of beer you want to sip and savor for hours

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Photo of hrking
4.95/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

had this on DLD 08 @ The FFF pub..I think I was the 5th person through the door when it opened!...This one was the main target on my list even though I had the Bourbon Barrel and the Vanilla at the same time just so I didn't half to wait for the attention to come my way again..
The Vanilla was very present up front and was noticeable immediately from the first sip. There was a thick mouth feel,very thick almost the consistency of drinking thick pear juice..Pitch black ,over due motor oil change black with a small dark tan quickly dissipated almost non existent head..The taste was awesome to say the least..I have never had anything like it and probably never will again. Surprisingly easy to drink ,but this one is a sipper for sure, just goes down leaving you wanting another. I did notice the pours coming from the bar were getting a little bigger as other cups and glassware came out..They started with 4-5oz pours and quickly started going to 6-8oz pours so I grabbed 2 to go for my buddies in line outside and shared with them!
Might as well forget about putting this one on your want list it was a 1 barrel thing on that day and is gone..It was $6 a pour and if I had a bottle and the $ I could have probably filled a growler..But my $ was spoken for from the bottled Dark Lord..Long live the mid evil madness!

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Photo of Atron67
4.42/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

had this on tap at DLD. just found my notes and so putting it in.

A- dead black body with only the tinyest amount of head anywhere on it.

S- huge huge vanilla character that is almost overwhelming. it is kept really good however though because even though the vanilla is really strong, the roasted dark malts underneath stay with it and give it a great complexity.

T- the taste of the vanilla is much more subdued here. it blends in really well with the rest. a little sweeter than i was expecting but not really sweet either. strong roasted characther. very strong and delicious. a great sipper that was highly enjoyed

M- hugely creamy as well. very light carbonation, lingers on the tongue a long while

D- pretty damn awesome, one of the many great DLD brews i got to drink but sadly none to bring home

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Photo of
4.92/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at DLD, 2008.

Opaque, black. In the light of day with the sun shining brightly, had just a bit of brown at the edges. Thick & viscous, lots of leg and no lacing. No head, just a few stray bubbles at the edge, dark brown in color.

Scent that first struck me was vanilla, very strong. This was a very sweet smelling beer. Roast character was not really coming through a whole lot. The dark fruit character was present, somewhere between the regular DL and the OADL.

Taste was more sweet than bitter, and was similar to the aroma. Vanilla, , dark chocolate, hint of coffee and molasses. Fruit character very strong, like a port. Very mild herbal bittering at the finish.

Mouthfeel was fantastic, but again, to me, not quite as good as the bottled version. Thick, smooth body. Minimal carbonation. Quite sweet. Alcohol starts to warm you up quickly.

An exceptional stout, and with the exception of the mouthfeel, every bit as good as the regular DL. Unlike the OA, which to me covers up some of the complexity that I enjoyed in the regular version, the vanilla just adds additional flavor notes.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.9/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

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Photo of masterchiefMD
4.97/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

sampled at DLD 08. I am a huge vanilla fan. This was the smoothest richest best tasting beer i have every had. It let me CRAVING more. color was very dark just a shade under black. Smell was as good as the taste. The vanilla to me wasnt overwhelming, just enough during the aftertaste. They need to think about doing think again.

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Photo of beckje01
4.77/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

So I must have been lucky or something I was served this on DLD 08 in an actual glass which was a Goblet with a short stem.

It has wonderful nose which has lots of vanilla and malt very inviting and nice. It was very black with a thin left over of some head maybe this pour sat a bit before being sold not sure. But the taste is amazing everything very well balanced and just a nice extra layer over top DL. It is a very drinkable beer and has no need for aging. The mouth feel is perfect a great thick coating that is just really enjoyable to drink.

Overall I would love to see this bottled as well but not sure that will ever happen.

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

DLD on tap, both at DLD 08 and 09, unfortunately served in a plastic cup.

Pitch black, with a foamy but small head, caramel colored.
Great aroma, bringing dark fruits, roasted malts and coffee, but the vanilla mixed very well, a lot better than I expected.
It is very creamy, with the same notes expected from the aroma. I usually do not think vanilla adds that much to beers, but I believe given the overall strength of this one, it made for a nice variation, incredibly well balanced.
I would love to get a bottle of something like this, but I guess I should be happy enough I got the regular bottle.
Very well done, another spectacular DL version.

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Photo of bgramer
4.65/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this at DLD on tap.

This is a hell of a beer. Black as Satan's spawn with a tan ring around my plastic cup coating it's thick inkiness. Thick and creamy, with a slight wooden taste, but the vanilla really mixed well with the chocolate, dark fruits, caramel, and coffee flavors. The hops weren't as pronounced, and this was pretty smooth - dangerously drinkable.

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Photo of thickerfreakness
4.65/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Served in a short, squat glass at DLD 08.

This beer was black as night with no head at all. A very small, dark brown ring of foam lined the glass. This smells incredible, coffee and chocolate with a great vanilla smell taking over everything. The taste combined with the mouthfeel make this like an amazing chocolate and coffee milk shake with the right amount of vanilla to balance out the flavors from the regular dark lord. After sharing this sample and the oak aged dark lord with a friend I felt pretty good. An exceptional beer.

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4.4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Once again the same big thick blackness as regular oak aged DL. It has legs like trunks that stick to the side of the glass. No head at all. The nose is distincly sweater than the regular oak aged with a noticeable sweet vanilla base. The sweet vanilla up front and very prominent with first sip, but approachable. The super syrupy sweetness then yields to some slight sour feel on the back of the tongue and seems a bit thicker than the regular also. Almost honey like. Mouthfeel is a big sweet thickness. Nicely drinkable but maybe a bit to much tingle to the sweetness on the back of the tongue. You only need a little of this one.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.45/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at DLD 2008. This looked and tasted like 2007 Dark Lord (to the best of my recollection) with a nice vanilla component (a la Haagendaaz vanilla flavor). Very thick and jet black, reeking of rich malty aromas. God this is a massive beer, so thick and oily and flavorful, and the vanilla flavor came through as a nice compliment. The real draw is the mouthfeel, this was as thick as the final pour from a DL bottle, very coating when you drink it.

This and the Oak-aged were selling for $5/sample (not sure of the size, but it was a small cup <12oz). Unfortunately I'm guessing it will be quite difficult to find this beer again.

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Photo of hero27
4.75/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at DLD '08.. 10-ounce sample for $5.

Pure black, a small, tan head tried to form, but it didn't have a fighting chance..quickly turned into 10 ounces of dark, ominous-looking liquid.
Soft, woody overtones with a layered background of vanilla that really complimented the bold coffee & chocolate flavors well.
Definitely felt a lot smoother than the fresh '07 version..and it was obvious the hoppy bite had retreated and given way to the gargantuan roasted coffee malts.

A real treat to sample..and at $5/10oz the price was respectable, considering that bottled Dark Lord sells for more than that per ounce.
Hopefully they'll have a vanilla-version of the 2008 next year.

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Photo of mcallister
4.65/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 265 ratings.