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Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord - Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub

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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

1,030 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,030
Reviews: 223
rAvg: 4.71
pDev: 9.77%
Wants: 3,218
Gots: 167 | FT: 8
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: 1,030 | Reviews: 223 | Display Reviews Only:
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

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

On tap in the brewpub during DLD '11; I can't believe I got a seat at the bar! Review #700.

A: Fully black, motor-oil like body. Just a hint of brown foam. Viscous, dark, and intimidating.

S: Sweet vanilla, and not much else. Maybe some chocolate, but pretty much pure vanilla. Crazy, but a little underwhelming for such an elusive and storied brew.

T: Hole shite, that's incredible. Yeah, it's sweeter than diabeetus, but god damn is it good. Vanilla and chocolate open things up, followed closely by coffee, caramel, more chocolate, more vanilla, and even more vanilla. So, so sweet, but that' exactly what I expect from this beer, and the roasted notes actually do lend a modicum of - I can't possibly use the word "balance" for this one... - counterweight to the vanilla onslaught. Amazing.

M: Sticky, thick, and surprisingly well-carbonated. Lovely.

O: I missed out on this one at DLD '10, and swore if I ever made it back I wouldn't miss out again. I'm glad I made that vow and carried it out, as this was a truly incredible experience. I think there's something about the sweetness coming from actual vanilla beans that keeps the cloyingness somehow at bay, since I truly loved every single sip of this freakishly sweet beer. If it weren't for the plethora of other amazing choices, I would gladly drink another and another.

Cheers!

Photo of Kayn169
3.48/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Dark Lord Day 2011.

A- Typical of the style, deep dark black. With the smallest layer of khaki head. Almost no carbonation to be seen

S- Hits hard and dominates with the smell of pure Vanilla extract, undertones of Espresso grounds, bittersweet chocolate, and just a touch of bourbon.

T- Wow, it's like taking a bottle of pure Mexican vanilla, and dumping it in a glass of DL, with a large spoon of molasses for sweetness. Insanely sweet, too much for me.

M- I have heard it described as a motor oil consistency, and although it isn't quite that bad, it is pretty syrupy.

O- Overdone. I am a firm believer in accenting a beer with things like vanilla, not making them the star. DL is a good beer that is struggling to even be noticed here. Everyone I talked to in the Pub agreed, it was just to sweet and had too much vanilla. Glad I tried it though. I would say if the vanilla sweetness was cut down it would be an easy A review

Photo of Alpar
4.65/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at DLD 2011. 2beerornot2beer and I got the last pours on the keg, or so we were told. Regardless after waiting for 3.5 hours in line we were ready to do this up:)

A: Jet black, very little carbonation, similar to the regular Dark Lord treatments.

S: AWESOME! Huge vanilla notes and some cocoa. I didn't notice any alcohol in the smell.

T: Better than the smell! I was expecting a nuclear vanilla attack but instead go a really sweet balanced marshmallow flavor, it was out of this world!

O: This really took me by surprise, I am not a huge fan of the regular Dark Lord beers but this beer really hit home for me, one of the best I have had to date.

Photo of stakem
4.55/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to CaptinRedBeard for making this happen on DLD 2011. Corey managed his way into the brewpub and came out with something like 4 or 5 glasses of this stuff so everyone in our group got some.

Served in a plastic cup, this brew appears black in color with a thin film of very dark brown bubbles around the rim. There is not much of a head and even a swirl only releases a few bubbles that hardly hold long enough to gravitate to the edges of the glass. Holding this glass up to the light doesn't really do much of anything...it's very dark and even through the edges light cannot penetrate.

The smell of this brew is bold with dark sweet chocolate. Absolutely loaded with tons of vanilla and a minor note of coffee. This brew is already deep, complex and sweet smelling, I simply cannot imagine how many vanilla beans it takes to make the vanilla come forward like this. Some fusel booze hides underneath with almost a meaty twang of booze and fruity hop character.

The taste is sweet with vanilla right upfront that coats and sticks to the inside of the mouth. Again, I have to wonder just how much vanilla is used for it to be this evident in this offering. Big boozy warmth is hidden under the chocolate-like sweetness. The aftertaste showcases the booziness with more of the roastiness of the grain finally coming through.

This is a full bodied brew that is very lightly carbonated. It is borderline cloyingly sweet but I honestly found it to be excessively drinkable in a liquid dessert kind of way. As it warms, it shows off more of that big booze character but it's balanced well with residual sweetness. While I found this to be awesome and everything I hoped it would be, it is not a beer that I could drink more than say 6-8 ounces of.

Photo of Patrick999
4.38/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Hand-bottled. Sampled courtesy of Maltzilla. It's thick and dark as you would expect, not a ton of head.

Aroma? I bow down to the vanilla gods. Never smelled that much vanilla in a beer before.

This is some intense, sweet bourbon vanilla. Some of those I was drinking with thought it too sweet, but I thought it was on point. It tasted like candy, but to me that's to its credit. I don't think it bore too much resemblance to regular Dark Lord, this was all about the vanilla. 13% alcohol? Buried under vanilla sweetness.

I think I had about a 2-3 oz pour, and even that was a bit too much. An ounce and change is probably all I needed....not too "drinkable" in the normal sense of the word. Tasty, with a godly aroma, but pretty sweet. So, I'm "only" giving a 4.38 A rating.

Photo of Weebay
4.8/5  rDev +1.9%
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 brew3crew
4.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at DLD 11. had to wait about an hour to try it but it was worth the wait.

A-Dark, dark black
S-Vanilla and awesomeness
T-I love vanilla in my beers. I love this taste. Great vanilla and smooth body makes jason a happy boy
M-Medium bodied and oh so smooth
O-One of the best beers I have had in a long time. Wish they bottled it more.

Photo of MarkIntihar
4.68/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Review #10, figured I'd make it a good one!

Enjoyed on tap at DLD, review is from my notes.

A - Pours jet black with virtually no head. Motor oil consistency. Can't wait to chew on it.

S - Very vanilla up front, dominating the scent. Picking up slight hints of dark fruits but the vanilla overpowers it.

T - Taste is very vanilla as well. Hardly allows the other flavors through. The vanilla fades to more of a bourbon vanilla hint in the finish.

M - Very smooth and almost silky. Wonderful texture going down. Very little burn, if any.

O - Overall a phenomenal beer. Definitely on the sweeter side, but I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Photo of CaptinRedBeard
4.75/5  rDev +0.8%
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 oline73
4.83/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had this on-tap in the brewpub during Dark Lord Day.

Appearance: Pours a dark black color with no light coming through with hardly any head at all.

Smell: Very sweet. I can definitely pick up the vanilla along with some roast and dark chocolate.

Taste: This beer is super sweet with lots of vanilla and some dark chocolate notes coming through. There is some roast and the finish is sweet and full of warming alcohol.

Mouthfeel: The body is thick and smooth. The carbonation is mild and the finish has a very mild dryness to it.

Overall: I love vanilla beers, and this is among that best. The roast and sweetness compliment each other nicely. All the flavors work together quite well.

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

On tap at Dark Lord Day 2011.

A- Solid black w/ subtle red/gold glow in the light.

S- Bourbon, vanilla.

T- Sweet vanilla, light bourbon, dark chocolate. Alcohol is almost completely hidden. Thankfully no hop bitterness. Surprisingly sweeter than the standard or BBA versions.

M- Syrup like. Low carbonation.

Pretty much the best beer I've ever had. Well worth the wait in line.

Photo of aerozeppl
4.3/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap in the pub during DLD. I had one and liked it but had to have a second to make sure.

A:Black. That is it. There was no head. Only bubbles. It straight up looked like motor oil and both variants had legs when swirled in the glass.

S: The nose was that of ok that is what vanilla smells like Even with a big a beer as Dark Lord is the vanilla was up front. Alcohol. Molasses. Chocolate. Roast. Insane complexity.

T: Vanilla was huge up front. It had so much going on it tasted like it was barrel aged. What impressed me the most about the barrel aged versions of Dl was they played down on the beers weaknesses while bringing out their strengths. The vanilla cut down on the booziness and brought it into a whole different level.

M: Motor oil. Super thick. No carbonation.

D: I had 2 tasters of this then carried a grown man out of a mosh pit. All day. One of the best vanilla bean beers I have ever had. Makes VBBCS seem like ginger beer. That being said I cared for the bourbon version more but I was in the minority in my group.

Photo of betsona
4.72/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had on-tap DLD 2011. Served in a plastic cup.

A- Oil black. Absolutely no head. Swirled to produce a thin hair of mocha head. No lacing on the glass as to be expected.

S- Huge explosion of vanilla with bourbon, coffee and ever so slight hint of cherries. The bourbon aroma was strongest when I first was handed it. By the time I had my last sip, the vanilla had completely dominated the nose, too much in the end.

T- The vanilla that was too much in the nose, is dead on in the taste. Almost lie having a scoop of ice cream drizzled in bourbon with a dash of ground coffee. Though the vanilla hides most of the alcohol, it still comes through.

M- Viscous syrup thick with low carbonation. Leaves the tongue feeling thick and slow. Slight alcohol burn at the end of the drink.

O- I prefer this variant of the two that were on-tap (Oak aged). Its nose was a tad too much, but the taste is exceptional. The vanilla is not too intense, which allows for multiple drinks. Even at the price--9 dollars for 8oz--it was still worth it.

Photo of nasty31
4.7/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

on tap at DLD

A- Very dark brown, but not as dark as i thought it would be, also sort of thin looking.

S- Massive vanilla aromas up from to go along with a burbon and sweet chocolate smell.

T- Strong vanilla up front, but not not a cheap fake vanilla flavor like most. On the backside you get a strong burbon sweetness to mix with the vanilla. This is probably the best flavor blend in a beer i have ever had.

M- Thinner then expected like said before, but not anything extreme.

Overall this beer is a deadly one. Goes down with no burn at all and tastes amazing. I had several glasses of this and did not realize it until later when i wass on the floor

Photo of khumbard
4.93/5  rDev +4.7%
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 mdfb79
4.85/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 04/30/11 notes. Had on tap at the brewery on Dark Lord Day. The normal version of Dark Lord is one of my favorite RIS's, and beers in general, and I enjoyed the Oak Aged version quite a bit, so I've been really looking forward to this one.

a - Pours a pitch black color with light carbonation evident and an inch of dark tan head. Head lasts for a minute or two with bubbles throughout.

s - Smells of vanilla beans, rich chocolate and sweet milk chocolate, roasted malts, and some dark fruits. The vanilla is really strong up front, which I absolutely loved. I love vanilla in stouts so this smelled perfect to me.

t - Tastes of vanilla beans very strongly up front again. Also some chocolate, dark fruits, oak, roasted malts, nuts, and caramel malts. Again, really amazing and a step up from the normal DL taste in my opinion.

m - Full bodied stout and low carbonation, thick and chewy but easy to drink with the low carbonation. Really not a lot of heat in my opinion considering the high ABV.

o - Wow, what an amazing beer. I had high expectations for this and to be honest, it llived up to them. I really loved this one, even more than the normal and oak versions. Can't wait to have this one again sometime.

Photo of cpmichael
4.83/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at DLD.

A: Pours a thick dark black, by time our server brought it out there was no discernible head, just like the BBA DL we had side by side.

S: Very sweet smelling with lots of vanilla ascents, dark chocolate, some oak and booze and malts.

T: Sweet, with vanilla, creamy chocolate, some raisins,coffee and roasted malts and some booze, but not as hot as the nose would suggest.

M/D: thick, syrup-like, with lower carbonation. It went down very smooth and highly drinkable, even for as sweet as it was. One of the best beers I have had the opportunity to try.

Photo of ChadQuest
3.9/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Alewatcher, Nuff said.

So looks wise this looks like darklord does, inky black and very viscous and opaque, when i turned the glass on it's side a bit it was so viscous that it slowly crept down the glass.
The aroma is hit so hard by the vanilla, the bean addition creates such a huge strong presence you cant miss it or smell very much else in comparison. super sweet as expected.
The flavors see to it that the vanilla is a bit more incorperated, so you can pick up some roasty espresso, syrupy chocolate, and a bit of heat bit not alot. Honestly it stops just short of cloying, a bomber would be too much for 2 people even, good for a group pour.

Honestly, i think of the Oak'd, Vanilla, and normal, this is the lesser of the three.(oak's/bourbon is #1)

Photo of aasher
4.35/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was enjoyed at DLD. I was walking around with a couple bottles of Cisco sours in my hands and this random BA asked me if I wanted to try Vanilla Bean Dark Lord. That's a funny question to ask someone haha. The beer was a viscous midnight black with a dark khaki foamy lacing around the edges. The aromas were a nice mix of chocolate, coffee, caramel malts, and sweet vanilla. It tasted like a well aged BCBS. It was a little sweet however, as you'd expect. It was smoother than any Dark Lord that I've had out of a bottle and very drinkable. The sweetness is the only thing holding this one back but it's the best over the top vanilla beer that I've had yet.

Photo of ADTaber
4.85/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On draft at the FFF Brew Pub on DLD, poured into a snifter

A: pours black like spent motor oil with a thin brown head that dissolves slowly and leaves virtually no lacing

S: quite sweet, vanilla, dark chocolate, bourbon, roasted coffee and malt, a hint of dark fruit

T: very similar to smell, very sweet, vanilla, chocolate syrup, a hint of bourbon, roasted coffee and malt

MF: thick/heavy body, fairly low carbonation, coats the palate, alcohol is well hidden

Overall: delicious, sweeter than I expected but still very enjoyable, definitely glad I waited in the Brew Pub line for hours to try this one

Photo of habanosdarklord
4.93/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Three Floyds, Dark Lord Day 2011.

A- Black, as you would expect. Really nice tan head appears with a swirl of the glass.

S- The aromas are excellent. Sweet, rich vanilla, dark chocolate, dark red fruits, and rich roasty espresso notes. Complex aromas overall.

T- The flavors follow the nose. Dark chocolate, rich espresso, vanilla and a fruity cherry like flavor as well. This beer was amazing. Period.

M- Very thick, slight carbonation.

Overall, really one of the best beers I have ever had. The complexity is really something to notice with this beer. Great day at Three Floyds. Dark Lord Day was a blast.

Photo of drseamus
3.1/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

On tap at DLD. 9 bucks a snifter...pretty steep.

Dark black with no head. Not syrupy looking. Just looks like dark water. Vanilla heavy in the nose. Nice but too heavy. Same with the flavor. Supplemental flavors are supposed to complement the beer, not dominate it. Still some hotness in there but somewhat smooth. Not worth the time in the line or the price.

Photo of robwestcott
4.68/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured cold from the tap at the brewpub, at DLD, pitch black to an 8oz glass with next to no head.

huge arse big vanilla and oak aroma, hints of bourbon and milky chocolate.

big flavor, seriously thick vanilla, great big wow. oak hints. Graham crackers, dark creamy chocolate and a bit of sweetened espresso roast.

big huge bodied, medium carbonation. creamy smooth.

drinkable - one, but if it wasn't almost time to go...

overall - crazy good beer.

Photo of tarheels86
4.53/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
100 out of 100 based on 1,030 ratings.