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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

720 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 720
Reviews: 207
rAvg: 4.72
pDev: 8.47%


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: 720 | Reviews: 207 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of hrking
hrking

Indiana

4.95/5  rDev +4.9%
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!

Serving type: on-tap

05-04-2008 14:19:53 | More by hrking
Photo of PrinceDarren
PrinceDarren

Illinois

4.95/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had the pleasure of trying this at DLD 2010. I had it once before a couple of years ago and it was every bit as delicious as I remember. While regular Dark Lord may be arguably over-hyped, the Vanilla Bean is deserving of the highest praise, in my opinion.

Some would say that the VBDL can simply be described as regular Dark Lord with the addition of some vanilla notes. I have to somewhat disagree. The vanilla bean is like a kinder, gentler version of something that is known for being brutally massive. In much the same way that Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout can be thought of as a more delicate version of KBS. That could be good or bad, depending on your perspective. I overheard some folks commenting that they like the sharper edge and complexity of regular DL. Those features are somewhat softened here. Personally, I prefer this version as it is that much more drinkable.

At first, the vanilla aroma attacks your nose and dominates the senses. No surprise, it smells like fresh vanilla ice cream. However, after a moment, that aroma fades nicely into the background and becomes much less detectable. In the end, it is properly balanced - well done!

In terms of taste, that famous "soy sauce" character of regular DL is what is missing most here. Again, I am fine with that as long as I can continue to enjoy the regular version at home.

The only minor downside to the VBDL was that there was a slight more detectable alcohol on the finish. I think this has more to do with it being fresh from the keg (or it could be the higher alcohol percentage in this particular vintage). Most of the time when I drink Dark Lord, it is from a bottle that has had lots of time to rest. Therefore, the only thing that I would suggest to improve this further would be to produce a bottle version or otherwise age it for a few more months to allow it to mellow out a touch more.

Otherwise, Vanilla Bean Dark Lord is a superb beverage that has earned its high accolades.

Serving type: on-tap

04-27-2010 21:44:46 | More by PrinceDarren
Photo of brew3crew
brew3crew

Ohio

4.95/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

05-10-2011 20:24:48 | More by brew3crew
Photo of ktrillionaire
ktrillionaire

Florida

4.95/5  rDev +4.9%
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

Serving type: on-tap

06-13-2011 03:54:35 | More by ktrillionaire
Photo of nrs207
nrs207

Pennsylvania

4.95/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Had alongside the base beer. 2013 vintages for both.

A - Quite dark, has a little tan head. It looks a little darker and a little better than the base beer.

S - Smells like some sort of vanilla/brownie mixture. Incredible. There's just a hint of the barrel, but it's nice because it lets the vanilla and chocolatey aromas shine through. I have no idea how this is the same beer as the non-barrel aged version.

T - Just like the smell. Loads of vanilla and fudge. It's truly a dessert beer, but at the same time I could've had the entire bottle. The bourbon barrel is just barely there, cutting the sweetness just a bit. It's as sweet as I'd like this type of beer to be. When it's around room temp, I get a little alcohol, but very light and only when it's very warm. Hides it extremely well.

M - Smooth, rich, creamy, no burn from the alcohol. It's almost perfect. I think if it was just a tiny bit fuller it would've gotten a 5.

O - I'm so happy this lived up to the hype. Took a lot to get, but I think it was worthwhile. One of the best beers I've had.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2013 16:05:56 | More by nrs207
Photo of vinny21bal
vinny21bal

Illinois

4.95/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I can't say much more then this is the best Stout out there if you get the chance to try it. The nose, mouth, flavor, everything is almost flawless. We opened it with a year of age on it and it was amazing. I was very pleased with it. And $50.00 is a steal to try this beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2013 04:03:35 | More by vinny21bal
Photo of TheBronze
TheBronze

Washington

4.96/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

2013 bottle #216 of 711
Opened on 9/14/13 and shared with three friends.
Poured into a Hill Farmstead raised snifter.

A - Pours dark and viscous as you would expect. Little to no head with slight bubbles forming. It was hard to spend much time on the appearance because of…

S - The smell. Dear Dark Lord, the smell. Toasted marshmallows soaked in bourbon, vanilla, toffee, carmel, chocolate. I waited to take my first sip for some time. The experience of smelling this beer was just so enjoyable, I didn’t want it to pass.

T - Taste mostly follows the nose but the marshmallow is not as present. Vanilla leads but is well integrated. A viscous, creamy blend of vanilla, chocolate, toffee, carmel, bourbon with very subtle features of the base Dark Lord pleasantly present in the background to remind you of the beer’s origins. Decadent, but by no means over the top. I could have easily and happily handled at least half the bottle of this if not more. The stout is somewhat sweet, but again the sweetness is simply a feature of it and is not dominant. Just delicious.

M - Lightly carbonated and full bodied. Coats the mouth nicely, and there is nothing cloying about this. Very smooth, and easy to sip and savor. Alcohol is well hidden. A very full bodied stout.

O – This is probably the best beer I’ve ever had. It is hard for beers such as this to live up to the hype, but I must say that this one does. I even sealed the empty bottle overnight just so I could smell it again the next day. I certainly hope to enjoy it again someday.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2013 18:53:33 | More by TheBronze
Photo of masterchiefMD
masterchiefMD

Maryland

4.97/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

04-29-2008 23:06:10 | More by masterchiefMD
Photo of atrus138
atrus138

Kentucky

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

Note: Some of this is copied from my review of the original Dark Lord, since it shares a lot as far as appearance and mouthfeel go.

Everytime I've described a beer as looking like motor oil has been a lie. THIS is a beer that looks like motor oil. No head whatsoever. This beast is far too dense for a head. It has its own gravity and pulls any head into itself. The glass is absolutely stained yellow after drinking. Epic. As far as smell goes, I've never been more excited to drink a beer after smelling this. It's rare to smell a beer so aggressive in its sweetness. However, despite the extreme sweetness of the smell, it's not TOO sweet. It's more of a naturally sweet smell. Taste is absolutely delicious. For me, it was a glimpse of heaven. Pure sweetness. Everything I could hope for in a beer. Chocolate, coffee, vanilla, brown sugar, and dark fruits. Sheer bliss. After swallowing, it's like my entire digestive system up to and including my stomach is coated with this stuff. Normally, with such a huge beer, I'm a bit more conservative with dropping a 5, but I would have this anytime I can.

This is a totally, and in my opinion, much better beer than Dark Lord, and that is saying something. The scores are the same for each, but the 5s on the smell and taste on these have more teeth to them.

Serving type: on-tap

06-14-2008 00:46:34 | More by atrus138
Photo of FtownThrowDown
FtownThrowDown

Ohio

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

On tap at DLD'09.

I've been holding out hope that this would reappear for this years event after having missed it at last years.
Pours very dark brown almost black with a nice quarter inch of head forming on the pour. Smell is vanilla. Check that. The vanilla in this beer is so decadent and inviting I can't put it into words. Taste is among the best beers I have every had. Very nice creme vanilla in the flavor, plenty of roastiness and coffee show up underneath. This is a monstrosity of a beer. Incredibly smooth and velvety. This was easily among the top beers of the entire weekend. This beer is right up my alley. I could drink a whole lot of this stuff. No sign of the abv in this. Exceptional beer that I could drink everyday.

Serving type: on-tap

04-28-2009 21:40:50 | More by FtownThrowDown
Photo of nrbw23
nrbw23

Ohio

4.97/5  rDev +5.3%
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!

Serving type: on-tap

04-29-2009 18:32:42 | More by nrbw23
Photo of coldmeat23
coldmeat23

Oklahoma

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

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: approx 45 - 50 degrees
VINTAGE 2009 (Had @ DLD)

Like it's brothers, this one is also black. Less than a finger of foam forms the head and quickly disappears. It leaves a few bubbles around the edge, but that's about it. No real lacing to speak of, but the slick oiliness still coats the glass.

Hey whadda' ya' know? It smells like vanilla!
Seriously though, the vanilla scent practically jumps out of the glass and grabs you. It's wonderful. It's not an artficial scent either, it smells like true vanilla extract, as it should. This mixes in with the nice roasted malt scents. The large chocolate and Intelligentsia coffee notes are still here, but they are dwarfed by the vanilla presence. Light hints of bourbon-ey oak are detectable. Dark fruits, molasses and caramel can be found, if you look.
This one should get a rating of 6 for the smell.

Oh yeah, that's the stuff. Man, is this good!
The smooth, tasty vanilla just melds with the bold chocolate and coffee flavors and creates something amazing. I don't believe that I can describe it accurately. It's that good.
That which I found to be perfect has been made more than perfect.
This one should get a rating of 7 for the taste.

The mouthfeel loses nothing with this one. It is still that huge, rich, thick feeling. Beautiful.

3Floyds have taken their own perfect creation and made it rich and decadent. This is amazing. While it would best serve as a dessert or special occasion brew, I wouldn't be able to stay out of it, if I had it at home.
This might be the only brew that I drink, next DLD.

Serving type: on-tap

05-01-2009 18:10:58 | More by coldmeat23
Photo of abrand
abrand

Illinois

4.97/5  rDev +5.3%
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....

Serving type: on-tap

04-26-2010 03:09:40 | More by abrand
Photo of TStron
TStron

Minnesota

4.97/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

04-26-2010 03:40:23 | More by TStron
Photo of raveskdr
raveskdr

Virginia

4.98/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

05-04-2012 14:04:40 | More by raveskdr
Photo of brdc
brdc

Wisconsin

5/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

04-28-2008 14:55:14 | More by brdc
Photo of pwoods
pwoods

Ohio

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

Sampled at DLD '09.

One of the best beers I've ever had.

Pours completely jet black, thick as hell. A bit of a head stays for a little bit. Decent lacing in the snifter. Tons on vanilla in the nose but it's not too much and doesn't get in the way. How they did this, I don't know. Great roasted and burnt malts with a very smooth rich coffee aroma. Sweet but not overwhelming. Taste is outstanding. The vanilla plays so well with everything. Lots of coffee and caramel with nice barrel aging and a very complex alcohol tone. Alcohol is surprisingly well hidden, more of a friendly taste without any sting. Body is as full as it gets yet not cloying. Carbonation was just strong enough to make everything very smooth and velvety. It drinks every well for as big as it is but it's not something to be taken lightly, lol :D

Serving type: on-tap

04-27-2009 00:58:02 | More by pwoods
Photo of jdflyer06
jdflyer06

Ohio

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

Had this on tap at DLD '09. Drawing a bit from memory and from the fact that its probably still hiding in my mouth somewhere.

A: Black. Light does not penetrate this bad boy. Small bit of head, but nothing substantial and it doesn't stick around. It really does look like an oil slick once touched by human lips.

S: The dark fruits, cherry and alcohol that are present in the standard DL give way to the vanilla and smooth bourbon notes here. Very nice indeed.

M: Smooth, silky and full bodied. It's rich and creamy and finishes nicely with far less carbonation than the standard DL.

T: Plenty of vanilla to be sure. The dark fruits and cherry are not quite there but show up after it has warmed up. I would love for them to bottle this one as well. However, I doubt they ever will. Its sweet and rich and would be great with a slice of cheesecake. This beer was second only to the Canadian Breakfast Stout also tapped at DLD.

Serving type: on-tap

04-27-2009 02:31:42 | More by jdflyer06
Photo of mynie
mynie

Indiana

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

This is the 08 vintage, aged a whole year.

Here's what my notes say:

"God's cum. With Vanilla."

That's stupidly vulgar. Even when I was in high school I wouldn't have thought it was clever. It's the kind of thing a frat boy might say if he were trying to sound hilariously deep. By all rights, I should have tossed it out and written up some better notes.

But here's the thing--it was written in earnest. This beer is vulgar and it is divine, simultaneously the most pornographic and heavenly foodstuff to have ever entered my mouth. This beer is so great it makes even the most juvenile metaphor seem poetic.

There's nothing else for me to say about this beer. I'm not a poet. It was life affirming, how about that? It made me happy to be not dead, and it gave me a reason to keep on living because I will someday get another chance to drink it.

Serving type: on-tap

04-27-2009 15:38:01 | More by mynie
Photo of Steamhead
Steamhead

Kentucky

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

Dark Lord Day 2009

This beer alone makes the trip to Munster, Indiana worthwhile. After VBDL '08 being very close to perfection, I came to the conclusion this year that if I had a true number one beer in the world then this would be it. Visually, it shares the same distinctive blackness of Dark Lord. Aromatically, though, instead of the roasted Intelligentsia coffee notes, it exhibits a creamy, old-fashioned vanilla milkshake note that I associate with top porters. It was so pleasing and intellectually stimulating that I just sat in amazement at this beer in the Three Floyds brewpub. VBDL was even more intriguing than I remembered. The decadent, palate-coating goodness...the unmistakable weight...the textural mystery of Dark Lord was all there, but deeper, more mellow, and indescribably subtle. The wood tannin has integrated perfectly into the structure. The finish just goes on and on and on into a silent resolution that this is one of the benchmarks of modern brewing. Few other examples could sit side by side with VBDL and take one's attention away from this giant. It is inspiring to see Three Floyds go one step further in perfecting the Dark Lord recipe. This beer carries 13% alcohol the way a top-notch vintage of Lafite-Rothschild carries 13% and that is to say with an impossible juxtaposition of rich, thick extract and ethereal lightness. It is quite a feat that I feel privileged to witness. I marked Dark Lord Day 2010 down in my calendar.

Serving type: on-tap

04-30-2009 10:03:14 | More by Steamhead
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
brewdlyhooked13

Ohio

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

Appearance - um, dark...opaque. Seems a small crime to serve this kind of beer in a plastic cup, but when you're surrounded by 4000 of your closest friends, whaddya gonna do? Minimal lacing, no cover and just a scant presence of dark mocha bubbling on the collar.

Aroma - intense vanilla and roasty malts. Wow. We purchased several oak and vanilla samples and you could always tell which one was the vanilla by smell alone.

Taste - big vanilla blending with the dark roasted, chocolatey malts.. the essence of the bean is fantastic. The swallow is very roasty, with espresso notes and some smooth abv as well. Molasses and licorice on the aftertaste. The finish is long, heady, and delicious. Feel free to lash the dark lord with vanilla beans whenever you please.

Mouthfeel - thick, oily, bring it on.

Drinkability - what a fantastic brew. Megathanks to Robert the Lithuanian for the righteous hookups. May your new Beer & Sweat glass enjoy many fills of fine brew.

Serving type: on-tap

05-01-2009 02:04:39 | More by brewdlyhooked13
Photo of Damian
Damian

Massachusetts

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

Drank on-tap at Dark Lord Day 2009
Served in a gobelet

The beer poured a super dense and oily, absolute pitch black with a small, caramel-colored ring of lace.

The aroma was simply breathtaking. I know the whole "If I could give a score of 6, I would" phrase is rather cliched, but I cannot remember a time that I would request this figure more than right now. Ultra smooth, sweet and rich with an in-your-face aroma of bourbon-soaked, Madagascar vanilla beans. Slightly boozy. Coffee and brown sugar notes appeared as well.

The taste was every bit as impressive as the aroma. Sweet vanilla was instantly recognizable and it dominated the flavor profile. Dark chocolate and coffee notes were apparent. Lots of bourbon and sweet cream too. Brown sugar was also noticeable. Roasted malts came through in the lingering, oaky finish.

The mouthfeel was outstanding. Ultra heavy and rich. Super creamy, frothy and oily with a fine, mild carbonation.

Drinkability was terrific. The beer was incredibility smooth and flavorful yet quite sweet. Originally, I was planning on giving it a "4" in this category. That is, until I found out that this monster clocks in at a whopping 15% ABV. Any beer that disguises its alcohol content so well deserves nothing less than a perfect score.

Flavor wise, I slightly preferred the regular oak-aged version to this because of its more noticeable complexities. That being said, I simply could not find a single fault in this beer either. Vanilla Bean Aged Dark Lord was definitely the icing on the cake to a truly memorable time at Dark Lord Day 2009.

Serving type: on-tap

05-03-2009 18:32:13 | More by Damian
Photo of ThaBobfather
ThaBobfather

Ohio

5/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

06-01-2009 19:33:34 | More by ThaBobfather
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

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

Thanks to Brad for sharing this at his tasting on Saturday!

2010 vintage, served side by side with Dark Lord and Oak Aged Dark Lord.

Consumed again at DLD 2011.

Vanilla Bean Dark Lord pours a near jet black, with hints of brown visible at the upper edges of the glass when held to the light. Head and lacing are somewhat subdued, but given the serving medium, I couldn't ask for more. Ok, here's where I was floored. The aroma was perhaps the most distinguishable and awesome smell I have ever received from a beer. Huge vanilla - and authentic. This beer smells like someone is baking fresh flan or crème brûlée inside the glass. Fantastic. It's incredibly rich, yet remarkably smooth and easy to drink. Though it is sweet, I couldn't see this becoming cloying as it is balanced so well and frankly, done to perfection. Alcohol is barely noticeable. I'd love to get some more of this. This is one of the best beers I have ever tasted.

Serving type: on-tap

05-17-2010 17:16:24 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of Dreadnaught33
Dreadnaught33

District of Columbia

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

OK, let me preface this review by saying, I did not take notes on this, but I have had it twice: At Dark Lord Day 2010, and at Pizzaria Paradiso in Georgetown (DC) for a Three Floyds Dinner.

This is the best beer I've ever had, and probably ever will have. I will travel anywhere to get this if it's available, and would trade anything if they ever bottle this.

The appearance is perfect, jet black, very dark lingering head, lots of lacing.

Smell is crazy, it is like every good thing in a barrel aged RIS beer thrown together, with huge vanilla, chocolate, malt, alcohol, etc. all at once. It's the type of beer you know will be huge, and you hope it even comes close to tasting how good it smells. I kept a plastic cup from dark lord day, and seriously it smelled of the aroma of this beer for weeks, that is how pungent and beautiful the smell is.

The taste fulfills all expectations of the smell and much more. Massive flavors of vanilla, oak, malt, chocolate, coffee, alcohol burn and more go on in some sort of harmony that is hard to understand. I know i am a guy who likes big flavors in general, but this is unreal. Seriously unreal. This is the type of thing that makes you feel unworthy but at the same time so glad you have the privilege to have this divine liquid. This is the type of thing you do not forget.

Mouthfeel is absolutely awesome. Completely covers your mouth and throat. It lingers so long it's unbelievable. You could taste it minutes after you had it, it seems you could get up take a nice walk and come back and i'd still be there.

Drinkability I gave a 4 because this thing is just huge. There is no way you could even try to have two of these next to each other because its just too much to take in that quantity. That being said, if I had to pick one beer only to have forever, this (at this point) is it. << Edit. I will give this a 5 now because I crave this beer all the time. If It was at a bar, I would only drink this. Therefor, It's getting a perfect 5 from me.

Serving type: on-tap

08-30-2010 00:47:02 | More by Dreadnaught33
Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
100 out of 100 based on 720 ratings.