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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.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

272 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 272
Hads: 1,341
Avg: 4.64
pDev: 9.48%
Wants: 4,053
Gots: 236 | FT: 9
Brewed by:
3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Indiana, United States | website

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 272 | Hads: 1,341
Photo of dboon
4.88/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle # 766. Dark brown pour with a tan head. Coco puff nose. Vanilla, vanilla, vanilla. This beer is freakin’ awesome with all kinds of chocolate, caramel, and smooth roasted malt goodness. Sweet and delicious with a great body and mouthfeel. Outstanding....

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Photo of Kramerbarthomer
4.88/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

'13 Vintage: Serious signs of infection with sour milk taste completely overwhelming the palate. Will re-review when I try another vintage.

Re-scored based on my second taste of an uninfected bottle. Just be careful when trading for the '13 vintage.

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Photo of Deuane
4.89/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

BIG thanks to Kegatron for getting our group the hookup at DLD.

A-Much like Dark Lord with a deep black/brown body and a reddish tinted dark brown head that reduced to a thin veil and left spotty lace.

S-My verbatim comment upon the initial whiff...This smells just like my grandma's meat and raisin pie WITH vanilla! Wow, this is so nice.

T-Mmmm, mmm. The vanilla really smooths things out and takes the harsh edge off. Lots of vanilla, dark chocolate, brown sugar, caramel and dark roast.

M-Heavy bodied but amazingly smooth and viscous. Long lasting flavours.

D-Off the hook! This takes DL and ramps it up a notch, Without question one of the most tasty, drinkable and interesting beers I have had. Amazing!

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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 movingtrain
4.9/5  rDev +5.6%
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 jzeilinger
4.9/5  rDev +5.6%

A - Pours dark, dark black in color with a very thin toffee colored lacing ring.

S - Vanilla, some sweet caramel, dark chocolate malt, some bourbon effervescence, and hints of oak.

T - Oak, vanilla, sweet chocolate molasses, bourbon, and moderate heat in the back of the throat.

M - Thick, full bodied, slippery, velvet on the tongue and a decent amount of heat.

O - Despite the hype and set the ratings aside, great beer, hands down.

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Photo of Urbancaver
4.9/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I, like dreadnaught33, am writing this review considerably after having had it. I took some basic notes so the review is a combination of notes and memory. Poured at Dark Lord Day 2010. Got in right before it kicked. Pours pitch black much like dark lord but with more head. Rich and thick and pretty. Smells sulime. Tns of vanilla and oak. Te bourbon is heavy on the nose and overpowers most of the malt complexity. Sme dark fruit and hints of roast peak through, tastes sweet, thick, and vanilla strong. The oak presence is secondary t massive vanilla on my palette. There are to s of other things going on in this beer as well. Dark fruits, roasted malts, some sweet chocolate and possibly caramel as well. Very complex and very vert tasty

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Photo of punkrkr27
4.9/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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

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Photo of Resuin
4.91/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a snifter. 2015 vintage, drinking pretty fresh.

Pours Blake with a tiny tan head. Smells big vanilla, oak, dark chocolate, a bit of heat. Taste is vanilla, milk chocolate, big marshmallow, light oak. Really thick and creamy, velvety body. No heat in the body, super smooth. Incredibly balanced.

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

Never thought I would see this in California, but, yeah, the FW Invitational sure did deliver to say the least.

After the mad dash to the booth, we chilled for about 15-20 minutes before getting our pour, a black sludge with a super thin cherry cola head on the top of it 1/8" in depth that didn't stay around for too long, but the colors were amazing.

Vanilla bean, chocolate, bourbon, oak, these are the smells you want, all delivered in a huge Dark Lord kind of way.

Taste, more of the same, tons of sweetness, no doubt to drown out the massivity of the beer. Every aspect of it is big, like Black Tuesday or Chocolate Rain. You get a little more of the bittersweet dark fruit aspect on this though, the dividing line between RIS and the roastier American double stouts. Any coffee like roast aspect is really left to drown in the high sugar content here. Bourbon is present, but the vanilla and malt heft keep it from becoming a too hot concoction.

A slight tobacco/ash/mild leather feeling in the mouthfeel, that is only so slight. Low carbonation, which I think is just right for this beer.

I think this is significantly better than regular or even the brandy barrel dark lord. For me, the vanilla was really what uplifted this beer into one of the greatest of the greats from an already great brewery. Phenomenal stuff.

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

Poured from the taps at 3F's, DLD-08. The liquid is opaque black, with lots of sediment and mild carbonation. Not much of a chocolate mocha head and minimal lace.

The smell is just beautiful, mildly sweet and creamy vanilla beans in a thick stout of dark chocolate and coffee.

The taste is exceptional, really a smooth and easy drinking big beer. The flavor of DL aged with Vanilla is very good indeed. I might even like it more then the original and Oak Aged.

The mouthfeel is big and thick not too sticky but the sediment does not help, the carbonation is trapped in the thick liquid just trying to escape.

The drinkability is very very good, I thought this one would be good but did not think it would be this good.

Prosit und Zum Wohl, MK

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

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

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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 khumbard
4.92/5  rDev +6%
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!

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Photo of tpd975
4.92/5  rDev +6%
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 DaftCaskBC
4.92/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Black as night with minimal head.

S: Vanilla, marshmallows, bourbon.

T: Bourbon, marshmallows, vanilla, candy, toffee, caramel, chocolate.

M: thick with low carbonation.

O: magic in a glass. It could use more carbonation, however. Very smooth considering the alcohol content.

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Photo of habanosdarklord
4.92/5  rDev +6%
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.

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Photo of Rau71
4.92/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Tried this on tap at the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest on 6/9/12.
Pours a dark black with almost zero head. Smells like Vanilla and a hint of the bourbon barrel. Tastes like dessert. Wonderful smoothness of Vanilla and Bourbon on the mouth. Thick and creamy beer, I wanted to make an Ice Cream float with it. at 15% there was ZERO alcohol flavor or feel which is an amazing testament to how great this beer is.

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

Had this on DLD 2010 - it was by far the best beer I tried there - and I tried both Pliney's, 09 and 10 DLs and a heap of other beers.
Taste - amazingly complex, with the vanilla and bourbon coming through to me really well. very balanced and hard to figure out what a lot of the tastes were initially - got better as it warmed :)
Pour - not sure, got it handed to me from someone else who had had it a minute or two
Color - oil
Mouthfeel - very thick, coated the throat/mouth (like DL does). Definitely a sipping beer.

overall - way better than DL in my opinion. Can't wait to get it on tap again next year! :)

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Photo of justforrazors
4.93/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2013 Vintage, bottle 428/711

Split with my friend Keith who attended DLD with me this year. Served in a FFF mini-snifter. Reviewed from notes.

A- Upon pouring, a mocha head quickly appears and dies down within 30 seconds, leaving a ring of foam around the rim of the glass. The color is opaque black, thick like motor oil.

S- The first thing I can smell is a very strong bourbon barrel presence, but it is quickly joined by vanilla, coffee, and a sweet molasses like aroma. Excellent aroma, it definitely invites you to take a drink.

T- I don't think it would be possible to use any more descriptors for this beer. Black cherries, prunes, vanilla, followed by some tobacco and caramel with bourbon strong on the finish. There is a lingering sweetness that is very familiar from regular dark lord on the back end, and surprisingly little to no alcohol bite, even with the bourbon flavor being so apparent. There is no detectable hop bitterness.

M- Silky smooth, yet very thick at the same time. This is definitely a sipper, but it is very easy to drink. Low-medium carbonation is right on for the style. The flavors linger and change over the incredibly long finish, definitely over a minute later I can still taste the beer.

O- This is a very enjoyable, incredibly complex beer. I'm glad I hadn't drank anything before this, because it was such a pleasure to really get into this beer and enjoy the full range of flavors you can get from it. The bourbon is there on the nose and finish, but the vanilla really outshines it, at least in my opinion. I'm sure that will die down with time, although I think this is simply amazing as it is right now. It was an honor to drink this beer, so very glad I was able to score one this year!

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Photo of AnotherBrick00
4.93/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Fairly certain this is brewed from molasses aged in oak chips and I mean that in the best possible way. It is jet black, rich and deeply flavorful. Really good cold, but much much better warm. Sweet smelling, but not sweet on the palate. This has about as much depth as I could possibly perceive and probably more. You know if you will like it before you try it so there is not much more for me to say.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.94/5  rDev +6.5%
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

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Photo of Stevedore
4.94/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Was able to try the 2013 vintage of this thanks to Dustin at a whale tasting 7/13/2013. Poured into a BCBS snifter, probably 5 ounces.

Basically this beer smelled like bourbon chocolate marshmallows but in liquid form. It has such a strong, pungent aroma that makes me smile. There is a bit of the barrel here but for the most part it is a delicious smelling bourbon marshmallow.

It pours a pitch black, incredibly thick and viscous body that comes with a minimal head & retention. Not a ton of lacing.

The flavour is straight up sweet chocolate marshmallows with some bourbon and hints of coffee in the background. This beer is not subtle at all. I wouldn't call it complex but everything it does, it goes beyond what anyone would expect even of Three Floyds. Insanely rich and savoury but not necessarily instant diabeetus like the regular Dark Lord is, if that makes sense. Its super sweet but it comes together in a good way.

Mouthfeel is perfect. Smooth, rich, roasty and carbonated well enough. Aftertaste is a slick bourbony marshmallow feel that makes me smile.

Overall, this beer gets super hyped for a reason which I now understand completely. It is so ridiculously unbalanced and complex, it's awesome. I don't have the trade ammo and it probably isn't worth all the craziness surrounding it but it is an incredible beer, probably the best imperial stout I've ever had the chance to drink. And that includes the BCS Rare we drank at the same tasting.

Re-review: the 4 of us bought into a single 2012 vintage bottle of Bourbon Barrel-Aged Dark Lord aged in Vanilla Beans. Bottle # 58/934. So its about a year and half old now. Poured into an unlabeled snifter today, 12/8/2013.

Still pours a perfect opaque black body, with a nice mocha collar that sticks around with good retention. And well, the nose is still intense 100% bourbon chocolate marshmallows, one of the best smelling beers I've ever had. Its not the most complex, but it is the most incredible nose out there. And of course the flavour is incredible- the vanilla does cover up some of the complexity of the base beer, but it replaces it with bourbon chocolate marshmallows that is just so sweet yet not the type of sweet that Grey Monday brings; its easily drinkable and so enjoyable. Mouthfeel is definitely full bodied, silky and smooth drinking without much discernible heat. Again, this is a beer that is phenomenal and one of the best I've ever had. I can't believe I've had this beer twice in the span of less than a year, but it is well worth it. The main difference between the 2012 and 2013 vintage is that the bourbon is a bit more muted in the 2012 vintage compared to the fresh version. This beer is probably still best drank fresh, but it will certainly hold up over time if cellared properly. As before, I understand the hype and trade value behind this beer 100%. Thank you Matt, for being generous enough to send this one to our group.

Re-review: 2014 vintage poured into a FFF/DMC snifter 6/21/2014. Essentially, I am finding this year's vintage to be significantly sweeter than the last two vintages. There is more of the base Dark Lord and less of the vanilla bean contribution. The vanilla bean comes out more as it warms up, but even then it's still a shadow in comparison to 2012 and 2013. I felt the same way when I drank this at this year's Dark Lord Day, and I am now able to confirm this opinion with the pour I got tonight. While I won't tweak the scoring here, I certainly would not recommend trading for this year's if you've had this one in years past. Honestly, if I were to change the scoring, it'd be something like a 4.4/5, just a tick above regular Dark Lord. I'd even argue that the '14 Brandy Dark Lord we drank right after this beer was more interesting. That's how disappointing this year's vintage was compared to the last 2 years, with 2013 being the superior vintage.

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Photo of Jd2391
4.94/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Figure the best beer to write my first full review!

2013 bottle #344 of 711

A: Pitch black motor oil with no head at all

S: Vanilla punch with chocolate and marshmallow

T: Here is where it lives up to the hype. Amazing taste. Sweet vanilla chocolate bourbon marshmallow. Get the base dark lord beer in the background which was just okay when I had it but then multiplies that quality of the taste by 200 percent with the addition of vanilla and bourbon.

M: Is thick as you would expect from any high quality stout

O: Amazing beer and very lucky to have won with my golden ticket. Just hope this won't be the last time that I get to try this amazing beer.

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Photo of vinny21bal
4.94/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 272 ratings.