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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: 21.12%
Wants: 3,912
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 265 | Hads: 1,299
Photo of Treebs
4.42/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml waxed bottle, 552/934, served in a Deschutes snifter. Big thanks to Andrew (nasty31) for the share.

A: Pours a jet black color with a nice sized dark mocha head forming on the pour. It recedes a medium sized ring and leaves some splotchy lace along the way.

S: Light bourbon up front, but the sweet vanilla pushes right through that. A great toasted malt presence follows that with some light milk chocolate on the finish.

T: Instead of bourbon up front the vanilla is the star here (obviously). There is a mild background bourbon that is incredibly smooth. As Dark Lord is already a pretty sweet beer (especially the 2011) I felt the added vanilla bean made this border on cloyingly sweet. Thankfully there was enough roast and dark chocolate on the finish to cut through some of the sweetness.

M: Heavy bodied with a light chew to it. Teeth coating sweetness with a medium to low carbonation. Definite warming as it goes down.

O: I think if the vanilla bean was slightly restrained it would have been an even bigger homerun. That being said, this was absolutely delicious and I would not hesitate to try this again. The 4-5 ounce pour I received was just perfect.

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Photo of kbutler1
4.42/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Draft. Finally found my notes for DLD and getting these in to review! Draft. Poured into a plastic cup which I then put in my Founders KBS tulip glass. Poured straight black with a slight dark tan head. The initial aroma is the vanilla followed by a sublte sweetness and dark malts. The taste is amazing IMO. The vanilla is so smooth in this one. Dark chocolate notes as well. Love to see it bottled. The only thing to date to compare to this was the BCBVS that I had at Great Taste.

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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 SpeedwayJim
4.43/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Denise for this one. Side-by-side with all the other BA Dark Lords. Bottle 650/934 into a snifter. From notes.

No head, spotty lace, pitch black, with big, oily legs.

Notes of bourbon, vanilla, mint, and marshmallow. Very lively in the nose. Fresh too.

Sweet plum, vanilla, bourbon, chocolate, sweet prune, fudge, smores. Sugary finish. Delicious! Not at all hot either.

Medium bodied with low carbonation. Oily and smooth with a bit of heat going down. Sticky, lingering aftertaste. Complements the flavor perfectly.

This was the best of the 8 variations for me. Amazing taste that wasn't too heavy with a fantastic, clean, fresh, enticing aroma.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.43/5  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.


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Photo of csaxon128
4.44/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pretty disappointing with this. Very little vanilla in the nose just lots of sweetness and barrel character.

Taste: Lots and lots of sweetness with a pretty thin mouthfeel. Marshmellows. Glad I got to try it.

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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 FondueVoodoo
4.46/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Rutager for opening this up as part of a bottle share. 2013 vintage (492/711).

A: Pours completely black with about 1 finger of tan coloured hear which quickly dissipated.

S: Huge upfront notes of vanilla, burnt toffee and sweet sugars - similar to a toasted marshmallow. Background notes of milk chocolate, sweet malts and molasses.

T: Follows the scent with vanilla, toffee and toasted marshmallows. Notes of dark dried fruit of plums and cherries in the background.

M: Thick and oily body with minal to non-existent carbonation.

O: This was an amazing dessert beer and while sweet, it wasn't offputting in any way. Perfect to share with friends in front of a fire on a cold winter night.

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Photo of brownbeer
4.47/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the brewpub and I think it would be the 09 vintage. The beer is midnight black in the glass with no head at all. The taste and aroma still has the goodness of Dark Lord, meaning the burnt chocolate, coffee, and dark red fruit aspect is still there, just with an added blast of vanilla, smoothing everything out. It had a nice and chewy mouthfeel, and though the carbonation was low, it had just enough. I tried it next to the oak-aged, which I wasn't a huge fan of, but this one I liked a lot. They should bottle or growler some since everyone puts up with so much hassle to try it.

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Photo of iadler
4.47/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to immobilisme for bringing this over to our recent tasting. Bottle #606/934.

A- Pours a standard DL pitch black color with a one finger dark mocha head that leaves minimal lacing behind.

S- Rich fudge, bourbon, vanilla syrup, with hints of wood, burnt caramel, raisins and plumb. Judging from the aroma, I'm assuming this is going to be fairly sweet.

T- Rich, sweet and decadent with Chocolate malt balls, uncooked brownie batter, vanilla, cream, smooth bourbon, caramel and raisins. Bordering on being too sweet, but the bourbon helps keep the sweetness in check.

M- Thick syrupy body with a low to medium carbonation. The abv. is nowhere to be seen.

O- A liquid form of dessert. Tons of chocolate and vanilla mingled with bourbon makes this a very flavorful beer. While very sweet, this was not as sugary as the regular DL. A bit too sweet to have more than a few ounces, but still one of my favorites of this year's BA treatments.

Thanks again, Todd!

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Photo of Mojua
4.47/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Exactly as advertised...a bourbon vanilla marshmallow bomb. Smells absolutely incredible...but it's totally one dimensionally sweet. Like a Bruery stout with more body. Glad I had it, wouldn't chase it down again.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.5/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a semi-transparent plastic cup)

A- This beer had an inky black body that stains the cup with every slosh and no sign of carbonation or light is visible. There is a bit of a dark tan head that fades before it makes it to my hand. The thin ring of dark tan head last for the beer.

S- The first smell is like a black molasses custard with a soft fusel heat at the finish. There is a nice black roasted malt nose with hints of tar, and charcoal. The vanilla comes through softer and has a slight sweetness to it.

T- The big black bitter inky taste of black malt has notes of black-strap molasses without the metallic or sweet notes, tar, and black prunes. The finish is has a nice bitterness with a good amount of fusel alcohol taste. After a few sips I notice the vanilla bean that taste a bit sweeter and does a nice job of off-setting the dark malt flavors.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel that is sticky in texture but thins out nicely with the alcohol heat at the finish.

D- This monster is all dark lord with some nice accents from the vanilla bean. I don't think it would be possible to have the vanilla flavor overpower the beer. This is a young beer and the fusel alcohol is pretty hot, and I think age could really help this beer get cleaned up.

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Photo of Rutager
4.5/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Rodkin for this long time want. 2013 bottle (492/711) drank with the 2013 base beer and shared between 6 at last night's tasting.

Appearance. Pours thick and black with just a ring of light brown head.

Smell. Big vanilla and sweet chocolate. Much sweeter nose than the base beer. Marshmallows (maybe toasted marshmallows), toffee, and a touch of molasses. Had my nose in this one for a while and kept coming back for more.

Taste. Sweet toffee, vanilla and marshmallows, light amount of cherries and dark fruit, and burnt sugar. Sweet, but not like syrup. The level of sweetness goes really well with the flavours.

Mouthfeel. Full body, low carbonation, a little bit sticky.

Overall. Great beer. Very sweet with flavours reminiscent of candy, a great desert. This was shared between 6 of us and was about the right amount. I couldn't imagine drinking even half a bottle to myself. Would love to have it again but certainly won't be seeking out another for what it trades for.

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Photo of Etan
4.5/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle (2012) shared graciously by Oscar and Caitlin at their Stout Night. Thanks a bunch!

A: Pours black with some amber hues.

S: Lots of bourbon, rich chocolate, and palpable vanilla notes. Very smooth.

T: Booze-laced white chocolate, bourbon, thickly sweet vanilla, marshmallow, caramel, raisins.

M: Decently thick with fine carbonation.

O: Wow, this is an incredible step up from regular DL and my favorite barreled variant so far. Very smooth, rich, and sweet, but not in an overpowering way.

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Photo of cradke
4.5/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pitch black. A thin head around the edge. Very little carbonation.

Smell: Roasty dark notes with super sweet bourbon. Almost like smelling toasted marshmallow smores.

Taste: Very bourbon forward. Sweet. Integrated very well.

Mouthfeel: A bit thinner than I would have expected or hoped for. Spreads very well across the palate.

Overall: This was a very good beer. Was this a world beater? Na uh. Extremely well integrated and wonderful bourbon notes, but lacking in complexity compared to the Port BA Dl and not as well integrated or as BCS. Sidebar: Cuvee de Port BA DL+BVDL+BCBCS was without a doubt the best beer I have ever had. Hands down.

Notes:2012 edition, Bottle #413/934

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Photo of Flight317
4.51/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

14'. It was really good it was just overwhelmingly sweet. I like vanilla in my stouts for sure. It's likely my favorite adjunct. This was just a bit much. If I somehow came across another bottle I'd trade it away in a heartbeat for another couple whales I'd been hunting.

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Photo of badbeer
4.52/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Black with a tan head that does a decent job sticking around. Aroma is of vanilla, molasses, only a touch of bourbon, licorice, and caramel. Taste has plenty of vanilla in it, bourbon is hidden pretty well, some syrupy flavors, and dark fruit. Full bodied with light carbonation. I liked this better than the Oak Aged Dark Lord this year, seemed a lot smoother.

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Photo of tarheels86
4.52/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

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Photo of Raziel313
4.52/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

So finally knocking this off my beer bucket list.
Look: Black, oily. No head decent retention

Smell: Very small hints of the barrel character. Marshmallow and dark chocolate. Roasted malts.

Taste: Tastes like marshmallows a bit too sweet but not cloying

Feel: Nice thick mouth feel. Wish it was still a little thicker.

Overall: Regular dark lord definitely is above and beyond sweet. After trying the regular I knew that the barrel would add what the regular is missing, which, is balance on the sweetness and some more dryness to it. Now clearly like all beer hyped whales this just doesn't live up to the perfect beer in the whole world reputation that it has. It is however a great world class brew and amongst my top beers I have ever had. All in all I am glad to have simply tried this and happier to never give up as many beers as I did for this one ever again.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.52/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Sampled 2012 and 2013 side by side. Will review the 2012 vintage. Pours a thick brownish black. The nose is loaded with vanilla bean paired with deep dark fruits, currants, chocolate, berries, and boozy bourbon. The vanilla bean manages to stand above the rest of the flavors which is impressive considering how bold of a beer Dark Lord is. The taste is very sweet like the base beer, but the barrel aging and addition of vanilla take it to a much different level. I find the base beer to be a bit too sweet, but when the sweetness is tempered with bourbon and vanilla, it just works. There is still a fair amount of boozieness, but it is tame compared to the base. Mouthfeel is thick and mildly carbonated. Overall, this beer is very good. I don't know that it meets the monumental level of hype it has surrounding it, but it is delicious nonetheless.

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Photo of madtowndmb1
4.52/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tried this at The Great Taste,

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

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Photo of coffygrinder
4.53/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was great. It pours jet black. You can smell the sweetness off the back with hints of vanilla. Coffee as well as chocolate also show in this beer. Thick mouth feel, you can almost chew on this beer. Very sweet, I kinda wish that we let this beer age a lot longer but it is what it is. The vanilla shows on the back end behind the sweetness. It is a beer that I am glad that I shared with a friend, I think a whole bottle by myself might be a little much.

Overall it was a good beer. It is super sweet, thick RIS. Something that you want to open with friends unless you like to hord your beer. Share it with some other BA's it will make for a fun night

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Photo of BWCampbell
4.53/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours like motor oil with a khaki head that quickly disappears. Smells of soy sauce, vanilla sugar, and some barrel (which I think is slightly lost). Taste is similar, exceptionally sweet. Honestly, I was kind of underwhelmed. Vanilla Rye was universally preferred at our tasting.

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Photo of ThickNStout
4.54/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

22oz (ish- it seems larger than a 22oz but smaller than a 750mL) bottle scored at Dark Lord Day 2013. Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Pours oil black with a thin wisp of brown foan. "Head" recedes to a tiny halo that leaves no lace.

Aromas of vanilla, kalua, oaky bourbon and booze. Nice!

Smooth sweet mix of vanilla, mellow bourbon, creamed coffee, caramel, alcohol, cherries and syrup. It's still sweet like the base Dark Lord but with so much more going on to carry the sweetness. Fantastic vanilla notes that play well off of the booze. Good stuff.

Rich, thick, syrupy full feel, light on carbonation. Vanilla bean ice cream finish.

Outstanding. A fantastic variation and upgrade to an already excellent base stout. Incredibly sweet and complex. Super glad I got to try this.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
4.54/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: pours syrupy and oily. Pitch black. No head and viscous boozy legs. Dark as night.

Smell: super sweet marshmallow and chocolate. Notes of molasses and syrup. Roasted malts and dark fruits.

Taste: opens up with molasses. Lots of marshmallows and brownies. Some notes of syrup and dark fruits. Light roast.

Mouthfeel: slick and syrupy. Not very boozy. Sweet but balanced by roast at the end

Overall: after tasting regular dark lord I did not have high hopes for this one. amazingly it does a good job of living up to its reputation, although I would not give up the amount of amazing beers that this trades for, great complexity and great flavor. glad I got to try it but until the value decreases, the face value is actually too much for me, I will not be revisiting this unless at the generosity of a friend.

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