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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.

266 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 266
Hads: 1,301
Avg: 4.64
pDev: 9.48%
Wants: 3,917
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: 266 | Hads: 1,301
Photo of thetomG
4.62/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this one on tap @ DLD.

Oily black with a small dark drown head. The aroma of vanilla really came through forme with a flavor to match. This beer i just absolutely HUGE. Vanilla vanilla vanilla, with some boozy sweetness throughout. I loved it, and I'm very glad I got to try it, but it was so sweet I'm not sure how much I could really drink in one sitting. That being said - it was great and I would definitely have some more if the opportunity ever arises again...

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Photo of rodkin
4.25/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap at Hunahpu's day 2013.

Pours dark, dark black, small light head.

Smell is massive vanilla, chocolate, some coffee, vanilla, maybe a bit of caramel, more vanilla. Outrageous vanilla.

Taste follows the nose. Really big vanilla, chocolate, coffee, sweet malts, dark sugar, maybe a bit of fruit. Really overwhelming sweetness and vanilla.

Mouthfeel is smooth, moderately thick, low carbonation. Oily.

This was very tasty, and I was really glad to try it. That said, it's pretty overwhelmingly sweet. I wouldn't want to have more than a 3 oz pour of this or so at any given time.

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Photo of roger617
4.79/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Acquired Dark Lord Day 2014 with a lucky scratch off. The bottle number scratched off, I know it was in the 300's ending in a 9. Bottle poured into snifter glass, consumed and reviewed on 6/14/14.

A: Pours very thick with a thin layer of mocha colored head that reduces quickly and leaves no lacing. The color is definitely black, but it appeared slightly brown during the pour.
S: Very strong aroma of toasted marshmallow, vanilla and chocolate. The bourbon is subtle, even as the glass warms up.
T: This beer unbelievably tastes like a roasted marshmallow. The 15% is masked so well I wouldn't believe it if I didn't know going in. All the other flavors take a back seat, but have enough of a presence to compliment nicely. Chocolate, bourbon, some dark fruits, and sugar. I get the base coming through more as the beer warms up.
M: The feel is thick and rich. Carbed well for a heavy beer. It feels silky smooth.
O: This is an incredible upgrade from the base beer. The additional elements blend nicely, and I love the marshmallow presence all the way through. I do wish the bourbon had a stronger presence though, however that is just personal preference.

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Photo of HosP
4.77/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Attended my first Dark Lord Day and counting down the days until next years! I had not had a taste of Dark Lord coming up to this day, but had heard all the great things about this beer. Once in line, we got our 4 oz cup of Vanilla Bean Aged Dark Lord and it was one the best highlights of the day!

A: Poured into a nice plastic cup this beer is black, as you would expect nothing less. Nice brown head sits on top throughout the entire beer leaving no lace on the cup.

S: Vanilla overwhelms the nose of this drink. After getting past the vanilla, sweet chocolate, caramel malts follow the vanilla aroma. Smells very sweet and a great job of masking the alcohol.

T: As a fan of IPA's and DIPA's, this was my first RIS and wow what a way to start! I was surprised as the vanilla takes a backseat to all the flavors brought out in this drink. Chocolate, caramel, molasses and a hint of coffee bring out flavors I hadn't expected. It's very easy to savor all these flavors while drinking this beer!

M: Very thick and creamy with a full body. My friend described this beer as a beer that could stick to your ribs!

D: Very impressed with this Dark Lord! Makes me impatient for next year to see what 3floyds comes out with. Until then a few regular Dark Lords sit and wait a perfect night.

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Photo of MarkIntihar
4.68/5  rDev +0.9%
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!

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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 BeerZombies1
4.85/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2013 BA Vanilla Bean Dark Lord
Three Floyd's Brewing
15% ABV

*Huge thanks to @mattuntapped for sending my this taster so I could knock off another from beer advocates top 250 beers!

APPEARANCE: 1.5 ounce taster poured very slowly to get a good look. Comes out impenetrable motor oil black, as it hits the snifter instantly lightens up to a dark brown with some light brown and reddish rim variations. I won't be making reviews on carbonation since it was a few days old in my mini growler.

AROMA: Instantly I get marshmallow fluff, great vanilla beans and warm chocolate. Like a delicious s'mores minus the graham crackers. I can only imagine what the nose on this must have been like freshly opened because even now it's insane.

TASTE: Follows that nose exactly, huge wave of vanilla rolls across my tongue. Nice deep chewy chocolate fudge. I'm savoring every little sip wishing I had a whole bottle to myself. Nice amount of marshmallow in the middle with slight bourbon barrel flavor. The 15% ABV is hidden so well I don't get any heat or alcohol flavor at all.

MOUTHFEEL: Nice thick slick mouth feel that coats the tongue and has a long slightly sticky sweet finish. Once again won't be reviewing carbonation.

OVERALL: This was an amazing, flavor explosive beer. I enjoyed everything about it, thought the marshmallow flavor went exceptionally well with the vanilla bean. I would love to have this right from the bottle now even more. I think I would give this either a 4.9 or 5/5 if I had it freshly opened.

RATING: 4.8/5 Zombie Heads!

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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 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 hawks10
4.84/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at Dark Lord Day 2010...6 ounces or so, more than enough to get a good idea of what this beer is all about...

Pours thick and oily, viscous black liquid with a bit of dark brown head, no different than regular Dark Lord...

Smell is much more complex and inviting than regular Dark Lord...for one, the vanilla in the 2010 vintage is very forward and very enticing...you also get your typical roasted malts, chocolate, molasses and a bit of alcohol in the nose, much like any other imperial stout...

Yummm, definitely a better tasting beer than regular Dark Lord (and after having a horrible bottle of the 2009 vintage a few weeks ago, this one made me very happy). Vanilla is very prominent, it's not just a name! Very sweet, chocolate, brown sugar, molasses, a tiny bit of bitterness from the roasted malts and a bit of a drying oak presence as well...but overall very sweet and loads of vanilla...

Thick, creamy, smooth, coating, slick...and any derivatives of those words...full bodied, chewy, medium carb...

What a great beer from FFF's, I for one think the regular Dark Lord is over-hyped and not as good as most make it out to be (still think it is pretty damn good however) but the vanilla bean Dark Lord definitely lives up to the hype...don't want to wait another year for more...

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Photo of tjthresh
4.06/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pour is rich and black with some nice brown head, just as you'd expect from Dark Lord. I get mostly vanilla and coconut with just a bit of coffee in the nose. I get more bourbon in the flavor than anything. Full and rich body as usual. Dry roasted finish.

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Photo of timc100
4.56/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 vintage

Pours just like all other dark lord oil, sits in the glass heavy. Sticky sweet, boozy aroma of vanilla, vanilla extract, marshmallow, and that typical dark lord fudge and molasses. A complete assault on the pallet - very sticky, chewy, and syrupy. The vanilla sweetness paired with the base sweetness takes hold on the mouth, finish is long and sweet. There is not a lot of whiskey and oak presence, however.

Delicious beer. Heavy, boozy and sweet. Lacks the complexity and depth of some of the other stouts out there, but still very impressive.

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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 dukedevil0
4.87/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled this at the Great Taste of the Midwest 2009 in Madison, WI out of my GTotM tasting glass. Missed this at DLD 09 so I was not going to get hosed on this day!

A: Pours like a black hole, with no light getting through and some copperish/khaki colored bubbles that settled down to almost nothing.

S: Smells very similar to the original of course with very nice vanilla addition and some minor "barrel aged" scents.

T: just like the scent, the flavor was also obviously very similar to its regular DL brethren; however, whereas the original Dark Lord tastes like a thick chocolate beer shake almost, the Vanilla Bean variety is much more vanilla forward (surprise!) without being over-vanillaized if that makes sense. The addition of the vanilla makes this a great variant and possibly even better flavor-wise. The only possible downside is that there is a bit of heat from the alcohol, but it's easy to look past it when the flavor is so spectacular.

M: Super creamy and coated everything it touched. Low carbonation, similar to a syrup but it matched the rest of the beer excellently.

D: There is no doubt that this style isn't meant to be drinkable, but I think that this is one of the shining examples of making this style as drinkable as it can be. The flavor is incredible, and I long for each next sip I take. The only potential downside is the heat from the alcohol. I'm willing to give that only a slight docking of rating.

I've had the original Dark Lord a few times in different vintages and there is no doubt that it's an amazing beer that is well deserving of all the hype. However, I think at least in the flavor department, this one rules as my favorite of the varieties (and definitely challenging for my favorite beer completely). I'd love to try all three side-by-side in a tasting to see how I'd rank them in that sense, rather than having them on separate occasions. I'm glad I finally got to try this and man was it worth the wait.

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

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

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

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

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Photo of 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 chaz01
3.06/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I got to taste a couple of sample pours while standing in line at DLD thanks to the friendly folks in Columbus who were able to get a couple of full cups out of the brewpub. Re-poured into a 4 ounce tasting glass.

A: Milky off black color. Beer still had a thin brown collar around the rim.

S: Tons of Vanilla, boozy alcohol and very sweet syrupy aromas. I took a couple of whiffs of this -- very pleasant on the nose.

T: This tasted like a frozen ice cream drink with creme de cacao (such as a Brandy Alexander) that had melted.

M: Very thick and rich, low carbonation. Mouthfeel was very much like melted milkshake -- certainly interesting but not what I want in a beer. Very chalky, chocolate finish.

D: I realize drinkability is not the same as availability, but how drinkable can a beer be that's only available at one place for about 45 minutes a year, and then only in 3 ounce pours? I consider this a gimmicky beer -- if it were more readily available it would be something you would want to try once, but then move on to something that taste more like beer than a vanilla milkshake.

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Photo of floridadrift
4.26/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Finally got to try this bad boy. Best Beer Halloween to date! I'm glad I didn't fork over arms and legs.

L: Black, very little head in the beginning that dissipates quickly.
S: Sugary sweet, vanilla whifs, bourbon
T: Super sweet vanilla, slight bourbon heat, cloying sweetness, great after taste
M: Slippery smooth, not quite thick, not creamy either
O: A really good bourbon vanilla stout that hides 15% ABV but BCBVS and VR are far ahead in depth and complexity. It almost taste like an overly sweet imperial milk stout in every category.

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Photo of jokemon
4.63/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I had the ability to get this at DLD 2013. It was the 09 version on tap.

Pour is jet black with a hazy brown head on it.

Appearance is thick and muddy, black with the slightest bit of head.

Smell is vanilla foremost and than the boozyness hits you, whoah!! I miss the boozyness of the older BCBS beer, they seem to be going for more chocolate now so I welcomed this.

Taste is just like the smell. Dark, vanilla, booze.

Truly an amazing beer, for me it still does not beat the overall flavor of BCBS Cherry but it s definitely at the top of my list of one of the best beers I have ever had.

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Photo of MPLS
4.55/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This one and the 08 barrel aged DL will have to come from memory, as I am not going to be that guy to carry around a notebook. I was in DLD for the experience not to walk away with reviews. With that said, what an awesome event!

A: A healthy pour into my plastic cup, really should have brought glassware, but it would have inevitable broke on the parking lot floor. Big and black, minimal head, oily looking, with nice brown swirl on top.

S: Roasted malts, vanilla, tobacco, pleasant sweetness.

T: I focus on the vanilla, the sweetness of this and chocolate really shines. Other elements of the DL are there, but more subtle with the sweetness: Roasted malts, burnt molasses, etc. The vanilla adds a layer of creamy sweetness to an already good beer.

M: Thick as you can be boy! Motor Oil + alcohol :D

D: High ABV presents the biggest challenge to drinking a lot of this stuff, but it's mouthfeel is amazing.

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

Alrighty, so...I was able to try this at DLD 2011! I was able to grab 2 glasses at the pub and enjoy them slowly!

First the appearance is what you would expect! BLACK and THICK like you would expect from an ebony porn star!

The smell was sweet and malty! I couldn't wait to taste this brew!

The taste was sweet, heavy, and very filling! It was damn near perfect!

I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to have this year round and quite frankly its damn near the only thing that keeps me going back to DLD. It sure isnt the hassle of getting tickets!

Overall this is possibly the best beers Ive ever had!!!


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Photo of wpqx
4.75/5  rDev +2.4%

I got to finally capture my white whale at Dark Lord Day 2014, so my review is of the most recent batch. I drank this August 10th, poured into my FFF Teku glass.

The color is similar to regular Dark Lord with a sweet dark layer of head.

Smells incredibly sweet, more vanilla on the nose than bourbon.

Taste is almost unbearably sweet. The vanilla was incredibly strong in this one and to go along with the natural diabetes bomb regular DL is, it was like drinking dessert. Not enough bourbon character, perhaps it needs more time.

Overall, this was a damn good beer. I'm a fan of regular Dark Lord so although it's sweet I would certainly enjoy another bottle. However due to the insane hype and absurd asking price I'd resist the urge to trade half your cellar for a bottle. Maybe I set my expectations far too high, but this just came a little short of the beer I was expecting.

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Photo of Fux
4.76/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

One of the highlights of last 2013 CBC. The keg was gone within a quarter but I was lucky enough to get two glasses of this!
A: Black, opaque, dense. Small mocha head which holds pretty well.
S: Fabulous nose, complex, deep, on vanilla, chocolate with a woody scent, cherries, slight touches of dark fruits.
T: On the palate, I got mainly chocolate, roasted malts, some ashes and also vanilla, bourbon, dark fruits and sherry. This is not exactly an explosion of aromas but more a travel within savors. The one you want to go slowly into and stop to pitch your tent wherever you're pleased enough to stay.
M: The mouthfeel is exactly the same as in the regular version, that is simply perfect. Smooth, light but high bodied, never sticky, perfectly drinkable, also perfectly sippable!
O: Vanilla does a great job in this beer, perfectly mixing with the cherries and ashes notes of the base beer, giving more complexity and richness. This one is probably worth the hype!

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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 hombrepalo
3.64/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

8oz pour at Dark Lord Day a few years back. A total mess in my opinion. Thick and clumpy with very little head, left a coat of motor oil sheet on the plastic cup. Smells of vanilla extract, chocolate and licorice. Taste is similar with a strong Kick of alcohol, finish is nausiating with a thick sweetness left in the back of the mouth. Really hard to finish 8oz, can't see why this is so highly rated, would like to retry this for a second look.

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 266 ratings.