1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

Not Rated.
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

856 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 856
Reviews: 215
rAvg: 4.73
pDev: 8.46%
Wants: 2,789
Gots: 152 | FT: 5
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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 856 | Reviews: 215 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of zestar
zestar

California

4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

11-04-2013 13:58:56 | More by zestar
Photo of duceswild
duceswild

Maryland

5/5  rDev +5.7%

09-21-2013 15:28:08 | More by duceswild
Photo of mothman
mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

4.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this at the brewpub on DLD 2010.

Served in a tumbler/snifter glass (no plastic cup for this guy).

Served with a 1/2 layer of creamy dark tan head. Color is a wicked dark black.

Aroma: Amazing! Bourbon, vanilla, coffee, chocolate. Rich dark dried fruits. So sweet and creamy. Simply amazing.

Taste: Vanilla and bourbon right up front. A lot hot, but not bugging me at all. Milk chocolate and caramel. Sweetness. It really warms up nicely.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, and warming. Full bodied with a lower amount of carbonation. Ends warm, but relatively clean.

Overall, very drinkable. One of the best beers I have had, if not the best. I want more already. Top RIS. Everything I could ask for in the style. I wish I would have bought more at DLD.

Serving type: on-tap

05-04-2010 14:15:27 | More by mothman
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

5/5  rDev +5.7%
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 Viggo
Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

4.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

At DLD 09. Missed this last year and wasn't about to do it again.

Looks like DL, very black, some dark brown highlights, dark brown head, left some lacing on the plastic cup, definitely a RIS. Smell is godly, I feel like the vanilla and age really smoothed it out, big vanilla, chocolate, toffee, roast, brown sugar, cake, very complex. Taste is similar, reminds me of a better and more complex ST Creme Brulee, very heavy vanilla, chocolate, toffee, alcohol, brown sugar, all sorts of good stuff. Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, low to medium carbonation, some warmth but insane drinkable. Wow this stuff was good. I like regular DL and oaked DL but for me this was better.

Serving type: on-tap

04-27-2009 20:05:05 | More by Viggo
Photo of Gonzoillini
Gonzoillini

Illinois

4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

04-27-2013 14:14:14 | More by Gonzoillini
Photo of mdaschaf
mdaschaf

Washington

4.64/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Big thank you to Aaron for opening this up! Review from notes.

A: Pours a dark black with a very thin tan head on top that quickly reduces to nothing. No lacing either.

S: Lots of vanilla, more than almost any other vanilla beer I have had thus far. Mixed with the vanilla is a strong bourbon aroma - caramel, brown sugar, and molasses with a little bit of oak. A little sweet, but not cloyingly so.

T: Like the aroma, a great combination of stout, vanilla, and bourbon. Some rich chocolate, bourbon, caramel, burnt sugar, with a little bit of dark fruit.

M: Extremely smooth, rather full bodied. On the thicker side, but not a surprise compared to other Dark Lords I have had.

O: A great beer, loved how present the vanilla was. Definitely savored it.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2013 23:24:13 | More by mdaschaf
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
Beerandraiderfan

Nevada

4.93/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

08-24-2012 15:49:42 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of billab914
billab914

Virginia

4.63/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Roughly an 8 oz sample poured into my Stone RIS glass. Poured a thick pitch black color with a thin quarter inch dark mocha colored head. The head faded pretty quickly and left a thin ring around the edges of the glass.

When I first poured it there was a bigger hot bourbon aroma coming from it but as it warmed the vanilla really came through and it greatly improved. After it came to the proper temp it had a great mix of sweet vanilla, bourbon, dark fruit, roasty malts and a big chocolate flavor. Fantastic aroma overall, all the flavors worked so well together and none of them overpowered the beer. The chocolate, bourbon and vanilla seemed perfectly in balance with each other. Quite possibly the best nose I've ever had from a beer.

The taste is excellent, it has so many great flavors going on in it. The sweet vanilla comes through and really helps soften the hot bourbon flavor. Like the nose it also has a pretty big chocolate flavor to it, although it's a little more of a bitter sweet chocolate. It also has a little bit of dark fruit and molasses flavors coming through as well. My only criticism is the finish is a little hot with a little bourbon alcohol bite to it. The vanilla is also very present in the finish though and helps that. Overall an excellent tasting beer and like the nose the chocolate, vanilla and bourbon work very well together.

The mouthfeel is very thick and creamy with carbonation being on the lower side. I really love the thick mouthfeel on all the Dark Lord versions and this one is no exception.

Drinkability is very good, it's an excellent beer. The flavors really all worked together very well and enhanced the Dark Lord flavor instead of overpowering it. Having had the Oak Aged version I really think the vanilla really helps soften and balance the hot bourbon flavors in this version making it a better tasting and smelling beer in my opinion. It's still a little hot which hurts the drinkability a bit for me but not by much since the flavors are so good.

Serving type: growler

05-08-2010 00:02:06 | More by billab914
Photo of HopHead84
HopHead84

California

4.72/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It pours black with a tiny bubbly head, which is the product of an aggressive pour, and which wouldn't be in existence without the aggressive pour. The heat of a 90 degree heat lamp bears down from me above.

The aroma is very nice. Despite a hint of oxidation, which is easily ignored, this held up remarkably well. The aroma is of very rich chocolate malt with vanilla. Another BA present put it perfectly: chocolate milk shake. I'd append the description to include vanilla. Some molasses is noticeable.

I can't believe how well this held up. The flavor is very, very rich. The beer has a lot of molasses and chocolate. The vanilla almost turns
it into a desert drink. The alcohol is well hidden by the rich flavor. The finish is deliciously rich and once again tastes like vanilla chocolate malt.

The beer is full bodied. The mouthfeel is smooth and viscous.

Despite the loss of carbonation, which may or may not have been present in high amounts on tap, this beer held up very, very well. I'll try this someday on tap, but for now I'm quite satisfied with this rendition.

Serving type: growler

05-02-2009 08:35:31 | More by HopHead84
Photo of TurdFurgison
TurdFurgison

Ohio

4.45/5  rDev -5.9%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

04-27-2008 23:36:58 | More by TurdFurgison
Photo of drummermattie02
drummermattie02

Texas

4/5  rDev -15.4%

06-23-2013 12:51:55 | More by drummermattie02
Photo of Zaphog
Zaphog

Michigan

4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

04-27-2014 15:01:37 | More by Zaphog
Photo of BeerFMAndy
BeerFMAndy

Wisconsin

4.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

6 oz (roughly) tap pour into a clear plastic cup at Dark Lord Day 2010.

Thanks to Sweemzander for jumping in line right away and snagging a glass of this amazing beer for me!

A - The tap pour is jet black like old motor oil and looks rich and syrupy on the pour. A tiny ring of dark tan bubbles with no retention is left in the glass. Not much sexiness there save for the foreboding, thick pour!

S - The potent aroma is smooth with creamy vanilla bean and a deep roasted malt nose. A rich milk chocolate aroma lingers in the background with a small alcohol hint released upon a moderate swirl.

T - The flavor is massively vanilla heavy, reminiscent of vanilla extract. Bold roasted malts behind the vanilla offer up a seriously roasted kick and a rich milk chocolate flavor that finishes out with a low alcohol warmth. Not bitter at all. Amazingly delicious.

M - Vanilla Bean Dark Lord is as full-bodied as they come packing a smooth, rich texture that's borderline syrupy with an almost chewy finish. It coats your mouth, throat and innards.

D - This beer is surpasses the crazy hype. It's incredibly well-brewed and delicious. It's also dangerously drinkable for the percent. If I wasn't trying to savor every tiny sip I took it would probably be gone in a heartbeat. I could probably enjoy a 22 oz bottle of this too but that might be pushing it.

Serving type: on-tap

04-27-2010 01:32:19 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of jrallen34
jrallen34

Illinois

4.7/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at dld. Thanks to Mario for getting in for us all... The look is nothing of note, black nice tan head...This beer is all about the aroma and the taste. Tons of awesome vanilla on the nose a little light coffee. The taste just brings the vanilla to the whole new level. Super sweet tons of awesome vanilla that is really nicely balanced. This is the best vanilla I've ever had. Only wish I could have more of this.

Serving type: on-tap

05-15-2010 01:19:26 | More by jrallen34
Photo of HuskyinPDX
HuskyinPDX

Washington

4.75/5  rDev +0.4%

01-08-2013 17:57:06 | More by HuskyinPDX
Photo of Rhettroactive
Rhettroactive

District of Columbia

4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

02-22-2014 21:42:28 | More by Rhettroactive
Photo of Alieniloquium
Alieniloquium

Florida

4.15/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Hunahpu Day. Served in a taster.

Appearance - Jet black. No head. Small island of foam.

Smell - Vanilla and bourbon. Bit surprise. Lots of sweet malts. Some traditional Dark Lord soy sauce.

Taste - Chocolate, vanilla, bourbon. No real barrel character beyond the bourbon flavor. Lots of bourbon and vanilla though. Lots of fudgy chocolate. Big soy sauce flavor and booze hinder it.

Mouthfeel - Boozy but very tasty. Low in carbonation and huge in body.

Overall- Classic example of over the top beer covering up the flaws. It's delicious only because of adjuncts.

Serving type: on-tap

03-09-2013 18:25:38 | More by Alieniloquium
Photo of ShanePB
ShanePB

Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

05-31-2014 16:43:02 | More by ShanePB
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
TheSevenDuffs

Ontario (Canada)

5/5  rDev +5.7%

07-21-2014 17:08:39 | More by TheSevenDuffs
Photo of AgentZero
AgentZero

Illinois

4.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

For review 250, thought I'd make it something special.

A - Black as night with brown on the edges, nice tan head in the plastic cup with some stick and lacing on the sides. I think it just sticks easier in plastic, truth be told, but it looks great.

S - Ahhh, smells great like Dark Lord but on vanilla steroids. Nice roasted malts and chocolate, is this really even beer anymore? Very sweet, some espresso, carmel, molasses, but the milk chocolate and vanilla stand out most on this one.

T - Great vanilla taste, I'm a huge fan. It manages to be strongly present without ruining all the other great tastes that Dark Lord has going for it. Coffee, chocolate, molasses, sweet sugar, and a little boozier than the other DL's I've had.

M - Thick but slippery, a tiny bit chewy, but not quite as full feeling as I was going to guess.

D - All day, they need to bottle this, seriously, it's a crime. I'd love to have some with some age on it.

Serving type: on-tap

04-29-2010 22:52:19 | More by AgentZero
Photo of WOLFGANG
WOLFGANG

South Carolina

5/5  rDev +5.7%

06-27-2013 19:20:29 | More by WOLFGANG
Photo of iL0VEbeer
iL0VEbeer

New Jersey

5/5  rDev +5.7%

11-14-2013 23:26:32 | More by iL0VEbeer
Photo of DefenCorps
DefenCorps

Oregon

4.75/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thank you Peter, for this wonderful surprise.

The 2010 version of VB Dark Lord is quite unlike past vintages. It doesn't look thick or sludgy, or at least, not as thick as the 2009 DL that this beer is based on. Black with no head, there is some coating of the glass, but I guess oxidation in the barrel has helped lighten it up a bit

The nose is exactly what you'd expect, but again, not as outrageous as the 2008 version. Vanilla is noticeable, but there's also a very pronounced boozy, bourbon, coconut barrel character. The coffee of the regular DL has faded, and there's a wonderful milk chocolate character with plenty of sweetness. Chocolate fudge, molasses and all things sweet are noticeable. Quite excellent. These characteristics are replicated on the palate, with a large but enjoyable sweetness with chocolate,bourbon, coconut and a moderate vanilla character. The barrel expression is wonderfully big, almost absurdly so, and for that reason, this beer does stand out. Sweet on the finish with a lingering boozy character, this beer is full in body with no carbonation, quite appropriate, really. Drinkable? well, I wish I could have gotten more! Very enjoyable stuff, light years ahead of the regular DL IMO.

Serving type: growler

05-13-2010 10:53:22 | More by DefenCorps
Photo of chippo33
chippo33

Vermont

4.5/5  rDev -4.9%

12-18-2013 04:17:46 | More by chippo33
Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
100 out of 100 based on 856 ratings.