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Brandy Barrel Aged Dark Lord - 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Brandy Barrel Aged Dark LordBrandy Barrel Aged Dark Lord

Educational use only; do not reuse.

37 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 37
Hads: 139
Avg: 4.16
pDev: 10.82%
Wants: 166
Gots: 49 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
3 Floyds Brewing Co. visit their website
Indiana, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  15.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Sean9689 on 06-26-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
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Reviews: 37 | Hads: 139
Photo of HugeMidget
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Tasted this at the 3Floyds 15th anniversary party, poured into a tasting glass by a very generous random stranger.

Appearance - Black as pitch, no light gets through at all. A very thin, mocha brown head dissipates quickly.

Smell - Amazing. Chocolate, coffee, toffee, brandy, caramel, cherries.

Taste - So smooth. Coffee and chocolate up front immediately. Dark stone fruits, malt, and enough hop and coffee bitterness balance out the sweetness. The oak and brandy from the barrel have really smoothed this beer out, much more than I would have imagined possible. Easily the most amazingly balanced and delicious beer I have ever had.

Mouthfeel - Full, luscious, and perfect. Normally, Dark Lord is quite heavy in the mouth early in it's vintage, but apparently the brandy barrel's oak and leftover brandy has worked some magic on it. It's insanely drinkable and not at all syrupy like the regular, young Dark Lord tends to be.

Overall - My friend and I both purchased a bottle, thinking that it would be great trade bait and never thinking we'd actually taste it. It couldn't possibly be worth the money we'd payed, and there was no way it could live up the hype. We were both wrong. This is easily the best RIS, and possibly the best beer I've ever had.

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Photo of jegross2
4.76/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Reviewing the Brandy Barrel Aged Dark Lord from Three Floyds Brewing Company out of Munster, Indiana. This is the 2010 vintage of Dark Lord, aged for one year in brandy barrels.

Score: 97

Served on tap at Dark Lord Day 2012 in a taster glass. Review is from notes that I lost, but recently found.

Appearance: Jet black in color. Served without any head, no lacing to speak of either. This beer is imposing as hell; like crude oil in its appearance. 4.5/5

Smell: Sweet vanilla, fudge, milk chocolate and a hint of alcohol heat. Then brandy and more fudge. Complex, balanced and chocolatey. Sweet on the nose, but not nearly as sweet smelling as the base beer. Mild molasses in the nose too. 4.75/5

Taste: A complex sweetness. Raisin, brandy, milk chocolate and molasses. A red grape-like sweetness is mostly prominent towards the finish, while the raisin/dark fruit is more "upfront." Decadent, but delicious. Not as sweet as fresh, regular Dark Lord, but it's one of the sweeter Barrel Aged Dark Lord variants I have had. 4.75/5

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, low carbonation. Viscous, syrupy, a little sugary sweet and "sticky" mouthfeel. 5/5

Overall: While this beer was nothing short of excellent, it was not quite as good as the Bourbon aged versions or the Brandy Vanilla version. Even at its price point, this is a beer worth trying; it's just not a beer worth stockpiling.

Cost: $50 for a 750 ml bottle.

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Photo of jale
4.62/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Mike Thorpe for this.

A: Pours thick black with little head.

S: Chocolate, brandy, molasses and a hint of wood.

T: Wonderful smooth brandy, chocolate, wood a little alcohol heat for this high of ABV. My favorite of all the variants.

M: Thick body.

O: This is such a great smooth beer. Would love more.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Thorpe for sharing this at Sean's 30th Birthday Extravaganza! Bottle #369 of 392.

A - Similar look to most Dark Lords. Black beer with a brown head. Head rose up decently well and left some minor spots on the sides.

S - The brandy aging on this is a nice change from the bourbon barrel RIS's I'm used to. Nice sweet brandy melds well with the rest of the Dark Lord goodness. Chocolate, espresso, little roast, molasses and some wood. Very nice.

T - Love the taste on this one. The brandy has a sharper sweetness to it than bourbon, and only the slightest hint of booze. I surrounds the basic and very big Dark Lord taste nicely, and adds a lot of surprising depth and complexity.

M - Lower carbonation, very full bodied.

O - Really good, it was a toss-up between this and the PVW Dark Lord for my favorite, but have to go with this one. Wish I had more.

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Photo of jeonseh
4.52/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle had at NWI tasting group 2011 BA DL night

A - Dark chocolate brown with a caramel color around the edges. Not much of a head as it only leaves small bubbles on the sides. As the beer swirls in my glass, I can tell it's going to be a thick one as it leaves lots of residue on the sides

S - Boozy nose initially. The booziest of the three. There is vanilla, chocolate and caramel as well as light char and smoke that didn't come through in the other variations

T - Smooth vanilla, chocolate with a light brandy sweetness and boozeiness to it. There is caramel, sweet vanilla and chocolate that continues and lingers on in the finish. I didn't get too much barrel in this one

M - Smooth creamy beer with the same slight, stickiness I have found in all the BA DLs. The stickiness is what remains in the finish as well.

O - This is a nice BA DL and really is one of the sweetest and smoothest of them. It has a good amount of vanilla and caramel to it without any harsh edges.

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Photo of dogfishandi
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

huge thanks to trxxpaxxs for bringing this to our last tasting!

750ml capped and waxed (yellow) bottle. bottle number 56/392. poured into a bruery snifter. served right after the original 2011 DL.

looks identical to the original DL. pitch black with the slightest brown rubiness on the edges. a small dark tan ring of head and some very nice thick, syrupy legs on the glass.

lots of brandy like booze in the aroma. very nice, but it seems to block out a lot of the complexities found in the original DL. still you get a lot of that burnt molasses sugary quality and rum soaked cherries with a bit of earthiness.

similar to the aroma in that the brandy like booze is at the forefront. maybe a bit more balanced than the original. a nice earthy, meaty quality, rum soaked cherries, molasses, burnt sugars, a touch of maple, too many complexities to list...

thick, viscous body, just like the original, minimal carbonation.

this was quite a treat considering the rareness and all, but i think i almost prefer the original. the brandy like booze was very nice, but seem to block out all the complexities that ive come to love in DL. still all that great residual, sugary sweetness.

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Photo of birchstick
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #375 of 433

A - pours black black with a white rim

S - sweet vanilla, chocolates, caramel and toffee aromas come out of the glass

T - opens up with soy that moves to chocolates. Lots of sweet vanilla is next moves in and is replaced by brandy spicy booziness. Vanilla comes out on the exhale. Really nice taste profile.

M - medium bodied and smooth

D - nice variation of DL. The vanilla really pops and the brandy adds a nice complexity to it.


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Photo of thagr81us
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks goes out to StayWhatYouAre2 for sending this one to beeruser and I just so we would have the chance to try it once I got well from my accident! This one was shared on the One Year Anniversary of My Accident/Surgery! Bottle #45 of 392! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller taster flute. Poured pitch black with a minimal tan head. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, smoke, smoked meat, alcohol, sweet alcohol, fruit, bacon, dark fruit, and wood. The flavor was of sweet malt, roasted malt, dark fruit, wood, smoke, smoked meat, caramel, and sweet alcohol. It had a heavy feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a fairly great brew. The flavor and aroma on this brew was really ludicrously complex and pleasant. Yes, there was quite a bit of booze, but everything else came at you all at once as well which made it rather overwhelming at first. As it warmed up everything started to work much better together and kept me coming back sip after sip until I was completely empty. Luckily I was able to get a second pour on it to start the experience all over again. A really well done brew that I would LOVE to experience again as well as the other variations. Hint hint traders!

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Barrel-Aged Dark Lord tasting! Thanks to all the guys in the tasting group who helped make this happen.

The beer is dark brown, nearing black with a thin, beige head. The aroma is really nice, offering dark, roasted malts, brandy, sweet malt, dark fruits, alcohol. Great flavor. Super smooth. Complex, wonderful, delicious. Full bodied with relatively low carbonation. Overall, an awesome beer. So glad for the opportunity to sample this.

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Photo of VaTechHopHead
4.39/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Used to have 2 bottles of this but I drove my beer across the country when I relocated to San Diego and one broke and the other leaked because of the altitude going over the Rocky Mountains....so I drank the leaky bottle immediately.

A - Looks like dark lord but maybe has a thinner head that doesn't last long at all (probably because it leaked and lost a lot of carbonation).

S - Still has the subtle aroma of dark lord, lots of candied marshmallow, dark chocolate, a mystery cherry-like aroma but a ton of sweet brandy and hint of woodiness from the barrels. Very enticing.

T - The brandy is present right from the beginning with a sweet candied sugar flavor with a tart woody flavor with a nice boozy kick. Some figs, cherries, and dates are present in the middle and finishes with a slight alcoholic burn and fruited brandy warmth.

M/O - Since the bottle leaked it the carbonation is a bit lower which lends to a bit smoother body but the alcohol becomes more present. Overall it's a fantastic beer even with lower carbonation and the brandy treatment does well with the base dark lord. Wish my 2nd bottle didn't break :-(

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Photo of HopHead84
4.37/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


Big thanks to Michael for sharing this. We tried all four barrel aged versions side by side as well as the 2010 regular version.

A: Black with a small tan head. Looks a lot like Dark Lord.

S: Nice brandy profile with a little red apple. Brown sugar melds with prominent dark chocolate notes. Oak and a little vanilla.

T: Rich brown sugar dark chocolate with a nice sweet brandy profile. Notes of molasses blend with fainter notes of vanilla. Very sweet, as is to be expected. Finish is drying.

M: Thick and viscous with a full body and an upper low level of carbonation.

Overall: I liked this almost as much as the Vanilla Brandy. Very enjoyable. Recommended.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.37/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Michael Thorpe for sharing this one at Sean's 30th Birthday Party. Served in a plastic cup. Bottle #369 of 392.

A - Well, this one is a little more carbonated than the Brandy Vanilla Bean version. The quarter-finger of tan foam settles to a persistent tan ring and leaves behind spotty lace. Otherwise it's largely the same in appearance.

S - Without the vanilla beans to obscure things, the sweet brandy aroma comes out a lot more. It integrates quite well with the chocolate, caramel, and molasses flavors in the base beer. There's perhaps a light touch of oak and a hint of booze in there as well.

T - Taste is also quite good, with more espresso and roast bitterness than the vanilla bean version. Brandy is present, but never overwhelms. Nice balance and integration of flavors, with shocking well-hidden alcohol

M - Copied from the last review - "Pretty low carbonation, and this is unsurprisingly sticky, viscous, and full-bodied. Some light warmth in the finish, but otherwise the alcohol is very well-hidden, particularly as this must approach 16-17 after the barrel-aging."

D - Not as good as the vanilla bean version, but still highly enjoyable nonetheless. I keep having to remind myself that this is an excellent beer in and of its own right, but just not a world-class one.

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Photo of orangesol
4.34/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Norm? for sharing this one with us at the first Voodoo Barrel Room release. Bottle #304/392 reviewed from what little notes I took.

A - Pours black with a small half finger tall tan head, quickly dissipating down to a light film, leaving small spots of lace down most of the glass. Stains the glass brown after its all gone.

S - Smells of chocolate, molasses, vanilla, caramel, dark fruits, oak, dark roasted malt and fruity brandy. Smells like regular dark lord with a shot of brandy poured into it.

T - Starts off with the strong sugary sweetness - mainly chocolate, vanilla, dark fruits, molasses and caramel - quickly being joined by the brandy barrel, oak and booze burn. Finish is still really sweet with some mild heat, lingering long after the finish. More put together than the nose would imply.

M - Big body with moderate carbonation. Smoother feel than I thought it would have but that sweetness just makes it hard to drink more than a few ounces at a time.

O - A nice rift on the regular Dark Lord. It still has all of the base flavors and the added barrel treatment helps to round out the rough edges. If the sweetness could die down a bit I think this one would be really solid, as it stands it is just a really nice beer.

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Photo of stakem
4.34/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dear Norm, you are awesome for sharing this special bottle with all of us at the first ever Voodoo Barrel Room Collection release. What shabby notes I have scribbed down about this experience I shall post here because your generosity deserves the credit.

The one and only 2011 vintage #304/392 poured into a mini snifter. The brew is black with brown clarity around the edges. Some tan spotty lace sticks to the glass and there is not much of anything along the lines of a head to be found. As the glass is swirled, it paints slow droopy legs of alcohol down the glass.

The aroma is borderline tangy to vinous with fruity alcohol notes blended overtop a vanilla sticky sweetness. Also present is a faint amount of caramel candy and minor roast. Sweet milk chocolate comes along for the ride too.

The flavor has a bit of that tangy alcohol present that is fainty vinous with a sweetness that is more candy-like than malty. Flavors of chocolate blend in and out with fruity booze as it warms up. Faint roast, no bitterness as it is masked by the residual sugar.

This is a medium to fuller bodied brew as expected for darklord. It is sticky sweet at times but displays plenty of character that is enjoyable. If you removed those subtle tangy vinous notes and vanilla id say you would be hard pressed to know this was a barrel aged variation along side a well aged normal vintage DL. I would love to tangle with this again but considering my track record with BA DL variations is bleek, I am quite happy with getting the opportunity to try this. Thanks again Norm!

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Photo of Sean9689
4.29/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle #369/392 generously shared by Mike (Thorpe429) at my 30th Birthday Party Extravaganza. Poured into a taster.

A - Looks like Dark Lord. Black, tan mocha-colored head, thin collar, no whips, spotty lace, some bubbles here and there.

S - Smells boozy, barrel, slight apples, molasses sweetness, caramel. Very rich and sweet with a nice smooth booze that's not overpowering at all. The age has really smoothed things out.

T - Tastes like Dark Lord with Brandy, who would have guessed? Chocolate, barrel, booze, caramel notes, brandy. Very straight forward. As it warmed, the alcohol picked up a little, but for 15% it's still very well hidden.

M - Feels like Dark Lord. Full, rich, viscous, creamy, really a big one.

O - This was very smooth, rich, and enjoyable. The brandy notes complimented the Dark Lord well, which has smoothed out with the age on the base beer. Hope to try this one again in the future!

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Photo of mdfb79
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From 01/14/12 notes. Tried it side by side with the base beer and the other three variants with some friends. I liked this version the fourth best, after the Vanilla Brandy, PVW, and normal 2010 DL.

a - Pours a pitch black color with one inch of dark tan head and low carbonation evident. Looks like the normal version and all the other variants.

s - Smells of brandy, roasted malts, alcohol, sweet dark fruits, oak, dark chocolate, and toasted malts. Nose is definitely good, but no where near the others. A little more alcohol here, and no real vanilla. Nice though.

t - Tastes of brandy, sweet chocolate, roasted malts, sweet dark fruits, oak, dark chocolate, toasted malts. Taste is nice and sweet, and better than the nose.

m - Full bodied stout and low carbonation. Body is thick and creamy; pretty perfect for a big RIS.

o - Overall I thought this was still a nice RIS. I think this one has a little more prominent alcohol, but the taste is very nice. Would still like to have it again.

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Photo of largadeer
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks, Michael!

Pretty standard Dark Lord appearance here, pouring a very viscous black. The head rises and falls pretty quickly, though the beer appears to be nicely carbonated.

Smells like sweet, syrupy brandy -bals, molasses, milk chocolate, dried dark fruit. Quite good, but actually a bit mild compared to the vanilla brandy version, which knocks your teeth in with aroma and flavor. There's a bit of oxidation that takes form in port-like notes, and overall a touch more fruitiness than I noticed in other versions of Dark Lord.

Taste is a step up from the mild aroma. Chocolate syrup and molasses, dark fruit, brandy, a touch of drying oak. Sweet but not cloying, and not boozy. A little meaty/leathery oxidation, at a pleasant low level. Lingers for quite a while on the palate, though it's not a bitter beer by any stretch.

This version was quite good, but not as good as vanilla brandy or Pappy bourbon.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.21/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Oneinchaway for sharing this one at his tasting.

2011 vintage. Bottle # 191/392.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that fades to nothing. No lacing on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa powder, dark fruit, and brandy aromas. Taste is much the same with chocolate syrup, dark fruit, and brandy flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with great fruit and brand barrel aged characteristics that are slightly better in the smell to me.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black in color with nice viscosity. Minimal head formation and carbonation. Intense aroma of brandy and graham cracker sweetness. Lots of brown sugar, molasses, and chocolate, too. Maybe some marshmallow on the palate along with the graham cracker. A bit of a S’more thing going on. Quite a bit of brandy and booze as well as a bit of vanilla. Intensely sweet, but I like it.

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Photo of spdyfire83
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

37th Review
Bottle to snifter.
Bottle 346/392

Thanks to being in the right place at the right time and asking a question. Epic!

L: Deep brown – almost opaque, but you can see half way in. No head on medium pour.

S: Vibrant, well-balanced smells of figs, oak, and dark chocolate. All of these “smells” are overshadowed by a sweet brandy scent as the glass is swirled around.

T: Sweet and boozy with a complex balance of dark fruit (figs, raisin, etc.). Not overly powering in any aspect, but evenly mellow all throughout.

M: Full bodied and in-your-face, but good.

O: The slight hint of alcohol coming off the nose warmed my soul and I was a bit reluctant about being able to enjoy this beer before my first sip; however, the balance of dark fruit and semi-sweet chocolate added to the overall enjoyment of this experience. The booze in this was just right!

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Photo of Fux
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2011 version. Reviewed side by side with '10 regular Dark Lord and '10 Brandy vanilla and Pappy van Winkle variants.
A: Nothing much to say about the look. Similar to any Dark Lord.
S: The smell is in between the regular version and the bourbon one. The off-flavors typically found in Dark Lord (soy sauce, sweetness, smokiness) are there but more subdued. It also has the deep character of the barrel even though Brandy is not obvious.
S: The taste is more mellow than the base beer. The brandy is not obvious here either but it comes with some characters reminiscent of the bourbon barrel aged variant. Quite sweet.
M: Sticky and heavy on the palate. More than the base beer.
O: Not the best variant, still enjoyable.

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Photo of Etan
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 bottle (#53/392) shared by theredflame. Thanks!

A: Straight black with a tiny chocolate head.

S: Huge chocolate and grape notes. Fig, raisin, cocoa, lactose, grape stem.

T: Boozy raisin and mild coffee, chocolate, plenty of dryish barrel notes. Vanilla, raisins, a bit of wood.

M: Thick-bodied, slight carbonation.

O: A lot more balanced than I thought it would be, with the alcohol kept in check well and the barrel a bit dry as well as sweet.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle generously provided by thorpe429 (thanks Mike!) at our BA Dark Lord tasting at Sean's. Bottle number 369.

This pours black and thick, like all Dark Lords. This had a nice brandy aroma, plus all the usual aromas I associate with Dark Lord (chocolate, very sweet malts, dark fruits). I'd say they hit the target in terms of brandy aging, it smells exactly as you'd expect (something I can't really say for the Muerte version).

It tastes exactly as it smells, definitely good but not out-of-this world. I much preferred the flavor of the brandy vanilla bean version, but still this was nice. Very sweet, not exactly hot in the aftertaste (as it might have been), well integrated brandy flavors.

I'd place this as 3rd best among the 2011 BA bottles, behind Brandy Vanilla and PVW. Very glad to try it though.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #369/392. Consumed at Sean's 30th Birthday Party Extravaganza. Served in a Three Floyds / Intelligentsia snifter.

Pours like black motor oil. What else would you expect from anything related to Dark Lord? A nice dark tan head rises up and falls fairly quickly, leaving behind a few legs. Thin collar throughout. The nose carries a fairly hefty amount of brandy as well as a decent amount of accompanying booze. Lots of sweetness and chocolate plus some coffee. This smells exactly like you'd imagine Dark Lord with Brandy would. Well-integrated, though not mind blowing.

The flavor is better than the smell, though still not world class. The brandy takes a prominent role, and the taste isn't quite as boozy as the nose was. Chocolate and some dark fruits are there as well as some slight coffee. Full and thick feel with a nice brandy presence in the finish. Low carbonation. Really a nice beer that comes together well.

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Photo of Sammy
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It is the same very sweet dark lord, same black colour, with a grapey sweet wine dimension. Suddenly it takes on complexity and balanced, and its an imperial stout with something for everybody. One sip its black cherry, the next wine. Ever so drinkable. Smoother mouthfeel.

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Brandy Barrel Aged Dark Lord from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 37 ratings.