French Vanilla Militia (2016)
3 Floyds Brewing Co.

French Vanilla Militia (2016)French Vanilla Militia (2016)
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Russian Imperial Stout
not listed
4.73 | pDev: 5.29%
3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Indiana, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
French Vanilla Militia (2016)French Vanilla Militia (2016)
Notes: Dark Lord Aged in Armagnac Barrels with Vanilla, Cocoa Nibs, and Coffee
Reviews: 35 | Ratings: 163 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of GuyFawkes
4.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2016 vintage (released spring 2016); drank 12/14/16 @ Harvest Hop Haus.

Bottle 363 of 1104.

Midnight black appearance.

Minimal dark khaki head; no lace.

Vanilla, rich mild chocolate & faint pepper heat notes in the nose.

Thick, sticky mouthfeel.

Vanilla, sweet chocolate & mild pepper flavors up front; rich port wine notes on the finish.

Complex & delicious; the pepper head didn't meld perfectly for me, but this is really splitting hairs!

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Photo of Sabtos
4.69/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Onyx black with a mocha fizz that quickly dies to leave a taut black surface.

This 2016 version, much like the 2018, has way more coffee than the 2017 runt. Mocha with tons of cocoa comes on strong, but so too does a noticeable woodiness that I didn’t get in either 2017 or 2018, making Armagnac the clear winner of the FVM barrel trifecta. On the palate is a really nice brandy burn that leads into a smoothing and thickening mocha ice cream with a sopping wet hot chocolate dunked vanilla bean marshmallow.

Sticky and dry, this one was complex and delicious.

Good god, did I get lucky finally getting a pour of this.

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Photo of RAlmeida77
4.89/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2016 bottle poured into a teku. Thank you Ray for sharing this one.

Pours thick and viscous. Completely opaque black body with a small dark brown head that lingers but eventually reduces to leave behind some retention and lacing.
Aromas are straight chocolate, vanilla, oak, caramel.....reminds a bit of a dulce de lece. As this warms up, the aroma pops more and a bit of dark fruits show up in the end along with the coffee.
Taste is fudge, vanilla and bourbon. Picked up lots of barrel, dark chocolate, coffee, marshmallow and even a touch of caramel/toffee in there. Very decadent and sweet.
Mouthfeel was just perfect. Thick, viscous, rich and velvety. Coated the mouth and lingered on the palate.
Overall, this is another outstanding DL variant. Lots of layers of flavor here and nice barrel character. One of my favorites of the night.

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Photo of gcamparone
4.69/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2016 bottle poured into a Dark Lord Teku. Thanks Ray for sharing this one.

Pours a thick viscous black body with a one finger dark brown head that reduces fairly slowly to leave some good retention and a bit of lacing.

Aromas are straight chocolate, vanilla, oak, caramel. Just as advertised. As it warms they become more potent, and a bit of dark fruit and coffee shines through.

On the tongue is fudgy vanilla-bourbon, lots of barrel here, dark chocolate and roasty coffee in the background, marshmallow, pretty sweet (sweeter than BVDL and BADL). Mouthfeel is spot on, very thick and viscous, rich and velvety.

Another great Dark Lord variant. Lots of vanilla here, almost as much as BVDL. More barrel

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Photo of Egotist
5/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

L: Like a Dark Lord. Jet black and thick like motor oil.
S: Vanilla, chocolate, coffee, bourbon, barrel, more vanilla.
T: The coffee is tamed by the vanilla and barrel. Perfect balance.
F: Thick and viscous like all BA Dark Lords.
O: Fantastic beer. Looking forward to trying the new version in different barrels.

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Photo of von_kaiser
4.41/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

There's a TON of vanilla with this one. So much that you barely get anything else. Faintest hint of coffee at the end. By far the sweetest beer I've ever had. A diabetics delight.

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Photo of IckyT2012
3.88/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

All your hype is wrong. Base DL is a sugary soy sauce mess and the vanilla in this only serves to mask the problems in the base. There's no way this is a top beer.

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Photo of yesterdayfaraway
4.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

L: not as thick or dark as assassin but pours no head and looks amazing
S: well balanced, not exploding out of the glass. Vanilla, slight coffee,
T: 50/50 between vanilla and coffee. So balanced, slight barrel
F: smooth, thick and sticky.

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Photo of Lare453
3.75/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is so overrated. Moderate vanilla on the nose with overwhelming barrel. Taste has minimal adjunct flavors... thick feel. This is definitely no bvdl.

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Photo of lupercmda
4.93/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into snifter. Thick black and thin minimal tan head. Vanilla and chocolate and more vanilla on the nose. Nice oily thick mouthfeel and wonderful balance between the vanilla and chocolate and the barrel. A wonderful beer

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Photo of Fireman_RK
4.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: Dark, soulless onyx, coal, and mocha hues with a thin sandy head and a luscious thickness that coats the glass
S: Signature Dark Lord sweetness abounds from the bottle and is complemented by raisins, brown sugar, and pinot noir
T: Effortlessly complex - bold Bordeaux, smoky oak flavors melt into decadent brandy and almond butter, which is underpinned by the requisite vanilla and nougat proffered by the base beer
F: Full bodied thickness and an ample amount of carb
O: Simply a gorgeously executed Dark Lord variant. The Armagnac barrel aging puts a unique spin on the Dark Lord flavor profile and the coffee and vanilla additions take this beer to new heights.

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Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
4.73/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Split a bottle 4 ways with some friends as my 5000th Untapped check in. Pretty amazing BA stout! Nice chocolate and bourbon notes and sweet vanilla finish but not overly strong on the vanilla.

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Photo of rabbott2
5/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2016 bottle ??? of 1104(?) drank in a snifter on 12/14/2016

L-thick, black, motor oil, nice lacing, minimal of the thickest beers I have had

S/T-armagnac(~brandy) comes through really nice. the chocolate and barrel are certainly the strongest. I do not get much coffee, however, the vanilla came to the party once it warmed and was an incredible addition. really smooth, bold, and flavorful....amazing

F-thick, oily, amazing

Overall-no need to say much more. This lived up to the hype and I hope they use this type of barrel in the future

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Photo of IrishColonial
4.79/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Had side by side with Handjee '16 and liked this one a bit better. Big vanilla and sticky marshmallow and brown sugar sweetness balanced by good roastiness and barrel presence; the main drawback is the Armagnac which has some unpleasant rubbing alcohol astringency but fades.

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Photo of kevanb
4.26/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, bottle #614, poured into a FFF/Intelligentsia mini mug. Enjoyed on 9.4.16, reviewed from Tasting Journal.

The beer pours a nice jet black color, thick, inky, oily and viscous with a khaki head, little retention and no lace. The aroma is nice, tons of coffee, vanilla beans, barrel spirit, has a bourbon like quality to it, tons of chocolate, stone fruits, brown sugar and raisin from the armagnac. Hot, boozy, but rich and decadent, very inviting. The flavors really pop, again, quite heavy on the cold pressed coffee flavor, brownie batter, vanilla bean, stone fruit and port like raisin, mild roast, typical RIS grain flavor, sweet brandy, lingering alcohol heat. The depth is nice, but the alcohol heat and just overall massiveness of the beer prevents the complexities to really shine. The mouthfeel is great, thick, creamy, viscous, chewy, massive body, coats very well, low carbonation and a big warm finish.

Verdict: A great barrel aged variant of Dark Lord. The coffee profile is very nice and the vanilla bean offers a nice marshmallow-esque profile, but overall, this beer remains very sweet, very heavy and very hot. That being said, a nice 4oz pour was the perfect size and this makes a great dessert beer.

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Photo of mothman
4.71/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Tan head. Fades to a ring. Black color.

Massive coffee and some roast. Coffee shows more than the vanilla. Chocolate and cocoa. Caramel. Big cognac and oak flavors. Reminds me of an amped up coffee bcs.

Full bodied. Thick and fudgy. Rich. Warming.

This beer is really awesome. Reminds me a lot of coffee bcs. Not at the hj level, but very fine.

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Photo of Lochnessmonster
4.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black as night and delicious as all get out - vanilla is the dominate flavor of course, but the other elements are peppered throughout, hitting your taste-buds at various points along the way. I will say it wasn't as boozy as I expected, which is probably a good thing, considering it still took me the better part of an hour to get through my pour.

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Photo of GMorgan
4.99/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Pours motor oil thick with little head

S: Mostly vanilla and chocolate on the nose with a hint of coffee

T: Everything blends so well together, yet you can taste all of the individual elements. Barrel presence is not overly strong, but provides the right amount of balance. Alcohol presence is there but not overwhelming for the ABV.

F: Full mouth feel with just the right amount of carbonation.

O: Amazing beer overall, one of the best BA adjunct stouts I've had. Take your time and enjoy as I thought the smell and tasted continued to improve as the beer warmed. Pretty amazing what FFF is able to do to the base beer through their BA program.

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Photo of gueuzedreg
4.85/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

L- Perfect, thick. Leaves a distinct swirl around the glass. Black as night, just the way I want it. Think 2013 Zhukov

S- The unique Armagnac barrel shines here. Forefront is the barrel aging, vanilla and chocolate.

T- Only knock on this beer is that it is sweet like the other BA Dark Lords; but this one tastes different in that the Armagnac is a breath of fresh air from too much bourbon barrel everything. The twist that the Armagnac brandy barrel has on this makes this one of a kind. Add in the vanilla, coffee and nibs; and this is easily top 5 BA stouts I've ever had

F- Very thick, coats your mouth after every sip.

O- I haven't had 2011 brandy vanilla, but this beats every other BA Dark Lord that I have had; even the great bottles of 2013 BVDL. My favorite beer in years

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.67/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

750 mL bottle. Black body with no head. Smells of lots of vanilla and a little brandy. Very sweet smelling with lots of chocolate. Taste is really sweet, there's no way around it. Lots of vanilla and molasses that becomes soy sauce. Brandy flavor behind it. Starts to become really sweet and chocolatey. Heavy and boozy. The sweetness didn't bother me at first the way it does in normal Dark Lord, but it does after a while. Seems a different beer, but in the end it's got all the shortcomings of other Dark Lord variants.

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Photo of Rothobinide
4.81/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

French Vanilla Militia is an excellent beer. If regular Dark Lord is a hulking devil's food cake in beer form, then this variant is like a quart of vanilla bean ice cream was melted over top of that cake and left to marinate inside of a giant snifter of Cognac.

A - Pours out black. Just black. Nothing much else to see. Light doesn't shine through it. Light is absorbed and forever entombed within FVM's chewy murk. Pretty much no head.

S - The aroma is huge vanilla, with dark chocolate and a slight, mild, lingering sting alcohol not unlike that of an herbal bitter or a fine Grappa or Cognac.

T - Oh man, vanilla beans for days. The flavor is up-front vanilla and cocoa and slowly segues through a palate-altering transition toward a dark grape must like sweetness that lingers on the tongue for what seems like ages.

M - Mouthfeel is marshmallow velvet. Carbonation is spot on. This is a sipper.

O - Overall, I had no particular expectations going into this, but coming out I now have a definite idea of how I feel about it. 3Floyds knows how to stoke the coals of the hype train's engine and get it going faster and louder than ever before. And they do it by delivering truly outstanding, if enigmatic, one-offs and variants for their diehard fans to take home and cradle in their arms like a firstborn infant heir to the Iron Throne of BBA Stouts. This is a fine addition to the pantheon of Dark Lord special releases. The question now becomes... will I ever be able to taste it again?

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Photo of cultclassic89
5/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Really awesome to try this next to Handjee to compare.

Appearance is perfect, very thick and black like the other big boys out there. Minimal dark brown head that quickly recedes.

Nose is just wow. The armagnac barrels are very intense, very similar to brandy but it has just a bit more wine like smoothness to it. Tons of vanilla and probably would be on BVDL vanilla level if the cocoa nibs and coffee weren't balancing it out, but it is the biggest of the 3 flavor additives in this. The coffee is smooth and ever so slightly roasty, but it's not a coffee bomb at all. Cocoa nibs just enhance the chocolate fudge character that's already there.

Taste is very much the same. So very sweet and rich. Waves of armagnac and vanilla, chocolate fudge and some coffee to give it a twist. Compared to BVDL, the vanilla isn't as "marsmallowy," but reminds me more of Vanilla Rye's vanilla. The big thing on this too is the armagnac, which is very different from the bourbon in BVDL. It really tastes like an expensive chocolate desert at a fancy restaurant.

Feel is perfect, very thick and viscous.

Overall this is an incredible beer and I would place it behind KBBS and BVDL, and at least tied with DBH, possibly more so depending on my mood. If you want a more complex BVDL with a unique barrel character, don't hesitate on this one.

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Photo of mkessler
4.96/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Shared at a tasting. Poured dark and thick into a snifter. It smelled like a chocolate mocha dream. Really balanced delicious flavor, incorporating all the obvious flavors. One if the best beers I've had

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Photo of wellsnb
4.79/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Opened 7/2/2016. Armagnac barrels adds a cognac flavor to the beer. When it's colder the coffee dominates. As it warms up the vanilla come through in a great way. Three floyds should do this version again.

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Photo of Stefko
4.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

L: Dark and viscous. S: Coffee, Vanilla, and booze. Weakest aspect of the beer, but still smells pretty good. T: Sweetness offset beautifully by a touch of coffee which bitters as it warms. Plenty of vanilla and chocolate. F: Nice thick mouthfeel. O: Definitely tastes better than Handjee, but nothing compares to the smell of Handjee.

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French Vanilla Militia (2016) from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 163 ratings