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
Reviews by PG2G:
Photo of PG2G
4.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

More User Reviews:
Photo of Stevedore
4.85/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle. Served in a stemmed glass.

Pours the typical deep dark black body, looks like motor oil as it comes out, with a one finger thick brown head that stubbornly stays along the collar. Well then, it looks like Dark Lord, but let's see what happens as we do our progression. Smell is heavy on the cocoa, with a bit of coffee. Not much vanilla. It was worrisome at first, but as it warms up, the coffee and chocolate seem to recede a bit and more of the brandy comes out. Rich dessert port-like aromas, like an ice wine. Quite a bit like Cognac Coffee BADL. Oak, a bit of vanilla is starting to come out. Time to take a sip, so for the flavour side of things- there is a big rich dark fruit presence throughout, and it's there and very hard to miss. The beginning of the palate also includes a huge cocoa with coffee, like a mocha. It's huge and so far that reminds me of the Cognac Coffee BADL that was released in 2015. As I'm halfway through the sip, I'm thinking, alright, where the #*!$ is the vanilla? And of course, maybe the Dark Lord heard my thoughts and decides at that moment was a good time to make my mouth explode with marshmallow. The contrast with the coffee and chocolate is so striking. The marshmallow flavours of the vanilla bean expand and coat my mouth in decadent liquid marshmallow goodness and simply wipes out any trace of the coffee and chocolate. It's a hefty complex adjunct-laden beer that really outdoes the regular Marshmallow Handjee, and that's saying a lot. Mouthfeel is a huge, burly body of motor oil with a slickness that really accentuates the second half of the palate- with all the marshmallow. The coffee and chocolate set the stage, but the marshmallow is like the meteor that killed all the dinosaurs- it arrives and wipes everything out. The aroma is still a bit coffee dominated, but the flavour is where the money is. This bottle is making me have to drop the regular Marshmallow Handjee down a notch, because simply put, this is better.

 1,993 characters

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

 788 characters

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

Dark Lord share in Lincoln, Nebraska! 750ml bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Pitch black.

Smell - Explosive vanilla. WOW!

Taste - A lot less heat than BVLD. Sooo Smooth! I may just prefer this over BVDL. A truly world class BA Stout!!

Mouthfeel - Full bodied. Low carbonation. Really nice!

Overall - This and BVDL stole the night. Highly recommended if you can...

Grade (A+)

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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?

 1,497 characters

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 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.

 163 characters

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 jaydoc
4.6/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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 GRG1313
5/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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 facesnorth
4.34/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of mattsmith413
4.85/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

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

Photo of mikepcarney
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of masterofsparks
4.43/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of orangesol
4.53/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of mmcurran
4.94/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of aasher
4.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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 kmanjohnson
4.22/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Eternal218
4.75/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

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

Photo of Mark000
4.84/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

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