Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Lord Imperial Stout | 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Lord Imperial StoutBourbon Barrel Aged Dark Lord Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Indiana, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 15.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Dark Lord aged in bourbon barrels for one year. Recently has used a blend of barrels from Heaven Hill, but has also been Woodford Reserve and others in the past

Formerly known as Oak Aged Dark Lord.

Added by mcallister on 04-29-2006

BEER STATS
Reviews:
189
Ratings:
778
Avg:
4.52
pDev:
9.07%
 
 
Wants:
1,994
Gots:
150
For Trade:
6
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Reviews: 189 | Ratings: 778
Photo of nickd717
4.85/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at DLD, finally! Brings me up to 95/100 on the Best of BA, but what a moving target that list is. Maybe I was a little drunk when I had this (ok, let's change that "maybe" to a "definitely"), but this one really stopped me in my tracks and made me appreciate just what the hell I was drinking: one of the greatest beers of all time!

Pours as black as the BeerAdvocate website background, and as thick as Aunt Jemima syrup. A well-formed brown head sits on top and leaves some lacing on the glass...er...plastic cup.

The nose on this one is out of this world. So much going on. It smells like a rich chocolate cake, along with coffee, roastiness, candied fruits, oak, and bourbon. Even puts regular Dark Lord to shame here.

Flavor is similarly amazing. The sweetness of Dark Lord really mellows out with the oak aging. Lots of milk and dark chocolate, coffee, molasses, brown sugar, and candied plums and raisins. Oak and bourbon blend seamlessly and do not overwhelm in the least bit.

Incredibly full-bodied and rich on the palate. Carbonation level is medium-low, exactly as appropriate for a beer like this.

Overall, wow, this is unbelievably good. I'll knock it down a half-point on the drinkability just because it's so overwhelming, but as drunk and full as I was, I had no problem taking down the 6oz pour. (Wish it hadn't been so easy!) Hope I get to have this awesomeness again at some point in the future.

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Photo of bamadog
4.49/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was sure to get my sample of this at Dark Lord Day 2010 and thoroughly enjoyed it. Review is from notes taken on 4/24/2010 and poured from the tap to a plastic cup (blasphemy, I know, but it's what they were offering).

Appearance: Comes to me very black and viscous looking (I should note that it's not nearly as thick as the '08 DL that I was able to sample - didn't get to review though as my pour was not quite deep enough to get everything out of it); has about a 1/4 finger of deep dark brown head that fades quickly to nothing other than a thin ring around the surface of the same color; the body is, of course, entirely opaque (I think this actually feeding off of any light around it) and it leaves behind no lacing.

Smell: About what I would expect, actually, and it's awesome. Tons of smoke, wood (with a bit of a sweet vanilla aspect to it from the barrel aging); big alcohol that is a little bourbonesque in nature; lots of dark, burnt and roasty malts and bit of a deep and dark, ripe fruity (cherry?) aspect hiding out in there.

Taste: Pretty much matches the nose to a "T." Lots of that smokey and woody aspect and followed with a hint of sweet vanilla; that big alcohol is definitely present and it's quite hot (I have no idea what year this was made, but if I had to guess I would say it's relatively fresh); again those nice dark, burnt and roasty malts provide tons of flavor and that cherry-like flavor hiding out continues to do so and makes the occasional appearance between the other, more dominant flavors.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy, with tons of thick sticky coating holding all over the mouth that allows the nice roasty and bitter flavors to linger for what seems an eternity. In the end, it's a tad gritty, but I like that in a stout, and one of this magnitude certainly does not disappoint.

Drinkability: The flavors and smells alone are enough to keep this high, despite the very present ABV. Also, the mystique and rarity of this beer alone would perhaps keep me coming back for more if it was something that was actually more available. I'm pleased that I got to try it though.

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Photo of abrand
4.55/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Brought to me in line at the 2010 DLD while in line by a very generous gentleman.

The oak aged DL pours jet black with a small ebony head that quickly fades and leaves no lacing. Smell is chocolate, sugar and LOTS of oak. The wood characteristics dominate all other aspects of this beer. The taste is similar to the nose with Oak up front, some chocolate malts and nuts in the middle, followed by a wood finish. Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy. Great tasting stout but I agree with others in that the oak may be just too much. It is a great cousin of Dark Lord but not sure I could handle much more than the small sample I received.

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Photo of rhinos00
4.3/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Finally got to try this one. On-tap at DLD '10.

A- Poured a dark, chocolate brown color. Looked very thick, like motor oil. Produced minimal amount of head. Dissipated instantly.

S- Sweet malts with molasses. The sweetness in the aroma was very potent. The background had a slight hint of vanilla, bourbon and tons of oak.

T- Much like the aroma, actually exactly like the aroma. Sweetness upfront from various malts and molasses. Some bourbon and vanilla in there as well. The finish was dominated by an overwhelming amount of oak. Really wanted to give this a 4.25, but couldn't...so I rounded up.

M- I loved the mouthfeel of this beer. Thick, chewy and viscous. Coated the palate very well.

D- I'm glad they served this in a small 6 oz. glass (could of been 8 oz.). If I had any more it would have been very difficult to put down.

Overall, a very good beer. That being said, at $9 a pour, I will pass from now on...much better bourbon, oak-aged beers out there at a better value.

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Photo of levifunk
4.97/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this at DLD '10.

I was walking a bit warm by the time I got to try this, but had it a second time side by side with DL. I don't know if I would have been able to compare them unless I had them next to each other. DL is amazing, but the OA is even better. The oak aging does wonders to tone down the sweetness of DL...making it more drinkable IMO.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.03/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had on tap @ DLD 2010! Huge thanks to BeerFMAndy for snagging a glass of this for me!

(A)- Pours thick & black as night. Produced a quickly dissipating brown head.

(S)- A rich dense molasses with a rather potent woody bourbon-like burn

(T)- Rich, with a big woody & bourbon-like sweetness with some dark cocoa & molasses. Very similar to the smell.

(M)- Dense, but thinner than the vanilla bean variation. Has a good carbonation level. A big, almost dry woodiness, yet has a bitterness too from the roasted malts.

(D)- A good stout. Not as successful as their vanilla bean variation in my opinion, but has its own special qualities the other ones do not. Unique and interesting on its own. I would also like to see how this one ages, but yet again, this is only available one day a year!

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Photo of hooliganlife
4.17/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 dark lord day pour

dark as night, no head what so ever, no retention, no lacing, just thick black stout.

tons of oak with subtle hints of vanilla and booze. light scents of dark fruits

mild sweetness, tons of oak which gave off a nice subtle vanilla favor. bits of molasses. the roasted malts took the back seat and the hops were also overpowered by the brute oak flavor.

very thick, a bit syrupy, mouth coating

this was good, very good, but the least favorite of the dark lords. the oak was a bit powerful so too much of this and i would be wanting to move on.

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Photo of hawks10
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at Dark Lord Day 2010...about a 6 ounce pour, enough to give me a good idea about this beer...

Pours just like regular Dark Lord...thick, black, oily and viscous, little bit of dark brown head...

Smells of chocolate, sweet roasted malts, brown sugar, molasses, a bit of vanilla and some bourbon and wood aromas as well...

Tastes just as it smells, chocolate and molasses, some vanilla and bourbon and a tiny bit of drying oak, not much though. Really enjoyed the complexity of this beer and enjoyed the fresh Dark Lord on tap...

Thick and creamy, chewy and coating...full bodied with good carb...

Another winning variation of Dark Lord, slightly prefer the vanilla bean though...

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Photo of pepsican
3.85/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Thanks to joey and random guy in line for tastings of this. Black as night, no head. Aroma was heavy on the molasses and bourbon. Huge bourbon intro with chocolate, molasses, and alcohol. Finishes very boozy, syrupy. A bit over the top for me, not very drinkable. I had a 4 oz glass and it was a bit too much. Still one of the most flavorful and unique beers I've come across.

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Photo of hrking
4.85/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the true definition of what a world class stout should be all about. I've had this 3 years in a row now at DLD and it never fail to impress and you will find me in the pub again and again on DLD. Pours a chocolate blackness and delivers everything you could imagine or ever dream of in a stout. Bourbon and oak seem to melt flawlessly into the background of this monster stout that does truly make this a treat to be savored. If there is a flaw it would be that it's not bottled and sold as a one bottle kicker on DLD along with it's standard version. Everything is here oak,vanilla,bourbon,chocolate fudge goodness.. the best way is fresh off the tap but to see this end up bottled would be awesome..Keep up the good work FFF's you started this whole craft beer craze and one off stout release everyone else is copying what FFF's started..the true kings of craft beer!

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.64/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Handbottle shared graciously by Chris. It was MUCH better than I remember it being when I tried it at DLD 08

Jet black, no head with dark brown highlights. Not as sludgy as the regular Dark Lord. A solid looking beer.
Holy fucking fuck, what a nose! Chocolate chip cookies with bourbon come right to mind. Just massive, intensely good. A ton of vanilla with a relatively low booze character, with bourbon noticeable. Not hot in the least, the vanilla character is actually quite tastefully done. Mildly raisiny with cocoa powder and chocolate fudge. Just over the top.
The palate isn't as exceptional, but opens with all the fantastic chocolate complexity with cocoa, dark chocolate and fudge. Plenty sweet with caramel, burnt sugar and an incredible accent of bourbon. The oak aging is most noticeable in the vanilla character of this beer, along with a mildly boozy character. Coffee isn't noticeable, though there's enough molasses and licorice to make an effort at countering the chocolate character. Mild dark fruit character is present with raisins soaked in sugar syrup. An incredibly long finish with a bit of booze, a lot of vanilla, mild roast and some chocolate. Thick and HUGE, this big beer has low carbonation and has a perfect body. My belief is reaffirmed, and I'm almost tempted to go to DLD next year and session this and the VB DL. Awesome stuff.

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Photo of largadeer
4.74/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Got this one from stfun37. Brought this down to San Diego last week and shared it with HopHead84 and dyan. I think this exceeded all of our expectations.

Sludgy opaque black, no head forms from the pour - this is pretty much still. Plenty thick, but not as viscous as the regular Dark Lord, which can only be a good thing.

Huge aroma of chocolate, fudge, chocolate cake, chocolate syrup, vanilla and caramel. Inhaling anywhere near the vicinity of a glass of this is like walking into a chocolatier. Unbelievably sweet and decadent. Oak and bourbon are noticeable, but the chocolate/caramel/vanilla trifecta is dominant.

The taste is brimming with rich chocolate and vanilla, molasses, licorice and oaky tannins. Bourbon is there too, well-integrated and balanced with the base beer. The body is thick and viscous, carbonation non-existent. The finish is mildly tannic, roasty and semi-dry, coffee lingering on the palate.

It's amazing what a little -bal aging will do to a beer. While I'm not at all a fan of the regular Dark Lord, this iteration of it is incredible.

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Photo of tpd975
5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Hand bottle provided by gunhaver.

A: Pours as dark as night, flat pitch black with only a bubble or two for a head. The beer is thick, dense, it literally coats the glass.

S: Huge vanilla aromas, from the wood I guess. Nothing artifical about the vanilla though, it is like creamy buttery vanilla. The wood component is huge as well. Like fresh cut oak. Strong roasty notes are there along with hints of molasses and chocolate.

T: Holy Hell! There is nothing like this beer. It is the king of barrel aged beers in my mind without a doubt. Fudge like chocolate up front along with a big blast of roast. The oak component is huge and so enjoyable. Vanilla manages to push through with hints of bourbon. A slight milky coco puffs flavor can be picked up as well. Simple flavors that seem to just meld together perfectly. Really is a perfect beer.

M: Full bodied, lacks carbonation from the hand bottling, but it really don't suffer. I like lower levels of carbonation on RIS' anyway.

D: Wonderful, would love to drink all night until I pass out. Reason enough to make a trip to Dark Lord Day.

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Photo of kimcgolf
4.59/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at DLD 09. Pour to a jet black with just a hint of brown, a thin dark brown skim of head that lingers well and okay lacing. But it ain't about appearances. Nose was a very potent and pleasant mix of aged wood, pourbon, chocolate, toffee and caramel, and as it warmed, the alcohol snuck in as well. Mouthfeel was full, a tad biting and oily. Taste was the highlight, as it took all the scents of the nose and blended them into a very complex taste where every sip seemed to accentuate a different aspect.

Finish was log, smooth and warming. FFF served this in small cups, which was a good thing, given the various beers to be tasted and the 14% abv.

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Photo of fiver29
4.27/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Dark Lord Day 08. This is an oak aged version of the 07 batch. Pours a thick black color with a tan head. Has a nice aroma of oak and chocolate. Has complex flavors from bourbon, oak, chocoalte, licorice, and a candy molasses. These flavors blend well together and has a smooth alcohol finish. Nice brew.

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Photo of Deuane
4.34/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to some fine BA's for hooking me up with a pour of this one at Great Taste 2009. I have been waiting to review this for quite sometime after having initially at DLD 2007.

A-Deep, non-light penetrating black. A small, dark tan head dissipates to a thin ring and leaves spotty lace along with remnants of the beer, it being that viscous.

S-Whoa! Like sticking your head into a bourbon barrel filled with Dark Lord! Huge notes of oak, dark chocolate, espresso, dark fruit, toffee, turbinado and vanilla.

T-All the positive qualities of DL with a BIG bourbon pressence....and IMHO too big. FFF is never one to shy away from flavour and they didn't start with this one! I like it, but it's simply too much for me.

M-Full/heavy-bodied and Christ! This may be THE smoothest, creamy and most viscous beer I have ever had. This one slides down like oil. Rich beyond measure with LONG lasting flavours.

D-Certainly a fine brew, but the alcohol and bourbon character is a bit too much for me in this one to drink en masse. I prefer Vanilla DL over the Oaked version.

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Photo of maximum12
4.15/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yet another version of this fine beer.

This one took me by surprise - by oaked, I assumed this beer was "oaked" so the big bourbon slap in the face almost made me cry.

Again, just like the regular Dark Lord in most respects, but with a massive overdosing of barrel aging that's up front & in your cage. Kudos to 3F for trying to improve & tamper with an already great beer, but this one feel just a bit short; the bourbon was over-aggressive for me, drowning out some of the best aspects of the regular Dark Lord. Some of the creaminess was disrupted, & the great towering blade of malts was compromised.

Still a very good beer & one I'd never turn my nose up at, but also a good example of turning a great beer into just a very good one by laying too much of the barrel into the glass.

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Photo of craytonic
3.18/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Looks like DL, pitch black, oil slick, etc, etc

Smell: Only a hint of oak on the scent. Lots of roast malt and molasses.

Taste: Did they add sugar to this one as well? If so, why? Roast malt, molasses, brown sugar, milk chocolate, semi-sweet baking chocolate. The oak is huge on the taste, like a fresh oak barrel. Too much barrel actually. Much hasher than the regular DL or VB DL.

Mouthfeel: Great - thick, chewy, smooth, near perfect.

Drinkability: To much fresh, wet oak and I get some added sugar. Regular DL is better, but honestly none of the three is T-50 worthy in my opinion.

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

Thanks to a prior trader for hooking me up. Shenanigans ensued with the procurement/bottling of this beer, I'm sure.

Pours a dark black, some deep tan bubbling froth, and a bit of a foamy crust.

Smells like ... Dark Lord. I feel like cutting and pasting my review. Hmmm ... Chocolate, dark fruits, a roasted malt backing. So far, not much oak.

Well, the oak makes its appearance in the flavor, in a big ... kind of distracting way. Vanilla, bourbon-y oak, and the familiar chocolate, roasted malt, and velvety dark fruit of the base Dark Lord. They laid a heavy -bal aging on this beer. And yes, there's more than a bit of sherry to it. Thick, viscous, and creamy. Noticeable bourbon component.

Much better on my second sampling.

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Photo of kmeves
4.38/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at GTMW '09: Pours an opache black with a small dissipating tan head. Aroma is strong oak, fruity sweet (plums and raisins) and very rich. Flavor is strong oak yet very sweet with dark fruit, rich chocolate, coffee and a nice undertone of flower, herbs and grapefruit. Finish is very long and warm with molasses and dark fruit. Large bodied, quite a bit more alcohol apparent than the non oak version. Still one of the best beers I have ever tasted.

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Photo of alcstradamus
4.64/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled at the 2009 Great Taste of the Midwest

Pours like liquid sludge, when I was finished with this I couldn't even pour the remaining few drops out because they were stuck to the walls of the glass like maple syrup. Huge dark fruit nose just like regular Dark Lord, with the oak also being prominent. Taste was very sweet, the oak stands out and unfortunately has a bit of a harshness to it, so I couldn't rate the taste a 5. Full bodied and thick, I prefer the regular Dark Lord to this version though just because of the harshness. My 3 oz. was more than enough to satisfy.

UPDATE 4/26: Had a chance to try the newest batch of this beer and I must say, it was MUCH better this year. The harshness from the oak was gone, and all the flavors melded together very well. I'm still not sure it is an improvement on the base beer, but it is good enough that I have to bump the taste score up to a 5

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

Finally getting around to reviewing my notes from DLD. Had on tap of course!

A- Pours a thick dark motor oil black color. I held this up to the light and it had no accent to it at all....just dark black. It had about a half finger mocha/tan head that wasn't very impressive and went down rather quickly. Lacing was sticky on the sides of the glass but I think regular DL beats this one out in the appearance catagory.

S- This has the same highlights as the DL with the coffee and chocolate I think dominating along with some darker fruits and something else I can't place my finger on. Some distinct oak and bourbony undertones come and go when I sniff at this along with faint vanillia aromas as well. This beer is making my mouth water just smelling it.

T- Big oaky...bourbon taste right upfront that powers with the chocolate and coffee taste of the DL. The balance is maybe a little off but that is only opinion. I get hints of the vanillia blending almost perfect with a brown sugar taste I get. This beer is big and it knows it. A heavy hitter with different tastes around every turn. Can taste the alcohol a little more with this one.

M- This is a heavy hitting mouthfeel. Not a huge carbonation leaves this beer knocking on your palate until you force it to leave. Leaves a nice amount oaky, coffee, chocolate taste on the tounge. This beer feels good in the mouth still after being so big and heavy.

D- This beer is sadly for me a one beer and move onto the next for me. It is good but so damn heavy that it feels like I'm drinking a meal. Plus there was two other DL's I had to try while I was talking with friends.

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Photo of Steamhead
4.18/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The '09 was, in my opinion, a step down from the regular Dark Lord and two steps down from Vanilla Bean Dark Lord. This seem the least polished of the three. The nose was hotter, the mouthfeel had lost some of the rich creaminess in exchange for a bitter wood tannin, and just did not leave a great impression. Still a solid beer that most breweries would sell their soul to produce, but for the perfection that is expected with Three Floyds it was good, but not great.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.7/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ the Three Floyds brewpub on 4/25/09 during DLD. Served in a snifter.

Pours as black as an oil slick into the glass with a burnt and charred mocha colored tan head. Standard D look for this, except that the head looks a tad thin and more foamy than the regular Dark Lord. The aroma is just thick with bourbon warmth and pervasive accents of wood and vanilla that lie on top of the RIS notes of chocolate, coffee, molasses, and dark fruit tang, giving an extra level of hugeness to this bouqet. Wow, this is big in the nose!

The taste starts with massive barrel notes of boozy bourbon and oaky accents that is more than an equal for the massive sweetness and roast of the Dark Lord. The bourbon never seems to get overpowering to me because the original flavor profile was so huge to begin with. Finishes with a tangy, boozy, and dry feel that warms the palate and sticks in the mouth. The mouthfeel is hugely chewy and viscous with most of the heat from the beer appearing to come more from the bourbon notes and less from the ABV of the body itself. A warming, steady sipper here.

Well there's certainly nothing understated about this beer. Bourbon-aged Dark Lord is what you want and bourbon-aged Dark Lord is what you GET! Luckily I greatly enjoy both and found a good balance between the two aspects, despite just the overall mammoth flavors and strength going on here. I greatly enjoyed this.

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

Had this on tap at DLD 09.

Pitch black, motor oil, no highlights, and a thin but fluffy dark tan head that holds for a little bit and leaves some lacing that coats the side of the glass.
Aroma is quite impressive, dark fruits abounding, molasses, coffee but not too much coffee, chocolate, bread and alcohol. Oakiness and vanilla, perhaps some extra heat as compared to the regular version.
It is a very thick, oily beer as expected, complex, with coffee, bittersweet chocolate, sweet caramel, molasses, fruits, vanilla but some noticeable heat, brandy like, which does not blend perfectly.
This is an incredible beer, but IMHO, one step down from regular DL. The oak aging did not match perfectly. Still a fantastic beer.

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
99 out of 100 based on 189 ratings.
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