Marshmallow Handjee (Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord) | 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
100
world-class
288 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Marshmallow Handjee (Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord)Marshmallow Handjee (Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord)
BEER INFO

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

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 15.00%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout aged in a variety of Bourbon barrels with vanilla beans.

Added by mcallister on 04-27-2008

BEER STATS
Reviews:
288
Ratings:
1,414
Avg:
4.66
pDev:
9.01%
 
 
Wants:
4,260
Gots:
261
For Trade:
12
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 288 | Ratings: 1,414
Photo of Huhzubendah
5/5  rDev +7.3%
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.

 942 characters

Photo of ThaBobfather
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

*Notes from DLD*

Pours the basically perfect opaque, black that its basic version does. Also has the thick, frothy dark chocolate colored head that makes it so beautiful.
Smell is hypnotizing of roasted and sweet malts, chocolate, coffee, caramel, and that twinge of vanilla that adds such an extra layer of complexity to it.
Taste gives me the roast and coffee up front then finishes, blended well, into the chocolate and vanilla.
Finish is crisp and refreshing, the after-taste is astounding with a complex blend of all of the beers flavors, not just the vanilla of malt, but also the coffee and chocolate stay around.
The vanilla flavor mellows out any bite a previous version might have, it goes down incredibly smooth.

 724 characters

Photo of bcbs4040
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Best barrel aged stout I've came across. Tons of oak and vanilla, mouthfeel is thick and rich. Not too sweet or artificial. Simply world class perfection.

 154 characters

Photo of themaj
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

So my first review was of the 2011 vbdl I had on draft at dld 2014. Was lucky enough to get a 14 vbdl and sat on it until today. 2 weeks before dld 2015 so almost exactly 1 yyear.pure perfection!!

 196 characters

Photo of Dreadnaught33
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

OK, let me preface this review by saying, I did not take notes on this, but I have had it twice: At Dark Lord Day 2010, and at Pizzaria Paradiso in Georgetown (DC) for a Three Floyds Dinner.

This is the best beer I've ever had, and probably ever will have. I will travel anywhere to get this if it's available, and would trade anything if they ever bottle this.

The appearance is perfect, jet black, very dark lingering head, lots of lacing.

Smell is crazy, it is like every good thing in a barrel aged RIS beer thrown together, with huge vanilla, chocolate, malt, alcohol, etc. all at once. It's the type of beer you know will be huge, and you hope it even comes close to tasting how good it smells. I kept a plastic cup from dark lord day, and seriously it smelled of the aroma of this beer for weeks, that is how pungent and beautiful the smell is.

The taste fulfills all expectations of the smell and much more. Massive flavors of vanilla, oak, malt, chocolate, coffee, alcohol burn and more go on in some sort of harmony that is hard to understand. I know i am a guy who likes big flavors in general, but this is unreal. Seriously unreal. This is the type of thing that makes you feel unworthy but at the same time so glad you have the privilege to have this divine liquid. This is the type of thing you do not forget.

Mouthfeel is absolutely awesome. Completely covers your mouth and throat. It lingers so long it's unbelievable. You could taste it minutes after you had it, it seems you could get up take a nice walk and come back and i'd still be there.

Drinkability I gave a 4 because this thing is just huge. There is no way you could even try to have two of these next to each other because its just too much to take in that quantity. That being said, if I had to pick one beer only to have forever, this (at this point) is it. << Edit. I will give this a 5 now because I crave this beer all the time. If It was at a bar, I would only drink this. Therefor, It's getting a perfect 5 from me.

 2,016 characters

Photo of cultclassic89
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Finally got to try this and wow. It does in fact live up to the hype. 2016 vintage.

Appearance is perfect for the style. Very thick and black with a minimal dark brown head that quickly fades.

Nose is the best vanilla beer I've ever had. Incredibly rich vanilla in the form of marshmallows. As it warms, the barrel character and base come out and it's so rich and chocolately.

Taste is very much the same. Marsmallows, vanilla, rich bourbon, fudge. It's not very complex but it doesn't need to be. A bit of nuttiness came out as it warmed, like a very nutty coconut.

Feel is perfect, incredibly thick and viscous, right up there with Toppling Goliath and Cigar City stouts. Some warmth from the alcohol but it's not boozy at all.

Overall it's perfect to me and is my second favorite imperial stout, right behind KBBS. For vanilla, it doesn't get better than this.

 868 characters

Photo of RMelyon
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had on tap on DLD 2013, and at a bottle share in May 2015. Beer doesn't get any better than this. It looks like it should, smells like it should, and tastes even better than it should. No perceivable burn, even at 15%. Simply the best beer I've had. It lives up to the hype.

 274 characters

Photo of ryanfolty
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

July 3, 2013 - bottle shared by Joe. This will be rating 1492 for me (on RB), the year that Columbus discovered America. Fitting since this beer marks my discovery of something that is at the same level as Goose Island’s BCS Rare. Yes, what I thought was my one and only 5.0 rating now has a companion. How can I say this is as good as Rare? Well after drinking, my wife and I say to Joe that it is one of the best beers we have ever had, but not sure it is better than Rare. What does Joe go and do, yes he pulls a Rare out of his cellar and we do a blind impromptu tasting!!! I admit on this day the Vanilla DL was better than the Rare (I was able to choose each correctly), but the Rare did not taste quite as good as when I had it initially. I can’t thank Joe enough for his generosity on this night. I guess I will put some actual beer comments in now. Of course this was a black pour with tan head. The aroma and taste were magical blends of chocolate, vanilla and bourbon. Each one in perfect harmony that created an other worldly experience. 2012 vintage, bottle 408 of 934.

 1,086 characters

Photo of smb
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2012 bottle

L: Pours sludgy and oily black, nothing shines through even when held closely to the light. Maintains a mocha halo across the entire glass... impressive for a year in barrels.

A: Marshmallow, vanilla, milk and dark chocolate, oak and some almond aromas all coming through. These all are just vividly wafting out and around the glass.

T: Follows the nose but magnified, especially the marshmallowy vanilla. There's a depth of flavor here that's richer than any other barrel aged beer I've had... including BCBS Vanilla, Parabola, BA Vietnamese Speedway, BA Monsters Park, etc... certain aspects of those may be more complex, but this is just more enjoyable.

M: Mouthfeel is thick and rich with massive marshmallow-esque vanilla bean, milk chocolate and oak goodness lingering forever. At 15% there is no real taste of alcohol and only a slight but pleasing warming sensation on the drink down.

Overall: I can't do it justice in words, but it really is the Dark Lord of barrel aged beers. More than worthy of the hype.

 1,036 characters

Photo of eifster82
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

VBDL '15.

Heavenly, is the first word that comes to mind when describing this beer. Pitch black appearance with very small 'brown' ring upon pour on outer edge of glass. Smell is of vanilla and marshmallows infused with bourbon. The taste is extraordinarily complex and delicious. Again, marshmallows and vanilla are abundant and nothing like in Vanilla Rye or Madagascar. Much more infused and bourbon isn't overpowering the dominant flavors. The feel and aftertaste is so smooth and delicious, I felt like drinking a s'more with a nice bourbon addition. It's not boozy by any stretch, but present enough to notice.

This is the best stout I've ever had and possibly the tastiest thing I've put in my mouth. I've had Prop '14, Black Tuesday Reserve '13, Rare '15, CBS '15, as well as a multitude of other but this beer is unlike any other and deserving of it's 'white whale' status. If ever given an opportunity to taste, do not think twice.

 952 characters

Photo of SDRedDevil
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2013 Orange Wax Edition, shared with two others. Velvet vanilla perfection. Pours a midnight black with minimal head. Layers of bourbon and vanilla, abv completely hidden. Easily one of the best BBA beers I have ever had.

 221 characters

Photo of mynie
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the 08 vintage, aged a whole year.

Here's what my notes say:

"God's cum. With Vanilla."

That's stupidly vulgar. Even when I was in high school I wouldn't have thought it was clever. It's the kind of thing a frat boy might say if he were trying to sound hilariously deep. By all rights, I should have tossed it out and written up some better notes.

But here's the thing--it was written in earnest. This beer is vulgar and it is divine, simultaneously the most pornographic and heavenly foodstuff to have ever entered my mouth. This beer is so great it makes even the most juvenile metaphor seem poetic.

There's nothing else for me to say about this beer. I'm not a poet. It was life affirming, how about that? It made me happy to be not dead, and it gave me a reason to keep on living because I will someday get another chance to drink it.

 851 characters

Photo of jstunna24
4.99/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Absolutely amazing. The aroma is incredible. One of the best smelling beer I've ever tried. It smells like liquid marshmallows. The taste is sweet but complex. Vanilla, bourbon,chocolate, and toffee intoxicate your mouth. Truly a treat. Definitely worth seeking out!

 266 characters

Photo of Domvan
4.99/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Aside from the fact that this beer overtrades and sells for way too much (in the black market) for what is essentially liquid in a bottle.

This was easily one of the most unique and best beers I've ever had

Chocolate marshmallow fluffyness with a light booziness. It was a perfect storm of ingredients all in one beer. Definitely a huge difference from regular dark lord

 372 characters

Photo of owenbrau
4.98/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Very excited to try this and it did not disappoint! 2014 version, big toasted marshmallow smell with a little bourbon. Taste is chocolate and vanilla up front with a marshmallow finish lingering on the tongue. So drinkable it's scary for 15%. It is one of, if not the best beer, I have ever consumed. Bourbon Barrel stout is my favorite style though I can not see how anyone could not love this beer.

 403 characters

Photo of masterchiefMD
4.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

sampled at DLD 08. I am a huge vanilla fan. This was the smoothest richest best tasting beer i have every had. It let me CRAVING more. color was very dark just a shade under black. Smell was as good as the taste. The vanilla to me wasnt overwhelming, just enough during the aftertaste. They need to think about doing think again.

 329 characters

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

'14 vintage, received in a trade with greatgazoo. Thanks man!

This one pours a dark, inky and oily black, with a lighter, sugary-looking film on top. A small quarter inch head dissipates basically immediately. No lacing.

Smells just incredible, huge vanilla bean and marshmallow aroma, some sweet chocolate, and dark fruits galore.

This seems to amplify the positive aspects of Dark Lord, downplay the negative aspects, and add some whole new great vanilla-soaked aspects to it. This is definitely unbelievably sweet and syrupy, but it's a delicious sweet, not a taxing sweet, so it's ok. Even after one year of aging, the vanilla character is still so forward. Beyond the sweet sweet gooey vanilla marshmallow flavor, there's a lot of the usual Dark Lord dark fruit flavors, lots of cherry and raisin, with some brown sugar and chocolate. There's only a little bit of bourbon, just at the back behind the other flavor blasts.

This has no alcohol feel to it, at all- which is amazing. It's definitely warming, and by the end, you're feeling the rush, but you wouldn't know it along the way. This has one of the thickest bodies and mouthfeels I've ever encountered in a beer, very silky and chewy, at the same time. Fairly low level of carbonation, but still there, keeping it drinkable.

This is a decadent dream of a beer. I can see why it's so highly regarded. It was worth the long wait to finally try this one.

 1,418 characters

Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at DLD'09.

I've been holding out hope that this would reappear for this years event after having missed it at last years.
Pours very dark brown almost black with a nice quarter inch of head forming on the pour. Smell is vanilla. Check that. The vanilla in this beer is so decadent and inviting I can't put it into words. Taste is among the best beers I have every had. Very nice creme vanilla in the flavor, plenty of roastiness and coffee show up underneath. This is a monstrosity of a beer. Incredibly smooth and velvety. This was easily among the top beers of the entire weekend. This beer is right up my alley. I could drink a whole lot of this stuff. No sign of the abv in this. Exceptional beer that I could drink everyday.

 737 characters

Photo of Sabtos
4.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark black with a lazy mocha head the straddles the edges and almost looks like chocolate skin.

Dark fudgy chocolate and roastiness wafts off the glass, while none of the coffee or sugar from the base brew really come through. I also would sometimes perceive cherry or raspberry in the base, but again none of that carries over to this variant. A very nice oaky roastiness with comforting, warming dark chocolate make for very enticing aromas.

Vanilla rounds out the flavor making it less sweet in some unfathomable way and the aging has given it a slightly frothier, creamier body which is just heavenly. I'm glad to say the bourbon does not create a boozy heat, but works with that vanilla bean and all the other additional ingredients already in the Dark Lord base to truly make for that toasted marshmallow effect. On top of that fudgy characteristic, it's absolutely delicious.

Viscous, thick and gooey, but just fluid enough to continue to qualify as beer. I perceived no booze heat at all, which is seemingly totally squashed by the high quality vanilla element.

This is an unbelievable achievement. Maybe it was a lucky fluke that continues to work out in small doses year to year, but I've never experienced this in any other BA beer, and a lot try to use the same ingredients. I'm not sure how you can plan to attain this kind of flavor with natural ingredients intentionally, but either way, they did it. It lives up to the hype, which is unfortunate for anyone that actually wants a full bottle. I had this on draft at DLD 2016.

 1,544 characters

Photo of raveskdr
4.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Finally getting around to review this. Had it yet again on tap at Dark Lord Day (and got a chance to tick it out of the bottle as well). Poured into an oddly shaped glass inside the FFF brewpub on DLD.

A - Completely dense viscous blackness. Very little carbonation.

S - Vanilla. Vanilla. Vanilla. Slight roasted coffee. Vanilla.

T - Vanilla. Vanilla. Vanilla. Just incredible flavoring of pure vanilla. You get some of that smokiness and some roastiness, but this is a vanilla dominated beer.

M - Incredibly decadent and rich yet smooth for such a high alcohol beer.

O - One of the best beers I have ever had. This beer is just incredible. I could drink the hell out of this beer. All the hype this beer has ever got is completely deserved. I am glad they bottled it so that some people could get some without going to DLD. It's just as good out of the bottle.

 867 characters

Photo of _morandi_
4.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Truly an experience.
Appearance is black-as-night and opaque as you'd expect from Dark Lord. Very little head that settles as a small ring. Has legs for days.
The nose is a loads of vanilla with hints molasses and slight oak/booze.
The taste follows suit with heavy vanilla, fudge, sweet molasses, slight bourbon oakiness as booze but largely sweet and perfectly hidden by the vanilla. Never cloying, like a perfect dessert you can't get enough of.
The mouthfeel is stick-to-your-guts phenomenal. This is a beer to chew on and enjoy over time. Slow sipping and letting it come up to temperature will be rewarded.

Bourbon Vanilla Dark Lord is an experience unlike any other beer I've tried. Just perfect. I thought a bottle like this could never possibly live up to the hype, but it far and away exceeds it. Well worth seeking out.

 845 characters

Photo of nrbw23
4.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I missed this one at '08 Dark Lord Day so this is one that was must for this year.

A- Pretty much like the DL that I drank on tap minutes before this one. Pitch black with a nice brown head.

S- Just like the regular version with the exception of vanilla. Wow make that a ton of vanilla.

T- Thought it tasted just like DL with an up in your face vanilla. Wonderful my favorite of the three DL.

M- Big full and I think a little bit lighter in carbonation than the regular.

D- Very awesome beer wish I had some more.

I had all three of these pretty much back to back and gonna give the edge to the vanilla bean but I don't think you could go wrong with any of them. Nice work!

 680 characters

Photo of coldmeat23
4.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: approx 45 - 50 degrees
VINTAGE 2009 (Had @ DLD)

Like it's brothers, this one is also black. Less than a finger of foam forms the head and quickly disappears. It leaves a few bubbles around the edge, but that's about it. No real lacing to speak of, but the slick oiliness still coats the glass.

Hey whadda' ya' know? It smells like vanilla!
Seriously though, the vanilla scent practically jumps out of the glass and grabs you. It's wonderful. It's not an artficial scent either, it smells like true vanilla extract, as it should. This mixes in with the nice roasted malt scents. The large chocolate and Intelligentsia coffee notes are still here, but they are dwarfed by the vanilla presence. Light hints of bourbon-ey oak are detectable. Dark fruits, molasses and caramel can be found, if you look.
This one should get a rating of 6 for the smell.

Oh yeah, that's the stuff. Man, is this good!
The smooth, tasty vanilla just melds with the bold chocolate and coffee flavors and creates something amazing. I don't believe that I can describe it accurately. It's that good.
That which I found to be perfect has been made more than perfect.
This one should get a rating of 7 for the taste.

The mouthfeel loses nothing with this one. It is still that huge, rich, thick feeling. Beautiful.

3Floyds have taken their own perfect creation and made it rich and decadent. This is amazing. While it would best serve as a dessert or special occasion brew, I wouldn't be able to stay out of it, if I had it at home.
This might be the only brew that I drink, next DLD.

 1,580 characters

Photo of atrus138
4.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Note: Some of this is copied from my review of the original Dark Lord, since it shares a lot as far as appearance and mouthfeel go.

Everytime I've described a beer as looking like motor oil has been a lie. THIS is a beer that looks like motor oil. No head whatsoever. This beast is far too dense for a head. It has its own gravity and pulls any head into itself. The glass is absolutely stained yellow after drinking. Epic. As far as smell goes, I've never been more excited to drink a beer after smelling this. It's rare to smell a beer so aggressive in its sweetness. However, despite the extreme sweetness of the smell, it's not TOO sweet. It's more of a naturally sweet smell. Taste is absolutely delicious. For me, it was a glimpse of heaven. Pure sweetness. Everything I could hope for in a beer. Chocolate, coffee, vanilla, brown sugar, and dark fruits. Sheer bliss. After swallowing, it's like my entire digestive system up to and including my stomach is coated with this stuff. Normally, with such a huge beer, I'm a bit more conservative with dropping a 5, but I would have this anytime I can.

This is a totally, and in my opinion, much better beer than Dark Lord, and that is saying something. The scores are the same for each, but the 5s on the smell and taste on these have more teeth to them.

 1,308 characters

Photo of abrand
4.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After hearing that the vanilla bean DL ran out while in line at DLD, I was so disappointed that I missed a great opportunity. And then a local Munster native comes through out of no where and has a half a glass still and generously lets myself and fellow BA Hooliganlife sip the remainder.

The appearance is jet black with no head in the glass. Assuming the initial pour left the same thin tan head as the other dark lords. Smell is much sweeter with lots of vanilla which I absolutely love. Nice chocolate backbone. Taste is unbelievable. The sweetness balances out the chocolate, malts, sugar punch that dark lord has. Mouthfeel is thick and oily. This may be the best stout I have had. The vanilla presence really changes the make up of a great beer. Even though I only got a couple sips of this it was heaven in a cup. If only this was bottled....

 853 characters

Marshmallow Handjee (Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord) from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 288 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe