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

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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
3floyds.com

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:
294
Ratings:
1,444
Avg:
4.66
pDev:
9.01%
 
 
Wants:
4,307
Gots:
264
For Trade:
12
User Reviews
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Reviews: 294 | Ratings: 1,444
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.

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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.

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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....

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

On tap at DLD 2010

A - Very Dark. No head but I didn't see the pour and am not sure how long it sat before the waiter served it at our table.

S - Rich vanilla aroma with hints of bourbon. Smells amazing.

T - Great vanilla flavor that is powerful but doesn't dominate over the slight oak and bourbon notes mingled with molasses. Just the right amount of sweetness.

M - Smooth as can be. Low on carbonation. This beer is full of flavors that linger well after a small sip has been taken. This allowed for a 6oz glass to last a long time. Didn't come off as too thick. Just right.

D - I could drink this anytime. I don't think the vanilla would ever get old over the course of many glasses and the alcohol seems about right. Would love to test this hypothesis but unfortunately I was only able to get a small glass about 6oz.

I waited in line for 4 hours to get into the brew pub on DLD and it was absolutely worth it. Any fan of stouts should make trying this a priority and the first thing you do if you make it to DLD. I am amazed at how well the actual thing stood up to all the hype.

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Photo of TheBronze
4.96/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

2013 bottle #216 of 711
Opened on 9/14/13 and shared with three friends.
Poured into a Hill Farmstead raised snifter.

A - Pours dark and viscous as you would expect. Little to no head with slight bubbles forming. It was hard to spend much time on the appearance because of…

S - The smell. Dear Dark Lord, the smell. Toasted marshmallows soaked in bourbon, vanilla, toffee, carmel, chocolate. I waited to take my first sip for some time. The experience of smelling this beer was just so enjoyable, I didn’t want it to pass.

T - Taste mostly follows the nose but the marshmallow is not as present. Vanilla leads but is well integrated. A viscous, creamy blend of vanilla, chocolate, toffee, carmel, bourbon with very subtle features of the base Dark Lord pleasantly present in the background to remind you of the beer’s origins. Decadent, but by no means over the top. I could have easily and happily handled at least half the bottle of this if not more. The stout is somewhat sweet, but again the sweetness is simply a feature of it and is not dominant. Just delicious.

M - Lightly carbonated and full bodied. Coats the mouth nicely, and there is nothing cloying about this. Very smooth, and easy to sip and savor. Alcohol is well hidden. A very full bodied stout.

O – This is probably the best beer I’ve ever had. It is hard for beers such as this to live up to the hype, but I must say that this one does. I even sealed the empty bottle overnight just so I could smell it again the next day. I certainly hope to enjoy it again someday.

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Photo of nrs207
4.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Had alongside the base beer. 2013 vintages for both.

A - Quite dark, has a little tan head. It looks a little darker and a little better than the base beer.

S - Smells like some sort of vanilla/brownie mixture. Incredible. There's just a hint of the barrel, but it's nice because it lets the vanilla and chocolatey aromas shine through. I have no idea how this is the same beer as the non-barrel aged version.

T - Just like the smell. Loads of vanilla and fudge. It's truly a dessert beer, but at the same time I could've had the entire bottle. The bourbon barrel is just barely there, cutting the sweetness just a bit. It's as sweet as I'd like this type of beer to be. When it's around room temp, I get a little alcohol, but very light and only when it's very warm. Hides it extremely well.

M - Smooth, rich, creamy, no burn from the alcohol. It's almost perfect. I think if it was just a tiny bit fuller it would've gotten a 5.

O - I'm so happy this lived up to the hype. Took a lot to get, but I think it was worthwhile. One of the best beers I've had.

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Photo of WolfsbaneBloom
4.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Tasted like bourbon cherry cordials. Had a '12 and '15 back to back. '15 was surprisingly smoother with the '12 still having a nice bourbon bite in the finish. Both were absolutely sublime.

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Photo of LethalChickens
4.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

2013 Vintage. Drank in July 2015. Like others have said below. It lives up to the hype. It smell just like it tastes. It is very sweet with tons of vanilla and bourbon flavor. Having more of this in your life would be a good thing.

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Photo of PrinceDarren
4.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had the pleasure of trying this at DLD 2010. I had it once before a couple of years ago and it was every bit as delicious as I remember. While regular Dark Lord may be arguably over-hyped, the Vanilla Bean is deserving of the highest praise, in my opinion.

Some would say that the VBDL can simply be described as regular Dark Lord with the addition of some vanilla notes. I have to somewhat disagree. The vanilla bean is like a kinder, gentler version of something that is known for being brutally massive. In much the same way that Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout can be thought of as a more delicate version of KBS. That could be good or bad, depending on your perspective. I overheard some folks commenting that they like the sharper edge and complexity of regular DL. Those features are somewhat softened here. Personally, I prefer this version as it is that much more drinkable.

At first, the vanilla aroma attacks your nose and dominates the senses. No surprise, it smells like fresh vanilla ice cream. However, after a moment, that aroma fades nicely into the background and becomes much less detectable. In the end, it is properly balanced - well done!

In terms of taste, that famous "soy sauce" character of regular DL is what is missing most here. Again, I am fine with that as long as I can continue to enjoy the regular version at home.

The only minor downside to the VBDL was that there was a slight more detectable alcohol on the finish. I think this has more to do with it being fresh from the keg (or it could be the higher alcohol percentage in this particular vintage). Most of the time when I drink Dark Lord, it is from a bottle that has had lots of time to rest. Therefore, the only thing that I would suggest to improve this further would be to produce a bottle version or otherwise age it for a few more months to allow it to mellow out a touch more.

Otherwise, Vanilla Bean Dark Lord is a superb beverage that has earned its high accolades.

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Photo of brew3crew
4.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at DLD 11. had to wait about an hour to try it but it was worth the wait.

A-Dark, dark black
S-Vanilla and awesomeness
T-I love vanilla in my beers. I love this taste. Great vanilla and smooth body makes jason a happy boy
M-Medium bodied and oh so smooth
O-One of the best beers I have had in a long time. Wish they bottled it more.

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Photo of hrking
4.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

had this on DLD 08 @ The FFF pub..I think I was the 5th person through the door when it opened!...This one was the main target on my list even though I had the Bourbon Barrel and the Vanilla at the same time just so I didn't half to wait for the attention to come my way again..
The Vanilla was very present up front and was noticeable immediately from the first sip. There was a thick mouth feel,very thick almost the consistency of drinking thick pear juice..Pitch black ,over due motor oil change black with a small dark tan quickly dissipated almost non existent head..The taste was awesome to say the least..I have never had anything like it and probably never will again. Surprisingly easy to drink ,but this one is a sipper for sure, just goes down leaving you wanting another. I did notice the pours coming from the bar were getting a little bigger as other cups and glassware came out..They started with 4-5oz pours and quickly started going to 6-8oz pours so I grabbed 2 to go for my buddies in line outside and shared with them!
Might as well forget about putting this one on your want list it was a 1 barrel thing on that day and is gone..It was $6 a pour and if I had a bottle and the $ I could have probably filled a growler..But my $ was spoken for from the bottled Dark Lord..Long live the mid evil madness!

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.94/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On-tap at DLD 2011. I must say I was skeptical about this beer as I do not hold regular DL in the highest esteem, but after trying delicious Oak-Aged DL, my expectations are lofty...

A - Pours an exceptionally oily black hue, and is capped with only a modicum of black bubbles. Many beers are compared to used motor oil, but this one is the doppelganger.

S - Holy (unholy) sweet vanilla! I mean, this is completely insane; the nose is a paradigm of vanilla-laden decadence. The vanilla is so rich and intense that it saturates (and nearly overwhelms) my sensory faculties. Vanilla orchids in bloom do not smell this potent. The qualities of the base beer (and barrel), in an aromatic sense, are mere minutiae that bring added layers of complexity.

T - The taste is amazingly delicious; truly beyond superlative. It is tremendously sweet and ridiculously indulgent, and yet it has a huge amount of sophistication. Notes of vanilla saturate every nuance of this beer, though not as much flavor-wise, as compared to the aroma. Under the rich vanilla I get a plethora of sublime notes including coffee, toffee, caramel, oak, sweet booze, coconut, milk chocolate, creme brulee, burnt sugar and date puree.

M - Silky and satiny and ultra-enhancing.

O - Amazing stuff; totally beyond worthy of the hype.

Review #1100

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Photo of Jd2391
4.94/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Figure the best beer to write my first full review!

2013 bottle #344 of 711

A: Pitch black motor oil with no head at all

S: Vanilla punch with chocolate and marshmallow

T: Here is where it lives up to the hype. Amazing taste. Sweet vanilla chocolate bourbon marshmallow. Get the base dark lord beer in the background which was just okay when I had it but then multiplies that quality of the taste by 200 percent with the addition of vanilla and bourbon.

M: Is thick as you would expect from any high quality stout

O: Amazing beer and very lucky to have won with my golden ticket. Just hope this won't be the last time that I get to try this amazing beer.

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Photo of vinny21bal
4.94/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I can't say much more then this is the best Stout out there if you get the chance to try it. The nose, mouth, flavor, everything is almost flawless. We opened it with a year of age on it and it was amazing. I was very pleased with it. And $50.00 is a steal to try this beer.

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Photo of GaBeerGarden
4.93/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

As no beer can be completely perfect I can't quite see a straight 5.0, but this is about as good as it gets. With an appearance and mouthfeel similar to St. Bernardus Abt 12 it surpasses in the Imperial Stout taste. Heavy influences of the vanilla bean and bourbon aging are present in every sip. This beer begs to be experienced at near room temperature with no loss of flavor and will be one of the benchmarks for future reviews. The malts roll on your tongue and leave no aftertastes, however, this will spoil any following beer as they pale in comparison.
If you get the opportunity to taste this annual treat, take it.

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Photo of justforrazors
4.93/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2013 Vintage, bottle 428/711

Split with my friend Keith who attended DLD with me this year. Served in a FFF mini-snifter. Reviewed from notes.

A- Upon pouring, a mocha head quickly appears and dies down within 30 seconds, leaving a ring of foam around the rim of the glass. The color is opaque black, thick like motor oil.

S- The first thing I can smell is a very strong bourbon barrel presence, but it is quickly joined by vanilla, coffee, and a sweet molasses like aroma. Excellent aroma, it definitely invites you to take a drink.

T- I don't think it would be possible to use any more descriptors for this beer. Black cherries, prunes, vanilla, followed by some tobacco and caramel with bourbon strong on the finish. There is a lingering sweetness that is very familiar from regular dark lord on the back end, and surprisingly little to no alcohol bite, even with the bourbon flavor being so apparent. There is no detectable hop bitterness.

M- Silky smooth, yet very thick at the same time. This is definitely a sipper, but it is very easy to drink. Low-medium carbonation is right on for the style. The flavors linger and change over the incredibly long finish, definitely over a minute later I can still taste the beer.

O- This is a very enjoyable, incredibly complex beer. I'm glad I hadn't drank anything before this, because it was such a pleasure to really get into this beer and enjoy the full range of flavors you can get from it. The bourbon is there on the nose and finish, but the vanilla really outshines it, at least in my opinion. I'm sure that will die down with time, although I think this is simply amazing as it is right now. It was an honor to drink this beer, so very glad I was able to score one this year!

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Photo of AnotherBrick00
4.93/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Fairly certain this is brewed from molasses aged in oak chips and I mean that in the best possible way. It is jet black, rich and deeply flavorful. Really good cold, but much much better warm. Sweet smelling, but not sweet on the palate. This has about as much depth as I could possibly perceive and probably more. You know if you will like it before you try it so there is not much more for me to say.

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Photo of danh53
4.93/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2015 vintage. One of the best I've had. Pours pitch black with slight lacing and tan wisps of foam on the surface of the beer. Aroma is bourbon soaked marshmallows. It doesn't pop at first. Needs some time to warm. Notes of molasses, chocolate, and sweet malt from the base beer. Taste follows the nose, but is more pronounced. The dark fruits are intense. I get fruit cake and bourbon soaked raisins and figs. I love how the base beer comes through along with the rich, decadent bourbon notes. Some barrel char, but it's not pronounced. I get the toasted marshmallow like vanilla rye, but this is more sweet and fruity while vanilla rye has some spice and roast. So much chocolate in this beer. I could go on and on listing all the flavors. This is worth the heavy cost to acquire.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.92/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Never thought I would see this in California, but, yeah, the FW Invitational sure did deliver to say the least.

After the mad dash to the booth, we chilled for about 15-20 minutes before getting our pour, a black sludge with a super thin cherry cola head on the top of it 1/8" in depth that didn't stay around for too long, but the colors were amazing.

Vanilla bean, chocolate, bourbon, oak, these are the smells you want, all delivered in a huge Dark Lord kind of way.

Taste, more of the same, tons of sweetness, no doubt to drown out the massivity of the beer. Every aspect of it is big, like Black Tuesday or Chocolate Rain. You get a little more of the bittersweet dark fruit aspect on this though, the dividing line between RIS and the roastier American double stouts. Any coffee like roast aspect is really left to drown in the high sugar content here. Bourbon is present, but the vanilla and malt heft keep it from becoming a too hot concoction.

A slight tobacco/ash/mild leather feeling in the mouthfeel, that is only so slight. Low carbonation, which I think is just right for this beer.

I think this is significantly better than regular or even the brandy barrel dark lord. For me, the vanilla was really what uplifted this beer into one of the greatest of the greats from an already great brewery. Phenomenal stuff.

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Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.92/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the taps at 3F's, DLD-08. The liquid is opaque black, with lots of sediment and mild carbonation. Not much of a chocolate mocha head and minimal lace.

The smell is just beautiful, mildly sweet and creamy vanilla beans in a thick stout of dark chocolate and coffee.

The taste is exceptional, really a smooth and easy drinking big beer. The flavor of DL aged with Vanilla is very good indeed. I might even like it more then the original and Oak Aged.

The mouthfeel is big and thick not too sticky but the sediment does not help, the carbonation is trapped in the thick liquid just trying to escape.

The drinkability is very very good, I thought this one would be good but did not think it would be this good.

Prosit und Zum Wohl, MK

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Photo of youngblood
4.92/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Poured a dark brown. Reminded me of Cocoa. Had a small tannish head.
S - Smelled strongly of vanilla (duh), cream, espresso, chocolate, slight alcohol. Very complex, vanilla might be a bit over the top though.
T - Woah. Very creamy vanilla flows onto the tongue. Has an amazing depth to it. Chocolate, coffee, slight nut, flavors really go on and on here.
M - Great mouthfeel. Very full and smooth. Slightly chewy.
D - Way high drinkability for a 13%+ beer. Alcohol is hidden very well.

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Photo of
4.92/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at DLD, 2008.

Opaque, black. In the light of day with the sun shining brightly, had just a bit of brown at the edges. Thick & viscous, lots of leg and no lacing. No head, just a few stray bubbles at the edge, dark brown in color.

Scent that first struck me was vanilla, very strong. This was a very sweet smelling beer. Roast character was not really coming through a whole lot. The dark fruit character was present, somewhere between the regular DL and the OADL.

Taste was more sweet than bitter, and was similar to the aroma. Vanilla, , dark chocolate, hint of coffee and molasses. Fruit character very strong, like a port. Very mild herbal bittering at the finish.

Mouthfeel was fantastic, but again, to me, not quite as good as the bottled version. Thick, smooth body. Minimal carbonation. Quite sweet. Alcohol starts to warm you up quickly.

An exceptional stout, and with the exception of the mouthfeel, every bit as good as the regular DL. Unlike the OA, which to me covers up some of the complexity that I enjoyed in the regular version, the vanilla just adds additional flavor notes.

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Photo of khumbard
4.92/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap in the brewpub alongside the BBADL on Dark Lord Day at about 11am....

A - Pours thick, black, with little head. The top kind of reminds me of an oil slick.

S - The nose on this beer is awesome. Huge vanilla, followed up by the oak, bourbon, roast, coffee, and chocolate. This is going to be a complex, sweet beer.

T - Lives up to the nose... very sweet, but it actually works well. The vanilla is up front and very tasty. Followed up by the rest of the flavors represented in the BBA DL. Complex, sweet, delicious.

M - Thick, viscous, low carbonation, like Dark Lord should be. Always a pleasure.

O/D - This beer is one of the best I've had. Probably the highlight of an awesome DLD for me. Having it side by side with the BBA DL really gave me an idea of how good this one really is. Lives up to the hype, and I can't wait until next year to have it again!

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Photo of tpd975
4.92/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Hand bottle provided by Gunhaver

A: Pours as dark as they come, a very evil flat black. No real head to speak of loss of carbonation due to the hand bottling. It is a very thick beer that literally stains the glass.

S: Nice real vanilla notes. Roasted malt, coco puffs, and subtle wood from the barrel.

T: Loads of real vanilla bean right from the start. Rich dark chocolate and roasted chocolate malt. Darkened brown sugar, and hints of oak.

M: Very full in body, lacks carbonation which you don't even seem to miss with this beer.

D: Insane. It was a nip bottle shared between a few. Really wish I had more. It is reason enough to go to Dark Lord day!

Thanks Geiger!

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Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.92/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Black as night with minimal head.

S: Vanilla, marshmallows, bourbon.

T: Bourbon, marshmallows, vanilla, candy, toffee, caramel, chocolate.

M: thick with low carbonation.

O: magic in a glass. It could use more carbonation, however. Very smooth considering the alcohol content.

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Marshmallow Handjee (Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord) from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
4.66 out of 5 based on 1,444 ratings.
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