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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)

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

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

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Reviews: 289 | Ratings: 1,430
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.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.82/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Consumed on 7/28 as part of the NYC BA DarkLord Voltron tasting!!! thanks to blatantdream for providing this gem.
bottle #650 / 934

a - black with minimal off brown tan head. soft of what i was expecting for a barrel aged dark lord.

s - bourbon and vanilla. not as nice as the brandy vanilla that i just sampled, but damn near close and a great combo for the nose. i've been fortunate to have the bourbon DL on a few occassions (most recently last night) and that one smells incredible...the vanilla takes that and gives it a bit of a marshmellow twist. great sweetness and the vanilla is not over the top...melds nicely.

t - taste is insane. marshmellow, but bourbon soaked marshmellows. not as rich as the brandy but the vanilla is an incredible addition to the bourbon dark lord and gives a great vanilla marshmellow twist. the vanilla amount is tasteful and this is not a vanilla bomb, but it adds appropriate sweetness to the beer.

m - smooth and easy drinking. great after taste that coats the mouth. not as sweet and cloying as the brandy.

o - super awesome!!! chocolate, vanilla, bourbon marshmellows! REALLY nice. hard to really say which i like better, this or the brandy vanilla...as this has a superior mouth, but the brandy has a superior smell.

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

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one given the hype. Boy was I surprised. We shared the 2015 vintage and it was amazing. Vanilla, marshmallow, and bourbon are incredibly well integrated. Creamy, wonderful mouthfeel. Nice and thick. We opened BC Vanilla Rye right after it (one of my personal favorites) and it was one noted and almost undrinkable next to the BVDL. World class.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

For review 250, thought I'd make it something special.

A - Black as night with brown on the edges, nice tan head in the plastic cup with some stick and lacing on the sides. I think it just sticks easier in plastic, truth be told, but it looks great.

S - Ahhh, smells great like Dark Lord but on vanilla steroids. Nice roasted malts and chocolate, is this really even beer anymore? Very sweet, some espresso, carmel, molasses, but the milk chocolate and vanilla stand out most on this one.

T - Great vanilla taste, I'm a huge fan. It manages to be strongly present without ruining all the other great tastes that Dark Lord has going for it. Coffee, chocolate, molasses, sweet sugar, and a little boozier than the other DL's I've had.

M - Thick but slippery, a tiny bit chewy, but not quite as full feeling as I was going to guess.

D - All day, they need to bottle this, seriously, it's a crime. I'd love to have some with some age on it.

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Photo of illidurit
4.67/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared at the RBSG 2012 Grand Tasting. This is incredible. Smells like chocolate and vanilla and molasses with rich bourbon. Flavor is full of vanilla and caramel with -- seriously -- huge candy corn notes. May as well have aged it in a trick-or-treat goodie bag. As someone who likes candy corn, this was awesome.

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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

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Photo of birchstick
4.62/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 347 of 934 - 2012 Vintage

A - pours black in color with a nice white rim on it

S - nose is a beautiful bouquet of vanilla, bourbon, and sweet milk chocolates

T - sweet vanilla upfront moves on to goey milk chocolates. Spicy bourbon with a nice amount of vanilla moves in to mix things up on the palate. Ends with the vanilla and bourbon. Sweet, fudgy chocolates, vanilla, and bourbon is the theme to this beer. Mmmm

M - smooth and full bodied

D - really sweet, delicious, and complex. Something about this beer put it into the 5 category taste wise for me, making this a serious contender against any barrel aged beer out there. Now, on to the rest of the series...

http:[email protected]/8159864035/in/photostream

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Photo of woosterbill
4.43/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap in the brewpub during DLD '11; I can't believe I got a seat at the bar! Review #700.

A: Fully black, motor-oil like body. Just a hint of brown foam. Viscous, dark, and intimidating.

S: Sweet vanilla, and not much else. Maybe some chocolate, but pretty much pure vanilla. Crazy, but a little underwhelming for such an elusive and storied brew.

T: Hole shite, that's incredible. Yeah, it's sweeter than diabeetus, but god damn is it good. Vanilla and chocolate open things up, followed closely by coffee, caramel, more chocolate, more vanilla, and even more vanilla. So, so sweet, but that' exactly what I expect from this beer, and the roasted notes actually do lend a modicum of - I can't possibly use the word "balance" for this one... - counterweight to the vanilla onslaught. Amazing.

M: Sticky, thick, and surprisingly well-carbonated. Lovely.

O: I missed out on this one at DLD '10, and swore if I ever made it back I wouldn't miss out again. I'm glad I made that vow and carried it out, as this was a truly incredible experience. I think there's something about the sweetness coming from actual vanilla beans that keeps the cloyingness somehow at bay, since I truly loved every single sip of this freakishly sweet beer. If it weren't for the plethora of other amazing choices, I would gladly drink another and another.


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

Bottle #634, 2012

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 basically any other barrel aged beer I've had... including VR, Parabola, BAVSS, 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.

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Photo of jsh420
4.4/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on tap DLD

while i could not track down where in the hell this beer was at in the clusterf*** known as DLD - some kind people i met shared some with me

black black shiny motor oil black with small tan film of head

smells you guessed it vanilla with dark roasted chocolate malts

taste could not live up to the nose or maybe it did - the beer was just too sweet - big flavors of vanilla chocolate coffee and the sugar!

mouthfeel was much thinner then regular DL - very slick

drinkability - while i savored every sniff and sip it just was not as good as the regular DL

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Photo of Jeffo
2.56/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to a few people we were able to put together the entire vertical and almost all the BA variants. Lots of fun gents!

From a 750 into a snifter
2012 vintage
Bottle 921 of 934

APPEARANCE: Just like all the rest of them. Pours relatively clear for an imperial stout. Produces a small, one finger medium-looking head that quickly fades to a wisp and ring. Black body in the glass with some carbonation evident. Only a ring remains until the end and leaves no real lacing down the glass. A little too light a pour and an average head at best.

SMELL: Vanilla extract reminding me of those vanilla candles you buy at bath stores. Artificial and somewhat off-putting. A touch of bourbon barrel under the chemical vanilla aroma, but not much. Unfortunately this is one-dimensional and artificial, especially compared to the brandy vanilla version.

TASTE: Touches of bourbon barrel and oak peek through, but this is a one-dimensional vanilla extract bomb if there ever was one. All vanilla up front and into the swallow, then a big, vanilla dominated aftertaste with some oak and sweet caramel trying in vain to get through. Tough going and very little complexity.

PALATE: Slightly lighter than the base beer, but still big enough. Just like the other DL variants as well. Medium body with medium levels of carbonation. Creamy enough, goes down fine and finishes rather sticky on the palate. A bit of a burn and some heat lingers.

OVERALL: I can see why some people might like this. There is lots of vanilla, much like a vanilla cake or something like that. As a beer though, this is not something I'd want more than a small taste of. One dimensional, artificial and quickly tiring, this is not something I'd get too excited about drinking again. The brandy vanilla version was more natural than this one. Still, definitely a fun pair to try. Cheers gents!

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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 ArkyVaughan
4.6/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm not a fan of regular Dark Lord - far too sweet and syrupy for me, but this was very different. I can't believe this variant even uses the same base beer. Super smooth and very drinkable, even at 15%. This is just a really good barrel-aged stout.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - um, dark...opaque. Seems a small crime to serve this kind of beer in a plastic cup, but when you're surrounded by 4000 of your closest friends, whaddya gonna do? Minimal lacing, no cover and just a scant presence of dark mocha bubbling on the collar.

Aroma - intense vanilla and roasty malts. Wow. We purchased several oak and vanilla samples and you could always tell which one was the vanilla by smell alone.

Taste - big vanilla blending with the dark roasted, chocolatey malts.. the essence of the bean is fantastic. The swallow is very roasty, with espresso notes and some smooth abv as well. Molasses and licorice on the aftertaste. The finish is long, heady, and delicious. Feel free to lash the dark lord with vanilla beans whenever you please.

Mouthfeel - thick, oily, bring it on.

Drinkability - what a fantastic brew. Megathanks to Robert the Lithuanian for the righteous hookups. May your new Beer & Sweat glass enjoy many fills of fine brew.

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Photo of Deuane
4.89/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

BIG thanks to Kegatron for getting our group the hookup at DLD.

A-Much like Dark Lord with a deep black/brown body and a reddish tinted dark brown head that reduced to a thin veil and left spotty lace.

S-My verbatim comment upon the initial whiff...This smells just like my grandma's meat and raisin pie WITH vanilla! Wow, this is so nice.

T-Mmmm, mmm. The vanilla really smooths things out and takes the harsh edge off. Lots of vanilla, dark chocolate, brown sugar, caramel and dark roast.

M-Heavy bodied but amazingly smooth and viscous. Long lasting flavours.

D-Off the hook! This takes DL and ramps it up a notch, Without question one of the most tasty, drinkable and interesting beers I have had. Amazing!

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Photo of Sean9689
4.29/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap @ DLD '09.

Pours black with a brown head which leaves some nice lacing, once gone. Smells amazing...VANILLA...lots of it! Some malts and milk chocolate in there as well. Tastes exactly like DL + vanilla which is a wonderful combo! Mouthfeel is perfect, an awesome beer to swirl around and savor. I would go for this again and again (I did so @ DLD)...awesome/epic beer!

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Photo of homebrew311
4.52/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Sampled 2012 and 2013 side by side. Will review the 2012 vintage. Pours a thick brownish black. The nose is loaded with vanilla bean paired with deep dark fruits, currants, chocolate, berries, and boozy bourbon. The vanilla bean manages to stand above the rest of the flavors which is impressive considering how bold of a beer Dark Lord is. The taste is very sweet like the base beer, but the barrel aging and addition of vanilla take it to a much different level. I find the base beer to be a bit too sweet, but when the sweetness is tempered with bourbon and vanilla, it just works. There is still a fair amount of boozieness, but it is tame compared to the base. Mouthfeel is thick and mildly carbonated. Overall, this beer is very good. I don't know that it meets the monumental level of hype it has surrounding it, but it is delicious nonetheless.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.57/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On Tap

2012 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Paso Robles, CA

Black throughout and thick in body, though it appears thinner than untreated Dark Lord. Very small brown head on my pour that leaves the glassy oily and spotted with lace.

Rich and sweet aroma of dark chocolate, sweet and earthy vanilla, oak, whipped cream, coffee creamer, and a little bit of brown sugar. Really, really nice.

The flavor is incredibly well integrated and marvelousy smooth and drinkable given this beer's astonishingly high ABV. The vanilla, oak, and whipped cream flavors are dominant, along with big notes of dark chocolate, and mild roast. Pretty amazing stuff.

Medium to nearly full bodied with low carbonation.

A beer I'd written off as one I simply would never be able to try: it's worth the hype (whatever that means).

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Photo of Kramerbarthomer
4.88/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

'13 Vintage: Serious signs of infection with sour milk taste completely overwhelming the palate. Will re-review when I try another vintage.

Re-scored based on my second taste of an uninfected bottle. Just be careful when trading for the '13 vintage.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.9/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a 16oz cup at Three Floyds 4/26/08. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!

A: Black, black, black. Used motor oil from a Diesel engine black. Small and creamy dark brown head.

S: Unbelievable aromas of chocolate, vanilla, dark fruit, brown sugar/molassas, rye bread, cherry, and a bit of booze.

T: See above. It's crazy how so much flavor is packed inside this beer.

M: Sticky! This sticks to everything. Like drinking a RIS milkshake.

D: Suffers slightly, like all the other Dark Lords, from the appearance of alcohol towards the end of the glass.

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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!

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.43/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Denise for this one. Side-by-side with all the other BA Dark Lords. Bottle 650/934 into a snifter. From notes.

No head, spotty lace, pitch black, with big, oily legs.

Notes of bourbon, vanilla, mint, and marshmallow. Very lively in the nose. Fresh too.

Sweet plum, vanilla, bourbon, chocolate, sweet prune, fudge, smores. Sugary finish. Delicious! Not at all hot either.

Medium bodied with low carbonation. Oily and smooth with a bit of heat going down. Sticky, lingering aftertaste. Complements the flavor perfectly.

This was the best of the 8 variations for me. Amazing taste that wasn't too heavy with a fantastic, clean, fresh, enticing aroma.

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Photo of thebigredone
4.1/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Many, many thanks to Chris for popping this sucker. 2013 batch, let's skip straight to taste.

I imagine if you took a lot of dark fruits, stewed them together, and then added a ton of sugar, you'd have something very similar in flavor to this Dark Lord variant. The vanilla does come through, but unfortunately almost no roast or char flavors are present. I personally did not pick up a very strong barrel presence. The flavors are certainly complex and enjoyable, but the sweetness is really off the charts.

Overall, this is a solid beer. However, I can't help but feel that the sky high ratings are solely a factor of the rarity and expense of this beer. I was glad we were sharing this bottle with another 10 gents, as the couple ounces I drank were about as much as I could handle.

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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.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
4.37/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The '13 DL was a major let down as it was too cherry/sweet for my tastes, so I was eager to try a '13 BBAVB DL. Pours motor oil black/brownish with a thin mocha head that quickly dissipates without leaving any trace on the glass. Smell is sweet with roasted malts, tons of vanilla, quality dark chocolate, dark roast coffee, vanilla fudge, bourbon, charred wood, coconuts, molasses, caramel, honey, toffee, burnt cookies and hints of sweet soy sauce. The cherry taste from the regular DL is very present along with sweet with roasted malts, tons of vanilla, quality dark chocolate, sweetened dark roast coffee, honey, vanilla fudge, caramel, toffee, fresh oak, bourbon, charred wood, roasted nuts, sweet soy sauce and sweet liquorice candy. Mouthfeel is silky, sticky sweet, round, slightly boozy and near full bodied. Finish is sweet and tiny bitter with roasted malts, dark roast coffee, vanilla essence, bitter chocolate, vanilla fudge, toffee, caramel, bourbon and charred wood. Probably a bit too sweet for my taste, but glad to have tasted the vanilla beans which made this DL a better beer!

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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 1,430 ratings.
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