Brandy Barrel Aged Dark Lord With Vanilla Beans
3 Floyds Brewing Co.

Brandy Barrel Aged Dark Lord With Vanilla BeansBrandy Barrel Aged Dark Lord With Vanilla Beans
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Style:
Russian Imperial Stout
ABV:
15%
Score:
99
Avg:
4.74 | pDev: 11.39%
Reviews:
52
Ratings:
149
From:
3 Floyds Brewing Co.
 
Indiana, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  439
Gots
  32
SCORE
99
World-Class
Brandy Barrel Aged Dark Lord With Vanilla BeansBrandy Barrel Aged Dark Lord With Vanilla Beans
Notes: (AKA Marshmallow Handji)
This is our massive Russian-style Imperial Stout aged for one year in brandy barrel with Madagascar vanilla beans. Thick, smooth, complex, and warming, this rare beer will certainly be remembered.

45 IBU
Reviews: 52 | Ratings: 149 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by skunk242:
Photo of skunk242
5/5  rDev +5.5%

More User Reviews:
Photo of AleWatcher
4.56/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I shared this beer with a bunch of awesome Ba's at my birthday party in June.
Reviewed from notes.

Wow.
After having that Brandy Alpha Klaus mess I was worried about this bottle... But upon smelling it, all fears have subsided-- this is really shockingly good.
The pour looks a lot like most other pours of Dark Lord-- dark black, thick looking body with a small, practically non existent head. Weak retention, almost no lacing, but nice thick oily legs.
Smells incredible-- huge vanilla bean notes over a chocolate and coffee presence with plenty of very-well-integrated brandy notes.
The taste is delicious-- it is very much like the vanilla bean dark lord with a sweet boozy brandy note... It isn't overly done, and it isn't super hot and boozy. It is just right.
Thick body. The low carbonation (even lower than normal darklord) helps it feel nice and creamy.
Overall-- wow. I shall not doubt the FFF boys again when it comes to using the brandy barrels! This is delicious!

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Photo of Florida9
4.42/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark and black. If you look around the edges it is apparent the beer itself if more of a dark brown in color, but in the glass it comes off as black. Forms a very thin bit of dark tan head, but not as much as the straight brandy variant.

S: Starts off chocolaty and boozy, but then a blend of marshmallow and chocolate, much like a breakfast cereal. Some light vanilla. The aroma is strong, quite interesting, and for lack of a better term, "fun."

T: The flavor mirrors the aroma. More chocolate, milk chocolate, and some light caramel notes. Vanilla is apparent on the finish. Moderate sweetness. Someone in the tasting group likened it to Count Chocula, and I couldn't agree more: a lightly chocolaty, marshmallowy sweetness.

M: Full bodied with low carbonation. Considering how boozy the straight Brandy Barrel variant was, this one had barely a hint of alcohol and what was there only added to the complexity.

O: A very good, easily drinkable RIS. Of the four variants, I found this one to be the most unusual and the unique. Really just a fun beer that was my personal favorite of the bunch.

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Photo of kawilliams81
4.54/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes. Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a Half Acre snifter.

A- Pours black with almost no head. Small tan ring of lacing around the glass.

S- Sweet chocolate, brown sugar, brandy/alcohol, vanilla

T- Sweet chocolate, brandy, brown sugar, vanilla, and more fudgey chocolate.

M- Full body and medium carbonation. Silky, creamy and smooth.

O- Very good beer. Still have the 2012 vanilla above this variant, but still damn good.

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Photo of denimdemon
4.75/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of Sean9689
4.54/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #327/433 generously shared by Kan at my 30th Birthday Party Extravaganza. Poured into a taster.

A - Looks like Dark Lord. Black, tan mocha-colored head that vanishes quickly and leaves nothing behind but the black beer.

S - Wonderful booze and vanilla notes, oak, brandy, rich chocolate, very sweet but still excellent. The vanilla in this beer just takes it to another level for me over the regular BA Brandy version.

T - Tastes just as good as the nose. The vanilla, chocolate, booze, oak, and rich sweetness is just excellent. The alcohol is really no where to be found in this one. Dessert in a bottle.

M - Full, rich, viscous, creamy, very little carbonation.

O - Probably my favorite of the 4 BA variants. I'm a huge fan of vanilla and this just killed it with the brandy, vanilla, and chocolate notes. Really enjoyed just sitting around and smelling this beer. Outstanding a definitely recommend.

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Photo of sweemzander
4/5  rDev -15.6%

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.47/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Did a Dark Lord vertical 07-11 during March Madness, jh1982 was gracious enough to pop this open along with those varieties. Easily my favorite DL I've ever had. Typical brown and black dark lord pour with not much in the way of head. Big warm brandy and vanilla aroma, totally delivers, in if anything can make the base Dark Lord chill in the background, its this brandy and vanilla quotient, which is quite nice together.

Just a ton of vanilla all over it, a vanilla better than the GI BCS vanilla, because it doesn't have the same massive sweetness, while this is sweeter than your average Dark Lord, it isn't bothersome, it is complimentary. Hides the alcohol well, like all DLs.

Put it alongside Chocolate Rain, Creme Brulee, Eclipse Brandy. . . as a phenomenal dessertish beer. Wouldn't hesitate to grab one of these if I ever had the chance. I dunno if I'd drop $50 on it, but $30, sure.

 897 characters

Photo of billshmeinke
4.35/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brandy Dark Lord (from notes) bottle #191/433

Thick, black, syrupy looking beer with some amber/brown hues. Huge legs.

Smells of chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallow.

Chocolate, graham cracker, vanilla, bakers chocolate, caramelized sugar, slight alcohol heat. A bit of charred wood too. Kinda like a burnt marshmallow, according to my friend Henry, and I heartily agree. A touch of earthy spice, and woody spice that helps keeping it from being too sweet.

Thick, syrupy, warming alcohol, pretty awesome.

I don’t think I’d need much more than the few ounces I had, but it was an awesome few ounces.

 614 characters

Photo of Hopbully
5/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.54/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tried this in a vertical next to the other dark lord variants, what a treat.

The beer has a nice black body with some borne on the sides, not much head or lacing one it settles, but it has lots of body and has a look to it like a thick dark spirit.

The smell has plenty of character with notes from vanilla, cinnamon, cherry, sweet brandy, toffee, molasses, dark barley bread, some alcohol complexity without the heat, and fudge goodness. Very beautiful aroma, very similar to the vanilla bean dark lord that I love so much on tap.

A beautiful taste as well, a lot of dark fruit, burnt cherry, vanilla, cola favors, some great sweet stout favors with just a little bit of roast, some other slick hot chocolate like favors and some spicy brandy notes coming in the aftertaste. It's a nice flavor, but maybe a bit sweet for this to be one of my favorite stouts, this is a serious desert like beer.

Feel is good, not much heat but not a ton of body compared some other dark lords, maybe it's just because it is so slick over the palate, pretty good.

Overall a great and special beer, but I definitely prefer the vanilla bean dark lord overall.

 1,148 characters

Photo of bauermj
5/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of shaunt0000
5/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of xnicknj
4.84/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

REVIEW # 1000

2011 750mL bottle poured into taster. Opened alongside DL 10-12 and Bourbon Barrel DL 12 as part of our holiday StoutFest tasting.

Pours an oily, thick blackness with a thin, filmy toasted brown head. Fades out completely leaving a few random spots of lacing dotted around the glass.

Holy crap, this actually smells exactly like marshmallows. Heavy vanilla scents drizzled in chocolate and powered by some sweet brandy warmth. Layers of toasted dark malts and oak with hints of dark fruit and roasted nuts. It's like a booze-soaked s'more. Awesome - I literally couldn't stop smelling this.

Intense brandy barrel flavor riddled with vanilla and marshmallow tones, serving as shockingly delicious exclamation points on the profile. Plenty of chocolate, sticky sweet malts and molasses. Touches of dark fruit and roasted oak. The vanilla beans and velvety brandy barrel character continue to tantalize the palate throughout the warm finish.

Full, heavy body, sticky and creamy on the tongue. I was hoping this one really was going to live up to the ridiculous hype and it came through in spades. Utterly stunning and capable of completely elevating Dark Lord to heights the base beer can't even dream of reaching. This narrowly edged out Bourbon Barrel Dark Lord 12 as the best beer of the evening and is one of the best stouts I've had since Bourbon County Vanilla and Coffee.

 1,397 characters

Photo of JohnTomaszewski
1/5  rDev -78.9%

Photo of heyta
5/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.94/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

#63/433. 750ml waxed and capped 750ml bottle into a TJ’s snifter. Had at a tasting on 9/4/11.

Pours no head, no lace but excellent legs. Opaque black color.

Nose is pure vanilla beans. Some brownie and chocolate in the background but vanilla aroma dominates. Simple, but very pure and appropriate.

Opens chocolate and molasses. Vanilla comes in strong towards the middle with copious amounts of brownie and chocolate in the background. End is more molasses and milk chocolate with a sweet soy sauce finish and more vanilla in the aftertaste. Very solid.

Full bodied with very low carbonation. Oily and viscous in the mouth. Goes down with a good amount of heat. Messy finish with a lingering aftertaste.

The regular Dark Lord has always been known to be heavy and this variation is no different. Incredibly thick, robust, and viscous from top to bottom in the flavor to the mouthfeel. However, the vanilla adds a depth of character that really works with the chocolate, soy sauce, and other stout components. The brandy doesn’t really come out for me but this is still a very solid beer.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.31/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Kan for this, bottle 327 of 433.... Dark black with a light tan head, shiny black looks like dl... Nose is unreal, smooth real true vanilla, best vanilla note ever, a touch of vanilla, but not much, smells like a really sweet sugar cookie... The taste is super molasses and vanilla, really candyish, a bit too sweet to crush a hole bottle but alcohol is hidden really well

 382 characters

Photo of Beerlistman
5/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of MordorMongo
5/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of AgentZero
4.22/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Three cheers for Kan coming through at the end and completing the 2011 Dark Lord variant horizontal. Bottle #327.

A - It looks like Dark Lord. Black, brown head, etc.

S - Holy rusted metal, er vanilla beans. Wow, they weren't messing around when they added the beans to this. A rich and smooth vanilla can't be missed, I'm actually struggling to find the brandy. Some chocolate, espresso, molasses and slight roast complete the nose.

T - Tastes like Dark Lord with some soft brandy sweetness and a $*@&-ton of vanilla. Vanila adss a certain mouth-smacking quality to it, and is realy the dominant flavor among the rest. If yoo like a well-crafted RIS with vanilla, this is the beer for you.

M - Lower carbonation, smooth, full bodied, viscous.

O - A really nice vanilla beer. There was actually just a little too much vanilla for my liking, but it doesn't change the fact this is just an awesome beer.

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Photo of iadler
4.67/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Last DL variant opened for our tasting. Courtesy of existmusic00. Poured into a Duck-Rabbit snifter. Not sure what bottle number this is as it was smudged.

A- Pours a typical DL color but this one seems to have the most carbonation with a mocha head that dissipates leaving a thin cap. No lacing.

S- Tons of milk and dark chocolate, reminds me of cocoa pebbles, a bit of vanilla, oak, roasted malt, caramel and some toffee.

T- Best way to describe this was that it tasted like eating a slightly burnt marshmallow in the middle of the woods. Fudge, vanilla, oak, roasted malt and caramel are noticeable.

M- Medium body and low carbonation, despite having the highest out of the 4. The ABV is hidden extremely well is this variant with a syrupy mouthfeel that finishes a bit sweet.

O- This was my favorite DL with the PVW coming very close. Sweet but not cloying and very smooth. Not a lot of similarities to the regular brandy DL. Overall, very delicious.

Thanks again Matt!

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Photo of brystmar
4.64/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opened the 2011 & 2012 Vanillas next to each other to kick off our tasting with all 8 BA DLs. Pretty sure Jim brought this bottle -- thanks!

Gloops out of the bottle with minimal head and lace. Lots of sweetness and brandy in the aroma, vanilla shines through with the booze. Intense and potent.

Taste is straight up marshmallows. Honey graham crackers, sweet malt, dark roast, plenty of vanilla, more sugary sweetness. I swear this is s'mores in liquid form, and damn is it delicious. Very sweet but somehow not cloying. Booze shows up towards the end, warming my throat and bringing in more vanilla. Massive, viscous body approaches perfection.

Yeah, this is awesome. The '12 has more barrel (bourbon) character, which also imparts significantly more boozy heat. That said, the aftertaste on the '12 melts into a boozy, vanilla-infused nectar that sticks to the back of your throat after swallowing, and that was my favorite part of either beer. All in all, these were phenomenal.

This '11 Brandy Vanilla ended up being my favorite of the 8 variants, followed by '12 Cognac and '12 Bourbon Vanilla. Get your hands on one of these, folks, they are drinking great right now!

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Photo of spdyfire83
4.45/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brandy Vanilla BA Dark Lord
38th Review
Bottle to snifter.
Bottle “smeared number”/433

A huge thanks to Matt (exitmusic00) for sharing this at our epic DL Variant & Other Ticks Tasting in Chicago and his woman (Michal) for picking this one at DLD 2011. Stoked to try this epic treat!

L: Deep black with a few bubbles for a head on vigorous pour.

S: A smooth mix of Count Chocula and Cocoa Pebbles cereal soaked in milk. Sweet chocolate and lots of it. Slight hint of caramel and vanilla, but very masked.

T: This beer tastes like a roasted marshmallow s’ more. Like the scent, the vanilla is hidden or possibly just overshadowed by chocolate. Either way, this is a very wonderful taste. Not too sweet, but succulent and smooth.

M: Light carbonation, but very full bodied. Well-balanced and smooth. Not too boozy, but you can tell it is there; it warms the soul.

O: This beer was a lot of fun. I enjoyed it for the fact that it was not anything like I expected it to be. I could see sipping on it around a toasty camp fire in the middle of a brisk fall evening! Right up there with the PVW BA DL as a result of its simplicity and my ability to merely enjoy it – fantastic!

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Photo of jale
4.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Kan for this.

A: Pours black with a small amount of head.

S: Vanilla and lots of it. Chocolate, oak, dark sugars a hint of coffee and brandy.

T: Taste is much the same with great sweetness. No where near the alcohol heat you would expect.

M: Thick and rich.

O: Would love more of this great beer.

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Brandy Barrel Aged Dark Lord With Vanilla Beans from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 99 out of 100 with 149 ratings