Back at it for the third installment of Dark Lord Predictions. Originally this was created to guess which variants would be most popular as people were simply able to select which one they wanted in 2016, but this has turned into more of a secondary market power ranking predictor. This year has the largest field of variants Three Floyds has ever released, so all you cash-in-hand vultures that hang out near the bottle line exit are going to need a few hundred more in cash this year.
I’m by no means a cicerone authority on beers. Hell, look at last year, when I thought Lounge Against the Macromachine was going to be a real dog, and I thought the sherry barrel Cavaleiro of Varnov would crush. If you’ve came for unsubtantiated beer opinions. I’m a ticker that has drank some good Dark Lords, and many bad Barrel-Aged Dark Lords, and I’m going to give those predictions to you.
2019 Barrel Aged Dark Lord Variant Ranking Predictions
- Marshmallow Handjee — Bourbon barrel aged Dark Lord with vanilla beans
- ChemTrailMix — Dark Lord aged in rye barrels with cinnamon + pink peppercorns
- RyeBADL — Rye barrel-aged Dark Lord
- Lounge Against the Macromachine — Bourbon barrels and finished in Tequila barrels with Mekong cinnamon, cocoa nibs, guajillo peppers + tangerine peel
- BBADL – Dark Lord aged in bourbon barrels
- RBA DVR – Dark Lord aged in rye barrels + Divine Rite malt whiskey barrels
- ’Rrari Crochet- Dark Lord aged in port whiskey barrels with vanilla, freeze-dried strawberries, cocoa nibs + toasted coconut
- BBA DVR – Dark Lord aged in bourbon barrels + Divine Rite malt whiskey barrels
- Cavaliero of Varnov — Calvados aged Dark Lord
- Reptilefund – Dark Lord aged in bourbon barrels and mezcal barrels
- French Vanilla Militia — Dark Lord aged in Sauternes barrels with vanilla, cocoa nibs + coffee
- Loadstar – Dark Lord aged in Sauternes whiskey barrels with toasted coconut
- Brosure — Ruby port aged Dark Lord
Variant Breakdown Analysis
Reminder, these are predictions, not tasting notes. Tick them yourself and let me know how wrong I was @Ferowcious
Marshmallow Handjee — Bourbon barrel aged Dark Lord with vanilla beans
This is the undisputed king of Dark Lord variants since 2011. It’s consistency is relatively unmatched for having so many iterations come out of the Three Floyds Barrel Warehouse which has its share of infected stouts. This is really the king until it is unseated. I know FVM 2016 made a good run but this continues to be the gold standard.
RyeBADL — Rye barrel-aged Dark Lord
This is the second time a Rye barrel has made an appearance in the Dark Lord variant history. Last years Hung, Drawn and Quartered was disputably one of the top 3 variants. It shined in its simplicity. How’d it take so long to realize a brutally sweet stout might benefit from sharpness of a rye barrel, as opposed to bourbon and numerous sweet wine barrels. I think the rye barrel also improved Chemtrailmix for the same reason.
ChemTrailMix — Dark Lord aged in rye barrels with cinnamon + pink peppercorns
ChemTrailMix has settled in as comfortably the 2nd best variant from year to year. This touted variant actually improved in batch 2 over batch 1, uncommon in the hypestout game, I know. But the rye barrels really helped this beer and this should continue to be likely the 2nd best stout anyone drinks out of a three floyds tap on Dark Lord Day
Lounge Against the Macromachine — Tequila barrel with Mekong cinnamon, cocoa nibs, guajillo peppers + tangerine peel
Last year I threw shade on the Macromachine. I discussed the tequila BA stouts that have failed. I discussed the questionable adjunct pairings. My original prediction had Lounge Against the Macromachine predicted to be 9 out of 11. I’m back to humbly confess that I got it wrong. Lounge was a top 5 variant last year. I think with so many new variants, it might fall a few slots but should still be worth the tick.
Cavaliero of Varnov — Calvados aged Dark Lord
Last year I predicted this to be in the top 5 when it was with an Oloroso Sherry barrel. I was wrong, as the sweetness was just too much, and lead to this bottle landing in the bottom 3-4 with Brotilla and Brozerker. I like the idea of an Apple Brandy Dark Lord a bit more than sherry. Calvados was great in Calvados Mexican Cake in 2017, and of course Prairie Apple Brandy Noir is reliably great from year to year. However the Apple Brandy Prairie Dogs with coffee have not been well received at all, and I worry the Dark Matter Coffee in Dark Lord might lead to a similar outcome.
Brosure— Ruby port aged Dark Lord
Bros, they renamed Brozerker to Brosure. Anyone’s guess as to why. Let’s step back in time. It was 2013. Port Damon hadn’t been released yet. Mikkel’s port effort at Nørrebro Bryghus was in the rear view with nary a copycat in sight. And Three Floyd’s introduced the US to Port Dark Lord. The peeps have not been clamoring for more. No one’s asked for that. Diabetes jokes were made, and palates were wrecked. To date, 2013 fresh Port Dark Lord is still the sweetest variant I’ve had. Dark Lord just doesn’t lend itself to doing sweet wine barrels very well. This should be a bottom of the list variant.
RBA DVR— Dark Lord aged in rye barrels + Divine Rite malt whiskey barrels
Both BBA and RBA are big question marks. There aren’t a lot of tasting notes out there on Divine Rite, other than it’s kind of moonshine-ish, although I did see one review comparing it to un-aged Scotch, possibly just due to the ‘malt whiskey’ name. In any case, variants without adjuncts and not in sweet wine barrels do reasonably well. I think that will be the case here. Divine Rite is 50% ABV, so potentially this could be a hot variant out of the gates. I think the Rye version will be slightly better than the Bourbon DVR version
BBA DVR— Dark Lord aged in bourbon barrels + Divine Rite malt whiskey barrels
See above. I think this will be pretty ok, but its hard to know how the ‘shine will play with Dark Lord. I think the Bourbon will make this sweeter than RBA, but not to the benefit of the sum.
BBADL— Dark Lord aged in bourbon barrels
After a hiatus, Bourbon Barrel Dark Lord is back. You know its legit when Floyds is just using razzle board acronyms on their beer names. This has always been an average or above average variant depending on the year.
French Vanilla Militia — Dark Lord aged in Sauternes barrels with vanilla, cocoa nibs + coffee
French Vanilla Militia 2016 was a revelation that challenged the BVDL throne. FVM 2017 was the beer that reminded us why Moscatel Dark Lord only need to be made once. The change to a Sauternes barrel in 2018 was a slight improvement over the 2017 but this variant has drifted towards the middle of the variant pack, and may fall even further this year.
Loadstar— Dark Lord aged in Sauternes whiskey barrels with toasted coconut
So this is basically FVM with Coconut instead of Vanilla. Based on some of the coconut Apple Brandy Prarie Dogs, I’m skeptical that this will be good.
Reptilefund— Dark Lord aged in bourbon barrels and mezcal barrels
After a decade of variants, the mezcal trend has finally joined the ranks of BA Dark Lord fame. The previous two scotch Dark Lords were very much acquired tastes. I think Reptilefund will be better to most palates than Turtledogg and Dia Oscuro. Given that it sounds like a blend, I think mezcal will add some pleasing smokiness that won’t go overboard with the balance of the bourbon. For reference I don’t like scotch. I hate scotch barrel stouts. Yet Double Barrel Noa (Bourbon and Islay whiskey) was fairly good. This will be in the bottom 1/3 of the field but I think it will surprise a few people.
‘Rrari Crochet— Dark Lord aged in port whiskey barrels with vanilla, freeze-dried strawberries, cocoa nibs + toasted coconut
Here it is, the single biggest barrel gamble of 2019. The nerds immediately jumped at this being a neopolitan Dark Lord. “Nilla!” “Nibs!” “Freeze dred strawberrs!” And then coconut slid into the party. Then we realized it isn’t straight bourbon barrels so it’s not going to be Scooopy at all. The description lists it as Port Whiskey, of which that really isn’t a thing. I assume it’s a reference to port barrel finished Angels Envy bourbon. I first thought this might be joining the long lineage of terrible Port variants but this is something else entirely.
Does taking a very sweet stout, adding it to a sweet barrel that once held port and then bourbon (essentially making this a third use barrel) make for a compounding sweet mess? Maybe the third use means substantially less of a port quality? Lounge Against the Macromachine was the biggest flier Three Floyds took in 2018, following Chemtrailmix in 2017. I think this finishes near the middle of the pack, but the adjuncts could make it a mess.
Take a look at this years DLD food menu. Here’s three things to eat before your Blood Pastry Stout level exceeds 0.20
- Harlem Chopped Cheese – Not a common midwest sighting of this venerable New York classic
- BBQ Brisket Nachos – These will be perfect for when you want a big mess of protein and slop. Don’t worry, I’m sure napkins will be easy to find and obtain
- ChemTrailMix Ice Cream Cone – If it’s warm these, will be gone early. Can I just say how much I’d love to have ChemTrailMix Fried Ice Cream?
Enjoy Dark Lord Day. Spring in the midwest hasn’t been kind so far, and hopefully that nice little streak of good weather DLD continues. As always, remember, you can’t drink enough water, but if you have the choice, the BA Water is best.