Welcome to our 4th plunge into the pool of unsubstantiated barrel aged Dark Lord guesses and opinions.
This years assortment stands at 12 variants, coming off last years historic high of 13 total variants. It’s a little grey about what you’d classify as a new variant, so I’ll say there’s about 3.5 new variants this year, along with some re-branded old perennial favorites, and new barrel selections for previous variants. I’m always curious why they re-use a name when it’s a different barrel instead of giving it something new but there’s probably only a handful of people who could answer that.
2020 Barrel Aged Dark Lord Variant Ranking Predictions
1. ‘Rrari Crochet
3. Marshmallow Handjee
7. Sacred Sword of Jövan
8. Lounge Against the Macromachine
9. 2 Year French Vanilla Militia
10. French Vanilla Militia
11. Pierre’s Javelin
12. My Rod My Comfort
Variant Breakdown Analysis
Reminder, these are predictions, not tasting notes. Tick them yourself and let me know how wrong I was @Ferowcious
Pierre’s Javelin – Dark Lord aged in Rivesaltes barrels
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: So Dark Lord and a fortified wine barrel hook up in an industrial park warehouse in The Region. Three Floyds has done a lot of other fortified wine barrels through the years, from Madeira and Port to Sauternes, Sherry and Moscatel. They generally vary from very sweet to ungodly sweet. I don’t mean Trillium’s Nanaimo or Angry Chair sweet stout-sweet, but it’s different. This is to say it won’t be a trainwreck but it won’t make your day either. Also fairly good chance the name is a dick joke.
Chemtrailmix – Dark Lord aged in rye barrels with Mekong cinnamon + pink peppercorns
As long as they don’t accidentally age Dark Lord on Regal Cinema’s surplus Red Hots this year, it should probably be pretty okay.
Hellaboozie – Dark Lord aged in bourbon barrels
The original barrel aged variant now has a stumbling, high effort name. About as consistent as you can ask for from the variants. Put mediocre high abv umami coffee stout into a whiskey barrel and something magical comes out. One of nature’s wonders.
‘Rrari Crochet – Dark Lord aged in Cognac barrels with toasted coconut, freeze-dried strawberries, cocoa nibs + vanilla beans
I was very skeptical about this beer last year. I love me some neapolitan beers. But I just had a skepticism about FFF to pull this off. I was wrong. This thing slapped. This year they swapped out Port for Cognac barrels. I think that will be an improvement here.
Keyrock – Dark Lord aged in rye barrels
Another rebranding for Rye BA Dark Lord. Here I was thinking Hung Drawn & Quartered was a perfectly metal enough of a name. I think the rye variant plays even better with this beer than the bourbon variant. Kind of a weak and forgettable name though, which could potentially make for less secondary appeal. That’s code for I’m interested in buying one at secondary if the price is reasonable.
Sacred Sword of Jövan – Dark Lord aged in 3 Floyds Distilling Divine Rite barrels + 2 year port whiskey barrels with Groittines cherries
We’ve reached the portion of our tour where FFF is beginning/continuing to get high from their own supply. They claimed to have used Three Floyds Distilling Divine Rite Whiskey last year for RBA DVR and BBA DVR. Given their whiskey that’s hit the market has been 17 month aged or less, I can’t imagine the Divine Rite portion in last years variants was high, and most certainly a blend as opposed to being re-racked. Hard telling how this one goes if the majority of the beer spent 2 years in port, but maybe that’s a smaller component than the Divine Rite portion. In general Dark Lords with cherries have been positive, though this probably doesn’t approach that Cherry Cocoa level and maybe not even 2016 Ronaldo. Also is this a weapon from Warcraft or D&D. I don’t know how RPGs work.
French Vanilla Militia – Dark Lord aged in Sauternes barrels with espresso, vanilla beans + cocoa nibs
Another Sauternes barrel for FVM. Another year FVM could have been so much more.
2-year French Vanilla Militia – Dark Lord aged in Sauternes barrels for 2 years with espresso, vanilla beans + cocoa nibs
See above. But umm. Multiply it by two or something.
My Rod My Comfort – Dark Lord aged in single malt scotch barrels
Easily the most acquired taste on the board. You’ll either overspend trying to acquire one shortly after the release because you want one, or desperately try to find anyone willing to give you something over cost a year later. I’m looking at you TurtleDogg errr Dia Oscuro. At least this one is a dick joke I guess.
Loadstar – Dark Lord aged in bourbon + maple syrup barrels with toasted coconut
I had very meager expectations for Loadstar last year. In fact I had it pegged as the 2nd worst variant as I thought coconut and a Sauternes barrel was going to be brutal. Loadstar ended up with the 5th highest ranked Untappd score of 2019’s variants. I definitely got that prediction wrong.
This years Loadstar returns with what I’d expect to be a blend of Bourbon Dark Lord and for the first time Maple (Bourbon?) I’m predicting this variant makes it to the medal stand. It’s possible the maple sweetness doesn’t do this any favors, but maple and coconut play incredibly together when done right like Omnipollo Lorelei, or J Wakefield It Was All A Dream. This beer’s ceiling could be a pastry fans #1 Dark Lord variant of all time. Only time will tell.
Lounge Against the Macromachine – Dark Lord aged in mezcal barrels with orange peels, guajillo peppers, cocoa nibs + Mekong cinnamon
This beer finished in the dead middle of the pack for last year. It had an average score but had a lot of vocal polarizing opinions. I can’t see this year being any different.
Marshmallow Handjee – Dark Lord aged in bourbon barrels with vanilla beans
The GOAT. Perennial first ballot in the Whale Hall of Fame. This could be the same great beer they always make, and it will lose just a tiny slice of the aura it had the year before. Why? Because that’s kind of just what the scene is these days. This is the reason neuegeld is spending $170, and about to occupy their basement closet with 8 dark lords in customized bottles to obtain.