1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Dark Lord Imperial Stout - Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub

Not Rated.
Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

3,091 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,091
Reviews: 1,143
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 14.95%
Wants: 2,672
Gots: 1,389 | FT: 91
Brewed by:
Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub visit their website
Indiana, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  15.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes/Commercial Description:
2004 - Red Wax
2005 - Orange Wax
2006 - Gold Wax
2007 - Silver Wax
2008 - Black Wax
2009 - White Wax
2010 - Olive Green Wax
2011 - Yellow Wax
2012 - Red Wax
2013 - Orange Wax
2014 - Blue Wax

(Beer added by: cretemixer on 12-13-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Dark Lord Imperial Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,091 | Reviews: 1,143 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of LaChupacabra
LaChupacabra

California

2.5/5  rDev -41.6%

04-02-2012 17:14:08 | More by LaChupacabra
Photo of drummermattie02
drummermattie02

Texas

2.5/5  rDev -41.6%

02-13-2012 23:42:11 | More by drummermattie02
Photo of Shilt
Shilt

Virginia

2.5/5  rDev -41.6%

02-10-2013 15:17:03 | More by Shilt
Photo of victory4me
victory4me

Pennsylvania

2.5/5  rDev -41.6%

04-29-2014 16:14:02 | More by victory4me
Photo of jdhasse
jdhasse

Illinois

2.5/5  rDev -41.6%

10-06-2013 02:47:18 | More by jdhasse
Photo of azdoobie
azdoobie

Arizona

2.5/5  rDev -41.6%

06-07-2014 23:39:58 | More by azdoobie
Photo of mpayne5
mpayne5

Indiana

2.5/5  rDev -41.6%

05-27-2013 23:07:43 | More by mpayne5
Photo of muttyd
muttyd

Massachusetts

2.58/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

2010 Bottle poured into a giant tulip

A - Pitch black pour with a thin tan head that quickly fades. Great lacing and looks like oil.

S - Boozy, dark chocolate candy bar, ground espresso, and some salty soy sauce. Smells hot, hoping its not just a booze bomb.

T - Dark chocolate, roasted malts, prune/raisins, some smokey/wood flavors up front. Alcohol present in the form of a port/sherry sweetness. Little to no hop presence, completely masked by the sweet sugary malt profile.

M - Very viscus, chewy and sticky. Little carbonation helps this one dance around the tongue slightly. Long, sticky sweet finish. Alcohol warms on the way down.

D - This is one hot beer. I am not really opposed to drinking high ABV beers (I knew what I was getting into), but the alcohol makes this one a slow sipper.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2010 01:19:35 | More by muttyd
Photo of youradhere
youradhere

Arkansas

2.58/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Had the 2010 at a south sound tasting. Reminded me more of barley wine then a RIS, almost sockeningly sweet with little roast character. I honestly don't know what the hype is all about-Abyss blows this beer away on all fronts. Medium caramel color leaves long legs in the glass, smells of dark fruits and tastes is dark fruits, dates, figs etc. Really sweet, if the body were any thicker this would be not very drinkable at all. I get more notes of vanilla and toffee, but mostly fruit. Again there is no roast character at all to this "RIS" and I am glad I didn't trade something good for it.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2010 05:54:19 | More by youradhere
Photo of marvin213
marvin213

North Carolina

2.6/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I can spot a few bubbles, but no head appears. How can a (white) waxed bottle offer no head on the pour? It pours thin, but the color is viscous motor oil. Other than being darker than most, it's fairly ordinary-looking. Under ordinary conditions, I'd rate a headless stout below par, but waxed, demonic marketing gets the best of us.

The nose is a dark fruit basket...almost like somebody smashed blackberries to make a new wine. Lacking hop presence and foam, it's cobbler without ice cream. Dark licorice makes it smell like candy. There's some dark cherries, raisins, dates (which I also associate with figs), and plums. It smells like a dark, fruity Twizzler.

The taste has a slight malty balance to the utter sweetness I smelled. Still, it's missing a creaminess or bitterness that would really make this a better beverage. If you count licorice as a fruit (and I'm not declaring it is), the only thing exempting this from candy status is an alcohol burn. I was nicer on the smell because fruity candies smell good, but this is not what I want from an RIS. Oddly enough, it's so sweetly puckering that it's almost like a sour. I know FFF is a great brewery and (maybe) this is ordinarily a great beer, but I prefer the taste of a grocery store stout compared to what currently sits in my snifter.

Though there's indisputably substance to this liquid, a relative flatness confirms my suspicions about the absence of froth--insufficient carbonation. It's so very dark, but with a diluted fruit, alcoholic warmth. I'll go with unimpressed on the feel but, with all the hoopla, rarity, marketing and, more objectively, the ratings on this site, I'm actually disappointed.

I want to try Dark Lord again (perhaps another vintage), but I'd be a fool to go whole-heartedly after it. An exclusive beer from such a great brewery that I don't even like--how does this happen? I'll finish it only because of these non-taste factors. I'll point out, however, that I actually drain-poured a small portion to eliminate glass contamination possibilities. Rarely do I drain-pour even a portion of ordinary brews, much less a brew like this.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2009 19:17:46 | More by marvin213
Photo of alexipa
alexipa

Colorado

2.6/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2012 as a part of an Imperial Stout tasting. This was the unanimous last place beer.

A: Black. Little head that dissipates to nothing quickly.

S: Smells of sweet booze, some dark fruit notes in there as well. This was my favorite part of the experience.

T: As soon as I tasted this, I thought turkey gravy. It tasted like turkey meat had been marinating in the bottle for months. Once I got past this horrible taste, there was some decent complexity hidden in there.

M: Pretty good carbonation, the right amount of heat, nice and smooth.

O: If I had an entire bottle to myself, I would have drain poured this. I'm glad I didn't actively seek this out and it was treated as an extra at the otherwise fantastic tasting.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2012 18:37:50 | More by alexipa
Photo of Higravity
Higravity

Michigan

2.65/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

First, many thanks to Mentor for this bottle in BIF20.

For such a hyped beer this sure was a let down. I could see all the interest and I have read the reviews, I've drooling for the past year, but this beer didn't meet up.

I served this beer at about 65F in a snifter and finished it in about an hour.

It is thick black with a real chocolate foam of a head that settles to lay on top of the beer mostly around the glass. The thin of the beer is brown and I knew I was in for a roasted malt treat.

The first smell was a bit choking as the CO2 was still escaping, but it concetrated to a roasted malty sugar and alcohol smell, the hops are present but muted, overall I really like the smell and when I am not sipping at the beer the snifter is under my nose.

Well . . . pow first sip is roasted bitterness with hop undertones that are nothing but bittering, no big flavors, it coats the mouth and the after taste is vinous and a little sherry like but more bitter. There is no creamyness and through just a few sips in this is really starting to taste really middle of the road and two dimensional, alcohol and heavily roasted malt. At the end of the bottle, the taste is really grating thin on my palate, it is not getting better, each sip is not savored and I can't wait to be done the beer. I have had better RIS's before.

Yeah this is a thick beer, but it really could use some smoothing out.

This is best to share with a friend after 22oz I don't think I could of taken another sip.

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2005 13:04:41 | More by Higravity
Photo of pmarlowe
pmarlowe

District of Columbia

2.65/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

2011 vintage (yellow wax). Tulip glass. Thanks to seeswo for this.

A: Pours thin, very dark brown with a ring of tannish head. A few minutes in, the surface looks flat. No lacing.

S: Charred, roasted malt and vanilla, some cola and milk chocolate. Smells sweetish.

T: Super sweet, like drinking cola spiked with chocolate milk. Wow, this is way too sweet.

M: Full bodied and very light carbonation. So thick, like drinking straight up cream.

O: So sweet and thick, I can't finish more than a little. Ugh, truly gross. Drainpour.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2012 04:35:52 | More by pmarlowe
Photo of andrewinski1
andrewinski1

New Hampshire

2.65/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a tulip. 2010 vintage with the green wax. Pitch black with just a bit of head.

The aroma is chocolatey and a little soy saucy. This is almost a good aroma, there are good aromas in the aroma, but the soy sauce kind of ruins it.

The taste is sweet. The coffee is very subtle in the flavor. The aftertaste is particularly disappointing.

The body is thick and chewy. The carbonation is a little subtle.

This is a little disappointing to be honest, but it isn't super terrible. I would say it's mostly just disappointing because the market is saturated with delicious stouts.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2011 01:44:06 | More by andrewinski1
Photo of jfunkk79
jfunkk79

Massachusetts

2.68/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

The highly anticipated suckling of the lord commenced last night. '09 bottle enjoyed with some friends during a homebrew session. Good times and this was everyone's first taste of this highly sought after gem.

Pours a deep, black motor oil color. Swirling around the glass leaves a coating of what looks like the iodine sanitizer I use for brewing. Very minimal head in my Brooklyn snifter.

Smells outstanding. Full of chocolaty goodness with raisins and plum notes.

Hits the tongue with alcohol at first then the sweetness hits. Damn is this beer sweet. Some molasses in there with a little bit of caramel. Not what I was expecting at all. Frankly I was pretty disappointed. With the smell being as intense as it is I was expecting a little more complexity. Mouthfeel is as thick as it comes. Chewy and totally takes over your mouth.

All in all, I don't think this beer deserves the hype. I'll put some age on the other bottle I have and maybe my opinion will change.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2009 18:52:14 | More by jfunkk79
Photo of Brew33
Brew33

Ohio

2.68/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

2010 Dark Lord, Green wax. Thanks for the trade Erik. Insert really dark, thick stout cliche here for apperance. The aroma is odd, very sweet. No roasted character just sugar. The taste is more of the same. Just sickeningly sweet. No real depth of flavor or complexity. Molasses, raisins. Not really an RIS imo. The mouthfeel was good, above average for the style. The drinkability was poor because it's incredible thick with noticeable alcohol and kool aid sweetness.

I cannot for the life of me figure out why this beer has such a following and such a high rating. It's a mess. I'd rather drink soda than this. Not a good offering from a fantastic brewery HUGE disappointment.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2010 13:22:00 | More by Brew33
Photo of 4thelvofbeer
4thelvofbeer

Virginia

2.7/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 2

Updated December 2012 review: I like Dark Lord, when it is actually good. I have opened five bottles of 2012 Dark Lord and one, one bottle was good. The rest were apple bombs...tasted like eating, well drinking, a granny smith apple. Enough is enough...I had to modify my review...in the taste and the overall nastyness of this beer....yuck!

May 2012 review: WOW!!!! Whoa! this stuff is crazy good. Just opened my first bottle of 2012 DL, red wax top. I am going to drink and enjoy the entire bottle myself, all 22oz of it...lol. Will share other bottles with friends later, but I need to enjoy the entire 22oz to properly conduct and accurate rating and correct review of this beer. Poured into a Westmalle chalice at room temperature.

A: The pour is the brownest black there is. A small, dark brown head quickly forms and then just as fast vanishes and bubbles away. As I am pouring it into the glass, appears to swirl around with much more of a thickness, much more viscosity than water. Stays foamy around the edges with a nice brown rim.

S: Dominant with a coffee smell right off the nose with hints of oil, tar, molasses, figs and syrup (seriously not making this up...I got a full glass right here).

T: Thick, thick, thick! This has got to be one fo the thickest beers I have tasted. It is so rich it is actually going to be tough to polish off the bottle due to the richness of this beer. Probably a full days worth of calories, vitamins, minerals and spinach in here!!! Taste is sweet and smooth with absolutely no trace of alcohol or any kind of nasty aftertaste.

M: Again, thick, creamy and smooth; really rich and tasty.

O: One of the more complex stouts I have had. Very rich, lots of flavors, really nice complexity. Super stout. Really nice...

***Post tasting note: this is way to rich to drink a bottle by yourself...get a friend or two to enjoy with you!! I did finish the whole bottle...whew!

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2012 21:54:28 | More by 4thelvofbeer
Photo of jrallen34
jrallen34

Illinois

2.7/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

2010 verision re-review. I had this at dld day but i was pretty hammered. I figured the Lost finale was a good time to break out a new one.

I drank this from the bottle into my Orval glass.

The beer pours a jet oil black, hardly any brown with a only a little light tan head. Disappointing a little.

The aroma and taste are super awesome and sweet. The malts show off tons of vanilla, but its so fine its not overly sweet it just shows off so perfectly. Light roasty coffee on the finish with a slight alcohol burn. Hides the 15% extremly well. Super easy to drink.

The 2010 is clearly superior to the 2009. Its really awesome, super easy to drink. New ratings are the 2010.

2009 white
I drank this from the bottle into a chalice.

It pours motor oil black with hardly any head at all. No carbonation very dark color.

The aroma is very strong of vanilla, coffee and cherries.

The taste is complex with a start of cherries, moves onto vanilla, and coffee.

The taste lingers for several seconds and for its abv its very drinkable.

2009 was 4.0, 4.5, 4.0, 4.0, 4.0.

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2010 00:36:59 | More by jrallen34
Photo of tr4nc3d
tr4nc3d

Kansas

2.7/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Have you ever had one of those goals where its not entirely impossible to reach but yet you just cant imagine actually trying to reach it?

Here is my intro and story that leads to my review of the "Mythical Mighty Dark Lord himself".

As soon as I got into craft beer I knew that someday I wanted to try the top beers. I was such a noob that I was looking at liquor stores for this beer and wondering why the hell I could not get it. That is when I decided to use the search function(DOPE!!!)and I felt like a fool. I could never imagine going all the way cross country to get a beer(well I could maybe)but it was just out of reach cause I have a family.

Believe it or not(no bullshit), I actually had two dreams where I went to Dark Lord Day and purchased some and was filled with excitement to only wake up and realize its not true. I never have before dreamed about beer. Well by some miracle my wife said she would not mind cause her brother lives close by and she wanted to see him. Well I went to DLD and my fantasy was fulfilled!!!!

I drank my bottle the next day after DLD and shared it with my bro-in-law who is also a BA and craft drinker.
___
Poured this into his "hopleaf" pint glass. 2009 DL

This pours a very thick black color with no head at all(wtf?)except for a mere ring left around the edges. Nothing impressing, especially since I expect one from this style.

This had a big smell of alcohol heat. I had to work hard at it to surpass the big heave alcohol smell, I got some hints of molasses, burnt charred malts, dark black coffee.

Upon first sip it was very heavy on the booze and was quite hard to get anything else besides the high alcohol taste. Besides alcohol I got some charred roasted malts, slight molasses and very acrid throughout the beer. I was definitely expecting something else. Especially from what the label says.

Mouthfeel is very thick and heavy with an alcohol like burn taste. Low carbonation.

I shared this with my bro-in-law and could not imagine having a whole bottle. Definitely not a beer one should drink without getting into the style.

This along with Abyss, Darkness, KTG, Sexual Chocolate, is one of the major RIS I have wanted to try since I first got into the style. I have had "The Abyss" and "Dark Lord".

Overall as excited as I was to finally try this beer and wishing it was just as good as I was hoping it to be, it was not. This beer is all hype and definitely not what the label on the bottle says. I'am going to take the remainder of my bottles and age them for a long time.

I will update this an a year and compare.

For a picture reference visit my flickr account
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ntr4nc3d/3483131245/

***UPDATE***
Cracked one open on 2-27-2010(a little shy of 1 year)and man this beer was even worse then when I had it over 10months ago. It was so cloyingly sweet and just a mess of a beer. Age definitely did not do this beer any good. Just goes to show what hype gets you into.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2009 04:47:27 | More by tr4nc3d
Photo of CooperEllis
CooperEllis

New York

2.73/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22oz 2010 vintage (olive green wax) split three ways. I don't care for this beer. If that offends you, I'd skip the rest of the review.

Given all the talk of how "thick" this beer is, it pours at a nice weight - rather unlike motor oil in this one respect. Black, almost no head, no bubbles at all. What is there is thin and sticks to the edge.

Color of this is faintly lighter at the edge.

Out of the bottle the aroma is all soy sauce. I may have used that as a descriptor in previous reviews where there was a hint of the condiment, but I have to say that is not the case here. Here, it is the predominant aroma. Once in the glass it is straight rubbing alcohol and burnt malt.

Taste is hot with burnt notes. There is a true "burnt" flavor that is not malt, I would say pumpernickel toast. This is missing anything else initially but I let it sit for a good while and dark fruit comes to the front and saves this from being rated below average.

Mouthfeel is fine except for the excessive booze. Perhaps a touch under-carbonated.

If there was a more full flavor profile I could see drinking more but this bottle at this time* more seems like a waste to me. In my mind, nothing saves this from mediocrity. It was split three ways, I had around 7oz and that was plenty. Was had side-by-side with MS Berserker and it wasn't close. I know - it's too loud, I'm too old; good, more for you; damn kids and their satanic artwork; yada yada yada over the best part, no I mentioned the bisque.

*This review was written in Summer 2011, just getting around to publishing. Not written from tasting notes.

I did greatly enjoy a BBA Dark Lord - that review can be found here: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/26/30184/?ba=CooperEllis

(194th)

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2012 22:02:40 | More by CooperEllis
Photo of n2185
n2185

North Carolina

2.73/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2010 vintage

A: pours black with a finger of dark tan head that recedes into a thin ring with no lacing.

S: soy and molasses up front with a lot of sweetness. There is a touch of smokiness along with a strong alcohol and toffee aroma with some sweet chocolate.

T: roasted malts with a lot of sweetness at first. There is a strong toffee flavor along with some sweet chocolate that follow. Molasses and soy as well. Decent alcohol burn on the finish.

M: thick body with low carbonation, this beer would be nice and creamy if not for the alcohol burn.

O: an alright beer, but still too sweet and boozy after over a year of age for my tastes. Soy, molasses, and toffee dominate the aroma and flavor of this beer, which I'm not a fan of at all. Definitely not worth the hype. I'd consider buying it again to age for even longer if it were cheaper and more easily obtainable, but as is have no desire to ever seek one out again.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2011 13:38:54 | More by n2185
Photo of BearsOnAcid
BearsOnAcid

Massachusetts

2.73/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2009 vintage bottle. 3rd time having it.

Pours nearly still. Thick and viscous. Very dark in appearance. The low carbonation helps the mouthfeel and flavor but leaves the presentation very one dimensional for something that isn't even barrel aged.

Smells sweet and boozy. Big roasted malt flavor surrounds that sweetness. The original soy sauce flavor/aroma seemed to have mellowed out in the more recent bottles I've had as opposed to the bottle I had last year.

Taste is very sweet. Not as boozy as you'd think. This is a sugary cloying liquid. Like eating thinned out molasses or unfermented high gravity wort.

This beer usually ruins my stomach with all the sugar and booze. Definitely an extreme beer that I appreciate but it's not really for me.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2010 19:06:30 | More by BearsOnAcid
Photo of bgramer
bgramer

Washington

2.73/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

We opened a 2006 and 2007. My review is focused on 2007.

This pours thick like oil and completely black. There's a nice tan head but that disappears quickly leaving a thin ring around the glass.

This is a BIG beer - incredibly complex with a lot going on. I smell vanilla, roasted malts, chocolate, caramel, coffee, licorice, dark fruits like raisins, etc.

Very low carbonation but very thick and sweet with a medium to full body. It's smoothness and strong flavor really hides the alcohol but is flawed because of that overt sweetness.

This beer is good and worth getting to put aside. It needs aging time.

---

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2008 14:22:15 | More by bgramer
Photo of jtladner
jtladner

District of Columbia

2.75/5  rDev -35.7%

09-08-2013 03:03:42 | More by jtladner
Photo of incubuscience
incubuscience

Illinois

2.75/5  rDev -35.7%

04-20-2013 22:52:46 | More by incubuscience
Dark Lord Imperial Stout from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
95 out of 100 based on 3,091 ratings.