Dismiss Notice
Microbrew Invitational
Join us June 3 + 4 in Boston and help us drink 300+ beers, ciders, kombuchas, meads, sakes and more!

TICKETS: beeradvocate.com/micro/

Dark Lord Imperial Stout | 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
95
world-class
1,249 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,249
Ratings:
4,111
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
26.17%
 
 
Wants:
3,194
Gots:
2,009
For Trade:
166
Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

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

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 15.00%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
A demonic Russian-Style Imperial Stout brewed with coffee, Mexican vanilla, and Indian sugar, this beer defies description. Available one day a year, in April at the brewery: Dark Lord Day.

Vintage guide:
Red wax = 2004
Orange wax = 2005
Gold wax = 2006
Silver wax = 2007
Black wax = 2008
White wax = 2009
Green wax = 2010 - 15% ABV
Yellow wax = 2011 - 15% ABV
Red wax = 2012 - 15% ABV
Orange wax = 2013 - New Label 15% ABV
Blue wax = 2014 - 15% ABV
Maroon wax = 2015 15% ABV
Black with glitter flecks wax = 2016

Added by cretemixer on 12-13-2002

User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,249 | Ratings: 4,111
Photo of TheBrewo
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

The lights flicker as we knife the last bits of red wax (the year of his coming, 2012) off of the bottle, and as we pop the top, the hills rumble. The Dark Lord has arrived. It pours heavily and syrupy from the bottle, settling down the color of murky, oily motor fluid. A ring of fine butterscotch bubbles crowns the unholy beast, leaving axonal cords of lacing as you swirl the liquid. No haze or sediment is appreciable, and carbonation is fierce at its edges. His stench drips off him in waves of massive buttery diacetyls, forgotten mustiness, wasabi vegetals, cloying sugars of plum, dried figs, and orange marmalade fruitiness, hot peppery booze, powdered cocoa and milk chocolate sweetness, honeysuckle florals, molasses, light sunscreen chemical creaminess, sugary whole milkiness, golden raisins, heavy caramel, chocolate, and black coffee maltiness, charred barley, and the faintest green resinous hoppiness. We bow to him, thanking him for his audience, and he graciously allows us a taste. This comes as a mix of one of the sweetest nectars to have ever crossed our lips. Sweet, as in cloyingly puckering. Notes include heavy molasses, mulled chicory, syrupy prunes, red cherries, and dates, canned brown bread drip, Graham crackers, wet potpourri, sweet port and cognac alcohol airs, hairspray, liquid milk chocolate, chocolate milkshake lactics, apple cider vinegar, arugula, fusel phenolic plastics, chalky Milk Duds, soy sauce and salty seaweed, coffee liqueur, raw chocolate chip cookie dough, candied almonds, oily pig fat, and cola syrup. As it warms, the aftertaste breathes hotter and hotter of booze and chalked dark chocolate cloy. His body is more oily than chewy, but full nonetheless. Carbonation is lightly moderate, but you have to work for it. Slurp, smack, cream, and froth are supreme, aided along by the heavy residual sugariness. Glug is immutable. The mouth’s mucosa is brushed with this same dripping thickness, and eventually curls into a soft dusty dryness. The abv is hearty, but we don’t dare dictate to the Dark Lord. He demands to remain, so you obey, sipping away at a slow, slow pace.

Overall, what an experience!! To be in his presence at last is such a lovely thing. You hear the rumors, but even after assessing his aroma, you aren’t satisfied that they may be true. The nose is sweet, yes, but not overly cloyingly so. It has the fruit, the coffee, and sugariness, but they blend to a harmonious end. Then, you sip. The sugars hit your teeth, and you reel backwards. At first, it is admittedly shocking, but the more you give into it, the more it warms you, drawing you in. You begin to appreciate the cloy for what it is, and by the end of the glass you are stuporously happy. Still, you find yourself yearning, reaching for balance in the world through the foggy darkness. You beg for each and every one of those fifteen perfect to dive in and pull you from the sugary muck. They only come as rumbles from the depths of the gullet; they do not ride across the top, where you wish them to be found. We are sad to see him depart, and as our only vintage we have no basis of comparison, but perhaps a younger beast would help quell some of his uncharacteristic sweetness. Rest easy Dark Lord, and thank you.

 3,291 characters

Photo of beersdmf17
2.97/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2013 vintage.

Pours thick opaque brown with a tan head and decent lacing. Smells sweet, with light hints of dark fruit and molasses. Taste is sickly sweet, with no malt backbone or body. No trace of coffee or chocolate, just sweetness, almost reminiscent of hoisin or soy sauce. No bitterness at all, very one note, and not a pleasant one. Coats the mouth and the tongue thoroughly, flavors linger for a long time in the mouth after swallowing. Is pleasantly thick however.

Very disappointed by this beer, had high hopes for it, especially considering the rave reviews and other good Three Floyds stouts I've had it the past. Overly sweet, no balance.

 653 characters

Photo of Treyliff
4.31/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2012 vintage, poured into a snifter

A- pours a pitch black color with a small foamy dark tan head that reduces quickly, leaving just a trace of film floating on top, short lasting lace follows

S- strong boozy chocolate malt up front with a strong aroma of marischino cherry, also picking up some charred wood, dark roasted coffee and black licorice

T- super sweet up front with big notes of vanilla whipping cream, dark artisan chocolate, sherry, toasted marshmallow, black licorice, vinous flavors, finishing very sweet

M- medium body with low carbonation, slightly oxidized leads to a thick but slick finish

O- the oxidization is definitely bringing out some cherry/sherry notes on both the taste and aroma. Definitely a sipper as it is one hell of a sweet beer

 769 characters

Photo of Fieldzy27
4.96/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured from 22oz bomber into a goblet.
2010
Pours jet black and almost no carbonation

Aroma smells like ultra dark chocolate and roasted malt , very explosive aroma.

Taste sweet bread dark and milk chocolate raisins dark fruit , fig , dates. Coffee and roast flavor.

Mouthfeel :liquid velvet.

Overall world class. Reviewed from phone.

 339 characters

Photo of Dr_Crantastic
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tasted on 3 different occasions. 2014 release. This beer had a vey nice coffee punch for the better half of the year following release. Upon release - roasted coffee, chocolate and slightly sweet. Notes of soy sauce now with a more present smokiness.

 252 characters

Photo of MOVERTON1284
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 vintage, consumed in January 2015. Dark black with almost no carbonation. A little thin for a stout but very good. No special adjuncts, just a classic RIS.

 161 characters

Photo of Djohnson300
4.83/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours thick, black. Immediate boozy smell but 2014 finished very sweet with chocolatey but fruity taste. I would have rated higher but it's a little sweet this year. Looking forward to Dark Lord Day in April!

 208 characters

Photo of rongcsc
3.86/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Tried the 2011 that I got in a trade. Very dark and thick in appearance. Taste was a bit too sweet at first but it improved significantly as it sat. Mouthfeel was good but not great, somewhat thin. Alcohol was well-concealed for a 15% beer. Overall, I am glad I was able to try this beer; however, it's not one of my favorites and I probably wouldn't seek it out.

 368 characters

Photo of vanburton1
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Perfect this year 2015! Well worth the wait (considering I didn't wait). Anticipating to try next years. Rich and strong with coffee and less sugar this time. Nailed it!

 169 characters

Photo of mikepcarney
3.21/5  rDev -25%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2013. I ignored others in this one. I've always heard it tasted like suger and soy sauce. Open this up and was still carb'd. Poured into a snifter (Karbach) to a very thin head. Nice dark color. Then it hit the nose. SWEETNESS?! Odd I thought. Especially for the style that is stated. I smell molasses, raisins, and SWEETNESS! It's over powering. Next the taste. It hits the tongue and yuck! What is going on here? Sweetness up front so big that whatever happens afterwards doesn't really matter. Tastes like some put some PEZ in my beer. Id pour it if I hadn't chased this one down. My tongue is starting to hurt and my stomach is already siring. I will never recommend this to anyone.

 688 characters

Photo of themind
2.71/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I had high expectations for this beer. 2012 version, which I aged for two years. This beer is a thick, cloying, disaster of a beer. Soy sauce and molasses dominate the taste of this 15% monster. This beer nears drain pouring status, the simple fact that it is a single day release beer made me finish my glass. It looked great when poured, from then on....it sucked! really just a big let down. There was one person that liked it, good for him...have another glass.

Bottom Line: I would not buy it if it was shelf turding!

 523 characters

Photo of MNishCT77
3.58/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle from a Sat., 12/20/2014 Better Beer Authority Bottle Share (thanks, Richard H..), 2014 vintage (blue wax), poured into a *** 2014 "Holiday Extravaganza" snifter glass, drank over 15 minutes

 203 characters

Photo of kkleu357
4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2014 bottle. Thick motor oil black pour. Heavy black licorice smell. Very sweet plum tasting. Wow is there a lot of flavor. Lots of fruity taste and sweet licorice taste. First experience with Dark Lord was a good one.

 218 characters

Photo of jzeilinger
4.59/5  rDev +7.2%

In review is a 2012 bottle (the 2nd red label)

A - Pours an engine oil black with a very thin medium colored toffee lacing ring. Swirl the glass and it has lots of legs, very thick, and very sticky on the glass.

S - Black licorice, dark chocolate, dark molasses and no alcohol in the aroma.

T - Mostly dark molasses and dark chocolate flavor with a hint of black licorice buried in the background, minor amounts of peat/smokiness. Most impressive, little to no alcohol presence.

M - Thick, full bodied, sticky, slippery, viscous, light alcohol warming on the way down.

O - This bottle aged perfectly. I see a lot of complaints about this beer tasting like soy sauce, it just needs to be aged ... patience. Absolutely enjoying this, an impressive beer.

 761 characters

Photo of bowzer4birdie
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

2009 vintage: Big malty body, liquorice, molasses, coffee and dark chocolate. held up well, not the sugar bomb per se that others have alluded to.
2010 vintage: Appears to be sweeter than 2009. Belly-warming, complex and ballsy for sure.

 242 characters

Photo of BrewUSA
3.27/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.75

Look 9/10
Smell 16/20
Taste 27/40
Feel 5/10
Drinkability 15/20

Overall 73/100

Way to sweet and rich for my liking... Some things are just 'too good' to be true. Super, super sweet and so danm malty it's almost like chewing on tar. The malty sweetness is far too over the top for me to ever pay the price on this again~

 404 characters

Photo of DeanMoriarty
4.26/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a '13 in a trade with awdturboiv and split it with a good friend. Poured into a stemmed tulip glass.

Pours a viscous deep brown (almost black hue) with mahogany highlights when held up to the light - thin brown head that dissipates quickly, with decent lacing. Aroma is slightly boozy, Red Man chewing tobacco and cigar box, vanilla and burnt sugar, some roasty qualities that may be from the coffee or the malt, with that classic cellar'd smell indicative of aged Imperial Stout/Strong Ales. Being impatient to let it warm up a bit, the flavor was a bit over the top with sweetness and booze, but as it warms the flavors really open up - port wine up front, burnt sugar and molasses, vanilla - the booze is almost unnoticeable other than a warming sensation and rosy red cheeks, finishes with a real nice coffee flavor on the back end. The mouthfeel is amazing and I hate t use the word "sexy" when describing anything, but the mouthfeel is just sexy smooth, full bodied, sticky with a mellow carbonation that makes this beer really drink like a fine aged Tawny Port - crazy barrel qualities without being barrel aged.

Amazing beer, but let it warm to 50 - 55 degrees to really taste and experience its potential. Would love to sample a barrel aged version of this beer.

 1,284 characters

Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.71/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2014 batch.

A- Pours as thick and dark as any beer I've had to date. No head forms, even in a vigorous pour, therefore no lacing. Completely black in the glass with some alcohol legs but very few to no bubbles in the body.

S- Huge dark roasts right up front with coffee, black licorice, chocolate, and just a touch of dark fruits. Sweet on nose towards the middle with a touch of vanilla creeping in and joining the other scents.

T- Starts with the same big roasted malt bang as the scent, with primarily sweet flavors up front. The coffee kicks in next giving a balancing dark bitterness before the sweeter flavors kick right back into high gear. Vanilla and some black licorice, along with some dark fruits, all blend together to intensify the sweetness right up until the end of the drink. Lingering sweet notes are dominant on the palate and really provide the lasting impression.

M- Thick and smooth as hell. Really not much alcohol to detect here despite the high ABV. Some warming is felt the longer you drink, but not as much as expected. The sweet overall flavor provides a drinking experience somewhat similar to hot chocolate, but cold and with a touch of carbonation.

Overall, this lives up to the hype for me. People have always been saying that this is too sweet, or way overrated, but to me, this is exactly what I expected from a 15% ABV, $15 per bottle, sweet imperial stout. Simply sweet and delicious.

 1,425 characters

Photo of MrPlayboy
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%

Vintage 2014

Poured into a snifter and decided to crack this bottle to celebrate some recent success at work.

Smells nice, like a boozy RIS.

Taste.... sooo sweet! And syrupy and thick like molasses and just overly sweet. I get some roasted notes and a little cocoa and hints of coffee but the cloying sweetness is overpowering. Not impressed.

The high ABV is well hidden but the mouthfeel is very low on carbonation. Its like a day old opened bottle of Darkness with 5 extra spoonfuls of sugar.

Not worth the hype. Too sweet and not complex. I can't finish this bomber. Corking it for tomorrow where I'll grin and bare it since I can't stand to waste this bottle. Damnit.

 684 characters

Photo of RaulMondesi
3.62/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

For Raul's 500th, he finally did it: 2013 Dark Lord.

A bit syrupy and fairly sweet, Raul is thinking more like Dark Grandma than Dark Lord. But nah, it's not THAT sweet.

A bit choclatley, a bit, um, sweet... Yeah. It's not a bad beer, it's just that no one in their right mind should chase it, or stand in line for it for that matter.

Just above average.

 357 characters

Photo of BWED
4.57/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into a rocks glass

A- Black as can be. Brown head it thick and retains well. Lacing sticks around the glass.

S- Sweet roasted malt. Coffee, caramel, vanilla, chocolate, and a little booze.

T- Very sweet. Vanilla and a little cocoa. Roasty, but I don't pick up a coffee flavor.

M- Smooth and very thick. Roasty, bittersweet finish.

O- This is really an epic beer. There is a lot of hype around it, but I believe it lives up. I'm really happy I got my hands on this one. (Thanks to my wife.)

 509 characters

Photo of BeerZombies1
5/5  rDev +16.8%

2010 Dark Lord - Three Floyds
Russian Imperial Stout
15% ABV
50 IBU

APPEARANCE: Poured a devilish black oil slick color. My snifter produced little to no head, the teku pour produced a small khaki colored head that settled into a nice halo that has stuck around. Spotted lacing, that is slow dancing down the glass.

AROMA: Instantly hit with black licorice and molasses. Reminiscent of Bourbon County Brand Stout on the bouquet. Smells of rich dark chocolates and deep dark fruits, currants, plums and ripe plump raisins. Faint aroma of coffee beans hiding under the layers. Smells sweet and boozy at the same time, such an inviting aroma.

TASTE: I just made a deal with the devil, sold my soul for a bottle of beer! Amazing, chocolate covered cherries, floating on a bed of sweet malts. Intense flourishes of burnt caramelized fruits with a toasted nuttiness. The chocolate and sweetness gives way to nice warming alcohol heat that finishes with a nice port wine like flavors. If I had this in a blind taste, I would bet the house this was a barrel aged beer. I'm a huge fan of vanilla and this delivers an immense slap to the taste buds of Madagascar vanilla beans. Delicious!

MOUTHFEEL: For a hard pour that produced almost no head I was expecting a almost lazy flat beer. I was wrong. Prickly hidden carbonation that expands into a wonderful creaminess with each sip. Nice burn from the high ABV with a dry lingering finish that leaves the flavors hanging around for an eternity in my mouth.

OVERALL: As far as a Russian Imperial Stout goes, this gargantuan beer is the best I've had to date. The layers upon layers on both nose and pallet seem to be ever evolving. The sweetness is forefront without being cloying, the alcohol is present without being overbearing. All around an amazing beer for the style and amazing beer in general. The Dark Lord has risen!

RATING: 5/5 Zombie Heads!

 1,906 characters

Photo of mtomlins
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%

Poured from a bomber into a stemmed tulip glass and shared with friends
2013 Vintage (Orange Wax)

Pours dark black, with a small tan head. The nose blows your hair back with deep roasted malts, very sweet notes of sugar, vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, molasses. I was expecting it to be more bitter with ‘darker’ aromas, but this beer is sticky sweet. The taste is even more so, massive malt bill here and the flavor holds true with an overpowering yet complex sweetness. Lots of different flavors there of rich toasted malt, caramel, brown sugar, molasses, some soy sauce and tobacco, surprisingly complex for such a rich, sweet beer. The mouthfeel is awesome, so rich and creamy, silky smooth (maybe a touch cloying, but not overly).

 744 characters

Photo of SebD
4.85/5  rDev +13.3%

From notes

2014 Blue Wax Vintage

Appearance: It has a nice jet black color to it. It has a nice thick tan head that dies down moderately and leaves some lacing.

Smell: Wow, the aromas definitely give out hints of sweet roasted malts, milk chocolate, vanilla, rich molasses, dark fruit and faint leather.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has loads of roasted malts, decadent chocolate, some vanilla, rich molasses, faint coffee, dark fruit and hints of leather.

Mouthfeel: It has a low carbonation with a very nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied by great flavors and aromas. It's extremely sweet and rich but flavorful and delicious at the same time. One of the best RIS I've ever had.

Serving type: bottle

 767 characters

Photo of SaltofOH
4/5  rDev -6.5%

2009, white wax. Thanks to EH for the pour!

Appearance: Pours an obsidian, opaque black sludge with a thin tan head, fades to small thin island center. Poor retention.

Aroma: Bacon. Beer jerky. Vanilla, oak. concord grape. Ever so slight alcohol. Merlot. Prunes. Port-like.

Taste: Tart, complex arrival. sweet; extremely sweet. (at 66 degrees F). Liquorice on the finish. Fruit and sweet on mid-palate. Peaty finish. Tobacco (cured).

Mouthfeel: Heavy. Thick, oily. Not hot, but warming.

Overall: Extraordinary complexity on the arrival and finish. Too sweet across mid-palate for my taste, but an experience to remember, particularly when enjoyed with good friends.

 691 characters

Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 1,249 ratings.