Dark Lord Imperial Stout | 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

1,238 Reviews
no score
Send samples
For Trade:
Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout

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

Added by cretemixer on 12-13-2002

User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,238 | Ratings: 4,079
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

Photo of flipper2gv
4/5  rDev -6.5%

From notes, 2011 edition

A: Pours like old motor oil, no head, pitch black.

S: Smells incredibly sweet. Chocolate milk with some dark fuits notes comparable to sherry (thanks for the observation made by someone else there that night). A wine like sourness.

T: You get the whole thing, this is a bold bold beer. Incredibly smooth, sweet (almost cloying) and sour. You get full on milk chocolate followed by dark sweet and sour fresh cherries. There is a wine like quality in the after taste of this beer. It is good, but it's quite messy. The only thing that isn't messy about this beer is how the alcohol holds it together.

M: THICK THICK THICK! Super smooth but the thickness is the main thing here.

D: This is drinkable, but just not a lot. Finishing a bottle alone might be quite and achievement. This one was shared between 4 guys and we all had enough of it.

A solid beer, but very much overhyped.

 908 characters

Photo of AlienSwineFlu
3.63/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance and nose are fine, but the taste is just a sweet mess. A lot of sweet stouts are great but Dark Lord takes it to an unnecessary and unpleasant level.

 161 characters

Photo of JohnG190
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

2014 blue wax. Tanks to Chadwick for sharing! Pours pitch black with a tiny mocha head that recedes quickly. Not much lacing. Smells sweet, notes of dark fruit and coffee. Sweet on the front of the palate, chocolate covered cherries comes to mind. Slightly soy sauce on the finish, but not unpleasant. Very full bodied with no carbonation. Very viscous and creamy. Overall a very pleasing Russian Imperial Stout, better than I expected.

 438 characters

Photo of themaj
3.88/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2015 fresh on draft. The sweetness of the 2014 dark lord isdefinitely gone. Overall still a great beer! If you thought 2014 was too sweet this is Def for you.

 158 characters

Photo of Thepleasantimbiber
4.88/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Traded for a bottle of 2014, had tried small samples of past vintages at tasting events, but was glad to have an entire bottle to sample. Color is deep black, with a very thin mocha head. Smell is deep, sweet, indulgent chocolate/vanilla combo with slight dark fruit and a hint of alcohol. The taste is incredible, really complex, with the sweetness dominating and just a bit of bitterness. More sweet, rich chocolate and vanilla with some caramel mixed in, and a bit of bitterness from the coffee. Surprisingly, the coffee flavors are not overly apparent, and serve more to balance out the intense sweetness of the beer. The high ABV is really well hidden, hardly any noticeable alcohol. The mouthfeel is perfect, so smooth and rounded. Love love love this beer, if you don't love sweet beer this may not be for you, but I found it wonderfully complex and drinkable, each sip was fantastic. Excited to trade for another and possibly make a trip to Three Floyd's for Dark Lord Day next year.

 991 characters

4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Got a few bottles this year..2014
First bottle was opened day of and it was Good Very sweet and full of flavor.
I opened another at 1 month and 3 months and as it ages the sweetness drops
and the flavors open up..
Color: is a where it should be for a Imperial Stout.
Aroma: no surprise gets better with age.. coffee. vanilla.
taste: First bottle sweet sweet coffee vanilla some alc heat..
@3 months deep coffee with nice vanilla hints and just enough sweetness
Mouth feel : again thickoil like a Imperial stout should be.

 523 characters

Photo of Spiffaz
4.71/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Amazing beer. Had the 2012 in July of 2014. Tastes/looks as described on the side of the bottle. Think, dense, lots of flavors. Chocolate and vanilla fight nicely with the alcohol. Looks like oil, tastes like a party in your mouth. This beer deserves the hype.

YAY beer!

 272 characters

Photo of coriswrasse
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

bottle shared amongst friends to watch the world cup final.
little head and very dark. dissipates to a thin layer.
smell is boozy at first.
fruit and chocolate are there and some light vanilla.
mouthfeel is thick and sweet oily.
taste is amazing. light cherry notes and chocolate.
very refreshing finish.
highly recommended.

 325 characters

Photo of JulioH
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Very boozy beer, very strong alcohol taste from the beginning.

Pours a nice dark beer. Very little bubbles form. Aroma is very strong, like alcohol, chocolate, cognac. Taste is very rough. Taste like alcohol, like a very boozy beer that didn't have a chance to smooth out. Some other flavors float around, but the headiness is disturbing. Not the best, yet an iconic beer due to rarity.

 387 characters

Photo of Resuin
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into an enlarged snifter. This is 2014 version - blue wax.

Appearance: Pours deep, deep brown/black and leaves a tan head of a couple fingers that quickly fizzles away to a layer around the glass with a bit of tan head floating atop the beer.

Smell: Big roasted malts, dark chocolate, licorice, hazelnut, coffee, oatmeal, a shade of alcohol.

Taste: Interesting. A lot sweeter than the smell signaled at. Toasted malts, a hint of char, licorice, cherries, oatmeal cookies, milk chocolate, soy sauce. Better than I expected. Fairly easy drinking for what it is.

Mouth-feel: Low to medium carbonation with a thick, full, slightly syrupy body. Nice.

Overall: This is a really nice, big, different stout. I can't put a finger on the main flavor, but it's something like soy sauce/chocolate/roastyness. Pretty well balanced and with nice big flavors, this is a nice stout.

 892 characters

Photo of TwelveOunces
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into a pint glass
2014 Vintage
Review #700

A- Pitch black and very viscous. Lives up to the name. A large brown head that lingers, surprisingly.

S- More dark fruit notes than what is to be expected. But a balanced roastyness and a bold sugary sweetness.

T- On the sweet side not surprisingly. But the beer has a bold dark fruit flavor. Big molasses flavors and burnt caramel, A sweet and syrupy brew. The roastyness that usually provides dryness in these stouts is more subtle then expected. A very roasty and smokey aftertaste but this beer cant escape the sweet.

M- One of the thickest beers I have ever had. It is like syrup and silky smooth. Makes the lips sticky. Alcohol is well hidden for being so big.

O- A big, thick, delicious desert of a beer. Lives up to the hype.

 795 characters

Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 1,238 ratings.