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Dark Lord Imperial Stout | 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

1,249 Reviews
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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
Black with glitter flecks wax = 2016

Added by cretemixer on 12-13-2002

User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,249 | Ratings: 4,112
Photo of Hootie159
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From bottle. Nice dark head makes way to the oil spill floats. Sugar is the main item on the nose. Some booze kicks in as it warms, but this is nice. Taste is great for being 15%. Super sweet both in the vanilla and sugar. Hint of booze burn in the back. Coffee floats in, in the aftertaste. Touch thin but otherwise smooth. Glad I got to try this.

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Photo of nyoung
4.73/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Went to 2015 Dark Lord Day, and let me say the experience was memorable! It poured rain the entire time I was there, but everyone was having a blast!

Now, I cracked open a DL 2015 with a year of age on it. I did not open a fresh one so this is my first impression.

Look: It was thick, oil looking. Poured well with minimal head. Jet black in color.

Smell: You can smell the alcohol right away, with sweet notes. I couldn't pin point what it was, but I could it was very enjoyable.

Taste: After one year of aging, at 50 degrees in my wine fridge (Standing up, not laying down), this has some serious heat still. Very strong, almost overwhelming in my opinion, but I know many people enjoy that. Looking past the alcohol, it has a coffee and slight chocolate taste, maybe even a hint of caramel. The more to came to room temperature, the flavors become more pronounced.

Feel: Thick, rich texture on the palate. The only reason it did not receive a 5 out of 5 from me was the alcohol was still strong, which was noticed right away and detracted from the overall feeling (if that makes sense).

I highly recommend attending DLD if you every get a chance. Great people, great bottle shares, and a memorable time to say the least! As always, enjoy responsibly!

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Photo of CraigP83
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Smell is sweet sugars and alcohol, almost darkness like. Chocolate covered cordial cherries, this is a very sweet thick syrupy beer. It's good but definitely deserves to be shared. I got no soy or green pepper.

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

Let me tell you about my dark lord day. I sat in the cold, rainy weather drinking beer with strangers. I sampled beer from all over the world. I had homemade coffee moonshine! I won the golden ticket to get the BVDL. I had my extra bag of beer stolen from me. Woke up the next day with jeans covered in mud, but somehow had drunkedly bartered all the beer in my backpack for more bottles of dark lord.

So my rating for Dark Lord is as follows: 4.5 when drank at dark lord day. 4.25 when drank else where. So let's go in the middle.

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Photo of blackcutlass
3.99/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drank this after it had aged for a year. Viscosity of motor oil; sticks to the glass so much that just when you think you're done, the residual slides down the edges of the glass and pools at the bottom for one more sip. Smells a bit like soy sauce, but has really unique coffee and biscuity malt flavor. Something to behold, for sure.

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Photo of sittinggc
2.65/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

2015 vintage poured into tulip. Saved for a year, as i heard it was a tad sweet fresh.

Look: Pours a menacing pitch black with little head.
Smell: Umami with some sweetness.
Taste: Again get some of that umami as well as some soy sauce and sweetness. Dark fruits. As it warmed i got a little of that vanilla taste, but hidden behind the sweet umami.
Feel: The highlight of this beer. Thick as hell! This is how a stout should feel going down. Alcohol very well hidden.
Overall: Slightly disappointed with this beer. I typically like my stouts on the sweet side, and this was pretty sweet. But i could not get over the taste. Hardly got any coffee or vanilla. Maybe i should have sat on it for longer.

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Photo of Gambyt20
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Read reviews about all the hype and overrated comments about this beer. Finally got to taste it for myself. And holy crap this beer is amazing. Going in with some rather high expectations and it definitely does not disappoint at all. 2015 bottle and pours used motor oil thick and dark. Smell absolutely amazing and robust for a non-BA beer. Taste is decadent and thick and absolutely a joy! Wow! I can only imagine what a variant or a BA version could taste like. Got tix for DLD 2016 so I am very excited to be getting some bottles of my own.

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Photo of lemmy187
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Trying this with about a year of age on it.....Pours thick like motor oil. Tons of chocolate in the nose. Taste is sweet....lots of chocolate and the high ABV is well hidden. Feel is syrupy thick with little to no carbonation. Overall, a great imperial stout....but the high level of sweetness prevents it from being elite.

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

This is great looking stuff, deep black, brown head around an inch deep, small bubbles. Aroma was tons of roast, lesser dark fruit, not bitter dark fruit.

A big thick chewy plum aspect to the beer, super thick so it works. These seem to get better with a few years on them. Amazingly chewy and drinkable beer of this strength without barrel aging. Great artwork.

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Photo of atigerlife
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2008, black wax. So, going on 8 years old.

Pours black. Black hole black. Very small light brown head which dissipates quickly. Small collar.

Aroma of dark soy sauce, vanilla, strong coffee, malt. Very strong and complex aroma.

Taste is of coffee. Mocha. Dark chocolate. Vanilla sugar. Dark fruit.

Mouthfeel is silky smooth, heavy. Surprisingly dry at the end.

Overall, Wow!! Very nice. Delicious.

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Photo of churchillps
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2012 vintage drunk on 1/25/16. My god, it's a wonderful experience. Overall act of drinking better than the sum of its parts. I didn't find it particularly attractive, and I wasn't a huge fan of the mouthfeel, but the complexity of flavors was absolutely unbelievable. Chocolate covered cherries and molasses were the most dominant, and I didn't find it overly sweet. Opened it up after having a really bad day and it changed my whole perspective.

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Photo of Stevem68
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark chocolate color. Aroma is super roasty and dark chocolate. Flavor is roasted dark malt. Chocolate and a smooth finish. Overall glad I saved this. It aged so well. This is delicious.

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Photo of RLVineh
2.21/5  rDev -48.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I dont understand the Love of this beer. This is possibly one of the most overrated beers i have tried:

Pour is black with caramel color lacing. looks thinner than expected

Smells like soy sauce and molasses.with a hint of alcohol, very off putting

Taste sweet soy sauce, molasses, alcohol is not a factor in the taste, but it feels like the beer is the wrong style. does not taste like an imperial stout

Feel is nice medium body, thicker than the pour suggested

Overall, disappointed to say the least, not a very good beer.

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Photo of pagriley
2.97/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.25

22oz into a snifter

L - pours thick and viscous with an inch of dense mocha foam receding to a thin ring
S - Soy sauce and alcohol heat
T - Cloyingly sweet with an umami / mushroom / soy savory backbone. Not a lot of char or bitterness to offset the sweetness which overpowers everything
F - Thick, rich and creamy with fine carb and a fantastic soft finish

Overall an experience, and an interesting beer, but more something to try just because rather than a great beer... Unless you are into soy sauce syrup - in which case go for it!

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Photo of SteveB24
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look-Motor oil black, with a greasy shine to it, pours almost no head at all.
Smell-Lots going on here, cherries, burned sugar, molasses, chocolate, coffee. Really awesome aroma.
Taste-Cherries, dates, coffee, sweet dark chocolate, soy sauce in the finish, no booze.
Feel-Very heavy and very oily, almost no carbonation.
Overall-You have to appreciate the complexity of this beer, but i have to admit i was a bit out off by the soy saucy flavor and the overwhelming sweetness of the beer. Glad i tried it, wouldn't seek it out again.

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Photo of Caput_H_lupulorum
2.05/5  rDev -52.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

A dark looking beer, that poured with little head. The mouthfeel was treacly and cloying, while the flavor had distinct overtones of burnt rubber. While much anticipated, this was not a winner.

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Photo of bgold86
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 vintage Poured into a 12 ounce snifter at just above room temperature.

After mulling my review over and over I'm going with this. Dark Lord is a typical higher abv imperial stout with all the usual characteristics, nothing special or unique about this beer, it isnt even as sweet as people proclaim it to be. This beer is not worthy of the hype. This one day only brewery release doesn't even stand up to a GI Big John, really sad.

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Photo of NoYouDidnt
4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well the dark appearance you'd expect from Dark Lord. The 2009 vintage. Smells of sweet dark fruits, chocolate, booze. Tastes of dark chocolate, little coffee, dark fruits. Overall, bout the only improvement for this would be to barrel age it. It's boozy enough to smell and taste like it already was barrel aged though. Really nice job.

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Photo of Sabtos
4.93/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Chocolate-covered cherries.

Those were my first thoughts when I first had this on draft. When I said it out loud, the eyes of the company I was in widened, and they vigorously nodded their heads in agreement.

Dark Lord pours so black it's almost purple. After a year cellaring, the fizzy mocha head doesn't stick around, as opposed to when fresh, where the head is enormous and retains for a good while. Burnt orange edges appear in the dark liquid after it settles down and warms up.

Ultra rich dark chocolate up front, while the coffee is far in the background. As I mentioned, I got a lot of cherry when fresh on draft, but as it's ages I get more of a raspberry flavor on the sweetness front. Dark Lord is also intensely roasty AND very sweet, with a sort of spicy tang, either from the alcohol, or else, in a strange way, from the roastiness. At times, it is even a little smoky, like roasted sunflower seeds.

Viscous, in a way that it makes your teeth squeaky. Yet also velvety. Even though it is sweet and sticky, it also has a dry enough finish on the tongue that keeps you coming back for more.

It's also dangerously deceptive. The high ABV would connote some some booziness, but we got absolutely none of that, and finished off the first pour way faster than we would have if we'd known the ABV at the time. Not being able to detect that level of alcohol is just another plus on this already stellar stout.

For all those sweetness-crusaders out there that hate any kind of beer that isn't beaten to death by bitterness, yeah, obviously, this isn't for you.

The bandwagon to bash this beer because of how hard it used to be to get your hands on if you weren't a scratching-and-clawing beer-trader just isn't warranted.

This is an excellent, and downright delicious stout, consistently so: I have had a tasting vertical w/ '07, '09, & '10, and have had '15 and '16 on draft, and '15 cellared.

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Photo of Awolter
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2015 vintage drank on November 29, 2015. Thick, dark, syrupy, and roasted. Very strong chocolate notes. Tasted like a thick chocolate syrup carbonated with a hint of alcohol. I'm very glad I was able to try this, mostly because of all the hype. Don't expect this to blow your mind, but it's worth trying.

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Photo of leantom
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

The mythical Dark Lord. Was once the most sought-after beer in the country. Now, however, it's fallen off. Was it worthy of the hype, or is it an overrated mess?

I was given of sample of this while waiting in line for the Bourbon County release. I have to give a special shout-out to the two people who were waiting in line with me. If it wasn't for them, I probably would never have gotten to try this. I don't know your names, but thank you.

Here goes:

A: Thick black - no light gets through. The head is also larger than most high-ABV beers (pours a thick, chocolatey black as well). Great.

S: Very exquisite, in my opinion. More interesting and complex than any imperial stout I've had to date (and that's saying something). Lots of raisins, prune, and other dark fruit; also a fair helping of dark chocolate. Not much coffee, milk, or cream, however. Interesting that the dark fruit and chocolate are able to mix without imparting a bitter coffee.

T: Follows the nose. A very rich blend of dark fruit and chocolate. Very, very thick and rich. I liked it a lot, although it certainly wasn't the best beer I've ever tried. Good.

F: Only bad part about the beer. Incredibly thick sludge. So much sugar that it was almost coming out of solution (not enough water to dissolve it, lol).

O: Good beer. Was it worth the hype? Very close, but this is still a great brew. Glad I didn't have to go through the effort of actually acquiring it.

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Photo of BigRedDog
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

In a tasting with 2012, 2013, and 2014. This years was left out. Tasted in the order mentioned on Halloween 2015.

2012- Viscous. Rich. Sweet. Honey and chocolate character comes through with a candied dark fruit note present as well.

2013- Dark fruits take a front seat. Not quite as sweet as the 2012

2014- Sweet character takes on a residual sugar note more than anything. Same candied dark fruit, honey and chocolate notes.

Age does this beer wonders.

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Photo of Pete_IV
3.92/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wish I let this age for a year but I wanted to try fresher for first go around. Sweet sweet thickness. Getting a bit of that soy flavor which is quite odd and then a decent heat. Hopefully warms up and more coffee or vanilla flavors show up.

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Photo of tharper178
3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The maroon cap dark lord was a little underwhelming and not really worth the hype for me. It's a sticky sweet, average tasting RIS. I was not blown away by the vanilla or barrel aging. My expectations were DL would be able to stand against BCBS, Hunaphu, MBCP and perhaps too high. Zombie dust and permanent funeral are exceptional offerings from three floyds (which is an amazing brewery),

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Photo of napdynmite
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2015 purple wax.This is a huge beer. People mention the soy sauce and it's there, but to me the molasses is what's most prominent. Sweet, sticky, but smooth despite the ABV. The coffee is a bit lost in the sweetness. A little more coffee bitterness might have been interesting. Overall this is a hard beer not to like.

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