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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

3,134 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,134
Reviews: 1,145
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 14.95%
Wants: 2,686
Gots: 1,403 | 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
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Ratings: 3,134 | Reviews: 1,145 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Intense, slow drink. Gorgeous dark colour. Sweet sour. Bitter at first, Roasty finish. Chocolate malt subdued to roasty Starbucks coffee. Alcohol clobbers later. Very smooth. Medium-thick mouthfeel. Had 2011, and it is good but very sugary.Averaging my 4 ratings over the years.

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2005 03:28:07 | More by Sammy
Photo of t0rin0
t0rin0

California

4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

03-03-2013 00:55:26 | More by t0rin0
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to abbddull for sending me this one!

2010 vintage - olive green wax.

Pours an opaque black with a 1 inch dark khaki head that fades to an oily film on the top of the beer. Small spots of lace slowly drip back down into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is prominently of dark dried fruits (prunes, raisins) and alcohol with some subdued chocolate (chocolate liqueur) and even more fleeting coffee aromas. Taste is extremely rich again with the dark dried fruits soaked in liqueur flavor being foremost. I am also getting some molasses and soy sauce flavors. There is a slight chocolate and coffee essence in the taste but these take a back seat to all other flavors. This beer has a very low level of carbonation with a thick and sticky mouthfeel. A noticeable alcohol burn hits the back of the throat with each sip. Overall, this is a good RIS but it is much different than I was expecting this beer to be. A very heavy emphasis on the dark fruits puts the other smells and flavors on the back burner. This is a very rich sipping beer that I took my time with and enjoyed. I am glad I was able to try this beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2011 03:16:57 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of djrn2
djrn2

New Jersey

4/5  rDev -6.5%

01-12-2012 02:46:28 | More by djrn2
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at DLD 2009.

A: Very, very dark with a small dark head.

S: Lots going on here, with pretty much everything dark in this one--chocolate, coffee, molasses, dark fruits. Some very mild touches of vanilla.

T: Very, very complex. The fresh version isn't quite as complex and delicious as aged. I also had a sample of the '08 Dark Lord, and that one definitely would get a 5.0 on the taste scale. This one is still beyond excellent, however. All of the tastes are similar to the smell, and simply envelop the palate with goodness.

M: Very, very smooth. Almost no carbonation, and barely a hint that this thing is 13% abv.

D: Incredible. Definitely got my freebies with the golden tickets. Hats off to Three Floyds for an absolutely incredible beer. It was my first DLD, and I plan on going back every year from here on out.

EDIT: Not changing the original scores but a few notes. Opened up my first 2010 Dark Lord on 11.20.2010. The initial smell was a bit smokey to me and not nearly as sweet as the 2009. Strangely enough, we also opened a Batch 9000, which resembled the 2009 DL more so than this beer did. The 2010 DL also had some faint chocolate, but not really any of the sweet sherry-type notes of the 2009.

Serving type: on-tap

04-28-2009 23:49:35 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

4.78/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2004 edition. Impenetrable, tenebrific, inky, utter blackness. This is where light goes to die. The Stygian darkness fits so aggressively against the glass, crowding out all semblance of light so completely, that the glass itself seems to have disappeared. The cinnamon colored head was a cascading behemoth during and after the pour and is now a solid two finger mass of dense, heavy cream. It looks as if the 13.0% ABV has effectively scared off any lace. No matter, this is one of the most impressive looking beers that I've ever seen. I can't award perfection, though, with no lace.

The rich, powerful nose is redolent of dark chocolate, dark caramel-toffee, molasses-soaked hops and amazingly little coffee. I'm surprised that it isn't quite as bombastic and as menacing as I had hoped. The aroma is deep and multi-faceted for sure, but since I can imagine a better nose, and have smelled a few, it doesn't earn the ultimate compliment of a 5.0.

The apocalyptic flavor is as expansive and as mouthfilling as they come. With barely controlled fury, The Dark Lord rides roughshod over all in his path... currently my taste buds. There's a tripartite flavor profile of fudgey chocolate, melted caramels and coffee liqueur. Each sip is like an explosion of the most amazing beer candy in the universe. It's much sweeter than expected, but I absolutely love it.

The obdurate, rock solid backbone of hugely roasted malt has very little charred character. All rough edges have been effectively smoothed over by a teeming, sticky river of dark honey and molasses. Each sip shoots me up to dizzying heights filled with swirling, thick ropes of intertwining flavor: chocolate, caramel, treacle, coffee, more chocolate... ad infinitum. It then lets me down frightfully easily on a diminishing, lingering tide of those same amazing flavors.

What to say about the body? This is, without a doubt, the biggest, thickest, most viscid beer that I've ever had. I'll dispense with the much deserved string of adulatory adjectives and say simply that Dark Lord's mouthfeel is sheer perfection. It's hard to believe, but the 13.0% ABV is very nearly completely hidden. I pick up a trace of it on the finish, but it's a beautifully integrated, perfectly polished addition to the mind blowingly complex whole. Make no mistake though, its soporific power is threatening to overwhelm my senses, and a soft place to land is now high on my list of priorities.

This bottle has been lying in wait, biding its time, eagerly awaiting its chance to impress the hell out of me for well over one year now. And the hell has been impressed out of me and then some. DL is a legendary beer that deserves every one of the breathless accolades from its legion of devoted acolytes. Count me among the converted. All hail the Dark Lord!

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2005 21:16:43 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

4.63/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours out an incredibly dark black viscous color with a beautiful tawny head and some lacing; the head fails to last, however and the liquid just sits there like molasses

Smell: Starbucks on steroids; deep roasted coffee bouquet with lots of dark cocoa powder and alcohol mixed in

Taste: Incredible stout flavors; lots of deep rich coffee, dark dark chocolate and hints of dark fruit swirl around the tongue with a nice bitter chocolate finish with a touch of mint

Mouthfeel: Thick and viscous; moderate carbonation; plenty of warmth on the finish

Drinkability: Not to be indulged everyday, this stout demands a special occasion; a wondrous potion with an incredible mouthfeel that sets it apart from other beers

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2005 02:18:16 | More by brentk56
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mikesgroove

South Carolina

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

So here it is, I finally get to buckle down and try me some Dark Lord! I cannot believe that it has been nearly 1000 reviews and I have yet to try this one. I was able to get a bottle just a few days after DLD, thanks to a most generous trader, so this is the 2008 edition I will be reviewing. The black wax, was nearly impenetrable, but if you use a sharp enough opener will come off rather quickly. Served at 55 degrees, into an oversized wine glass, I was expecting perfection.

Appearance - The pour was thick, like sludge coming out of the bottle, gurgling as it hit the mouth of the bottle and smashing down into the glass. This was the thickest, darkest of blacks imaginable, it was like a black hole to which no light can escape. Very nice to behold. A smallish, maybe an inch high of rich, dark chocolate colored foam came over the top, giving a nice cascading look to it. Very interesting actually as it appeared to rise up out of nowhere as the liquid itself was so dark and thick that no carbonation could be seen. Some of the stickiest side glass lace I have ever seen, with just web upon web all over the place. This was a monster indeed.

Smell - Hard to put into words how good this smelled. It was a thick aroma, and very sweet. Lots of molasses coming though right away, but very dark, evil smelling. Coffee all over this as well, which surprised me as I did not think there would be as much. Touches of chocolate, but just barely, maybe some dark fruit, but hardly, this was immense in every way. Notes of bourbon come through after it warms, and I find myself sitting in the chair just swirling it around the glass, really just breathing it all in. This was fantastic.

Taste - The flavor followed suit beautifully. Rich coffee flavored molasses just washed over the tongue, well sticks to it is a more apt word, but we will get to that later. Amazingly complex it is hard to really imagine what this one tastes like unless you are actually having it. Nice notes of dark chocolate come through along with a touch of wood flavors. Warming it up brings out lots of oak, and a great hint of vanilla. This is one amazing beer, it is hard to believe that I waited this long to try this one. The finish was just as good as the start and went a little like this: As soon as the last dropped falls from the tongue you get a quick little bite of hops, small, but enough to give the start a bitter touch, this falls off and is replaced by a thick taste of coffee and bourbon, which themselves back off and leave your mouth begging for that flavor, but instead deliver a touch of vanilla, and then the warming starts from the inside. Truly remarkable.

Mouthfeel - This is where I want to comment the most on, but with the fewest words necessary. This was the thickest, smoothest, chewiest, most filling beer I have ever had. It gives a whole new meaning to the term full bodied. This was like a milk shake it was soo big. I was blown away from the first sips that it was a s thick as it was. Unimaginable smooth, as I was enjoying every sip a bit more then the one before it. Truly breathtaking.

Drinkability - For what it is, and for 13%v it was extraordinary. It was soo smooth, and sure you could pick up a little of the alcohol in it, but damn, maybe if it was like 8%, this was ridiculous. So much punch packed into such a delicious package, amazing really..

Overall I have to be honest here. I have in the past commented on how things get too hyped up and there are just as good if not better stouts out there to try. I will now eat my words. This was seriously insane in how good it was. I don't really know where it could have been possibly improved on. I would gladly stand in line for 1 hours in the cold for this one. It really is that good. I am very glad I finally got to try and review this one, it made my whole night. Simply put this is the stout to beat. It really does live up to the hype.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2008 15:05:08 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of nmann08
nmann08

District of Columbia

5/5  rDev +16.8%

11-25-2011 03:44:16 | More by nmann08
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

2.9/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle courtesy of Tpaliga (2006 vintage drank in April 2007): Poured a pitch-black color stout with a small foamy head with average retention. Aroma of honey and sweet malt is overwhelming and somewhat interesting. Taste is way sweeter then expected with some alcohol hint. Body is full and has a creamy and oily texture like I have never seen or tasted before. Low carbonation is to be expected but the alcohol really comes out and I didn’t enjoy this part. Some subtle vanilla and roasted malt were noticeable but were for most part covered by sweetness which kind of got gross after half a glass. This beer kind of reminded me of Avery Meph with the dominating sweetness and alcohol. I’m glad that I finally had the chance to try this highly coveted beer even thought I am not the biggest IS fanatic out there but unfortunately I wasn’t fond of it in the end.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2007 15:31:45 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

4.83/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

06 sampling: Different than last years. Still a super beer, but it has changed. Most noticably is that the soy sauce, sherry, old ale flavors and syrupy texture has been substituted by fresh fruits and berries (most noticably apples and grapes). While it's not the same, it does lighten the beer up a bit. Still good enough for a near-5 rating.

I can obviously see why this beer is among the top ranked in the world. After drinking a lot of imperial stouts lately, this one is a certain standout. After burrying your nose in this one, I immediately detected port wine and expresso. Complexly melded and mellowed. Close behind lurks cherries, dates, prunes and to a lesser extent, a tartness in the range of soy sauce, yeast, and earthiness. Taste brings about an abundance of flavors; most notibly chocolate covered cherries and bourbon balls. Others include bittersweet chocolate, coffee, prunes, dates, figs, berries, caramel, vanilla, cream, hops, and alcohol. These flavors are not what makes this beer great. What does is that it is aged to perfection. Flavors extend forever and reveal themselves constantly and subtlely because of its mellow maturity and the fusion of ingredients. I could drink a thousand of these and always find new flavors. Because of the maturation, this one isn't as thick or as heavy as expected, but not as abrasive either. Coats the palate very well and lingers into today. It's the gift that keeps on giving. Finishes strong, bold and mimicks all the flavor in the nose and body. Final statement: One of the most complex beers that I have ever tried.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2005 13:06:33 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of womencantsail
womencantsail

California

4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 Vintage comes courtesy of stubone and shared with a few friends this past weekend.

A: The pour on this beer is thick and black with a finger or so of dark brown head.

S: Aromas of roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, and surprisingly, raisins. There are also some hints of licorice and perhaps some other dark stone fruits such as plums.

T: This is certainly a sweeter RIS than I am used to. Solid chocolate, roasted malt, and chocolate flavors. But, the most striking feature (once again) is the sweetness of the dark fruits, especially raisins.

M: As you would expect, the body is fantastic on this. Very full, chewy, and thick.

D: This is a tasty beer, but one that you should definitely take your time with. The alcohol is hidden well in the flavors, but it will catch up to you.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2010 18:33:07 | More by womencantsail
Photo of acurtis
acurtis

New Jersey

4/5  rDev -6.5%

12-14-2011 23:55:07 | More by acurtis
Photo of kjkinsey
kjkinsey

Texas

4.75/5  rDev +11%

12-01-2011 18:17:38 | More by kjkinsey
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

4.78/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours out a thick dark, inky black with a churning, burbling chestnut-brown head. The type of stuff you see seagulls and sealions coated in on the news.

Smell: A rich, aggressive aroma greets the nose, unleashing waves of dark-roasted coffee, chocolate-covered cherries, anise, sorghum, and booze. Okay, you got my attention.

Taste: Phenomenally flavorful! A complex breadth of tastes that knows no bounds. Cherry-topped Black Forest cake marinated in Sambuca served with espresso with a hint of tobacco tossed in. Roasted bitter, bittersweet finish.

Mouthfeel: No question about it, this beer is full-bodied, taking 'chewy' to a whole new (and frightening) level. There's a sensational creaminess to it that pairs perfectly with it's charming warming nature.

Drinkability: Exquisite! Truly, a beer to be celebrated.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2006 22:06:58 | More by ChainGangGuy
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ygtbsm94

Virginia

4/5  rDev -6.5%

11-15-2011 01:18:00 | More by ygtbsm94
Photo of jaydoc
jaydoc

Kansas

4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

08-03-2013 20:20:48 | More by jaydoc
Photo of Texasfan549
Texasfan549

Texas

4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

11-17-2011 02:47:52 | More by Texasfan549
Photo of spycow
spycow

Illinois

4/5  rDev -6.5%

11-15-2011 05:32:21 | More by spycow
Photo of Knapp85
Knapp85

Pennsylvania

4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 Bottle: Pours out as a really deep black, a brown head that vanished quickly. The beer coats the glass for a little while after each sip. Smells burnt and alcoholic more like a barley wine, some really dark fruits and molasses. Tastes like burnt caramel, dark chocolate, lots of dark malts. Light oily and kinda thin, not much carbonation really. I was a little disappointed... I have heard that the 2010 Vintage is better, so hopefully that is correct. I have an unopened bottle of that year still waiting to be drank.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2011 02:45:55 | More by Knapp85
Photo of GRG1313
GRG1313

California

5/5  rDev +16.8%

11-24-2011 18:52:44 | More by GRG1313
Photo of TMoney2591
TMoney2591

Illinois

4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a mug.

2010 vintage. This beast is killing off draft night. Boom-shaka-laka. It isn't the shoes, it's the Dark Lord. It pours a nearly completely opaque black brown, with some very faint highlights of rich garnet showing through at the base and on the edges. The nose comprises walnuts, dark chocolate, molasses, maple syrup, alcohol, caramel, brown sugar, black cherries, and a hint of oak. A buddy of mine claims he smells death in there as well, but the last time that hooded fuck came 'round...well, the less said about that, the better we all will be. The taste holds notes of chocolate syrup, maple syrup, Maraschino cherries (syrup and all, baby), coffee, cinnamon sticks. Lagavulin, cough syrup (damn, there's a lot o' syrup in here...), and some figs. The sweetness is ramped up a bit, as is the semi-tartness of the fruit. The body is pretty hefty, with a very light carbonation and a pretty chewy feel. Overall, a very nice, beastly stout, worthy of some of the hype, but not necessarily all of it. Good times, regardless.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2010 05:07:37 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of emerge077
emerge077

Illinois

4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Ringing in the new year with an '07 from DLD.
Poured at 50º into a 3F imperial pint. Dark mocha tinged foam swells to the rim, around three fingers high. The slow cascade effect is pretty impressive as well as the high density of the head. Over time, the foam diminishes, but the first impression is spectacular.

Sweet aroma of prune, raisin, bittersweet bakers chocolate, slightly milky. More smoke or char would be nice, but this works, it's not boozy at all. Very desserty.

Plenty of complexity, layers of Belgian chocolate, plums, raisin, molasses, very slight residual hint of coffee in the sweet, roasty finish that lasts for a few minutes.

Rich, sticky, and lip-smacking. The body is huge and fudgy, and the extra long finish is perfect for a RIS of this fortitude.

One can finish a bottle, but it's a very rare treat. Just like eating that 2nd or 3rd piece of chocolate cheesecake....

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2008 05:50:02 | More by emerge077
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared with dertbert who acquired it via trade from bradlikesbrew.
2007 Edition.

A - Best looking beer I've ever seen. Poured out an opaque, jet black color. It had an extremely bubbly, caramel colored head. It didn't leave lace, but it left a residue that was difficult to wash off.

S - The aroma was dark chocolate and caramel. A candy-like sweetness.

T - A nice smooth maltiness with great dark chocolate flavors. Also, a nice blend of caramel malts. It did have a touch of grassy hops.

M - It had a warm alcohol presence. It was velvety smooth. A very heavy-bodied beer.

D - This is very outstanding. I understand the hype. The flavors were amazing. But, hands down, it was the best looking dark beer I've ever seen.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2007 05:35:19 | More by zeff80
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JAHMUR

Connecticut

4/5  rDev -6.5%

11-14-2011 16:08:18 | More by JAHMUR
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Dark Lord Imperial Stout from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
95 out of 100 based on 3,134 ratings.