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Dark Lord Imperial Stout - 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,218 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,218
Hads: 3,958
Avg: 4.28
pDev: 26.17%
Wants: 3,101
Gots: 1,867 | FT: 151
Brewed by:
3 Floyds Brewing Co. visit their website
Indiana, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  15.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: cretemixer on 12-13-2002

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
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,218 | Hads: 3,958
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.75/5  rDev +11%
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!

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Photo of mikesgroove
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.

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Photo of mendvicdog
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

OK so this is a dual review comparing the 2012 and 2010 bottles I have had recently.

2012 has a much more intense smell, alcohol burn, and overall flavor. 2012 just seemed to have so many different flavors hitting you at different times throughout the sip. It just seemed magical almost.

2010 was much more creamy with a more subdued flavoring, but still very good, much more similar to a CC Zhukov than the 2012.

Both are great, but the 2012 version is much better in my opinion. Maybe I just prefer fresh Dark Lord.

Edit: Have had 2009 and 2011 recently. While the beer smells amazing and has great mouthfeel, the taste is a little lacking.

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Photo of oline73
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I was able to try the 2007-2011 versions of this beer side by side during a tasting this past weekend. My rating is from the 2011 version, which was my favorite. Poured into my Colossus snifter.

Appearance: Pours almost black with just a little bit of light coming through at the very edge of the glass. There is a layer of tan carbonation that disappears completely.

Smell: Sweet with some cocoa and caramel. There is a bitterness from the roasted malt and some molasses in there as well.

Taste: Lots of sweetness up front. There is a strong presence of roasted malt with some chocolate and brown sugar. There is some dark fruit flavor mixed in there as well. This version has a slight metallic taste to it that seemed to show up even more in the older versions. There is a mild hop bitterness in the finish as well.

Mouthfeel: The body on this one is quite thick with tingly carbonation and a dry finish. Quite nice.

Overall: There is a metallic taste that I'm getting in all of the versions that isn't completely pleasing. Everything about this beer is good enough and I'll probably try the future versions.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.28/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.75/5  rDev +11%
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.

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

Had this as part of the Central New England BA meetup #1.

A: No head for this, it's a headless pile of dark ooze. It's thicker than the thickest thing I can remember. Super catastrophically pitch black, its a technical term.

N: Tons of malts and raisin. Some roast and chocolate follow. I think theres a bit of black patent malt as well. The heaviness doesn't seem to want to come out of the glass as the aroma itself weighs a ton. When I swirl it a little aroma comes out and it seems to glob together like T-1000 after he gets frozen and melted. Some sweetness and bourbon, as well as a little vanilla and oak.

T: Wow, super thick and sweet! Lots of sweet malts, caramel, and brown sugar. Tons of raisin to go with it. Then the bourbon just takes over. Lots of oak and bourbon, as well as some fruity flavors from the bourbon. More molasses, some heat and boozy flavors, thick and creamy. It's actually kinda hot with booze. More raisin in case I didn't mention that yet.

M: Thicker than liquid metal, no carbonation at all.

F: Sticks all over the mouth and weighs it down so much that my tongue almost wants to fall off. The tons of raisin, brown sugar, malts, bourbon, and oak really just take over and never go away. It's also still really sweet all the time. A little too sweet if you ask me. A little more chocolate and roast follow late as well.

Again an amazing stout and 3F nails it on the head. Th eonly complaint is that it is a little too sweet. The taste and heaviness is awesome otherwise. This reminds me a lot of Black Tuesday with a little less booze, a little less sweetness (surprisingly, not sure how I even managed the BT), and less bourbon.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.85/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 silver wax topped bomber into a Duvel Tulip. Special thanks to Deuane for the hook up on this.

Pours an inky motor oil black with a finger width of burnt tan colored foam. There is almost zero head retention though, as it quickly fizzles out into a thin outside ring and then finally nothing. Just a calm, reflective surface of pitch black. This guy retains in a very different way however, as with each sip he leaves a viscous brown oily residue on the side of the glass, the likes of which I have never seen from another beer. I also have to mention the sediment that was left in the bottom of the bottle. Actually I don't know if sediment is even the right word for it, as it poured out in the glass more like Hersheys Chocolate Syrup and stayed suspended in there for a good bit. This beer just appears beefy and mean and looks like it means serious business. Just awesome looking appearance! The aroma is a huge, and I mean huge nose, of everything that is right about a RIS. Dark chocolate sweetness, burnt coffee, espresso notes, dark fruits, and just a shot of alcohol, the more it warms. I could sit here and sniff this for a good half hour before even taking a sip.

The taste of this brute matches the aroma profile almost to a tee. Chocolate sweetness dominates but once again up rears very pronounced accents of coffee and espresso mixed with dark fruits. It finishes with a combo of burnt bitterness and a warming heat that lingers long after it's left your mouth. The mouthfeel of this beer is like nothing else that I have ever felt, with a monstrously thick and viscous feel that coats the entire mouth. To be honest, as impressed as I am with the body, it also presents my only complaint with the beer, as it's so beefy, it actually helps detract from trying to sense its taste sometimes. Heat is present in each sip but it compliments rather than hinders, adding some much needed warmth to an already awesome feel.

Wow, if ever a beer's name matched its personality, it's the Dark Lord. From its appearance, to its taste, to its body, this is just one dark, angry, powerful mother of a beer that takes what is capable in an RIS to a whole new level. While definitely a steady sipper, it's still an unforgettable beer drinking experience.

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Photo of TMoney2591
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.

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

Note: I've had this bottle for quite some time and never really got around to reviewing it because I just didn't believe the hype.... well, trust me, you can believe the hype! It's remarkable!

It pours a stunningly dark black body beneath a huge head of creamy dark brown foam that eventually drops, but still maintains a wide, creamy collar and almost complete surface covering until halfway through the glass (which can be a very long time). Additionally, the lacing could be a bit better, but for a beer of 13% there's not much more than you can ask of this.

The nose expresses sticky sweet, dried dark fruit; some typical "burnt currant"; lightly spiced cookies with ginger and cinnamon (probably due to its alcohol); ...alcohol; a nip of black licorice; and some dark and sweet mocha java.

In the mouth it's quite full bodied and viscous... passingly amazingly smoothly, but still more like motor oil than anything creamy.

The flavor is more intense than the nose suggests with dripping, juicy fruit (red and dark); toasty caramel-drizzled oatmeal cookies; chocolate; molasses; and leafy hops. It finishes semi-sweet but not cloying (despite its girth); with quick passing notes of fruit and chocolate that fade to caramel, chicory, honey, coffee, and then lingering wet tobacco.

I intitially thought that the drinkability of this was hindered by its intensity, but I've change my mind on that. As you progress through the glass, it warms and changes and becomes more complex. It's a sipper, not unlike a Sam Adams Triple Bock or Dogfish Head World Wide Stout; and as such, it has a great drinkability.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.35/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

2010 vintage bottle acquired from the very gracious Duff27. Green wax-ed over pressure cap bottle. 650ml brown glass bottle with interesting label art served into a Guinness goblet in me parents' gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are sky high given the brewery and its current 96 rating. Reviewed as a Russian Imperial Stout because the label description identifies it as such.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a half finger khaki-tan head which recedes inside 10 seconds.

Body colour is a solid opaque jet-black. No floating yeast particles are visible; it's quite clean.

Overall, I'm a bit underwhelmed.

Sm: Molasses, chocolate, wisps of dark fruit, dark malts, chocolate malt, and some acidic ash. Depleted cherry. A biteen burnt. Somewhat vinous. Crappucino.

It's pretty reticent for an imperial stout, but I'm intrigued. A pleasant if somewhat muted aroma of mild strength.

No yeast character or alcohol comes through.

T: Sweet, sure, with plenty of fruit - dark and sweet alike. Plum, cherry. Ash. Tobacco. Vague molasses. Nebulous vinous character. Black currants. I do get some char/ash. It's balanced, sure, but nowhere near as complex/subtle/intricate/nuanced as I expected given its rarity and high rating. It's certainly on the sweeter side.

Above average depth of flavour. Average duration and intensity of flavour.

More cynical reviewers might claim there's a soy sauce note.

No yeast character or alcohol comes through.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Nice body and thickness. A biteen overcarbonated. Nice presence on the palate. Lightly syrupy. Sticky. Has weight.

Not oily, astringent, gushed, hot, boozy, or harsh.

Dr: Certainly drinkable for the high ABV. Sure I'd buy it if I saw it in the store, but it isn't worth seeking out to be honest. I expected far better, but it's nice. I don't know that age has made any substantial difference/developments. It has many characteristics which evoke more of a port-wine or liqueur character. I know many claim it's too sweet, and I can see that argument, but I think it's fine as-is. I'm real disappointed. Thanks for the opportunity to try it, Duff27.

Low B-

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.63/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2007 release, acquired from grub courtesy of the Birthday Club 2 BIF, so a big "Thank you" goes out to him. Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark black color, with a thin brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of dark robust roasted malts, dark fruit, chocolate and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste is everything you look for in an RIS. The semi-sweet flavor of dark chocolate is complemented by mild flavors of dark fruit and coffee. The malt character is as hearty as you will find and there's a mild hops presence that is enough bring a good balance. There's absolutely no trace of the 13.00% ABV. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Viscous and extremely smooth, heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, sticky finish.

D: Very tasty and flavorful, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling for such a thick beer, very strong kick, excellent representation of style, this is a tremendous beer that is worth all of the hype it has received.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.77/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I sample this 2008 bottle w/ my cousin and brother. Poured at cellar temp into a snifter.

A - Black as your soul, the beer has an opacity unmatched and the head has many tiny bubbles, very minute. The surface of the stout is gleeming still after the 2 finger head comes to resting state as a ring of khaki

S - Plums, toasted nuts, anise, cocoa, pumpernickel and molasses. Honey aromas-which have slight fruity notes accent the nose

M - Somewhat meaty w/ a sugar drenched, rich dark bready malt and roasted barley coats the mouth. The stout is viscous like syrup and clings after the swallow

T - Deep notes of molasses and honeyed plum w/ blackberry and cocoa. The flavor has beef bullion w/ a slightly spicey hop that contains earthy elements w/ toffee notes. There is dark sugar, almost a rum flavor and the molasses stays vital into the finish.

D - Magnificent after 1 yr waiting to acquire and 8 months in the cellar it is a welcome taste. Definitely a unique taste I love the molasses flavor - a beer that wil not surrender holding a grip that is memorable as well as a world class example of an Imperial stout

re-review -10-23-10 -

poured chilled into a nonic at the stout tasting.
A deep black viscous looking stout. medium brown cascade settles to a ring of thick cream with tiny beading, no lace sticks. the aroma is strong and spicy almost meaty with a woody and dark sugar component, dark fruit like fig and raisin soaked in alcohol with a very mellow coffee in the background. The feel is intense, but smooth mouth coating and resinous with woody and warming alcohol textures.

The taste has a dry and bitter malt astringency with slight acidity of hops and bits of toasted grain. The dark brown sugar is like putting some muscovado in your mouth with the molasses standing out among the coffee tar like bitterness.
A beer I have had in the bottle a few times and it seems to be the same 2 yrs later as it was fresh -too thick and too strong for my taste, but I still consider it ok drinkability wise compared to some.
A 4.5, S-4, M-3.5, T-4, D-4

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Photo of Rifugium
3.9/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First had: '09 vintage shared at a Dec. '12 Philly suburbs bottle share.

I've been sitting on a '11 bottle for a while, but someone was nice enough to bring a '09 to the bottles share, so thanks. As I suspected, this is nothing more than another grossly over-hyped beer that just gets super high ratings because of its rarity. Is it good? Yes, but in the end, it's just a pretty typical imperial stout.

Dark, opaque, black pour, with a small brown head that sank to a ringlet. In the nose, dark roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, a touch of licorice and/or anise. More of the same in the taste, dark malt sweetness, semi-sweet chocolate, roasted coffee notes, mild dark fruits, hints of molasses and licorice. Meh. I mean it's a good stout, but what makes it so special, other than rarity and a high price tag? Body is on the heavier side of medium, chewy mouthfeel, and a bit chalky. Overall it's pretty good, and I'm glad I have a bottle sitting in the cellar, but I definitely wouldn't go hunting anymore down.

This is a nice basic RIS. Certainly not good enough to have a day named after it though.

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Photo of russpowell
4.81/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This came as an EXTRA from Melbatoast93, cheers & cheers again Hart! Got this last summer, so 08 Vintage, says so on the bottle

Decanted into my La chouffe tulip, pours pitch black with a 1.5 fingers of cocoa colored head. Average head retention & very good lacing, a brown film shades out much of the upper glass

S: Dark chocolate, rum raisin & a touch of leafy hops

T: Dark & bitter chcolate, prunes, oaky dryness & a bit of charred grain & leafy hops up front. Dryness dominates as this warms, along with some chocolate covered dates, plums & a touch of molasses, getting better as it warms. Finishes oh. so dry, with mocha, molasses, iron, boozey coffee, dates & plums

MF: Oily, slick, but some noticeable carbonation here. Nice chewyness & stickyness as this warms, then nice a great warming sensation & luxurious silkyness

ABV is well hidden, upper echelon RIS to be sure, a few I've had just as good are just as good, but only a few. The dryness does slow me down a little, but otherwise, going down great on a cold, snowy Colorado evening!

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It's with much reservation (yet, interest and excitement) that I finally crack open my 2009 Dark Lord. I have no recollection who sent this to me, but hey, whoever you are, thanks.

Hands down, this is the most viscous beer I have ever had. It's so thick that it alters how the carbonation operates, I think. Nose was all molasses. Flavor is extremely thick with malts, touches of molasses and chocolate (just a hint, ya know). Pronounced bitterness in a stout-ish kinda way. I really feel like this whole thing just rests on how thick the liquid is. If for nothing else (as if you really need a reason to try and get one of these), it's worth it just to experience how thick this is. I can almost chew on it. Almost. Lives up to the hype, though, I wouldn't have minded some more complexity on the flavor profile.

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

Another one of those beers from Three Floyd's "It's not normal", well when I heard about this 13% Imperial Russian Stout I thought to myself that's not normal. Well, here we are about to break through the layer of red triple dipped wax to break the seal of the beastly brew. The bottle depicts in comic book fashion a demon possessed viking crushing skulls and what not, but either way I'm guessing he's the Dark Lord. Let's see what he has to offer my senses. Appearance on this one goes as follows, in the pour this maybe the thickest textured brew I have ever poured the addition of molasses may have something to do with that. Color spectrum yep it's dark simply engulfs all visible light waves leaves behind a resilient line of thin moccha tan head that with my first sip starts to leave trickles of lace. Aromatics contained in this nectar are deep thunderous colliding waves dark chocolate, wine like fruit notes arising from the trenches of this beer, along with an espresso barrel aged like finish hop presence is evident and as it warms this is even more so for 13%abv it's not burning any nose hairs, which is a good thing. If nothing else about this beer grabs ahold of you, the flavor is sure to. Massive unparalleled possibly brings another style about redefining the Imperial Stout category for me, brings huge staggering amount of slightly burnt dark roasted malts to the palate the molasses is evident with alcohol infused fruit namingly tart cherry notes screaming out while blending perfectly in this orgy of flavor. A definite strong coffe presence is welcoming and eye opening at the same time, just burped up a load of hops bringing about another wonderful aspect of this beer. Three Floyd's have done it again the Dreadnaught stands as my favorite Imperial IPA this may just take the throne as my all time favorite Imperial Stout. Mouthfeel is chewy yes a beer can be chewy, don't believe me try this one it says it all. Once again the molasses takes the reigns adding to this full bodied beers complexity on the palate tame carbonation wouldn't want it any other way, after pouring in the final yeast sediment from the bottle the texture becomes thicker which is hard to believe. Drinkability couldn't believe that a beer this massive could be so tasty and drinkable in a 22 ounce portion, I don't know what has me completely sold on this beer but it's amazing. Complex as all hell with a huge mouthfeel, aromatics are mesmorizing, and the taste is orchestrated to perfection. Believe the hype this brew will humble you to the Dark Lord the true master of this style, the 3F's have pushed the envelope and succeeded once again I smell a victory.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From 7/24/10 notes. Bottle was a 2010 vintage.

a - Pours a brown color with one finger of tan head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of dark fruits, roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and a hint of booze, but not as much as I was expecting.

t - Tastes of chocolate, dark fruits, roasted malts, toasted malts, and a hint of alcohol. Has a tiny bit of heat and more alcohol than the smell, but not too much.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Considering it's 15% ABV, its surprisingly easy to drink.

d - I thought this was a great RIS. I thought there was a little bit of heat, but not too much considering the high ABV. I think with a few months on it it will only get better as well. Still, it is one of the best RIS' I've had. Looking forward to trying again.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.77/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I'm attempting to uncap this as I would any other beer, but the Dark Lord won't have it that way! "It's not normal!" And I left the wine servicer at work! Ah, here's one! Shhfft!, there she goes, now to pour...

Darkest, blackest hue, a perfect pitch, color-wise, ebon in it's epitome, as soiled as Satan's underthing's, with a smallish head, but richly roasted, deep tannish brown, quickly succumbing into a tight ring.

Aroma is rich and redolent with all things dark and good, ...molasses speaks up, soy sauce gets a nod, prunes, raisins, port wine, a hint of dark rum, and a glimmer of carob, an intriguing and arresting nose.

Taste: Huge! Thick! Pow, pow, powerful! This is the 800 gorilla on the palate, when it sits around the mouth, it SITS AROUND the mouth!!!
Oh, my, good, loving, freakadelic-alicius-LORD!!!
So rich, it begs the robber barons to empty the playing field, for they haven't got the coinage to match this magic! Massive mouthfeel! A sea of chocolate swims on the tongue, and invades every center of the senses! Fruit chimes in too, cherries, and berries, all drenched in chocolate, as well!

A clinging factor pervades the flavor, as well, for this is a taste that never quits, it stays, and stays, and if you're not ready to make it comforable at your home, it doesn't care, you're taking the couch and Dark Lord is sleeping in your comfy cushy adjusta-bed!!!

WOW!!! Luxuriant, like nothing else, rich to the point of delirium, a powerful liquified candy bar, ....a decadent treat, like no other!
oh, my...puts all other pretenders to shame... a killer-diller,I fear running out of superlatives and will allow this malevolent master to merely stride along this mortal realm with all my blessings, and add the enconium that it's a majestic and dangerous thing all in one package...oh, my..in this case, all other previously praised Imperial Stouts must take back-seat, oh, my, though, Mr. Hershey should worry! Mr. Nestle could fret, too..good Lord, it's good, almost too much for me...if you want to examine the limits of this style, go no further than Dark Lord!
So heavy on the palate, so huge in flavor!

Bow down, one and all, bow before your Dark Lord, and don't mess around, he can do that finger-chokey- thingy, just like Lord Vader, I mean, they're practically cousins, so, unless you know some Jedi juju, stray far away from the terrible magic of the Dark Lord...unless you enjoy this particular punishment...which I do! In spades!

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Photo of orangesol
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Deuane for busting this one out of the basement for Hojaminbag and myself to try at 2am on DLD. 2007 silver waxed bottle poured into a taster glass.

A - Pours opaque black with a small half finger tall dark tan head, dissipating down to almost nothing, leaving my glass tinted a dark shade of brown.

S - Smells of rich chocolate sweetness, dark roasted coffee, dark fruits like figs and raisins, light vanilla sweetness, and a very faint cherry twang. This one has aged beautifully over the last four years.

T - Plenty of chocolate sweetness up front slowly giving way to a mix of dark roasted coffee and more chocolate malt. As the sweetness begins to die down you can detect some of the vanilla, dark fruits, and a bit more of that cherry twang. Finish has tons of sweet roast lingering for quite awhile. This is one of the better vintages of DL I have had.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Sticky sweet feel with plenty of lingering roast in the finish. I have had this fresh and aged, and aged is by far the way to go.

O - I have had a few of the other vintages of DL before and they have all been excellent. This one has aged very well with most of the rough edges being smoothed out and the over the top booze dieing down a bit. Excellent stuff. Thanks again Deuane.

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Photo of jwc215
4.19/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to ralflord for this one!
2007 vintage:

Pours black/dark brown with a fleeting light brown head. No lacing, but some "legs".

The smell is of prunes, raisins, chocolate. Strong.

The taste is of sweetened prunes/dates/figs with chocolate and brown sugar. Sweet, but not in an artificial way. Very prune-ish. Finishes a bit sticky.

Rich and full-bodied. Syrupy with little carbonation. Very dense. Thick. Sticky. Still, first few sips went down well enough.

It's nice enough to sip on it, but it is like an overly rich cake - can only do so much. The alcohol isn't raw, but does creep in.

Worth the hype? Mixed feelings. It does have a rich maltiness that is subtley balanced (while remaining sweet), but very sticky and almost too rich.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle share in Hoboken, NJ.

2011 Vintage.

A: Pours an opaque midnight black in color. The beer has a very thin dark tan head that quickly reduces to nothing. There is no lacing observed with this beer.

S: There are aromas of cocoa, vanilla, bourbon, caramel, and milk chocolate. A very nice complexity to the aroma of this beer. Some dark fruit sweetness from the plum/dark cherries and just the slightest hint of soy.

T: The flavor of this beer is quite interesting with a good amount of sweetness. There is some definite dark fruit, plum and dark cherries, contributing to the sweetness upfront. After that, the flavors of the vanilla, bourbon, chocolate, and caramel come through next. After that, there is a slightly unpleasant soy sauce taste that comes and then goes. Finally, the finish of this beer is a little of bitter chocolate.

M: On the lighter side of full bodied with light amounts of carbonation. A little thinner than I desired.

O: Very enjoyable and I'm glad that I had the opportunity to try this one. Maybe a little more highly rated that I expected after tasting it but definitely a good beer. I found the hints of soy sauce a little unpleasant but otherwise the complexity of the flavor/smell was great.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I got to put this up there for Huhzubendah, hosted an insane sour tasting last night with a few non-sour highlights including a complete Darklord Vertical. Beers were provided by three different guys, all tasted side by side. 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009. Rating all these vintages side by side is going to be tough.

The appearances did not vary all that much, of course the bottles are beautiful bombers all with ornate and varied colored wax indicating vintage. Beers are all black with minimal head and apparent low carbonation, no real retention to speak of and there isn't any lacing. Big variants here were the 2004 had MUCH MUCH more sediment in the bottom of the glass than the others and the 2008 was considerably and noticeably browner on the spectrum than the rest. All the beers were hazy (could tell this after someone spilled their 08 on the counter). The beer is noticeably thick (especially the 2004) leaving a syrup-like resin on the sides of the glass. The 2009 appeared to be the thinnest. I did not take gravity readings, just what I see and think.

Aroma, 2004: almost sour, a slight biting lactic smell followed by a slight ash. Some bitterness is detectable and a tiny bit of sweetness possibly from the alcohol.
2005: Much more coffee and roast in this aroma along with some nice chocolate and bitter. Alcohol is more noticable in this one.
2006: Hottest of them all so far, a sting of ethanol in the nose, sweetness is lower here, mostly ethanol.
2007: Back to chocolate, good malt syrupy aroma in this one, a good balance of coffee in the aroma, back to more the way the 2005 smelled.
2008: Weakest aroma of them all (followed by the 2004). Mild sweetness and a slight bit of ethanol in there.
2009: Strong aroma, lots of alcohol, chocolate, coffee and vanilla (didn't pick up anything like vanilla in the others).

Tastes, the 2004 was sweet and thick, completely full bodied beer. Finished slightly dry, had an alcohol flavor in the front of the mouth, but the sweetness won out. I was expecting more roast here.
2005: This was the lightest of the bunch, and the roastiest, if that makes any sense at all. Again, really high body (do you like to chew your stouts). This beer amazes me with the body on it. Less dry than 04 but there is so much more coffee in here, its nearly a completely different beer.
2006: This was the driest of them all. Super sweet up front with a nice trailing edge of slight roast. There is a biting alcoholic taste to this that abbreviates my pleasure.
2007: Still a little dry, very sweet, as sweet at the 2006, this beer is so thick in my mouth it has a syrup like quality to it.
2008: Much more roast than 2006 and 2007 and pulled back on the sweetness. Still super thick but better balanced than the others.
2009: This was probably the thinnest of all the beers in the mouthfeel department. It was nearly medium bodied and had a warmth to it that wasn't as present in the others.

Summarizing and second tasting notes. 2008 was noticeably lighter and hazier than the rest of the beers. 2004 had the most sediment and completely coated the bottom of the glass with it. The 2004 had a soy / bitter and dry taste to it. The 2005 was smooth and like chocolate. The 2006 was more sour than the others. 2007 Sweet and roasty. 2008 - more roast, more heat. 2009 was probably my favorite (with 2007 and 2005). I guess I like odd years. The 2009 did not have time to mute the flavors and let them run together into a single coherent "thought." They were still fragmented but I was able to enjoy the roast, the heat, the sweet, the chocolate bitter all individually making it a really interesting beer.

I will never get to do something this thorough again. Thanks everyone.

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

Review from notes. Thanks to Shane for popping this open to commemorate his first all-grain homebrew no DL Day! 2010 Vintage.

A: Pours a nice black color, very deep and dark, it looks rather thick and viscous. Small tan head on top, moderate retention and minimal lacing.

S: Sweeter than expected, but I really like it. Lots of chocolate and some vanilla. Some molasses and brown sugar, a hint of cherries, and some mocha.

T: Now thats what I'm talking about! The flavor profile is also sweet, but not in a bad way. Nice milk and dark chocolate, cocoa, some dark fruits - hard to pick them out except some cherries. Complex, but very tasty.

M: Medium to full bodied with low carbonation, but doesn't drink very heavy. Not much heat at all from the 15%, it certainly mellowed after a year.

O: Really enjoyed this beer and can't wait to (hopefully) have it again. This bottle lived up to the hype for me. Hopefully one day I can get over to DL Day so I can have bottles of my own instead of trying to trade for them.

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Photo of mothman
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have no idea why I haven't rated this yet. I have had it quite a few times already, but never bothered to review it.

So, I am going to review the 2008 version on tap at the Great Taste 2010. I had multiple pours of this one because it was worth it. I also had the 2007 an hour later and preferred the 2008 to it.

Pours a dark tan head/brown head with some nice retention. Color is oil black.

Aroma: Creamy flavors, chocolate, caramel, and some sweetness. A ton of malt flavors here. No hops really showing.

Taste: Dark chocolate, milky/cream flavors, roasted malts and coffee, dark fruits/molasses. Very, very rich.

Mouthfeel: Very cream, rich, and smooth. Full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends rich and roasted.

Overall, Dark Lord is one amazing stout. It has a lot of great flavors and deserves to be near the top. I am glad I have been able to try multiple years of this one as the beer does vary, but still are great.

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Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 1,218 ratings.