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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.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

3,583 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,583
Reviews: 1,181
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 14.72%
Wants: 2,876
Gots: 1,538 | FT: 103
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
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,583 | Reviews: 1,181 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Knapp85
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

Photo of SocalKicks
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3/5  rDev -29.9%

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.

Photo of largadeer
3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2007 vintage with silver wax.

Appearance - Oily and black with no head whatsoever. The occasional rising bubble settles on the surface for a moment, giving the appearance of a bubbling tar pit. Although there's no lace, the beer does coat the glass in an oily residue.

Smell - Sweet and rich. Molasses, coffee and milk chocolate come to mind, with undertones of vanilla and raisins.

Taste - Mellower than I was expecting and actually downright pleasant. Flavors of licorice, molasses, vanilla and coffee blend together harmoniously, presenting enough complexity to make this an enjoyable beer to sip for several hours. The finish is long and coating, leaving a roasted bitterness on the palate. No noticeable alcohol despite the rather high ABV; the sweet, rich flavors seem to overpower its presence.

Mouthfeel - Thick; absurdly thick. Dark Lord gave me a new standard for the term "full-bodied." This beer literally has the consistency of whole milk. Carbonation is nearly non-existent and never really felt, which only contributes further to the chewy mouthfeel.

Drinkability - The massive mouthfeel, while probably the beer's greatest attribute, also makes it difficult to drink both frequently and in large quantities - I'd have a hard time finishing a bottle by myself.

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.

Photo of emerge077
4.46/5  rDev +4.2%
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....

Photo of zeff80
4.73/5  rDev +10.5%
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.

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.

Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev -6.5%

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.

Photo of nickfl
4/5  rDev -6.5%

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.

Photo of Jason
4/5  rDev -6.5%

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

Photo of XmnwildX12
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

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!

Photo of MarkyMOD
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

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.

Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 3,583 ratings.