Dark Lord Imperial Stout - 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

3,819 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,819
Reviews: 1,245
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 14.49%
Wants: 3,040
Gots: 1,772 | FT: 139
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,819 | Reviews: 1,245
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 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-

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

Photo of WesWes
4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a pitch black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great! It has a killer black and chocolate malt scent with lots of heat. Wow, this is what I'm talking about; very intoxicating. The taste is amazing! It has an incredible black malt flavor with a decent amount of bitterness and a nice chocolate edge. The alcohol is present, but quite welcoming. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a glorious beer! It's incredibly complex with loads of great black and chocolate malt flavor. The warmth endears me more to the entire experience. I'm sorry it took me so long to try this. Cheers!

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.

Photo of Mora2000
3.46/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

2009 vintage. Pours black with no head. Very dark brown highlights at the edges. the aroma is very nice, with some oak and vanilla. You also get some milk chocolate and the slightest hint of soy sauce. The flavor is not as good as the aroma, but still not bad. The chocolate and vanilla are still there along with some roasted malt. You also get some soy sauce which is not a flavor I really enjoy. The mouthfeel is very thick and there is very low carbonation. The beer leaves an oily residue on the glass similar to a Samuel Adams Triple Bock.

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.

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.

Photo of stakem
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Multiple reviews added together, scoring reflects the top notes.

2010 bottle reviewed on 11/20/10.

This is the first of my bottles to be opened since DLD and shared with friends who couldn't attend the release. Poured into a snifter, dark lord appears a dark brown color that displays some clarity and lighter brown coloration around the edges. Closer inspection reveals some ruby hues. There is no head to be found, some swirls release some very dark brown bubbles that dissolve immediately.

The smell of this brew is hot with alcohol with indications of licorice, molasses and some smokey notes that come across a bit like bitter black chocolate. Some faint citrus hops are evident in the back.

The taste is bold with alcohol mixed with dark chocolate. Licorice with a bitter roasted quality that leaves a taste of chocolate in the mouth. Some fruity indications suggest citrus hops blended with fusel alcohol that almost has an evaporative quality on the tongue. There is a smokey element and coffee flavors as well as it warms.

This is a thick brew with a low level of carbonation. It clings and coats the inside of your mouth with a sugary grainy sweetness that isn't cloying because of the alcohol and contrasting bitterness. As a sipper at ~15% it is quite drinkable and complex.

- - - -
2008 bottle care of Slatetank on 10/23/10, thanks for sharing Matt!

Pours black with a severely tanned to brown head. It appears nearly black in color with some lighter coloration of brown around the edges. Faint spotty lace clings to the glass. This brew seemingly stains the glass with a sticky particle filled layering.

The aroma is filled with a smokey molasses sweetness and dark roasty grain that imparts a scent of chocolate. A touch of mineral quality and sweet smelling grain that is reminiscent of a fresh brew day. Slight notes of oxidation with a herbal spicy "meatiness" that lingers through the back of the nose.

The taste is sweet molasses with dark roasted grain coupled with alcohol and herbal hops. It leaves an almost meaty flavor inside the mouth that is interesting to say the least. Lingers with a roasted grain and bitterness that is a combo of hops and burnt grain. The abv is still apparent but each sip seemingly yields more sweetness. A very full, thick bodied brew that has a light level of carb yet maintains decent drinkability. It's an experience that everyone needs to try at least once.

- - - -
2011 bottle consumed on 7/5/11 (running low on character space so keeping this brief) This years very well might be the thinnest feeling of the years I have sampled. It is much easier to approach and has a very distinct anise character to the aroma and flavor. A light touch of oxidation/soy included as well as the typical flavors of bitter chocolate, coffee and lingering sweetness/herbal touch of hops. Bold alcohol yet contrasted nicely by the residual sweetness that isnt cloying.

Photo of ShanePB
2.9/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Yellow-waxed 22 ounce bottle, 2011 vintage. Split my bottle with five other friends into miniature snifter glasses.

A: On the pour, dark brown liquid streams out looking thinner and lighter in color than I expected. I don't get that "motor oil" look I like with big stouts. In the glass, the body is much darker, black even with virtually no head. A thin mocha ring stick around and leaves rather weak lacing.

S: Roasted coffee beans, alcohol esters, chocolate liqueur and some unripe dark fruits - plums and figs. It's an interesting blend of flavors that are seemingly combined fairly well. Nothing sticks out but the alcohol notes are pretty powerful, evidence of where the taste could be headed.

T: Simply put, this is pretty god awful. The palate is washed with loads of cooked vegetable flavors. Celery, carrots, spinach and potatoes are in the worst incarnation of these otherwise good vegetables, by showing up in the taste. This needs some serious time in the bottle. The alcohol notes are completely gross and overpowering, increasingly so as the beer warms. The linger is dry, chalky and a bit bitter from so coffee bean elements.

M: A little too carbonated as it stands right now, not as creamy as I would like it either. Disappointed.

Considering I have 3 more bottles of this vintage in the cellar, I hope time helps this beer out tremendously, which is the general consensus I get with the Dark Lord vintages. This was pretty terrible fresh but will obviously revisit in a few years.

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.76/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 release; Sampled December 2009; Served at 60+ degrees Fahrenheit.
Slow to form, but ultimately thick, three finger thick head that lingers for quite some time, but doesn' leave much in the way of lacing on the sides of my 25cl tulip glass. The beer is pitch black of cours. Aroma of coffee liquor, dark chocolate, sweetened roasted malt, some smooth alcohol notes. Much more simplistic than I remember, but it is still rich and definitely satisfies my current hunger for a rich stout.

This beer is definitely thick, rich and mouth coating; definitely on the syrupy side of the beer texture spectrum. Quite sweet, which really helps to temper the huge roast character, but in the finish the roast becomes quite bitter and perhaps even a bit astringent; the sweetness never fades as both the roast and the rich sweetness really lingers on the palate for a long time. The dark notes in this beer are layered with bitter black coffee, dark chocolate, acidic roast malt and burnt grain notes. The mouthfeel is quite rich, but can seem a bit thin at times compared to what I remember this beer being.

When I first had this in 2004, it was so rich and so decadent compared to anything else I had ever had. This definitely hasn't withstood the test of time. This is definitely a grand example of the decadent American take on the style, but really isn't nearly as lush, rich or complex as my memory had it being.

2004 bottle release, Sampled April 2004
4.55 total
4/4.5/5/4/4.5
Strong notes of alcohol and port. Notes of roast malt, coffee, toffee, chocolate liquor, are also found in the nose. The beer is thick viscous, and pours a deep midnight black color with a bit of carbonation but only a dusting of bubbles on the surface. When roused a thick creamy dark brown head forms, one of the darkest heads I have ever seen.

Holy shit, I have never tasted a beer with such a stupefyingly thick body as this. It is very creamy and coats my mouth, it is like sipping on syrup. As expected with this body, it is quite sweet. The sweetness is accentuated by a fresh hop flavor, that when combined give this beer a concentrated fruitiness. This thing must have been heavily hopped in order to have such prominent hop flavor in an Imperial Stout of this stature. From the front to the middle back of this beer you would guess that this was a bottle of concentrated hop nectar, floral character abounds with, grapefruit, bergamot, cherry, concentrated raisin and plum.

The alcohol is not nearly as evident in the taste and the dark malt flavors are not as strong as I was expecting, the fresh hop character seems to mute them out quite a bit. The finish is quite bitter, though with the thick mouth-coating malt sweetness it is hard to pick out at first, but it is really the lingering bitterness long after the beer has left my mouth that lets you know that this is bittered quite well. The dark malt flavors kick in the end as well, just before the bitterness. Notes of concentrated espresso, bitter chocolate, burnt raisin, burnt caramel.

I must admit that with this intense fresh hop flavor, I am not sure that I want to hold on to the rest of these for a long time, though the 4 inches of sludge at the bottom of this bottle (even after a month of sitting) say that I need to move these to my lagering fridge for quite a bit. The fresh hop flavor is quite good right now, and it is so dominant that I can not even guess how this beer will continue to age. I have a feeling that in a year or two this will be a totally and unexpectedly different beer from what it is now. I have no doubt that the Dark Lord will age gracefully for the next 10 or even 20 years, but will it be better than it is now. Oh well only time will tell, I will just have to hang on to a couple over the years.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Dark Lord vertical: I was fortunate to sample all six years of this great brew (2004-9) side by side at a tasting I hosted. Thanks to Brad for providing '04,'05,'06 and to Tony for providing the '09. Review is from my notes taken last night.

A: Awesome artwork on the label. Pours pitch black with a brown frothy, sticky, persistent head. Picture perfect for a big RIS.

S: Roasted malt and lots of it, chocolate, coffee, sweetness

T: So smooth, more chocolate. The '09 batch has more coffee flavors up front. The '04 was thick and chewy and amazingly smooth. Alcohol flavors virtually non-existent in the '04,'05,'06 batches. '07 and '08 had a slightly thinner feel and taste than the other batches. Complex, long lingering taste that continues to develop after you swallow. The sweetness was done very well, and more subdued in the earlier vintages.

M: This brew coats the mouth and seeps into your palate. Chewy and delicious. '09 was the most carbonated, as it was the youngest, and was bolder than the earlier vintages.

D: This is a huge beer and slightly sweet, which is natural, given that it is a 13% RIS. I look forward to the next time I can open a bottle of this. This will always be on my wants list.

Notes:
Paired with gourmet dark chocolate.

The '04 left a thick stain in the bottom of the glass. This brew was going strong after six years of age. Plenty of carbonation left and no off flavors. This was an incredible experience.

2010 vintage consumed November 5, 2010.
The 2010 is noticeably hotter and sweeter than the previous vintages. While it's still a great beer, the latest version could stand to spend some time aging in the cellar.

Photo of BARFLYB
4.76/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008 version into a large snifter. Shared with Birradr14,oglmcdgl and mary. Thanks goes out to Thomas Hardy for the bottle. I could not attend this year so I figured if you cant join them, drink with them in spirit. Drank on DLD 09'

A- Taking off the black wax and unsealing the cap I got a faint whiss of noise from the bottle. What came out of the bottle was a different story though. I never used this term for a RIS review before because i've been saving it for this one, DL is motor oil in it's very essense. DL has the look of texas tea, sludge, goop and swamp like, oh yeah it's black in color. A nice sized dark brown cap of head graced the top with nice lacing.

S- I just get overrun witha huge chocolate presense with mounds of fudge batter and some coffee underneath that. A huge roasty aspect comes out plus some char as well. Big notes of black roasted malt. Some faint vanilla and not a lot of hops, perhaps they faded. Dark fruits with minimal raisins and a bunch of molasses.

T- I was turned on by the smell but once I tasted DL it was all over from there. This stuff is worth all of it's weight in gold. Rich deep chocolate layered upon fudge chocolate chips, you name it. The malt base used in this really adds another layer to this which makes it stand out with some wood like taste thrown in for good measure. The hops are not the focus point in this very sweet brew. Im getting some licorice and molasses. Some dark fruit and a bit of alcohol which is fine by me. Why havent I been drinking this for years?!!??!

M- DL just coats the mouth without hesitation. From the looks of this beer I knew it would be thick. DL is full bodied with some carb trying to make it's way throught the swamp of stout. Not at all bitter in this one year old bottle but it is very sweet, there's no getting around that. Like others have said this is the thickest beer I have ever consumed thus far. Thick and chewy this one takes a little patience to get through but I m up for it.

D- While the 13% is expertly hidden in the sea of blackness, it is indeed in there so sharing this would be the wise thing to do. Maybe down the road i'll drink a bottle to my head to test my stamina, I just wont drive afterwards. For a 13% beer it is amazing that I did not get a lot of alcohol burn although I could taste some booze. With that said I finished my portion in no time and I was sad to see it go.

My 1st offering from three floyds was the bomb and I intend to try more from this brewery. Now only if they made it back into PA all would be right in the world, A man can dream cant he.

Edit- Had the 2009 vintage and it pales in comparison to the 08. It was difficult to take down even with a 6oz pour. Too much dark fruit, needs alot of time.

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

What can be added about this one? Sampled at the Blind Tiger thanks to Mike/eyedrinkale. Pours coal Black with a creamy darkest of tans head. Creamy, rich and milkshake like in mouthfeel. Loads of flavor bursting onto the palate. Coffee, chocolate, raisins, figs, burnt fruits. Complex, bold, flavorful...simply world class....wonderfully dark, thick and sludgy. Wish I could get my hands on more of this stuff!

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

2010, green wax, 22 oz bottle, sampled with the four 2011 barrel variants.

Pours a thick, opaque black with a thin, transient dark mocha head. Boozy and hot aroma of chocolate and coffee, slightly fruity, minimal roast. Flavor is similar, bordering on too sweet with a slight bitter finish; light fruit notes under the strong and syrupys chocolate and coffee malt. Thick, viscous, chewy body with low carbonation and a hot finish. First time trying to a regular Dark Lord (not sure why I never opened a bottle before) and enjoyed this more than I expected.

Photo of billab914
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2009 vintage poured from a 22oz bottle into my Portsmouth tulip. It poured thick and pitch black, with a thin, spotty head scattered across the top of the beer. The thin head it started with disappeared not long after.

The aroma has a lot of dark chocolate coming through. I get a moderate fruity quality to it with some cherry and maybe a hint of raspberry. Some very moderate roasty and coffee flavors are there, but they are pretty light for such a big RIS. Some alcohol comes through as well.

The taste shows a lot of the dark, bitter-sweet chocolate to it throughout the flavor. Midway, I get some dark fruits coming through with some cherry to it. Some roasty flavors come out in the finish, along with some alcohol heat. It gets a pretty sweet in the finish overall, a little more of a roasty, bitterness would have put it over the top for me.

It's definitely one of the thickest beers I've ever had. Carbonation is on the lower side as well, which I really like in big RIS's. I love the mouthfeel on this beer, probably my favorite part of it.

Drinkability is good, it has some very nice and bold flavors to it. It's a very big beer with some big flavors. I really enjoyed sipping on it this evening. A very good beer overall.

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

A bottle of 2007 consumed just about one year later.
Black. Dark. Evil pour. Motor oil is lighter than this. Smooth looking as well. Head stayed a bit low, built up to about 1 finger, dense off brown/tan and sticky.
Coffee, chocolate, powder cocoa, anise, plum and alcohol round out the nose. Not one is dominant or too strong. Nice blend. Mix could be confusing.
Coffee and anise at the start of the taste. Followed close with unripe black plum, some prune and molasses. Ends with a touch of caramel, but mostly powder cocoa and silk chocolate. Not as complex as I thought it would be. Not as outstanding as I thought.
A good brew, but not worth the trade and effort to obtain.

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

Dark Lord is one those beers that you don´t expect to possess because where I live, it takes an arma and a leg to get one. I got this bottle in a trade last year and brought it down to Brazil to share with a lucky few. From a 2009 vintage, on to the beer:

Menacing black color with a little tanned head that drops to a lace. The nose is intense and full of licorice, honey, and molasses. More interesting is the flavor, where it acts like a rauchbier at times. It starts sweet with honey, then chocolate arrives, then it goes smokey like bacon. Much of the alcohol is hidden neat in its viscous body.

This is tasty and very complex. However, I´m not sure if it´s a beer that I´d stand in line for or trade my other arm to relive the experience.

Photo of tempest
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 Vintage served in a Surly Darkness tulip.

Poured an opaque black with a thin, light brown head with a thick and sticky body that left a film on the side of my glass, damn. The taste first reminds me of chocolate cookie (like an Oreo minus the white stuff) with espresso, so of like a chocolate beer biscotti. As it begins to warm there a mild fruitiness of cherries and strawberries that catches me off-guard. The beer finishes with a dry mix of black roasted grains and citrus and spicy hop flavor.

For a 13% RIS, this beer is surprisingly drinkable. I didn't have any problem splitting a bomber with my generous friend who acquired this via trade. There's a lot of smooth chocolate flavors going on and I highly recommend pairing this with the richest chocolate cake, brownies, or fudge you can find.

Photo of smakawhat
4.06/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass vintage 2012. Big thanks to Wade5614 for the trade, and Exiled for the advice.

Into the snifter, it pours out chestnut brown, hitting the glass body and barely making a head at all of a simple tan light brown, fading under some faint snapping carbonation. Leaves a little filmy top and can't hang on, giving just a faint collar, with some nice leg action also and scattered leopard lacing barely.

Nose is quite interesting, suprinsingly not hot, mild roast character and dark red fruits. Cherry and raspberry, some dark chocolate and even some sensations of sea salt, maybe even caramel. Quite intriguing and nice, makes me love this salt and chocolate combo which is a favorite of mine.

Palate hits with a tight fizz at first that doesn't seem noticeable after numerous sips later. Extremely thick and syrupy and liqueur like palate. Memories of raspberry syrup hit, maybe some licorice, and then it's full on Luxardo Maraschino liqueur. Roast character takes a bit of back seat with quaffs. Syrup sweetness is quite big but in the context of how the liquor feels it comes off as a digestif and seems to work. Roast lingers slightly and rushes dark fruit toward the end with also a sense of alcohol bitterness (bitters, digsetif, etc...).

Overall it's really sweet for my tastes but tolerable, and also fun. Quite an interesting ride, glad to have given it a whirl. It's a sipper which doesn't always appeal to me for beer, but it's without question worth drinking.

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2007 version. I won't get into the debate about whether or not this beer lives up to the hype. I sometimes think that certain cognoscenti bash a beer because it is hyped and downgrade its performance for that reason. The opposite is obviously true as well- people sometime review a hyped beer off the charts since they went through such lengths to obtain it and it is supposed to be good. Regardless, I didn't chase this down as a quest, I didn't go to Darklord Day, and I didn't trade my first born. It was shared with me by a kind soul and I felt like I could review this objectively. In any caes, its a damn good beer.

Pours black and absolutely opaque with a thick dark head that fades a good bit. Huge aromas of licorice, molasses, and treacle, as well as a nice sustained rooty bitterness. The taste is massive, with an onslaught of sweet, fruity, grainy, chocolate, licorice and coffee. The deep herbal bitterness and alcohol helps balance the massive sweetness. Even the sweeet elements have a slightly charred edge to them helping cut any cloying nature. Long, long finish and a thick, viscous, creamy mouthfeel. I truly enjoyed this experience. This is by no means an everyday beer. It is so alcoholic, big, thick, and chewy that the experience should be savored on ocassion. I'm sold.

Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 3,819 ratings.