Dark Lord Imperial Stout - Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub

Not Rated.
Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout

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3,529 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,529
Reviews: 1,173
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 14.95%
Wants: 2,854
Gots: 1,530 | FT: 101
Brewed by:
Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub visit their website
Indiana, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  15.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes/Commercial Description:
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 added by: cretemixer on 12-13-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,529 | Reviews: 1,173 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of zeledonia
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage (yellow wax). Thanks to aguirre for the trade. Celebrating passing my oral qualifying exam for my graduate program with my first bottle of this big stout.

Pours very dark brown, essentially black but lighter and clear at the edges. Minimal medium brown head, fades fairly quickly, little lacing. Looks like a big bad stout.

Smell is sweet and roasty. A lot of things about this beer remind me of molasses, and the smell is where it's most prominent. A bit of coffee in the background. I can tell from the smell that a lot went into this beer. Definitely on the (very) sweet side, but it's not at all off-putting in the smell. Great complexity. Wow.

Taste doesn't do it for me quite so much. Feels less integrated than the smell. A heavy dose of syrupy sweetness leads the way, followed by some nice roasty flavors (coffee). Comes on slightly bitter at the end, like char, though it may just be the alcohol kicking in.

Mouthfeel is what a RIS should be. Thick and heavy, with only enough carbonation to remind me that the yeast were once chewing up all those sugars in there. Kinda like drinking syrup... delicious syrup.

This beer is a kick in the teeth. Sweet and syrupy, with enough weight and strength to do some damage. Alcohol is shockingly well hidden. No ABV on the bottle, so I wasn't sure - shocked that it's 15%. The smell and flavors are impressively complex, but I could do with better integration, especially in the taste. One of the better imperial stouts I've had, though.

Photo of hopluva1
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of time4abeer
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Photo of MarkFy
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of jfcaa193
3/5  rDev -29.9%

Photo of barkingelectron
1/5  rDev -76.6%

Photo of groetman
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of brendaniel
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Photo of FalconA
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of Hawkfish
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of mindspin315
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage - Yellow Wax

Poured a nice thick deep tan head and a dark body. Good amount of lacing and legs.

Big, boozy, and sweet aroma. Heavy on the dark fruits. Figs, raisins, chocolate, roasted/burnt malts, molasses, peat, maple syrup, faint nail polish remover, and anise. Not detecting a whole lot of coffee...thought I'd get a big dose of that especially since it was brewed with coffee. This bottle is almost a year old so the coffee aroma may have faded...never had it fresh though.

I'll start out before I even talk about the taste that the feel and drinkability for 15% is quite impressive. Sweet syrupy molasses coats the palate right away and sticks around all the way through the finish. Getting a touch of the coffee in the flavor which I wasn't picking up in the aroma. Not a huge dose of coffee but detectable. Flavors of dark sweet chocolate, molasses, chocolate coated cherries, toffee, and anise on the tip of the tongue. Full bodied, medium-low carbonation (the density causes the carbonation to not come through as much), and smooth velvety mouthfeel. The alcohol is not coming through at all...for such a high alcohol beer it is quite impressive. Even though it comes at the expense of the sweet sugary mouthfeel/flavors.

All in all Dark Lord masters much of what it looks out to accomplish. Although some of the complaints of this beer are warranted. It is a bit to sweet and a lot of the components get masked by it. Even with the couple of complaints it still is a very solid RIS. It definitely ups the notch on what a RIS can be. The mouthfeel is very enjoyable and Dark Lord definitely drinks like no other. Needs to get the sweetness in order and this would be a damn near perfect beer.


Photo of atoulouk
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of ejimhof
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%

Photo of Hellvis
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Photo of jamescain
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a sniffer 2010 vintage, thanks to jl28r1 for sharing this one!

When you pour this beer you will notice how viscous it looks. Black without a trace of light seeping though topped off with a thin brown head that leaves a ring around the center. The smell is roasted grain, chocolate, molasses, vanilla, and caramel, surprisingly no alcohol. The first sip confirms that this is a thick beer, full bodied with medium-low carbonation. Not as sweet as I was expecting and definitely not as boozy as I was expecting. Molasses, chocolate, roasted grains and caramel are the predominate flavors. Mostly roasty. Its still pretty sweet, but not as bad as I thought it would be. Definitely a great beer, but is it worth everything to get one, I would say no, but I would never turn one down either.

Photo of johnhenryconway
5/5  rDev +16.8%

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

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for the opportunity (twice)

Review adapted from notes taken 4/3/11

Note: My 250th BA Review

2010 edition (green wax)

Appearance: Blacker than black, nothing but darkness - pours heavy, with a brown head - sticky lacing

Smell: Top tier - a glorious laundry list of aromas including: burnt malts, molasses, dark chocolate, chocolate malts, coffee, vanilla, dark fruits, brown sugar, and some alcohol - complex, intense, ridiculous

Taste: Somewhat obscene (in a mostly good way) - tons of burnt bitterness, but also tons of sweetness - malts are burnt and roasted, but have a lot of depth - a number of flavors going on here, as the aroma suggests - chocolate, coffee, vanilla, dark fruits, licorice, and more - the flavors are powerful enough to generally overshadow the alcohol

Mouthfeel: Incredible feel - very thick (but not too thick) with an interesting alcohol bite - just enough carbonation to prevent this from becoming sludge

Overall: Take your time with this monster

My first encounter with this beer absolutely blew my mind; I thought it earned a solid 5/5 across the board. Unfortunately, about 6 months later I had this at a blind RIS tasting and I bashed the sample for being excessively sweet. This experience makes me believe that Dark Lord is so ridiculous that it is hard to compare to others of the style. In isolation, this is a very special beer.

Update, 2012 bottle: Many thanks to Goblinmunkey7 for sharing yet another one of these. Sadly, this vintage is lacking charm. It's a sugary, syrupy mess. I would dramatically decrease my score, but I would like to think that the 2010 version was actually good.

Update, 2008 bottle: Spit with Goblinmunkey7. This is as great as I remember the 2010 bottle, if not better. Roasty and burnt with some big caramel and molasses sweetness to balance. Lots of other flavors as well, licorice and dark fruits in abundance. Drinking this is an experience. Lowered the smell, though, to 4.5 (now solid 4.5s across the board).

Photo of seplo
3.25/5  rDev -24.1%

Photo of raverjames
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%

Photo of beast464
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of sammo
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Photo of server222
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Photo of IPx
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Photo of axeman9182
3.85/5  rDev -10%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle of the 2011 vintage, thanks to Dobby. This one was taken out of the fridge about 20 minutes before I opened, and poured into my Duvel tulip.

Three Floyds Dark Lord pours a black so complete that I think the lights flickered when I popped the cap off. The light tan head can't quite reach two fingers in height, before the foam quickly dies away and leaves a largely clean glass behind. The nose is a little weak (although switching to a snifter for the second half of the bottle did help), and it's a little bit different from what one normally finds in a Russian Imperial Stout. Rather than chocolate and/or coffee, the aroma is redolent of molasses, licorice, and cherries and currants. The flavor doesn't have that same dull edge to it, and also manages to incorporate some more traditional imperial stout elements. A brief flash of dark chocolate opens things up for a molasses/licorice/brown sugar middle that really serves as th centerpiece of the beer. A mild coffee note then slides into dark fruity finish (those same cherries and currants). It's varied and complex, and if the roasty grain flavors were a little more prominent, I'd say it was perfect. The mouthfeel here is one of, if not the chewiest I've ever encountered. The body is as rich and viscous as it gets, and carbonation is barely, if at all appreciable. It's just too heavy and syrupy in the end to be good. Darklord is one of the tastiest stouts I've ever enountered, and is especialy smooth alcohol-wise for a relatively fresh 15% stout. The brewing process could stand to be tightened up though, as from a couple technical standpoints this beer falters a little bit.

Photo of ucsbmullet
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Dark Lord Imperial Stout from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
95 out of 100 based on 3,529 ratings.