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

Not Rated.
Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

3,342 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,342
Reviews: 1,157
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 14.95%
Wants: 2,780
Gots: 1,479 | FT: 99
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 Imperial Russian stout brewed with INTELLIGENTSIA coffee,vanilla, and molasses.

Dark Lord is only available once a year at Dark Lord Day at the Three Floyds Brewpub.

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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Dark Lord Imperial Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,342 | Reviews: 1,157 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of zoolzoo
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2010 Vintage

A: Chocolate syrup pour, completely opaque. Barely a tan head, almost no sign of carbonation.

S: Dark chocolate with roasty undertones. Coffee, black cherry ice cream. Alcohol is pretty subdued to my surprise.

T: Initial flavor is a clash of soy sauce and terribly sweet molasses. Lots of grain and char mid palate. Dark cherry and raisin are scattered throughout. Finish is a slight impression of coffee and some hop bitterness. 15% is incredibly masked....

M: Diabetic sludge.

O: A good imperial stout, not one for the record books. Still, this is one you have to try at least once right? Over rated in my opinion. Too sweet for its own good, unless you are really into that kinda stuff. A nice one to really sip on over the course of the night, gets better with warmth and oxidation.

zoolzoo, Apr 04, 2011
Photo of Eldritch
4.72/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tasting Date: 3/18/2011 - Split a bottle of the 2010 vintage with my dad. He had a nice trip to visit this time, given his beer choices.

Service/Appearance: Split 750ML into 2 Duvel Tulips. Pours an inky black -- very deep in color with no light permeating. Nice cappuccino colored head with deep, rich lacing as it recedes or is swirled.

Nose: Classic RIS - dark fruit, vanilla, toffee, some booze, rounds out with espresso notes.

Taste: I was worried that this wouldn't live up to the hype or the cost of the bottle (and I have to say that while absolutely delicious, I'd be hesitant to pay such a premium again...why oh why didn't I know about this beer when I lived in Michigan and could have acquired it with relative ease!?), but my expectations were absolutely met. This has a fantastic flavor -- chocolate, vanilla, and plum notes hit the front of the mouth and are balanced nicely by the slightly more charred taste of roasted coffee. The boozy notes (not a burning alcohol flavor, but just a nice warm booziness) keep this from getting cloying. One of the top RISes that I've had yet.

Mouthfeel: Super thick. Almost like syrup, which could be offputting if the flavors weren't so on. Instantly coats the entire mouth.

Overall: NOT a session beer. A great after dinner beer, shared with friends or family. If you're in Illinois (or close) go and get some on DLD 2011. You shouldn't regret it.

Eldritch, Apr 01, 2011
Photo of AwYeh
3.53/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage poured into snifter; huge thanks goes out to madvermin for sharing his bomber with me.

A: Pours an opaque black, with just a light coating of head atop the beer. A few fine, brown bubbles provide a ring around the side of the glass.

S: Things actually start off here with a lot of soy sauce, before dark cherries, chocolate, and a musty basement aroma flow in.

T: Hugely rich, hugely sweet flavor here. I'm picking up loads of molasses, both sweet and dark chocolate, sweet espresso, cream, vanilla, and dark fruits- cherries and raisins in particular. I'm surprised at how little ethanol flavor comes through considering the 15% ABV; this is a testament to the strength of the beer's flavors. This may be a bit too sweet for my tastes, though I do appreciate the fullness and complexity of the flavor.

M: Very thick, very creamy, with light carbonation. Smoothness complements the creaminess, and a very light burn on the palate from latent bitterness and alcohol is pleasant, while also serving to balance the sweetness just a bit.

O: A good beer to be sure, but I'm not loving it as much as the majority of BAs do. Very sweet, to a point where it brings the beer down a bit, but the complexity of this beer made my glass pretty enjoyable- easily worth a try.

AwYeh, Mar 24, 2011
Photo of madvermin
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to makdeco for sending this to me as part of our trade, I've been waiting for a while to finally open this.

Vintage: 2010 (green wax)

Pours an incredibly viscous and oily jet black with a couple millimeters of mahogany head at best. This beer made no noise at all while pouring - it hit the glass very softly and looked almost like velvet.

Aroma is a strong boozy/molasses hybrid with licorice and dark roasted malts all over the place. Dark fruit and currants are prevalent in the smell along with a vinous winy smell at the end as well. Bitter chocolate and a touch of coffee round out one of the better smells I've ever experienced.

Taste a monstrous mix of dark fruit (currants), much more chocolate than in the nose, and a strong molasses that brings it all together. Coffee bitterness is present just a bit, but not too much. Booze comes out to add warmth and spice. Roasted malts are scattered from start to finish. Vanilla adds a sweetness that is very strong, and borders on excessive but toes the line pretty well.

Mouthfeel is sticky, thick, syrupy, etc. etc. etc. - it's as thick of beer as I've had. Numbness from the booze at the back
adds a tingling effect that works perfectly with the spice, vanilla, and molasses.A slight burn at the end of sips as it warms remains pleasant as well. Drinkability is fantastic for being a 15% abv beer - as a sipper this definitely could get you through a night. The sweetness hinders drinking a lot of this over a short period of time (outside of the large abv) but the way the booze is utilized is just about perfectly. Lived up to expectations in my mind.

madvermin, Mar 24, 2011
Photo of afausser
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 green wax, almost a year of age.

Appearance: very thin and liquid, opaque, and when agitated pours with a very thin layer of head that dissipates into a fine ring around the edge of the glass. Very little lacing. The beer itself is pitch black with little bits of plum color mixed in as highlights. The head has an interesting/rare reddish tint. Just a little lingering foam and fine carbonation bubbles across the top of what is otherwise a very glassy brew.

Smell: cherries, licorice, dark chocolate, and slight espresso notes, along with rum-soaked dark fruits. Slight vanilla undertones. It smells cool and refreshing, as much as those are things that can be smelled, and yet at the same time alcoholic. As it warms, I'm noticing more of a bitterness/tangy flavor that really seems out of place for the style, but works really well.

Taste: Again, it's impressive how boozy this can taste while having very little actual heat. It's kind of ridiculous that this is a 15%. Dark fruits are more prominent here--there are still cherry, chocolate, and vanilla notes, but raisins/prunes/etc play more of a role now. The cherries here are less chocolate-covered sweet cherries, and more tart.

Mouthfeel: Extremely fine and consistent carbonation bubbles. Really, really excellent. Slight aftertaste, but less so than on most beers this heavy. Really really light and thin for the style and ABV, but still delivers a lot of excellent flavor.

Drinkability: excellent, wouldn't know it's a 15%, flavorful and yet not too hot, and the carbonation being done so excellently really makes it go down smoothly and easily...too bad this one can only be had once a year...

afausser, Mar 19, 2011
Photo of TK5150
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle, thanks to tbart428 for splitting the bottle with me. Finally checking this one off the list.

A- Pours dark brown/black with a small light brown head. Head recedes to a small ring around the glass. There is some brown highlights to the beer near the head when held up to the light. Alcohol legs and nice lacing. Not a bad looking beer, but not as DARK as I always thought it would be.

S- Smells exactly like a Barossa Shiraz or a California Red Blend. The tannins from the grapes and oak you usually get with those wines is present in this beer as well. There is also some strong molasses in the nose, as is a hint of alcohol.

T- Caramel, molasses, Barossa Shiraz, wine and oak tannins, with just a hint of alcohol at the back-end. Nice warming feeling going down to the stomach. Alcohol is masked very nicely on this beer for being 15%, would not have guessed that high. Coffee begins to show up more and more as it warms. I like this one. Not a roasty stout, this focuses more on the sweeter flavors, yet stays nicely balanced IMO.

M- Full bodied and very smooth. Feels nice in the mouth. Not as thick as its reputation suggests. Feels like there is some high, sharp carbonation in the finish, but feels lowly carbonated in the mouth.

O- Excellent beer. It stood up to my expectations, but was much different than I expected. This is a wine with some beer characteristics, not a beer with some wine characteristics. I can't believe this isn't oak aged either, there is a large oak component to it.

Score 4.38

2010 Vintage Re-rate on Dark Lord Day 2012:

A- Pours dark brown/black with a small light brown head that recedes. Alcohol legs on the glass. Looks decent.

S- Lots of dark fruit like raisins, prunes, and other purple fruit. Light coffee and sweet creamer in the background.

T- General sweetness followed by molasses, then a purple grape and raisin character. Burnt caramel. Some heat on the finish with some coffee-like bitterness and tannins. Sweeter beer, but not as sweet as some make it out to be.

M- Smooth, full-bodied, but on the lighter side of full bodied. Not nearly as thick as many other big-time imperial stouts.

O- I personally liked this vintage at a younger age. At 2 years old, I feel this beer has already peaked IMO. While I really enjoy this beer, and have massive respect for what it did for the style back in the day, it has a hard time competing with the modern-day top-flight stouts IMO.

Score 4.33

TK5150, Mar 18, 2011
Photo of MADhombrewer
3.95/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 Dark Lord (white wax)
Appearance - Motor oil pour. Very dark with copper highlights around edges.

Smell - A lot of alcohol. Very much dark chocolate, vanilla. Sweet

Taste- Not as much alcohol in the taste as was In the smell. Dark Chocolate , and vanilla. Some soy sauce as well. Very sweet

Mouthfeel- Very thick. Slick sweetness.

Overall- I don't know if I could finish a bottle by myself. Shared this beer with Hopsbreath, Tulipsnifter, and Witchsbrew. I will say that I didn't know it was 15%.

2009 was way too sweet, and thick for me. I was glad to have had it, but if I get another I will probably not cellar it for very long.

2010 (green wax) was a little thinner. More hop flavor. More alcohol in the taste and less in the aroma. No soy sauce in the taste. I liked the 2010 much better. Thanks to Hopsbreath for this one.

The grade for this reflects the 2010 version.

MADhombrewer, Mar 17, 2011
Photo of nightwing002
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle shared with and provided by babanate poured into a tulip glass
 
a - poured oil black with a slight brownish/mocha head... sticky covering left on glass
 
s - intense aroma... chocolate, fruit, molasses, and slight alcohol
 
t - explosion of flavor in my mouth... way more than I was expecting from the smell... many layers of taste... chocolate, vanilla, cherry fruity, molasses, warm... super sweet... taste stayed on my lips for awhile
 
m - very thick almost syrupy... low carbonation... very rich... felt like a very heavy stout
 
d - this was a slow sipper for me... I can't imagine finishing a whole 22oz by myself... great smell and complex taste... the sweetness started to overcome me after awhile... I would definitely drink again, but like I said, not by myself...

nightwing002, Mar 15, 2011
Photo of beerpirates
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottel poured into my lost abbey stemware glass ,

2010 release.

Black, syrupy beer. Head recedes quickly and leaves little lace. Looks like it's going to be a big one. Smells super sweet and rich and complex. The aroma is almost like that of a quad. There must be a ton of ingredients in this beer. It's enormous. Dark chocolate, molasses, caramel, raisins, raspberries, licorice, and dry flavors too like a chocolate espresso and brown sugar oatmeal. Molasses and dark chocolate big time though. And the alcohol is definitely a presence. Slow drinker. Intensely rich and flavorful but also the alcohol catches up and slows you down. Really amazing.

beerpirates, Mar 12, 2011
Photo of Gosox8787
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 22 oz. olive green wax topped bottle. Split with two friends and poured into a Sierra Nevada XXXth Anniversary snifter glass. Servedat room temperature and enjoyed over about an hour.

Appearance: Midnight black in color. Definitely one of the darker stouts I've encountered. A slighty mocha head with not a lot of retention after an aggressive pour but that's to be expected at this high ABV.

Aroma: Dark chocolate and sweet fudge notes dominate. Some nice dark fruit notes in the background and also a hint of soy sauce. A touch of coffee bean somewhere back there as well.

Taste: Big sugary milk chocolate completely coats the mouth. Caramel and fudge in there in large quantities as well. Sugary and sweet would definitely be the two best adjectives to describe this. At about a year, this is very smooth and there is little booze presence in the flavor. I can see how some find find this cloying, but I really enjoyed this.

Mouthfeel: Full body and creamy. A touch of carbonation but not too much. The heavy mouthfeel is definitely an essential element to drinking this.

Drinkability: Considering the ridiculously high ABV, this is really smooth. All the ABV is well hidden and this was not a problem to finish split amongst a couple friends. A whole bomber might be quite an accomplishment though.

Overall, this beer is certainly an experience. Borders on overly sweet and sugary, with with a great chocolately flavor all while concealing an incredible ABV. I definitely thought it was a little one dimensional at times, but that's half the beauty. Big, in your face, and really tasty. Definitely worth acquiring.

Notes: Had an 09 DL recently and it was a vastly different experience from the 2010 version. Overly sweet, syrupy, and beyond cloying. I would avoid that vintage. Obviously there is a pretty high vintage variation here. Avoid 09 DL.

Gosox8787, Mar 11, 2011
Photo of Brewbro000
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 - Olive Green Wax

Poured into an oversized wine glass

A: pours a viscous black with a large mocha head that recedes quickly leaving spots of lacing.
S: chocolate, caramel and sweet roasted malts dominate with little hop presence. Figs or date aroma also comes through as well with dark molasses on the back
T: very sweet, maybe too sweet for me with little carbonation to hold up the viscosity of this one. Sweet caramel/molasses lingers on the tongue. Alcohol is not as hidden as I expected which is disappointing. Warms as it goes down.
M/D: viscous and velvet are the best words for this one. Very smooth. I would have to split this bottle to truly enjoy it. A 22oz alone is just too much for me. Probably a combination of the apparent alcohol and sweetness. Glad I got to try this one but I'm not dissappointed that it's the only one I have.

Cheers to OregonKnowsBest for the hook up on this one!

Brewbro000, Mar 07, 2011
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.9/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2010 vintage with green wax on the bottle.

Aggressive pour into a snifter.

Appearance: dark black and a moonless night. Dark brown head and thick lacing sticks to the side of the glass.

Smell: Cherries, sweet malt, prunes and booze.

Taste: Strong prune flavors and an almost wine like taste are in the initial blast of flavors from this beer. Slightly roasty malts & bittersweet chocolate sustain the taste in the middle. Molasses, black licorice linger in the finish. It is very sweet. Alcohol is quite noticable with some alcohol burn. Sweet and cloying beer.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied beer. Silky and low carbonation.

Drinkability: This beer is a big beer and needs to be shared. It would be difficult to drink this bomber bottle on your own. I drank this beer about a month after Dark Lord day last year and never reviewed it "officially" on BA. I think that I enjoyed the beer more when it was fresh. After close to a year in the cellar it seems to have stronger cherry flavor and the alcohol/alcohol burn seems to be a bit stronger tasting. The beer also felt a bit thinner than remember it. It is still a good beer, but has a lot of hype surrounding it.

4DAloveofSTOUT, Feb 28, 2011
Photo of legalpete19340
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured very thick and heavy into the glass. Almost no head developed and the bit that did was gone immediately. A respectable amount of coating stuck to the glass when swished, but not as much as anticipated. There were no leprechauns dancing on the beer or fireworks which I had expected to see.

S: Coffee, vanilla and roastiness shared the nose almost equally. A very mild amount of soy sauce and booze was in the background.

T: Much sweeter than expected. Like those creme filled chocolate covered cherries. Lots of dark chocolate. Cherries, vanilla and fig pudding. Mild hints of soy sauce and coffee. Of course, the alcohol in the swallow and after.

M: Surprisingly I found this to be thick but not overly so. I almost wanted a bit more chewiness.

D: Glad I split the bomber with Chilly cuz I couldnt have killed this on my own. It was too sweet and intense. They got it right when describing it like a Port. Really just too much of a good thing.

Awesome beer. Very complex and layered. It almost lived up to the hype which is saying something. If I were looking for a big Imperial Stout that displayed roasty characteristics I wouldnt reach for the Dark Lord. That being said, it is a monster and one great beer.

legalpete19340, Feb 28, 2011
Photo of chilly460
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Very dense black thickn goop with almost no head, even with an aggressive pour. No real lacing, but it does leave a sticky caramel covered coating on the glass.

S - The smell is very complex, seemed like every time I took a snoot-full I got a new aroma. I get molasses, light chocolate, roasted grains, cherries, dark fruit, vanilla, and plenty of warm booze. Some wood scent creeps in, and as it warmed I kept thinking "port", as well as soy sauce.

T - Wow, this beer hits the palate like a ton of bricks. First up is bigtime dark fruit sweetness, basically think of port, and you're on the right track. Dark ripe plums came to mind, this is nice. I didn't really get much roastiness which was surprising, but the shift to a salty, soy sort of taste was interesting. Some vanilla in there as well, almost butterscotch. Then as it's going down the gullet, a pretty significant warm booze spiciness. If they could work some more chocolate/coffee into this beer, I'd have rated higher. As stated at the tasting, I want to be sitting outside in a snowstorm drinking this mother.

M - Decent amount of carbonation despite the extreme thickness and viscosity. Big and chewy as you'd expect.

D - I feel like finishing a goblet of this made me a man, this is a man's beer. Big flavored, heavy, booze laden beer. I will say, the booze and tanin type flavors do a number on the palate. It's delicious, but definitely a sipper.

chilly460, Feb 27, 2011
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.

billab914, Feb 27, 2011
Photo of BeerAndBourbon
3.68/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage

A. Pours black with a brown/amber edge with a tan creamy head that dissipates to a thin film.

S. Dark fruit, soy sauce, vanilla - not a lot of the coffee and dark roasted flavors I usually associate with big stouts.

T. Dark fruit, soy sauce, lots of sweetness, cherry, vanilla. Complex and interesting, but a bit too sweet for me.

M. Thick, syrupy with little carbonation.

D. Pretty drinkable. Too sweet for me - sweeter than any of the other stouts we tried tonight.

BeerAndBourbon, Feb 27, 2011
Photo of brew3crew
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 green wax bottle

A-dark black with a tan head that disapates quickly
S-molasses, fruit and sweet malt
T-very sweet. Alot like it smells. Some fruit znd a little caramel. Doesn't even taste like a ris. Very tasty.
M-medium bodied and very smooth
D-redonkulously drinkable. Love it.

brew3crew, Feb 27, 2011
Photo of Urbancaver
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage

Pours a very dark brown with a small amount of head. The beer has some reddish tints. Smells very sweet. Some light soy sauce on the nose. Mstly chocolate and Sweetness on the nose. Tastes syrupy and sweet. Tons of molasses and malt on the tongue. Highly carbonated and very tasty. Really other than being overly syrupy and sweet it's really complex and tasty. Incredibly drinkable for the percentage!

Edit: updated... 2011 version is considerably tastier!

Urbancaver, Feb 27, 2011
Photo of SkunkWorks
3.35/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks kmurray8621 for the trade and the opportunity to try this!

22 oz bottle with green wax dripping from the top of the bottle down the label, so this is a 2010 bottle and has about 10 months of age on it. The wax is probably the most difficult wax I've had to deal with so far. As an Imperial Stout lover, I'm excited to try the (Dark) Lord of stout! Poured into my Southampton Imperial Russian Stout Release Party snifter and split with my girlfriend.

Look: despite an aggressive pour, I don't really get any head. There's half a finger of mocha colored foam for a second but it disappears almost immediately. Likewise, there's no lacing left behind. The body itself is pitch black and stains the glass, which is a cool effect. Because of the fact its in a snifter, I can get some dark, brown highlights along the edges but its still black when I hold it to the light. This looks good but I can't award it a better score than "Good" since I didn't get a head and I didn't get lacing.

Smell: oh no. This isn't looking good. The aroma hits the description on the bottle right on the head. There's cherries, dark fruit, currants, sweet maltiness, and hints of port like alcohol. Unfortunately, these are all tastes that I'm not the biggest fan of in my stouts. Where's the chocolate? The coffee? The black patent malt? I can't really get much of any of that. This is personal preference and I am impressed by the pungency of these flavors but I am not a fan.

Taste: follows the nose with intense dark fruit, sweet malt, molasses, and currants stand out while a bit of alcohol burn dances across my tongue. The label describes it having a Mochachino taste but I really don't detect it. Its just incredibly sweet, almost cloying, and fruity with a good deal of alcohol. Like the aroma, I think its well done but my personal preference prefers roasted malt, coffee and chocolate flavors in my imperial stouts and these tastes are severely lacking. Yes, I'm going to be "that guy" who rates the taste of this incredibly popular and hyped stout a bit low.

Feel: probably the best part about this beer. Full bodied, approaching a motor oil consistency, with a nice alcohol burn on the tip of my tongue. Drinks every bit of its 15% alcohol by volume.

Drink: certainly a sipper but that's good for the style. Its also quite easy drinking for a 15% stout... after having Black Tuesday a week ago, I can say this definitely drinks infinitely easier despite only being 3% lighter.

Overall, this was decent but not what I expected. Hype is truly a double edged sword. I was hoping to get hit in the mouth with an overwhelming roasted malt taste and aroma and didn't. Instead, I got something that was a bit too much like a port wine that happened to be fermented from malt instead of grapes. Maybe it needs more age, maybe I need to drink it fresh, maybe 2010 wasn't as good a year as the others, but I wasn't very much impressed by this beer especially considering how hard it is to get. I'd rather reach for a Black Chocolate Stout or an Old Rasputin or anything from Southern Tier than go for this and I don't have to trade rarities to get them!

That said, I can respect this beer for what it is. My preference for different flavors is really what hurts my ability to enjoy this beer rather than the beer being poorly crafted, so I'm kind of torn on how to rate this. I'd also be lying if I said that disappointment after all the hype behind this beer didn't get to me at all.

I should add, my girlfriend absolutely loved this stout and its probably her favorite imperial stout behind Southern Tier Choklat. That means one day, we're going to Dark Lord Day and I'm excited to try the vanilla bean and the oak aged versions of this.

Its certainly worth a try. Now that I've had it, I feel closer to the beer geek community since I've managed to drink and review it. My advice would just be to try and drink it with an open mind, not let the hype get to you, and try and enjoy it for what it is.

Cheers!

SkunkWorks, Feb 25, 2011
Photo of thebierbrewery
4.88/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Dark Lord served out of a 22oz bottle

A- Thick, dirty motor oil (like 5000 miles over), lacing turns the glass brown, medium head retention, dense

S- Dark dried fruit, raisins, backbone of alcohol, molasses, muscavato sugar, dark rum

T- Thick, chocolate, cherry, oily, vanilla, hops enough to balance on the back end, warming, domineering

M- Thick, heavy, medium high carbonation, warming, sticks to your toungue

D- For as thick and high alcohol this is, it is drinkable, very smooth

thebierbrewery, Feb 18, 2011
Photo of rowingbrewer
3.35/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage(white wax top) opened by John at a recent tasting he hosted.

this beer pours pitch black with nearly no head. as the beer is pouring you can already tell that this one is going to have the mouthfeel of motor oil. this beer is seriously thick. the smell has so much going on, there are roasted malt chaacter, an alcohol presence, some dark fruit and caramel notes, and so much more that i could not even pin point. The taste is sweet, sweeter than i think a stout should be. there are some dark fruit notes and roasted malts there a slight hint of chocolate, and probably more than my palate can discern. the mouth on this is seriously thick, it coats your mouth and throat with every sip. the drinkablility is good but not high, because the beer is just so thick and sweet I could not have had seconds, and the bottle was split 4 ways. its a good beer, definitely worth trying but if you don't have a trading partner who you look out for and he loks out for you I would not buy it form ebay or trade the family farm to get one.

I have heard that 2009 is not the best vintage of dark lord in general, so would like to try other years, maybe an 08 since i have heard better things from that year

rowingbrewer, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of xnicknj
3.68/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Updated review from Dark Lord tasting of 10, 11, 12, Bourbon Barrel '12 and Brandy Vanilla '11

After trying 5 different versions of the beer in one sitting I came to the realization that this is one of the thickest, heaviest, sweetest, most cloying, rich beers I can possibly imagine. We were all hard pressed to finish our 3-4 oz pours of the regular Dark Lord vintages due to the overwhelming sweetness driven by dark fruit, burnt sugar, vanilla, anise, chocolate, etc. The booze is still negotiable, but my overall impression of this beer has changed since I first had it nearly 2 years ago.

Trying these alongside the barrel-aged versions really exposes the base beer as well, considering the Bourbon and Brandy Vanilla are two of the best stouts I've tasted all year.

Original review - 2-11-11: 4.47

22oz bottle poured into snifter glass - 2010 vintage - thanks to mikesgroove/dregs78 (not sure who this one's from)

Pours a ridiculously inky and thick black color with a tanned head. There's some retention with a brownish film, leaving a collar of lacing on the glass.

Lots of dark fruit in the nose with rich sweetness. Notes of anise, licorice, truffles and chocolate followed by a slight alcohol flair.

Sweet up front driven by an assortment of candied dark fruit and syrup with molasses. Anise, licorice, and raisin with some bittersweet tones and light hop bitterness. Dark chocolate and toffee with some notes of truffle oil. Warm boozyness and more dark fruit throughout the finish.

Full syrupy body, nice carbonation, very smooth and slick on the palate. Drinks insanely well for the alcohol content with a nice, unique full flavor however a little on the sweet side for me. This was a pretty unusual beer compared to most big, boozy stouts I've had, but definitely one I'd seek out again.

xnicknj, Feb 11, 2011
Photo of biegaman
4.85/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Satan would be impressed. This thing is black as black can be and possesses a head that is scorched a deep, rustic brown. The colour scheme is at once unique, daunting and curiously alluring. If ever the dark side needed a spokesman, surely, this would be its poster boy.

This nose is too wicked and wrathful to think Cthulhu didn't have a hand in making it. Hops, bourbon-soaked wood, elderberry, sooty dark chocolate, charred malts and a scornful (but pacified) alcohol heat combine to make an intense and overwhelming bouquet that most people would not recognize as beer. I feel like it would be sinful to take a sip...

But I do anyhow. And in doing so I find a lingering cranberry bitterness, notes of black licorice, piny hops, flavours of roasted malts and bitter cocoa. It tastes quite distinctive. Although this is not barrel-aged nor does it contain a single drop of bourbon, I again find some semblance to the intense, vanilla-y flavours and the dry woodiness found in bourbon barrel-aged offerings. It is also thick as heavy cream, and twice as rich.

This is not a beer for calorie counters! Its engrossing, complex distinctiveness and rich, sensual, decadent flavours are sure to make every chocolatier, pastry chef, coffee roaster, master blender, vintner and, indeed, brewer, quite jealous. The fact that it's holding up so well after two years of aging is impressive, but also expected.

Digging my way through the bottle's black wax I felt like Howard Carter penetrating the tomb of Tutankhamen. Indeed, Three Floyds' Dark Lord does possess a similar kind of mysticism and veneration. Legitimately obtaining a bottle requires some combination of a mecca-like pilgrimage and Willy Wonka-like golden ticket. For one day the brewery doubles as a site of cult worship. And rightfully so. Believe the hype - praise the Dark Lord!!!

biegaman, Feb 10, 2011
Photo of CaptainTripps
3.73/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage - olive green wax
22oz bomber poured into a duvel tulip
This beer along with another have been sitting in the cellar for a long time, opened this puppy up at a little tasting held last weekend along with some college buddies. Lets see how it did...

A: The Dark Lord poured a mean pitch black black. No light is EVER going to come through this beer. Had a small dark mocha head, about one fingers worth.

S: There is alot of roastedness in there. Pretty sweet smelling beer as well which is interesting for such a big RIS. Chocolate and coffee are big factors in the smell. What really brings the sweetness up is the dark fruit character that is present - something i have never smelt in a imperial stout. Figs, raisons, plums. Very interesting. Also some alcohol heat as well

T: THIS BEER IS BIGGGG. Following the nose nicely, this beer has alot of coffee, roasted malts and chocolate characters present. Again, the beer has a wierd dark fruit thing going on thats pretty interesting. The major draw back to this beer? - Sweetness. This beer is over the top sweet almosting cloying. Bring down the sweetness and this would be a stellar beer. Alcohol plays another big factor in the taste of this beer. Pretty boozy with some sips.

M: THICK THICK THICK like maple syrup, thought they put used motor oil in my beer. The thickness is kind of nice. Carbonation is a little low but what would you expect from such a HUGE RIS? Alcohol is high, a little hot and almost border line overboard but not quite.

D: A little above average with this guy, pretty huge RIS that would be very hard to put many down. Also a little bit to sweet for my liking, but great flavors are packed into the beer. Pretty impressed.

Weekend tasting results: Out of the only three RIS's we had in the entire tasting, beer finished 3rd following Bourbon County Brand Stout and Ivan the Terrible.

CaptainTripps, Feb 10, 2011
Photo of angelmonster
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a rich, viscous, extremely dark brown body. Head is pretty small and mahogany brown in color. Head retention and lacing are pretty average for such a strong beer. Appearance gets half a point extra for such a thick pour.

Smell is of sweet chocolate syrup, roasted coffee, and some booze. Thats about it, chocolate and coffee overpower the nose

Taste is very sweet. At first I get Hershey's chocolate syrup, Kahlua, and burnt malts. Reminds me of Sothern Tier Choklat mixed with GI Bourbon County minus the apparent bourbon, also tasted some characteristics of port as well. Hops are very light and alcohol, for being 15%, isnt too strong.

Mouthfeel is very rich and thick. Carbonation is good which lightens the syrupy consistency. Unfortunately head died rather fast and didnt add much to the beer.

Drinkability was good. For such a strong beer I was able to finish the bomber but I dont recommend it if you're planning on doing else for the rest of the day. The only downside to this beer was that after about half the bottle the overly sweetness started to get to me and I wished it was balanced a bit more. On the other hand, this stout pairs great with a Brownie a la mode and is the perfect dessert beer.

angelmonster, Feb 07, 2011
Dark Lord Imperial Stout from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
95 out of 100 based on 3,342 ratings.