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Dark Lord Imperial Stout - 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout

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3,654 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,654
Reviews: 1,199
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 14.72%
Wants: 2,974
Gots: 1,563 | FT: 110
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: 3,654 | Reviews: 1,199
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 stxSS07
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle
8oz pour into a Delirium snifter

A- Chugs out of the bottle a pitch black color with a 1/2 finger of mocha color head that recedes to almost nothing. Looks like used motor oil coming out of the bottle

S- First whiff is of alcohol immediately followed by a sweet sugary molasses-like smell. Cherries and dark fruits power through.

T- Immediately get sweet brown sugar on the tip of the tongue followed with plums, cherries, and rasins. Decadent tastes of chocolate cake and chocolate syrup. Pick up some coffee notes in there as well. Finish is strangely good with a hint of pear and apple skins along with a faint tinge of alcohol, but much less than the nose suggested.

M- This is a stout done right. Coats the tongue like a velvety blanket that traps and intensifies all of the flavors.

O- This is not only the best stout I've had, but dare I say the best beer. The sweetness may be too much for some, but I have always wanted to find a big stout that got everything right and this is it for me.

**Edited scores for 2012 and repeated tastings**

2012 was a weaker beer out of the gates and lacked the great coffee notes that were found in fresh 2011. Also caught a bit of the green apple menace in one of my bottles.

Having had this many times over the past year and a half (while also sampling a ton of world-class stouts/brews), I have to knock the score down a touch. Still one of my favorite beers.

Photo of Chaney
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I want to give a special shout out to my brother in law for picking up the vintage 2010 version for me last year at DLD. Thanks Jaime!

2010 version:

I split this one with my wife tonight. I'm sure she's sick of me talking about it all the time... so the least I could do is split it with her.

A: About as black as outer space without any stars. After a hard pour, I summoned up a two finger or so mocha head that stayed afloat throughout the session. Beautifully dark!!!

S: Maraschino cherry juice, licorice, molasses, teryaki sauce, and quite a bit of the FFF taste profile shining through. I could smell "Alpha King" lurking inside the sludge!

T: Candy-coated booze (in the way that FFF does it!), sweet candy sugar, molasses and then some, cocoa, and tons of dark fruit... actually not that dark. I got tons of cherry in there also.

M: Thick as oil... and I truly mean that! The carbonation level was VERY low, but this was totally appropriate. Very sweet, but it was in a candy-coated sort of way. Sure it was syrupy and coated my mouth and then some... but God bless it for that!

O: FFF makes so many truly incredible beers that it's hard for me to call this their crowning achievement... but it is.... at least one of them. Believe the hype, because Dark Lord is the real deal!

Photo of THECPJ
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes: 2010 version

appearance: dark black with very minimal mocha head

smell: chocolate, coffee, mocha, alcohol

taste: sweet, chocolate, coffee, mocha, alcohol

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, full body,

overall: this one lives up to the hype, delicious all around!

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

2008 vintage, served on Dark Lord Day 2011. Mostly flat. Big, full-bodied. Molasses. Very sweet. Malty, sweet. A bit of coffee. Dark chocolate. Dried plums, dates, figs, raisins. Aftertastes of dry herbs, licorice.

I have had a lot of Bell's Batch 9000 in the past year (about one per week), which has been a steady supply of dark, fruity malt bomb. In that context, and given the hype around Dark Lord, the price, and the difficulty of obtaining, Dark Lord is just not nearly as impressive as it used to be.

Photo of achek74
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 (yellow wax)
Served "cool" in a frosty Schlitz goblet.
Tasty and complex, with dark fruit notes and good bitterness. One can taste molasses and coffee. Good, thick/oily mouthfeel, and nice color (opaque in the goblet, dark but slightly translucent in a 3oz taster)
A bit sweeter than I normally like, and not very carbonated, even for the style (...but this bottle is FRESH). Would be a good serve as a digestif.

Photo of CuriousMonk
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark Lord 2010 vintage (green wax). Poured from 650ml bottle into a tulip glass and a chalice glass. Tasted the brew once cold and then gradually at room temperature for optimal tasting experience. The Dark Lord lives up to it’s name on the pour. The heavy bodied stout pours opaque black slowly out of the bottle and fills the glass with complete darkness that allows absolutely no light to come through. The glass is topped with a thin dark creamy head that dissipates quickly and with extremely light lacing that holds it's own throughout the session. Vinous aroma packed with sweet burnt molasses, currants, plums, dark cherries, vanilla, sugar-infused oak, toffee, sweet toasty malts, and maybe a hint of port wine alcohol undertow. Mochachino notes buried within. Motor oil consistency, hellishly smooth yet divinely burnt with amazing flavors and aroma throughout. Alcohol burn wiggles its way down your throat with a thick body. I cannot make comment on the carbonation as the brew is extremely dark. Man, this is a DANGEROUSLY good Russian Imperial Stout with the high ABV of 15% so well hidden. This is definitely one of the best 3F beers I've had next to the Dreadnaught! I can see why this is highly sought-after. This is also one of my favorite Russian Imperial Stouts which sits just a notch above the Abyss, another personal favorite of the style. Two thumbs up and Happy Dark Lord Day! Cheers.

Photo of tewaris
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage into a snifter. Thanks lurchingbeast for hooking me up with this one.

Dark Lord poured like silk in a thick, very dark brown stream, and looked opaque in the snifter. The head was very dark too, but it quickly gave away to a tiny collar. Legs were seen upon swirling the glass. The usual suspects were present in the aroma: chocolate-cream, vanilla, and sweet malts.

Felt thinner than I expected, perhaps because we were tasting at room temperature, but tasted very good and complex nonetheless; simply put, quite yummy! Sweet and rich in a milky way as opposed to Darkness that I find "raisin" sweet, but equally delicious. Finished clean in spite of the sweetness, and warmed me up as it went down. The alcohol is present and it is felt, no doubt, but the beer is not the sweet-boozy mess some describe it to be. In fact I found it quite a treat, and I *think* it could have been bigger on body for better.

Overall an excellent beer but nothing to die for, or travel for that matter, unless the event itself is what you're looking forward to. However, it is certain that Darkness and Dark Lord belong to an entirely different category within RIS's, if you want to call them RIS's, and are therefore worth seeking out.

Scores: Appearance 4/5; Aroma 3.5/5; Taste 4/5; Mouthfeel 4.5/5; Drinkability 4.5/5

Photo of AdamGarcia
3.05/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

2009 vintage. Served in Unibroue tulip.

A: Pours just about as black as any beer I've seen. Thin coffee colored head forms from an aggressive pour and dissipates quickly. Noticeably viscous...definitely has some legs.

S: Dark chocolate syrup. Sweet caramel. Black strap molasses. Bitter cocoa and black coffee. Dark, overripe fruit. Very sweet aroma, almost cloyingly so. Enticing, nonetheless.

T: Very sticky and very sweet. Dark fruit is pervasive. Plum, raisin, black cherry, and maybe some grape juice. I'm dumbfounded by the lack of typical dark, roasted flavors associated with an Imperial Stout. Oh, by the way...where the hell is the coffee? Hershey's syrup aftertaste. The heavy sweetness makes this one feel as if it is unfinished. On a positive note, it doesn't feel even remotely hot. High abv is very well hidden in the taste.

M: Thick and viscous. I do enjoy the feel of this one. Coating.

O: Why do people go crazy over this? Dark Lord seems to be one of the most over-hyped beers to date. Not to mention that this is from the much-maligned 2009 vintage, so I didn't have terribly high expectations. I did, however, expect better than this. I would take a cheap and easy to find Old Rasputin 100% of the time over Dark Lord. I'm just happy that I didn't have to spend huge amounts of time, effort, and money in order to obtain this beer.

Photo of seeswo
3.55/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Green wax (2010) bottle shared by Jeremy (thanks man!), poured into my Bruery tulip.

Pours a very dark, heavy blackish color with very small tannish head that is gone almost immediately. Looks a bit thinner than I was under the impression this beer was. To be fair, I was under the impression this was Kuhnhenn Solar Eclipse thick, so it would have been almost impossible for me to be correct as I believe you could float a marble on the top of that brew ;) I digress. The smell is roasted malts, caramel, coffee, a touch of booziness and smokiness. The taste is not as sweet as I thought it was going to be - actually the sweetness, which included dark fruit-like flavors and roast, was tempered by the smokiness present in the beer. To me, this smoky flavor dominated the flavor profile and was just a bit out of balance. [EDIT: After reading some other reviews, the smokiness, which was acknowledged by the other people I was splitting this with, may have been more like charred malts or something in that vein.] There was little to no booziness. Certainly a lot going on in this bottle - I can see why people like it. I am pretty particular about my imperial stouts, and for me, this one fine, but I don't get the hype. For people who hold additional value to complexity, I think this beer would get an uptick. The mouthfeel was right on and, again, not as syrupy as expected in a pleasing way. Dare I say I had no trouble getting this down easy and was surprised it was 15%. They certainly have done a fantastic job keeping that down.

[EDIT: I just had the opportunity to share in a Dark Lord 07-11 vertical and it has changed my opinion on the beer. 09 and 10 were drinking terribly and were not finished. 11 tasted like it had green peppers in it and maybe a little chili. 07 and 08 were alright. In general, a group of 6 people were quite unhappy with the beers collectively. The above review was 4/4/4/4.5/4.5 and I am downgrading it severely.]

Photo of ferrari29
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2008 - Black Wax
Beer poured from bottle into Snifter glass

A - Beer pours with a dark brown, almost blackish color; few carbonation formed; not much lacing but actually had legs form on the side of the glass

S - Raisin and prune; plum fruitiness; roasted and smoky flavors; coffee

T - Raisins and prunes are the first flavors to wash up on the palate; sweet with a slight hint of molasses; mix of a port and plums taste

M - Slightly effervescent and syrupy in texture; well-aged beer made my palate experience a smooth combination of stout and dark fruits flavors; aging caused the smoky and roasted flavors to take a backseat to the dark fruit flavors; great beer to age

D - Great aged beer; nice and sweet; aging process turned this imperial stout into a solid after dinner drink

2009 - White Wax
Beer poured from bottle into Snifter glass

A -Beer pours with a dark brown, almost black body; light beige head; less than 1/2 finger foam formed and dissipated very quickly; body has a deep syrupy look, almost heavy and formed a moderate amount of lacing; body of the beer sticks well to the sides

S - Fig & raisin scents come up immediately; heavier ABV scents come up as well; Coffee notes; black Muscat grape smell; a little doughy and oatmeal

T - Grape and raisin taste; subtle coffee flavors; black muscat dessert wine taste; sweet with a touch of oatmeal flavors

M - Full body feel; creamy; filling; the beer feels like it almost expands in size and has a effervescent feel on the tongue

D - I love this beer, its fantastic; it was well worth the wait and 2009 is definitely their best year yet; aging process did some wonderful things to this beer; like they say 'everything's better with time'; phenomenal; I would highly recommend to other stout lovers; would go great with a some desserts

2010 - Green Wax
Beer poured from bottle into Snifter glass

A -Beer pours with a dark brown, almost black body; light beige head; less than 1/2 finger foam formed and dissipated quickly; body has a thin syrupy look, looks heavy and formed a good amount of lacing; body of the beer sticks well to the sides

S - Fig & raisin scents come up immediately; lighter ABV scents come up, not as much as the 2009; coffee notes; burned currants and cherries, probably where the black Muscat grape smell comes from; slight smokiness, almost like roasted chestnuts; hints of caramel

T - Fig and raisin taste; bourbon flavors; sweeter than the 2009; subtle coffee flavors; black muscat dessert wine taste, probably from burned currants and cherries; sweet with a touch of other dark fruits flavors; roasted chestnuts; leaves a very deep fig aftertaste

M - Full body feel; creamy; filling; the beer feels like it almost expands in size as you sip and has a effervescent feel on the tongue; little chewy; not as filling as the 2009, which I feel was the best of the batch so far;

D - I love this beer, its fantastic; it was well worth the wait; even though the 2009 bottle is still their best year yet; aging process did some wonderful things to this beer; phenomenal; I would highly recommend to other stout lovers; would go great with a some desserts; whatever FFF is doing, keep it coming

2011 - Yellow Wax
Beer poured from bottle into Snifter glass

A -Beer pours with a dark brown, almost black body; light beige head; less than 1/2 finger foam formed and dissipated quickly; body has a thin syrupy look, looks heavy and formed rings around the glass; good amount of lacing; body of the beer sticks well to the sides

S - Fig & raisin scents come up immediately; lighter ABV scents of bourbon come up, not as much as the '08 or '09; coffee notes; burned currants and cherries; smokiness, almost like roasted chestnuts; hints of caramel; anise; celery

T - Fig and raisin taste; bourbon flavors; sweeter than the 2010; coffee-espresso flavors; black muscat dessert wine taste, probably from burned currants and cherries; sweet with a touch of other dark fruits flavors; roasted chestnuts; leaves a very deep fig aftertaste; has more of a smoky taste than previous years; molasses

M - Full body feel; meaty; creamy; filling; molasses; the beer does not feel like it expands in size as you sip like the earlier versions; needs to be aged for at least a year to do that; little chewy; not as filling as the 2009, which I feel was the best of the batch so far;

D - I love this beer, its fantastic; it was well worth the wait; phenomenal; I would highly recommend to other stout lovers; would go great with a some desserts; whatever FFF is doing, keep it coming

Photo of Duhast500
4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

No. 600

Poured from the 220z. bottle (White Wax) into a Dogfish Head snifter

The color is black, and there is nothing else to say. No highlight in this beer, a thin brownish head that is gone before your now it and leaves no lacing.

The smell is sweet with dark malts and promises a deep, dark taste of thick, deep, roasty malt flavor. The nose takes some getting used to as it is deep with complexity and a many deep fruity flavor that is just opening up.

The taste is lip smacking bourbon flavor that coats the lips with an almost chewy flavor. Some strong malt flavor hits hard right at the tongue and has some heavy cherry and raspberry flavor before turning that into dark malts and dark fruits. Figs and dates are there in the end of each taste. A thick syrup like strawberry flavor runs through this dividing sip and seems to cut the experience in half.

This going down is big and really complex. There are things going on with the flavor long after the beer has gown down. I am thinking about what I just had as some lingering sweetness hangs around and seems to have a life of it's own.

Photo of jethrodium
3.03/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2010 bomber (green wax) courtesy of woosterbill. Thanks Bill. Pours a dark black with a reddish tint at the edges when held up to the light. A small light chocolate head leaves a ring at the edge of the glass after it dissipates quite quickly. Not very mach lacing at all left on the glass. The aroma has a very strong roastiness to it. Also huge molasses and some licorice as well and a little bit of coffee. There is also a quite strange metallic copperlike aroma that comes through pretty strong as well. Light alcohol noticeable on the nose as well. The initial taste is really sweet with the copper note coming through as well as the molasses and licorice. This transitions into some coffee. The finish is strong roastiness as well as a bit of booze with a pretty decent bitterness. Full bodied. Low carbonation. Syrupy. I don't really see this beer is that highly regarded. I found it to be way too sweet and syrupy. The strange copper note was not enjoyable either. It does do a good job of hiding the 15% alcohol, but overall I just did not find this beer that enjoyable. I split the bottle with one other person and we had trouble finishing it.

Photo of nhindian
3.55/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a Surly Darkness tulip. Bottle courtesy of brian23456, thanks Brian! Split with russwbeck. Consumed after Surly Darkness.

2010 Vintage (Olive green wax)

A - The beer doesn't pour as much as slowly spill out of the bottle, thick and viscous and black as night. Don't even think about getting any traces of highlights with this beer, even when sipping. The head is less impressive, only offering about half a finger's worth with okay retention. When it's gone it's gone, leaving only a few strands of thin foam on the surface. The color of the head itself is lighter than Darkness, coming in at a sort of tan color. Lacing is decent as well, with a few random splotches, but again, Darkness wins in this regard as well.

S - The smell is oddly familiar and yet quite vague. After reading some other views, it seemed soy sauce was a common theme, so we pulled out a large bottle of soy sauce that Russ had laying around. Yep, there is definitely some comparisons to be made, unfortunately. However, there are also deep aromas of almost milk chocolate and nearly burnt malts, like a slight charcoal. It's also very sweet and there is some fusel-like alcohol notes as well.

T - My first taste took my by surprise as its incredibly sweet, bordering on the wrong side of cloying, which isn't a term to be used lightly. The sweetness is a shock at first, but it gradually becomes more acceptable, yet it's still a bit much. The chocolate makes a strong resurgence here as well, bringing a nice flavor. The malts and molasses bring a distinct flavor, but can't say it doesn't add to the already sweet base. The alcohol is back as well, but actually imparts a bit of rum-soaked fruits that is interesting.

M - Mouthfeel is heavy-bodied with moderately low carbonation. More carbonation that Darkness despite the weaker head. The liquid is thick and leaves a solid coating on the palate.

D - Drinkability is moderate. Unfortunately, this beer is much too sweet and alcoholic for my tastes. It's unique in that it plays on the sweeter side of the Russian Imperial Stout spectrum, but in my opinion it's a bit too much. I'm really glad I got to try it, but I can't say I wasn't a little disappointed with it.

Photo of DAllspaw
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

had but two ounces of this while at FFF brewpub in the fall, a very generous soul shared his 2007 bottle with everyone at the bar, much appreciated.

I've never seen any beer as deeply dark as this, well-used motor oil with dark brown foam. Very viscous, great to look at though. Very intense aroma and taste - smoky, very dark chocolate, coffee of course and syrupy fruit essence (raisin, plum etc.). The booze was not very prominent, I'm guessing due to age.

Photo of russwbeck
3.55/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 Vintage, shared with nhindian after Surly Darkness

A: Way less head than Darkness. Small off white to light brown head with hardly any retention. What does stick around laces nicely.

S: Basically all I get is chocolate and booze on the smell. It's very sweet. Don't quite know what to attribute that to though.

T: The taste is so sweet. The sweetness is quite as overwhelming as other stouts, but it really does dominate. Milk chocolate and a lot of booziness. Greg and I noticed that some reviewers noted soy sauce in the smell and taste, so I busted out a container of soy sauce to compare. Sure enough, I can understand it. While Soy Sauce is not dominant, hints of it are noted, which really surprised me.

MF: Very heavy, but not a terrible amount of carbonation. The alcohol is very noticeable.

O: Like Darkness, I was pretty underwhelmed. Honestly I'd take Yeti over either of those any day at the price point. I think these beers are far over-hyped. Perhaps they'll improve with some age, but fresh there's nothing special happening for me.

Photo of zoolzoo
3.74/5  rDev -12.6%
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.

Photo of Eldritch
4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
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.

Photo of AwYeh
3.51/5  rDev -18%
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.

Photo of veinless
4.54/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

Photo of afausser
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
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...

Photo of TK5150
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
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

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.

Photo of nightwing002
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
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...

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.

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Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 3,654 ratings.