1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Dark Lord Imperial Stout - 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

3,652 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,652
Reviews: 1,199
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 14.72%
Wants: 2,973
Gots: 1,565 | FT: 111
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
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 3,652 | Reviews: 1,199
Photo of urwithdave
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big tnx to a generous trader. 09 bottle poured into my cigar city snifter.

A- I hate to use the used motor oil card here...but it is what it is. No head. I get my swirl on with my snifter and a slight crimson ring emerges. Nice legs left behind.

S- Molasses, booze, licorice, malts, prunes, and raisins.

T- The nose is right on here. Big malts start it out. Sweet molasses and prunes follow. I get some licorice and the alcohol is definitely present, but not overwhelming. This is one of my favorite RIS that I have tried. It's right behind Kate.

M- Thick and chewy. I get a slight burn from the alcohol.

D- Is really good for this big brew.

Photo of StoutsnIPAs
4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Although I'm a member of Beer Advocate, I'm not much of a reviewer. I promised brdc I'd do the review on this one.

The beer tasting of a lifetime, maybe two or three lifetimes. Between brdc and me with the help of others, we've done some pretty amazing samplings in the past, (think Dark Lord, Darkness, Abyss, Speedway, Peche Mortel, and others in a single evening tasting), but this one tops even that.

brdc did this one on his own, (the rest of us helped with food), a full Dark Lord Vertical, '04 through '09, (ok, I was able to bring the '08 and '09). I really didn't press him for full details on how how he managed this, or what it cost him in time, blood and cold hard cash. I wasn't sure I wanted to hear the answers.

I won't repeat all the superlatives about this beer, eg, the most incredible thick creamy mouthfeel, the deep opaque brown/black appearance that says, "lose yourself in me", the intoxicating aromas, (except the '06 - see below), the bar-setting taste, etc, etc, etc.

Here's how I thought they stacked up:

'08 - the best - mellow, well integrated, superb, maybe the best imperial I ever had. A solid 5 overall. Oddly enough, when we did the aforementioned mult-imperial tasting, the consensus best was the Dark Lord, and it was the '08.

'04 - next best, almost as good as the '08, not quite there, still a 5 overall. The proportion of sludge was highest in this one, good for some, eg, brdc, ("give me the spoon and leave me in peace and ecstasy), not so good for others. Very, very good, not past its prime, but, I'm not sure how many more years it's good for. Since this is my first and last taste of it, I don't have to worry.

'05, '07 - both up to the Dark Lord standard, just not up there with '08 and '04. Put them at 4.5's or better.

'09 - needs more time in the cellar, not ready for prime time. Too harsh and too green. The promise is there, but it's just not grown up yet.

'06 - this was not a particularly good beer. Strong ketone aroma and taste, (think nail polish remover). I think it unlikely that it was the whole year's batch, more likely the cellaring or shipping of this particular bottle, although I don't know. It'd be interesting to know other people's experience with the '06. I've had a Blackout stout with a similar character. A solid 3.8 overall.

One man's highly opinionated look at these exceptional beers.

Again thanks to brdc for his amazing work and generosity.

See you all at Dark Lord Day 2010.

Photo of girlfriend
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Black coffee(-ish), with a slight tint of incredibly deep caramel brown as it pours. Thin collar.
Smell: Varies as it warms: bacon, chocolate, hickory, raisin, wood and more...
Taste: Dope.
Mouthfeel: Even better than the taste.
Drinkability: Even better than the mouthfeel.
Additional Factors: '09 bottle, but I drank it on April 3, 2010 (Final Four Stout Saturday (ha.))

Photo of Reaper16
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2009 bottle served into a snifter. THANKS, GbVDave!

Pours a black looking blackness. A void. Blaaack. No head because, well, the ABV % IS 13% after all. Tilt the body towards the lip of the glass and you can tell how thick this impy stout is. Thick!

DEEP roasted malts, no gimmicks. I am using a lot of caps because this is Dark Lord! Lord! Exclamation marks! Some cocoa powder, some crushed Kit-Kats, some salt weirdly enough. Earthy hops give off an almost fungal smell. It isn't that cohesive -- what's going on, that is. There is plenty of toffee and some, um, butter? I think that's some of the salt coming into play again. Yes, there is alcohol heat! Thanks for asking!

On the tongue? Roast, roast and more roast. And some bourbon. It is sort of both chocolate and coffee simultaneously while only hinting at either. There is some saltiness on the palate too which plays well with the dark fruits (dark cherries?) (!). That saltiness also lends way to a smoky bacon (bacon!) flavor. This is interesting for certain. Perhaps not balanced or cohesive enough to earn a perfect score but enough to earn a 4.5.

This mouthfeel is BALLIN'! (!) This is the thickest imperial stout I've ever had, by far, and I've had plenty of impy stouts. It grips every possible part of your mouth and throat and it doesn't let go. It creates a sort of symbiotic film and then bonds with its host (You!) and just stays there like your unemployed uncle on your couch. Drinkability is suspect for the reasons that make this tasty -- its massively flavored and milkshake-thick. But the alcohol isn't actually noticeable too much on the tongue. The lack of alcohol burn bumps this to a 4.0.

This is an impressive beer. I fully expected to taste this and walk away thinking it is overrated. And perhaps it is. I only know that it is one of the better imperial stouts that I've had. It isn't worth the trouble of going to Dark Lord Day to obtain unless you live near Indiana. But is it worth the trouble of trading for? Fuck yes! Again, THANKS, GbVDave!

Photo of ChrisPro
3.98/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Have had multiple vintages a few times and finally deciding to rate.

Pours thick oily jet black, with some mocha head that dissipates. This beer's got legs!

Aroma is of rich burnt coffee, with a lot of sweet milk chocolate to complement; also hints of pine. See differences in vintages below.

Flavor is rich alcoholic burning cough syrup sweetness, then a bitter chocolate finish.

Very light carb, thick oily mouthfeel.

Overall a fantastic beer but there are huge differences between vintages.

Here are general notes between vinatages:
2007 - Smooths down quite a bit and you get a huge dominant mocha flavor
2008 - VERY huge fruit aromas and flavors. This has currants, cherries and chocolate covered raisins
2009 - Definitely very hot, some licorice and tobbaco flavors as well

Photo of kingcrowing
3.45/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Sampled at the 2010 Stout tasting in a Orval Chalice.

2009 Limited Release 22oz bomber.

Pours an oily black mahogany with zero head at all - really bland looking. Nose is full of raisins. It really smells like a quad, full of sweetness and fennel, odd for an RIS.

Taste is very sharp & hot with almost a chili hottness. It's super boozy and pretty meh. Honestly it's interesting and I'm glad I tried it but overall it's way too hard to drink for all the hype it gets. I'd say skip this and get a KtG or an Abyss over this.

Photo of morimech
3.66/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

2009 Vintage

Appearance- Dark, viscous liquid. Used motor oil color once in the glass. Small brown head that quickly settles to a thin film. Not much for lacing.

Smell- The best thing about this beer. Rich malty, chocolate, fruit that has been marinated in dark rum, and port. A lot of good things are going on.

Taste- Far too sweet to be really enjoyable. The malt is overpowered by fruity sweetness that really harms the flavor. Coffee flavor is non-existent. A little burntness is evident. Cloying sweet aftertaste. I could see this gaining a soy sauce flavor with more age.

Mouthfeel- Thick full body with low carbonation. Silky smooth texture.

Drinkability- Not that high. An 8oz. pour of this would be more than enough. Surprisingly it is the flavor itself that limits drinkability rather than the 13% ABV.

Photo of BeerThursdays
3.36/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Edit for 2009 Bottle. Previous score was a 4.38 based on the 2006 bottle.

2009 White Waxed Bottle - Opened May 15

Thanks to Malreever for sharing this one.

Poured from bottle into Snifter.

A - Pours pitch black with a thin layer of tan hear. Lacing is good. No light can penetrate this beast.

S - Super sweet smell. Soy Sauce, and syrup. Dark Roasted Malts and some chocolate. Maybe some grapes, and hops? Smell is very interesting, but hard to pin point any one smell. Keeps changing.

T - Not sure about this one.. Very hot, and sweet. Lots going on, but none of it really seems to fit together well. Plum, molasses, and I just can't get off that soy sauce flavor.

M - Very hot and sweet. Somewhat flat too. Good full body, but this leave me wanting a lot more. Just OK..

O - Well, it's Dark Lord, but it's not.. Recently we opened 06-10, and this was by far my least favorite. Tried it again for this tasting, and still wasn't too impressed. Looks nice, but is lacking after that.
___3/25/10___
Opened both a 2006 and a 2008 bottle in the same night.

These were both amazing beers. Both looked about the same. Completely black with a dark brown head. The 2006 bottle's head was a bit smaller, but both ended up a nice size. Smells of the 06 were more fruity than the 08, but both had coffee smells with dark fruits (plumbs and raisins). Pretty amazing smells.

Alcohol in the 2008 was subtly more apparent than in the 2006. 2006 was super smooth and fruity, with a coffee/chocolate finish. 2008 was not quite as fruity, coffee and roasted malts much more apparent. Both were an amazing experience. Incredible how this beer ages. 2006 had no hint of alcohol at all, just a sweet, chocolaty syrup with a coffee finish. 2008, alcohol more obvious, but if not for the 2006 comparison, it would be hardly noticeable.

This one is a sipper at any age. You're not going to pound 4 in a night and feel ok about yourself.

Photo of BearsOnAcid
2.75/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2009 vintage bottle. 3rd time having it.

Pours nearly still. Thick and viscous. Very dark in appearance. The low carbonation helps the mouthfeel and flavor but leaves the presentation very one dimensional for something that isn't even barrel aged.

Smells sweet and boozy. Big roasted malt flavor surrounds that sweetness. The original soy sauce flavor/aroma seemed to have mellowed out in the more recent bottles I've had as opposed to the bottle I had last year.

Taste is very sweet. Not as boozy as you'd think. This is a sugary cloying liquid. Like eating thinned out molasses or unfermented high gravity wort.

This beer usually ruins my stomach with all the sugar and booze. Definitely an extreme beer that I appreciate but it's not really for me.

Photo of almychristopher
4.85/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this beer pours a very dark black color with a thin brown head that recedes to nothing over the course of the session. The aroma is exactly what i'm looking for in an imperial stout, the roasted coffee and caramel aroma carries over nicely into the taste, a little sweetness in the front and bitterness at the end. the full body and good co2 make this a wonderful sipping imperial, couldn't ask for better in this category.

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 ColForbinBC
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a snifter; 2009 bottling
Big thanks to Mikey711

Used motor oil, almost sludge like body with a thin, dark mocha cap and mild lacing. Swirling this around a bit, the body leaves a thin, oily coating on the inside of the glass.

Talk about assertive. The nose on this guy is big, bad, and bold. Notes of dark cherries soaked in bourbon, booze, dark chocolate, molasses, and deep roast. The heat from the booze stings your nasal passages.

Upon first sip, the flavors really explode. Bourbon, dark cherries and heat are in the leadoff spot. Dark chocolate, slight char, and molasses on the finish with more booze lingering. This guy takes control early and never relinquishes the senses.

Oily slick. Dark Lord coats everything on its way down. Lingering roast and bitter chocolate mix with a hearty dose of heat from the bourbon.

Slow and steady. The flavors attack the palate and a high abv make this guy a little difficult to put back by yourself.

Photo of Gyle41386
3.65/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

2008 bottle.

Pitch black pour leaves a yellowish film on the glass. Swirls of foam with little bits of bubbles sit atop.

Aroma is of burnt grain, booze, sugar, raisins and other dark fruits.

Dark Lord is a very, very sweet beer. There's some great flavor in there, but it's just entirely too sweet for me to consider it world-class. Loads of dark fruit and coffee notes are a positive, but there's entirely too much burnt sugar and booze to push the sweetness over the top.

Very thick, viscous drinker. Need to rinse your glass, and mouth, at least twice after having Dark Lord. I love the texture, but this beer is just much too sweet to be very drinkable.

Photo of tippebrewcrew2
4.85/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2/21/10

Three Floyds Brew Co.
Dark Lord
R.I.S.

L= 4.5 Thin quick dispersing dark brown head. Flash! It's gone. It pours like you scraped the tar off of a black top highway road going to or coming from hell. Extremely viscous with one of the most incredible display of lacing I've ever seen.

S= 4.5 Dark roasted coffee beans, Caramelized caramel, heaven, fig, dark cherry....I could go on forever. The smell is almost indescribable. I feel the smell is above me at this point of my beer tasting journey.

T= 5.0 First sip, the beer touches your lips and it immediately disperses to your entire mouth. Your mouth is coated with this ...this thing. This beer has taken over my mouth and coated it with its fruitful seed. This beer made me its b^&%$ and I didn't even put up a fight. Sweet molasses, fig, caramelized caramel, figs, coffee, and a light tart dark cherry finish. Right at the middle of the tasting you get a tingle on your tongue from hops and a light alcohol burn. This is the best imperial stout I've ever had in my entire beer drinking life thus far.

F= 5.0 Very chewy, thick, extremely creamy, oily feel. The beer it's self seems to suck to your mouth like a magnet.

D= 5.0 this is a beer. This is the highest I've ever rated a beer and I do not give out high ratings often. I have yet to find a beer that actually compares to this. There is just so much going on in this beer that I can't possibly do it justice. I have been into micros for about 3 years now. I have tried approx. 350 beers ranging from hopping frog bourbon barrel, KBS, storm king to hopstoopid. This is the most complex beer I've ever had. I feel as if I had tried this beer any earlier in my beer career, I would not have liked it. I don't believe I would have understood it and I still don't believe I fully understand it now there is just that much going on. I can not wait to try this beer again after 6 months from maybe even a year to see how my palate has advanced. If god were to drink beer, this would be it. Special thanks to Sean for being a lazy a&* and Dan, It was an adventure and you should have went to jail, but you got it, you did it! Thanks guys

Photo of manahansf
4.85/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a thick and inky opaque black color that stains the glass, topped with a very thin brown head. The head recedes quickly but continues to give off a strong aroma of fruity esters and vinous sweetness. The complexity of the aroma foreshadows the flavorful body which is thick, viscous, and flat. The drink is very similar to port and is packed with fruity esters including fig, prune, and black cherries and these mellow fruit flavors change from beginning to end with well timed transitions. There is also a strong and undeniable vinous character to the brew with light hints of smooth coffee, bittersweet chocolate, and delicate vanilla dancing on the background of the palate. The finish grows sweeter and warms through it graceful fade. Lingering complexity haunts you and lingering warmth eases your soul.

Photo of DrDogbeer
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Happy last friday night to me! Poured an 09 into a dogfish tulip while watching Chuck on the dvr. Pours a dense black with a whispy tan head after a semi-vicious pour. Smell is very heavy- lots of dark fruit, dark chocolate and molasses. Taste is similar with a slight alcohol burn as well. Semi bitter finishing kick as well. Wonderful creamy mouthfeel that sets this one apart from other RIS's- similar mouthfeel to Darkness IMO. Not the smoothest of the big guns, but damn good!

Photo of backfat
4.87/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

black wax. saved for way too long, collecting dust and hype. seriously though, i am lucky to have such good friends that let me drink their beer. ha
pours motor oil opaque/black with a film of dark, mud colored head that quickly dissipates. the brew coats the side of the glass like an oily sludge. the smell is strong. potent. fresh. and intense, dominated by chocolate fudge, alcohol, malt roast, and coffee. BRUTALLY MASSIVE. the mouthfeel is ungodly. creamy, rich, and smooth. dark, ripe berries, cherry's, molasses, caramel, vanilla, chocolate syrup, love, raisins, and alcohol. brilliant. toffee as it warms with sweet berries and roasted malt. low low carbonation and high alcohol warmth that tucks you in at night and kisses your forehead. cool, collected, and balanced. bitter finish that lingers on the palate for the rest of the night, making all other beers weak and obsolete. april 24th can't come quick enough. god bless you FFF

Favorites in order:
black wax (08)
Green wax (10)
Silver wax (07)
Gold wax (06)
White wax (09)
Yellow wax (11)

Photo of jgasparine
4.64/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled a 2006 bottle (Gold Wax):

A- Poured with a thin foamy tan head, which quickly receded to a collar and some little bits of lacing. The body was a completely opaque black color, that didn't even show through when held to the light. The depth (or lack) of color is impressive, but otherwise this looks like any old Imperial Stout.

S- Super malty nose with a lot of chocolate character to it, along with some dark fruit esters. Smells like a glass of chocolate-covered cherries. Amazing!

T- Wow. Rich. Chocolatey. Dark fruit and vinous flavors combine with a small hit of hop bitterness midway, and some faint booziness that lasts through a beautiful, sustained finish. This is a wonderfully crafted liquid dessert. Certainly the 4 years of age has also helped this one earn a 5.0 in the 'Taste' department!

M- A nice big creamy, silky mouthfeel; with the perfect proportion of soft carbonation. A proverbial 'velvet blanket' on the mouth!

D- Deceptively smooth. The alcohol is so well hidden. I could drink this all day until I was comatose. High praises for 3 Floyds!

Photo of chaz410
4.84/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer at a local tasting in bottle had both 08 and 09 bottles, for sake of simplicity, I will be reviewing the 08 pour.
Pours a deep dark black body with a beautiful kahki finger length head.
Smells of cocoa, roasted chocolate malt accompanied by a beautiful dark carmel roast backbone. Hints of cocoa and slight coconut along with some coffee hints that are very faint but just enough to give it another layer of punch. Good cocoa nib character and layers upon layers of rich chocolate malt all complemented by strong floral hops.
The mouthfeel is something I want to take a bath in, it's amazing.
I love this beer, if you like dark beers it's a must try, if your a fan of RIS, you would rather cut off an arm then not drink this beer sometime in your life!

Photo of ShogoKawada
2.21/5  rDev -48.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Rad this at MA BA meeting no. 1. White Wax, 2009 I think.

From notes:

A- Black as midnight. Syrupy in the pour. No head at all, but can't knock it @ 13%.

S- Candied plums, rasins. Brown, burnt sugar. Maple. Caramel. Mild bourbon.

T- Dates, plums, figs. Figs are very prominent. Roasted malt, black coffee. Sugary sweetness that is way too much. No thanks. All over the place... heavy-handed fruit sweetness, malt sugars, and even a bit of tartness. Eeew.

M- Thick, like molasses. I feel like I'm in the scene in super troopers where they're chugging bottles of syrup. Zero carbonation. Really would have helped, I think.

D- I might get reamed for this... but this reminds me of triple bock. Like, really reminds me of it. I hate to say it, but I think I liked triple bock more, too! Too sweet, too syrupy, and a bit of soy. No thanks.

More for you guys, I won't be seeking this one out again. So it goes. I can see how some people love this stuff, but it's nowhere near drinkable to me.

I saw another reviewer call this 'fermented prune juice'. I think he might be on to something.

Photo of jlindros
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this as part of the Central New England BA meetup #1.

A: No head for this, it's a headless pile of dark ooze. It's thicker than the thickest thing I can remember. Super catastrophically pitch black, its a technical term.

N: Tons of malts and raisin. Some roast and chocolate follow. I think theres a bit of black patent malt as well. The heaviness doesn't seem to want to come out of the glass as the aroma itself weighs a ton. When I swirl it a little aroma comes out and it seems to glob together like T-1000 after he gets frozen and melted. Some sweetness and bourbon, as well as a little vanilla and oak.

T: Wow, super thick and sweet! Lots of sweet malts, caramel, and brown sugar. Tons of raisin to go with it. Then the bourbon just takes over. Lots of oak and bourbon, as well as some fruity flavors from the bourbon. More molasses, some heat and boozy flavors, thick and creamy. It's actually kinda hot with booze. More raisin in case I didn't mention that yet.

M: Thicker than liquid metal, no carbonation at all.

F: Sticks all over the mouth and weighs it down so much that my tongue almost wants to fall off. The tons of raisin, brown sugar, malts, bourbon, and oak really just take over and never go away. It's also still really sweet all the time. A little too sweet if you ask me. A little more chocolate and roast follow late as well.

Again an amazing stout and 3F nails it on the head. Th eonly complaint is that it is a little too sweet. The taste and heaviness is awesome otherwise. This reminds me a lot of Black Tuesday with a little less booze, a little less sweetness (surprisingly, not sure how I even managed the BT), and less bourbon.

Photo of Hopfist
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I couldn't possibly state it better than Mr. Floyd, "If you like big stouts, you'll love it. If you like M****r L**e, you're going to hate it." This is one of the biggest of the big stouts. The super-heavy roast of the malt, the typical hop profile you'd expect from any brew baring the name "Three Floyds", and the numerous adjuncts make this both super-complex and single-minded simultaneously. While world-class any day of the week, when aged for a year or more this one will surely astound your senses. If you can find a trade (or better yet make it to Muenster, IN for Dark Lord Day), trading anything excluding a Westy would be a good deal.

Photo of juhl31
3.95/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

09 bottle poured into a bruery tulip glass

-color is as dark as the lord. you really have to give the glass a heavy swirl to get any of the dark brown head to appear

-right off the bat i get dark fruit maltiness...namely raisins and prunes. there is some dark chocolate in there as well

-again, right away i get those dark fruit malts. the chocolate opens up right after and then finishes really hard with a molasses taste

-really no carb apparent at all. it feels as if it is a 5+ year old bottle. there is some good warmth in there. not as thick as i would've hoped

-this is a good beer indeed, but i have to say i was a bit disappointed. it wasn't as bold and robust as i would have hoped and the mouthfeel was a letdown. i would definitely drink more, but as far as the big RIS's, it is not real high up

Photo of tuckevalastin
4.57/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 release

A: Very dark black with no head

S: Dark roasted malts with chocolate and vanilla tones and some underlying raison/dark fruit.

T: The taste is all roasted malt and chocolate/vanilla/caramel. Very good taste and not too much of the alcohol comes through.

M: Lots of heat but not much carbonation. It's full and it's heavy.

D: This is the definition of a sipper.

Overall, this is THE imperial stout. I'm highly impressed and would certainly recommend that any beer lover at leat try this one.

Photo of prototypic
4.55/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2008 Release

Many, many thanks to JDV and lightindarkness for the bottles. Much appreciated, guys.

Dark Lord pours an onyx color. There's not an ounce of light cutting through. Very fitting. It's topped with a rather modest, dark mocha head. It rises to nearly a finger and dissipates quickly from there. Lacing was sticky, but was rather light. That's not all too surprising given the massive abv. Despite that small shortcoming, it's fantastic looking beer.

The nose is very deep and impressive. It's loaded with chocolate and sweet caramel malts. Dark fruit is noted early on. Plum and raisin are the most notable varieties. After nearly two years in the bottle, it comes as no surprise that the hops have diminished. However, there is some evidence of their presence in the form of a dank, earthy smell. Roasted coffee is a little subtle and secondary, but is present. Alcohol is noticeable, as it should be for such a big beer. But, it's not overbearing. Dark Lord smells excellent. It's very deep and complex, but isn't quite perfect. I was expecting a little more bad-ass, if you will.

The flavor is nothing short of excellent. I tried one of the bottles shortly after the release nearly two years ago. This is a little better, but I can't say that it's materially better. It is very malty and quite sweet. Chocolate and caramel malts are very prevalent throughout. Brown sugar is present, in addition to mild dark fruit flavors of raisin and plum. Secondary flavors of anise and molasses complement the other flavors and add quite a bit of depth and complexity. The hops have mostly faded. There are some remnants present. I'll gladly take that. Coffee is noted, but isn't too strong. I always appreciate a little coffee flavor in my beer, and this one's no exception. Alcohol is surprisingly tame for a double digit beast. It doesn't even feel warm or hot. It finishes sweet and malty.

Dark Lord has a very full, lush, viscous mouthfeel. It's perfect. It's the best feel I've ever encountered in a beer. Carbonation is light and only adds to its great feel. Wow. The mouthfeel is stunning. Drinkability is very high for such a big, badass stout. While it's strong, it goes down so easy and smooth. A bomber will do the trick, but it's damn drinkable.

Dark Lord has attained a status nothing short of legendary in the beer world. Does it deserve it? Yeah, I think it does. Considering its reputation and name, the bottle's contents really deliver. Everything about it is excellent. As I said before, I'm not convinced that it's materially better after two years in the bottle. But, there's no question that it holds up well over time. Dark Lord simply must be experienced by each and every BA. I highly suggest you seek out a bottle and experience it. I mean...you don't really want to anger the Dark Lord, do you?

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 3,652 ratings.