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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

3,584 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,584
Reviews: 1,182
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 14.72%
Wants: 2,880
Gots: 1,540 | FT: 102
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: 3,584 | Reviews: 1,182 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of psyphin
3.08/5  rDev -28%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

09 Release poured into a Boulevard smokestack goblet.

A - Dark black and viscous with oily stains that recede into the glass as you drink it. The pour produced a 1/2 inch dark tan head that dissipated fairly quickly.

S - Heavy Malt, Chocolate, Mollasses, Brown Sugar, Figs, and Plumbs pours out of the glass. One of the most complex aromas from a beer I have ever experienced.

T - Heavy malt and slight bitterness dominate the flavor. Figs, port, and rasins make there way as the beer warms. A slight, but not totally unpleasent alcohol heat.

M - Just too thick. So much so that I kept concentrating more on how thick it was as opposed to how it tasted.

D - This beer is a sipper between friends. Drinkability and this beer don't go hand in hand. A small 8 ounce brandy snifter of this one is all of it I can really take.

Photo of OChaos
4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer pours solid oil black with a small tan head that doesn't stick around long.

Chocolate, roasted malts and some alcohol encompass the smell of this one, very good.

Great taste, chocolate a sight sweet fruity taste with a coffee finish, this is an amazing and complex beer. So much going on with this one.

Beer is very smooth and has appropriate carbonation for an RIS.

Overall, great beer and my Brother in Law and I are making plans to get out to the DLD next year to get a few bottles of this.

Photo of MisterClean
4.94/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2007 bottle. Big, big thank you to Third Lap and MacTBone for bring it by to share.

A - Pours a hideous, dark black, with little to no head. What is there, dissipates fast.

S/T - Soy sauce, chocolate, leather, roast coffee, and light bittering hops. The chocolate and leathery flavors mask most of the hop bitterness. There is some light alcohol, but as the beer warms up the alcohol almost disappears.

M - Very thick, full-bodied, and well balanced. This is probably the most full-bodied and viscous beer I have had.

D - Excellent. Loved every sip of it. Again big thanks to Third and Mac.

Photo of doc10house
4.57/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a plastic sampling cup at Parti-Pak Liquor in south Indianapolis.

A - Nothing that hasn't been said a hundred times. Dark. Dark, dark, dark. Like the Dark Lord himself. Like what a blindfolded blind man whose eyes have been removed from his head sees at midnight. Like motor oil, yes. As it swirls in the cup, leaves a sludgy residue on the sides reminiscent of a Castrol commercial. That residue doesn't run back into the cup, but almost oozes. Barely any head at all, and that's the reason I didn't give it a 5 here.

S - Amazing. Indescribable. Even having read umpteen reviews, and all the hyperbole, I was impressed. Waves of espresso, dark chocolate, and fruit, most notably raisins. A morning table of warm raisin bread and a cafe mocha comes to mind, giving way to notes of cola; oversyruped, undercarbonated cola. I could have smelled it all day, except I needed to get to...

T - I'm typically more a strong Belgian guy than a stout guy, but this was wonderful. More dark fruits, lots of coffee (but not over-roasted or burnt like an Old Rasputin), and chocolate. Creamy aftertaste, and a bit of warmth, but no discernible "alcohol burn" at all. Almost sweet at the finish. Lingers on the palate, but that's the TASTE, not the alcohol. The alcohol is hidden marvelously for the strength of this beer.

M - Creamy, thick. Can almost chew this beer. I personally think that's a great thing; your mileage may vary. Leaves a residue in the mouth much like that in the cup, but given the taste, that's more than welcome. I'd have to say the mouthfeel is what makes this beer so unique, as it's the most pleasant aspect and the one that sets this brew apart from anything else I'd ever tried.

D - This is one to have on a special occasion, or with some great friends who also appreciate what it is, like a rare bottle of wine. I couldn't swill this every Sunday while watching the NFL, or even sip it slowly every evening. It's just too big for that. Not too strong, or alcoholic, or even necessarily too expensive, just...big. It's akin to a rich, multilayered dessert in that regard.

Lucky to have been in the right place at the right time for this one. Will absolutely be in Munster, IN next summer on DLD.

Photo of Casey10
4.83/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My 100th review been holding on to this awhile figured this was a nice milestone beer to review.

2009 version with white wax seal poured into my St Bernardus chalice.

A - Dark black with very little head had a nice fizzy top though which settled quickly.

S - Even before pouring into the glass the aroma from the bottle hits you warm chocoalate goodness.

T - Unreal taste of a rich hot chocolate, wife felt it tasted like chocolate exspresso beans some raisons in the background this is definately worth the 5 I gave it so good.

M - Warming chewey, big feel really nice.

D - I gave this a 5 not so much that you would want to drink a bunch at once however so delicious I would have to seek more out.

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

An extremely generous vertical tasting with fellow BA Crosling - '07, '08, and '09.

Poured into a St. Bernardus goblet, it is truly inky black in color, not a spec of light passing through, with thin creamy cinnamon colored head. This beer completely coats the glass and with every swirl, my glass appears stained a chocolate brown.

Aroma is dense and multifaceted. Dark malts, chocolate, and a bit of coffee.

Flavor is even better than expected. It's so absolutely intense in every way and those of us who hadn't enjoyed it before were just blown away. Everything that makes a great imperial stout is present - roasty malts, chocolate, caramel, coffee, some berries and toasted nuts - and it all comes together beautifully. The balance is amazing for such a big beer with plenty of sweetness to keep the dark bitterness at bay.

Mouthfeel is exceptional and is really the trademark character of the beer. Just like the glass it was served in, it totally coats your tongue and teeth like nothing else. Creamy smooth, low carbonation, huge body, high viscosity...divine.

This was the highlight of a night full of amazing beers. Cheers to the most generous of hosts!

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

White wax, 2009. My 1000th review, and Dark Lord seems an appropriate beer for this personal milestone. Thanks a ton to GbVDave for this bottle!

Poured into a Lucifer snifter (also seemed appropriate). I'm going to give a half-point bump just for the head. Not because it's big and fluffy (it's not) and not because it retains well (it doesn't) but because what you do get, for a short time, is a skim of foam that looks like aged gold splattered with motor oil. A really, really unusual and interesting color that had me swirling and swirling some more so I could see it again. The black liquid looks like any other RIS worthy of a good reputation--utterly deep and abyss-like in its darkness.

Aroma is molasses, honey, port, s'mores, raisins, coffee, and all kinds of burnt dark fruits soaked in sherry. Balanced, with lots of depth. Wonderful.

I had to sit and contemplate my first few sips, and then take a larger drink to make sure I didn't overrate this with a perfect 5. But it is a perfect 5. How could it be better? A perfectly-balanced alcohol underscores and brightens all the elements detected in the aroma. It's also one of few beers I can think of where high-alcohol is a feature of the flavor and not at all overwhelming or boozy (DFH 120 Minute is another). The alcohol lays its supreme hand on the graham cracker, plum, marshmallow, coffee, chocolate and molasses and pops the flavors on the tongue in perfect harmony. (The burps are vinous in their big purple grape-iness.)

The texture is equally mind-blowing (palate-blowing?). Slick, with notable roundness and creaminess yet not overly thick, it delivers the flavors with a sublime glide. Perhaps it's thinner than some people expected, but it seems completely perfect for the flavors, which lean on the rich, sweet, creamy side.

Dark Lord has everything going on, right down to the label art and white wax. It deserves its reputation as one of the finest beers in the world. The rest of this bottle and I are signing off for the greener pastures of hi-fi adventure.

Photo of AgentZero
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to my friend Abby who busted out a bottle of this on a random Sunday afternoon.

A - 2009 vintage poured from the bottle into a chalice. Poured black and thick like motor oil, brown around the edges. Was split up amoung 4 people, so the pours weren't long enough to generate any type of head, not sure if there would have been otherwise anyway.

S - Not what I was expecting, a lot of fruit in there. I smell currants and cherries right off the bat with some roasted coffee, toffee, and little cocoa. Quite a bit going on, and you can definately smell the stoutness to it all through that.

T - Taste of chocolate covered cherries hits me right away, followed by some underlying dark fruits. The initial sweetness was quite shocking, but faded into coffee and cocoa and finished up with a nice roasted malt taste. Hint of vanilla, almost an afterthought in this rings through at the end. Maybe I'm just missing it, but I can't taste any alcohol. Amazing, full, and complex flavor.

M - No carbonation on this one, very full bodied and syrupy thick, but not unpleasant. Really what it needs to be with the flavors it's bringing out.

D - This one is a sipper for me, and can't do a whole lot of it, which is probably a good thing at 13% abv. Amazing flavor though will keep me coming back for more whenever I can get ahold of it.

Definately hyped, but it delivered.

Photo of nickd717
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Rating based on a 2008 (black wax) bottle I paid $50 on EBay to get, back in my early craft beer days (May 2008). It was worth every penny. At the time it was the best beer I'd had to date, with Westvletern 12 a close second.

A - Pours jet black and thick as hell with a small tan head.

S - Coffee, chocolate, sweet cherries, dark fruits, and roasted malt.

T - Absolutely phenomenal. Roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, vanilla, molasses, maraschino cherries, other fruity notes, smoke, and other crazy flavors that I can't even identify.

M - Thick and oily, smooth and creamy. It coats your tongue and mouth and you wish the flavor would stick around forever. It almost does.

D - Well, drinking too much of this can be difficult, but I don't think the beer is meant for that. I think about 6-8 ounces is the optimal amount. Like the idiot that I am, I downed a bomber of this and a 750ml of Speedway Stout the same night. My stomach did not appreciate that.

Photo of SirSketch
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

'09 vintage, picked up at Dark Lord day

Dark Lord pours dark black and lets no light through, whatsoever. Minimal dark brown head. Very threatening beer, but I'm up to the challenge! The aroma is mostly roasted malts, dark roast coffee, bourbon whisky, dark fruits (namely raisins), and very vinous all around. No doubt there is booze in this beer. Dark, sweet maltiness and rich, bitter chocolate up front. Very sweet, but not overwhelmingly so. The roasty qualities and bitterness balance one another. Burnt flavors come at the end. Alcohol is not hiding in this beer, and I think that's the point: it is supposed to kick your a**! Thick, motor oil mouthfeel coats your mouth and leaves a lingering sweetness and coffee flavor. My lips are dry, and wanting more. I will definitely be going back next year!

Photo of brownbeer
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured this one(2009)playing world 8 of Mario 3.
Rich oily, completely opaque in color with much dirty brown head.

This is a sit and contemplate beer for sure. Low carbonation with dark chocolate roasty flavors. A bit smokey, dark red fruits(raspberry,cherry).

I enjoyed this festival, going next year and as long as they keep doing this. Love your neighbor.

Photo of bosco7
4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

'08 Vintage.

Evil appearance and darkest head I have ever seen. Black, sludgy with a dark brown head.

Coffee, chocolate, tonnes of caramel , fig, and coffee cake. Beautiful. Not a typical Imperial Stout smell.

Wow. Nothing like I've ever tasted before. So much sweetness up front followed by a hit of coffee and star anise. Semi-sweet chocolate chips and caramel flavors follow this blast of sweetness and roast. The finish is surprisingly dry and bitter. This really strikes me as a barleywine X imperial stout hybrid if that makes any sense.

Mouthfeel can be described in one word: sludge.

There is so much flavor, aroma, and feel that I don't think that I can drink more than a serving of it, but this is so unique and pleasurable that it makes up for it.

I am really fortunate to have tried this before I die. This is a must have for sure.

Photo of jdklks
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

i reviewed the 2009 already, and was very disappointed. i traded for a 2008 in hopes that it might be better than the 2009 batch (as seems to be the consensus). Thanks to Beertracker.

here goes:
Dark, dark brown with barely transparent amber edges when illuminated. a small, dark brown (somewhere between milk and dark chocolate) head. looks thick, much more so than the 2009. sticky, gooey gunk lines the glass as the beer goes down. the smell is overwhelmingly sweet. plums, CHERRIES, currants, etc. there is also a roastiness complimented by a chocolate, and maybe even vanilla scent.

ahhh, much much much better than the 2009. Thank you Beer God in Beer Heaven for this (if it had not been better i might have cried). very, very sweet all the way through, a sweetness dominated by cherries. other dark fruits are also present, notably plum. the hint of chocolate makes it taste a little like chocolate covered cherries, or even chocolate and pomegranite. a nice sweet roastiness at the end that starkly contrasts with the unpleasant bitter roastiness of the 2009. a warm alcohol sting in the back of the throat and esophagus.

one of the thickest and chewiest beers ive ever had (again, much UNlike the 2009). fantastic mouthfeel. drinkability takes a hit because of ABV, thickness, and how sweet it is. very filling

Photo of ndekke39
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Split a bottle of this with my brother. Picked it up at Dark Lord Day 09. White wax up top on the 22 oz bomber - cut through it easily enough and decanted into wine glasses.

Appearance is like an oil slick. Opaque black. Small bit of fizz when it's poured - leaves a small, tan ring, but then disappears and leaves practically no head.

Smells of cocoa, dark cherries, dark roasted coffee, and a bit of charcoal.

Tastes are similar. Dark roasted coffee in the forefront, with some dark chocolate and cherries in there.

Mouthfeel is smooth, although fairly heavy.

The high alcohol is pretty well hidden, so you need to sip this slowly. Splitting a bomber between the two of us left us both feeling good about life. Still, this is definitely a tasty beer that's always good to have.

Photo of MDekker
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to my brother for picking up bottles at Dark Lord Day 2009.

A: After cutting through the white wax, it pours out like a black hole, nice and viscous. No pillowy head, as advertised, though - a thin layer forms but then fades. Bummer.

S: All the stouty goodness I enjoy in these types of beers: dark roasted coffee, dark chocolate, booze, and some burnt charcoal notes too.

T: Somewhat like toast, chocolate again, and a bitter finish that I noticed. The big booze appears again and bites in the throat a little bit.

M: Oily, slick, and only subtle carbonation.

D: OK, it IS really good, but I'm holding it to a high standard here - Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout, and the KBS wins. Too much alcohol to keep 'em coming, but I was happy to partake of this guy.

Photo of baggio
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle@Omhpers place!

A: Dark, dark, brown with a very small head.

S: Molasses, Chocolate, Roasted Malts, Soy, Hint of vanilla.

T: Cocoa, Roasted Malts, Ripe fruit, Molasses, Port wine, Coffee, Soy and a hint of alcohol.

M: Very complex brew and very very thick. This is a sipping beer if there ever was one. Sweet with a touch of saltiness.

This is a great brew but not as great as the hype suggests. Still, it's among the 10 best imperial stouts i've ever had and a very much enjoyable.

Photo of PerzentRizen
4.69/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2008 bottle, served around 60 degrees.

Poured into a brandy snifter this beer has a deep tan head and fades quickly. The body is dark, viscous, and oily looking. I really wish there was at least a little head retention. I'm thinking the carbonation is low in this one.

The aroma is of cherries, green apple, carmelized sugar, and dried vinous fruit. There is plenty of malt in this one. I'm also picking up some light roasted pecan smells.

My first taste is so close to goose island bourbon county stout it's unbelievable. Everything from the tartness, sweetness, and roasted malt flavors brings me back to my first GIBCS. The flavors are so unlike the aromas. There's lots of chocolate, coffee, deep toasted malt, sugar, and plenty of alcohol. Perfect!

Mouthfeel is extremely rich and velvety. The flavors are a bit distracting but you can definately still tell this is a smooth and rich beer. Perfect!

Drinkability is high just because I'm drinking a whole bomber by myself and do not feel overwhelmed in the least. This is a rich, deep, dark beer but it is also extremely tasty. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would have another anyday! This is a beer that lives up to the hype for me.

Photo of fiver29
4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2008 Bottle tasted at Dark Lord Day 08. Pours pitch black with a nice tan head. Has smells of licorice, chocolate, roasted barley, and alcohol. Has a heavy mouthfeel and coats the glass like a thick syrup. Tastes like candy, licorice, molasses, caramel, coffee, vanilla, and alcohol. Has a smooth finish for being fresh. I would have thought it would have more pop being fresh. It was an unexpected surprise and enjoyable to have such a smooth brew this early in its infancy. I tasted a 07 while waiting in line and it had a much more pronounced licorice taste and flavor than a fresh dark lord. Perhaps its just that the 08 will be a better batch. Only time will tell. Great beer. Worth the hype.

Photo of drgonzo3705
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2009 White Wax

A: Pours a coal black with a thin but fluffy tan head that calms to a ring around the glass and some splotchy lacing.

S: The alcohol is very strong in the nose. It could be hidden a bit better. Underneath that I get nice sweet molasses and black licorice. Also a bit of a dark fruit raisony aroma going on.

T: A nice toasted malt backbone with a good mix of cocoa, fig and a port flavor.

M: So good I can't get enough. Nice thickness with light carbonation and a good oily texture make this a delightful treat for my mouth.

D: Good but not great. I could definitely do a bottle in a sitting but would probably pass on a second. Works your palate for sure.

Photo of madtowndmb1
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a pitch black with a tan head that hung around for a bit and left a nice lace. The smell was great! Malty, chocolate, coffee and a hint of maple sweetness? The taste was very good too, not overbearing. Just a smooth huge beer, if thats possible. M: & D: I'm lucky enough to have some of this aging in the basement and can't wait to have some more! Get some if possible!

Photo of erz316
4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009 vintage into maudite snifter. I find it slightly ironic that the dark lord bottle opener can't break through the white wax on its own beer!

A -damn. this was pouring like quite thick, almost like motor oil, so i moved to pouring right down the center, still no head formed. but then after I finished pouring the brew, then came the head; slowly but surely, it formed. the head is a darkish brown, about one finger thick. the body is black, opaque and is going to suck up my soul. the body and head colour look great, but the fact that the head doesnt form on time, or enough is not so great. the head lingers, going down to a thin, but solid, layer in about 3 mins. there is a little sudsy lacing. Remember: its an RIS, not a pilsner; there is not going to be a huge frothy head. by any means.

S - thats intense. even right out of the fridge it is a powerful nose: molasses, chocolate, toffee/caramel. good god, man! this is great! top notes are this powerful molasses-hop combination; the hops I think are pretty much tied to the molasses scent, giving it a prick of vegetative freshness. mid notes are chocolate malts and caramel, though, depending on how strongly one sniff, the chocolate aspect can make its way up to the fore front, though mostly the chocolate. the bottom is a bit sweet, maybe more toffe and then some secretive coffee notes. the overall aroma, yes it is an aroma, is simply stupendous: bitter dark chocolate, malty molasses, caramel, and a touch of hops and coffee. but maybe there could be a bit more...maybe this is where the other two dark lords expand. this is the only reason it does not get a perfect: there is the possibilty for improvement, which i cannot imagine. maybe a touch of whiskey or vanilla? that would undoubtedly make this beer ridiculously good.

T - this beer is so incredibly delicious, I only think the expericne could get better if I was on the conning tower of some typhoon class russian sub. chocolate, coffee, alcohol, sweet malts and some sweet and fruity currants. this brew has so much to offer! christ almighty! this beer could surely raise lazarus from the dead. initial notes are of coffee, chocolate, hop bitterness, spiced alcohol, dry alcohol. the alcohol migrates from this rich spiciness to a rocking dry kind of gin reminiscent flavour. the chocolate is pretty average, but how the coffee mixes into it is great, making this starbucks-esque type of blended taste. the hops are really really subtle, but their characteristic bitterness, one that is completely different from the chocolate or coffee bitterness, is indeed there. the finish is a bit simpler than the initial taste, but I didnt expect it to pick up all of the intricacies of the first sip. the aftertaste is what everyone waits for: chocolate chips cinnamon buns, i.e., the chocolate is still there but there is this intricate slightly spicy note from the hops that one cannot deny. this beer is such a phenomenal example of its style that it can only be described as magical.

MF&D - the drinkability is perfect. no question about it; this beer is too tasty to care about the calories or the abv. the only problem is that the beer gets a bit watery during the tasting process. this is kind of ridiculous considering how thick the beer is. but either way, this brew is still ass kicking phenomenal, better than anything I have ever had. period.

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

2009 vintage with white wax

A: Dark black body... moderate brown head quickly receded to a nice ring with some skim... very little lacing... looks intense

S: Massive roasted malt, coffee, chocolate and molasses... heavy presence of booze

M: Surprisingly delicate... lots of flavors going on but none of them bash into each other... smooth transitions between the roasted malts and coffee to the somewhat bittersweet chocolate and rich molasses... again, there is no mistaking the 13% ABV on this behemoth.

M: Tingly carbonation, just enough without becoming slightly fizzy... medium heavy body but the finish is short and sweet...

D: Very deserving of the attention it receives

Photo of drewmprs
2.35/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Vintage 2008

I've had this beer a couple times fresh and have never been impressed. Way too thick and oily. There's also an overpowering dark chocolate flavor that takes over the faint cherry tones. This beer definitely needs a couple years to age. I haven't had the chance to taste one more than 2 years old so I might revise this rating in the near future.

Photo of Arbitrator
1.54/5  rDev -64%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

2009 vintage into a glass. I've gotten so many bottles of this (big thanks to busch03, Hexxed, badbeer, and tprokop7 for making that happen), but I keep giving or trading them away. Finally got a chance to try one for myself. Split with my girlfriend, who loves sugary sweet RISes.

First rating: D- (2.1)

---

Second bottle (2009) opened to split with a buddy. He loved it, but it was even more abysmal than I remembered. Scores have been downgraded.

A: Pours a pitch motor oil black in the glass. No edge penetration or browning. The head is a limpid half-finger of dark brown bubbles, with maybe 30 seconds of retention before vanishing completely. No lacing down the glass. The second pour out of the bottle was even more viscous, and left tons of oily-looking residue down the glass when I swirled it. The final pour (don't scroll down, you'll spoil the surprise!) produced some sludgy sediment that scared the hell out of me. Is this beer half solid?

S: Dark fruit is heavy on this one -- lots of plums, some dates and a small berry character that I couldn't identify. Molasses was very heavy, and so were brown sugar, roasted malt, and chocolate. Couldn't smell any coffee. Could use some contrast... this was over the top sweet.

T: It's like someone poured syrup into my mouth. Lots of plum and date on the initial taste. Mid-taste is mostly brown sugar, molasses, and chocolate. Roasted malt, burnt raisin, burnt caramel, and again plum on the finish, with a boozy burn that reminded me of a cheap, syrupy wine. I could detect coffee bitterness underneath, but the flavor was Sweetness turned up to 11. In small quantities I might give this a 3.5 to 4, but even splitting a bomber 3 ways was too much.

M: One of the thickest, most full-bodied brews I've ever had. I swirled it in my mouth and it seemed to sludge up my teeth. But the carbonation was TOO low, even for an RIS -- just a hair above flat. Detracted from the flavor and allowed the beer to become too syrupy and mouth-coating. Also, there's a boozy burn as I mentioned above. There's no subtlety or craft to this beer at all. It's like being sledgehammered with malt and booze. Christ.

D: And the coating, by the end of the bottle, was just disgusting. My girlfriend and I split the first glass, and she was done about 20% of the way in. I gave 1/3 of the second glass to my buddy, who echoed the "too sweet" comments I had bouncing around in my head. I finally drizzled some on vanilla ice cream and tried to consume it that way, but I couldn't handle the sugar. Wound up pouring out the last 20% of the bottle. Could not finish. Undrinkable by definition.

I hate to be "the guy" that pours out Dark Lord, but what a cloying, syrupy, sickly sweet mess this beer was. I just could not bring myself to go any further into the bottle. I really can't give this anything above an F considering that it's so expensive and I had to drainpour TWO bottles (in other words, the "possibly bad bottle" excuse doesn't apply). What a trainwreck.

Photo of OlieIPA
4.29/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Edition that was poured into a Bruery tulip glass. Oh yeah...thanks Frank for this bottle!

A: Poured thick as hell! I really can't think of too many beers that have that motor oil appearance like Dark Lord does. I think this helps give Dark Lord that very appetizing and mouth watering feeling to the consumer, which is perfect for this style of ale. Anyways, after I had finished pouring this brew, I noticed the beautiful ½-inch mocha color head quickly dissipate into the black abyss that had taken over the bottom 3/4th's of my glass....slightly disappointing. The lacing was also non-existent as well, which was even more disappointing.

S: Not sure whether or not it was the edition or another year of Imperial Stouts on my palate, but this year's Dark Lord seemed to be less pungent and less on that dark fruity character I remembered from the 08' version. Instead I picked up a lot more of a chocolate and roasted malt quality, which seemed to subdue that very vivid dark cherry aroma I previously examined before. Still, a very impressive smelling RIS...up there with the best.

T: Again, lacked that cherry cough syrup quality (which I thought was good) from the 08' version and took on that chocolate, roasty, and slight...very little...coffee flavor profile. I was able to pick out some woody/oak and mild vanilla flavorings throughout the whole beer as well. There was no alcohol taste or burn as well, which is impressive considering the 13% ABV. Smooth finish and never too harsh at any point of the beer.

M: If not the most viscous beer I've had...it would have to then fall into at least the top 5. Wow! Mild carbonation.

D: Extremely impressed...maybe not as much as before, but still a very good RIS.

Overall: I would have to say I was a little disappointed by this year's edition, but like I stated before...a great RIS that should be consumed by everyone. Cheers!

Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 3,584 ratings.