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

Not Rated.
Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,134 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,134
Reviews: 1,145
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 14.95%
Wants: 2,684
Gots: 1,403 | FT: 91
Brewed by:
Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub visit their website
Indiana, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  15.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes/Commercial Description:
2004 - Red Wax
2005 - Orange Wax
2006 - Gold Wax
2007 - Silver Wax
2008 - Black Wax
2009 - White Wax
2010 - Olive Green Wax
2011 - Yellow Wax
2012 - Red Wax
2013 - Orange Wax
2014 - Blue Wax

(Beer added by: cretemixer on 12-13-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,134 | Reviews: 1,145 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beergeek279


4.9/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served in the 22 oz. bomber into a pint glass. The color is jet black with a foamy tan head with an amazing amount of retention for the ABV. The smell is a dark, sweet chocolate and just a hint of licorice, and just a hint of alcohol. The taste is a nice chocolate sweetness, with a good anise flavor in the backing, and just the right amount of hop bitterness in the aftertaste; alcohol is noticable, but certainly doesn't seem like almost 14%. Mouthfeel is creamy and 10W30 thick. As for drinkability, this one could be dangerous, since I could drink these all day not knowing the ABV.

Well, we decided to open this one up in order to celebrate the beginning of "Big" Ben Roethelisberger's long Steeler career, and it's certainly fitting. This is the perfect Imperial Stout, and easily the best in the world...so rich and chocolatey and anisey, but without alcohol getting in the way, and this is one that I would absolutely kill to have again!!! Thank you to trbeer and cretemixer for getting me the bottle!!!

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2004 00:39:16 | More by beergeek279
Photo of tavernjef


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

The pouring out of this beast is incredible, especially the last half of the bomber where it gets all thick and gooey, and boy does it ever. Super sludgy and slow, reminds me of a melted fudgesicle thickness, color too is fudgy. Sits in the glass like black tar but keeps an overall dark fudge brown cask to its depth. A thin but thickly set super spongy tan head lays on top for a good while before it murks its way off the glass while sipping. A thin fluffy collar remains and the lacing is in webby strings along with an oily residue coating over every inch the liquid has touched. This liquid has a life of its own beyond its other attributes of smell, taste, and feel. Take a look at your glass when your done, you'll know what I mean.

Aroma has a nice soothing chocolate underlay where tossed apricot, dark cherry, molasses, and dates swirl around with dark juicy esters of spicy alcoholic warmth. Cleans the senses out pretty quickly.

Taste is thick, thick, thick, chunky even, you notice the massive mouthfeel right away. Flavors are ridiculously rich to go with it, loads of dark chocolate laced with nearly every dark fruit imaginable with a rich tangy molasses coating it all and some fine bittering of fresh hop cones and chocolate with touches of coffee beans at the finish. Slivers of alcohol has little hints to boubon barrel oakyness, smokey peet, and port to it along the way through to the finish as well. Boastfully terrific!

Feel is massively thick, beyond the reach of words here with this stuff. Syrupy, thickly creamy, mega lush, richly full bodied beyond the threshold of any other Imperial Stout I have undertaken. Oily leftovers on the lips, like chapstick. Oh my...Wonderfully thick!

At first I began to drink this down like it was nothing, but by half glass I gave up even thinking I could drink the whole thing by myself. Its like pie filling! Oh, but it is yummy pie filling...yummy. The thickness slowed me down therefore hampered the drinkability a bit for me. Still is very drinkable in a slow mannered kinda way. Respectfully. Great stuff!

silenius. I bow to thee.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2004 00:14:51 | More by tavernjef
Photo of faernt


5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

OK....I've been holding onto a couple of these until the flurries of praise subsided. I just extracted the cap from the wax. Prior to this I had a bottle of Old Rasputin. It's one of my house faves and I thought I'd use it as a base.

It pours into the glass with an oily slickness that coats the sides of the glass. Little foam happens. It's sitting in the glass at 56 degrees F. (love the thermometer) The smell is of English walnuts, very complex Port and some Indian spices I can't place but remember after the meal. It might be fennel. I'm not much of a nose guy but this one sticks it into my nostrils. This is amazing!

The taste is JW Lees meets Thomas Hardy. I don't know how they do this but it seems that they must throw massive amounts of original material into the mash. Whoa!...I just poured the last 2 inches of the bottle into the glass. It looks like hot fudge. It is thick and gritty. I can''t imagine sharing this with anyone who isn't seriously experienced in huge beer. This is sensory overload.

This is memorable and even though I paid $18.00 a bottle for it I consider it highly drinkable. Too bad it's gone for now. I hope they do it again. My only other 5 is Hair of the Dog Adam. This is one of the best beers I've ever had.


I'm speaking to you from the future...It's 2005 now and I just opened a new edition of the Dark Lord...orange wax...Damn...this is good!!! I get smell meat and I'm no vegan...This is nose ass beer. The taste is knock down good. The pour was 30 wt. The head was slight and two toned with streaks of white which mysteriously disappeared. No more reviewing for now...time for drinking...All's well...Thank you Floyds.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2004 02:38:37 | More by faernt
Photo of silenius


4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

So I saved this one for my 100th review. This one has been ageing the 6 months or so since it came out. This is really two beers in one, the first 2/3 of the bottle and then the 2.25 inches of sediment at the end that scared me to drink it thinking I'd be on the pot all the next day. Good thing I wasn't working.

The bottle is the same waxed cap that is in the picture. Others have described the Dark Lord figure with the battle-axe like mash paddle. I thought that was clever.

I poured the beer and it really isn't as dark as I thought it would be coming out of the bottle. I could see that it is a seriously dark brown, but light got through. Once in the glass, only crimson slivers at the edges let you know this isn't pure black. The thin, slow to appear head dissapates quickly into a collar around the glass.

When I first smelled it I was underwhelmed, but later once it warmed up a bit more, the dark unsweetened chocolate, raisin and fig characteristics came through. Not as big of a smell as Bell's Expedition or Rasputin, but nice.

The taste kicked my ass. HUGE dark chocolate syrup overwhelms and leaves a nice espresso bean bitterness when it leaves. As it warms it takes on more dark fruit characteristics with raisins and figs. Not as complex as others have described it, though. But no other beer comes close to these flavors. HUGE. It gets a 5.

Mouthfeel was thick and syrupy with a bit of carbonation to remind you this is a beer. Something out of the ordinary to say the least. Althought the last 1/3 of the bottle is like drinking beer ingredients rather than the beer itself. The dregs are green hop bitterness and leave a bittering grit that doesn't want to leave.

This beer made me want to drink it and the first 2/3rds were delightful to sip. The last 1/3 was too much. I have to knock points.

I have 6 left and will be ageing these and will have one a year until they are gone.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2004 01:29:52 | More by silenius
Photo of shapudding


4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 2.5

My god... finally a chance to try The Lord!

Thanks to Jeff for bringing this to the General Lafayette tasting! love ya!

Got to be the official pryer on this one, while everyone screamed at me in anxiousness as I ripped at the wax to get this out...

Insane difference in the first and last pours...wow! First pours are thin milkshakey thickness, but the last pours came out as more crazy V8 juice consistancy... Scents of portwine, bits of coffee and chocolate.... Tastes vineous... merlot... alcohol....
Rye seeds, black dark coffee...
So thick and chewey....

All I can say is god I adore this stuff!

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2004 23:24:15 | More by shapudding
Photo of OldFrothingSlosh


4.97/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 22oz. grim-graphic label bomber. Dipped in red wax.

Appearance: Upon pouring this vile-looking liquid into my goblet (where's a good skull when you need one, to properly enjoy a beer like this?), I honestly thought it was trying to suck the light into it. Dark-as-night inky blackness in color, there is a wafer-thin layer of tan-colored head that tries to avoid being consumed by the evil upon which it is perched. Rings of this lace try to escape by clinging to the glass.

Smell: Ambrosia for the olfactories. A complex myriad of aromas. Freshly roasted coffee. Baking chocolate. Toffee. 151 rum-soaked dark fruits. Bonfire smoke.

Taste: Quite simply one of the best beers I have tasted and more than likely ever will. Elephant-like in size, it hits your palate full-force, wrecking havoc with a chco-coffee blast. Nothing gets past this once you've tasted it. Cameo appearances by more dark fruit, some bitter hops, toffee, and charred wood. Finishes with a long-lasting (and smile-inducing) bitterness that makes you crave another hit of this liquid addiction.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability: As big a beer as you'll ever find. This is simply gargantuan in mouthfeel. Super-thick, super-creamy. Words fail to describe just how incredibly thick this beer is. Drinkability is also top-notch. There is no way I would have known this was a hefty 13% ABV. It's woven into the tapestry of flavor with the skill of an artist.

Notes: I am deeply indebted to CreteMixer for this bottle. Just an epic tasting and one that I'll remember and cherish for quite a long time.

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2004 04:38:02 | More by OldFrothingSlosh
Photo of meathookjones


4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This came in a menacing looking 22oz bomber that was dipped in red wax to give the appearance of being sealed in blood. A cartoon picture of the dark lord is on the label as well to add to the overall Dark Lord theme. Looking like the used oil at jiffy lube this stuff pours out as thick as I have ever seen. It is pitch black almost verging on sucking in all surrounding. The head starts impressively before falling into a cap of bubbles and leaving not lacing but a film over any portion of the glass that it comes in contact with. Aroma is of chocolate covered berries, molasses and roasted malts. The flavor is tremendous standing out much more than the scent with chocolate, roasted coffee and dark fruits blending for a complex palette experience. A slight coffee bitter aftertaste is also present as well as a slightly sour taste as it warmed. Mouthfeel is ridiculous I have had nothing as thick as this ever and it is amazing. It coats the entire mouth and sits heavy on the tongue, very nice. Drinkability is also excellent there is no sign of the 13% anywhere in this monster. The thickness is the only thing that slowed me down while drinking it. Impressive in all ways I highly recommend this to anyone, hopefully I can come across more bottles of this in the future.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2004 13:56:00 | More by meathookjones
Photo of egajdzis


4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

OK, its 2 am, but I wanted to get this in before bed. First off, what a surprise when the guy at the end of the table says there is a 13% Imperial Stout on cask at the Maproom, let's go! Opaque black with an awesome tan head and lace as well. Aroma fell alittle short, but still found notes of hops, charred and roasted coffee, some dark fruit and warming alcohol. Taste hits you like none other, vanilla, chocolate, coffee, molasses, and some alcohol here as well. Thick, chewy, HUGE mouthfeel. Made your lips just stick to the glass! How awesome.

Serving type: cask

06-13-2004 20:31:22 | More by egajdzis
Photo of aracauna


3.48/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This is thick. It pours thick, it feels thick and it sticks to your ribs like a stack of pancakes. Pitch black with a thin brown head. The aroma is chocolate, a little vanilla and soy sauce. The flavor continues with the chocolate and soy sauce with a little bit of molasses. I’m really surprised to not notice much if any roast malt in the mix. I’ll have to try to make it up north when it’s on tap and try this again, but this definitely did not live up to expectations.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2004 18:28:01 | More by aracauna
Photo of beerluvr

Ontario (Canada)

3.23/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Glugs out of the bottle with a deep tan head that cascades in slow motion...very surreal to watch it s l o w l y collapse. Jet black color in the glass, impervious to light. Intense deep dark fruit nose with prunes dominating, some herbal roasty/grainy notes. Very thick viscuous mouthfeel really detracts here, coats the mouth and doesn't let up, with more pruney flavor, sweet treacle and molasses then an undercurrent of roasted malt comes in clear. Afterwards, some hop bitterness shows up as an afterthought. The finish is long due to the oil-like thickness of the brew. It's really a tad too thick for me to enjoy at all, I'm glad to finally get to try this one, but to me it just does not live up to the hype here. I'll take a Bell's Expedition over this anytime.
Thanks to jackndan/BIF6.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2004 16:55:27 | More by beerluvr
Photo of jlervine


4.95/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured thick and black like used 15w50 motor oil in our diesel. Slight bit of coffee-colored head rose up, than sank beneath the surface, leaving behind only remnants of lacing in the middle of the beer. Aromas of coffee, chocolate, rum-soaked plums waft from the glass. Taste is wow. Just.... wow. It tastes as thick as it poured, tons of malt loaded in here, takes 15 seconds just to clear your palate. Alcohol is very subdued - one deadly brew here. Roasted malts, chocolate, incredible residual sweetness. Unholy hell, this is the epitome of imperial stout. I could drink this stuff all week long, since the syrupy sticky mouthfeel makes rapid quaffing of this brew impossible. Absolutely fantastic stuff.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2004 22:16:08 | More by jlervine
Photo of feloniousmonk


4.78/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I'm attempting to uncap this as I would any other beer, but the Dark Lord won't have it that way! "It's not normal!" And I left the wine servicer at work! Ah, here's one! Shhfft!, there she goes, now to pour...

Darkest, blackest hue, a perfect pitch, color-wise, ebon in it's epitome, as soiled as Satan's underthing's, with a smallish head, but richly roasted, deep tannish brown, quickly succumbing into a tight ring.

Aroma is rich and redolent with all things dark and good, ...molasses speaks up, soy sauce gets a nod, prunes, raisins, port wine, a hint of dark rum, and a glimmer of carob, an intriguing and arresting nose.

Taste: Huge! Thick! Pow, pow, powerful! This is the 800 gorilla on the palate, when it sits around the mouth, it SITS AROUND the mouth!!!
Oh, my, good, loving, freakadelic-alicius-LORD!!!
So rich, it begs the robber barons to empty the playing field, for they haven't got the coinage to match this magic! Massive mouthfeel! A sea of chocolate swims on the tongue, and invades every center of the senses! Fruit chimes in too, cherries, and berries, all drenched in chocolate, as well!

A clinging factor pervades the flavor, as well, for this is a taste that never quits, it stays, and stays, and if you're not ready to make it comforable at your home, it doesn't care, you're taking the couch and Dark Lord is sleeping in your comfy cushy adjusta-bed!!!

WOW!!! Luxuriant, like nothing else, rich to the point of delirium, a powerful liquified candy bar, ....a decadent treat, like no other!
oh, my...puts all other pretenders to shame... a killer-diller,I fear running out of superlatives and will allow this malevolent master to merely stride along this mortal realm with all my blessings, and add the enconium that it's a majestic and dangerous thing all in one package...oh, my..in this case, all other previously praised Imperial Stouts must take back-seat, oh, my, though, Mr. Hershey should worry! Mr. Nestle could fret, too..good Lord, it's good, almost too much for me...if you want to examine the limits of this style, go no further than Dark Lord!
So heavy on the palate, so huge in flavor!

Bow down, one and all, bow before your Dark Lord, and don't mess around, he can do that finger-chokey- thingy, just like Lord Vader, I mean, they're practically cousins, so, unless you know some Jedi juju, stray far away from the terrible magic of the Dark Lord...unless you enjoy this particular punishment...which I do! In spades!

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2004 08:58:15 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of frank4sail

New Jersey

4.55/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Friggin' rich dark black motor oil of a look. Thick persistant milk cocoa colored head. Very rich lookin'. Sweet bitter chocolate and expresso pungent nose. Thick coffee, mocha, rich malt and a hoppy green flavored finish. The thickest fullest mouth I have ever had in a beer. Very good and very overwhelming. Rediculas!

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2004 01:21:38 | More by frank4sail
Photo of erica


4.9/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was lucky enough to share a second bottle of this oh-so-wickedly-wonderful beer, so I figured I should review it this time. I hope the bottle is gone when I get home, because it will yell at me for not giving it all 5's. I do believe last night it was telling me over and over "You love me. You love me. You love me." Like a freakin cult leader or something! OK, OK, i love you, I do.

Appearance was very black and thick, when held up to the light it looked a bit like old blood around the edges, but in a good way. Had a bit of a brown head that didnt last very long. It smelled good but not much. It didnt give off enough of an aroma, that's why I had to dock points. It smelled a bit like fresh coffee, then old coffee, and slightly vinous. It tasted absolutely perfect! So much going on, and in such a great blend. Chocolate fudge syrup, roasted coffee, cherry wine, a hint of chocolate covered Belgian waffles that you get in Belgium, with an aftertaste thats similar to the aftertaste of strong coffee. Pretty sweet but too much so, with a bitter end. There really isn't more than a teeny hint of alcohol in the taste. I guess there's just too much other stuff going on. Mouthfeel is THICK. Well in the beginning of the bottle it is just regular syrupy thick, and as you get down to the bottom, well it almost gets to be too much. It's a bit ridiculous. Like pudding that's not quite set yet, real thick but still drinkable. I got the absolute end of the bottle and I really did have to chew. That was a little disturbing, but kind of cool at the same time. Drinkability, well, I know this is it now, but I want more, lots more! It's so drinkable. At 13% abv, it does not taste or feel like it. Like a happy chocolatey sweet waffle meal with wine and coffee and pudding, all together in one bottle.

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2004 16:40:10 | More by erica
Photo of CRJMellor


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

Review Number 400.

Pours a molasses thick deep brown/black with burgundy highlights. Pencil thin ring of deep tan head and spotty lace on the goblet.
Aroma of cocoa, coffee, and malts, licorice, some grapefruit, grapes, many other things that I can't even begin to explain.
Flavors of molasses, port, dark fruits, citrus and earthy hop notes. Chocolate permeates as does liquor.
Mouthfeel is very sweet malt with citrus, port like sweet tones. Bitring is light but there. Alcoholic pop just enough to know that you are drinking something very special.
Drinkability is enormously high. Have to find this on draught next year. Wow, I'm really speechless on this one, simply great beer. Can't imagine a better beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2004 23:20:20 | More by CRJMellor
Photo of WVbeergeek

West Virginia

5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Another one of those beers from Three Floyd's "It's not normal", well when I heard about this 13% Imperial Russian Stout I thought to myself that's not normal. Well, here we are about to break through the layer of red triple dipped wax to break the seal of the beastly brew. The bottle depicts in comic book fashion a demon possessed viking crushing skulls and what not, but either way I'm guessing he's the Dark Lord. Let's see what he has to offer my senses. Appearance on this one goes as follows, in the pour this maybe the thickest textured brew I have ever poured the addition of molasses may have something to do with that. Color spectrum yep it's dark simply engulfs all visible light waves leaves behind a resilient line of thin moccha tan head that with my first sip starts to leave trickles of lace. Aromatics contained in this nectar are deep thunderous colliding waves dark chocolate, wine like fruit notes arising from the trenches of this beer, along with an espresso barrel aged like finish hop presence is evident and as it warms this is even more so for 13%abv it's not burning any nose hairs, which is a good thing. If nothing else about this beer grabs ahold of you, the flavor is sure to. Massive unparalleled possibly brings another style about redefining the Imperial Stout category for me, brings huge staggering amount of slightly burnt dark roasted malts to the palate the molasses is evident with alcohol infused fruit namingly tart cherry notes screaming out while blending perfectly in this orgy of flavor. A definite strong coffe presence is welcoming and eye opening at the same time, just burped up a load of hops bringing about another wonderful aspect of this beer. Three Floyd's have done it again the Dreadnaught stands as my favorite Imperial IPA this may just take the throne as my all time favorite Imperial Stout. Mouthfeel is chewy yes a beer can be chewy, don't believe me try this one it says it all. Once again the molasses takes the reigns adding to this full bodied beers complexity on the palate tame carbonation wouldn't want it any other way, after pouring in the final yeast sediment from the bottle the texture becomes thicker which is hard to believe. Drinkability couldn't believe that a beer this massive could be so tasty and drinkable in a 22 ounce portion, I don't know what has me completely sold on this beer but it's amazing. Complex as all hell with a huge mouthfeel, aromatics are mesmorizing, and the taste is orchestrated to perfection. Believe the hype this brew will humble you to the Dark Lord the true master of this style, the 3F's have pushed the envelope and succeeded once again I smell a victory.

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2004 16:43:56 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of Dantes

New Jersey

4.88/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Review 100!

Package: 22oz. crowned brown bottle with red wax covering. Frazetta-like label depicts a horned, Norse warrior waving a halberd over a pile of skulls. Some Cyrillic on the side of the label gives the words for Beer, Dark, Warlord, Imperial, Russian and Strong. No ABV or date information listed, but 2004 is the first year for DL bottles. Some gibberish probably cribbed from someone who doesn’t know much about beer... ;^)

Cost: Secured via trade

Presentation: Tough decision. Chose a Riedel Hermitage glass because it was similar to the Port glass, but larger. 55º

Appearance: I’ll try to limit the superlatives, as better BA’s than I have covered them. Cloaks itself in tenebrous, true “absence-of-light” black cerements. Generates quite a decent, very dark head for such a viscous, alcoholic beer that resolves down to a skim. Coats the side of the glass like blackstrap molasses.

Smell: No surprises here. The glass funnels a concentrated cone of volatile alcohol, Indonesian coffee, Mexican vanilla, and cocoa beans from Madagascar and Venezuela straight to your brain. I begin to fear that consuming this might well cause brain damage!

Taste: I needn’t have worried! The strong cocoa, coffee, and alcohol elements are couched in that wonderfully malty matrix. As with Dreadnaught, 3 Floyds incorporates some faintly gentle sweetness to counterbalance the barrage of strong, bitter flavors. This sweetness is like a combination of Banyuls and artisanale balsamic vinegar reduced to something nearing the density of mercury. Joining these elements are a hoppy spiciness similar to what I’ve perceived in warm Dreadnaught, some astringent nuttiness, and eau-de-vie fruitiness. The finish is warm and lingering.

Mouthfeel: And I thought the Expedition Stout was thick! I think this is thicker than the Shell Helix they put into racing Ferraris (and almost as expensive). In the glass, this moves like the oil in those 70's wave machines, coating the glass in a tortoiseshell brown. The bitter, tannic flavors prevent this from becoming syrupy or cloying.

Drinkability: How do you measure this? I fear the Dark Lord too much to not give it full marks. Do I want another? Yes! Would I buy this by the case if I could? Yes! Could I drink myself senseless? Yes!

Backwash: I pledge my fealty to the Dark Lord! The first beer that truly lives up to the hype in every way. In the interests of giving this a fair review, I refrained from smoking the cigar for which this so desperately called. If ever there were a Montecristo ‘A’ beer, this is it! I often seem to criticize the cost of beer, etc.; but this is worth almost any price. It stands up to the best vintage Ports and Madeiras in the way it challenges the drinker with a great gustatory adventure.

NB: To extract the most out of this, I put the "sludge" in a chinoise and gently pressed out what I could into the second glass. It would be interesting to see what a "homogenized" version might be like.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2004 20:03:20 | More by Dantes
Photo of Gusler


5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What the hell can I say about this magnificent creation that has not already been said? This was to be my 6000th beer, but I decided to take it to Papago and as we often bring special beers to sample, this was my choice.

The beer as it slowly oozes out of the 22-ounce brown bottle pours as thick as molasses in January in Maine, it literally makes a glugging sound as it excavates itself from its container. Onyx in color, the head a deep chocolate brown that is creamy as whipped chocolate icing and portly in size, the lace a coat of brown to obscure the glass. Nose is rich bittersweet chocolate, burnt coffee, sweet malt, a treat for both the olfactory and ocular senses, a beer you must sniff to understand its complexity, start is thick and chewy, ambrosial and the top as full as any beer I have ever tasted. Finish is pleasing in its acidity; hops are powerful in their spiciness, the alcohol quite noticeable and the rich sweet chocolate and burnt coffee flavors continue to the parched desert dry aftertaste a quite noticeable tummy warming sensation. “Just one fantastic beer”, but a word of warning not meant for the weak of palate or people not into strong over the top beers, so if you fall into these categories and you have a “Dark Lord” sitting around, send it to me immediately if not sooner. lol

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2004 16:38:27 | More by Gusler
Photo of Bighuge


5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is as black as eternity. A dense, dark brown head adorns the surface and has staying power comparable to a John Wooden Dynasty. Aroma is muggy and juicy. Alcohol and currants meld with plum, raisin, molasses and port. This beer just fucking coats your mouth like none I've ever had. Such a great mouthfeel. And the taste, ironically, is heavenly. 13%?? Damn, I really need to be careful to make this bomber last. There's a big bitterness coming from burnt malts and what I perceive to be high alpha acid PACNW hops. Dark plum, cherry and heavy, sludgey molasses blend together in harmony. Vanilla, cedar, bourbon and alcohol tones fit in very appropriately. The lingering bitterness is abusive, but I love it. I find that if you pour the whole bottle into one glass, you're in for a little surprise. A "beer frosting." I get this great "oil slick" like coating on the surface that contained all the goodness of the beer beneath except in a concentrated, thick, sludge-like form. Beautiful.

Well, I think it's taken me over 1000 reviews, but I have now found a second beer worthy of straight 5s.

What can I say Dale other than Thank You!!

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2004 04:26:15 | More by Bighuge
Photo of BierReise


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

22oz Bomber 2004. Poured quietly and forming a slight eruption of a head that dissapears quickly. There's about an inch of sediment at the bottom of the bottle. This one is black and thick like oil.The aroma is a deep dark and powerful concoction. There's alot going on here. Some words-vinous, port, chocolate covered cherries, bread and alcohol. Mouthfeel is super thick and smooth with very little carbonation and really sticks to your mouth. The alcohol although well hidden is warming me up right now and I fear I may soon sweat. The flavor is one bitter Imperial. A chocolate Port like flavor with a massive hop attack that bitters gently. This is one big beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2004 01:26:14 | More by BierReise
Photo of marburg


4.78/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured with the utmost of caution to get the clean product. As it filled the glass, I could feel the light in the room being drawn into the glass, and the varied screams of past physics professors rained down upon me, "black body!" Well, OK...at the very least, I looked at it and said, "Wow. That shit's black."

And the texture! It took what seemed to be hours for currents and little ripples to form in this beer; you could watch the pregnant surface slowly give way like maple syrup or a thick acyrlic paint. Only some small speckles of head adorn the surface, though later some quick swirls of the glass will change that.

Sexy -- in the black satin with a leather and metal stud accent sort of way -- aromas. Yoo-Hoo meets VSOP meets ripening exotic fruits. I'm immediately struck by the ressemblence this bears to some of my favorite local Kuhnhenn's brews -- and while that may seem to be a compliment to Kuhnhenn's, it's also a compliment to 3F and Dark Lord. Raisenets and layers of chocolate, sugar-sweet alcohol, and oaky vanilla encourage a generous first sip.

Bam! There it is, biatch. Awesome flavor. Rolling waves of dark chocolate, some chocolate/black malt, corn syrup, and alcohol. I was expecting the hops to be overdone, frankly, as is often the case with beers that are so intensely hyped. Not the case. Certainly there was a bit of a citric, leafy presence. But this is excellence because of the complexity of the sweet malt flavors.

Did I mention that this stuff coats the glass like a temporary tatoo?

And oh yeah, it's sticking to my mouth like Pepto. Pure beer intensity in bottled form.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2004 19:57:07 | More by marburg
Photo of pheurton


4.78/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

pours thick and black, black, black, like the last 1/2" of coffee that has been on the hotplate all day and has evaporated to almost all solids. reverse-cascading chocolate milkshake colored head. holding the tulip glass up to the light reveals scarlett highlights where the creamy foam meets the dark liquid and sizeable floaters despite the careful pour. massive roasted malt, cocoa, and black licorice aroma with underlying hints of cappucino, dark cherry, and leafy hops. it has been said before, but i cannot stress enough the thickness and creaminess of this brew as it explodes its flavor on the tounge...just astonishingly rich and creamy. thankfully there is still a noticeable amount of carbonation to hold these flavors together. deeply vinous and roasted, different flavors are observed every time you take a sip: rich imported chocolate, italian coffee, anise, roasted barley and heavy molasses to name a few. towards the middle the beer turns fruity in a merlot way, finishes with a slight citric and leafy hop twang that leaves a distinct coating on the tounge. alcohol is barely noticeable (tastewise, anyway) which is inconceivable for a brew of this strength. still, i cannot imagine more than a glass of this in one sitting.

the sheer complexity and massiveness of the brew boggles the mind. if there's another beer out there that can come close to to it in utter richness, i've yet to come across it. 3 floyds has raised the bar in creating this monster. what a brewery. what a beer.

a big thanks to jackndan for the sample.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2004 03:00:09 | More by pheurton
Photo of Gueuzedude


3.75/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 release; Sampled December 2009; Served at 60+ degrees Fahrenheit.
Slow to form, but ultimately thick, three finger thick head that lingers for quite some time, but doesn' leave much in the way of lacing on the sides of my 25cl tulip glass. The beer is pitch black of cours. Aroma of coffee liquor, dark chocolate, sweetened roasted malt, some smooth alcohol notes. Much more simplistic than I remember, but it is still rich and definitely satisfies my current hunger for a rich stout.

This beer is definitely thick, rich and mouth coating; definitely on the syrupy side of the beer texture spectrum. Quite sweet, which really helps to temper the huge roast character, but in the finish the roast becomes quite bitter and perhaps even a bit astringent; the sweetness never fades as both the roast and the rich sweetness really lingers on the palate for a long time. The dark notes in this beer are layered with bitter black coffee, dark chocolate, acidic roast malt and burnt grain notes. The mouthfeel is quite rich, but can seem a bit thin at times compared to what I remember this beer being.

When I first had this in 2004, it was so rich and so decadent compared to anything else I had ever had. This definitely hasn't withstood the test of time. This is definitely a grand example of the decadent American take on the style, but really isn't nearly as lush, rich or complex as my memory had it being.

2004 bottle release, Sampled April 2004
4.55 total
Strong notes of alcohol and port. Notes of roast malt, coffee, toffee, chocolate liquor, are also found in the nose. The beer is thick viscous, and pours a deep midnight black color with a bit of carbonation but only a dusting of bubbles on the surface. When roused a thick creamy dark brown head forms, one of the darkest heads I have ever seen.

Holy shit, I have never tasted a beer with such a stupefyingly thick body as this. It is very creamy and coats my mouth, it is like sipping on syrup. As expected with this body, it is quite sweet. The sweetness is accentuated by a fresh hop flavor, that when combined give this beer a concentrated fruitiness. This thing must have been heavily hopped in order to have such prominent hop flavor in an Imperial Stout of this stature. From the front to the middle back of this beer you would guess that this was a bottle of concentrated hop nectar, floral character abounds with, grapefruit, bergamot, cherry, concentrated raisin and plum.

The alcohol is not nearly as evident in the taste and the dark malt flavors are not as strong as I was expecting, the fresh hop character seems to mute them out quite a bit. The finish is quite bitter, though with the thick mouth-coating malt sweetness it is hard to pick out at first, but it is really the lingering bitterness long after the beer has left my mouth that lets you know that this is bittered quite well. The dark malt flavors kick in the end as well, just before the bitterness. Notes of concentrated espresso, bitter chocolate, burnt raisin, burnt caramel.

I must admit that with this intense fresh hop flavor, I am not sure that I want to hold on to the rest of these for a long time, though the 4 inches of sludge at the bottom of this bottle (even after a month of sitting) say that I need to move these to my lagering fridge for quite a bit. The fresh hop flavor is quite good right now, and it is so dominant that I can not even guess how this beer will continue to age. I have a feeling that in a year or two this will be a totally and unexpectedly different beer from what it is now. I have no doubt that the Dark Lord will age gracefully for the next 10 or even 20 years, but will it be better than it is now. Oh well only time will tell, I will just have to hang on to a couple over the years.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2004 02:51:50 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of Crosling


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

Ok, take deep breaths.

Rub my hands together knowing that I am the luckiest man in the world tonight.

I've got my cheese. Cream Havarti.

Blow my nose.

I'm going to go get this thing.

I prepared well as I cut the wax off about 2 weeks ago so I wouldn't agitate the sediment.

Cool looking bottle. This will definately be a highlight in the bottle collection.

The pour is completely black. The head is chocolate brown and very creamy. It laces extreamly well especially considering that it is a 13 % beer.

Roasted to shit malts standout in the nose with even more coffee, vanilla, black licorice, melted chocolate, brandy and charred fruit.

Right on the tip of the palate is the charred plum and cherry. Slightly sweet molasses notes that are balanced well by all the dark malts. Tons of dry cocoa, vanilla, cherries, melted chocolate and coffee beans. This is lovely.

Very little carbonation. Unbelieveably drinkable considering the ABV and the style. I would have another in a second. The 13% tastes more like 8 and I am convinced that it is the coffee that does it.

It grows on me more after each and every sip. This beer truly redefines the way I will now view mouthfeel. It's phenomenally smooth but has the consistency of a melted chocolate milkshake.

This is a big beer.

I just finished pouring the rest of that shit in. Now the beer is a muddy brown. Hmmm...

Huge. The beer has now developed some cinnamon, peanut butter and toffee notes. It's sweeter and fuller and fuck, is this filling.

I've consumed most of this. As I look around my office I realize that my eyes are about 1/2 second behind. Focus, dammit, focus.

Was this beer good?

No, it was great!

Was this beer everything it was cracked up to be?


This is delicious but this is no Speedway Stout. I do have another bottle that I was planning on saving for a special occasion in about 2 1/2 years but I think I might revisit this one in a few months.

A mighty big thanks and salute to jackndan for getting me the Dark Lord. It was a pleasure.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2004 07:21:00 | More by Crosling
Photo of francisweizen


5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22oz bomber bottle, direct from the brewery. The triple dipped wax cap is pryed off easily enough, and I pour this brew oh so carefully into a Arrogant Bastard shaker pint. This beer is BLACK. It is completely opaque, and has a small head of tan since I poured it oh-so slowly to prevent getting any sediment into the glass. The aromas were excellent. Raisins, Port, Alcohol, Dark spiced rum, Other dark fruits, Vanilla, Chocolate chip cookies, Starbucks doubleshot expresso drinks, caramel, and more! Complex to say the least, but not as overpowering as I was expecting. The taste was wonderful. Chocolate, Green citric/herbal/floral hops, Deeply roasted malts, Caramel, Coffee, Raisins, Port, Alcohol, Brandy, and more! The mouthfeel was actually a bit thinner than I was expecting for this hardcore imperial, but that just made this beer dissapear amazingly quick, with an exceptional drinkability for a IS. At a few weeks after bottling and a week to rest in the cellar, this beer is so ready, imo. Sure, it may be different and perhaps better in 6 months, but than you will not know how it is in its current state...raw and uncut. If you have 2 bottles of this nectar you owe it to yourself to crack one open now!

OK, so with my second glass of this I left the bottom 4 ounces in the bottle, and than I poured that into the last 2 ounces of "beer" to make my liquid malt shake! The appearance became less opaque and quite sludgy. What a slut of a beer! The aromas were definately hoppier and more boozy with the addition of the yeasties. The taste was also hoppier, more raw, boozier, and less raisiny with a more pronounced chocolate and coffee flavor. There was also a more pronounced raw leafy hop character, as well as some resins. The most important change, however, was the mouthfeel. When clean, this stuff is almost light in the mouth, but with the yeast in there this beer becomes absolutely thick. Thicker than any other beer that I have sampled in my life. This stuff sticks to the inside of your mouth, and makes your lips seal shut. This really is the consistency of pudding! The drinkability remains excellent for this malt shake, and makes this beer even cooler, as you can have two distinctively different glasses of the same beer!

All, in all I thought that this beer *did* live up to the hype. It was pricey, and hard to get, but it also provided me with a nice drinking experience where I got to sample a beer in two completely different forms. I can already tell that this beer would be a world-beater on tap or cask, and I hope to sample it that way soon...but for now, the dark lord has risen, and I am very glad that I got to try him in his infancy. Now, only time will tell how he will mature as he takes the thrown as the king of darkness! (and the king of imperial stouts...) 13%, you have to be kidding me! What an interesting experience! The Courage Russian Imperial Stout of a new generation of beer enthusiasts!

I can just imagine what a 2004 Dark Lord will taste like in 2025!

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2004 17:32:10 | More by francisweizen
Dark Lord Imperial Stout from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
95 out of 100 based on 3,134 ratings.