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

Not Rated.
Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout

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

3,379 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,379
Reviews: 1,159
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 14.95%
Wants: 2,796
Gots: 1,496 | FT: 99
Brewed by:
Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub visit their website
Indiana, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  15.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes/Commercial Description:
A Demonic Imperial Russian stout brewed with INTELLIGENTSIA coffee,vanilla, and molasses.

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

Vintage guide:

Red wax = 2004
Orange wax = 2005
Gold wax = 2006
Silver wax = 2007
Black wax = 2008
White wax = 2009
Green wax = 2010 - 15% ABV
Yellow wax = 2011 - 15% ABV
Red wax = 2012 - 15% ABV
Orange wax = 2013 - New Label 15% ABV
Blue wax - 2014 - 15% ABV

(Beer added by: cretemixer on 12-13-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,379 | Reviews: 1,159 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of plaztikjezuz
4.72/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to grub for this sample, my first international trade, funny it was for an ameican beer.

2007 vintage

pour jet black, kind of viscus, the beer appears to be very thick. there is a slight head not too much but it falls into nothing over 20 minutes. lightly carbonated, which is to style.
the aroma is rich malty, dark chocolate, hint of cherries, coffee, other fruit, and alcohol.
the flavor is very rich and malty dark malt give it a chocolate and coffee flavor, there is some caramel and toffee, good bitterness to cut the malt, some spicy flavors, alcohol warming.
this beer is over all very good, balanced for its size and very flavorful.

plaztikjezuz, Apr 26, 2008
Photo of
4.88/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2007 Vintage

Opaque, black as motor oil with a couple hundred thousand miles on it. Perhaps a hint of red/brown at edges when held up to light....maybe just the flames of hell? Poured thick, you have to shake the bottle a bit to get it out. A small ring of dark brown bubbles formed around the edge of the glass.

Scent that first struck me was molasses. This was followed by quite a bit of roast character. A large dark fruit presence hit next, port-like. Alcohol/bourbon seemed to round out the scent.

Taste was more sweet than bitter, guess a year of age allowed the hops to calm down. Probably try one fresh this year to see the difference. Dark chocolate and coffee. Molasses again. Lots of dark fruits. Just a hint of soy, especially as it got close to room temperature. Alcohol taste was surprisingly subdued. Relatively mild herbal bittering at the finish.

Mouthfeel was fantastic. Thick, velvety smooth body. Minimal carbonation. Quite sweet. Alcohol starts to warm you up quickly.

An exceptional stout. Complex, great flavor, and an incredible mouthfeel, which is not a beer characteristic I had ever noticed as much as I did with this beer other than carbonation level. This beer may be hyped, but it doesn't disappoint.

, Apr 25, 2008
Photo of SQNfan
4.9/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2007 bottle at DLD: Black as night it had a slight brown head that left some nice brown lacing. The nose was huge and filled with expresso, chocolate and porty overtones. While not as potent as the barrel-aged version, in the mouth it was the dense, thick, syrupy and oily. While the alcohol lever is high, it is never hot. The flavors from the nose fill the palate and cover every nook and cranny. This is an intese huge beer that should be drank in small quantities. However credit needs to be given as it is balanced which is not an easy feat for something this size.

SQNfan, Apr 24, 2008
Photo of ffejherb
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for breaking out the Dark Lord, Deuane!

A - Pitch black body with blood red head that receded into a wispy thin veil and left very minimal lacing. Not much carbonation to report, but who can see through that thick, opaque darkness?

S - Quite a complex aroma with hints of prunes, dried apricots, soy sauce, beef jerky and dark chocolate.

T - Kicks off with a prevalent beef jerky and soy sauce flavor, but segues into a sweet flavor with lots of dark fruit and chocolate.

M - Extremely smooth, oily texture with a viscous quality. Very soft carbonation, if any at all. Bit of heat from the high ABV, creating a warm feeling on the palate.

D - Definitely a sipper, but I can see what all the fuss is about. Big, bold flavors and an exceptional mouthfeel make this one of the best RIS offerings out there.

ffejherb, Apr 22, 2008
Photo of cheers2beers
4.88/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Saved this from a trade, One year later,( '07 Vintage) it is time to indulge in this masterpeice.

Appearance: This beer pours like motor oil with little to no head. As I swirl the glass I see enourmous tar-like legs streaming back downward into the abyss that it came from. No light can be seem through this totally black liquid.

Smell: The aromas are complex and intoxicating. Lots of chocolate notes seem to be the backbone of this brewha. I'm also getting some roasted coffee bean, perhaps some mesquite wood, and even hint of black cherries.

Taste: Wow! Explosive alcohol and semi-sweet chocolate hits you immediately. I'm also getting some vanilla quaffs with black licorice. Not alot of coffee is noticable, but I am detecting a little bit of raisiny dark fruits. Tons of roastiness. This leaves a sticky alcoholic, chocolate, and cooking spice of some sort all throughout my mouth. A truely delightful and complex treat indeed!

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is thick, sticky and yet silk-like as well. It leaves a film in my mouth that I seem to taste over and over again. Even at one year later there is a decent amount of carbonation left.

Drinkability: This is a remarkable beer, thou I believe it is hyped up just a notch more than it needs be. Im definitely glad I got to try this and would recommend that you get your hands on this.

Cheers2Beers

cheers2beers, Apr 18, 2008
Photo of bainard
4.9/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - perhaps a shade of brown away from black-hole black, deep khaki head. pours with the consistency of whole milk, perhaps half and half. marvelous

S - dark chocolate, toffee, and a lot of the Intelligentsia coffee that is markedly used in this Chicago-area brew.

T - basically, everything you want from an RIS: coffee, chocolate, roastiness, a twinge of alcohol (something that would suggest 7-8%, but certainly not 13%), gourmet raisins, and perhaps a little dark berry. this is a symphony to behold.

M - thick, but not cloying, like a milkshake that's melted down all the way, with only a bit of carbonation, enough to let you know it's there.

D - for a 13% RIS, i can only again bring up the milkshake analogy. it gives the drinker the amount of pleasure that a perfectly blended shake would give an 11-year-old boy after a Little League game. while it isn't my favorite american stout, it is quite probably the best beer i have ever tasted.

bainard, Apr 11, 2008
Photo of bassmantin
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to iconoklaztor for letting me taste this. What an epic event.

Smell is very very sweet. Reminds me of the Sam Adams Triple Bock. I know that sounds weird, but it's very sweet. The sweetness is incredibly intense and last very long. I like it but the mouthfeel is very intense and sticky. The uniqueness here is in the durability of the taste; it lasts forever.

I'm not blown away, but it's a great beer. A little too sweet for me, but still awesome.

bassmantin, Apr 05, 2008
Photo of bgramer
2.73/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

We opened a 2006 and 2007. My review is focused on 2007.

This pours thick like oil and completely black. There's a nice tan head but that disappears quickly leaving a thin ring around the glass.

This is a BIG beer - incredibly complex with a lot going on. I smell vanilla, roasted malts, chocolate, caramel, coffee, licorice, dark fruits like raisins, etc.

Very low carbonation but very thick and sweet with a medium to full body. It's smoothness and strong flavor really hides the alcohol but is flawed because of that overt sweetness.

This beer is good and worth getting to put aside. It needs aging time.

---

bgramer, Apr 04, 2008
Photo of tempest
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 Vintage served in a Surly Darkness tulip.

Poured an opaque black with a thin, light brown head with a thick and sticky body that left a film on the side of my glass, damn. The taste first reminds me of chocolate cookie (like an Oreo minus the white stuff) with espresso, so of like a chocolate beer biscotti. As it begins to warm there a mild fruitiness of cherries and strawberries that catches me off-guard. The beer finishes with a dry mix of black roasted grains and citrus and spicy hop flavor.

For a 13% RIS, this beer is surprisingly drinkable. I didn't have any problem splitting a bomber with my generous friend who acquired this via trade. There's a lot of smooth chocolate flavors going on and I highly recommend pairing this with the richest chocolate cake, brownies, or fudge you can find.

tempest, Mar 30, 2008
Photo of Deuane
4.55/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A 2007 vintage bottle enjoyed almost at a full year old.

A-motor oil, the very darkest of black with dark caramel head that leaves mucho lacing.

S-Big roast with vanilla, caramel, alchohol. Twinges the nares a bit if you inhale too hard!

T-A cornucopia of all the good things in a RIS.
This brew has them all! Cocoa, nuttiness, dark fruits, robust coffee, licorice, soy sauce, etc.. This is one complex MF'er!

M-Big, bold, robust and full of body...like you thought this would be thin! Ha...more like 10-W40!

D-With all of it's BIGNESS it is extremely smooth, and that is the genius of this beer. The ending alcohol burn lets you know what you are dealing with! This one fresh is a bit much...but with almost a year under it's belt well, this Dark Lord is all grown up!

Deuane, Mar 30, 2008
Photo of JDV
3.9/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 bottle from acertain. Thank you so much for your generosity!

Poured dark black into a snifter with ruby edges when held to the light, and with no head. Mustered a slight dark tan film as it swirled in the glass, but no more than that.

Smell is of char, roasty malt, figs, definite soy note but not in an unpleasant way, and big notes of tart cherry, sweet creamy chocolate and especially lots of molasses. Some alcohol showed, but didn't hinder it, really.

Taste is dark and very rich. Fudge like chewy chocolate, with light hints of soy sauce and the same highly sweet molasses flavor and tart cherries again. Didn't get any notes of coffee whatsoever.
Very low carbonation and a rich mouth coating body. Would actually prefer a touch more carbonation in this. Overall, rich, and smooth and definitely a very creamy, robust flavor, but in the end it was cloyingly sweet, I found. Definitely not one of my favorite Imperial Stouts, but not one I'd ever turn down trying either.

JDV, Mar 24, 2008
Photo of Bitterbill
4.72/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I got this in a trade with orbitalrOx. Thanks Don!

2007 Vintage:

With a vigorous pour, I get a short lived 1" head of tann foam and no lacing. Colorwise, it's a very dark brown/black with some reddish highlights but the first thing I noticed was how thick it looked during the pour. Wow.

The smell is loaded with dark fruit, chocolate, coffee, caramel, cocoa, molasses....will it ever stop? ;^)

The taste pretty much reflects the nose with the addition of a strong port flavour that I didn't really notice in the smell. What I find interesting is that all the flavours seem to take turns taking center stage, not allowing any single one to completely dominate. Sip after sip, sometimes the fruit shines through more, sometimes the Port, sometimes the coffee...you get the idea. lol. The abv is very well hidden because I don't get *any* warming during or after the swallow. I think that's amazing!

Really thick mouthfeel and very lightly carbonated, it finishes mostly with a lean towards chocolate and cocoa so it's a nice pleasant bitterness that I get to enjoy there and in the aftertaste. Very nice RIS and I'm very pleased to have gotten the chance to try it.

Bottom line: Super complex in flavour yet so smooth and easy drinking...hell of a testament to Three Floyds' brewing expertise. Highly recommended!

Bitterbill, Mar 23, 2008
Photo of scottoale
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 vintage reviewed...thanks mucho for the bomber gift Westsidethreat and the bomber trade jaustin72403.

Pours a thick-ass black-brown with a very unique, faint carbonation that forms no head and leaves no lace, so to speak. It does however coat the entire inside of my tulip glass with a gritty, oily looking residue (like sump oil).

The smell is very bitter and burnt, roasty dark chocolate and esspresso that is full of ultra sweet dark over-ripend fruits and molassas. A big note of hazelnut carries throughout, with some alcohol creeping in at times...very nice.

Huge syrupy intro with layers of sweet dark fruits, massive malt, burnt coffee, charred wood, molassas and hazelnut. The flavor penetrates and coats the throat and tongue, then lingers on till your ready for the next sip. Overall very sweet with some chalkiness, but very tasty as well.

Heavy thick body with a tingle on the tongue from the subtle carbonation. The alcohol is fairly well masked for a whopping ABV of 13%.

Kick-ass for the style, easy for me to drink...how bout you?

scottoale, Mar 22, 2008
Photo of gwong
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 edition poured into a tulip glass. Thanks to mudpuppet for a chance to try.

A: Pours a pure black with a reddish hue around the edges when held to the light. No head and no lacing on the glass.

S: Roasted malts and coffee in the nose with hints of fruit.

T: Malts and coffee are prevalent. There's some fruit flavor and a nice port-like finish.

M: Thick, motor oil consistency that leaves a thick coat on the tongue.

D: The ABV and overwhelmingly strong flavors make it difficult to drink more than the serving I had.

gwong, Mar 16, 2008
Photo of Sigurd
4.68/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to mudpuppet for splitting his with a few of us. This was a 2007.

A: Thick dark brown with a red hue on the very outside edge. No head at all.

S: Lots of molasses.

T: Even more molasses with a little maple. Very complex and very flavorful

M: Thick and sticky. Stays in your mouth for a long time after the beer is gone.

D: Heavy, but I could definitely drink a few of these. There's so much flavor and the alcohol doesn't feel like 13%.

All around excellent. If anything it's just a hair too sweet, but that's being nit-picky.

Sigurd, Mar 16, 2008
Photo of triplecoil
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a small wine glass.

Appearance is pitch black with some ruby highlights at the rim and no head to speak (probably the way we poured). Nose is burnt fruit, alcohol, prunes, port. Taste is burnt malt (and lots of it), some over-ripe fruit, raisins, milk chocolate, some mild hop aftertaste and alcohol. Mouthfeel is very viscous with mild bubbles and a lingering burned malt flavor.

A good brew, very mildly reminiscent of Sam Adam's Triplebock in some respects. I would have it again, but it is certainly immensely overrated.

triplecoil, Mar 16, 2008
Photo of Mudpuppet
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Silver waxed 2007 bottle.

A- Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass. Pours a motor oil black with a reddish hue around the sides. No head to speak of.

S- A bourbon barrel nose (even though I don't think it is bourbon barrel aged). Dark malts prevail in this nose. Not quiet as fragrant as I was hoping.

T- Very dark malts with a noticeable alcohol. Molasses, dark fruits and a boubon-y flavor. Some coffee and chocolate in this one too.

M- This is a thick one. Nice mouthfeel for a RIS. Lower carbonation.

D- So obviously I couldn't get too many bottle of this but it is very tasty. I tried Darkness recently and was let down so I am happy this is a great beer.

Mudpuppet, Mar 16, 2008
Photo of twokansamm
2.88/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

2007 Bottle

What a total let down. I split this bottle three ways and thank God I did, because I couldn't have handled more than the 7 1/3 ounces I put down. All I can keep thinking is that this is a stout that they actually added some port wine directly to the bottle for a 50/50 mixture. The look and aroma are really a wonderful thing, but the sweetness and wine like taste are just too much for me.
I've had many other imperial stouts, and this ranks at the bottom. In fact, the next beer I am going to review has a higher alcohol content (It is the Bristol XXX Winter Warlock) and it totally retains a stout like character. I would never have known that the DL was an imperial stout. My suggestion... don't skip this one... you have to try just to say you've done it, but be ready. As far as flavors go in the DL, pretty much all the other reviews hit it head on... they just forgot to mention the addition of 11 ounces of port wine. :)

twokansamm, Mar 14, 2008
Photo of irishevans
3.78/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours opaque brown/black with very little brown head, and smells almost like an english barleywine. the taste is very carameley sweet, but still bitter at the same time. it has a super thick mouth-feel one that i would expect from a barleywine, not bad, but not quite what i was expecting. drinks real slow. overall a good brew, just not quite what the hype makes it out to be.

irishevans, Feb 29, 2008
Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 vintage, thanks to orbitalr0x for the trade.

Pours incredibly black with no light escaping and no head whatsoever. The nose is strangely sweet and reminds me slightly (very) of JW Lees. Wierd I know. Upon first taste there are notes of smoke and oak. Plenty of Vanilla. Dark bitter chocolate and slight coffee flavors round out the middle. Hop bitterness creeps up on the finish with an akward sweetness ala BBCS on the finish. Mouthfeel is good and viscous, but could be creamier. The drinkability is good, but Ive had better. I can't help but think this is a classic case of the hype machine getting out of control. This is a wonderful imperial stout, but to tell you truth, Id rather have a breakfast stout or and old/older viscosity. Dont get me wrong, this is a wonderful imperial stout, but, well... didn't live up to the hype for me.

Note: 2008 vintage was more desireable for me fresh, and having tried some vintages as early as 05, this beer ages extremely well. A fine imperial stout, under the right circumstances.

AKBelgianBeast, Feb 29, 2008
Photo of SPLITGRIN
4.78/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A beefy two finger milk chocolate brown head has incredibly active bubbles that fade to just a skim in a couple of minutes. Body is an evil soulless pure blackness. Nose resembles port very much in a good way with alchol soaked dark fruit, well made licorice with some electric sweet tones. Smooth silky blackness enters the mouth with first sip. The port characteristics keep true with the flavor with some dark chocolate notes mixed in. Raisens, plums, and rum cake is are darkly delecious. This is luxurious and quite the sipper. Unique in its deepth and complexity among stouts. Mouthfeel is very dark and desirabley rich. Although I couldnt drink this everyday, I would love to. Amazing, bold and rich.

SPLITGRIN, Feb 24, 2008
Photo of largadeer
3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2007 vintage with silver wax.

Appearance - Oily and black with no head whatsoever. The occasional rising bubble settles on the surface for a moment, giving the appearance of a bubbling tar pit. Although there's no lace, the beer does coat the glass in an oily residue.

Smell - Sweet and rich. Molasses, coffee and milk chocolate come to mind, with undertones of vanilla and raisins.

Taste - Mellower than I was expecting and actually downright pleasant. Flavors of licorice, molasses, vanilla and coffee blend together harmoniously, presenting enough complexity to make this an enjoyable beer to sip for several hours. The finish is long and coating, leaving a roasted bitterness on the palate. No noticeable alcohol despite the rather high ABV; the sweet, rich flavors seem to overpower its presence.

Mouthfeel - Thick; absurdly thick. Dark Lord gave me a new standard for the term "full-bodied." This beer literally has the consistency of whole milk. Carbonation is nearly non-existent and never really felt, which only contributes further to the chewy mouthfeel.

Drinkability - The massive mouthfeel, while probably the beer's greatest attribute, also makes it difficult to drink both frequently and in large quantities - I'd have a hard time finishing a bottle by myself.

largadeer, Feb 22, 2008
Photo of hwwty4
4.68/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks BradLikesBrew.

Vintage 2007. Poured into a 6oz brandy snifter. Poured jet black with wisps of mahogany along the edges when the liquid was held up to the light. The beer had almost no head whatsoever even with a aggressive pour, but left oily lacing down the entirety of the glass. Beautiful beer. Aroma was big with coffee and bakers chocolate up front. Hints of vanilla, toffee, and plums were also there. The finish of the nose was almost cherry/almond. Taste was up front with the coffee and anise but mellowed into dark fruits and chocolate with a slight alcoholy burn that paired extremely well. Mouthfeel was full and oily. Exceptionally drinkable.

hwwty4, Feb 18, 2008
Photo of Mebuzzard
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bottle of 2007 consumed just about one year later.
Black. Dark. Evil pour. Motor oil is lighter than this. Smooth looking as well. Head stayed a bit low, built up to about 1 finger, dense off brown/tan and sticky.
Coffee, chocolate, powder cocoa, anise, plum and alcohol round out the nose. Not one is dominant or too strong. Nice blend. Mix could be confusing.
Coffee and anise at the start of the taste. Followed close with unripe black plum, some prune and molasses. Ends with a touch of caramel, but mostly powder cocoa and silk chocolate. Not as complex as I thought it would be. Not as outstanding as I thought.
A good brew, but not worth the trade and effort to obtain.

Mebuzzard, Feb 18, 2008
Photo of flexabull
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally decided to crack this one open...

I got 2 bottles courtesy of mynie and todd1, thanks again guys!

This is from 2007.

Pours super thick, black, and with a dark tan head that fades rather quickly.

Aromas are of burnt sugars, molasses, dark baking chocolate and booze.

This is a very flavorful beer, but not overpowering. Smooth dark burnt bitter chocolate, dark fruits, roasted malts, molasses, and some booze flavors. Finish is warm, long, and with a sharp mineral hop bite.

Mouthfeel is great, very thick and full in the mouth.

Drinkability is quite good. Dark Lord lived up to the hype for me. Not the best beer I have had, nor the best Russian Imperial Stout I've had either. But with that said, this is still a top notch beer, that is very deserving of the high scores it receives.

flexabull, Feb 11, 2008
Dark Lord Imperial Stout from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
95 out of 100 based on 3,379 ratings.