1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.

3,304 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,304
Reviews: 1,154
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 14.95%
Wants: 2,757
Gots: 1,472 | FT: 95
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Dark Lord Imperial Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,304 | Reviews: 1,154 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of NilocRellim
4.63/5  rDev +8.2%

Had a 2010 Dark Lord on Christmas Eve, 2012.

The beer was a very dark brown with a dark-tan head. It almost looked like a nice espresso, but with a bit more clarity to it. The smell was very strong, sweet and malty with distinct notes of chocolate and coffee. The taste was not as strong as the smell, but was very balanced and mellow. It had a medium to low amount of carbonation. The coffee and chocolate flavours were upfront, but not overwhelming, and it had a nice toffee and nut finish.

Would I buy it again? Absolutely! This beer is amazing and is one of my favourites.

NilocRellim, Dec 26, 2012
Photo of dogfishlove120
4.63/5  rDev +8.2%

08 black wax. I hope that what im drinking wasn't ruined in transit to me it being summer and all. It pours black with a brown burnt sugar carmel colored head. aroma is alcohol, malt, with a heavy carmel scent. it tastes of bitter chocolate toasty malt and burnt caramel. this beer is punishing me at the moment. for the first time ever I think I can say that my stomach is in pain, but my mouth is in love. at first I thought that i coudn't handle this beer but its growing on me. I still in my honest opinion enjoy stone's imperial stout a little more because its something i can drink easily. Please take into note that it is august and this beer was shipped via ups

dogfishlove120, Sep 23, 2008
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.63/5  rDev +8.2%

2007 release, acquired from grub courtesy of the Birthday Club 2 BIF, so a big "Thank you" goes out to him. Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark black color, with a thin brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of dark robust roasted malts, dark fruit, chocolate and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste is everything you look for in an RIS. The semi-sweet flavor of dark chocolate is complemented by mild flavors of dark fruit and coffee. The malt character is as hearty as you will find and there's a mild hops presence that is enough bring a good balance. There's absolutely no trace of the 13.00% ABV. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Viscous and extremely smooth, heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, sticky finish.

D: Very tasty and flavorful, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling for such a thick beer, very strong kick, excellent representation of style, this is a tremendous beer that is worth all of the hype it has received.

TheManiacalOne, Apr 11, 2009
Photo of AgentZero
4.63/5  rDev +8.2%

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.

AgentZero, Sep 07, 2009
Photo of robbyc1
4.63/5  rDev +8.2%

Thanks to Will at Goose Island for the taste! Had it from a bomber he got at DLD in IN.

Inky black with a bit of a tan head, oily looking, unusual!

Nose is deep deep malt, chocolate and coffee notes, unreal.

Taste is even better, great flavors, and balanced, not sweet or sour, just right.

Full mouthfeel, inky and sly. Hmm, more than a taste is enough, maybe 12 oz but that would be it. Great to taste it!

robbyc1, May 03, 2008
Photo of stonequarrywest
4.63/5  rDev +8.2%

2007 into my KBS snifter

Pours deep dark and beautiful...like motor oil. Really is like motor oil... thin head that doesnt stick around.

Complex nose of deep roasted malts, chocolate, burnt fruits..tobacco. Love it.

Clings to the glass with every sip..Huge thick mouthfeel...fork and knife thick. Sweet coffee, raisins, chocolate....

Insanely good Beer

stonequarrywest, Apr 13, 2009
Photo of beefmental
4.63/5  rDev +8.2%

2013 vintage

Aroma – dark cherries, fudge, caramel, a bit of alcohol, sugary sweetness, a touch of vanilla

Appearance – thin dissipating head, jet black, opaque, lacing that sticks to the glass

Mouth Feel – thick but not as thick as I remember from previous bottle, silky, coating, medium / low carbonation, slight alcohol warmth

Taste – similar to what I picked up in the aroma but with more depth than the aroma, sweet, fruity, complex, cark cherries, concord grapes, chocolate chips, a touch of coffee. The sweet, fruity complexities trump the roast found in other beers of this style

Overall – A huge thank you to jrmann1386 and his generosity! This was a very enjoyable bottle. I took over 45 minutes to savor this one. This beer is a fun interpretation of a big, bold stout – each taste enjoyable and complex.

beefmental, Jul 03, 2013
Photo of Viggo
4.63/5  rDev +8.2%

Wow, I had been excited about opening this one for a while. Cracked the orange wax, killed one bottle opener and then continued. Poured, and a dark brown/tan head rose from the depths, laced and stuck around until i finished my goblet. The lace just stuck to the glass like glue. The beer is black as anything I've seen, I thought it was going to suck in all the light from outside. Very oily consistently, very thick. Smells like coffee, with a slight slight alcohol underton, very roasty and you can smell the bitterness from the malts. The taste is like fine espresso, very nice and bitter coffee, the monster 13% ABV camoflaged in the flavour. Very roasty bitter and dry, and not very sweet like most imperial stouts I've had. The mouthfeel was insanely thick and coating, but this beer was very smooth and creamy for how big it is. I would not be able to drink a whole bottle but what I had was enough to know this is definately a world class beer, can't wait to open my other bottle.

Viggo, May 27, 2005
Photo of cbros
4.63/5  rDev +8.2%

Serving type- 08 Vintage poured into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a magnificant jet black with a resounding 3 finger deep khaki tan color. The cling to the glass is also very superb and stays throughout. This is one of the nicest looking beers I have ever seen.

S- To start I am picking up some raisin notes followed by a malty and chocolaty finish. There are also subtle hints of coffee as well.

T- The great thing about this beer is that it mellows and becomes more flavorful as I allowed the beer to warm. Right of the bat I picked up the roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee in addition to a small ending hint of tobacco flavors; however after a few minutes the beer had a chance to warm up and this is where I get a nice big consistant helping of chocolate flavoring. This is a very tasty RIS and for its ABV suprisingly lacking in alcohol taste.

D- As mentioned above for the apparent strength of this beer it have a very high drinkability rating. I have consumed 'weaker' beers only to be hit with a harsh alcohol presence. This beer has none of that.

I have been saving this bottle for over 2 years and am very happy that a. I waited and b. It lived up to it's hype. This is a phenominal beer and one that I look forward to acquiring more of in the future.

cbros, Aug 10, 2010
Photo of brentk56
4.63/5  rDev +8.2%

Appearance: Pours out an incredibly dark black viscous color with a beautiful tawny head and some lacing; the head fails to last, however and the liquid just sits there like molasses

Smell: Starbucks on steroids; deep roasted coffee bouquet with lots of dark cocoa powder and alcohol mixed in

Taste: Incredible stout flavors; lots of deep rich coffee, dark dark chocolate and hints of dark fruit swirl around the tongue with a nice bitter chocolate finish with a touch of mint

Mouthfeel: Thick and viscous; moderate carbonation; plenty of warmth on the finish

Drinkability: Not to be indulged everyday, this stout demands a special occasion; a wondrous potion with an incredible mouthfeel that sets it apart from other beers

brentk56, Jul 27, 2005
Photo of RockerD
4.63/5  rDev +8.2%


This first time I had this beer it was a "no-name". I bought twelve bottles for $150... now you can't even get two for that price. When I brought it home and poured... it wrecked my glass. I had to throw it out!!!

The 08 has come a long way. It pours pitch black with little or no head. The smell is blackberries, carmel, coffee, vanilla, and similar hints to Alpha King and Gumballhead.

The taste is hard to explain. Imagine you're walking down the street and someone just shoved a sandwich in your mouth. You'd be shock. And I still am everytime I drink it. Sorry I can't go any further than that... Just get some.

Mouthfeel is like oil. Craziness!

Lots of drinkability here... but certainly because of it's uniqueness and freak-show like fame.

RockerD, Mar 29, 2009
Photo of DoomyMcDoomdoom
4.63/5  rDev +8.2%

2011 Yellow Wax

I was not fortunate enough to attend Dark Lord Day. But I am fortunate enough to have friends that regularly do and value me enough to share.

The 2011 variety of this fan favorite was a bit sweet for my taste but it provided a unique body and consistency that I hadn't experienced in Dark Lord before.

However, it's syrupy body is its downfall. If this beer to have one fault it is that it feels as though you're drinking maple syrup from a glass. It's a bit rough to choke down.

DoomyMcDoomdoom, Dec 05, 2011
Photo of lostbearbrew
4.63/5  rDev +8.2%

Thanks to Ken! This was a long awaited treat; it surely didn't disappoint, and was likely the most complex Double or Imperial Stout I've sampled. Ok, so here's my review:

22oz. bomber with drippy orange wax seal...served at about room temp, with a lil chill added, maybe 65 degrees F. Served in snifters, to three people, so maybe 7.6 oz each.

My God is this stuff BLACK and THICK! Reverse cascading head that brings a tan head of an inch or so. The thickness of the brew extends to the lacing - sort of morphs slowly along the glass.

At first whiff, there are three aromas that come screaming to mind - coffee, chocolate and dried fruits. Upon a few more sniffs, there comes clear a distinct plum and cherry aroma. Then the brew warms more and berries, currants, roasted malts and other burnt odors come forth.

First sip was almost too much for the palette to handle. Very complex and HUGE beer. Simply overwhelming. From the coffee blast to the sweetness of chocolate, to a bitter chocolate to some hops, that all atop a huge malt backbone, with what tastes like it could be nearly a half dozen malt flavors fighting for the top levels. The roasted ones make the top tier and sort of perform a landing platform for the rest. Maybe some molasses or brown sugary/caramel notes way late in the sip, right before the alchohol blast, which grows larger as the beer warms completely to room temp. Leaves a strong bittersweet chocolate flavor on the back of the tongue.

Mouthfeel is gigantic, almost too much happening to completely enjoy the beer. I find it almost overdone, but certainly intriguing and enticing in many ways. Drinks like a freakin milkshake, and with much more flavor.

A sipper, and honestly, glad I split out the bottle with 2 others, but, wish I had another for on down the line at the same time.

lostbearbrew, Oct 27, 2005
Photo of madtowndmb1
4.63/5  rDev +8.2%

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!

madtowndmb1, Aug 10, 2009
Photo of s1ckboy
4.63/5  rDev +8.2%

Had an 09’ white wax bottle at Ebenezer’s pub in Maine. Paid a hefty price but it was worth it to have this beauty. Very smooth for 15% abv. Though you can definitely taste the alcohol, it’s not overpowering. All other flavors come through, chocolate, molasses, prunes(?). Great beer, believe the hype.

s1ckboy, May 28, 2011
Photo of FishGetter
4.63/5  rDev +8.2%

2009 Vintage
A huge thanks to jaxon53 for sharing a bottle with me during his tour at Czepiel Farms. Jet black apperance, slight brown color when held to the light. Dark mocha head, one finger, fades to small ring around glass rim.
Coffee grounds, mild, mixed with dark cherry aromas. Reminds one of chocolate cherry truffles.
Cherry liquor flavors detected after a good room temp warm-up. Toasted grain flavor of chocolate and coffee. Mild hints of liquorice and alchol. Some aok tannis detected.
Thick heavy mouthfeel, good syrupy feel. Great solid body here thats a bit chewy.
Truelly a remarkable offering here. Very complex charecters especially as brew warms up. Well worth the troubles one may encounter to have the privilege of trying this one.

FishGetter, May 11, 2010
Photo of CuriousMonk
4.61/5  rDev +7.7%

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

CuriousMonk, Apr 30, 2011
Photo of dar482
4.61/5  rDev +7.7%

Our ranking of the vertical. 2014, 2012, 2013.

The 2014 is a wonderful treat. In the front, there's chocolate and roasted malt. Then the beer gets quite sweet with a rich dark caramel and brown sugar along with some umami, molasses, and meaty notes. There's a dance of coffee to get that sweetness off slightly with a hint of raisins and dark fruit.

The mouthfeel on this is thick and chewy.

2013 unfortunately was thin on the flavor and too sweet throughout. For this one, I agree that the the beer isn't really quite worth the hype. I love sweet beers, but this was a bit much.

On the other hand, '14 was quite glorious and worth the hype. I have heard many people warn that this beer is overhyped, but I was pleasantly impressed by this.

dar482, May 19, 2014
Photo of MRAnderson
4.61/5  rDev +7.7%

2012(Red Wax) obtained this from a private seller

A: Jet Black indiana ink with a slight brown residue left on the side of the glass. No light getting through but i do see somewhat of a dark amber color poking through ever so slightly. I poured aggresively and i go zero head at all and there is actually no alcohol retention on the side of the glass what so ever..needless to say folks this is a huge beer! This is think, this is dark and this beer is no joke!

S: I popped the cap on this and the smell just slapped me right across my mouth. I get raisins, port,Brandy,Cognac,slight hints of dark chocolate,brown sugar,vanilla,chewing tobacco fresh from the pouch and alcohol to bring all of these amazing aromas together to overwhelm your senses. Three Floyds does their own thing and this is reminds of me of a lot of Russian Imperials that have been aged for years...These guys are geniuses and anyone who doesn't get this beer and what they were going for are beer noobs.

T: sooo sweet at the front with some alcohol and dark fruits all over the back end of this beer, i am picking up on some slight chocolate notes, but i get zero coffee notes. This beer is like a fine Cognac with Port than anything really but Three Floyds may call it whatever they like..i call it a delicious brew.

M: Thick with a lot of sugar, it reminds me of a under aged mulberry wine i had once as far as it coating my mouth with sugar and dark fruitiness. This beer is thick and it coats your mouth with stickiness that comes from all the amazing ingredients in this beer leaving you with a complex mouth feel that lasts...Every sip leaves my lips lined with sugary goodness.

O: what a very unorthodox brew let a lone a Russian Imperial Stout. It seems Three Floyds created a stout that has the feel of one that has been aged for at last 5 years while only doing it for one (depending on the bottle you have)..This is such a unique brew and i cant wait to get my hands on another bottle, preferably one from this upcoming DLD(2013)

MRAnderson, Feb 25, 2013
Photo of far333
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%

Served at cellar temperature. Deep dark brown colored, looks thicker than motor oil. Not much head at first, but as I top off the glass a thick inch-high dark brown head rises up from the depths of the liquid and pushes up the sides of the glass. The bubbles at the bottom release their gas to the surface and create a small cascading effect.

Aroma is full and rich - roasted malt, toffee and raisin, some bitter cocoa, and some sweetness.

Flavor is rich and pungent, but incredibly smooth. It's full of ripe fig and plum, raisin and cocoa, a bit of a cherry/rhubarb tang, rich and airy milk chocolate, and burnt espresso, all wrapped in a smokey outer layer. A fine hop undercurrent rides beneath. The flavors all do their thing at the same time, rolling around as the liquid moves through the mouth and across the tongue. The ABV is scarily hidden, very understated, not making its presence known.

Mouthfeel is silky smooth, velvety. Moderate carbonation allows all the flavors to rise up. Pretty damned drinkable for what it is. Perhaps a good thing I only have one.

This was an early birthday gift from BuckeyeNation a few months ago, but I held onto it until my birthday a few days ago, and what a generous gift.

far333, Jun 28, 2005
Photo of branimal9
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%

2010 vintage, shared with my fellow Upstate BA'ers - 6/9/2010. Thanks to whichever kind soul brought out this bottle of evil.

Deep brown and dark as hell in color. Raisiny, chocolate hotness on the nose. Flavor brings with it waves of dark chocolate, cherry, raisin, vanilla & coffee. Thick and oily in consistency, with syrup-like texture. Difficult to fully express in words, but this was a beast of a beer that I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience.

branimal9, Jun 15, 2010
Photo of Vonerichs
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%


Thick, dark, and one finger of cinnamon colored head.

It has vivid and robust scents of coffee, chocolate, and berries. There's a hoppy edge to it.

One of the best tasting RISs around. Dark chocolate, dark roasted coffee, vanilla and a dash of cinnamon is complimented by dark berries and pine hops.

Mouthfeel is velvety and smooth. Slightly boozy, but hey, it's 15%. Finish has an acidic like bitterness of coffee.

Good drinkability, even at 15%. This lives up to the hype, for sure.

Vonerichs, Jan 01, 2011
Photo of BierFan
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%

Many thanks to BA member cheyneyr for this gift. Shared with my father and uncle on Christmas day. Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Thick and Black. Only a light dusting of bubbles. Never enough to fully coat the surface of the beer.

Smell: Kind of smells like a cider at first but with a syrupy sweetness. Plums and cherries, as well. wasn't expecting such a fruity and vibrant smell.

Taste: Cherry, currants, and milk chocolate. Bitterness is just right. Any higher and it would start to detract from the rich flavors. Aftertaste of syrupy dark fruits. After-aftertaste of an iced coffee drink. Little bit of a warming alcohol bite.

This has been one of my favorite beer experiences.

BierFan, Dec 25, 2009
Photo of Deconstructionis
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%

This is a stout Stout. Rich, potent flavorful, complex-- a classic.

As close to black as it is possible to get with a creamy light brown head that subsides to a surface foam. one of the best smelling beers ever. Roasted malt mixed with coffee. pecans and light smoke. This is beer. the taste is robustly malt with everything else appropriately in the background but what a background-- coffee, chocolate, nuts, a hint of smoke, savory spice-- just a real work of art. Rich, luxurious even, body but not overly syrupy. This is a heavy brew in all respects but so good you'll be tempted to indulge past the point of good sense.

Deconstructionis, Aug 31, 2006
Photo of Luk13
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%

Finally. Couldn't wait to try this one. Thank you so much Gary for the bottle, vintage 2010. Reddish black pour with little to no head. Complex aroma of coffee, molasses and cherries and but also scotch (peat, smoke) aged port and a hint of soy sauce. Wonderful flavors of chocolate covered maraschino cherries alongside with dark fruits such as prunes and grapes. Incredibly tasty. The vinous mouthfeel showcase the flavors magnificiently without being too heavy. A beautiful marriage of the intensity of the american style with the drinkability of the European interpretations. Beyond my expectations.

Luk13, Sep 19, 2010
Dark Lord Imperial Stout from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
95 out of 100 based on 3,304 ratings.