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Dark Lord Imperial Stout | 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

1,250 Reviews
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Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Indiana, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 15.00%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
A demonic Russian-Style Imperial Stout brewed with coffee, Mexican vanilla, and Indian sugar, this beer defies description. Available one day a year, in April at the brewery: Dark Lord Day.

Vintage guide:
Red wax = 2004
Orange wax = 2005
Gold wax = 2006
Silver wax = 2007
Black wax = 2008
White wax = 2009
Green wax = 2010 - 15% ABV
Yellow wax = 2011 - 15% ABV
Red wax = 2012 - 15% ABV
Orange wax = 2013 - New Label 15% ABV
Blue wax = 2014 - 15% ABV
Maroon wax = 2015 15% ABV
Black with glitter flecks wax = 2016

Added by cretemixer on 12-13-2002

User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,250 | Ratings: 4,113
Photo of pastradul
3.58/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

09 vintage.

Big thanks to scheid for this bottle.

Poured into stone og glass.

The pour has little head which would be expected. But the beer is surprisingly not that thick or dark as I was expecting.

The aroma is super sweet malt, a bit to sweet for me. Smells if it sits for a while longer it would develop a "nice" soy sauce flavor...

The taste is over powered by the sweetness, some coffee and dark malts come through but not much out side the sweetness.

I am glad I only had a taster of this because I probably wouldn't have finished anything larger.

I know this vintage was a bad year, so I will need to try others and try them. But for now I am very unimpressed with this super hyped brew.

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Photo of nhindian
3.55/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a Surly Darkness tulip. Bottle courtesy of brian23456, thanks Brian! Split with russwbeck. Consumed after Surly Darkness.

2010 Vintage (Olive green wax)

A - The beer doesn't pour as much as slowly spill out of the bottle, thick and viscous and black as night. Don't even think about getting any traces of highlights with this beer, even when sipping. The head is less impressive, only offering about half a finger's worth with okay retention. When it's gone it's gone, leaving only a few strands of thin foam on the surface. The color of the head itself is lighter than Darkness, coming in at a sort of tan color. Lacing is decent as well, with a few random splotches, but again, Darkness wins in this regard as well.

S - The smell is oddly familiar and yet quite vague. After reading some other views, it seemed soy sauce was a common theme, so we pulled out a large bottle of soy sauce that Russ had laying around. Yep, there is definitely some comparisons to be made, unfortunately. However, there are also deep aromas of almost milk chocolate and nearly burnt malts, like a slight charcoal. It's also very sweet and there is some fusel-like alcohol notes as well.

T - My first taste took my by surprise as its incredibly sweet, bordering on the wrong side of cloying, which isn't a term to be used lightly. The sweetness is a shock at first, but it gradually becomes more acceptable, yet it's still a bit much. The chocolate makes a strong resurgence here as well, bringing a nice flavor. The malts and molasses bring a distinct flavor, but can't say it doesn't add to the already sweet base. The alcohol is back as well, but actually imparts a bit of rum-soaked fruits that is interesting.

M - Mouthfeel is heavy-bodied with moderately low carbonation. More carbonation that Darkness despite the weaker head. The liquid is thick and leaves a solid coating on the palate.

D - Drinkability is moderate. Unfortunately, this beer is much too sweet and alcoholic for my tastes. It's unique in that it plays on the sweeter side of the Russian Imperial Stout spectrum, but in my opinion it's a bit too much. I'm really glad I got to try it, but I can't say I wasn't a little disappointed with it.

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Photo of seeswo
3.55/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Green wax (2010) bottle shared by Jeremy (thanks man!), poured into my Bruery tulip.

Pours a very dark, heavy blackish color with very small tannish head that is gone almost immediately. Looks a bit thinner than I was under the impression this beer was. To be fair, I was under the impression this was Kuhnhenn Solar Eclipse thick, so it would have been almost impossible for me to be correct as I believe you could float a marble on the top of that brew ;) I digress. The smell is roasted malts, caramel, coffee, a touch of booziness and smokiness. The taste is not as sweet as I thought it was going to be - actually the sweetness, which included dark fruit-like flavors and roast, was tempered by the smokiness present in the beer. To me, this smoky flavor dominated the flavor profile and was just a bit out of balance. [EDIT: After reading some other reviews, the smokiness, which was acknowledged by the other people I was splitting this with, may have been more like charred malts or something in that vein.] There was little to no booziness. Certainly a lot going on in this bottle - I can see why people like it. I am pretty particular about my imperial stouts, and for me, this one fine, but I don't get the hype. For people who hold additional value to complexity, I think this beer would get an uptick. The mouthfeel was right on and, again, not as syrupy as expected in a pleasing way. Dare I say I had no trouble getting this down easy and was surprised it was 15%. They certainly have done a fantastic job keeping that down.

[EDIT: I just had the opportunity to share in a Dark Lord 07-11 vertical and it has changed my opinion on the beer. 09 and 10 were drinking terribly and were not finished. 11 tasted like it had green peppers in it and maybe a little chili. 07 and 08 were alright. In general, a group of 6 people were quite unhappy with the beers collectively. The above review was 4/4/4/4.5/4.5 and I am downgrading it severely.]

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Photo of russwbeck
3.55/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 Vintage, shared with nhindian after Surly Darkness

A: Way less head than Darkness. Small off white to light brown head with hardly any retention. What does stick around laces nicely.

S: Basically all I get is chocolate and booze on the smell. It's very sweet. Don't quite know what to attribute that to though.

T: The taste is so sweet. The sweetness is quite as overwhelming as other stouts, but it really does dominate. Milk chocolate and a lot of booziness. Greg and I noticed that some reviewers noted soy sauce in the smell and taste, so I busted out a container of soy sauce to compare. Sure enough, I can understand it. While Soy Sauce is not dominant, hints of it are noted, which really surprised me.

MF: Very heavy, but not a terrible amount of carbonation. The alcohol is very noticeable.

O: Like Darkness, I was pretty underwhelmed. Honestly I'd take Yeti over either of those any day at the price point. I think these beers are far over-hyped. Perhaps they'll improve with some age, but fresh there's nothing special happening for me.

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Photo of SkiBum22
3.54/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark brown w/ one finger of bubbly espresso coloured head.

S - Big coffee nose up front with some noticeable alcohol, roasted malts and char. There is a big sweetness here too that is balanced by the ABV somewhat.

T - Chocolate and coffee with a big bold molasses sweetness. Vanilla and dates and figs. Quite sweet which definitely hides the booze completely.

M - The feel is thick and syrupy with a long coating finish. It does go flat about halfway through the glass though.

O - This beer did not live up to the hype for me. I love the fact that it's 15% ABV as I wish more breweries would try to make beers this strong. It's definitely an above average stout and good for the high ABV but this beer is way overhyped. I would not trade for this considering what you have to give up to get a bottle.

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Photo of claaark13
3.54/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A long day left me jones'n for a thick RIS. Since Thomas sent this over as an extra in a super-box (thank you!), I decided to give the 2012 DL one last shot before 2013. Poured at cellar temp into a Hill Farmstead tulip.

A - Pours pretty dark, light tan and short head that quickly becomes lacing. Looks thick, but the lacing doesn't stick well at all to the glass. The rest is pretty good. The weak legs is all that's holding this back.

S - Sweet soy sauce. Some roast seems to be there, but it is covered in sugar. Notes of sweetened condensed milk and coffee. At some points it makes me think of this 50/50 condensed milk and espresso I once tried.

T - Sweet dark fruits, molasses, coffee. Lots of sugar. Sweet coffee and dark malts become so dominating. It doesn't seem too complex once the middle starts. The sweetness starts to subside in the finish and non-sugared coffee shows itself. I don't get any booze, which is impressive.

M - Very thick; not the thickest, but very thick.

O - It is better than most shelf-RIS in my opinion. In a world of Hill Farmstead, Surly and Cigar City, and Bruery, I have a tough time with DL. An immense amount of sweetness really covers the flavors. Any transition between flavors tastes like sugar. This bottle is miles beyond what I tried at DLD though, so it has improved. FFF should just throw all of their DL in barrels and be done with it.

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Photo of eric5bellies
3.54/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

2011 vintage drank with Anthony, Andrew and Joel

A - Pours a deep ebony colour with light visible, the head dies very quickly.

S - Tobacco , raisin, prunes , fig, dark chocolate.

T - Very sweet, with dark fruits and mollassis. no roast at all. The finish is boozy.

M - Moderate carbonation and surprisingly thin for a 15% stout, would describe as medium body.

O - Disappointed with this beer. I just don't get how overpowering sweetness translates into a world class beer. The ageing potential is there, and I would put down for 10 years or so before drinking

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Photo of OakedCanuck
3.54/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Alright, I thought I'd open this one for my 300th review. Yellow wax, 2011 vintage. Love these labels.

A - Pours a medium black with brown edging. NO head, even after pouring faster towards the end. Slight mocha coloured bubbles surfaced at the end but nothing formed. Leaves a clear brown film on edge of glass when swirled.

S - Pretty decent smell. Lots of dates, plums, rum raisin. Pick up some vanilla and the roast coffee. Some charcoal and chocolate.

T - Wow, first thing, this thing is soooo sweet. A LOT of brown sugar, molasses and just freaking sugar. Man, the sweetness hides a lot of the other flavours. In the background, I pick up a nice assortment of dark cherries, dates, raisins, chocolate. I really didn't pick up on much of the coffee. Slight vegetal flavour too somewhere in there, odd.

M - Coating, medium-heavy, sticky, very cloying

O - I don't think this lived up to the hype. You can tell that it had some nice components but was so dang sweet. Less sweetness would allow the coffee to come out (and some more of the cherries) which would be a lot nicer. The ABV was hidden fairly well though, props.

I don't know what I am going to do with my remaining 3 bottles (one each for 2009-2011). I may revisit this in a year and do a vertical. Hopefully some cellar time will help this sweetness come down to earth.

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Photo of mmapes
3.53/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Andrew for the trade. I never thought I'd get to try this one.

Pours dark but not completely black, a translucence while pouring. Not much head. The bottle is from 2012 and we're tasting it in 2013.

Smells boozy, hot. Molasses, prunes.

First taste: really thick and syrupy, very sweet. Tingle-bursts on first taste.

Second taste: big malt, slightly bitter, fairly long finish. Port wine.

A little sticky sweet for my tastes. There are better balanced Russian Imperials that I think I prefer.

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Photo of pokesbeerdude
3.53/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Thanks goes out to Gritsak for this. 22oz bottle into a Stone IRS snifter. 2009 version, White Wax.

A: Incredibly black, an aggressive pour yields a few fairly dark brown bubbles, never truly develops into a head, just a ring of bubbles towards the outer edge of the glass. Easily one of the darkest beers, if not the darkest I've had to date. I wish I could coax more of a head from this, as it would really bring the appearance up.

S: Initial smells of soy sauce (hopefully it doesn't trigger Triple Bock flashbacks), burnt malts, chocolate, molasses, brown sugar, and just a hint of booze. As I take a deeper smell it reveals some more notes of dark chocolate and caramel. I also get a sort of barbeque sauce/charred meat sort of aroma mixed in. All around smells like a monster of a beer, but the soy sauce has me a bit wary.

T: Sweet, syrupy beer initial notes of brown sugar, molasses, and caramel really stand out in front of the fairly massive chocolate note. Really lots of dark fruit, plums, raisins, figs and maybe some grapes as well. Over ripe cherries come to mind as well. Fair amount of port flavors going on too with the sweetness and dark flavors in general. Decent amount of bitterness, but surprisingly there is a lack of roasted flavors, for a beer this dark. Surprisingly mellow on the alcohol flavors, I would even venture that it is not noticeable. There is a bit of a tart flavor, like a plum, that really starts to show itself as it warms. Very complex.

M: Incredibly thick, light, creamy carbonation, and almost disturbingly sticky. Chocolate milkshake. What I can't figure out, is that for a beer this huge, there is practically no boozey burn on the finish at all, just a bit of warmth. I'd have to say that this is spot on for the style.

D: It is an enjoyable beer, and is insanely complex, but as a stout it comes up a bit short for me. The huge roasted profile and burnt malts that I've come to expect in a beer like this are missing, I think that mixed with a bit more of a hoppy bitterness would help to balance the insane sweetness of this beer. Hmm, this is something, but I don't think it is quite the beer that the hype machine has made it to be. I've also heard that 2009 is an off year, as well as that 2009 was a great year, so I don't know what to think of the beer. Interesting and complex, but I honestly believe there are better stouts out there.

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Photo of squaremile
3.53/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had 2009 at the fall Beer Advocate tasting in Portland at Victory Bar. Pours black with a small head, no lacing, and the smell is all sugar and alcohol. After reading a lot of reviews, I was actually surprised the mouthfeel wasn't thicker. GIBCS is sludge, this was what you'd expect from any RIS. The taste overall is sugary sweetness, hints of coffee, molasses, more sugar, vanilla, burnt toast, brown sugar, and chocolate. This thing could give you cavities faster than Coca Cola. Overall it's fine, but without a cool name, bottle design, limited availability, and a rad event with it, there's no way it'd be even Top 20 on this website.

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Photo of KarlHungus
3.52/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage. This beer pours a thick used motor oil black. The head is minimal, and recedes into nothing within seconds. The aroma is of roasted malt, dark and milk chocolate, and graham cracker. The is a very strong aroma, but it isn't a very complex one. I keep smelling hoping for something more, but come up empty. Still, there is enough there that it is enjoyable. The taste is big and burly, but again there really isn't much complexity. There is lots of roasted malt, and oily chocolate, and more than enough hops. In fact the hops here just aren't sitting well with me. They seem to be taking away too much from the malt profile. The mouthfeel if very full bodied with appropriately low carbonation, and an slick, oily texture that is almost slimy. I really don't like this mouthfeel. Overall, I think this is a decent beer, but certainly not one of the best. I'm glad that others might live it, but I certainly won't be recommending it to anyone.

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Photo of AwYeh
3.51/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage poured into snifter; huge thanks goes out to madvermin for sharing his bomber with me.

A: Pours an opaque black, with just a light coating of head atop the beer. A few fine, brown bubbles provide a ring around the side of the glass.

S: Things actually start off here with a lot of soy sauce, before dark cherries, chocolate, and a musty basement aroma flow in.

T: Hugely rich, hugely sweet flavor here. I'm picking up loads of molasses, both sweet and dark chocolate, sweet espresso, cream, vanilla, and dark fruits- cherries and raisins in particular. I'm surprised at how little ethanol flavor comes through considering the 15% ABV; this is a testament to the strength of the beer's flavors. This may be a bit too sweet for my tastes, though I do appreciate the fullness and complexity of the flavor.

M: Very thick, very creamy, with light carbonation. Smoothness complements the creaminess, and a very light burn on the palate from latent bitterness and alcohol is pleasant, while also serving to balance the sweetness just a bit.

O: A good beer to be sure, but I'm not loving it as much as the majority of BAs do. Very sweet, to a point where it brings the beer down a bit, but the complexity of this beer made my glass pretty enjoyable- easily worth a try.

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Photo of Etan
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 and 2012 bottles opened together at Oscar's Stout Night. Thanks!

A: Both pour roughly the same color: brownish black with a small tan head.

S: Very raisiny with notes of maple and chocolate and dried fruit.

T: The 2012 is very fruity and very sweet - prune, raisin, cherry, chocolate. The 2011 has a fuller and more balanced flavor. More chocolate and body, and a little less sweet. No coffee notes in either.

M: Both are medium-bodied with fine carbonation.

O: I give the slight edge to the 2011 but neither were very enjoyable.

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Photo of mulder1010
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 Green Wax
Bomber poured into a snifter
Damned got me into this whole trading deal

A-- Poured a near black color. Settled black and had lots of ruby highlights. Minimal carbonation showing. Basically a light brown film that became a collar. Not bad looking though.

S-- Lots of roast, port, and candied soy sauce. No need for an insulin shot after this nose. Highly sweet and sugary.

T-- Imitates the nose. Powerful sugar, soy sauce, chocolate and coffee. Once through the initial sweetness it does settle down a bit.

M-- Medium feel, low carbonation. Not sure this is the best example of a RIS as it is just not thick and roast enough. Not the most dense beer by weight but by sugar content that is another thing. Very young port like feel to this. Want to think a Pedro.

O-- The best of the three years I have tried. Not sure that means that much really as there are much better RIS on the market and deliver far more for much less. Too much sugar, too much soy but this is drinkable and enjoyable. Seems more like the Star Trek Movies. Get the even numbered years and avoid the odd years. Seems reasonable enough

bomber poured into a snifter
2011 version A-3 S-3 T-3 M-3 O-2.5
Thanks to Masterski for this puppy (2009 review is below)

A-- Poured dark cola, settled black, just a few slivers of ruby showing. Minimal light brown head that slowly died away to an oily film through drinking. Lots of visible alcohol legs to this.

S-- Burnt rubber, highly salted cashews, soy sauce, molasses, and burnt malts. Smell did change to Caramelised figs and dark fruits.

T-- Molasses, dark fruits, bits of bourbon or whiskey but very port like. Sweet but not nearly as sweet as the smell is. Lots of booze.

M-- Thick, oily, and sugary. Low carbonation and heavy syrupy feel. Even fresh get a lot of the Thomas Hardy qualities of an old ale. Has a lot of similarities to the 2009 DL I had in July.

O-- Quite sweet and heavy. Age will do wonders on this. How much is the question. Really was not impressed with this. Thought a lot of Mikkeller black while drinking this, just not the char and ash his beers have. Good to share with others but have no idea how anybody can drink a bomber of this on its own. Better Imperial Stouts out there than this. Liked how the flavors changed but that did not save me on this.

2009 white wax A- 3 S-4 T-3.5 M-4.5 O- 3.5

Poured into a tulip

Thanks to DJButters for the bottle

A-- Dark, thick syrupy looking pour. Very little if any carbonation. No head at all. Just a bit of film with this. Massive and evil looking beer. Bordering on port. No head retention, no nothing. Lots of alcohol lacing on the sides of the glass.

S-- Dark fruits, raisin, and a lot of malt. More I worked into this it smelled like a port or a Thomas Hardy Old Ale. Early on a lot of booze ut once it settled down it was closer to a Hardy in every way in the nose.

T-- Thick, syrupy, rich and a lot of raisin, dark fruits and port like qualities in the nose.

M-- Over bearing and rich. A lot of fruit and syrup. Can tell this was a mess as a pup but with age this changed to a huge old ale. A lot of fruit and leather. Thick as hell and sweet to boot. Booze was well hidden for how sweet it was and drew a comparison to a old school Thomas Hardy profile. Little carbonation and a lot of body to this.

O-- 09 had to be a mess. Has developed into something good but very port like. no way I could drink the whole thing on my own. A lot of sugar and very thick. 15% ABV is well hidden in it, the thickness it is there as well as the sweetness. By lore this is pretty overrated but it was quite interesting as it changed to a massive strong belgian strong dark ale. not for the faint at all. Total sipper.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

581st Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter

2010 Vintage

Thanks to GuruDel for busting this out.

App- It's dark, its a bit creamy looking, it's got a nice two finger head and not a lot of retention or cling.

Smell- I was prepared to be blown away again by the intricies of this beer, but again I wasn't. Its a nice sweet smelling big stout. All of the flavors are there from vanilla, chocolate, booze and malt. Its good, but a little sweet.

Taste- You know when you've had the same profile of a beer but just one little thing is different. This for me was DarkLord 10. It was a sweeter version of Abyss and a little less heat because of the age. Nice vanilla and malts play nicely. On the second glass its just smokey and bacon. Just odd and off. Its a nice stout just not head or mind blowing as I thought it would be.

Mouth- Full bodied and low carbonated. Nice creamy feel with some booze

Drink- Glad I got to try this one. I will have to one day get to IN for the DLD and then try the other variants. This was good but I wanted and expected more.

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Photo of wyllder
3.49/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

First things first: thanks to deejaydan for the sample!

Ok, I saved this one until All Hallows Eve, the perfect time to commune with the Dark Lord.

Appearance. I'm giving a 3 here because, depending on where you are in the bottle, or how fast you pour, this has enough sediment in it to make it appear downright revolting. If you get a good pour and avoid all the sediment, it's an appealingly opaque deep chocolate brown with a thin caramel colored head.

Smell is solid. There's no confusing the heritage here, the smell is Imperial Russian Stout all the way. Chocolate, dark cherry, molasses are here, all the while backed up with the pungent, almost soy sauce, aroma you find in most Russian Imperials. (I'm not sure why/how this has been classified as an American Double stout by BA, but the bottle is labeled as Russian Imperial and the flavor profile doesn't disagree)

Taste is good as well. So long as you don't get a glass full of sediment this is a very pleasant Russian Imperial. Again you have dark chocolate, sweet molasses and black cherry. The aftertaste is pleasantly bitter, fading out the salty character and leaving a lasting bitter chocolate & molasses taste on the palate.

Mouthfeel is a mixed bag. Again, there's simply too much sediment. This goes from being a thick, decadently rich beer, to being syrup.

Drinkability gets the lowest mark, IMO. Between being a terribly potent, sipping brew, and having more sediment in the bottle than any beer aught, this just doesn't get me to want any more of it. In fact, I'm damn glad I had 3 friends to split the 22oz bomber with or this would have found its way to the sink drain before I made it half way.

Overall, I really don't understand all the high 4 marks. Try Siberian Night, or Stone Imperial if you're in the market for a great Russian Imperial. Something tells me people are giving this brew too many points for a slick presentation, brewer reputation, and BA anticipation.


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

Green wax - 2010

A: Black pour with 1/4" head. Dissipates quickly.

S: Choco, coffee and molasses and alcohol.

T: Molasses is very prominent. Some coffee and chocolate. Very hot. A bit too much.

M: Disappointed with how thin this feels; it's viscosity appears in almost all write-ups.

D: OK.

This is my first bottle of DL. I love this style. As a local, I guess I'm spoiled by Kate.

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

22 oz yellow waxed bottle, 2011 vintage. Served in a snifter. Big thanks to BullDurham for hooking this up.

A - Looks like foamy motor oil. Leaves huge legs on the glass. Syrupy with about 1 finger of dark brown head.

S - Vanilla overpowers anything else going on here. Some brown sugar and chocolate, but it's alright.

T - taste follows the nose pretty well. Very sugary and a big kiss of vanilla flavors. A good chocolate base, but nothing really special. If you like sickeningly sweet malty beverages this one is probably for you. It's a bit of a sweet mess to me (but not terrible, by any means).

M - Very oily with and upper medium body. Low carbonation, but a nice soft texture.

O - A pretty run in the mill RIS with a bunch of extra sugar added. It's good, but not A+ good.

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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.

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

08 and 09 bottle shared at "Black Friday" stout tasting. I'm reviewing both bottles but using the 08 bottle for quantitative scores. I would usually use the fresh bottle for this purpose, but there was just something wrong with the 09 bottle.

Appearance is black, thick, and with no light coming through. The head on both was brown but it turned to just a lace.

The aroma on the 2009 bottle was pretty bad. There was some serious metallic off flavors here. It smelled like a sweaty handfull of change. The dark aromas come through as boozy and soy sauce like. 2

The aroma of the 2008 bottle was much better, and was actually worth smelling. Not terribly impressive, but still good. Almost fudgy chocolate in the nose. Not terribly complex, just thick, sweet, and strong, as you would expect from an imperial stout of this size. 3.5

2009- The flavor of this beer was a bit off. Sweet, with some soy sauce notes and a hot finish. Sweet and syrupy are characters that are acceptable in an imperial stout but here it just doesn't work. It has a strange bitterness with that metallic off flavor coming back. 2

2008- This bottle was a bit more integrated in its flavors. The hotness died down quite a bit, but there was still some boozy character. Dark fruit flavors, reminding me of chocolate covered cranberry. This has the typical stout flavors but they seem to be dominated by the fermentation character of a beer this big. Slight soy sauce flavor, but not nearly as much as the 2009 bottle. 3.5

The mouthfeel for both was very thick, as you would expect. It reminded me of tar in both the heavy stout flavors and the thick feel. It impressed me but it didn't have the life changing thickness that I read in some of the reviews. Carbonation is high enough to lift a beer of this size and make it drinkable.

My overall impression was that a year of age didn't make these two beers very different, but it was the batch to batch variation. 2008 was a nice, big stout but not the greatest. 2009 was just simply bad, with soy sauce and metallic off flavors dominating.

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Photo of zhanson88
3.47/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

2010 vintage.

Appearance: Pours out a very dark brown that appears pitch black in the glass. A viscous pour, but not astoundingly so. About 1/4" of dark tan head forms, which quickly reduces to a ring around the edges of the glass.

Smell: Toasted caramel malts and brown sugar, soy sauce, a bit of booze, perhaps a bit of weak coffee as well as a hint of oxidation. I had heard this vintage was pretty boozy back in the day, and it seems letting it sit for a few years helped out with that, at least from what I'm getting on the nose.

Taste: Brown sugar sweetness, toasted caramel, soy sauce, weak milk chocolate, maybe a hint of bitterness from the malts on the finish. No boozy notes, but one dimensional with the sweetness. Finish is heavy with residual sugars.

Mouthfeel/Overall: Heavy mouthfeel with light carbonation, mouthfeel is a bit slick. Finish is messy with a lot of sweetness, which retracts for me. Overall, not a bad RIS. Really just too sweet in my opinion to be rated any higher. I liked it less as I drank it and it took a while to polish off.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.46/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

2009 vintage. Pours black with no head. Very dark brown highlights at the edges. the aroma is very nice, with some oak and vanilla. You also get some milk chocolate and the slightest hint of soy sauce. The flavor is not as good as the aroma, but still not bad. The chocolate and vanilla are still there along with some roasted malt. You also get some soy sauce which is not a flavor I really enjoy. The mouthfeel is very thick and there is very low carbonation. The beer leaves an oily residue on the glass similar to a Samuel Adams Triple Bock.

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Photo of ms11781
3.46/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2012 vintage. 22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

The thickness (viscosity might be a better word) of the liquid is quite striking right out of the bottle. The actual pour looks to be a translucent brown color but once it settles in the glass it's dark as night. Surprisingly a half finger of airy, dark brown foam develops and sits on top of the beer. There is actually a good deal of lacing left on the glass with each sip.

The nose is extremely sweet and full of dark fruit right from the beginning. There are all sorts of fruits coming through, ripe cherries, plums and raisins are here. Molasses and brown sugar come through as well. The aromas are full and rich and really assert themselves but they can be a bit jumbled at times.

The taste follows closely with the nose. The fruits really come through again. In addition to the dark fruits (cherries, plums, raisins, etc, once again) there is a bit of some light fruit, maybe apple or pear. It's a bit off and doesn't mesh with the rest of the flavors but it isn't all that strong and seems to give way the other characteristics more often than not. The same molasses and brown sugar that were in the nose are here as well. There is no hint of the coffee that the beer was brewed with, perhaps the sweetness overpowers it. It also seems like it wants to be big and roasty but the sweetness never quite allows it turn the corner.

This beer is huge. Big, thick and viscous. Possibly the biggest beer feel-wise I've had. Each sip seems to coat the throat all the way down. There really isn't much more to say about it. Big pretty much sums it up.

This is certainly one big beer. There is a ton going on and they flavors and aromas don't necessarily mesh together. None of it is bad, most quite good actually. It just seems like it might need some more time to come together before hitting its peak. This is definitely a beer that I will revisit down the road but for now it misses the mark just a bit.

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Photo of Jacobpaul81
3.46/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2010 vintage. Whole bottle poured into a canning jar.

Dark, as expected from an Imperial Stout. Syrupy but not thick. Actually, thin for the style. Nice lacing around top of glass. Dark head maybe 1/4 inch thick.

Sweet malt smell, heavy on the soy with some vanilla.

Beer is very complex. A lot of layering. One of the more obvious layer combinations I've tried. Opens up with dark tart cherries and heavy roasted malts. Grape emerges as you experience a port wine flavor profile with some plum and blackberry flavors. This is followed by a bitter chocolate/coffee flavor as the port flavor lingers. You can really pull the layers apart in this one.

Went down smooth and creamy. Very strong alcohol burn at the end. Did not care for the alcohol at all. If it had finished smooth, this would have been a much improved beer.


I found the 2010 average for an Imperial Stout. It's got some great flavor profiles and the layering is beautifully done. The soy smell bothered me personally. Not a smell I particularly care for from a beer and the alcohol burn was just way too much for me. I'd drink it again, but I wouldn't stand in line to buy bottles.

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Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 1,250 ratings.