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

Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

2,814 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2814
Reviews: 1127
rAvg: 4.29
pDev: 14.92%


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

(Beer added by: cretemixer on 12-13-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,814 | Reviews: 1,127 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of WiscoBrewsco
WiscoBrewsco

Wisconsin

4.95/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - The darkest beer I have ever seen. So black it was verging on purple. Crawled out of the bottle like syrup with little head that was dark brown in color. Alcohol legs for days that never ended

Smell - A slightly subdued aroma hiding the beast within. Big malt notes with dark chocolate and molasses come through with a hint of cherry and coffee

Taste - The most complex stout (and beer for that matter) I have ever tasted. Really hard to pin down all the flavors going on here. A big wave of sweet molasses and dark fruit hits the mouth and then is followed by chocolate and coffee and cherries which give way back to the molasses with a solid malt presence and more chocolate and coffee. This is excess personified.

Mouthfeel - This is the thickest stout I have ever had, bar none. In fact it took my understanding of "thick" to a new level. This one was like drinking a velvet milkshake and set a new bar for what thick really means. The best mouthfeel I have ever experienced.

Overall - This is hands down the best stout I have ever had. I was completely blown away by this and it is my new favorite beer to date. Some people complain that it is too sweet but with a little age on it that is far from true. Everything in the flavor and mouthfeel of this beer are perfection. Believe the hype as this beer is the real deal. All bow before the Dark Lord

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2013 08:52:59 | More by WiscoBrewsco
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TheBronze

Washington

4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a review for the 2010 bottle (olive green wax).

A - Pours very dark and viscous with minimal head forming. Small charred brown bubbles.

S - A very unique aroma that puts you on notice. Singed molasses, red wine, dark fruits, roast.

T - Taste follows the nose at first with big molasses, dark fruits, a vinous character, and a moderate roasty backbone. A huge complex stout. Secondary waves of chocolate. Hints of coffee muddled together with the competing flavors that continue to roll across your tongue and pop. The multiple big, bold flavors complement instead of conflict. If this used to be overly sweet when it was fresh, it has settled down now. The one complaint here is that the rich taste can get to be overwhelming as you get towards the end of the glass.

M - Very full bodied. Coats the mouth nicely. Medium carbonation which is just right for this.

O - A unique treat to drink across a sea of relative sameness with big time stouts. Very memorable. It can become a bit overpowering as you get towards the end of your glass, so a 7-8oz pour should be enough. Definitely a bottle to share. I have had multiple years of Dark Lord recently. I found ’12 and ’11 to be a bit too sweet when fresh, but I still do enjoy the beer and its nuances whether it is young or old. But whatever the case, this vintage is just outstanding right now. It’s time to crack it open and enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2013 01:13:46 | More by TheBronze
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GonzoHomebrewer

Massachusetts

3.96/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2008 bottle shared amongst friends

A- looks exactly as expected, incredibly intimidating, thick with a viscosity I don't think I will ever see again in another beer, big reverse cascading frothy mocha head, best part of this beer

S- Smells decent, dark fruit, molasses, some heavy roasted malt in the background

T- The taste is unbelievably disjointed compared to the nose; sometimes it tasted like someone made a concentrated dark malt syrup, then you'd occassionally get some waves of various odd flavors like soy, umami, plum, black currants, but then you'd get hit with the malt syrup taste again. When i say malt syrup, its not a complement because the malt taste WAS that generic.

M- yes, there was protein particle chunks in mine, but it was still the most viscous imperial stout I have ever had, closest I've come to needing to "chew" a beer,

O- Glad to have tried, but underwhelming, especially for a vintage thats highly regarded at the moment. Best attributes were easily the mouthfeel and appearance.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2013 03:17:17 | More by GonzoHomebrewer
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eric5bellies

Australia

3.5/5  rDev -18.4%
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

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2013 12:11:58 | More by eric5bellies
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dowen17

Alabama

3.63/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours pitch black with no head. Gurgles into the bottom of my snifter.

On the nose is cherries an dark fruits. Dark roast malts, bitter chocolate and hints of char and alcohol. I see why people are saying soy sauce. I definitely pick that up on the nose as well.

Taste is cherries, sweet molasses, sweet and dark malts. Dark fruits, sugar, char, a hint of vanilla. Very very sweet. Sweet to the point that its almost not drinkable. Wow. And again, definite soy sauce on the after taste. Very interesting. The more I drink and smell the more soy sauce begins to come out.

Mouthfeel is huge and chewy. One of the thickest stouts I've ever tried. Massive, massive, massive.

This beer isn't worth the hype at all. It's decent at best. Very very sweet but the soy sauce flavor and smell really ruined it for me. I think going to DLD really ups the ratings for a lot of people with the experience involved but oh well. Try it if you can.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2013 18:16:49 | More by dowen17
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facundoCNB

New Jersey

3.66/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A very dark thick pour with a finger of tan head. Smells very balsamic vinegar like, lots if oak, chocolate, molasses, licorice, roasted grains.
A very sugary sweetness, soy sauce, molasses, oak. Waaaay sweet flavor with a weird salty vinegar like flavor.
Full body, low carbonation, sweet dry finish.
Overall I am not impressed. I've had way better stouts from FFF, and way better local off the shelf stuff.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2013 00:45:30 | More by facundoCNB
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mhksuccess

California

4.05/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

my review is for a bottle of 2011 vintage
pour very dark little to no head
smell is pretty heavy coffee
taste is not as much more of a smooth sweet but not overly sweet
i can see why a lot of people say soy sauce because i get a hint of that on the back end but not over powering
coffee taste is faint compare to the smell more of a sweet taste to it
it is a strong smooth nice stout but would say doesnt live up to the hype

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2013 15:37:31 | More by mhksuccess
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DRBiser

Maryland

4.49/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011/Yellow wax

Attractive, rich, heavy dark black color with minimal light brown head

Nose is heavy and sweet, with caramel, molasses, and chocolate shining through

Extremely unique stout, if nothing else. I'm not one for overly sweet and this beer gets a bit close to being too much, but yeah, it’s still quite delicious. It has that sweet chocolately/creamy/caramely liqueur-like booziness to it that I’ve not experienced in any beer before. I also think it has an incredible mouthfeel (but I also haven’t had too many aged stouts so perhaps time was on its side?)

Because of the complexity and monster body the thing has, I gave it a 4.5, but I wasn’t super impressed with the overall flavor. The sweetness is a little odd to me – and at the end of the day it’s all about balance and I just feel like a certain aspect of the flavor was a little much. But again, that’s being hyper-critical as this beer is massive/unique, and I’d love to try another bottle.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2013 23:16:36 | More by DRBiser
Photo of RhyminBelmont
RhyminBelmont

Illinois

4.59/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Practically zero head after the pour. A rich dark brown like bittersweet chocolate. Impossibly impermeable to light. Clings stickily to the side of the glass with a swirl.

S- Smells like roasted malt, warm liquor, espresso grounds, chocolate mousse. Sweet, but not so much so as the fresh batch at DLD.

T- Tobacco, dark chocolate, dark fruit, black coffee, chocolate mousse. And more and more. Still pretty damn sweet, so I'm definitely holding onto my remaining allotment for a minute.

Sticky thick and amazing on the tongue. Like a thicker plead the fifth. Wishing real hard right now for a barrel aged variant.

Definitely a hype monster. Also a unique enormous delicious beer. DLD is blast, so this beer wins points for sentimentality. I agree with the conjecture that there are comparable beers available on shelf, but it's fun to get on board with the whole experience of the festival in Munster. Yayayyyyyyyyy.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2013 03:23:38 | More by RhyminBelmont
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TheRemyLeabeau

Ohio

4.78/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Phenomenal. Look, I get it where some of the hate comes in. I mean its now become such a cliche of itself in how hard it os to get this beer and you have to ask yourself is it that much better than other shelf (or easier to acquire) Stouts that its worth the trouble? If you look at it from the aspect of how awesome DLD is with all the generosity of stranger who bring their own bottles and that magical chance to win a golden ticket and land the godly Vanilla BADL then yes its worth it. Especially for me considering I just loves sweets and the fact that 2013 is basically an imperial stout sugar bomb is what makes it a 4.9/5 in my book. I have had 2010-2013 and 2013 is definitely my favorite because of the abundance of sweetness. I really don't like when the taste of soy sauce dominates the palate (namely the 2010 vintage) and while this beer holds up well aging I still say just drink it fresh. The other reviews nail it so no reason to say much else.

Side Note: if you are looking for a comparable shelf beer I strongly suggest Ten Fidy. I think it is by far the most similar shelf RIS and its a damned tasty beer also.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2013 09:35:03 | More by TheRemyLeabeau
Photo of fishmich
fishmich

Michigan

4.13/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 bottle poured into a snifter. finally got to try this and didnt know exactly what to expect going in because of all the varying comments i see about this beer. after i drank it i could see why it is so polarizing. i dont even really know how to rate it because honestly this beer confused me. i can say its not really my style of a stout but it is still something i would look to get my hands on again.

the beer looks great when being poured, dark and thick with a thin head that dissipates pretty quick. the main smell i get from this beer is grapes, very sweet grapes. it really reminded me of mixed fruit or grape jelly. the taste for me was pretty much the same. if thats what they are going for when they made this beer then they nailed it. what this beer certainly does very well is cover the alcohol, i could hardly get any alcohol in the smell or taste.

overall id say this beer was quite good even though its not really my style. definitely one of kind as far as beers ive had but not really sure it meets the hype. there are much easier to find stouts that i prefer over this one but i will say that i hope to get a bottle or two of my own down the road just to have on hand when the mood hits or its time to share some. if im rating this beer based on my own preference it would be rated a little lower but im trying to give credit where its due.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2013 14:21:13 | More by fishmich
Photo of eduardolinhalis
eduardolinhalis

Switzerland

4.33/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

600ml bottle served in a snifter glass.

I've bought this one at one of my last visits to California, in 2010. This is the 2010 Edition which can be recognized by the green wax on the bottle neck.

A: Pours a black color forming a small and bubbled tan head. Low retention and only few lacings left in the glass

S: Strong roasted malts, dark chocolate, dark fruits and wood. Excellent! Licorice and vanilla to compose. A bit boozy in the end

T: Sweet and roasted upfront. Notes of dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, oak, licorice, vanilla and dark fruits. Cherry notes. Complex. Maybe a bit too sweet and too booze in the end

M: Heavy, creamy and molasses body. Low carbonation. Smooth with a bittersweet and roasted and woody aftertaste

O: Great drinkability. A masterpiece. Worth the three years that I've wait to drink it

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2013 03:22:37 | More by eduardolinhalis
Photo of Smurf2055
Smurf2055

Washington

3.34/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

2011 vintage (reviewed 2012) thanks to beersis. Pours a lighter black (if possible) with almost no head.

Smell is sweet raisins and boozy. Dark red fruit. This smells way closer to an English Barley Wine than a RIS. Almost sickeningly sweet.

Taste is also very sweet and boozy. It has some roastiness and faint chocolate, but mostly the deep red fruit from the smell. Lots of alcohol heat for sure. It is very complex, I will admit that much.

Very waxy mouthfeel, full bodied. Heavy, and you can tell the abv is there, but still reasonably drinkable. A sipper.

Not what I was expecting, and not even close to one of my favorite RIS. First FFF I have been genuinely disappointed in. I now understand why this is described as a "sweet boozy mess".

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2013 00:06:40 | More by Smurf2055
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MacQ32

South Carolina

4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2010 version!

A - pours near black minimal chocolate head and lacing. Not enough head to judge retention

S - tons of dark fruit and roasty medicine/soy type aromas

T - big sweetness and roasty flavors. Dark fruit/cherry medicine/alcohol burn flavors with some cherry. BIG flavor!

M - Full bodied with minimal carbonation, incredibly smooth

O - Tasty big beer. Cherry/alcohol burn are slightly offputting

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2013 00:53:28 | More by MacQ32
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beefmental

Iowa

4.63/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

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.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2013 21:30:21 | More by beefmental
Photo of PsilohsaiBiN
PsilohsaiBiN

New York

4.8/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2013 bottle

Appearance: Dark black opaque with a small tan head that quickly fades as expected.

Smell: Dark fruit, sweet malt, roasted grain, chocolate, caramel, apples, slight vanilla and some coffee. There's also a vinous like

Taste: Big, sweet and delicious! A ton of barley, caramelized malt, and surprising sweetness. It's also got this nice vanilla/caramel thing going on that even makes it taste like apples. It finishes dry, with a sweet and pleasant aftertaste of lingering caramel malt, coffee and chocolate. It is perfectly balanced, and this doesn't drink hot at all. If I did a blind test, there's no way I'd guess this was 15%, maybe 10. I can only imagine how good the barrel aged variants/aged vintages taste.

Mouthfeel: Not too big, not too small. Velvety smooth without too much body but definitely not thin; perfect for this beer.

Overall: Just a great beer I could drink all day (or at least try to). It's similar to DFH WWS, except it drinks way smoother fresh and has a bigger body. This didn't disappoint me at all and is IMO worthy of the praise it gets. DLD '14, here I come!

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2013 01:48:39 | More by PsilohsaiBiN
Photo of BMMillsy
BMMillsy

Florida

4.18/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Trade from BrewMane. 2013 Orange Wax bottle, drinking fresh because cellars are for chumps ;-) Pours syrupy dark black with a sub-one-finger creamy dark mocha head. Aroma of sweet roasted malts, raisins, molasses, chocolate syrup, candy sugar, and a hint of alcohol smell. Flavor is sweet molasses up front, sweet powder sugar, a bit of dark fruit, a little bitter chocolate on the finish. Nearly no trace of the 15% abv. Sweet sweet stuff. Super velvety smooth mouthfeel and very thick. Only other stouts that have had this mouthfeel come from CCB (Hunapuh, Marshal Z). Plenty of carbonation to keep it from feeling syrupy. I was expecting more on the chocolate side, but this balances sweet molasses with dark fruits prominently. The best part to me of this decedent stout is the mouthfeel. So glad I finally got a taste of this. I can see how this would blend nicely with bourbon and vanilla. ISO now I guess...

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2013 00:27:58 | More by BMMillsy
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magictacosinus

California

3.05/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Consumed during the second monthly "Beermageddon" with many others recently. 2013 vintage. Poured into a tulip glass from a 22oz bottle. Review is from my notes. Split with 7-8 other people. Even though this was the final beer I had from the night before I lost enough sobriety to review (or physically drink) any further beers, I'm reviewing this first because I have a lot to say about this one. I attended DLD, had a great time, and did indeed wait in line 3 and half hours to buy three of these. However, I learned over time more and more about criticisms of this thing (really, it's not a "beer" in my view) and also how much this polarizes people overall unlike probably any other offering in the country. Did it confirm these suspicions? Yes, and more! Read on.

Pours a thickened, motor oil, extremely viscous, resinous beast of an imperial stout. The brewers who crafted this definitely seem to have tried to make this the most over-the-top beer from the get-go, and it's evident in the appearance alone. Extremely opaque, which a soft, creamy milk chocolate covered head that quickly dissipates, leaving nothing behind. No lacing. No carbonation. Simply a putrid, dead, fortified wine looking beer. It actually is unlike any beer I've ever seen in that regard, although it's definitely very, very ugly and simultaneously pretty awesome.

The aroma is actually pretty great, combining loads of dark chocolate nibs with black cherries, currants, figs, and coffee extract in one giant load of sweetness and treacly, resinous manner. Extremely boozy, although it accentuates the sweetness within the initial phenols that make this pretty fascinating. Not as sugary sweet as I expected, but rather in the realm of sweetness imparted by brandies and Tawny port wines that I've had in the past. Other flavors linger, such as big molasses, caramel, vanilla, a dash of wood (?), and highly concentrated boozy caramelized notes. However, this all is pretty balanced here and comes in spades, but did not prepare me for what was about to happen next.

What happened next? I found myself pelted with a "stout" of the most extreme, harshest nature possible, resembling a combination of a chocolate liqueur, a sweet brandy, and port wine. Absolutely overwhelms the senses right away, combined a slightly burnt brown sugary, syrupy flavor with cherries, molasses, currants, blackberries underneath jaggery and caramel notes. Not as chocolate forward as I like it, and the coffee that this was infused with is nowhere to be found. The alcohol adds a ridiculous amount of sweetness to the beer, but it is also scarily hidden, resulting in an experience that knocks you off your feet if you're not careful. There's a lot of residual sugars and caramelized flavors, but what it makes up in decadence it lacks completely it complexity. No subtlety here, so don't seek this out if it's what you like in the style. The mouthfeel is decent at best, and while it does indeed lack extra carbonation, its sludgy feel reminds me of a heavily tannic and extra sweet port wine (a type of drink I enjoy) rather than a beer, so it's not horrible by any means - only average-minus for the style at hand, and in some ways unlike *anything* within the style. Pretty insane, and it's hard to know what FFF was going for here other than attempting to make the most "ballsy" beer possible, if that.

I know FFF is capable of subtle, delicious beers, and I realize this beer is an excuse to make one of the most ridiculous beers around and create an event out of it in a demented (and some would say brilliant) marketing scheme. I had a lot of fun at DLD for other reasons, but the outcome is definitely disappointing. However, with that said, this does get a high-ish overall score from me because no matter how cloying and grating the drinking experience of this beer is, it's easily one of the most memorable I've had, for better or for worse. It's by far my new favorite crappy beer, because as awful and unbalanced as it may be, it's a lot of fun to drink and is the most intimidating in the style - which is probably exactly what FFF is going for. If you want to see how an imperial stout *shouldn't* be made, but still want one to sample what could be THE hyperbole of craft beer, give this a shot. It definitely is worthy of discussion alone, whatever the hell it is.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2013 02:15:17 | More by magictacosinus
Photo of purdueflyguy
purdueflyguy

Colorado

4.84/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2009 dark lord had on 6/16/2013 at craftheads in Tokyo.

Pours like motor oil with no head. Almost black but a lttle brown comes through.

Smell just a little booze big dark fruit a vanilla notes. With a little chocolate in the background. A little oxidation from the 4 years of age.

Taste big coffe bitterness yet sweet vanilla and bakers chocolate shine through. No booze in the taste.

Feel almost silky smooth with the right amount of carbonation.

Overall awesome beer that was perfectly aged and ready to be drank.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2013 06:41:12 | More by purdueflyguy
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DrewskiWhit

Indiana

4.23/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice red wine color upon pouring. Taste is very sweet and sticky. Very complex but i mostly get dark fruits, raisins, figs, and prunes. Its too sweet and almost cloying. Also the mouthfeel is too much, too thick. Very greatful i got to try this but this thing needs at least a year on it. No alcohol burn which is impressive but far from my fav stout.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2013 04:28:33 | More by DrewskiWhit
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myersk27

Indiana

4.38/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

had a 2012 bottle on my birthday last year shortly after dark lord day. pours black and quite viscous. aroma of charred fruits, chocolate, and subtle coffee. the flavor hits you with massive sweetness but a velvety texture that coats your mouth and is slightly balanced with some mild bitter coffee notes throughout. very complex. definitely reminds me of a port wine. you really need to be able to enjoy sweentess if you are going to like/appreciate this one. i loved it.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2013 16:08:25 | More by myersk27
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IKR

California

4.1/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage (Yellow Wax)

Appearance: Very dark brown bordering on black with a small beige head. Good looking beer.

Smell: Brown sugar, cherries, chocolate and a coffee/roasted malt aroma. Nice nose on this one.

Taste: Brown sugar, cherries, chocolate and mild coffee/roasted malt notes. The finish is fairly sweet, even after 2 years of aging.

Mouth-feel: Full-bodied with a moderate level of carbonation appropriate tor the style. Great mouth-feel for the style.

Overall: No doubt it's sweet as many have said but there is enough going on in the taste profile to make it a good beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2013 01:04:42 | More by IKR
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Jeffo

Netherlands

3.9/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The infamous Dark Lord. This was one of the first highly touted US imperial stouts that I tried back in 2010 and I was thrilled about it. The green wax 2010 vintage was very much enjoyed as well, earning a solid 4.0 score. Since then, I've been introduced to lots of other imperial stout beer from all over the world, and whenever I get to try another vintage of Dark Lord, it always sucks. Every time I am curious if the beer has changed or if my palate has just moved on. Well, on the night before Tour de Gueuze 2013, in a dark, dank corner of Moeder Lambic's cellar, a bunch of us got together to line up the complete vintage as well as all the BA variants. Finally, the chance to try the 2010 again, and the chance to see what Dark Lord is really made of. Thanks to everyone for making this fun day finally happen.

From a bomber into a snifter
The entire vertical
The review is for the 2010 still, but there are lots of notes for comparison.

APPEARANCE: Pours relatively clear for an imperial stout, producing a small, one finger medium-looking head that quickly fades to a wisp and ring. Black body in the glass with some carbonation evident. Only a ring remains until the end and leaves no real lacing down the glass. A little too light a pour and an average head at best. The 2011 and 2012 are even lighter than this one, while older vintages, starting with the 2010, are somewhat darker. The 2007 was almost flat while the 2006 had a bit more carbonation and better lacing, surprisingly enough.

SMELL: Pretty bold nose of roasted malts, molasses, and lots of dark cherries and a faint port wine aroma as a base underneath. A good dose of booze on the nose as well; more so than any other vintage. Not bad, and the stronger alcohol makes it more interesting. The '09 and '08 had lots of molasses and soy on the nose, making it off-putting, while older vintages were starting to go south. That said, the '05 and '04 were not as far off as I’d expected. Newer vintages are much different. The 2011 had a very pronounced coffee aroma while the 2012 was just disgusting, dominated by green apple acetaldehyde.

TASTE: Not bad at all, and definitely the best of the vertical. Roasted malts with sweet molasses and dark fruit notes again. Some nice port wine comes through the middle and into the finish, accompanied by a good dose of alcohol. A long and bold aftertaste of sweet molasses, port and boozy flavors, as well as some bitter chocolate and coffee as balance. Pretty decent really. The '09, '07, '06 and '04 were all overly sweet and cloying, with lots of soy and molasses flavors dominating the show. Pretty rough to drink really. The '08 and '05 shared a certain bitterness that was appreciated, while the '11 showed a lot of coffee flavor and the '12 a lot of nastiness. Green apples and stout beer never go well together. Surprisingly, the 2005 and 2004 were only slightly oxidized, and many people agreed that the bitterness in the '05 was a nice change.

PALATE: These were all basically the same. Fuller body with medium levels of carbonation. Creamy enough on the palate, goes down smooth with an appropriate and well-measured alcohol burn at the back right after the swallow, finishing quite mouth-coating. There is definitely something added to this beer that makes the feel this full. Some of the older vintages were just too cloyingly sweet, and the 2009 and 2004 were the thickest of the bunch.

OVERALL: When I first reviewed it back in September 2010, it was probably the first well-hyped US stout I’d ever drunk. I enjoyed the 2010 back then and scored it a 4.0, and to be honest, my opinion on the 2010 hasn’t really changed. It’s a good beer that I would gladly drink again. The look is perhaps a little lack-luster, but the sweet malt profile is actually balanced by a good bed of booze and alcohol, making this one a big task, but not an impossible one. If I ever see a 2010 again, I wouldn’t mind tackling it myself.

Compared to the rest of the vertical, the 2010 is a diamond in the rough. As for the other vintages, the 2011 was quite coffee forward and actually half-decent, making it unique in the vertical, and the bitterness in the '08 and '05 made those vintages mildly tolerable. However, all the other years were just nasty in their own special way. The 2009 and older years are plagued by an overly sweet flavor profile and soy qualities, while the 2012 is just an acetaldehyde train wreck. The '06, '05 and '04 are starting to go as well, though to be fair, they weren’t nearly as past their prime as I had expected.

In the end, this was a really fun vertical to drink. There was lots of variation between the years, and getting to try them all at once was really fun and entertaining. This experience definitely confirmed that Dark Lord is generally a terrible beer. Luckily there was a 2010 to save the show, as this was by far the best of the bunch. Thanks again everyone. This was great!

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2013 19:02:05 | More by Jeffo
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THANAT0PSIS

Wisconsin

4.33/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Three Floyds Dark Lord 2013

Appearance: Dark Lord lives up to its name. It pours an extremely dark brown, perhaps even to the point of being black. There is just a half-centimeter of dark tan head, which is not surprising in its relative absence. The lacing is spotty and minimal, and the alcohol legs are just as intense as the color of the pour. This is a typical looking Russian imperial stout, and, at 15% ABV, it cannot be faulted too much for the lack of head.

Aroma: Huge notes of chocolate, vanilla, coffee, and alcohol jump out of the glass immediately. It smells very sweet to the point of smelling like double chocolate chip cookies. There is a very mild hop presence, but thankfully it appears Three Floyds did not do their signature over-hopping to this beer. The hops combined with the strong alcohol aromas, an underlying cherry, dark fruit, and anise aroma all help to cut the almost overwhelming sweetness. This is a very complex smelling beer, but it is also a bit sweet smelling.

Taste: Apparently the rumors about Dark Lord are true. The beer is just a little too sweet, and the sweetness is not cut by anything really. The hop presence is still there, but in a sweet hop oil capacity rather than a cutting bitterness. The alcohol also just is not enough, in fact it is a sweet alcohol, which only adds to the sweetness. There is just a touch of the green apple flavor that the 2013 batch was rumored to have, but it meshes well with the rest of the beer for the most part, especially well with the cherries and the dark fruit. The chocolate and coffee are there, but it is more of a mocha than the bitterness one would expect from these qualities in a stout. It is a very complex beer, but it is a little bit too cloying.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is perhaps the best part of this beer. It is velvety, creamy, slick, oily, warming, and thick. It is everything that a Russian imperial stout should be. There is nothing more to say.

Overall: If only this beer was more balanced. It does not quite live up to the hype, but it is still certainly a great beer. Three Floyds has a reputation for pushing the envelope, and I think it fell right off the table on this one. It is still a very good beer, but it is not worth jumping through the hoops that you must to get it. Try it, but do not trade your left arm for it. 18/20

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2013 01:42:32 | More by THANAT0PSIS
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justforrazors

Missouri

4.59/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Impromptu first review, just finished this bottle and figured it would be a good one to start reviewing with.

2011 bottle, served at 50-55 degrees in a snifter.

A- Jet black, a mocha head quickly appears during the pour but quickly dissipates to nothing. Some alcohol legs.

S- Extremely sweet- Cherries, molasses, and alcohol. No roast or coffee detected.

T- Very sweet, but not overly so. I can taste cherries, figs, molasses, and a bit of an alcohol bite. Finishes like a port, absolutely delicious.

M- Silky smooth, a bit of alcohol bite but it is an easy sipper.

O- This is an excellent beer, but I feel it could use another year or two and hopefully some of the sweetness will die down. It was very enjoyable, and surprisingly I could have drank quite a bit more than the half a bottle I had without getting the full feeling I sometimes get from RIS.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2013 22:30:00 | More by justforrazors
Dark Lord Imperial Stout from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
95 out of 100 based on 2,814 ratings.