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Dark Lord Imperial Stout - 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout

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3,585 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,585
Reviews: 1,183
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 14.72%
Wants: 2,880
Gots: 1,541 | FT: 103
Brewed by:
3 Floyds Brewing Co. visit their website
Indiana, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  15.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: cretemixer on 12-13-2002

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
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,585 | Reviews: 1,183 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of aingle
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of MOVERTON1284
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of mechamifune
4.01/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2009 edition

Pours jet black and with no head or sense of carbonation whatsoever, which is dissapointing. Just kind of sits there looking more or less dead in the glass with only the slightest of lacing.

Smell, however, is a whole different story. I could literally smell the beer from a few feet away. A whole lot of alcohol in the nose upfront, but this is undercut by an intense coffee/chocolate smell and what I would call, for lack of a better description, charred dark fruit. As complex and interesting smelling a beer as I've ever had. The nose just seems to promise great things to come.

The taste kind of fulfills this promise. Alcohol is there but not as intense as in the smell. Lots and lots of chocolate notes and that charred fruit becomes more and more evident the longer you drink it. A lot going on here but I'm not sure it all mends together as well as in some other world class RIS's, due to the at times overwhelming sweetness that comes in the longer you drink it.

Mouthfeel and drinkability are where this beer really stands out, though not entirely for the better. The mouthfeel is not like any beer i've had before. It almost is like beer syrup after getting through about half the pour. I'm not totally sure if thats a good or bad thing to be honest, but it is at least unique, so I'll give it that. It is not, however, particularly drinkable. As much as I enjoyed certain aspects of the beer, it is so sweet and so thick that I would have had a hard time drinking more than the 12 oz pour I had. This is a sipping beer if i've ever had one.

In total this is very interesting beer and one that any beer lover should probably try at least once. I'm already looking forward to trying my 10 edition in a year to see how that compares.

Photo of beerwolf77
4.01/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Huge thanks to Wisconsinality for busting this one out to finsh our mini tasting with a bang.

2010 vintage green wax

Poured into my glass the beer is the thickest blackest beer I've ever laid eyes on. This litterally looks like used motor oil. About one finger of dark chocolate head forms on top nad leaves sticky lace gobs as it recedes.

The aroma is very interesting. The coffee and hints of dark chocolate are present but an overwhelming leather and wet oak characters are just as dominant. Hints of molasses, brown sugar roast malt and licorice are all picked out as well.

The flavor is just as complex as the nose. Lots of plums, figs and raisins. With hints of coffee, chocolate, smoked malt, campfire and burnt sugar. I get no real hop presence at all. The booze can be detected but not over powering at all. Each mouthful is sweeter than the last.

Full body. This stuff could pass as chocolate syrup I swear. You can almost chew it as you let it sit in your mouth. Light carbonation if any.

Overall a bonifide sipper. We split this three ways and I seriously doubt if I could tackle this one with any less than two guys. A little of this goes a long way. Well worth the hype just not sure if it's worth the hassel it takes to aquire it. I look forward to cracking a bottle in a year to see what time will do to this bad boy.

Photo of triplecoil
4.02/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a small wine glass.

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

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

Photo of Sammy
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Intense, slow drink. Gorgeous dark colour. Sweet sour. Bitter at first, Roasty finish. Chocolate malt subdued to roasty Starbucks coffee. Alcohol clobbers later. Very smooth. Medium-thick mouthfeel. Had 2011, and it is good but very sugary.Averaging my 4 ratings over the years.

Photo of hotmanflab666
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

what can i say about the darklord, most look at this like a gigantic stout, which it is. but not the best of all of them, darklord is a very good but rough drink. very hot and strong rigid complex flavors, i drank out of brandy sifter. very good, just split the bottle with a friend

Photo of dren
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours like motor oil. Smells of cherry, a little chocolate, coffee notes. Tastes the same, very strong sweet cherry flavors but they melt well with the chocolate backdrops. A slight smoked coffee flavor after the rush of cherry and then some bourbon and oak. The flavor is very robust with a long pleasing aftertaste. It's like I'm eating a rich chocolate cake. A very full boddied beer, and I'd say the most full boddied I have had. While this beer was extremely good tasting it was hard to drink because of the weight. I hate to say this but I would rather have a half pint of the stuff for dessert. Finishing an entire bottle would be a chore. I am glad I wasn't the one waiting in line for this brew. It's good but not worth the wait unless you are completely obsessed with stouts, which I am not. The beer does hold up to its expectations as far as tastes go.

Photo of mrmanning
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy, and hanks to the very generoue Philip! Thanks my friend! 05 Bottle/Orange wax- I’ve been sitting on this one for about 8 months now, and I felt it was time to treat myself. Pours a pitch black oily abyss with a frothed cap of mocha evil. Lots of spotty lace and dusting. Enormous coffee/coffee bean/double espresso aroma with some dark rum, dark chocolate, vanilla bean, burboun, and american hops.Big big bad deep rooted espresso flavours are accompanied by lots of dark chocolate, woodsy earthy booziness, vanilla extract, dark rum, and lots of bittering hops. FInishes HUGE, dry as the desert, chalky, and assertive. I like it. Once again, thank you so much Phil for saving this, and trading it to me last year. I appreciate the opportunity!

Photo of liquidcraft
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Split a 2010 with a couple friends on an auspicious occasion. Poured very viscous resulting in a thin tan head, light did not penetrate. A deep black you'd expect from the beer.
Coffee is very present, accompanied with the sweetness of dark fruits. Enticing.
The texture is exactly what I had hoped for, super thick. It has the coating effect of nyquil. The taste follows the expectations of the beer's nose. Coffee, chocolate, a roasty dark fruit flavor; very sweet. Its got this sweet and boozy finish that I'm not crazy about, but the up front flavors are worth coming back for sip after sip. Glad I'm splitting it, it'd have to be a cold winter night by a fire for me to finish this whole thing alone.

Made a couple hour trek and spent enough time in line that I really wanted to love this beer. Darklord Day was a good time and I plan to go back next year so I'd say it was worth it. The beer's rating among the best in the world is deserved.

Photo of Wisconsinality
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer #4 in our Cinco de Mayo mini tasting.

A- Pours a pitch black with no light making its way through. A small, half finger worth of head that was mocha in color. No lacing left on the glass.

S- heavy roasted malts, small amounts of coffee and toffee. Small amounts of black licorice. For being 15%, the alcohol barely makes its self noticeable.

T- Big roasted malts, molasses, brown sugar and some black licorice. The alcohol is very well hidden under a good complexity of flavors.

M- Full bodied with a pretty smooth and minimal burn from the alcohol. The beer just coats the mouth. The carbonation is spot on for the style.

D- Definitely a sipper. The alcohol is fairly well subdued. Pretty balanced for a big stout. I want to put some age on this so it was nice to see what it tastes like fresh. I waited in line twice for this beer and am not disappointed at all.

Photo of SwillinBrew
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Have had this several times from trades.

Wow, what a pour. Deep brown ink and motor oil with a creamy finger of coffee bean colored lace, quite dense. Giving it a swirl shows great legs down my glass. Aromas of chocolate covered cherries, burnt toast, madeira and cocoa waff up from my chalice.

Quite the treat on the palate. Warm chewey earth flavors of figs, raisins, charred dinner rolls, cocoa, molasses with warm alcohol on the finish. I also detected faint anise at the end. Quite viscous on the tongue, heavy and lip smacking chewey. A true sipping beer. This is a fine RIS however i think the price is a bit prohibitive. Don't get me wrong, this is a great RIS but i can get 3 Stone RIS for the price of this one and be just as happy. You do have to try this.

Photo of nmbr0ne
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage poured into snifter.

Appearance: Dark black body with a tiny head. Little to no lacing though after the head dissipates.

Smell: A strong boozy smell slightly burns the nostrils. Coffee and chocolate notes, but not as roasty as I would like. You can definitely tell it's a high alcohol beer.

Taste: Sweet. Maybe even too sweet. I can detect the coffee and chocolate, but it is overwhelmed by the sweetness. Doesn't taste as boozy as it smells.

Mouthfeel: Slight burn of the alcohol in the finish. Great beer to warm up with. Decent carbonation. Thick body.

Overall: The beer would be a lot better if it wasn't so sweet. I think that's what put it over the top for me. The flavors are good, but I can't get past the sweetness. It's also missing more roasted notes.

Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

We did a complete vertical 2004-2011 on 9/23/11. Thanks to everyone who provided - it was quite the night. I reviewed the 2004, 2009, and 2011. I used the 2011 reviews since I preferred it to the other vintages.

A: Black. Very, very light carb. 3.5
S: Strong smoke and soy sauce. Light licorice with some dark chocolate. 2.5
T: Slight smoke, oxidized, quite mellow. Not really much flavor left. Certainly past its prime. 2
M: A bit less thick than the other DLs, but pretty good. 3.5
O: Definitely past its prime. 2.5

A: Black, thin ring of very dark head. 4
S: Strong licorice with some dark chocolate. 4
T: Strong toffee and chocolate. Light licorice flavor. 4
M: Very nice - thick, light carbonation. 4.5
O: A bit strong on the licorice for my taste, but good for the style. 3.5

A: Black with thin dark head. 4.5
S: Very nice, roast with vanilla and light hops. 4
T: Molasses, chocolate, slight hop biterness. Moderate roast flavor. 4
M: Thick with a bit more carbonation than the other vintages. 4
O: Best of all the vintages in my opinion. I think this is because I tend to like DL younger, not because this vintage is so much better. 4

Photo of tewaris
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage into a snifter. Thanks lurchingbeast for hooking me up with this one.

Dark Lord poured like silk in a thick, very dark brown stream, and looked opaque in the snifter. The head was very dark too, but it quickly gave away to a tiny collar. Legs were seen upon swirling the glass. The usual suspects were present in the aroma: chocolate-cream, vanilla, and sweet malts.

Felt thinner than I expected, perhaps because we were tasting at room temperature, but tasted very good and complex nonetheless; simply put, quite yummy! Sweet and rich in a milky way as opposed to Darkness that I find "raisin" sweet, but equally delicious. Finished clean in spite of the sweetness, and warmed me up as it went down. The alcohol is present and it is felt, no doubt, but the beer is not the sweet-boozy mess some describe it to be. In fact I found it quite a treat, and I *think* it could have been bigger on body for better.

Overall an excellent beer but nothing to die for, or travel for that matter, unless the event itself is what you're looking forward to. However, it is certain that Darkness and Dark Lord belong to an entirely different category within RIS's, if you want to call them RIS's, and are therefore worth seeking out.

Scores: Appearance 4/5; Aroma 3.5/5; Taste 4/5; Mouthfeel 4.5/5; Drinkability 4.5/5

Photo of Kino
4.04/5  rDev -5.6%

Photo of PG2G
4.04/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Wsherry1
4.04/5  rDev -5.6%

Photo of JulioH
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Very boozy beer, very strong alcohol taste from the beginning.

Pours a nice dark beer. Very little bubbles form. Aroma is very strong, like alcohol, chocolate, cognac. Taste is very rough. Taste like alcohol, like a very boozy beer that didn't have a chance to smooth out. Some other flavors float around, but the headiness is disturbing. Not the best, yet an iconic beer due to rarity.

Photo of supercolter
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Appearance is very good. A deep deep black that sheds no light. Pours like oil. Smell is good as well. Some nice figs, coffee, curant and alchohol come through. Taste is very similar but there is the typical underlying "bacon greasy" taste. Mouthfeel is out of this world good. Heavy heavy beer with some carbonation. Oily and slightly sticky. Drinkability is average- I've had more drinkable RIS's but this one is very good for what it is.

Photo of TMoney2591
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a mug.

2010 vintage. This beast is killing off draft night. Boom-shaka-laka. It isn't the shoes, it's the Dark Lord. It pours a nearly completely opaque black brown, with some very faint highlights of rich garnet showing through at the base and on the edges. The nose comprises walnuts, dark chocolate, molasses, maple syrup, alcohol, caramel, brown sugar, black cherries, and a hint of oak. A buddy of mine claims he smells death in there as well, but the last time that hooded fuck came 'round...well, the less said about that, the better we all will be. The taste holds notes of chocolate syrup, maple syrup, Maraschino cherries (syrup and all, baby), coffee, cinnamon sticks. Lagavulin, cough syrup (damn, there's a lot o' syrup in here...), and some figs. The sweetness is ramped up a bit, as is the semi-tartness of the fruit. The body is pretty hefty, with a very light carbonation and a pretty chewy feel. Overall, a very nice, beastly stout, worthy of some of the hype, but not necessarily all of it. Good times, regardless.

Photo of scottfrie
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Green waxed 2010 vintage poured into Portsmouth snifter. Thanks a ton for trading me this one Mark.

A: Pours super black with a thin, fuzzy, dark brown head that disappeared after a few moments.
S: Super sweet and boozy smelling with a hint of chocolate and acetone.
T: Very sweet with dominant notes of black licorice, anise, and molasses. Dark fruits, raisins and caramel are all there as well. The sweetness is reminiscent brown sugar in addition to the big molasses flavor. The finish is a bit roasted, and aftertaste is full of chocolate and warm alcohol.
M: Thick mouthfeel and body. Very thick. Syrupy thick. Alcoholic and viscous mouthfeel.
O: Super sweet and syrupy with a big licorice flavor. This was good, and I look forward to the day I crack my other bottle, but I don’t think it’s worth the entire amount of hype surrounding it. Some of the hype yes, but this isn’t the best stout in the world. Thanks you so much for the bottle, HosP!

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I got this brew because CrazyMacHarris99 went to DLD '08 and got it for me, Thanks Jason!

Served in a snifter this brew is pure black with a creamy brown head that left a few globs of lacing on the glass.
Aroma is full of sweet molases with a hint of roastiness.
Sweet molases flavor with some chocolate and roasted malt flavors taking a backseat.
Full bodied, thick and creamy feel.
A sipper and a very sweet tasting one at that.

Photo of washburnkid
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. '09 white wax

One of the most viscous beers I've encountered, but not pitch black. It's brown hued enough that a decent amount of light pulls through. Very low in carbonation, as little to no head is forming. Aromas and flavors reveal vinous qualities as well as dark currants. Fruitier than I would imagine an RIS to be. I'm wanting the slight hints of chocolate to be more present, but they are dominated. Really thick mouthfeel, lots of bittersweet residuals that remind me more of an underripe piece of fruit than they do of an expected chocolate/coffee combo. This was "meh", especially considering the high quality and bolder flavors of the IST I had right after.

Photo of Jstonerock24
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 3,585 ratings.