Dark Lord Imperial Stout - 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

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Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout

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1,206 Reviews
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Reviews: 1,206
Hads: 3,873
rAvg: 4.29
pDev: 7.93%
Wants: 3,056
Gots: 1,798 | FT: 138
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
Maroon wax = 2015 15% ABV
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,206 | Hads: 3,873
Photo of youngblood
4.87/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap via DLD 2009
Sweet heavens this thing is dark! It coats the inside of the glass very heavily. I new that I was in for a treat once my nose hit the glass. Smells strongly of molasses, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, alcohol, some dark fruit, and espresso. Up front tastes: Sweet soy, molasses, espresso. Leaves a lingering coffee, woody, semi-sweet chocolate aftertaste. This thing feels amazing on the tongue. Every thick, but smooth. Extremely drinkable for 13%. First taste of this was a punch in the face. Totally wasn't expecting what I got, but it turned out to be amazing. At first the flavors seemed puzzling, but fit very nicely together. This is not a beer for people who aren't into RIS's. All hail the Dark Lord! (731 characters)

Photo of Greggy
4.87/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a beautiful pitch black color, motor oil consistency, nice brown color head. Deep red color can be seen around the edge of the body.

S- Cherry,anise, tawny port, butterscotch, fig, earthy, oaky, w/ a hint of smokiness.

T- Starts out with a nice big buttery note, then some nice dark chocolate, bourbon, some dark fruit, the finish is long and has a great lingering bitterness.

M- Huge thick malty, superb.

D- Very drinkable for being 13%. Great beer. (464 characters)

Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.87/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Doing my 100th review in style.

2007 vintage Dark Lord Russian Style Imperial Stout, silver wax.

a: Deep black body allows no light to penetrate. Has a thin dark brown head that fades swiftly. The thick body leaves no lacing, but seems to be staining my glass with the brown syrup it leaves on the edge.

s: The complex, entoxicating aroma includes chocolate, dark figs and molasses, its out of this world.

t: The front is sweet figs and molasses, the finish is bitter chocolate, coffee, maybe even kahlua. For such a bold and robust flavor, it is surprisingly balanced, no overbearing sweetness or bitterness, not too rich. The flavors are strong but polished. Glad I let this one hangout for 9 months before cracking it open, can't wait to see how this tastes in a year or five.

m: Thick. Maple syrup thick. It doesn't coat your tongue with chocolate malt, it replaces your tongue with a chocolate-covered coffee bean. I think I could have thai for dinner and I would still taste nothing but chocolate. No carbonation to speak of, as it should be. Needless to say, dark lord is a full bodied brew.

d: The booze is there, I don't think you can hide a 13% abv. That being said, it is remarkably subdued. If my gut could handle all the calories, my brain could justify the extravagance, and my liver could take the punishment I would drink several of these (okay, maybe split several).

Any good review of Dark Lord must address the hype that this beer has created. It is a great beer. No question. Is it the best beer in America? I don't think so. I don't think there is such a thing. It is the best RIS I have had, but I have not had Kate or Darkness or Black Albert. Once you get to the top beers in most categories, I think its just up to personal preference/expectations. Would I attend Dark Lord Day to get more of it? I will certainly try. (1,851 characters)

Photo of Pardishcreel
4.87/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours dark, one of the darkest beers i have ever seen. Some describe it as a old motor oil look. The head on this is almost non existent, got a little of it but no matter how i poured the head seamed to never really show up.

The smell hit and the first thing I could smell was chocolate, good chocolate, with a background of fruits and alcohol. The beer smells of its high ABV but that is deceiving cause the taste is almost non existent.

The taste of this beer was surprisingly smooth and never once made me feel like I was drinking a beer that looked like motor oil. The chocolate flavor is there with and underlying fruit flavoring, being finished up by a light alcohol taste. Something that cant be easy to do with a ABV of 15%. (743 characters)

Photo of rhodeska
4.87/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Dark Lord. I have now had the 08, 09, 10 (thanks to hayesez for the first two and ridglens for the latter!!!) and each one has its interesting nuances. I'm going to review the 08 because that is the one I focused on most recently.

This beer was phenomenal. I had it once before, but was not ready at the time to review it, let alone any beer. The pour was magnificent, deep brown, very thin head (as it seems all DL have), and a great amount of sludge at the bottom of the bottle (ended up on the top of the beer).

The smell of the 08 is very distinct from the others I have had. Very profuse, smells of chocolate, tobacco, some alcohol (whiskey?), very malty. Great smell, much better than the recent years.

The taste of the beer was just as good, if not better, than the smell. Was very smooth after two years of age, didn't have a hard alcohol kick until the end of the glass. The film left on your mouth and the glass from this thick beer was great, and left the taste lingering in your mouth long after the beer was gone.

Excellent beer, I wish the 09 (which I didn't really enjoy at all this time around) and the 10 (which may turn out good in a couple years) had that dark and thick feel to them as well. (1,215 characters)

Photo of scruffwhor
4.87/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I bought six bottles from the Drak Lord release party 2006. Gave one to a friend as a gift and kept the other five. This is the first one I've opened since the release of the 2006 Dark Lord. Gold capped.

Appearance- Pours a viscous, oily, syrupy black with some very deep fudge highlights. Good luck if you can see anything in this beer. Let alone bubbles. Some light Brussel's lacing. But coats the inside of the glass with a light, spent motor oil color. Awesome.

Smell- Starts with some burnt coffee beans you'd smell at the perfume store. But lets not forget the creamy, toffee aroma that develops more as it gets warmer. Almost like evil butterscotch.

Taste- As it warmed up, the dark roasted mocha turns into a more Starbucks espresso with lots of cream and light cane sugar flavor takes hold. Thats in the fornt of the tongue. The middle brings out the more viney, black cherry and vanilla flavor. The back of the tongue and throat are like a burnt potato skin with some Starbucks liquer. Awesomely complex.

Mouthfeel- Very thick, rich creamy, a little bitter, but very syrupy and oily.

This beer deserves to be one of the best beers in the world. I only wish more BA's could get their hands on it. (1,225 characters)

Photo of backfat
4.87/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

black wax. saved for way too long, collecting dust and hype. seriously though, i am lucky to have such good friends that let me drink their beer. ha
pours motor oil opaque/black with a film of dark, mud colored head that quickly dissipates. the brew coats the side of the glass like an oily sludge. the smell is strong. potent. fresh. and intense, dominated by chocolate fudge, alcohol, malt roast, and coffee. BRUTALLY MASSIVE. the mouthfeel is ungodly. creamy, rich, and smooth. dark, ripe berries, cherry's, molasses, caramel, vanilla, chocolate syrup, love, raisins, and alcohol. brilliant. toffee as it warms with sweet berries and roasted malt. low low carbonation and high alcohol warmth that tucks you in at night and kisses your forehead. cool, collected, and balanced. bitter finish that lingers on the palate for the rest of the night, making all other beers weak and obsolete. april 24th can't come quick enough. god bless you FFF

Favorites in order:
black wax (08)
Green wax (10)
Silver wax (07)
Gold wax (06)
White wax (09)
Yellow wax (11) (1,055 characters)

Photo of Kshock
4.87/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle with green wax. Thanks Nate, really enjoyed this one.

A-Amazing bright jet black color. almost looks like liquid obsidian. Little head retention, but the foam is pale roasty color. resembles coffee with a dash of cream in it.

S- A lot going here. Love the aroma on this beer. Chocolate, hints of vanilla, subtle cherry.

T- Amazing flavor, very complex. Hits every flavor that you could ever want in a imperial stout. Love the slight hint of cherries. Every sip keeps you looking into the amazing depth of this beer.

M- Awesome soft mouthfeel on this one. you feel how big this beer is, but its not too heavy or a gut bomb. truly awesome beer.

Would love to be able to get more of this beer. this will always be on my wants list (744 characters)

Photo of coldmeat23
4.87/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: approx 45 - 50 degrees
VINTAGE 2009 (Had @ DLD)
My review #250!

Very black, as would be expected. About one-fingers worth of a dark brown head of foam. Dissipates to nothing after a minute or two. Lacing is not really anything to speak of, but this brew COATS the side of the glass, like an oil slick. Seriously, it looks like the glass is stained with a dark brown, almost black, rinse.

F-in' complex. That's the best way to describe this nose.
Huge notes of chocolate covered chocolate brownies. Lots of big, bold, dark fruit notes. Big presence of roasted coffee. Big, dark, sweet, roasted malt notes. Nice raisin presence. Hints of molasses. A touch of vanilla and a slight smokiness. A nice touch of hops.
The best/worst part of this nose is that everytime I give it the slightest of swirls I pick up some other scent.

Taste definitely follows the nose, here. The chocolate flavors are so intense, in a truly delicious way, it's like a fudge covered brownie in a glass. Then there is the coffee presence, which is bold enough that if the chocolate weren't there it would probably ruin this brew. As it is though, they play nicely with each other, sometimes letting each other take a tiny step, front and center, but mostly combining to become a wonderful, sweet, coffee-mocha blend.
Tons of wonderfully ripened dark fruits are in this glass. Light-ish notes of brown sugars. Wonderful roasted malt presence.
The taste is also quite complex. The good part is that no single element overpowers the others. They all combine their presence to become some beautifully tasty nectar.

This is truly where Dark Lord shines and gets seperated from every other beer out there. I would rate the mouthfeel with a 7, if I could. It's beyond the scale.
Yes, it's full-bodied. It is thick. It is oily. It is the definition of viscous. Yet, at the same time, it is smooth and creamy beyond anything I'd imagined. It is truly 'lush'. It's beyond velvety.

Drinkability is also exceptional. The only negative would be the 13%ABV contained within. Even at that high rate of alcohol, though, I only detect the slightest trace of warming sensation. It is very well hidden.
This one is a little bit of a mess, right now, flavorwise. I can only imagine how good it's going to taste with some cellaring time on it, when it smooths out. Hopefully, I can leave a couple of bottles alone long enough to find that out.
This one, IMO, is truly worthy of the hype that it receives. As far as my palate goes, Dark Lord is damn near "Perfect". (2,540 characters)

Photo of merlin48
4.88/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to kmpitz2 for picking this gem up for me, and to clvand0 for safekeeping it until I could pick it up in Lexington, Ky, on May 21,2005. Enjoyed with mtnlover on the evening of May 21.
Appearance: Tension mounts as the orange wax seal is finally scraped away to reveal a standard TF swirly bottle cap. Served slightly chilled, the body is an opaque ebony color with a medium brown head with ruby highlights. Head begins at about one finger in height, slowly dropping into a persistent film and collar of lace. Nice coat of lacing is left on the glass. Very attractive and inviting.

Aroma: Coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla, molasses, cherry esters, and other fruit esters that I can't pinpoint. I need another bottle in order to nail down all the nuances of the complex aromas present in the nose.

Mouthfeel: Thick, coating, and very full bodied. Mild alcohol burn, but the mouthfeel is exceptional, insistent on pulling you into the experience of this exceptional stout.

Taste: Very rich and complex, with vanilla, chocolate, smoke, cherries, burnt roasted coffee, fried grapes(a new flavor), some fruity hops. Flavors become more compelling as it reaches room temperature. Alcohol is hidden away in the layers of flavors, impressive considering this is 13% abv. Truely, a world class experience here.

Drinkability/Impression: This monster stout seems to change aromas and flavors with each sip, very playful on the palate. Best stout I've ever had and worthy of its hype. I could drink this all day, every day. Drinkability limited only by availability and price. Wow! Get your paws on some of these if you can find it. (1,638 characters)

Photo of Px2GrafX
4.88/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

presentation: 22oz. bomber with an orange wax sealing the crown. solidified wax drippings stream down the neck of the bottle. label is a full color comic book-like illustration of a muscular, armor clad and caped dark lord with a staff-like weapon in hand standing over the skulls and bones of his fallen opponents. the words "dark lord" are large across the top of the label in a "secret of nyhm" like font. the three floyds logo is on the bottom left. along the right hand side of the label, there are odd charactered words explained by: "beer dark warlord imperial russian strong". three floyds explanation of their russian imperial is also on the right with a map to the brewery. no abv or freshness date is displayed.

appearance: pours black as midnight with no real highlights in a snifter glass. nice rolling reverse cascading head that is a tight and creamy tan 2 inches. retention is amazing. thick, slow moving, almost oozing lacing down the glass.

smell: strong coffee and sweet chocolate aromas. there's tons of dark fruits. plums, cherries, currants, raisins. there's also a charred woody aroma or toasted malts. alcohol aromas as well and a tad vinous as the brew warms.

taste: wow! the flavors are overwhelming. lots of sweet chocolate, coffee and a nice lightly spicy hop bitterness that makes a feeble attempt to balance the malts. there is only the slightest hint of alcohol, but very warming. excellent roastiness. tons of fruit as well. molasses and chocolate coated currants and raisins. there's just so much going on. like in the smell, the alcohol becomes more prevalent as the brew warms. wonderful bitter-sweet chocolate finish and aftertaste. lip smacker between sips.

mouthfeel: this mouthfeel is second to none. rediculously thick. complete coating of the inside of your mouth. between a thick chocolate milk and a thin milkshake. good carbonation and silky swallow.

drinkability: this is the exact opposite of a chugging beer, however, for it's thickness and high alcohol it's easier to drink than expected. tastes so good and is so dessert like, that you want to drink it. but this one's a sipper.

overall: this brew is huge and damn near perfect. flawless appearance, taste and mouthfeel. i can't give a 5 for smell 'cause bell's expedition stout was the best smelling ris i've experienced. but close to perfect in that catagory as well. i love stouts, and the bigger the better. if drinkability wasn't factored in for double stouts, then this is as close to perfect that i've ever had. my greatest appreciation to mnben for hookin' me up with the dark lord in a trade. (2,609 characters)

Photo of mntlover
4.88/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ah the Holy Grail of beerdom. Many thanks to merlin48 for sharing this with me plus thanks to the other BA's hands it has been passed down thru. 2005 vintage with orange wax seal.

Pours motor oil black, Dark Lord lives up to its name in apperance, thick rich looking with a dark chocolate head little more then a finger tall seems to back build. Actually leaves behind some lacing at 13% its impressive

Aroma is strange starts as smoked chocolate that dominates all else, deeply roasted malt that mellows as it sits and fruit comes forth. Molasses dipped plums, raisins, tart cherries and vanilla hints find there way out of the darkness. The way the aroma changes is nice, overall very nice, but was expecting little more intensity.

Taste is wonderful big and full roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate, dark fruits, smokey woody flavors mixed with vanilla and light alcohol mingled thru out but does not detract at all even adds to the bliss. The flavor just keeps going and going. Some hops come out and add to the coffee flavors as it warms to room tempature. Finishes with mingling coffee and hop bitterness mixed with smoke and vanilla. This is one monster stout very well done very tastey no hint of the 13% at all.

Mouthfeel is well I thought I have had what I considered full beers before, but his stuff tastes like you could cut it with a knife. Very big probably has a texture that motor oil would. Would rate it 5.5 if I could.

Drinkability is bad ass kick ass lives up to the hype and then some, no doubt it should be the number one Double Stout. Wishing I had more these are expensive and hard to come by yes, but worth it, can I have a amen. Praise to the Dark Lord, need to plan a trip to the brewery next release. (1,744 characters)

Photo of marc77
4.88/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Utterly pitch black and absorbant. Dogged, stiff, dark beige head leaves coating lace. Barbed wafts of pepper, melted black licorice and singed anise hit the nose initially. Ensuing are seductive, rounded notes of dark caramel and butter laden fudge encrusted in lightly crushed espresso bean. Swirling releases searing hints of ethanol macerated ripe prune. In flavor, incipient is an enveloping, lingering mélange of creamy, dense dark chocolate truffles rich in cocoa butter, molasses sweetened mocha and praline. After the palate adjusts to the initial decadence, fruitiness of a plum and allspice nature emerges, but all is still drenched in melted fudge. Mid palate ethanol impressions surface, and when combined with the static hop flavor facilitate suggestions of oaky, bourbon drizzled chocolate and candied orange infused fudge. Supremely burly in overall body, with a mouthfeel of commanding viscosity. Finishes sluggishly, with protracted notes of smokey, fresh roasted cocao bean, toasted nut encrusted biscuit and cool espresso all lingering agreeably. Dark Lord is a superlative beer in all respects. It is, unequivocally the finest imperial stout I've had the pleasure of drinking, and may now rank amongst my very favorite overall brews thus far. Addictive and unparalleled in drinkability. Stunning.

A most sincere thank you goes to Buckeyenation for allowing me this delectable opportunity. (1,414 characters)

Photo of PatYoda
4.88/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow, finally got the Dark Lord!!! I arrived a bit late to the release party and missed the tailgate, but at least there was some of this left! I got two bottles, but due to generous friends, this is my second time sampling it, and I still haven't broken open one of my own bottles. Suckers.

Appearance is perfectly black with a long lasting brown head and some great lacing. Smell is strangely lacking compared to the taste, with very faint burnt malt and some vanilla coffee. Too much alcohol on the nose as well. But when you take a sip, you know why this is so great! Tastes are too many to pick out. Dark fruit, coffee, milk chocolate, vanilla, and dark chocolate all make an appearance, all surrounded by that great burnt malt. Coffee bitterness takes over at the end, but you can tell the hops are there bolstering also. I can't taste the alcohol at all - weird that it smells so strongly. And the mouthfeel - if there was a 25, that's what I would rate it. It's incredible - the match of a well cooked marshmallow, minus the crunchy exterior. This stuff just coats the mouth. Pure genius.

Edit (12/23/05): After trying a sample at room temperature and aged 8 months, most of the alcohol is gone from the smell. It now smells richly of milk chocolate and coffee and fruit. The taste has also changed quite a bit. Dark chocolate has almost totally taken over. It is STRONG - the finish lingers forever with its wonderful chocolatey bitterness. I've bumped up the smell to 4.5 from 4.0 and the drinkability to 5.0 from 4.5. This is as close to the perfect beer as I have ever experienced. (1,598 characters)

Photo of IrishRedRock
4.88/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

So my good friend and fellow BA ElGuapo (herein referred to as Deez) is at my apartment Friday night and we plan on heading to the shore on Saturday for the holiday weekend. Thus, we need to begin our weekend with some good brews. Now he knows I have this bottle of Dark Lord, and I know he knows, and we both know we've been trying to get our hands on this elusive beer for the better part of 2 years now. And BuckeyeNation sent me a bottle in trade. So I says, "whaddaya think...we drink that bottle of Dark Lord, see if it stands up to the hype?" Deez thinks this is a good idea.

So here we go. We need to sit down for this one. It takes me a minute to pry the cap off from under the thick wax atop. Thank the (dark) lord we're splitting this bottle, as I can smell the alcohol almost immediately. Pours dense. Black. Thick. The body, the head, appears meringue thick, the head a chestnut brown. Stays this way throughout the life of the beer in my glass. Wow.

Aroma is extremely complex and at this point I'm thinking, maybe this really will live up to its billing. Rich, dark chocolate covered cherry nose with licorice, anise, coffee, oily hops and booze. The taste...follows suit. Holy crap. Viscous and creamy, with a mouthfeel that I can only describe as perfection - uncomparable smoothness unlike that I've ever encountered. Carbonation is barely detectable yet you know its there. You'd never mistake this for being flat. Complexity abounds. Dark fruit drizzled in melted Godiva Dark, earthy gourmet coffee and a dark maltiness meld seamlessly with a mildly bitter, chewy hop finish. Alcohol is warming and noticeable without overshadowing any of the flavors.

So if there are any naysayers out there, any unbelievers or nonbelievers that this can be as good as people say it is. Bulee' dat! It is. And then some. I'm keeping it on the ol' "want list" because I want more. I want an endless supply. It's that good. BuckeyeNation...I will trade whatever to get more of this. Many many many thanks. (2,019 characters)

Photo of eatabagofbooger
4.88/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Birthday beer!!!

2008 vintage. Thanks to brothernova for getting this to me as part of a trade! Poured from a 22oz bottle to a snifter.

A: I've had some rich, thick beers before, but this one actually looks like heavy duty oil! Very thick and viscous. Minimal dark coffee colored head. Leaves more of a lacing than I expected for it not having much of a head.

S: Soy sauce, vanilla, cinnamon, plums. Some other sweet spice I can't quite place. Sounds like it would be awful, but it's actually quite alluring.

T: More going on here than I can keep track of. Everything from the nose plus a very heavy dark chocolate flavor. Cherries too, almost like a ruby port flavor. Dark chocolate covered cherries. Mmmmm. Vanilla is there, but not so much soy sauce. Alcohol is present, but not as much as one might expect. Molasses and caramel become more noticable as my glass empties. This is just delicious. With the lack of roasty, smoky flavors, this isn't quite what I expect from an impy stout (maybe more like an old ale?) but is absolutely delicious.

M: Very thick and surprisingly smooth. I can only think of one beer I've had that has as smooth of a mouthfeel. Velvety. The richness is out of this world. It's like a mouthful of melted milk chocolate. Carbonation is very light, but definitely present, despite the lack of head.

D: I was certainly looking forward to this one, but also have a persistent skepticism of hyped beers. This one lives up to the hype. Just an awesome beer. Hides the alcohol surprisingly well, too. (1,530 characters)

Photo of RealityDeviant
4.88/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 22 oz. brown bomber bottle from Armanetti’s in Chicago. I don’t see a date on it, but I’m not exactly worried. The artwork on the label is pretty nice and the wax on the top of the bottle suggests that it is more important than the other beers in your home just by virtue of it being there.

Appearance: There’s no doubt that the rumors about this beer being similar in appearance and consistency to crude oil were true. The beer is a deep, inky black and seems to cling to the sides of the glass. After being poured it offers a small, chocolate head that slowly dissipates and gives way to a little bit of lace. Overall, I’d judge the appearance to be excellent.

Smell: I’d say that coffee and dark chocolate were dominant aromas in this brew, but there’s so much going on in the smell that it’s difficult to tell how accurate that statement is. Along with coffee and chocolate I detect vanilla, caramel, cedar, and hints of prunes and other dark fruits that gave the smell a port-like character. I cannot deny that the relatively high alcohol content can be noticed in the smell, but it’s in there with so many other aromas that it isn’t much of a bother.

Taste: Well, this is certainly complex. Coffee, dark chocolate, caramel, prunes, vanilla, and molasses. Can you say roasted malts? I knew you could. The blending between the flavors is no less than exceptional. It’s sludgy, fruity, espresso-like mudslide, and it’s brilliant.

Mouthfeel: The epitome of a smooth, full-bodied beer. You don’t swallow it, you open your throat while it oozes downwards. Still, it doesn’t give up, coating everything it touches.

Drinkability: Absolutely drinkable. You wouldn’t need more than a bottle, considering how long the taste lingers in the mouth. Normally, I don’t feel as placid after brews that are beyond ten percent.

Many thanks to TheLoneGunman for reserving two bottles of this sweet nectar for me. I don’t know how long I’ll be able to store the last bottle of this liquid temptation. (2,038 characters)

Photo of Thepleasantimbiber
4.88/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Traded for a bottle of 2014, had tried small samples of past vintages at tasting events, but was glad to have an entire bottle to sample. Color is deep black, with a very thin mocha head. Smell is deep, sweet, indulgent chocolate/vanilla combo with slight dark fruit and a hint of alcohol. The taste is incredible, really complex, with the sweetness dominating and just a bit of bitterness. More sweet, rich chocolate and vanilla with some caramel mixed in, and a bit of bitterness from the coffee. Surprisingly, the coffee flavors are not overly apparent, and serve more to balance out the intense sweetness of the beer. The high ABV is really well hidden, hardly any noticeable alcohol. The mouthfeel is perfect, so smooth and rounded. Love love love this beer, if you don't love sweet beer this may not be for you, but I found it wonderfully complex and drinkable, each sip was fantastic. Excited to trade for another and possibly make a trip to Three Floyd's for Dark Lord Day next year. (991 characters)

Photo of beerinator
4.88/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Black, thick, dark as all get out. The head is frothy and thick tan with good retention.

Aroma: Roasty burnt wiffs. Sweetness of honey, maple syrup slathered on bread. Very solid smells coming from a solid looking beer. Fruitiness and a slight twinge of sour might have some cherryness behind them.

Taste: Stick to your stuff mouthfeel. This might be the fullest bodied beer I've ever tasted. The bitterness from the roastyness is balanced by fruit (cherry and plums) and sweetness from caramel-like sources. This beer fills the mouth and coats it with flavor. Coffee flavor is balanced by chocolate and cherry sweetness. The alcohol is mostly hidden by the massive presence of the other flavors. Bitterness lingers for quite a while after the final swallow. Bubbles are nice and tingly, helping to achieve a superb mouthfeel.

Notes: This beer is comforting like a wooly blanket. There is little more to say here. Don't miss. (946 characters)

Photo of beergeek279
4.88/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served in the 22 oz. bomber into a pint glass. The color is jet black with a foamy tan head with an amazing amount of retention for the ABV. The smell is a dark, sweet chocolate and just a hint of licorice, and just a hint of alcohol. The taste is a nice chocolate sweetness, with a good anise flavor in the backing, and just the right amount of hop bitterness in the aftertaste; alcohol is noticable, but certainly doesn't seem like almost 14%. Mouthfeel is creamy and 10W30 thick. As for drinkability, this one could be dangerous, since I could drink these all day not knowing the ABV.

Well, we decided to open this one up in order to celebrate the beginning of "Big" Ben Roethelisberger's long Steeler career, and it's certainly fitting. This is the perfect Imperial Stout, and easily the best in the world...so rich and chocolatey and anisey, but without alcohol getting in the way, and this is one that I would absolutely kill to have again!!! Thank you to trbeer and cretemixer for getting me the bottle!!! (1,015 characters)

Photo of Casedogg43
4.88/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Opened a bottle this past week with a friend. Yes, I shared my first Bottle!
Have been anticipating '12 DL since I tried the '11 with a friend May of last year.

I will first say that I couldn't be more disappointed that FFF doesn't have this readily available at DLD. Maybe I was spoiled by XV, but waiting in line for 2hrs to get in pub to try DLD is just sad. And I wasn't going to wait.

This is DLD, Dark Lord Day! the beer Dark Lord is what this event is all about. Let those of us who wait in line for 4 or 5 hours try a few! Put it on tap outside with the other brews!

Appearance: Black pour. Deep, jet black. Like a nicely painted Black Viper that just got a new coat of wax!
Head start like is a Chocolate Whip, then fades to white.

Smell: Rich, very rich. Chocolate, sugar and vanilla. Just the slightest hint of the smell of port coming through.

Taste: I believe God has blessed this Stout! Rich and so creamy chocolate up front. Then move on to smooth taste of warm fruits and vanilla. Finishes with that chocolate port taste that sits in your palate and tempts you to take another quick sip.

Mouthfeel: Full, very full, but so creamy smooth it's crazy. This is what separates this from the other remarkable stout. It is perfect.

Overall: It is what the growing legend of Dark Lord is about. A absolutely terrific brew from start to finish. May be my favorite beer. I can't wait to pop #2.

Cheers (1,417 characters)

Photo of Bierman9
4.88/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed from a 22oz bomber. Didn't find any freshness info anywhere... I believe this is from 2005, obtained in a trade for some Andechs Doppelbock with AKSmokedPorter (RIP) at the BA American Beer Fest in June of that year. Waxing over the cap is shaded a light orange hue.

Dark Lord? Dark is right! Poured into my Rapscallion snifter, it was most definitely dark, like inky, North Sea crude. Held up to a nearby lamp, light still failed to penetrate. Black hole, eh? I'll call it deep, deep, dark brown, for shits and giggles. The head is a rich tan, initially about 1/3", slowly ebbing to a fine, thin layer which maintains itself enough to cover the bier for the duration. Lacing is solid, leaving attractive patterns down the glass. Aroma is replete with heavy coffee notes, some dark chocolate, and a lovely layer of dark fruit action. Has a little floral hop activity going on as well. Wow! What a smooth and creamy bier! Thick, full-bodied, chewy and satiny slick over the tongue. This is a top-shelf mouthfeel!

Flavor? Whoa! Espresso, roasty coffee, and more dark chocolate kick some serious ass. There's some "burnt" action going on here, too, and smidges of molasses. On a more subtle level, some currants, raisins and figs come into play. What a hell of mix! The palate doesn't know where to concentrate it's attention. Damn!! Hoppage is on a major-league floral level, and quite pronounced, lasting long and hard after the bier itself has hit the stomach. The lupulins also have an earthy lean to them and, did I mention, they really stick in the nooks and crannies of the mouth. There is a definite warm feeling in the belly, though it's not really representative of a 13% abv bier. Worth the wait? Damn straight! And the hype? Deserved, without a doubt. My apologies to those naysayers out there, but this is one fine, tasty bier.

One caveat, of course - I didn't pay $13-15 for it. As mentioned, it was the byproduct of an Andechs Doppelbock trade. Would I pay that kind of coin for it? Perhaps once in a while (when/if available). But not regularly; biers like Portsmouth Kate the Great or Smutty RIS are, dollar-for-dollar, far and away a better value. But that's not the point here, is it? Dark Lord tastes superb; it's a lovely bier.

Now, I know numbers are (mostly) irrelevant here. But they are fun to fuck around with now and then. That said, I'm glad I saved Dark Lord for my review #1000.

Thanks AK ;-)

Zum Wohl!!

overall: 4.9
appearance: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | mouthfeel: 5 | drinkability: 5

1000 (2,539 characters)

Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.88/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2009 Vintage.

A: Black liquid with minimal head.

S: Cherries, figs, coffee, toasted malt, roasted barley.

T: Cherries, figs and currants up front with coffee, toasted malt and roasted barley flavours. Quite sweet with a very smooth finish.

O: Beautiful. Extremely drinkable and the ABV is extremely well hidden after being aged this long. (342 characters)

Photo of yelterdow
4.88/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Endless thanks to EPseja and his family for lugging this gem straight from FFFs "private stash"... and another heartfelt thanks for sharing the experience.

What follows is the closest possible interpretation of what happened... believe me, this was a beer review for the gods.

Served in a tasting tulip at somewhere between fridge and cellar temperature, with absolutely no distractions.

Appearance- Pours a beautiful, liquid black that *glugs* into the glass. A small, thin brown head adorns the beer as the glass fills, then something outrageous happens... out of nowhere, a reverse cascade, or implosion, of head balloons from the inside out, like dynamite inside a building. After the show, a four-finger crown showcases the most dense, tightly packed bubbles possible. Structure is exquisite. The sheer thickness of the appearance here is mind boggling... it's like a black beer statue, with a cafe-con-leche head that laces at a snail's pace. Late in the pour, near the end of our tasting, the bottle threw clumps of white, chunkified material. Awesome.

Smell- Powdered bittersweet dark chocolate, like you would use in baking, melds with notes of coffee and chicory. A perfumy character, which we later realized was a hop aroma, wafts among the chocolatey backbone in the air.

Taste- Wow... the first thing I get is a sweetness, like sugar cubes, at the tip of the tongue.... then comes a strong French press coffee with milk presentation, intense and hugely concentrated. The espresso and chicory notes take a back seat as the slick, liquid-hop flavors (Amarillo?) begin their mouth-gripping bitterness in a perfectly balanced finale. The hop tingle after the swallow resides so far at the back of the throat that I am sneezing after almost every sip. The phases in which this beer reveals itself is something of wonder and mastery... truly a tasting experience like no other.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Slick, viscous, oily. Smooth and chewy as hell, my tongue is actually tingling from the inside out from the hopping. Fantastic coating properties, like an unfurling of liquid down the throat.

This is a masterpiece, and worth the money... this is absolute *must* for the enthusiast who wants to discover how far an Imperial Stout can be pushed. (2,277 characters)

Photo of julian
4.88/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle received in a trade from paco1029384756.
Sharing with a non-BA friend.

A: pours a perfect jet black color with a thick foamy dark mocha colored head. Retention is phenomenal. This head isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Lacing is also visible leaving a curtain of mocha colored spotted foam around the edges of half the glass (opposite the side I've been drinking from).

S: strong smell of alcohol, burnt toasty aroma of nuts and coffee. There's also a definitely noticely chocolate and vanilla aroma.

T: Wow, this is a phenomenal RIS and beer in general. Taste up front is of slightly bitter chocolate with hints of vanilla that sweeten as it rolls across your tongue. On the finish there's a slight alcoholic presence, but the chocolately taste of roasted coffee really comes out. Man there's so much to this beer it's ridiculous, I even detect some dark red cherries on the aftertaste. This is one of the best tasting RIS' and best tasting beers I've ever had!

M: Mouthfeel is also unlike anything I've had. It does come close to JW Lees Harvest Ale Lagavulin CASK in that it's extremely smooth velvety, and rolls off your tongue like some kind of heavenly fluid from the gods.

D: Pretty high ABV, but practically unnoticeable. If I had more of this, I'd be drinking it. (1,285 characters)

Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 1,206 ratings.