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

Not Rated.
Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

3,344 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,344
Reviews: 1,157
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 14.95%
Wants: 2,781
Gots: 1,479 | FT: 99
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:
A Demonic Imperial Russian stout brewed with INTELLIGENTSIA coffee,vanilla, and molasses.

Dark Lord is only available once a year at Dark Lord Day at the Three Floyds Brewpub.

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 added by: cretemixer on 12-13-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Dark Lord Imperial Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,344 | Reviews: 1,157 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AlexFields
2.08/5  rDev -51.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

This is the 2011 vintage, poured from the bottle a few months after its release

Appearance is not ominously black as you might expect from the beer's name, but more of a darkish caramel brown color. I'd believe it if you told me it was an imperial porter or imperial brown. A fairly thin head appears and then disappears.

Smells sweet and malty. Obviously not going to be real big on the roast or smoke.

Wow, the taste is pretty bad. I expected it to be over the top in sweetness, but I did not expect it to be downright awful. The problem here is not so much the sweetness (I like me some really sweet beers, including really sweet imperial stouts) as it is that the flavors just aren't good ones. A molasses bomb in the worst sense, I'm having trouble thinking of other specific descriptive terminology but this is pretty rough. You can tell there's coffee in it if you look for it, but the coffee is contributing an odd caramel kind of flavor and not the roasty coffee flavors found in other, better stouts with coffee added.

Mouthfeel? I'm not really sure. My mouth was in a state of shock over the bizarre flavors of this beer and didn't take a lot of note of how it "felt," but I guess it was pretty thick and chewy.

Overall, just a really terrible beer, by far the worst beer I've ever had that has an A rating on Beer Advocate.

3.9/10

AlexFields, Jul 06, 2011
Photo of barleywinefiend
2.13/5  rDev -50.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

2010 vintage, my 3rd DL. Still a drain pour.

A: Poured a solid black with good carbonation and a nice brownish head, some lacing present.

S: Immediate soy, tobacco leaves, leather, smoked meats, choco cherries

T: Immediate soy sauce, raisins and prunes, tobacco leaves, chocolate covered cherries, more soy sauce(dying or dead yeast), roastiness which transitions to leather, smoked meat, booze sting with a bitter chocolate, bitter, harsh, boozey finish. that soy and leather just kill me.

M: Big body, heavy and harsh

O: One of the most overrated beers of all time...gotta love that hype train

barleywinefiend, Jun 02, 2012
Photo of kzoobrew
2.13/5  rDev -50.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle courtesy of Jason. I thank you for the bottle, do not hold the contents against you.

2011.

Dark Lord, you haunt my dreams. I wake up in a cold sweat only to find you lingering on my tongue. Sand paper is no match for your relentless onslaught of sweetness. I would remove my tongue if I thought it would help, I trust you would find a way to overcome that obstacle. I humbly beg for mercy, your wrath is more than I can handle.

Black, obsidian, opaque, void of light, pure evil. Minimal deep brown head, this too soon becomes victim to the menacing villan that lurks beneath.

The aroma, the wolf in sheeps clothing. The aroma could be described simply as sweet, though that would not do it justice. Sugary, syrupy malt. Overloaded with chocolate, simply intense. I struggle to find anything below the sweetness. Minimal roast, slight coffee maybe. When anybody goes to this much trouble to masks their darkness with sweetness you no their intentions are anything but pure.

The taste, pure evil is unleashed. Sweet, why are you doing this to me type of sweet. Step aside Creme Brulee, your instant diabetes is no match for me kind of sweet. There is some chocolate there, scant amounts of coffee and roast, each of which is dwarfed but a flavor that can only be described as sweet. Sugar water sweetness, undiscernible flavor, can only be described as sweet.

Full bodied, syrupy texture. Dark Lord lays so heavy my mouth appears to be watering. Do not be fooled, my tongue is actually crying. The mouthfeel is just excessive in every aspect. Too big, too syrupy, finish is too long.

I do not want to say that all Dark Lords are this evil, but this vintage is some special type of evil. It is just too much. Even a small pour ravaged me. I feel no shame in admitting weakness, I am simply not man enough to tame the evil with in this bottle. This is a vintage I will avoid in the future.

kzoobrew, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of patm1986
2.15/5  rDev -49.8%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

a-bubbly, fast-disappearing head. prune juice body. still. dead-looking.
s-hickory smoked bacon fat, charcoal, prunes, raisins, band aids, boooze, sharp cheddar(?), worcestershire sauce.
t-burnt pork, smoked meat, smoked band aids, corn syrup, granulated sugar, soft chocolate.
m-grainy, thin, slimy.
o-honestly, and i hate doing this, but i did not like this beer. i found it undrinkable. and each member of my tasting group agreed. it tasted incredibly artificial: imitation sweetener, liquid smoke, "natural flavors."
it(i'm sorry) made me a bit nauseous. i hope i can try this out again to see if we had a bad bottle or some deviate issue.

patm1986, Mar 06, 2013
Photo of ShogoKawada
2.15/5  rDev -49.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Rad this at MA BA meeting no. 1. White Wax, 2009 I think.

From notes:

A- Black as midnight. Syrupy in the pour. No head at all, but can't knock it @ 13%.

S- Candied plums, rasins. Brown, burnt sugar. Maple. Caramel. Mild bourbon.

T- Dates, plums, figs. Figs are very prominent. Roasted malt, black coffee. Sugary sweetness that is way too much. No thanks. All over the place... heavy-handed fruit sweetness, malt sugars, and even a bit of tartness. Eeew.

M- Thick, like molasses. I feel like I'm in the scene in super troopers where they're chugging bottles of syrup. Zero carbonation. Really would have helped, I think.

D- I might get reamed for this... but this reminds me of triple bock. Like, really reminds me of it. I hate to say it, but I think I liked triple bock more, too! Too sweet, too syrupy, and a bit of soy. No thanks.

More for you guys, I won't be seeking this one out again. So it goes. I can see how some people love this stuff, but it's nowhere near drinkable to me.

I saw another reviewer call this 'fermented prune juice'. I think he might be on to something.

ShogoKawada, Feb 13, 2010
Photo of mykie73
2.2/5  rDev -48.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

2009; thanks for standing in line Rhinos00!

A) most motor oil looking beer I've seen, thick, not much of a head at all. rather still, would like to see some carbonation.

S) burned chocolate, licorice, currants, leather, figs. and booze. pleasant but not blown away.

T) syrupy sweet mess with rubbing alcohol and burned currants. way too hot. not sure why anyone can enjoy this in this state.

M) a lot thinner than it looked actually but still quite thick.

D) Split with a friend...wish I had at least three more friends to split it with in that moment.

Might be truly overrated...or just released way too early.

I have two more bottles (don't expect cracking them for two years at least).

I have loved everything else from Three Floyds...besides this one.

mykie73, Nov 05, 2009
Photo of calise1122
2.25/5  rDev -47.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

2009 Bottle

And so it began...

Three men, on a journey... one, really stinky... two cameras, both broken,... what happens next:

White wax top, drips down the side of the neck in a way that would make Taylor Rain look like an alter girl.... and yes, its 2009 and we have alter girls.

And yet, with a innocent white wax cover hovering over the top of the beer... the two other fellas in the room are talking about alter boys, sex, porn stars dancing, and possibly prostitution... and finally, the cap is popped and a nearly invisible cloud of mist follows Chris's hand back to his lap... oh dark lord, this bottle is talking to us.

A: tobacco spit, jet fuel, darkness....

Oh shit, I just spilt dark lord on the floor and I am getting some stares... but gregc just legitimately crapped his pants and we are getting nervous.

..A continued: quick carbonation fades to nearly nothing, but yet has frappe/milkshake sort of viscosity to it.

S: Glue, making one of our friends gag, smells like soy sauce, very salty... sort of fishy, with a ton of cocoa, vanilla, car paint, nail polish... not sure we all like it. It is very pungent, but not in necessarily a good way... in a C+ kind of way. Hmmm...

T: Hot, burnt my mouth, like drinking acid. Charcoaly, but in a bad way.. like when your steak is cooked over kerosene lit fire... seems artificial smokey mess.

M: Thin, watery, droopy, kind of like "pancake titties". 3 grown men pretty disappointed. This beer is putting one of us to sleep... to sleep. Are you kidding me. Urgh

D: Rather not

calise1122, Aug 01, 2009
Photo of Danimal25
2.25/5  rDev -47.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Opened a bottle of 2013 Dark Lord last night. I have to say, it was a grand disappointment. After pouring in a tulip glass, I gave it whiff and was caught off guard by the interesting, funky nose on the beer. The flavor, however, was far worse. Overwhelmingly sweet, bland, and metallic. There are minimal tasting notes here, as it literally tasted like sugar, metal, roasted barley, and cardboard.

May have had a bad bottle - will update I find different results with other bottles.

Danimal25, May 12, 2013
Photo of Ryan011235
2.25/5  rDev -47.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured into a snifter on 4/12/10; shared with two friends

2009 vintage

The color is a very dark scorched crimson brown, which appears jet black once settled in the glass. I honestly don't know as that I'd liken it to motor oil. Is it dense, thick & viscous? Yeah, man. But motor oil? The pour resulted in hardly any head. Despite a few intense swirls conjuring the most minute layer of film, there is nothing in terms of retention. Of course it follows that there is no lacing.

The aroma is pretty good. Dark fruits & burnt malts are notable. Notes of prunes, plum, raisins & currants, though the latter is a little less apparent than the others. Molasses, caramel, brown sugar overtones. Something in there is akin to tobacco - maybe dip spit. Hints of sweet dark chocolate. This smells very sweet; maybe too much so. Some alcohol heat is apparent as well.

Upfront, I think the taste is rather good. It is a complex culmination of burnt malts, potent dark fruits & sugars. Smooth & sweet milk chocolate blends with hits of roasted coffee. My enjoyment of the taste starts to wane during the middle when a much-too-potent sweetness becomes apparent. It just turns into a sticky sweet mess, in my opinion. The problem seems to stem from the beer trying to do too much at once. On the one hand are the burnt aspects, on the other, the sweet aspects - either of which would be passable were the other scaled down. Couple that tobacco harshness & I think it's just too much. This sentiment is only intensified by a weird numbing medicinal quality that manifests toward the end. Meh.

For the most part I can't fault the mouthfeel. The body is full with reasonable viscosity. Carbonation is appropriately very low. Lingering on the finish are notes of burnt tobacco & alcohol. Unfortunately the numbing quality detracts from the overall feel. Other than that the mouthfeel is quite good.

While I didn't find Dark Lord "all it's cracked up to be," I would not be opposed to trying it again. I would actually like to try it fresh to see if the harsher nature of the beer overshadows the sweetness as I presume it might. As it stands, this beer is still suspect in my opinion. I will certainly update & adjust accordingly if I have a different experience.

Ryan011235, Apr 28, 2010
Photo of Jpepe08
2.25/5  rDev -47.4%

Jpepe08, Jan 22, 2014
Photo of Petcha
2.25/5  rDev -47.4%

Petcha, May 01, 2013
Photo of drewmprs
2.28/5  rDev -46.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Vintage 2008

I've had this beer a couple times fresh and have never been impressed. Way too thick and oily. There's also an overpowering dark chocolate flavor that takes over the faint cherry tones. This beer definitely needs a couple years to age. I haven't had the chance to taste one more than 2 years old so I might revise this rating in the near future.

drewmprs, Aug 08, 2009
Photo of kevinv
2.3/5  rDev -46.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

2010 vintage poured into a pint glass.

Appearance:
Looks like motor oil. It pours a thick, oily, viscous pitch black. As you pour, it looks and even sounds very syrupy. The dark brown head dissipated quickly. Was only about a 1/2 finger at the max.

Smell:
Lots and lots of dark fruits. Strong on the molasses, brown sugar. Mild bourbon and chocolate scents. Very strong on the alcohol. This smells over the top sweet.

Taste/Mouthfeel:
Dark fruits (raisins??), molasses, chocolate. Holy ****, why is this so sweet? Not appealing at all. It's almost undrinkable. Pretty much zero carbonation and the thickness feels like sludge in your mouth which leaves a disgusting coating. You almost have to chew this beer to get it down. Feels like somebody poured syrup into my mouth.

Drinkability:
Very low drinkability. I'm pretty sure that I'm in the minority here, but this beer was bad. Really bad. Luckily, I split this with a friend, otherwise I'm pretty sure I would have poured the other half of the bottle out. This beer is definitely a sipper.

I had really high expectations going into this one and was excited to try it after seeking it out, but I was hugely disappointed. I think I want to try this one again at some point - maybe a different vintage - but this one was a letdown for me.

kevinv, Jan 17, 2011
Photo of WillCarrera
2.33/5  rDev -45.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

8 oz pour, had this on-tap at DLD 2012, finally got around to reviewing this from notes.

A- Pours pitch black, very thick looking, produces no head at all, just an ominous pool of black.

S- Incredibly sweet aroma, molasses and caramel/toffee, some dark fruit and some booze, the aroma is nice but the sweetness is already concerning.

T- Jesus. Sweetness is unbelievable and highly cloying. All I'm getting is a mouth full of sugar. There are flavors beneath it, I'm getting molasses, caramel, fruit, some roast, coffee and booze, but in order to find them you have to first penetrate beneath this incredibly powerful sugar. The first thing I said after drinking it was "does it need to be this sweet?"

M- Full-bodied, massively thick, sticky, chewy feel, these are great attributes on their own, but in this beer the thickness and lingering sugar actually become pretty unpleasant in combination.

O- A huge disappointment, I had heard great things about this beer and was really looking forward to it, but what an under-attenuated, cloying nightmare this turned out to be. I struggled through an 8-oz pour. People actually like this beer?

WillCarrera, Jul 02, 2012
Photo of TheChiefBrews
2.38/5  rDev -44.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

2013 Vintage

From other reviews I read here I knew this beer would be a sugar bomb, but this was unbelievably sweet. Diabetes in a glass. I couldn't finish my ~ 4oz taster. Just too sweet for my palate. Underneath the overwhelming sweetness there were some nice vinous raisin notes, but these were completely overshadowed by the sugar. I wish I could have tried this fresh as the coffee might have helped with the sweetness.

The creation of "Dude Lord"

One of the people tasting the beer remarked that it reminded him of Kahlua. No one in our tasting group was able to drink this sugary beast, so we decided to make it into a White Russian.

Recipe: 1/3 vodka, 1/3 dark lord 2013, 1/3 milk. Shake and strain over ice.

The dude lord was a slight improvement to the beer, and it allowed us to finish the bottle. The sweetness is cut nicely by the milk and ice. If you have a 2013 sitting around that is too cloying for you to drink, try this out. Just finish your glass before it starts to get chunky.

TheChiefBrews, Apr 17, 2014
Photo of antoines15
2.4/5  rDev -43.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

2011 bottle shared with J Bird and SB. Pours dark and thick and looks pretty good at this point. Unfortunately, it goes downhill from there. The smell doesn't really bring anything of note to the table. Taste is obnoxiously sweet, no coffee flavors at all, no flavor of any kind, just a sugary sweetness. Mouthfeel is thick, not too sticky, but the sweetness is all I can think about. Overall I was not impressed with this version. I liked it on tap at the release party but it has only gotten worse from there. I'm not sure if this is legal but I poured out about half of my glass. The Cardinals just hit a walk-off home-run to take game 6. OMG, what a game!

antoines15, Oct 28, 2011
Photo of Agold
2.4/5  rDev -43.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Was really lucky to get a pour of this from esentman 2011 vintage. Poured like a great impy stout. Dark and viscous, but even a vigorous pour did not yield a head. The aroma was pleasant. Caramel sweet coffee and a pleasant roasty fullness. The flavor was a huge mess. Under attenuated and extrememy sickly sweet. Everything that was in the nose, plus some dark fruity flavors, was lost behind a curtain of sweetness. It was not the easiest beer to get down. Full mouthfeel that would be nice if not for the cloying sweetness. Thick and full bodied. I have heard better things about older vintages, but was really unimpressed with this one. Kind of disappointing. I really wanted to like this one.

Agold, May 04, 2011
Photo of bitterbeerguy
2.43/5  rDev -43.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I just came back from vacation and had to post a review of this brew. I have been looking forward to it for the past 6 months, saved it for a great weekend, and wow was I disappointed.

Vintage 2011 (yellow wax)

Brew pours a beautiful color- midnight with some off-white foam. I was surprised how quickly the brew condensed down to just the beer though- bubbles were gone! I guess that 15% was clear from the beginning!

Aroma is a very nice- marshmallow fluff meets coffee and caramel, plus some oaky tones. Really nice smell on this brew.

Taste was awful. It was likely drinking a bottle of soy sauce. I thought maybe it was too cold, so we let it sit for a little while. Still tasted like soy. Then changed glasses, still tasted like soy. Finally, we had to pour it out. Also felt like it was not nearly as dense as expected, especially in flavor profile.

Maybe it was the youth of the beer (about a year), maybe it was just a bad bottle, or maybe this just isn't my brew. All I can say is there is NOTHING from Three Floyds that has gotten below a 4.5 overall rating from me so far, but Dark Lord did.

bitterbeerguy, Mar 26, 2012
Photo of DovaliHops
2.43/5  rDev -43.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2009 Vintage...I have been waiting for a long time to try this beer. Pours a VERY THICK, motor-oil black with minimal-to-no head. Scent is VERY VERY sweet...with some off-putting soy sauce aromas. I also pick up some lovely chocolate and brandy aromas, along with molasses and dark malt. Slight vanilla. Taste is...WOW...disappointing to say the least. Overly sweet...a ton of sugar, burnt sugar and malt. Lots of toffee with candied dark fruits and more sweetness. Slight soy sauce flavor. Mouthfeel is very thick, like motor oil, and hardly any carbonation. Drinkability is fair...but can only have a small serving of this. Overall, this was not nearly as good as I was hoping for. It's not too often that I go against the hype, but this was just not a good beer IMO. The sweetness is overpowering and just makes for a bad experience. Will definitely not be trading for any more of this.

DovaliHops, Feb 15, 2012
Photo of jokemon
2.45/5  rDev -42.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This review is based off of the 2012 bottles across multiple samplings.

The beer pours a dark "black-hole" black into the glass. Very minimal carbonation with almost no head. However, you can notice some carbonation rising in the glass. Also, tilting the glass i notice that this beer is thick! and will coat the glass with a sugary film.

Smell is... of sugary molasses soy sauce. Not the best smelling beer around. Unfortunately the taste closely resembles the smell. It is extremely difficult to drink this beer as it does taste like soy sauce, raisins and sugar. This beer is extremely sweet! it makes it very hard to drink and I wish it was balanced more in flavor.

I heard this was a bad year for dark lord and there were potentially some contaminated batches. I'm not sure if I got one but I have to say I would not recommend this beer. Bourbon county stout, FW parabola are far better beers.

jokemon, Sep 29, 2012
Photo of InebriatedJoker
2.45/5  rDev -42.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Shared this bottle with schwaeh - 2011 bottle Yellow Wax.

A: Poured a black as dark as the devils soul, one finger head that quickly desended into a thin frothy lacing, moderate carbonation.

S: There is alot going on in the smell on this one , Figs ,raisin.plums. burnt sugar,molasses,chocolate.

T: Holy sweet molasses cookies Batman, Plum pudding covered in chocolate,brown sugar, molasses, slight cherry , booze, pretty much everything and the kitchen sink with added sugar in this. I think I need to check my blood sugar now.

O: Maybe I just don't get this beer but I was rather dishearten by the end result, The beer is so sweet and I struggled to finish a single tulip of it, It attacks you tongue with so much sugar and molasses that it's really hard to enjoy it, I read the reviews and let the hype get the best of me and traded two solid beers for two of these, I doubt I'll be so eager to seek anymore out in the future.

InebriatedJoker, Jul 03, 2011
Photo of MrVonzipper
2.48/5  rDev -42.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Dark Lord '12
Pours a cola brown. Black in glass with a short tan head.  Good retention and lacing. 

Nose is okay. Very sweet. Mild fruit but not necessarily dark fruit like most imperial stouts. 

Flavor=wow. Not that good! Huge let down. How is this on the top 100? Where is the Intelligentsia coffee. So overly sweet. Tastes like sweet dark sugarcane. I think I just got diabetes. 

Mouth is puckery sweet. Very Heavy and full bodied with low carbonation. It's like a mouth full of pennies made of sugar.

Overall I'm so disappointed by this. Had high hopes as a major stout lover. But this ended up being a drain pour. Pretty bad!

MrVonzipper, May 19, 2012
Photo of miketd
2.5/5  rDev -41.6%

miketd, Jun 18, 2014
Photo of tourdot
2.5/5  rDev -41.6%

tourdot, Aug 13, 2013
Photo of Hophead717
2.5/5  rDev -41.6%

Hophead717, Dec 22, 2012
Dark Lord Imperial Stout from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
95 out of 100 based on 3,344 ratings.