1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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
96
world-class

3,472 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,472
Reviews: 1,167
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 14.95%
Wants: 2,825
Gots: 1,517 | FT: 100
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 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 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: 3,472 | Reviews: 1,167 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of IrishColonial
2.5/5  rDev -41.6%

IrishColonial, Apr 22, 2014
Photo of TBlightning
2.5/5  rDev -41.6%

TBlightning, Jun 26, 2014
Photo of jreamer
2.5/5  rDev -41.6%

jreamer, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of GhettoFabulous
2.5/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I cracked a bomber of the 2009 vintage with some dear friends and made sure it was the first beer of the night in the name of palette cleanliness.

This poured a sludgy back into my tulip glass with a decent amount of lacing. It looks good as hell and it smells inviting, but a little bit ominously. The aroma emits so much different flavors you can tell this is either going to be amazing, or a big hot disharmonious mess.

The first taste reveals, indeed, a brew with a panoply of flavor. There is a wide variety of disparate elements that your tongue struggles to suss out - dark fruit, molasses, figs, your requisite malts, and wow, there are too many flavors to possibly figure out which direction this beer is going. Beers like this can be great when the different elements sing together, but this is not integrated very well at all. The only pervasive and unifying theme is sweetness, and dare I say, soy saucey kind of taste.

It was a struggle to make it through this glass, and I am a huge fan of dark, sludgy adventurous stouts. This was a big disappointment, and even if the wild array of flavors here was integrated well, I can't imagine it would be an above average stout for its class.

GhettoFabulous, May 05, 2011
Photo of OGunner77
2.5/5  rDev -41.6%

OGunner77, Apr 12, 2013
Photo of dominic4beer
2.5/5  rDev -41.6%

dominic4beer, Sep 02, 2012
Photo of GripitandSipit
2.5/5  rDev -41.6%

GripitandSipit, Feb 25, 2012
Photo of ElGordito
2.5/5  rDev -41.6%

ElGordito, Oct 31, 2014
Photo of LaChupacabra
2.5/5  rDev -41.6%

LaChupacabra, Apr 02, 2012
Photo of drummermattie02
2.5/5  rDev -41.6%

drummermattie02, Feb 13, 2012
Photo of Shilt
2.5/5  rDev -41.6%

Shilt, Feb 10, 2013
Photo of victory4me
2.5/5  rDev -41.6%

victory4me, Apr 29, 2014
Photo of jdhasse
2.5/5  rDev -41.6%

jdhasse, Oct 06, 2013
Photo of atpca
2.5/5  rDev -41.6%

atpca, Jul 29, 2014
Photo of azdoobie
2.5/5  rDev -41.6%

azdoobie, Jun 08, 2014
Photo of egrace84
2.5/5  rDev -41.6%

egrace84, Feb 11, 2013
Photo of HugeBulge
2.5/5  rDev -41.6%

HugeBulge, Oct 17, 2013
Photo of mpayne5
2.5/5  rDev -41.6%

mpayne5, May 28, 2013
Photo of muttyd
2.58/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

2010 Bottle poured into a giant tulip

A - Pitch black pour with a thin tan head that quickly fades. Great lacing and looks like oil.

S - Boozy, dark chocolate candy bar, ground espresso, and some salty soy sauce. Smells hot, hoping its not just a booze bomb.

T - Dark chocolate, roasted malts, prune/raisins, some smokey/wood flavors up front. Alcohol present in the form of a port/sherry sweetness. Little to no hop presence, completely masked by the sweet sugary malt profile.

M - Very viscus, chewy and sticky. Little carbonation helps this one dance around the tongue slightly. Long, sticky sweet finish. Alcohol warms on the way down.

D - This is one hot beer. I am not really opposed to drinking high ABV beers (I knew what I was getting into), but the alcohol makes this one a slow sipper.

muttyd, May 16, 2010
Photo of youradhere
2.58/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Had the 2010 at a south sound tasting. Reminded me more of barley wine then a RIS, almost sockeningly sweet with little roast character. I honestly don't know what the hype is all about-Abyss blows this beer away on all fronts. Medium caramel color leaves long legs in the glass, smells of dark fruits and tastes is dark fruits, dates, figs etc. Really sweet, if the body were any thicker this would be not very drinkable at all. I get more notes of vanilla and toffee, but mostly fruit. Again there is no roast character at all to this "RIS" and I am glad I didn't trade something good for it.

youradhere, May 31, 2010
Photo of marvin213
2.6/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I can spot a few bubbles, but no head appears. How can a (white) waxed bottle offer no head on the pour? It pours thin, but the color is viscous motor oil. Other than being darker than most, it's fairly ordinary-looking. Under ordinary conditions, I'd rate a headless stout below par, but waxed, demonic marketing gets the best of us.

The nose is a dark fruit basket...almost like somebody smashed blackberries to make a new wine. Lacking hop presence and foam, it's cobbler without ice cream. Dark licorice makes it smell like candy. There's some dark cherries, raisins, dates (which I also associate with figs), and plums. It smells like a dark, fruity Twizzler.

The taste has a slight malty balance to the utter sweetness I smelled. Still, it's missing a creaminess or bitterness that would really make this a better beverage. If you count licorice as a fruit (and I'm not declaring it is), the only thing exempting this from candy status is an alcohol burn. I was nicer on the smell because fruity candies smell good, but this is not what I want from an RIS. Oddly enough, it's so sweetly puckering that it's almost like a sour. I know FFF is a great brewery and (maybe) this is ordinarily a great beer, but I prefer the taste of a grocery store stout compared to what currently sits in my snifter.

Though there's indisputably substance to this liquid, a relative flatness confirms my suspicions about the absence of froth--insufficient carbonation. It's so very dark, but with a diluted fruit, alcoholic warmth. I'll go with unimpressed on the feel but, with all the hoopla, rarity, marketing and, more objectively, the ratings on this site, I'm actually disappointed.

I want to try Dark Lord again (perhaps another vintage), but I'd be a fool to go whole-heartedly after it. An exclusive beer from such a great brewery that I don't even like--how does this happen? I'll finish it only because of these non-taste factors. I'll point out, however, that I actually drain-poured a small portion to eliminate glass contamination possibilities. Rarely do I drain-pour even a portion of ordinary brews, much less a brew like this.

marvin213, Nov 08, 2009
Photo of alexipa
2.6/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2012 as a part of an Imperial Stout tasting. This was the unanimous last place beer.

A: Black. Little head that dissipates to nothing quickly.

S: Smells of sweet booze, some dark fruit notes in there as well. This was my favorite part of the experience.

T: As soon as I tasted this, I thought turkey gravy. It tasted like turkey meat had been marinating in the bottle for months. Once I got past this horrible taste, there was some decent complexity hidden in there.

M: Pretty good carbonation, the right amount of heat, nice and smooth.

O: If I had an entire bottle to myself, I would have drain poured this. I'm glad I didn't actively seek this out and it was treated as an extra at the otherwise fantastic tasting.

alexipa, Aug 10, 2012
Photo of Higravity
2.65/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

First, many thanks to Mentor for this bottle in BIF20.

For such a hyped beer this sure was a let down. I could see all the interest and I have read the reviews, I've drooling for the past year, but this beer didn't meet up.

I served this beer at about 65F in a snifter and finished it in about an hour.

It is thick black with a real chocolate foam of a head that settles to lay on top of the beer mostly around the glass. The thin of the beer is brown and I knew I was in for a roasted malt treat.

The first smell was a bit choking as the CO2 was still escaping, but it concetrated to a roasted malty sugar and alcohol smell, the hops are present but muted, overall I really like the smell and when I am not sipping at the beer the snifter is under my nose.

Well . . . pow first sip is roasted bitterness with hop undertones that are nothing but bittering, no big flavors, it coats the mouth and the after taste is vinous and a little sherry like but more bitter. There is no creamyness and through just a few sips in this is really starting to taste really middle of the road and two dimensional, alcohol and heavily roasted malt. At the end of the bottle, the taste is really grating thin on my palate, it is not getting better, each sip is not savored and I can't wait to be done the beer. I have had better RIS's before.

Yeah this is a thick beer, but it really could use some smoothing out.

This is best to share with a friend after 22oz I don't think I could of taken another sip.

Higravity, Jun 01, 2005
Photo of pmarlowe
2.65/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

2011 vintage (yellow wax). Tulip glass. Thanks to seeswo for this.

A: Pours thin, very dark brown with a ring of tannish head. A few minutes in, the surface looks flat. No lacing.

S: Charred, roasted malt and vanilla, some cola and milk chocolate. Smells sweetish.

T: Super sweet, like drinking cola spiked with chocolate milk. Wow, this is way too sweet.

M: Full bodied and very light carbonation. So thick, like drinking straight up cream.

O: So sweet and thick, I can't finish more than a little. Ugh, truly gross. Drainpour.

pmarlowe, Aug 09, 2012
Photo of EuphonicHops
2.65/5  rDev -38.1%

EuphonicHops, Nov 13, 2014
Dark Lord Imperial Stout from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
96 out of 100 based on 3,472 ratings.