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Dark Lord Imperial Stout - 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,230 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 1,230
Hads: 4,022
Avg: 4.28
pDev: 14.49%
Wants: 3,136
Gots: 1,929 | FT: 158
Brewed by:
3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Indiana, United States | website

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,230 | Hads: 4,022
Photo of kingston2
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour is jet black. Literally oozes from the bottle. Smell is combination of soy, coffee and syrup. Mouthfeel is nice. Nice coating of tongue with each sip but never overly cloying. Very sweet taste but again never cloying. Some mild coffee notes as warmed closer to room temperature. Just a hint of soy sauce but in a pleasing subtle component. Really liked this years bottling. Will look forward to seeing how age treats it.

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Photo of mlhyatt
4.66/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from bomber into tulip glass.

Year is 2014

A- motor oil black with very little lace that turns into lace rather quickly.

S- chocolate and rich coffee. Some soy sauce but its very mild and i really only get that when i smell the actual bottle.

T- tons of coffee upfront. Real, good coffee. Not that fake coffee roastness that you get from some stouts. Then a rick dark chocolate sets in and coats the palate. On the back end there is a mild salty soy sauce flavor but it really works well with this beer. Excellent taste.

M- creamy thick and velvety. Its coats the mouth and goes down smooth like a milkshake.

O- i've had a 2013 dark lord sitting in my cellar for a while now but i didn't want to drink it without drinking a fresh one to compare it to. But this veer is amazing. The flavors bled so well and the coffee makes the beer roasty and the dark chocolate makes it sweet. The muld salty taste reminds me of those chocolate bars that are such and such percent caocao with sea salt. Fantastic. Can't wait to try this beer aged a little bit.

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Photo of GJ40
3.85/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Sampled from a 22oz bottle from 2013 (orange wax).

A - Pours like motor oil. A deep black with a small tan head of large bubbles that dissipate quickly leaving a pool of tar behind.

S - A big burst of dark chocolate, vanilla, molasses and brown sugar. It dulls significantly after the carbonation subsides.

T - Very sweet like a molasses and roasted marshmallow smoothie. Mellow otherwise with no significant roastiness or bitterness. My palate adjusted to the sweetness but never really appreciated it.

M - Super syrupy with a low carbonation.

O - Too sweet for my taste. Glad I tried it but one was enough. I wouldn't wait in line for this beer. Now Zombie Dust on the other hand...

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark Lord gets a bit of a bad wrap among certain groups, but it is still a good beer. If you thing is sucks, send me your bottles please. ... The review is of Dark Lord 2011, on tap at Dark Lord Day 2014.

Appearance - Among stouts, this one has a frightening thickness. Black like used motor oil, it sticks to the sides of the glass nicely. A slight mocha head crowns the glass.

Smell - The aroma of Dark Lord makes me think of Christmas cookies and the molasses used to make ginger bread cookies. You can almost smell the thickness here.

Taste - On the initial taste, I am made to think of the amount of sugar my dad puts in his coffee. It almost seems like overly sweet coffee with the molasses of ginger bread cookies and dark chocolate. The taste coats the tongue and lingers on the back of the throat. The burnt malts linger in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - This is thick. The sticky sweetness makes it seem even thicker than it really is.

Overall - This is a great celebration beer. I like it a lot.

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Photo of TheChiefBrews
2.41/5  rDev -43.7%
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.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I received a bottle of this in a trade years ago. Sudsdog was the sender and this is the white wax vintage, year 2009. I have been waiting for a special occasion to crack open this former Holy Grail of beers, and the perfect opportunity has arisen. I just completed my first IRONMAN 70.3 race, and to celebrate this huge accomplishment, I am cracking this one open.

Pours from the 22oz bottle into a La Fin Du Monde tulip snifter. Emerges as black as motor oil and nearly as thick. Topped with a smallish, off white colored head. There is some sporadic lacing involved, but honestly, at over 15% abv, I wasnt expecting much.

Aroma is pure impy stout goodness. Chocolate, coffee, alcohol, raisins, toffee, figs, vanilla. Quite impressive that even after five years this one is smelling great.

Awesome flavor on this one. I am always trepidacious when trying super hyped beers, but this one lives up to the hype. Outstanding! The alcohol is well hidden with everything in the aroma coming out in the flavor. Very smooth amd creamy. Full bodied and velvetty.

A true classic and a great beer. Glad I got the chance to try this one.

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Photo of LambicPentameter
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Was able to get a pour of this one at a mini bottle share. Poured out of a brown 750 mL bottle with the neck dipped in yellow wax, indicating that this is 2011 vintage. Poured into a small old fashioned glass.

Appearance - Pouring aggressively to coax out a presumably waning head from the three years of cellaring, I'm able to get just a little bit of ecru colored foam that quickly disappears, leaving nothing but inky black motor oil and a slim ring of foam around the edge of the glass.

Smell - Rich and full of roasted malt, cacao nibs, and faint notes of fresh coffee beans. It seems like the time has allowed the coffee notes to fade, as it's all but impossible to detect at this point. In addition to the more prototypical stout aromas, there are some elements that remind me more of a great Belgian quad, with some notes of dark fruit and port wine.

Taste - The initial foray onto my tastebuds seems more savory than expected, with some faint notes of balsamic and figs to go alongside the charred malts and black strap molasses. The coffee is pretty much gone at this point, but some sweeter notes of f vanilla and carmelized sugar still remain. The finish is very rich and savory, like an aged port wine, much like the nose hinted.

Mouthfeel - Viscous and full bodied, with low carbonation and a semisweet finish.

Overall, a really tasty beer. Would love to know how this one tastes fresh, with the inclusion of coffee, but I can't really complain, because I can't help but feel that the coffee would overcome what has become a subtly complex beer, with lots of sweet and savory notes over the course of the glass. Very happy to have been able to try it, but given how limited it is, not sure I'll go out of my way to seek it out again.

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Photo of thebigredone
4.16/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 Vintage

Even with all the negative hype around this beer, I was still looking forward to giving this a try.

Pour looks good, but the trouble begins with the nose. Green apples, even after 2 years. Uh oh.

Taste follows suit. Dark fruits, green apple, a touch of coffee. Not good.

Mouth feel is just fine.

Overall, still terribly disappointed even though my expectations weren't very high. Drank less than half. Bad form Three Floyd's, bad form.

Edit** - I was going to drainpour the remainder of the bottle, but ended up giving it a try the next morning. This was actually significantly better with some aeration. The green apple was mostly gone, and this now tasted like a very fruity quad/stout mix. Still not world class, but probably around a 3.75.

Update 11/14 - 2014 Version

Well, this is almost a completely different beer. Nice fudgey and dark fruit flavors, well integrated coffee, smooth for the abv. I really enjoyed this, and can finally understand why there is hype surrounding this beer. Updated from a 3.1 to a 4.16

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Photo of Hesscabob
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 DL - Thank you Titus

A - Jet Black, minimal lacing, poured out of the bottle like silky molasses.

S - Coffee very evident, very sweet with hints of chocolate. Aggresive.

T - As aggressive as the smell, with coffee very prominent. Almost completely mellowed out for a 2011 but still a bit hot. Almost tasted some pepper within.

M - Smooth, for a 15% ABV Imperial.

O - Overall, well worth the pursuit to find this beer. It's reputation was held up by the completely different take on a very populated category of Imperial Russian Stouts. Stands out from the crowd by far, not sure if I would want to drink an entire bottle with its immense sweetness. Cant wait for DLD '14!

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Photo of PlinyBeMiney
2.99/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

'12 bottle received via trade. When I first heard of this beer it was in the top 3 of BA, so it's been a long time want of mine. I was warned it was sweet and sweet it is. I assume if I had had this before Black Tuesday I would appreciate the sweetness a bit more. But a beer of this size needs barrel aging to curb the overbearing depth of malt. My bottle was slightly oxidized so I docked it more based on that. I'll see if the demand of a BA DL dies down and try my luck then.

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Photo of MDDMD
3.84/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A-dark brown black color with a small tan head and no lacing

S-dark chocolate, molasses, coffee, dark fruit, little vanilla

T-dark roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, lots of sweet caramel/molasses

F-medium to full body with light carbonation, smooth and cloying

O-too much sweetness for me, dominates the flavor profile

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.69/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2013 edition. Poured from an orange wax 22 ounce bottle into a snifter. Many thanks to the guys at Ale Arsenal for sharing.

A: Unsurprisingly black. Not much to say here.

S: Brown sugar and caramel.

T/M: Thick. Rich. Sweet. Really thick. Caramelized brown sugar. Hint of bitterness. This is a sugar bomb. Vaguely like DFH WWS. I honestly taste nothing but brown sugar and the barest hint of coffee.

O: Overall a decent beer. Not the best. It's just WAY too sweet. Would not have again. Not recommended.

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Photo of timc100
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 Fresh - 3.75

Pours lighter than the dark lord would command. Pitch black and oily in the glass. Sharp aroma of apple, apple skin, soy sauce, chocolate, and some dark fruits. There is no real unicorns blood, sadly - it is covered up by the more aggressive sharp flavors.

All over the place, needs some time to mature; however it is not undrinkable or bad by any means, can just be a lot better.

2011 Vintage - 4.5

Going into this I carried the expectations of an overhyped sweet mess, an empty shell of a formerly legendary beer. Well, thankfully I did not let that stop me - it's very, very good.

The pour is not impressive - dark brown like a lighter stout/porter, but it's a menacing brew when in the glass. Very oily looking, no head to speak of and pitch black.

Aroma is very nice - very dark oily espresso, bitter dark chocolate, light some soy-sauce umami flavor and mild dark fruits - very well balanced. The taste is huge - dark chocolate, espresso, dark cherries and raisins and a umami edge. Not very bitter and not overly sweet Very smooth, full bodied, very little carbonation.

Fantastic batch. All hail 2011.

2010 Vintage on tap - 4.25

Prominent soy sauce, but also great fruits - dark fruits and lighter grape skin and apple. Coffee is there but not at the fore. Very good, drinking very well right now.

2006 Vintage - 3.5

The pour is very dark, viscous, and oily. Yields a very minimal burnt mocha head. Menacing in the glass. Much more akin to a port wine than a beer. Very strong, but mellowed severely. Not the aggressive beer it once was. Melange of dark fruits - prune, plum, raisin, date, currant; some chocolate, booze, slighter soy sauce and some caramel. Very smooth and viscous - practically flat at this point.

A great experience to try it - and was certainly enjoyable, however past it's prime.

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Photo of herman77
4.09/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

2012 vintage (red wax)

A: Black with a slight dark khaki head. Good head retention and hardly any lacing. Crazy head retention for the abv.

S: Dark fruit bomb! Raisins, dates, black cherries, molasses, port wine. A hint of olives or some sort of other odd saltiness coming through as well. Some alcohol as it warms in the background.

T: Super sweet and tons of dark fruit up front. Molasses covered dark, sweet cherry. Cherry grenadine like. Roasted malts abundant. Some really nice coffee comes up in the aftertaste, way late in the aftertaste. Very complex, layers of flavors.

M: Thick and creamy. Very nice carbonation level for the style.

O: ABV is hidden pretty well for being 15%. Not the best drinkability for how sweet it is, but the complexity helps. Wish it wasn't so sweet and wish some of that dry roasted coffee flavors came through more up front. Glad I got to try it and it was just as I thought it would be.

Way different than Darkness and other Russian Imperial stouts. If I had to pick between this and Darkness, I would choose Darkness almost every time.

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Photo of zhanson88
3.47/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

2010 vintage.

Appearance: Pours out a very dark brown that appears pitch black in the glass. A viscous pour, but not astoundingly so. About 1/4" of dark tan head forms, which quickly reduces to a ring around the edges of the glass.

Smell: Toasted caramel malts and brown sugar, soy sauce, a bit of booze, perhaps a bit of weak coffee as well as a hint of oxidation. I had heard this vintage was pretty boozy back in the day, and it seems letting it sit for a few years helped out with that, at least from what I'm getting on the nose.

Taste: Brown sugar sweetness, toasted caramel, soy sauce, weak milk chocolate, maybe a hint of bitterness from the malts on the finish. No boozy notes, but one dimensional with the sweetness. Finish is heavy with residual sugars.

Mouthfeel/Overall: Heavy mouthfeel with light carbonation, mouthfeel is a bit slick. Finish is messy with a lot of sweetness, which retracts for me. Overall, not a bad RIS. Really just too sweet in my opinion to be rated any higher. I liked it less as I drank it and it took a while to polish off.

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Photo of guityler83
3.9/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 Vintage, orange wax

A: As it spewed forth from the bowels of despair, Dark Lord had the aggression of a hell hound (Poured from about 6 inches above the glass). The goblet filled with a soul crushing darkness that allowed nothing to pass through. The tan, mocha colored foam that emerged from the bellows was so thick with fine bubbles you could rest a quarter on it. After it fell back into darkness, a dusting was left in its place. When the Dark Lord is agitated and swirled in its new home, its legs are significant.

S: Bringing my nose to the edge of oblivion, I observe large roasty notes, moderate rubbing alcohol, bakers chocolate, moderate caramel and low vanilla notes from my first impression. Little to no hop aroma detected. Some hints of smoke, soy sauce and toffee also detected.

T: Sweeeet. Wow. Okay. Let me start over. Strong dark chocolate and caramel, with moderate toffee and vanilla flavors on the first impression. It reminds me of a milk stout in its over the top sweetness and lactose flavor I'm getting. Soy sauce and tobacco notes with milk chocolate and the bottom of a cocoa crispies cereal bowl (you know what I mean) flavors. Balance is 100% on the malt side, no detectable hop flavor and the sweetness is so over the top I can only take small sips.

M: Huge and chewy mouthfeel like you are drinking pudding. Very low carbonation and a pretty hefty amount of alcohol warming. Extremely sticky beer too, meaning when the residual beer is on the edge of the glass its like super glue.

O: Dark Lord has quite the reputation and Dark Lord Day was and is an amazing time. I can't say I'm a fan of the beer but I'm glad I got to try it for myself. Next year (if I'm lucky enough to get tickets) I'll probably trade my bottles for something I can enjoy more and let someone else try this legendary brew.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.57/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

White wax, 2009

Tried this at a bottle share. I had about 2 ounces of it, which was more than enough for me to confirm that this is truly deserving of being called diabetes in a bottle.

This pours a thick, crude-oil black in color. There’s a cocoa-colored creamy cap on this beaut.
The aroma is more than I could comprehend. Lots of sugary rum, a thick molasses, some dried fruit and a dark chocolate-coffee note. Big taste. It’s thick and heavy, but despite the strength I don’t get a sense of it’s ABV as I sip because the overpowering sweetness dominates. Lots more molasses, sugary sweetness, and a rummy character dominate over the chocolate-coffee roast.


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Photo of NHbeerguy
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a rich black color with a brown thin head that stays around the edge of the glass.

S-Smells include alcohol, chocolate and malts

T- The taste was good. Had a slight chocolate with a good amount of Alcohol. I bet this would be outstanding aged for at least a year.

M-It was a thick mouth feel. It left a lasting alcohol taste in my mouth

O- Overall a very good beer. My next bottle will be aged so I can compare after 2 years.

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Photo of cbutova
4.14/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2010 vintage reviewed a few days ago thanks to Dan. Also tried a 2009 a few weeks ago but didn't have the energy to review at the time. Finally getting around to Dark Lord after over four years of reviewing.

A- Poured from the bottle to a few pint glasses with an impressively oily, thick looking body. About as black as it gets, truly like motor oil. Creamy dark tan, brown head forms to a finger or just above that with good retention. Falls to a small ring and lace is hard to come by for whatever reason.

S- Roasty but you can tell there is some age to this. Big molasses sweetness off the top like Black Strap brand. Deep cocoa powder, nuttiness, aged caramel, toast and burnt grains.

T- Once again the age comes into play big time but isn't a big enough component to throw the beer off. Insanely roasty off the top with that huge brown sugar and molasses sugar feel. Deep, 100% bitter dark cocoa powder, raisins, toasted nuts, whole wheat cereal grain and some coffee hints. Just a bit of soy and cola hints but they seem to only pop up every few sips.

MF- Massively thick and oily body. Moderate carbonation is pretty nice for close to four years old. Some alcohol warming but not even close to 13-15% (check which one it is). Finishes with roast bitterness on the palate.

Just a beast in all ways. The age shows but complements the stout flavors that are still quite big. Tons of malt and roast flavor and massively thick. I will try this thing fresh some day. Have only had 2009 and 2010 in the last few months.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.35/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

2010 vintage bottle acquired from the very gracious Duff27. Green wax-ed over pressure cap bottle. 650ml brown glass bottle with interesting label art served into a Guinness goblet in me parents' gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are sky high given the brewery and its current 96 rating. Reviewed as a Russian Imperial Stout because the label description identifies it as such.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a half finger khaki-tan head which recedes inside 10 seconds.

Body colour is a solid opaque jet-black. No floating yeast particles are visible; it's quite clean.

Overall, I'm a bit underwhelmed.

Sm: Molasses, chocolate, wisps of dark fruit, dark malts, chocolate malt, and some acidic ash. Depleted cherry. A biteen burnt. Somewhat vinous. Crappucino.

It's pretty reticent for an imperial stout, but I'm intrigued. A pleasant if somewhat muted aroma of mild strength.

No yeast character or alcohol comes through.

T: Sweet, sure, with plenty of fruit - dark and sweet alike. Plum, cherry. Ash. Tobacco. Vague molasses. Nebulous vinous character. Black currants. I do get some char/ash. It's balanced, sure, but nowhere near as complex/subtle/intricate/nuanced as I expected given its rarity and high rating. It's certainly on the sweeter side.

Above average depth of flavour. Average duration and intensity of flavour.

More cynical reviewers might claim there's a soy sauce note.

No yeast character or alcohol comes through.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Nice body and thickness. A biteen overcarbonated. Nice presence on the palate. Lightly syrupy. Sticky. Has weight.

Not oily, astringent, gushed, hot, boozy, or harsh.

Dr: Certainly drinkable for the high ABV. Sure I'd buy it if I saw it in the store, but it isn't worth seeking out to be honest. I expected far better, but it's nice. I don't know that age has made any substantial difference/developments. It has many characteristics which evoke more of a port-wine or liqueur character. I know many claim it's too sweet, and I can see that argument, but I think it's fine as-is. I'm real disappointed. Thanks for the opportunity to try it, Duff27.

Low B-

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Photo of Rope
4.36/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Dark, and in direct light a rich red. Thing tan head that dissipates quickly.

Thick, syrupy, and roasted tones. A warm alcohol undertone towards the end.

Sweet and thick (hey kinda like the nose), preserved fruits, and a long sweet aftertaste.

Surprising for how thick it is, it actually has good carbonation. The sweetness coats everything, including low hanging mustache hair.

If Stone went for bitterness with IPAs, Three Floyds went for sweetness with RTS.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22oz bombers from both the 2012 and 2013 vintages. Will review 2013 which I felt was a better beer, with some comparison to the 2012 at the end of this review. Poured into snifters at Dustin's birthday tasting yesterday, 6/15/2013.

Aroma: Phew! Lots of stuff going on here. Mostly an overwhelming sweetness which screams diabetes. There is a lot of nice dark fruit sweetness making me think of figs, raisins and cherries with tons of sweet milk chocolate and a bit of coffee bitterness. Makes me want to dive into this beer.

Colour: Very dark brown, almost pure blackness. Pours like incredibly thick motor oil, with a delicious looking 1cm brown head that sticks around briefly until it completely disappears into nothingness. Not much lacing to be spoken of. Looks like a great dessert wine.

Flavour: Damn this is diabetes in a glass. There is a ton of stuff going on, but its mostly dominated by a sweet apple flavour, no tartness. In the background, the dark fruits are ever present, giving a nice blend of sweetness. Lots of bitter black chocolate, and I think there is a good bit of sweet milk chocolate in there too. Near the end there's a decent bit of coffee bitterness. Very complex beer, a bit too sweet and would benefit from perhaps 2 years of age.

Mouthfeel: Super thick body, almost goopy. Carbonation is OK, nothing special. Aftertaste is a nice dark chocolate bitterness mixed in with some sweet apple flavours. Incredibly smooth, and there is no booziness whatsoever on this 15% ABV.

Overall: I'm glad to have tried this beer. Very tasty, thick and complex imperial stout that does deserve the moniker "diabetes in a bottle". I actually liked it a lot, though some of the other people at this tasting did not like this version. Compared to the 2012, the 2013 is richer, much more complex but is significantly sweeter. That makes me think the optimal time to drink this beer is in 1.5-2 years. The 2012 brings the same kind of super thick mouthfeel, and while it is still very sweet, it is not as overwhelmingly sweet. However, I feel like the rest of the different flavours are also muted as well in the 2012 compared to the 2013. I'd have to say I'd rather have the 2013 if I had to choose, but I really liked the 2012 because it just wasn't so sweet. Give this one a try if you can, just don't think its the best Imperial Stout ever.

Re-review: Shawn generously opened up a 2012 vintage bottle before we opened up 2012 BVDL today, 12/8/2013. Poured into an unlabeled snifter.

Pours just like Dark Lord always has- opaque black, exceedingly minimal mocha head that doesn't retain all that well, even for an imperial stout. Not much lacing. It smells great- no green apples, though it does got a straight up sugary sweetness but you can get a lot of complexity in it- coffee, port wine, dark fruits, milk chocolates, cocoa- which is very good. Flavour-wise, its the same- dark chocolate and black coffee bitterness, dark fruits, milk chocolate, sugar and molasses contributing a lot to the sweetness of the beer. And the mouthfeel is very good as any Dark Lord can be. No heat in this, even as it warms up. Not that hard to drink. Overall, with a year and half on it, its done very well. Its still sweet, but very manageable and complex. Its a very good imperial stout, its also overhyped but in my opinion, its a very good and unique RIS that shouldn't be confused with the best but should still be appreciated.

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Photo of mmapes
3.53/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Andrew for the trade. I never thought I'd get to try this one.

Pours dark but not completely black, a translucence while pouring. Not much head. The bottle is from 2012 and we're tasting it in 2013.

Smells boozy, hot. Molasses, prunes.

First taste: really thick and syrupy, very sweet. Tingle-bursts on first taste.

Second taste: big malt, slightly bitter, fairly long finish. Port wine.

A little sticky sweet for my tastes. There are better balanced Russian Imperials that I think I prefer.

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Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.95/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

22 oz. bomber (2011 yellow wax top) poured into a Duvel tulip style glass. Liquid comes out like a very dark roasted coffee color. You can see a few lightish brown highlights while pouring it, but as it pools into the glass the liquid is black and there are now highlights at all. Even if you hold the glass up to the light, it's as if it's an eclipse. Nice slightly darker than tan colored head with a lot of medium and small bubbles, make it look somewhat frothy. Lasts awhile and will eventually very slowly work it's way down to a ring around the edge of the glass. Not much glass retention and lacing with the head, but the liquid itself clings sort of like a syrup. Looks good overall.

Smell is really good, it's very sweet, even sweeter than I expected, but it's still amazing. It has quite a bit going on. It's got generous aromas of dark chocolate, caramel, toffee and subtle hints of a coffee. There's a nice hop presence, but more like they were soaked in some blend of almond/vanilla/molasses. Everything meshes really nicely together and it smells great.

I was on the fence a little bit about the flavor, but you know what, I'm going with perfect here. It's just a sweet Russian Imperial Stout, nothing wrong with that. Taste is truly excellent. Tastes again of dark chocolate, with some charred brown sugar, toffee, caramel, and toffee. To top it all off there's a nice kiss of dark roasted coffee mixed in to add a little bit of bitterness. Really a well blended, and great tasting beer. I've read many reviews and heard many complaints that it tastes like soy sauce, not to me, I thought it tasted great.

Mouthfeel is really good, flavor lingers for a looong time, it's certainly full bodied. With how sweet it is it's a little syrupy in the feel so the carbonation is down a little. Big and bold Russian Imperial Stout, I wouldn't have guessed 15%, so on some levels I guess they did a decent job hiding the alcohol. Drinkability is there, but don't be fooled, this one is a sipper. Nice warming effect after each sip, perfect for a cool night like tonight. Thanks for the trade CuriousMonk.

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Photo of alaimoa
3.12/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

This is a review for a 5 year vertical on 11/15/13

Overall extreme disappointment in the 5 year DL Vertical with the only decent ones were 2010: ranked 4.5 overall and 2011 4.25 overall. The rest were all below average in my opinion with the actual event of doing a vertical making the entire rank at least average..

Beers poor, Event with the suspense and side by side Amazing.

--2008: Stickiest legs of all, aggressive bitter coffee with the flavor of burnt charred chicken, burnt molssaes and burnt brown sugar

--2009: too sweet and tart with a granny smith like twange to it. Motor oil appearance with a brown ringlet of film. smelled like burned coffee and nutty. Very sweet yet very bitter aftertaste

--2010: Favorite of the bunch. Best aroma, flaor, feel with nice complexity. Smell was a nice mix of sweet, roasty and figgy with charred chocolate. complex flavor of coffee, bitter choc and sweet fig in the back. Coffee lingers nicely. Dry feel at the end.

--2011: Second best in the tasting with dominating coffee notes. burnt coffee smell, less sticky than the 2008 but very thick in feel. Flavor was upfront sweet coffee leading to a brown sugar figginess

--2012: it wasn't disgusting but not great. slightly thinner than 2008/9 and like eating a bitter sweet chocolate bar with a ver dry aftertaste despite the sweetness

--2013: Worst of all with a horrendous smell and taste of rubbing alcohol as it warmed. Appearance had an orangy swirl, best carb, and most legs. least aggressive aroma but swet. Thinner than ofhers and comparable to a porter. Flavor and smell were resembling rubbing alcohol as it warmed"

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Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 1,230 ratings.