Dark Lord Imperial Stout | 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

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Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Indiana, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 15.00%

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
Maroon wax = 2015 15% ABV

Added by cretemixer on 12-13-2002

User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,238 | Ratings: 4,083
Photo of Golden2wenty1
4.79/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gold waxed 2006 bottle graciously shared by battlekow with expatsteve and myself - a million thanks for the opportunity, Eric.

Pour: midnight black-kind of what you'd expect from a beer called Dark Lord, super viscous with a skim of capuccino/cocoa foam that fizzles to a skim under the strain of 13%abv.

Nose: lactose-y cream 'n espresso, booze soaked rasins and dates, jerky smoke, cherry/plum yogurt and caramel sugar...Glade needs to make air fresheners out of this stuff.

Taste: tons of potent dark fruits - black cherries, "burnt currants" raisins, plums, etc, boozy apple skin esters, roasted coffee with gobs of baker's chocolate and sweet/funky cherry yogurt...I'm exhausted just thinking about it the morning after.

Feel: rich, slick, evaporating booze throughout the sinuses make this a valid, yet expensive alternative to Vick's Vap-o-rub, with smooth, fine carbonation.

Drinkability/Overall: This is a beast of a beer, no doubt about it. Super boozy, reminds me of a mix between Founders Breakfast Stout with its coffee/chocolate and Bell's Cherry Stout with its funky, yogurty fruits. Impressively drinkable for 13%. A product of hype and supply and demand? Absolutely. Does it live up to said hype? I don't know if any beer could. This is a phenomenal beer, but I can't say that at $15 a bottle and for the pilgrimage and fuss it takes to get it that it's a good value. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed every sip of it and will probably end up making the trip to Munster next year to pick up a bottle, but mostly to enjoy the BA comraderie.

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Photo of AaronHomoya
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2006 edition with gold wax.

Pours a deep black color with a very dark tan/brown head and light carbonation. The aroma is rich, roasty and sweet with an almost worchestershire sauce or soy sauce character. The flavor is huge, sweet and malty, roasted, some chocolate and coffee character in the middle, followed by some hops flavor and bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is amazingly thick and rich, but still smooth. Alcohol is barely noticeable (in the taste and mouthfeel) after a few months of cellaring. Very drinkable for such a huge beer, but so bold and intense it's a bit much for frequent drinking.

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Photo of granger10
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Split a bottle of this after the Michigan Summer Beer Fest with BigDaddyWil. 2005 vintage. Review from some great notes.

Looks like motor oil with a medium super tan head. Good retention but not too much lacing. It's just soooo black and thick, with the creamy mocha whipped topping atop, perfect.

Aroma is intense. I got a sherry like flavor right at the start. Kind of a stronger cherry and vanilla flavor than I was expecting. Then the chocolate and roasted espresso come into play.

Taste is good but I don't know if I'd rank it with the bests of them. Really really thick and rich from the onset. The main flavor seems to be an overly roasted coffee aspect. An earthyness to it but with a shot or maybe two shots of mocha dropped in. Slight vinous qualities in the middle with a touch of alcohol, but not too much. Then a bitter coffee like finish with a touch of caramel or vanilla.

The carbonation was quite amazing for such a big beer. It helped me drink this by offsetting a little bit of the intense rich flavors the beer had to offer. I might still choose Stone or Bell's RIS's over this one but I'd definitely get this again. Big thanks to the BigDaddy for his kindness in sharing! I really need to do a blind RIS tasting with this one and see how it compares.

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Photo of Truh
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Obeyed the orders of the Master with this one on 7/5/2006. 1 pt. 6 fl. oz. 2006 bottle poured twice in a shaker. Shout out to friend and fellow BA Warriorsoul for this one.

Little to no head to speak of when poured vigorously in the shaker. Just a friar tuck of coffee jangle on the edge, with a weird nebula striation on the top. Back in the day, a medicine man may have divined the future off of this stuff. That responsibilty has fallen in this layman's hands now, thankfully. Pitch, dark black hue would require a mag light to penetrate; can't tell if anything is happening in there; very quiet, as if even sound is swallowed by it. On first whiff, soy is the predominant characteristic, followed by pickled prunes, coffee grounds, some charred, earthy cinnamon, and baker's chocolate. On the mouth, overripe prunes, dark toffee, smoky resin, and black licorice all combine to make an interesting flavor profile, almost candy-like. The alcohol is noted almost immediately at the tail end of the mouth; a warming touch that seems to grow more pronounced as the pour sits. Probably would not drink more than one bomber of this in a sitting, not only because of it's alcohol kick, but also because of it's scarcity.

Who can meet most of the hype that surrounds its ale? The Three Floyds men can, the Three Floyds men can…

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours out a thick dark, inky black with a churning, burbling chestnut-brown head. The type of stuff you see seagulls and sealions coated in on the news.

Smell: A rich, aggressive aroma greets the nose, unleashing waves of dark-roasted coffee, chocolate-covered cherries, anise, sorghum, and booze. Okay, you got my attention.

Taste: Phenomenally flavorful! A complex breadth of tastes that knows no bounds. Cherry-topped Black Forest cake marinated in Sambuca served with espresso with a hint of tobacco tossed in. Roasted bitter, bittersweet finish.

Mouthfeel: No question about it, this beer is full-bodied, taking 'chewy' to a whole new (and frightening) level. There's a sensational creaminess to it that pairs perfectly with it's charming warming nature.

Drinkability: Exquisite! Truly, a beer to be celebrated.

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Photo of UncleFlip
4.72/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2006 bottling. Served at room temperature.

Very large active cascading head,and a scant one finger of liquid under.head and liquid eventually even out. Head is dark tan, liquid is just black. There's a slight cola fringe when held to the light.

First thing that hits you onthe nose is deep dark molasses, then dark cherries, rasins, and some almond. Eventually a chocolatey/smoky smell emerges.

A smokiness hits me right up front. A lovely sort of burnt molasses hits right after, then some rasin, and a little cherry. There's awoodinessthatdevolps high on the palate as it progresses, along with a pronounced bitternes. Rather nice. Very in-your-face, but that's the point.

Mouthfeel is very nice- with a hearty thick liquid paired up with a rather miniscule carbonation.

I find this one amazngly drinkable- but not quite as drinkable as the bourbon barrel aged 05 Dark Lord.

Be well

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Photo of Fish113d
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From a bottle chilled, and poured into a pint glass, it pours pitch black with a wonderfully cascading huge (3") mocha-colored head with just a hint of ruby hue.

Aroma is mostly chocolate with caramel maltiness. I also get the hint of coffee and a bit of grassy hops. However, the alcohol hits my nostrals as well. Smell is mostly of sweet caramel and chocolate. Maybe even some rasberry in there as well. I also find some oak aromas (drying). Very complex and complete!

Taste is of mocha chocolate and some fruitiness (rasberries). I also get some major caramel sweetness and just a bit of drying and hops on the finish. The finish is also a bit roasty. Yum!

Very thick, creamy, and syrupy body. Alcohol is well-aparent, but doesn't distract from the taste at all. Very little carbonation at about 60 degrees (F).

Overall, I definitely gotta thank Sulldaddy for hooking me up for my wedding with this one. Very yummy, and makes a great meal! This is probably the most complete brew I've ever had IMO!!! Except for the oil quality, this one drinks nicely!

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

thanks to Robertdoesbeer for this bottle

2006 vintage

A - this stout pours Black Hole black, with a half finger thick dark brown head, that fizzes and is darker around the edge of the glass

S - smells like a dark red wine with chocolate hints, dark fruit aromas like figs, the aroma is so thick and rich its overpowering, i cannot smell any hops at all

T - damn, this is a complex stout, ok, here we go, warming dark red wine flavors up front, these melt away into dark chocolate and slight coffee flavors associated with high quality imperial stouts, and the finish is a combination of these chocolate flavors and dark fruit flavors normally associated with barleywines, the aftertaste is rich and poignant, a strong bitter coffee flavor, this beer may make me move to Indiana

M - this is a thicker than thick beer, closer to syrupy than thick, its smooth and warming, and this is very palatable especially for such a high ABV, extremely impressed

D - again, drinkability is very high, a rich thick warm taste, smooth and palatable especially for such a high ABV, that ABV is the only drawback in the drinkability

the hype surrounding this brew is immeasurable, and it not only lived up to it but surpassed it as well, a quality brew with complex flavors, thanks again to Robertdoesbeer, never would've gotten my hands on any without him

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

Bomber purchased at the brewery, Dark Lord day 2006. This beer chugs out of the bottle thick and black. There appears to be very little carbonation at first, but the head forms slowly after the beer is poured. The aroma is big and malty with lots of chocolate, coffee, tobacco, and a grape-like fruitiness. The flavor is very chocolatey. I can understand the comparisons to a milkshake. Alcohol is high enough to burn a little. The flavor is almost perfect, but there is just a little too much sweetness. A bitter roastiness comes in at the finish, but overall this is a sweet beer. The mouthfeel is amazing. It's so thick and smooth. Drinkability is very good for a beer this big. A very interesting take on the Russian Imperial Stout.

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Photo of ddarden
4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz Bomber - thanks uncle flip

Poured into a chimay chalice....black with a reddish brown head that falls very quickly. Almost no carbonation and no light getting through this beer. The smell is alcohol, dried fruit, coffee, roasted malt. Very complex. The taste executes on the smell....cherries, vanilla, nice finishing hops, and ends with a very nice alcohol warming. Definitely one of the best beers in world. The alcohol is present but very well blended with the other flavors. The mouthfeel is perfect for the style...thick, chewy and smooth. The drinkablility for the style is great, not perfect due to the alcohol, but about as close as it gets. Excellent beer!

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Photo of Brian700
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I should mention that this is the '05 because they used a different kind of coffee (starbucks I believe) than in the '06 version.

This pours super thick and black. It has a nice brown head that stuck around for a while. It looks like you could pours this on a skillet and make Dark Lord Pancakes with it.

The Aroma is Chocolate, Coffee, Roasted Malt.

The flavor is simply amazing. It is full of Chocolate flavors that are blended perfectly with the coffee presence. Great roastiness going on here. I was worried that this beer wasn't going to live up to the hype but it has far surpassed the hype.

The mouthfeel is full bodied with medium carbonation. Coats the mouth nicely leaving behind nothing put liquid smiles.

This is a very drinkable beer. Good luck getting your hands on any.

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Photo of mynie
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Cut to a street corner. Early morning. Two children waiting for a school bus. This could be your street corner. These could be your children.

Little Billy wears a pair of denim shorts cut off just below the knee, a white T-shirt announcing his membership in Little League, and a ball cap. His pal, Little Andy, is a bit rough around the edges—his shirt is worn, and he has decided to wait for the bus without the benefit of a hat. Andy is a "cool cat," as the kids say, the worst kind of ruffian—the kind that makes horseplay and delinquency seem like the "hip" thing to do.

"Hey," says Andy. Billy knows that Andy's about to say something real "keen."


"You ever felt like a real man before?"

A strange question to you or I, but Billy knows that Andy's leading somewhere, Billy can tell that he should answer honestly.

"Once, when my dad took me fishin'."

"Ahh, no. None of that. I mean a *real man*. You ever felt like one of those?"

"I—I guess not."

There's a sound, a familiar sneeipt that Billy's heard several times before. It's an adult sound, a sound he knows he shouldn't ever hear, but he wants so bad to impress Andy he doesn't seem afraid.

Andy takes a slurp of a can of Budweiser's "Light" brand beer and, making a face, hands the can over to Billy. Billy doesn't think. The can's in his hand and it's nothing but a silver and blue flash up to his mouth, the taste of stale bread and his grandfather's breath. He coughs, but sucks some down, and then hands the can back to Andy. Yes, now he is a real "home dog," he's ready to start skate boarding and listening to R and B music.

But wait…Andy's looking in the other direction, his mouth open like a hungry dog. Billy turns his head to see what Andy's looking at and—oh no, it can't be! But yes it is. First it's a dot, and then it's a blob, and then, oh god and then marching towards them big as life and sure and hell it's none other than "Mean" Joe Green, and he is one bad dude.

Andy falls over and starts crying. Billy keeps looking at the ground. He can't move. Mean Joe's getting closer and closer and he can't move, he can't run, he can't do anything but shake. All he wanted was to be cool, and now look at him. Mean Joe gets so close his shadow blocks out all the sunlight. Billy starts to tremble, to squeak out a plea.

"P-p-please Mean Joe. Please don't murder me!"

Mean Joe laughs.

"Murder you? On the football field, maybe. What I want to know is, why do you childrens think that drinking Bud Light's gonna make you real men?"

"I just did what Andy did. He's radical."

"Well, he don't look radical to me."

Billy looked down. Andy was covered in vomit, was passed out mumbling like a drowned nun.

"Gee, I guess you're right."

Mean Joe laughs, again, reaches inside his pants and pulls out a mysterious, wax-covered bottle.

"Here, he says, if you wanna be a *real* man, drink one of these."

"I will, Mean Joe. I will."

Billy didn't go to school that day, nor did he try and wake up Andy. Instead, he went behind a shed to look at his new bottle. I found him there, and I hit him over the head with a pipe to steal his bottle of Dark Lord. Seriously, a kid isn't gonna like this.

It's too dark, for one. The head is little and brown which is pretty remarkable considering the massive amount of alcohol in this—but what's really on display here is the darkness. Think about the time before you were born and that's Dark Lord.

We're raised to appreciate two kinds of goodness in the worlds of taste and of smell. There's the natural and the artificial. Cherry Jolly Ranchers taste good, and so do real cherries, even if they don't taste anything alike. This is a combination of the best natural, earthen, fruity, and grainy smells you've ever come across, along with the best unnatural, chemical smells.

Kids don't know the smells of unprocessed molasses, burnt grain, or wood smoke. This would seem like a medicine chest mixed with a cookie jar mixed with a walk in a field—one whiff could scar a kid for life.

Too much complexity. On the very tip of the tongue it tastes like a dark wine, then it gets bittersweet, like fire roasted grain, browning apples, and molasses, then it gets regular sweet, like half-dark chocolate and a café mocha, and then it gets a little zippy, like Belgian alcohol and yeast. That's—that's like you're falling down a hill of flavor and then you climb it back up again, from the valley of the alcohol, into the sweet, and then into the bittersweet, and then into the wine. Giving this to a child would be like giving them a bar of acid and taking them to Disneyland. Nothing would ever make them feel happy again, ever.

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Photo of HappyHourHero
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A thick cherry brown head grew late in the pour. A very Dark Lord looking beer that seems to suck in light. Marshmallow, coffee, cocoa, even a bit of tobacco along with all kinds of dark malts in the aroma. The aroma is chock full of good stuff. Frickin sweet, man is it sweet, but there is a nice dryness from the dark malt that hits midway. Some solid cherry/tobacco flavors in there as well. Finish is fairly bitter, but not overpowering. Intense, and tasty. It's so sugary my lip stuck to the glass. There it goes again. It's a sipper, but that's a no brainer. Slick, but not too thick. My only complaint is the intense cherry flavor I'm getting. If I were to make a comparison I'd say it's like Storm Kings beefy sibling. Thanks to Shippos for making the pilgrimage!

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

well I thought it was time to rate this beer got a couple in trades from 2 differant R.B.s 06 version. poured a like old black oil that hasm’t been changed for 20,000 miles(my favorite color) with a big brown head that didn’t last, but left a small amount of lacing. aroma, molasses comes out strong, than got dark sweet cherries that are at their prime, vanilla,, brown sugar, roasted malts and some dark fruits. flavor dark fruits marinated in alcohol, raisins, some chocolate, as the beer warms in my glass it get sweeter a starting to get a slight bitterness to it. not to bad

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Photo of Prufrock
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. wax-topped bomber into a pint glass.

absolutely pitch black, even held up to the light. a solid inch of foaming dark brown head that leaves nice rings of lace. a very attractive beer.

powerful aroma. moist, sweet raisins at the forefront, with bitter chocolate, roasted malt, soy sauce and sweet sherry behind. barely, just barely, alcoholic as well.

taste is initially dominated by raisins as well. finish follows with some bitter chocolate, sweet raisins, and a kick of alcohol, but a fairly small kick given the 13%. luxuriously rich, velvety mouthfeel with just the right amount of gently massaging carbonation to keep it from cloying. high ABV precludes a high drinkability, but it's very enjoyable. very good brew.

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Photo of MeLikeBeer
4.16/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Acquired and sampled with much gratitude to fellow BA, Enlil.
Also tasted with SMF.
2006 edition in 22oz bomber with the gold wax.
Poured a jet-black color, the color of motor oil mixed with molasses and appeared to have the same consistency. Small, creamy head definitely laced the glass throughout.
Great caramely malt scents, coffee aromas and strangely...fruit.
The taste is very complex....thick coffee flavor, hints of chocolate and a sweetness- raisins? maple syrup? Can't seem to nail it down. This heavy, malty stout has a thick mouthfeel with a smooth finish. Overall the flavors mask the high alcohol content of this beer....very good. I'd like to have tried another, but was limited to one...that's okay, I'll seek it out again next year. The hype is worth it.

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Photo of ggaughan
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Sampled courtesy of my cousin who brought it to another cousins wedding reception. 2006 edition. Sure beats the Bud that was on tap there. The labeling and packaging with the melted wax is a great presentation. The beer poured a dense midnight black color, just like motor oil, with a brown right around the ends of the glass. The aroma is toasted and a bit sweet, molasses. Very impressive nose. The taste has a nice tough of toasted, but not overly done, coffee and a powerful sweet taste. At times the sweetness was the dominant force in this one but this is still a very fine brew. With a bit of aging, I get this thing would mellow out a bit and would be even more impressive.

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Photo of GreenWBush
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Spacy, almost purpled black in color. Endlessly deep and thick. Swirls of chocolately head leave just the finest marks of lace.

Nose is immense, not surprisingly. Astonishingly syrupy with hints of raisins, stewed prunes, molasses, maple syrup, and bitter-roasted coffee. Fusel alcohols burn the nostrils. Oddly reminscent to JW Lee's Sherry harvest ale in a way I cannot quite pin down.

Taste is a huge booze blast, ballasted by an ensuing cacophony of darkness. All aforementioned aromas come across on the palate "to the max!" Swimmingly vinous. Screaming aftertaste. Oddly oxidized qualities take down the score a little bit - this almost seems like its been poorly cared for but it was just brewed.

Hype's surely a motherfucker. Its impossible to give this one a fair rating both in that i've heard its praises being sung for years now as well as the difficulty involved with acquiring this huge mother. I have to say though that if this came to me at a reasonable price and unhyped, I would enjoy it but it would be but a drop of beer in the malty oceans.

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Photo of kirok1999
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I recently gave Stone Imp. Rus. Stout a perfect 5.0. Now I think I'll have to go back and take it down a notch in taste.

Huge thanks to Ryan P. for getting me 6 of these at the 3 Floyds sale.

Appearance- motor oil with 20K miles on it. Black and thick as night. 1/4 inch chocolate brown head that grows then quickly dissapates leaving no cling to the glass.

Smell- Sugar, cherries, currants, slight anise, coffee and chocolate. So much going on it's almost impossible to describe.

Taste- Same as the smell. It hides the alcohol well till after a few sips and you start to feel the burn. This is very similar to Stone IRS but more so. Starts sugary and fruity and finishes slight chocolate and coffee. In my opinion, the best RIS in the world.

Mouthfeel- Clings like cough syrup, chewy and clings like glue. Tastes so great you want it to stick around.

Drinkability- Simply immense, I just finished one and want to chill another and break it open. I won't though. These are going to be opened one every month. 3 Floyds is simply the best brewer in the country.

Edit for 2007 version:
We had one soon after buying at Dark Lord Day 07. Seemed thin and hot, not very tasty and I was a little disappointed. However, after 10 months in the bottle it is a whole different beast. Pours the blackest beer I've ever seen, almost no head.
Smells of deep, dark fruits, massive amounts of malt, sweet and rich. Thick and sticky with no lacing of the glass. Cherries, plums, dates, caramel. Almost no carbonation at all. Much improved over time and certain to get better.

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Photo of hero27
4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2006 vintage.

22 oz bomber w/ gold wax draped over the neck.

It doesn't get much darker than this.. the syrupy liquid sits underneath a very dense, dark tan head. As soon as the cap is lifted, the gargantuan aroma soon follows..suffice to say, it's not a beer you have to stick your nose in the glass to know what's in store. A wide array of fruits greet you with every inhale..a dominating, crisp green apple that brings along with it raisins, plums, and cherries, to name a few. All mixed with an unrelenting dark chocolate, molasses, and slight coffee kick.
Seems quite different from the 2005 version. The 2006 seems much more sweet and fruity, while the 2005 had more of a robust coffee flavor...but maybe I'm just getting a little tipsy. It is certainly a beer you can drink by yourself in one sitting, but it's probably a good thing I shared this with a buddy of mine. The alcohol is simply an afterthought, as it is almost completely masked by the dozens of dominating flavors.

I can't imagine how good this will be with another year or so on it..I'll be putting a couple bottles away for sure. Thanks to Three Floyds for once again meeting the nearly ridiculous expectations and hype. Now, if only you can make a little more of this for next year. ;)

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Photo of rajendra82
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This rare bottle came to me from mentor as a reward for setting up and maintaining the BIF 20 website. The reward certainly far exceeded any effort I put into the site, so I decided to put the 22 oz. bomber away till it was a year old. Now that all my guilt has faded away, and the beer should have mellowed a bit, it is time to get it out.

When pulled out the cellar, the flowing red wax seal looked as impressive as it did the day I got it. Luckily, the wax was soft and easily removed with a pocket knife. The beer poured out dark chocolate brown, and possessed a mocha colored one finger thick head. The body was completely opaque in the tulip. The smell was very roasty and mellow, with coffee being very prominent. Unlike many other brands of Russian Imperial Stouts, this one did not smell burnt at all. There was tinge of toffee and molasses sweetness in the smell, as well as a hint of soy sauce. The taste was quite a bit sweeter than I was anticipating. This sweetness must have come from the molasses Three Floyds put in this beer. The sweetness was supplemented by a little sourness, and chased by an astringent dryness. There was very little perceptible hop bitterness here. The mouthfeel was very thick and chewy, although I did not have the drinking sludge feeling reported by others.
The drinkability suffers in my mind due to the lack of bitterness to balance things out. With a creamy Havarti cheese to cut the sweetness, the beer goes down much more easily.

I liked the beer a lot, although I do think all the hype does this a little injustice. There are better imperial stouts out there that are more readily available, but the laws of supply and demand elevate this one to a more sought out status. After all that hoopla, this still only a beer.

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Photo of danielharper
4.76/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My 200th review!

Gotten for me by UncleFlip at Dark Lord Day 2006.

A: It pours a dark black color, so black that it almost appears purple. A gentle pour leaves no head at all, a more vigorous pour gives a small brownish-white one. Viscous, like motor oil, completely opaque.

S: Aroma is very sweet and syrupy, strong notes of grapes and heavy malt. Slight hoppiness apparent even when cold. Surprisingly, no astringency due to alcohol.

T: Flavor is heavy on crisp hops, with a clear chcolate, raisin, and licorice backbone. Every sip slightly different, huge changes in flavor as beer slowly warms. As the beer approaches room temperature, the alcohol becomes much more apparent in the flavor.

M: Amazing mouthfeel, syrupy, velvety, silky. Incredibly thick, like maple syrup, but this bad boy isn't going on pancakes.

D: Incredibly drinkable. Worth going to Indiana for.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.83/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5


It has become apparent that the bottle I had for this review was a bad one. Having tried two more, I’ll change my rating.

In a word, it’s flawless. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this beer and it‘s quality is fantastic. There’s nothing but green apples, port and chocolate. Very nice. I’m thinking the soy sauce I got in the reviewed bottle was a fluke. The flavor in this one was delectable lacking only slightly in smell. I’ll have something more substantial up next time I crack a bottle.


This beer pours a dark black that fades to dark browns and burgundies when I swirl it around in my tulip. The head is the darkest I’ve ever seen on a beer that is dark tan and rust. This fell to a thin film but was instantly replenished with a swirl. Marvelous!

Smelled of big sticky sweet prunes and raisins with a little banana and traces of malty hoisin sauce. There’s also a slight dry dark chocolate and a crisp coffee with a well blended but obvious alcohol burn.

Tastes of huge and creamy charred barley with an overly sweet and tangy dark fruit, brown sugar, coffee and a hoisin/ soy sauce earthy funk. The pure corn syrup sweetness of this beer sadly dominated the flavor. Bleah! Finished with a bit of coffee leaving my mouth reeling from the sweetness.

The mouth feel was big, thick and syrupy with a full mouth of bubbles at first when it was cold. But when it warmed, the carbonation faded away leaving this syrupy and a bit offensive.

Too sweet!!! Also, there’s too much alcohol on the nose. I’m a bit disappointed. This one needs to sit for a while longer. I sincerely hope this one gets better with age, or that I had a bad bottle.

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Photo of HoboAGoGo
4.9/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2006 gold wax sealed edition into the oversized snifter glass. Poured with a cascading head, loved watching it bubble up to the surface, a dark brown head sat atop, but fizzled away to nothing in very little time. The nose was strong in a cold, espresso smell, with dark chocolate, and alcohol soaked fruits. The initial flavor on the tongue is of dark roasted chocolate covered espresso beans, with a mild hop bite, alcohol follows the sips down the throat. After letting it warm up, more fruitiness comes into the picture, as you start to get an almost rum covered cherry flavor, a black cherry. After the beer became room temperature, the vanilla comes into play, and makes this beer extremely easy to drink. Last years was a bit easier on the palate to drink, but the complexities that made me put an additional half an hour into this beer makes me wonder at the possibilies of how this beer will taste with a few months put on it, or even another year or two.

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Photo of DrJay
4.55/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2005 release.
Black with faint chestnut highlights (I really had to work at it to spot the colour difference). The dark brown head was fairly dense, with plenty of fine bubbles, and produced some spotty lace. Decent retention too. Very malty and roasty aroma, backed up by some sharp chocolate and (relatively) mild hops. The flavour starts out with a dry roastiness and rich, chocolate sweetness that is balanced nicely by solid bitterness. Some sour cherry notes kick in part way through, followed by licorice and a slight acidity (seemingly due to the quantity of dark malts). This was a thick beer - and it looked viscous even during the pour. Excellent on the palate, very creamy, carbonation was a little on the low side, and it finished with a light warmth. Big and flavourful, I found that the Dark Lord was quite drinkable for a beer of its size. Thanks for the trade, autumnaldave!

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Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 1,238 ratings.