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

Not Rated.
Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

3,531 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,531
Reviews: 1,173
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 14.95%
Wants: 2,854
Gots: 1,531 | FT: 101
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
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Ratings: 3,531 | Reviews: 1,173 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of HeadyTheElder
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of ajs4bd
4.75/5  rDev +11%

Photo of Blaze5445
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of Marco_Gtz
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of topdown
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Photo of Beeradelphia
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Photo of BostonPhilly
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of xdtfx
4.75/5  rDev +11%

Photo of Smurf2055
3.34/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

2011 vintage (reviewed 2012) thanks to beersis. Pours a lighter black (if possible) with almost no head.

Smell is sweet raisins and boozy. Dark red fruit. This smells way closer to an English Barley Wine than a RIS. Almost sickeningly sweet.

Taste is also very sweet and boozy. It has some roastiness and faint chocolate, but mostly the deep red fruit from the smell. Lots of alcohol heat for sure. It is very complex, I will admit that much.

Very waxy mouthfeel, full bodied. Heavy, and you can tell the abv is there, but still reasonably drinkable. A sipper.

Not what I was expecting, and not even close to one of my favorite RIS. First FFF I have been genuinely disappointed in. I now understand why this is described as a "sweet boozy mess".

Photo of BeersAndBears
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of mkirkland80
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of beveragecaptain
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

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

22oz black wax dipped bottle (2008 vintage) poured into a snifter. Done with college so I am opening this one to celebrate, been sitting on it for over a month under my bed waiting to drink it and tonight seemed like just the right occasion.

A: Black as night, maybe thicker and blacker than Kentucky Breakfast Stout. It pours super thick, I poured it hard and fast and all I could get head with was about a quarter inch of toffee colored head that fades into a cap which fades into a ring. This thing looks menacing.

S: Smokey and chocolaty malts that gives off an almost meaty aroma but thick notes of chocolate and caramel cover this up and prevents it from becoming over powering. Dark fruits can be dectected as well, pretty well balanced for a beer this big, can't wait to see what it tastes like.

T/MF: Sweet and smoky. This is how I would describe this beer if I only had two words, but there is oh so much more. The beer has just enough carbonation to keep this beer from feeling flat in the mouth, if you let it sit on your tongue it is far more detectable and pops on the front and back of the tongue. The beer opens sweet and heavy with a smoky chocolate beginning that has an underlying meaty flavor not unlike a rauchbeer. Midway through the beer takes on a bitter chocolate and hazelnut coffee with highlights of brandied cherries and a mixture of dark fruits. The finish is incredibly long and brings back the smoky character from the beginning. Complex in the sense that there is a lot to taste here but it lets it all come through, all very detectable flavors, tastes even better if you really think about what you are drinking.

D: A world class beer, I can see what it has the hype that it does, tastes and feels wonderful and makes the whole waiting in line for four hours worth it. Does it deserve all the hype and hoopla, probably not and there are probably equal or better beers out there, but it tastes great, and it a real pleasure to drink.

Photo of juliusseizure
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%

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

This is a 2007 bottle received in a trade from the very generous ClockworkOrange. Big thanks!

It pours black as night with what starts as a thin mocha colored head that rises from the bottom up. This retains for a few minutes and settles back to a thin layer. Very low carbonation, basically looks like still used motor oil. I heard rumors in the past about this one coating the glass; well, let me tell you that there is a brown stain on this baby now that it's gone!

Smell is very interesting. More sweet malt and less roasted scents compared to others within the style. Plums come through along with sweet coffee and chocolate. A little black licorice and the faintest hints of alcohol rest beneath. It really does have a port wine aroma, which is lovely. Molasses like a mutha, too. It doesn't scream RIS but there is just so much to the nose.

Taste is about as unique as it gets. Again, it's not that big and bold roasted profile that I'm used to. While there is a roasted character, this beer is very sweet yet dark at the same time. Dark chocolate drenched cherries become more apparent. Some grassy like hop presence tames the sweetness. Coffee again contributes and helps round it out. Too much going on here to explain but it blends together for a perfect flavor.

A nice thick and chewy mouthfeel. The sweet darkness coats the tongue with minimal alcohol burn that only shows slightly when swallowing this tasty goodness.

Truly a sipper than can be enjoyed for hours. I split this with a good friend of mine and we both slowed to a near halt compared to the pace we had reached before this night cap. In fact, he put a few ounces in the fridge and I just consumed it over twelve hours later. Still as good as when it was first poured.

Perfect for a special occasion. Definitely not a regular but this deserves its praise in my book. For sure a big standout for its unique qualities and one of my favorite beers. If only it was more available and $8.99 or so a bomber, I'd be all over it.

Photo of jeonseh
4.78/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle of 2008 poured into my crystal snifter

A - Darkest beer I have probably ever seen. It is big and thick which I can tell even when I pour it in. It "gulgs" out thick and even makes a noise while pouring it out. It had really no head at all when I poured it out but only a cocoa colored foam that sat on top before fading away.

S - Has a big whiff of vanilla and caramel coming up. Also there is roasted chocolate and smokiness. Reminds me also a bit of a fudge brownies. Hints of oak and cinnamon.The nose was good but it was not impressive to me. Also a hint of alcohol as well that makes it a big nose.

T - Taste up front is sweet vanilla and caramel at first. It is a rich and decadent sweetness that matches well with the thick body of the beer. As the beer progress get darker and roasted flavors as well with even what I called a hint of cinnamon and oak. There is also sweet milk chocolate that comes up in the middle. As it progresses near the end, get some roasted dark chocolate, anise, and a hint of burnt malt. This roasted malt and burnt roasted coffee like flavors are what remains on the tongue as it the taste floats on. This is one taste that just lingers on forever and sits on the tongue. The aftertaste of some sips reminds me of a rich fudge brownie. Also has a bit of a warming quality near the end I have to say that on the whole this is one big beer that just punches you in the face when you first sip it. All of the flavors are there and balanced but all of them are in full force. I also have to say that there was absolutely no hint of the alcohol at all. I just really enjoyed this and thought it was an excellent beer.

MF - Big, thick and syrupy. Really thought this went well with the sweet taste profile in the beer. This is a mouthful and one rich beer that is big in the mouth. It is sticky and have to say one of the thickest and richest beer I have ever had.

D - despite this being such a big beer, it is rahter easy to drink. Additionally, I did not find myself tiring of the flavors. Definitely one of the best beers I have ever had especially in terms of the flavor profile. Each sip makes me want have to have even more since each taste is unique and complex. A super good beer that seemed to live up to the hype to me. One of the few RIS's that I have had that I just could not put down at all.

Photo of imyourhero21
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of Yellolab2010
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Photo of Lunch
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of scottyshades
4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 courtesy of Beerwolf77, thanks Todd!

A: Pours absolute onyx with a massive khaki color head. Retention is amazing. Two things you wouldn't expect given the high ABV. This is the absolute thickest looking beer on the planet, no question.

S: Big raisin and fig right off the bat, big time black strap molasses, ripe chocolate berries give a little sweetness, and super rich fudge. Not necessarily as complex as other examples, but still amazing

T: All of the above plus a little char, maraschino cherries, definite but subtle coffee/espresso, and a noticeable enough hop presence to balance. More charred/molasses notes than sweetness.

MF: Absolute thickest beer on the planet, more so than FBS, KBS, or Hunaphu's. The finish is of char, molasses, and subtle coffee.

O: Amazing...not as complex as some other world class stouts, but certainly awesome in its own way. Deserving of the hype and rating, must try.

Photo of JustinMatthew
4.75/5  rDev +11%

Photo of wyatt13
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of Kramerwtmf
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of SCZ
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Photo of seaoflament
3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to hoppymeal for sending me this as an extra! Now I finally have one to review. This is a 07 (silver wax) vintage.

The Dark Lord pours very dark and viscous, minimal to no head on this one and almost looks flat after 30sec. The beer leaves some oily trails on the glass when I stir it.

I got a whiff of coffee as soon as I started taking off the cap. Then after pouring I pick up a rich dark fruit aroma with bitter chocolate, molasses, brown sugar, some vanilla, oak, sweet raisins, and hints of cherries from the alcohol. It definitely smells like a big beer. Ha, my friend just came in and I gave him the glass and he said it smelled and tasted like "something you cook with" and I said "Soy sauce?" "Yeah that!" He didn't like it very much...but he's not the one reviewing. As the beer warms up in the glass it seems that the aromas become mellower and unified; there is a lot of chocolate, vanilla, burnt caramel, and some oakiness near the back. The aroma reminds me of Oggi's- Witch Doctor but not as good as the Doctor. I'll give my friend a little credit as there is a hint of soy sauce in it along with various dark fruits (figs, dates, plums). After a few minutes of just smelling the beer, without taking a sip yet, I pick up the weird green olive aroma I've encountered in a couple RIS. Now, I love green olives but it just doesn't seem like a good combo with a RIS.

The taste is a little tangy at first, don't dig that too much, but the finish is very tasty. There's chocolate, cocoa, vanilla, cookies, and oak in the second part of the sip. It has a weird start that I can't but my finger...eh tongue on, it's like a sweet soy sauce flavor. I'm also getting some chocolate-y wheat flavor near the finish but it could also be the roasted barley (no real bitterness though). If it wasn't for that semi-odd flavor and texture at the beginning of the sip I would have rated it a bit higher, the finish is pretty good. As it warms up even more there is a little more carbonation near the back of the tongue.

The mouth-feel is good to very good. It has a syrupy consistency and very low carbonation.

The hefty body and calories on this one makes it a sipper but hardly any of the13% alc. can be detected. With that said, a bomber of this will take close to 2hrs to drink and that will be enough for the night.

Hype aside, it's a good, big bad and bold, RIS. Hype into consideration, there are better Imperial Stout out there.

***update 8-1-09***

Just felt like writing up a little update today. I've already tried a few different bottles of Dark Lord from 05-09 and some of those were quite good. I do like how the 05 and 06 vintage has been aging, they have a stronger coffee and dark chocolate flavor with a better harmony of flavors. The 08 was quite good fresh and should age well for at least 3 years before getting deeper soy sauce notes, a little is ok but too much of it turns into a mess of a beer which was the 07 in my opinion. There were some flavors I liked in the 07 but the initial flavors seemed out of sync. The 09 is also quite a syrupy, sweet, vanilla bomb. My review is mostly about the 07 but I do take into consideration the other vintages.

Dark Lord Imperial Stout from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
95 out of 100 based on 3,531 ratings.