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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.

1,220 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,220
Hads: 3,968
Avg: 4.28
pDev: 14.49%
Wants: 3,103
Gots: 1,873 | FT: 152
Brewed by:
3 Floyds Brewing Co. visit their website
Indiana, United States

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: 1,220 | Hads: 3,968
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 Monsone
4.68/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber with silver wax obtained at 2007 DL day. Shared with two of my buddies. Pours out pitch black like burnt motor oil. Man this stuff is thick. Forms a head that is thick and brown.

Smells of coffee, alcohol, sweet malt, and dark fruits.

Taste...WOW!.. Big sweet roasted/burnt malt. Dark fruit and alcohol mix and finished with bitter coffee. So big and complex, but so well balanced.

Overall... This is one amazing RIS. This beer is great and almost lives up to the hype (which is pretty damn good considering). Definately a beer to try if you can get your hands on one. I think the others I bought at DLD will age very nicely.

Mouthfeel is huge full bodied. Creamy and thick. Very nice.

Drinkability takes a hit from the pain it is to get this beer. Also I don't think this a beer that you finish a bomber yourself. The big alcohol makes this a sharing beer. Also $15 a bomber makes it pricey.

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Photo of kfsv034
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this via trade from hayesez, its a green waxed 2010 bottle, thanks for the opportunity to try this brew bro

A - Poured Black with a light tan head that leaves a thin line around the edge of the beer and a nice lacing down the glass. If there ever was a beer that could be described as motor oil this is it.

S - Coffee and a pungent alcohol smell, mild vanilla, chocolate and some sweet dark fruits

T - Coffee, chocolate, vanilla, dark fruits, mild bourbon and a strange metallic taste on the finish not quite sure what that is. It could be the alcohol im not really sure.

M - Full Bodied, milkshake

D - 1 glass is enough if i dont wanna get drunk

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Photo of duffextracold
4.85/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2007, thanks to donkeyrunner.
not much head, fine by me. it looks thick. when i swirl it around in my snifter ,it coats it with a thin yellow/amber emulsion, effectively tinting the glass. smells like a bag of raisins. maybe dates. but definitely dried fruit. taste...my palate is not worthy, so much going on. sweet, dried fruit, malty, a hint of hops at the back. mouthfeel is like no beer i've ever experienced. so thick, i swear i can chew on it. i just want to leave it in my mouth and nibble on it for a while. drinkablility is amazing. for something so thick, sweet, and so much alcohol, i'm having a hard time slowing down with this one. i just wish i had more!

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

Received in a trade with fogdog. Much appreciated. Poured as part of an RIS blind tasting. 2008 vintage. DL came in a close 2nd of 11 beers tasted by 5 person panel.

Beautiful dark black beer with caramel head. Lacing is amazing, absolutely coats the glass. I have never seen anything like it.

Smells of chocolate and tar, some deeply ripe prunes with lot of mineral notes. Taste is of chocolate, roasted tars, some fruit but really takes a backseat to the roastiness. The fruit really comes forward on the aftertaste, where amazingly a beer this thick and roasty leaves almost winelike flavors.

The mouthfeel is amazing. So thick, almost milkshake like. I can see how some might not find this appealing, but I loved it. So unique, flavorful and decadent.

Without a doubt, Darklord lives up to its reputation. Get your hands on a bottle and give it a try.

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Photo of Bumpon10s
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Deep, dark, very viscous. Pours very slowly, with a thin tan head and nice lacing.

Smell: A simple swirl unlocks chocolate, coffee, smoky fruits and alcohol.

Taste: Holds even more suprises than the aroma, more chocolate and coffee, a even harder hit of smoke and alcohol with notable cherry.

Mouthfeel: Very thick and very velvety. A delight to all the surfaces.

Drinkability: Would have recieved a 5 were not for a above average ABV. As much as I'd absolutley love for this to be an everyday beer, it is an "special occasion" only due to price and my envy for it.

This is very well the best beer I've ever had, prior to this I had a scattered love for deep stouts, but this brought me around. It is simply too good for someone not to try at least once. Were I to have a final meal, this would be my choice of beer, bar none.

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Photo of JWD
4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to RoyMunson on this one, Thanks for the opportunity to try this very hyped beer,2008 bottle. Also a 2007 bottle, from another trade!

A-2008 Death black with an evil dark tan head, the lacing and sludge that this beer produces as it warms is second to none, i still cannot see through the glass correctly.2007 looks identical

S-2008 its good but very sweet, sweeter than i imagined for a beer of this caliber, the Abyss, Stone RIS are better more traditional examples of this style, this is still very good. 2007 bottle was IMO better as some roasty coffee was detected which offset the sweetness up front.

T- Once again just ok for the 08 and very good for the 07, it taste like raisans, molasses, sugar, and more sweetness. there is a big disappointment here on the 08, the 07 has a very balanced and more complex less sweet taste. (its is a year older)

M- Very thick, GI BCS is thicker cold but as it warms this is the thickest beer i have ever had, hell it almost frothy like a starbucks mocha..

D- Not bad just very sweet, it makes your lips sticky and the sweetness is off the charts as my lips are very sticky right now. The abv is undetectable.


2008 bottle, Very good just a little sweet with lack of other flavores to balance it out, outstanding and a must try.

2007 bottle, Outstanding!!! everything i missed in the 08 was found here, some roasted coffee!!

I will continue to seek this out and age if a year of rest makes it this good. Dark lord day 09!!

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Photo of Luchman
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2006 22oz bottle poured into a snifter

A: Straight up black hole in a glass. Maybe not THE blackest I have seen (That would have to go to DFH World Wide...) it is dark nonetheless. All that black topped off with a very mocha colored, half inch head that just makes this beer looks wonderful. The head does fade after a minute or two, but still clings to the edges. Lacing can be found, but is minimal.

S: Lots going on here. First thing that jumps right at you is sugary-sweet molasses. Lingering around the intense molasses is this dark fruit ( plums and currants), chocolate (brownies for some reason came to my mind), mixture that I found to be very delicious. Mocha-java-ness is in there somewhere, but is modest compared to the other aromas.

T: Rich. This is the one word that I couldn't get out of my head while drinking this. The taste follows the smell pretty closely, only that the vinous molasses is very strong in flavor. Thats the flavor that your are guaranteed to at least taste on every sip. With that, there is the chocolate notes that are just plain tasty, as well as the dark fruits. Alcohol is apparent, especially in the molasses flavors, but it is not too harsh. When its all sipped and swallowed, a taste of pure coffee grounds lingers and fades in the mouth. Hops are there.... somewhere... The malts pretty much dominate here, but thats not really a bad thing.

M: It has a full and slick mouthfeel. No complaints here.

D: This is the tough part... Yes, it was a good, complex stout that I am more than happy to have been able to drink, but I do think it could have used a bit more balancing in the taste, as the richness and vinous molasses were a bit strong. I also, do think its a tad over hyped; If you can get your hands on one, with out a doubt, go for it, but I wouldn't travel far or pay much more to get it again.

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Photo of jonandhisflask
4.92/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2011 dark lord, my first thanks to my bud jeff

A-Deep hellish ambers to black, great tan head.. holds for about 30 seconds.

S-Bursts of alcohol and dark fruits, chocolates, roasted coffee, caramels. earthy IMO

T-GOOD DARKLORD! HOT! chocolates, coffee, darker fruits...plum. alcohol and hops balance out the malt in this great beer for sure, still very sweet but not too over powering.

M-Very thick(thats what she said) oily, weighs the jaw down, your palate will be satisfied.

O-amazing brew, FFF promises great beer. WILL be attending DLD!! hope i can get a few vintages as well as a few 11's.shared with a great friend=great memories and healthy palates.

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Photo of jwolfie70
4.74/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. The first thing that strikes you about this beer is its thickness. A lot of beers claim to pour like motor oil, this one actually comes close to pulling that off. A thick, viscous, dark liquid poured out of the bottle into my glass. The smell and taste were both very complex, with chocolate, slight coffee, vanilla and roasted molasses coming through.

A great stout, which comes very close to living up to the enormous hype.

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Photo of Fieldzy27
4.96/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured from 22oz bomber into a goblet.
Pours jet black and almost no carbonation

Aroma smells like ultra dark chocolate and roasted malt , very explosive aroma.

Taste sweet bread dark and milk chocolate raisins dark fruit , fig , dates. Coffee and roast flavor.

Mouthfeel :liquid velvet.

Overall world class. Reviewed from phone.

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

Thanks to CaptinRedBeard for this
poured into nonic pint
8 oz serving

Color: Black... black as motor oil. A nice one finger khaki head forms on top of this beer. Leaves behind minimal lacing on the glass, but the darkness of this brew does stain the glass.

Nose: Boom! Immense roasted malts and bitter coffee. Vanilla, molasses, syrup, and raisin also appear as this beer warms. I can see why people say they smell soy sauce in this beer, but to me its quite faint and not a real factor in this beer.

Palate: Thick, yet drinkable because the carbonation is spot on. The tongue gets bathed in sweet waves of vanilla, chocolate, syrup, and molasses. Following the sweetness are palate crushing waves of intense bitter coffee and a gentle hop profile. This beer is well layered and smooth despite a tingly warmth from the abv.

Finish: Intense,thick,complex, sweet, and some good bitterness. Overall this stout is a great example of the Russian Imperial form. Very pleased with this beer!

Rating: 93 out 100

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Photo of hrking
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I think all the hype around this beer is greatly over rated. I have had all the great stouts and this being a good beer is not a great beer. It's good. There are other beers that deserve to be placed higher on the upper throne of Rate Beer beerdom board. This beer should be in the top 50 but not top 10. But that said this is the beer that started it all.The Dark Lord developed such a cult following it remains a top the ratings, This beer is thick on the palate and almost oily to drink. Lots of flavors come out and almost changes with each sip as it warms. Worth seeking out but there are better beers to be had.The 09 version of this is the best batch yet!

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Photo of BenjieK
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Jimmy J, thank you brother!

A: Dark black. Motor oil.

S: figs, coffee, chocolate, licorice. Deep and complex aroma.

T: Coffee, sweet, loads of dark fruit.

M: Amazingly soft and very little alcohol burn.

D: Too drinkable! This beer put me on my ass!

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Photo of chalsk
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Bottle. Finishing off a great week of vacation and following the sampling of many tasty DFH brews with this whale. Pours a black color with a caramel colored head. Has an aroma of dark fruit, vanilla, and coffee, with hints of chocolate. I know its easy to get caught up in the hype with this brew. But as one that has sampled several top IS's, this beer lives up to its hype and high regard. Starts sweet with the dark fruit. Then creamy with a pinch of carbonation in the middle. The coffee is very subdued but gives it that spice right after the creaminess subsides. Then the gentle bitters carry you to the finish. The finish is excellent. The velvety chocolate lingers on the tongue while residue from the dark fruit is still present. Notes of vanilla on the finish as well. The creaminess of this brew is what really makes it so special. Many IS's are this complex but others tend to be more syrupy than creamy. Damn fine beer. Will age the other 2009 another year.

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

2008 vintage, served on Dark Lord Day 2011. Mostly flat. Big, full-bodied. Molasses. Very sweet. Malty, sweet. A bit of coffee. Dark chocolate. Dried plums, dates, figs, raisins. Aftertastes of dry herbs, licorice.

I have had a lot of Bell's Batch 9000 in the past year (about one per week), which has been a steady supply of dark, fruity malt bomb. In that context, and given the hype around Dark Lord, the price, and the difficulty of obtaining, Dark Lord is just not nearly as impressive as it used to be.

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Photo of FishGetter
4.63/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009 Vintage
A huge thanks to jaxon53 for sharing a bottle with me during his tour at Czepiel Farms. Jet black apperance, slight brown color when held to the light. Dark mocha head, one finger, fades to small ring around glass rim.
Coffee grounds, mild, mixed with dark cherry aromas. Reminds one of chocolate cherry truffles.
Cherry liquor flavors detected after a good room temp warm-up. Toasted grain flavor of chocolate and coffee. Mild hints of liquorice and alchol. Some aok tannis detected.
Thick heavy mouthfeel, good syrupy feel. Great solid body here thats a bit chewy.
Truelly a remarkable offering here. Very complex charecters especially as brew warms up. Well worth the troubles one may encounter to have the privilege of trying this one.

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Photo of Zaso
4.76/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

2013 Vintage, poured into a snifter. Motor oil black, very little head, low carbonation.

A - Notes of caramel and fruitiness jump out right away. You can smell the bite of alcohol pretty clearly, which I only mention because it is well disguised in the taste.

T - Was not expecting the amount of sweetness that I got from this beer up front. Your taste buds are immediately bombarded with sweet, fruity notes of licorice, cherry and raisons, with just a hint of the typical molasses. The fruity assault is immediately followed by a pleasant, drinkable finish that doesn't taste boozy, but also lacks complexity. Finishes mild and neutral, leaving you wanting another sip. Somewhat dangerous for a 15% creation.

M - Medium thickness for an imperial stout. Of course tasting the ultra-thick BCBS afterwards might have made it seem thinner. Overall a very balanced viscosity that is extremely drinkable.

Was very excited to drink this beer and was hoping for it to stand out among the many imperial stouts of today's world. I wasn't at all prepared for the blast of dark fruitiness that hit my taste buds at first sip. It's almost overwhelming, but disguises the booze so nicely and differentiates this one from others. It has a really pleasant and mild finish that makes it easy to drink. Overall, a great experience.

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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 phisigben
4.41/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


I had this as a part of a small tasting thrown for a friend. It was poured into a tasting snifter it produced a great dark mocha colored head with about a finger and a half width. The smell has improved with some age when fresh it smelled hot and sticky sweet, that has mellowed very well the coffee comes threw a little more. Huge coffee flavor, some chocolate, dark fruit flavor like fig. The mouth feel has also thinned a little an some of that sticky sweetness has mellowed, it still coats your entire mouth and stays there. Overall this is one of my favorite beers I guess you can call me a homer but I am so happy FFF brews in my state.

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Photo of macktbone
4.85/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this during one our recent tastings thanks to ThirdLap.
The 08 is among the best beers I have ever had, and without a doubt the hype is worth this exquisite sample of brewmastership.

It looks like someone melted the wax from the top of the bottle and allowed it to flow like lava into the rest of the bottle. Beautiful ebony body with just the right amount of weight.

Smells like malt and caramel with a fig soaked for weeks in bourbon.

The taste of this is no less impressive than the rest of the beer. Gorgous oak aged bourbon with an edge of caramel.

The most impressive aspect of DL is the amazing mouthfeel. No kidding this feels like drinking a glass of double heavy cream. I expect it to taste like whipped cream but instead I am overjoyed with the flavor of the Dark Lord.

I could drink a bottle ot this myself, though it wouldn't be a good idea. It is without a doubt not overhyped...! If you have not tried Dark Lord 07 you MUST do what you have to to get a sample.

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Photo of aliveguy17
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

After five years of attempts, I finally secured a bottle of the enigmatic Dark Lord this year, thanks to my friend Adrian, and I opened it last night. This will also be my first review for BeerAdvocate, and I couldn't think of a better beer with which to start.

A-It looks like your typical high-alcohol Russian Imperial Stout, with very little carbonation or head.

S-The smell smacks of charred fruit or English pudding. This is where DL starts to distinguish itself.

T-The charred fruit smell segues into similar taste notes of charred fruit. I may have detected a bit of Port too. The finish smacks of coffee.

M-Mouthfeel is not nearly as heavy as I expected, certainly not as heavy as the often-used analogy of motor oil.

D-While the 13% alcohol content is not so evident in the tasting, it definitely catches up with you quickly, plus the richness of the taste causes a decreasing rate of enjoyment after the first glass. I drank the entire bomber by myself, and I wouldn't recommend trying this.

Overall Dark Lord was a phenomenal beer. I don't think it is worthy of traveling across the country for, but few things with that much hype live up to 100% of it. This is definitely in my top 10 of beers, and I look forward to the next time I can enjoy Dark Lord.

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Photo of jgap
4.76/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Enormous thanks to Matt for contributing this bottle to our tasting. Wow... Smell is wonderful- fruits, chocolate, and coffee mocha. Lots of mocha sweetness. Hops are detectible. The taste is instantly toffee. It's a nice intro because if you haven't heard about how huge this beer is the smell warned you that you're in for it. A splash of ripe fruit, dark raisins, and prunes then, like cat Vs train, it hits you. Thick, very thick molasses, huge roasted toffee, and a little hops with some coffee notes to help you through. It's an amazingly deep taste of dark fruit, however, you can also concentrate on the lighter toffee, coffee and hoppy notes to experience it in a completely different way. It's very rich and fades with a coffee tinge. The alcohol is dangerously undetectable. There is also a craft/homebrew feel to it. I'm not sure if that is coming through in the taste, the smell, or if my mind is simply projecting it. Extremely complex and quite remarkable. Per Matt it's "scrumdiddlyumptious" and I can hear the whistle fading in the distance...

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Photo of hotmanflab666
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

what can i say about the darklord, most look at this like a gigantic stout, which it is. but not the best of all of them, darklord is a very good but rough drink. very hot and strong rigid complex flavors, i drank out of brandy sifter. very good, just split the bottle with a friend

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Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 1,220 ratings.