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

3,537 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,537
Reviews: 1,174
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 14.95%
Wants: 2,858
Gots: 1,530 | 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: 3,537 | Reviews: 1,174 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of aorloski
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%

Photo of Kramerwtmf
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of roostor07
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%

Photo of AnalogErik
4.75/5  rDev +11%

Photo of walleye
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
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

Photo of pwoody11
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Photo of WCW
4.75/5  rDev +11%

Photo of dataylor21
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of suckaj
2.76/5  rDev -35.5%

Photo of Kadonny
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle with white wax, so 2009 version. Poured into a snifter glass.

A: A jet black color with very little carbonation. Thick, syrupy, no glass lacing.

S: Heavy roasted malts with dark chocolate, coffee, espresso and sugar sweetness with some dark fruits. Some alcohol comes through in the nose too.

T: Sweetness is first with sugar like qualities. Then the dark roastiness comes through with some heavy espresso and coffee flavors even some tar. Molasses and dark chocolate mix with dark fruits like cherry and fig. The sweetness sticks the entire way with some warming alcohol but not near what you would expect for 15%. The more you drink this, the more the flavors come out. Very complex.

M: Full, coating that is oil like. No doubt the alcohol is there, but it's not overwhelming. Very little carbonation.

O: This is a very good stout, so the question is does it live up to the hype? For me, i think it comes up just a bit short. Again, very ggod beer, but for me there are better. I'm not taking anything away from it though, but it's a bit too sweet for me.

So I finally got to try this bad boy, and it was worth the wait. It wasn't quite a top beer for me, but it is a very well done stout that I really enjoyed drinking. I have a 2011 version I'm going to age for a few more years and try it again.

Photo of VaTechHopHead
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of greg4579
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%

Photo of Boilerfood
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of Hopsiam14
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of xJMFCx
4.75/5  rDev +11%

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

Thanks to francisweizen for splitting this with me.
Pours with almost no head. Thick and oily. Smells like fruitcake, charred wood and espresso beans. I already know this will be exceptional.
The mouthfeel is thick, almost overwhelming. But smooth. Overwhelming flavor profile. Roasted grains, vanilla, espresso beans, and chocolate covered cherries. Slightly medicinal and boozy, but its all academic once you've had a few sips!
This is one of the few beers that really lives up to its hype. I was ready to be disappointed but I have to say, its easily one of the top three Russian Imperial Stouts I have had the pleasure of trying.

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.

Photo of Thishops4u
4.75/5  rDev +11%

Photo of wdarcy77
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of MidwestBA
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%

Photo of Agold
2.4/5  rDev -43.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Was really lucky to get a pour of this from esentman 2011 vintage. Poured like a great impy stout. Dark and viscous, but even a vigorous pour did not yield a head. The aroma was pleasant. Caramel sweet coffee and a pleasant roasty fullness. The flavor was a huge mess. Under attenuated and extrememy sickly sweet. Everything that was in the nose, plus some dark fruity flavors, was lost behind a curtain of sweetness. It was not the easiest beer to get down. Full mouthfeel that would be nice if not for the cloying sweetness. Thick and full bodied. I have heard better things about older vintages, but was really unimpressed with this one. Kind of disappointing. I really wanted to like this one.

Photo of Kaveman
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%

Photo of tsauce2
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

P: 2011 Vintage bottle in to a tulip glass; reviewed from tasting notes.

A: SRM is black/dark brown. Head is light brown, 1 in., dissipates to top of beer. Medium/light carbonation. Heavy lacing w/ legs.

S: Big coffee/chocolate/roasted malt notes with hints of vanilla/caramel/molasses. Very robust nose.

T: Mirrors nose. Big coffee/chocolate notes along with a deep roasted malt and molasses flavors. Very sweet for such a high ABV, but not off-putting. Alcohol is noticiable not on palate, but upon ingestion and on aftertaste.

M: Very big body, huge viscosity. Sweetness and alcohol serve as distinct counterpoints to the effects the coffee and malt impart on the palate. Complex yet balanced.

O: A huge beer with a lot going on for a RIS. Very good overall. I loved the coffee and chocolate/deep roasted malt notes. This beer was a little sweet, but still very tasty. I hate to say it, but the hype surrounding this beer builds it up to be better than it is. I would NEVER turn this beer down and will seek it out again. A very good product from FFF with a masterful job of marketing this product.

Dark Lord Imperial Stout from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
95 out of 100 based on 3,537 ratings.