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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.

3,654 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,654
Reviews: 1,199
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 14.72%
Wants: 2,974
Gots: 1,563 | FT: 110
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
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 3,654 | Reviews: 1,199
Photo of srgj88
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Photo of ajs4bd
4.75/5  rDev +11%

Photo of Robyn
4.75/5  rDev +11%

Photo of Retail1LO
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%

Photo of Abbbp
4.75/5  rDev +11%

Photo of mythaeus
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of topdown
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Photo of Beeradelphia
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Photo of grover37
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%

Photo of Smurf2055
3.36/5  rDev -21.5%
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 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 dwoolley1
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%

Photo of Kadonny
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
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 Roger85
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 Hopsiam14
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

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.

Photo of Jonada
4.02/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 release. 22 oz bomber into a 22 oz snifter

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, black once in the glass, with 1+ finger of dark tan head that settles to a medium ring and some wispy coating. Body is opaque.

Smell: Coffee, roasted malt, sweet malt, vanilla, booze and some dark fruit.

Taste: Roasted malt, molasses, huge sweetness, slight astringency, mild smoke, coffee.

Mouthfeel: Extremely full bodied. With a thick, chewy, viscous (insert adjective of your choice) mouthfeel. Medium levels of fine, gentle carbonation. This is probably the thickest beer I've ever had. Finishes sweet, but booze, while still there, is masked surprisingly well.

Overall: I can see why this beer has such an infamous reputation. It's a big ass imperial stout with flavors turned WAY up. I enjoyed it, and I'm glad I got to try it, but there are much better options out there.

Photo of BeerMeBro720
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of jbriggs7
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

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 pwoody11
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Photo of unclejazz
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%

Photo of RMelyon
4.88/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

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.

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Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 3,654 ratings.