Dark Lord Imperial Stout - 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

3,819 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,819
Reviews: 1,245
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 14.49%
Wants: 3,040
Gots: 1,772 | FT: 139
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: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Dark Lord Imperial Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,819 | Reviews: 1,245
Photo of mdaschaf
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes. Thanks to Shane for popping this open to commemorate his first all-grain homebrew no DL Day! 2010 Vintage.

A: Pours a nice black color, very deep and dark, it looks rather thick and viscous. Small tan head on top, moderate retention and minimal lacing.

S: Sweeter than expected, but I really like it. Lots of chocolate and some vanilla. Some molasses and brown sugar, a hint of cherries, and some mocha.

T: Now thats what I'm talking about! The flavor profile is also sweet, but not in a bad way. Nice milk and dark chocolate, cocoa, some dark fruits - hard to pick them out except some cherries. Complex, but very tasty.

M: Medium to full bodied with low carbonation, but doesn't drink very heavy. Not much heat at all from the 15%, it certainly mellowed after a year.

O: Really enjoyed this beer and can't wait to (hopefully) have it again. This bottle lived up to the hype for me. Hopefully one day I can get over to DL Day so I can have bottles of my own instead of trying to trade for them.

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

I have no idea why I haven't rated this yet. I have had it quite a few times already, but never bothered to review it.

So, I am going to review the 2008 version on tap at the Great Taste 2010. I had multiple pours of this one because it was worth it. I also had the 2007 an hour later and preferred the 2008 to it.

Pours a dark tan head/brown head with some nice retention. Color is oil black.

Aroma: Creamy flavors, chocolate, caramel, and some sweetness. A ton of malt flavors here. No hops really showing.

Taste: Dark chocolate, milky/cream flavors, roasted malts and coffee, dark fruits/molasses. Very, very rich.

Mouthfeel: Very cream, rich, and smooth. Full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends rich and roasted.

Overall, Dark Lord is one amazing stout. It has a lot of great flavors and deserves to be near the top. I am glad I have been able to try multiple years of this one as the beer does vary, but still are great.

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

Multiple reviews added together, scoring reflects the top notes.

2010 bottle reviewed on 11/20/10.

This is the first of my bottles to be opened since DLD and shared with friends who couldn't attend the release. Poured into a snifter, dark lord appears a dark brown color that displays some clarity and lighter brown coloration around the edges. Closer inspection reveals some ruby hues. There is no head to be found, some swirls release some very dark brown bubbles that dissolve immediately.

The smell of this brew is hot with alcohol with indications of licorice, molasses and some smokey notes that come across a bit like bitter black chocolate. Some faint citrus hops are evident in the back.

The taste is bold with alcohol mixed with dark chocolate. Licorice with a bitter roasted quality that leaves a taste of chocolate in the mouth. Some fruity indications suggest citrus hops blended with fusel alcohol that almost has an evaporative quality on the tongue. There is a smokey element and coffee flavors as well as it warms.

This is a thick brew with a low level of carbonation. It clings and coats the inside of your mouth with a sugary grainy sweetness that isn't cloying because of the alcohol and contrasting bitterness. As a sipper at ~15% it is quite drinkable and complex.

- - - -
2008 bottle care of Slatetank on 10/23/10, thanks for sharing Matt!

Pours black with a severely tanned to brown head. It appears nearly black in color with some lighter coloration of brown around the edges. Faint spotty lace clings to the glass. This brew seemingly stains the glass with a sticky particle filled layering.

The aroma is filled with a smokey molasses sweetness and dark roasty grain that imparts a scent of chocolate. A touch of mineral quality and sweet smelling grain that is reminiscent of a fresh brew day. Slight notes of oxidation with a herbal spicy "meatiness" that lingers through the back of the nose.

The taste is sweet molasses with dark roasted grain coupled with alcohol and herbal hops. It leaves an almost meaty flavor inside the mouth that is interesting to say the least. Lingers with a roasted grain and bitterness that is a combo of hops and burnt grain. The abv is still apparent but each sip seemingly yields more sweetness. A very full, thick bodied brew that has a light level of carb yet maintains decent drinkability. It's an experience that everyone needs to try at least once.

- - - -
2011 bottle consumed on 7/5/11 (running low on character space so keeping this brief) This years very well might be the thinnest feeling of the years I have sampled. It is much easier to approach and has a very distinct anise character to the aroma and flavor. A light touch of oxidation/soy included as well as the typical flavors of bitter chocolate, coffee and lingering sweetness/herbal touch of hops. Bold alcohol yet contrasted nicely by the residual sweetness that isnt cloying.

Photo of ShanePB
2.9/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Yellow-waxed 22 ounce bottle, 2011 vintage. Split my bottle with five other friends into miniature snifter glasses.

A: On the pour, dark brown liquid streams out looking thinner and lighter in color than I expected. I don't get that "motor oil" look I like with big stouts. In the glass, the body is much darker, black even with virtually no head. A thin mocha ring stick around and leaves rather weak lacing.

S: Roasted coffee beans, alcohol esters, chocolate liqueur and some unripe dark fruits - plums and figs. It's an interesting blend of flavors that are seemingly combined fairly well. Nothing sticks out but the alcohol notes are pretty powerful, evidence of where the taste could be headed.

T: Simply put, this is pretty god awful. The palate is washed with loads of cooked vegetable flavors. Celery, carrots, spinach and potatoes are in the worst incarnation of these otherwise good vegetables, by showing up in the taste. This needs some serious time in the bottle. The alcohol notes are completely gross and overpowering, increasingly so as the beer warms. The linger is dry, chalky and a bit bitter from so coffee bean elements.

M: A little too carbonated as it stands right now, not as creamy as I would like it either. Disappointed.

Considering I have 3 more bottles of this vintage in the cellar, I hope time helps this beer out tremendously, which is the general consensus I get with the Dark Lord vintages. This was pretty terrible fresh but will obviously revisit in a few years.

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.76/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 release; Sampled December 2009; Served at 60+ degrees Fahrenheit.
Slow to form, but ultimately thick, three finger thick head that lingers for quite some time, but doesn' leave much in the way of lacing on the sides of my 25cl tulip glass. The beer is pitch black of cours. Aroma of coffee liquor, dark chocolate, sweetened roasted malt, some smooth alcohol notes. Much more simplistic than I remember, but it is still rich and definitely satisfies my current hunger for a rich stout.

This beer is definitely thick, rich and mouth coating; definitely on the syrupy side of the beer texture spectrum. Quite sweet, which really helps to temper the huge roast character, but in the finish the roast becomes quite bitter and perhaps even a bit astringent; the sweetness never fades as both the roast and the rich sweetness really lingers on the palate for a long time. The dark notes in this beer are layered with bitter black coffee, dark chocolate, acidic roast malt and burnt grain notes. The mouthfeel is quite rich, but can seem a bit thin at times compared to what I remember this beer being.

When I first had this in 2004, it was so rich and so decadent compared to anything else I had ever had. This definitely hasn't withstood the test of time. This is definitely a grand example of the decadent American take on the style, but really isn't nearly as lush, rich or complex as my memory had it being.

2004 bottle release, Sampled April 2004
4.55 total
4/4.5/5/4/4.5
Strong notes of alcohol and port. Notes of roast malt, coffee, toffee, chocolate liquor, are also found in the nose. The beer is thick viscous, and pours a deep midnight black color with a bit of carbonation but only a dusting of bubbles on the surface. When roused a thick creamy dark brown head forms, one of the darkest heads I have ever seen.

Holy shit, I have never tasted a beer with such a stupefyingly thick body as this. It is very creamy and coats my mouth, it is like sipping on syrup. As expected with this body, it is quite sweet. The sweetness is accentuated by a fresh hop flavor, that when combined give this beer a concentrated fruitiness. This thing must have been heavily hopped in order to have such prominent hop flavor in an Imperial Stout of this stature. From the front to the middle back of this beer you would guess that this was a bottle of concentrated hop nectar, floral character abounds with, grapefruit, bergamot, cherry, concentrated raisin and plum.

The alcohol is not nearly as evident in the taste and the dark malt flavors are not as strong as I was expecting, the fresh hop character seems to mute them out quite a bit. The finish is quite bitter, though with the thick mouth-coating malt sweetness it is hard to pick out at first, but it is really the lingering bitterness long after the beer has left my mouth that lets you know that this is bittered quite well. The dark malt flavors kick in the end as well, just before the bitterness. Notes of concentrated espresso, bitter chocolate, burnt raisin, burnt caramel.

I must admit that with this intense fresh hop flavor, I am not sure that I want to hold on to the rest of these for a long time, though the 4 inches of sludge at the bottom of this bottle (even after a month of sitting) say that I need to move these to my lagering fridge for quite a bit. The fresh hop flavor is quite good right now, and it is so dominant that I can not even guess how this beer will continue to age. I have a feeling that in a year or two this will be a totally and unexpectedly different beer from what it is now. I have no doubt that the Dark Lord will age gracefully for the next 10 or even 20 years, but will it be better than it is now. Oh well only time will tell, I will just have to hang on to a couple over the years.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Dark Lord vertical: I was fortunate to sample all six years of this great brew (2004-9) side by side at a tasting I hosted. Thanks to Brad for providing '04,'05,'06 and to Tony for providing the '09. Review is from my notes taken last night.

A: Awesome artwork on the label. Pours pitch black with a brown frothy, sticky, persistent head. Picture perfect for a big RIS.

S: Roasted malt and lots of it, chocolate, coffee, sweetness

T: So smooth, more chocolate. The '09 batch has more coffee flavors up front. The '04 was thick and chewy and amazingly smooth. Alcohol flavors virtually non-existent in the '04,'05,'06 batches. '07 and '08 had a slightly thinner feel and taste than the other batches. Complex, long lingering taste that continues to develop after you swallow. The sweetness was done very well, and more subdued in the earlier vintages.

M: This brew coats the mouth and seeps into your palate. Chewy and delicious. '09 was the most carbonated, as it was the youngest, and was bolder than the earlier vintages.

D: This is a huge beer and slightly sweet, which is natural, given that it is a 13% RIS. I look forward to the next time I can open a bottle of this. This will always be on my wants list.

Notes:
Paired with gourmet dark chocolate.

The '04 left a thick stain in the bottom of the glass. This brew was going strong after six years of age. Plenty of carbonation left and no off flavors. This was an incredible experience.

2010 vintage consumed November 5, 2010.
The 2010 is noticeably hotter and sweeter than the previous vintages. While it's still a great beer, the latest version could stand to spend some time aging in the cellar.

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

2008 version into a large snifter. Shared with Birradr14,oglmcdgl and mary. Thanks goes out to Thomas Hardy for the bottle. I could not attend this year so I figured if you cant join them, drink with them in spirit. Drank on DLD 09'

A- Taking off the black wax and unsealing the cap I got a faint whiss of noise from the bottle. What came out of the bottle was a different story though. I never used this term for a RIS review before because i've been saving it for this one, DL is motor oil in it's very essense. DL has the look of texas tea, sludge, goop and swamp like, oh yeah it's black in color. A nice sized dark brown cap of head graced the top with nice lacing.

S- I just get overrun witha huge chocolate presense with mounds of fudge batter and some coffee underneath that. A huge roasty aspect comes out plus some char as well. Big notes of black roasted malt. Some faint vanilla and not a lot of hops, perhaps they faded. Dark fruits with minimal raisins and a bunch of molasses.

T- I was turned on by the smell but once I tasted DL it was all over from there. This stuff is worth all of it's weight in gold. Rich deep chocolate layered upon fudge chocolate chips, you name it. The malt base used in this really adds another layer to this which makes it stand out with some wood like taste thrown in for good measure. The hops are not the focus point in this very sweet brew. Im getting some licorice and molasses. Some dark fruit and a bit of alcohol which is fine by me. Why havent I been drinking this for years?!!??!

M- DL just coats the mouth without hesitation. From the looks of this beer I knew it would be thick. DL is full bodied with some carb trying to make it's way throught the swamp of stout. Not at all bitter in this one year old bottle but it is very sweet, there's no getting around that. Like others have said this is the thickest beer I have ever consumed thus far. Thick and chewy this one takes a little patience to get through but I m up for it.

D- While the 13% is expertly hidden in the sea of blackness, it is indeed in there so sharing this would be the wise thing to do. Maybe down the road i'll drink a bottle to my head to test my stamina, I just wont drive afterwards. For a 13% beer it is amazing that I did not get a lot of alcohol burn although I could taste some booze. With that said I finished my portion in no time and I was sad to see it go.

My 1st offering from three floyds was the bomb and I intend to try more from this brewery. Now only if they made it back into PA all would be right in the world, A man can dream cant he.

Edit- Had the 2009 vintage and it pales in comparison to the 08. It was difficult to take down even with a 6oz pour. Too much dark fruit, needs alot of time.

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

What can be added about this one? Sampled at the Blind Tiger thanks to Mike/eyedrinkale. Pours coal Black with a creamy darkest of tans head. Creamy, rich and milkshake like in mouthfeel. Loads of flavor bursting onto the palate. Coffee, chocolate, raisins, figs, burnt fruits. Complex, bold, flavorful...simply world class....wonderfully dark, thick and sludgy. Wish I could get my hands on more of this stuff!

Photo of yourefragile
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010, green wax, 22 oz bottle, sampled with the four 2011 barrel variants.

Pours a thick, opaque black with a thin, transient dark mocha head. Boozy and hot aroma of chocolate and coffee, slightly fruity, minimal roast. Flavor is similar, bordering on too sweet with a slight bitter finish; light fruit notes under the strong and syrupys chocolate and coffee malt. Thick, viscous, chewy body with low carbonation and a hot finish. First time trying to a regular Dark Lord (not sure why I never opened a bottle before) and enjoyed this more than I expected.

Photo of billab914
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2009 vintage poured from a 22oz bottle into my Portsmouth tulip. It poured thick and pitch black, with a thin, spotty head scattered across the top of the beer. The thin head it started with disappeared not long after.

The aroma has a lot of dark chocolate coming through. I get a moderate fruity quality to it with some cherry and maybe a hint of raspberry. Some very moderate roasty and coffee flavors are there, but they are pretty light for such a big RIS. Some alcohol comes through as well.

The taste shows a lot of the dark, bitter-sweet chocolate to it throughout the flavor. Midway, I get some dark fruits coming through with some cherry to it. Some roasty flavors come out in the finish, along with some alcohol heat. It gets a pretty sweet in the finish overall, a little more of a roasty, bitterness would have put it over the top for me.

It's definitely one of the thickest beers I've ever had. Carbonation is on the lower side as well, which I really like in big RIS's. I love the mouthfeel on this beer, probably my favorite part of it.

Drinkability is good, it has some very nice and bold flavors to it. It's a very big beer with some big flavors. I really enjoyed sipping on it this evening. A very good beer overall.

Photo of Mebuzzard
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bottle of 2007 consumed just about one year later.
Black. Dark. Evil pour. Motor oil is lighter than this. Smooth looking as well. Head stayed a bit low, built up to about 1 finger, dense off brown/tan and sticky.
Coffee, chocolate, powder cocoa, anise, plum and alcohol round out the nose. Not one is dominant or too strong. Nice blend. Mix could be confusing.
Coffee and anise at the start of the taste. Followed close with unripe black plum, some prune and molasses. Ends with a touch of caramel, but mostly powder cocoa and silk chocolate. Not as complex as I thought it would be. Not as outstanding as I thought.
A good brew, but not worth the trade and effort to obtain.

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

Dark Lord is one those beers that you don´t expect to possess because where I live, it takes an arma and a leg to get one. I got this bottle in a trade last year and brought it down to Brazil to share with a lucky few. From a 2009 vintage, on to the beer:

Menacing black color with a little tanned head that drops to a lace. The nose is intense and full of licorice, honey, and molasses. More interesting is the flavor, where it acts like a rauchbier at times. It starts sweet with honey, then chocolate arrives, then it goes smokey like bacon. Much of the alcohol is hidden neat in its viscous body.

This is tasty and very complex. However, I´m not sure if it´s a beer that I´d stand in line for or trade my other arm to relive the experience.

Photo of tempest
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 Vintage served in a Surly Darkness tulip.

Poured an opaque black with a thin, light brown head with a thick and sticky body that left a film on the side of my glass, damn. The taste first reminds me of chocolate cookie (like an Oreo minus the white stuff) with espresso, so of like a chocolate beer biscotti. As it begins to warm there a mild fruitiness of cherries and strawberries that catches me off-guard. The beer finishes with a dry mix of black roasted grains and citrus and spicy hop flavor.

For a 13% RIS, this beer is surprisingly drinkable. I didn't have any problem splitting a bomber with my generous friend who acquired this via trade. There's a lot of smooth chocolate flavors going on and I highly recommend pairing this with the richest chocolate cake, brownies, or fudge you can find.

Photo of smakawhat
4.06/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass vintage 2012. Big thanks to Wade5614 for the trade, and Exiled for the advice.

Into the snifter, it pours out chestnut brown, hitting the glass body and barely making a head at all of a simple tan light brown, fading under some faint snapping carbonation. Leaves a little filmy top and can't hang on, giving just a faint collar, with some nice leg action also and scattered leopard lacing barely.

Nose is quite interesting, suprinsingly not hot, mild roast character and dark red fruits. Cherry and raspberry, some dark chocolate and even some sensations of sea salt, maybe even caramel. Quite intriguing and nice, makes me love this salt and chocolate combo which is a favorite of mine.

Palate hits with a tight fizz at first that doesn't seem noticeable after numerous sips later. Extremely thick and syrupy and liqueur like palate. Memories of raspberry syrup hit, maybe some licorice, and then it's full on Luxardo Maraschino liqueur. Roast character takes a bit of back seat with quaffs. Syrup sweetness is quite big but in the context of how the liquor feels it comes off as a digestif and seems to work. Roast lingers slightly and rushes dark fruit toward the end with also a sense of alcohol bitterness (bitters, digsetif, etc...).

Overall it's really sweet for my tastes but tolerable, and also fun. Quite an interesting ride, glad to have given it a whirl. It's a sipper which doesn't always appeal to me for beer, but it's without question worth drinking.

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2007 version. I won't get into the debate about whether or not this beer lives up to the hype. I sometimes think that certain cognoscenti bash a beer because it is hyped and downgrade its performance for that reason. The opposite is obviously true as well- people sometime review a hyped beer off the charts since they went through such lengths to obtain it and it is supposed to be good. Regardless, I didn't chase this down as a quest, I didn't go to Darklord Day, and I didn't trade my first born. It was shared with me by a kind soul and I felt like I could review this objectively. In any caes, its a damn good beer.

Pours black and absolutely opaque with a thick dark head that fades a good bit. Huge aromas of licorice, molasses, and treacle, as well as a nice sustained rooty bitterness. The taste is massive, with an onslaught of sweet, fruity, grainy, chocolate, licorice and coffee. The deep herbal bitterness and alcohol helps balance the massive sweetness. Even the sweeet elements have a slightly charred edge to them helping cut any cloying nature. Long, long finish and a thick, viscous, creamy mouthfeel. I truly enjoyed this experience. This is by no means an everyday beer. It is so alcoholic, big, thick, and chewy that the experience should be savored on ocassion. I'm sold.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.67/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle poured into a snifter. 2010 vintage.

Appearance - Standard stout appearance. Jet black. The small head is actually surprising, considering the ABV. The sugars are damn near visible as it streaks down the glass.

Smell - Wow. Intense aromas. Coffee, chocolate, booze. The booze actually smells great, despite that it's practically burning my nose. Fruity aromas as well. Not as roasty as I would expect.

Taste - Tingly alcohol throughout. Incredibly sweet. Coffee flavors and chocolate malts through the middle. Slightly bitter in the finish and an alcohol burn that lasts for a few moments. It's a pretty complex flavor, but it's immensely sweet.

Mouthfeel - Pretty well carbonated for a 15% stout. Pretty boozy, too, though. And the sweetness just makes it so hard to drink. Small quantities is the most I can muster with this thing.

Overall - Sure, it's good. But it's so insane that it's barely drinkable. I don't think I'd seek this out again. Either that or I'd need to split the bottle four ways.

Photo of weeare138
4.72/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to kmpitz2 for this '05 version...
Appears a pitch black with a dark tan, 3 finger head that slowly fades out. Spots of lace are left all around the glass.
Smell is of chocolate, toffee, citrusy hops, anise, coffee, oatmeal, maple/mollasses syrupy and whiskey-ish...very complex and addictive.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas. Great mix of the aromas with a rich, tobacco like flavor mixed in to the mix of the wonderful aromas.
Mouthfeel is of rich syrup, full bodied, maple and malt sugars that stick to the palate with a remarkable hoppiness that is trying to come through this malt billed monster.
I enjoyed this so much. It's very rich and syrupy with sugar abound! Excellent work. Notch another one up for the Americans.

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

Obtained in a trade with hero27.

A beer that is said to be superior to Stone IRS but one that never seems to show up to be compared with the stone offering.

As I prepare to open this bottle I cant help but feel like a James Bond Supervillain who has finally cornered James Bond. My six henchmen three Stone Imperial Russian Stouts and three Stone Old Guardians are pretty sure this sucker is over rated.

The three year chase is over and now the time for its test is at hand!

In the glass this is an inky black beer impervious to light with a thin but dark brown head. A very nice try to create a black head on a beer but no one has yet achieved that.

From the moment that the cap is cracked there is a wonderful boozy and fruity aroma from this beer, so far this beer hasn't had a weakness. Sweet smelling with the aroma of prunes and figs with little berry aroma. Lesser scents of chocolate and patent malt robustness. Different from the Stone version and more like DFH WWS. The boozy scent is faintly of bourbon mostly vanilla, whiskey and oak.

The flavor begins sweet and highly roasted with a berry after taste and a lingering burn from the alcohol. The flavor here is very complex, chocolate, berries, char, vanilla, ash, and that is about all I can name at the moment.

Mouthfeel is about like drinking whole cream, probably closer to 6 than a 5 on the scale.

Quite the strong ale indeed. I can't say that this is overrated but I would compare this MUCH more to DFH WWS rather than Stone IRS. The only real weakness with this RIS is in the drinkability department. An intense brew this would be better from 6 ounce bottles and sampled sparingly; the same as DFH WWS should be.

Photo of HopHead84
3.91/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 Vintage.

Thanks to mrkrispy for opening this. Pours black into the tulip with an ominous creamy dark brown head. The retention is very good and lacing is left on the glass. This beer looks great.

The aroma is dark unsweetened chocolate and roasted malt. Prunes and other dark fruits are evident, as well as strong alcohol notes, molasses, and a touch of coffee. There's a really strange aroma that puzzled me the entire time I was drinking this. It smells a little dog food. It's not terrible, but it's mildly unpleasant and a bit distracting.

The flavor is dark chocolate and charred, ashen malt. The malt is very roasted, with notes of coffee. The bitterness is very aggressive, which surprised me because this beer has been out for over a year. The finish is dry and bitter, with chocolate, a little coffee, and some astringency. The alcohol is very apparent throughout.

The beer is full bodied with a nice medium level of carbonation. The mouthfeel is smooth, creamy, chalky, and dry.

Photo of barleywinefiend
2.14/5  rDev -50%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

2010 vintage, my 3rd DL. Still a drain pour.

A: Poured a solid black with good carbonation and a nice brownish head, some lacing present.

S: Immediate soy, tobacco leaves, leather, smoked meats, choco cherries

T: Immediate soy sauce, raisins and prunes, tobacco leaves, chocolate covered cherries, more soy sauce(dying or dead yeast), roastiness which transitions to leather, smoked meat, booze sting with a bitter chocolate, bitter, harsh, boozey finish. that soy and leather just kill me.

M: Big body, heavy and harsh

O: One of the most overrated beers of all time...gotta love that hype train

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

(Served in a medium snifter)
A-This beer has an inky black hue and no carbonation is visible except for the bubbles that form the head. The head is dark tan and clings to the edges of the class.

S-The aroma is molasses and dense heavy malts. Almost a tar aroma but more sweet.

T- This has some coffee flavors popping out of the roasted malts and thick black-strap molasses also. The hops flavor comes out and has a bit of a pine and bitterness to them. There is also some currant and licorice flavors aswell. As it warms more of a smokey flavor comes to taste.

M- The mouthfeel is thick and creamy with a very slight astringency. But no real alcohol warmth.

D-Wow this is a big tasty beer, and even though its young it still is very impressive. The only fault I see is it needs a little age to blend but then it might loose that great hop quality that you don't expect in a beer this big. I will be in line next year for more of this brew.

Photo of John_M
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

It's a good thing "subtlety" and "complexity" aren't categories, or this beer would score close to a zero. However, that's not what this beer is all about; power and a tidal wave of flavor is what this beer is about.

The beer pours a black brown color, looking more like used motor oil then any beer I've ever seen. Just looking at this beer you know you are in the presence of something pretty special. The beer looks thick and viscous. There is almost no head on this beer, but the lacing is otherworldly. What foam there is clings to the side of the glass.

The aroma of this beer is probably it's least impressive attribute, but of course even here it's pretty outstanding. The aroma is very one dimensional, blasting the nose with odors of vanilla, coffee, wine and nuances of oak. Fabulous stuff.

On the palate... what can one say. The beer is incredibly rich, full bodied and long. It has a satin, fluffy sort of mouthfeel, with incredible plush smoothness. The beer is just luscious. The mouthfeel on this beer is comparable only to Founder's Kentucky Breakfast Stout in terms of richness, plushness, and soft smoothness, but I would give my nod to the Dark Lord. Simply amazing.

Yes, this beer is not the most drinkable beer I've ever tasted, but it's not meant for that. This is the perfect bottle of stout to crack open and sip with some friends. The finish just lasts and lasts, and every sip is a joy. Believe the hype, this beer is a masterpiece.

Note: Recently had the chance to try a vertical of the DL, from 2007 through 2011. I had always assumed that this beer would be pretty age worthy, but based on the vertical, my thought is now, "not so much." The 2007 tasted a bit oxidized, with something of a copper or metallic taste. The 2008 was better, but it still had some sort of different, slightly off taste I thought (though it was still excellent). The 2009 was outstanding, and the 2011 seemed to be the best of bunch (with some nice chocolate and cinnamon flavor). The 2010 was good, but seemed a bit hot and boozy. It was better than the 2007 and 2008 I thought, but not as good as the 2009 and 2011.

A very interesting, tasting experience, to say the least...

Photo of chippo33
2.47/5  rDev -42.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

soy sauce. raisin puree. licorice sticks.

Photo of johnnnniee
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 Bottle Received in trade from Grub, Thanks for the opportunity.

Pours a solid black with a thin mocha head that dissipates quickly. Smells of chocolate syrup, coffee, dried dark fruits faint hops in the background. Tastes of chocolate and dried fruit, a bit vinous, leaves a roast bitterness in the finish. Thick body, although I thought it would be thicker. Syrupy mouthfeel, light carbonation. Well I finally got to try it. Good solid stout, there are better out there, but this one ranks pretty high in my book. I would have loved the roast to be a bit more in the foreground and the fruits a bit more in the back.

I had to go back and this comment to my review after we poured the second half of this bottle. The bottom half of the the bottle was thick and chunky when poured. The second half was actually better tasting with a much thicker mouthfeel than the first. I guess I didn't realize that this beer wasn't homogenized.

Photo of akorsak
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A wax-sealed 650 mL 2006 version from a long-ago trade with Nickd84. This is cracked in celebration of my 30th birthday (one day late).

A: The ale pours with a thick viscous oily appearance. The head is not so thick, but there is a nice mocha-colored band of head at the edge of the glass. Nothing escapes the darkness of the ale.

S: The aroma is chocolate, brown sugar molasses, burnt toast and big citrusy hops. A lot of aroma, especially in the hop department, for an impy. There is also a very strong alcohol presence.

T: The stout is a big thick mess, with mess being a sincere compliment. There are roasted malts, deep and dark with chocolately undertones. Some brown sugar sweetness, a lot of dried sweet fruits, some slight coffee dryness, and burnt toast, evn some hints of mint. The flavors come at you in one big rush; it forced me to take several sips and let them sit in my mouth just to isolate the flavors. The flavors come together in such a rich, dark manner that it tastes like the whole beer is burnt malts. Finally, there are a strong hops that kick up near the end, providing a citrusy pine element that holds the whole beer together.

M: Even at a year old (almost) the stout is very hot. The flavors are so intense that some aging could add a nice subtlety to the stout. Even fairly fresh, the ale is intense, a true imperial stout designed to withstand any voyage.

D: A stout this big is so filling, so delicious, that one is more than enough (not to mention the disgustingly high ABV knocking you out). The consistency is so big that one could easily chew it. I am impressed that the flavors blend together seamlessly, preventing any one flavor from overtaking the whole.

This beer is an absolute beast, a truly inspired brew that is worth any cost. Nothing else that I've ever had has provided such a depth.

Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 3,819 ratings.