Dark Lord Imperial Stout | 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

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Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Indiana, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 15.00%

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
Maroon wax = 2015 15% ABV
Black with glitter flecks wax = 2016

Added by cretemixer on 12-13-2002

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,278 | Ratings: 4,231
Photo of q33jeff
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75


2014 bottle to tulip glass. Tasting with DC, Dark Lord vs. Parabola vs. Abyss.

LOOK: Dark, dark, pour , small brown head fades but lacing resurfaces with beautiful brown swirls.
AROMA: blackberry, fig, blueberry, bourbon.
TASTE: lots of dark fruit, bourbon is subtle, very tasty. 15% alcohol is well masked, especially considering it is probably more like 16-17% after 2.5 years.
FEEL: has lost some carbonation, but it is thick and chewy,


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Photo of JebBeerFish
3/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

2015 bottle

A: Black, 1/8th head on gentle pour. Looks to be almost a still beer.

S: Nose is molasses with some sweetness.

T: At first, I thought I tasted smoke, and said to myself 'This is a smoked beer?'. Then taste developed into a burnt brown sugar, with molasses and not much else. I could only drink a 3rd of my glass. 15% abv was undetectable.

O: Most over-hyped beer I have had to date, and I was really looking forward to it. I can only think that at one time, this was a beer ahead of its' time, it got a great reputation, which like a minor accident on a freeway, it's' rippling effect on later traffic is experienced long after the accident had been cleared. Don't believe the hype.

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

A superlative beer, and probably the thickest stout I've ever consumed. Pours like molasses. You can't see anything through the glass, not even a flashlight; pitch black, like dark chocolate straight through. Cloyingly sweet on the nose with a boozy finish. You don't drink this beer. This beer drinks you.

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

On tap at CBC 2016 - day 2. Pitch black with a thin tan head. Thick and rich flavor, with notes of caramel, cocoa, chocolate and vanilla. Very well balanced, though leaning a bit towards the sweet side. Definitely a world class stout.

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Photo of WalkerHater
1.3/5  rDev -69.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Soy Sauce. Flat as fuck.
Burnt Molasses, soy sauce. I need to get my blood sugar checked. My first "true" drain pour......Glad to say I tried it, but I will certainly warn others of the dangers of Dark Lord

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Photo of pkalix
4.07/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2014 blue wax bottle
black with ho head on a hard pour.
aroma of vanilla, marshmallow.... flavors are there: vanilla, marshmallow, some chocolate, no coffee...... but exceptionally sweet and extremely salty on the first few sips.... not bad really, but saltier and sweeter than i prefer....

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Photo of Masonz223
3.67/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Smell: rasin plum vanilla milk chocolate
Taste: upfront just a ton of sugary sweetness vanilla middle of the mouth sugar coverd plums rasin maraschino cherries milk chocolate finishes with a tad bit of burnt coffee biterness and more sweetness
Feel: medium sticky body really really sweet
Overall: it's a good beer but overhyped it's to sweet not enough to balance out the sweetness.

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Photo of Gaddabble
2.73/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2014 version (blue wax)

L: Like black paint. Extremely black and thick looking. Among the most opaque and black stouts I have ever poured.

S: Sweetness, slight soy. Not particularly complex or strong. Disappointing.

T: A pile of sugar with some soy dropped in with a drop of chocolate. Lacking complexity and extremely unusual. Definitely tastes like more of an Imperial Stout (gone awry) than an RIS. Alcohol is completely hidden.

F: Very thick with low carbonation. Heavy mouth coating. This is typically good in a stout, but in this case it just serves to augment the sickening sweet soy flavor.

O: I love sweet stouts (Southern Tier stouts are among my favorite). I am a shameless 3Floyds fanboy. However, this was horrific. Given my anticipation, the relative difficulty getting a DL, my love for 3Floyds, my love for sweet stouts, and the fantastic marketing/bottle art, this beer seemed to be made for me to love it. Instead it is the most disappointing beer I have ever had. It pains me to say this, but this is probably the worst stout I have ever had and the first beer that I truly cannot understand the love for. Many times I am disappointed by a beer but recognize it is likely just due to differences in my personal preference, being "off" that day, etc. But this stout should have been made just for my tastes and was simply terrible. Perhaps if the flavor profile was more complex I could give it some credit, but it is a completely simplistic beer that hits very few notes (70% sugar, 25% soy, 5% chocolate). Warmth did not help it. Stepping away from it and coming back to it did not help it. I don't think the Lord himself (dark or otherwise) could have helped it.

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Photo of Hyptochrons
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

2016 bottle, beautiful looking beer. nose is nice - molasses, raisins, licorice, chocolate, vanilla, burnt malts, roastyness light booze. on the palate its sludgy chocolate up front, rich caramel, raisins, molasses, brown sugar, vanilla, marshmallow, definitely a salty soy like flavor that doesnt jive well with the immense sweetness of this beer. this is without a question one of the most sticky sweet stouts ive tried, and in many ways it is exceptional - but just fails to come together in a cohesive way. a complex and flavorful stout is only a legendary one if it manages to bring the loud flavors together in harmony, and I think this beer falls short in that respect.... which is disappointing because I did spend quite a bit of money in a trade for this. in addition the coffee was pretty much undetectable - as was the booze. mouthfeel is perfect and I probably enjoyed the beer a lot more than I would have because of the ridiculously thick and sludge like feel, it coats perfectly in such a pleasant way - if only the flavor profile was as impressive.

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Photo of Mateo2699
4.57/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Maroon waxed '15, poured into a snifter.

Pour is a jet black. I use this term very carefully, most people say jet black when it's really dark brown. But absolutely no light, or a hint of red hue is coming through this. About as sludgy as can get. Very little ring of khaki head, absolutely no lacing. Aroma is heavy vanilla, molasses and dark fruit. Very subtle roasted malt profile, with a nice dose of brown sugar. Taste is very sweet, creamy vanilla/marshmallow like profile with even more burnt, brown sugars. Plenty of molasses and caramel. Coffee and chocolate exists somewhere, but more in the background, and no hints of maltiness. Mouthfeel is the highlight here. Thickest most palate coating beer I've ever had. Hearty and super sticky.

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Photo of BeerSamurai34
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I have multiple vintages of this beer, but this was actually the first time I popped one. I get the soy sauce comments. I definitely detected a lot of saltiness, but somehow I still really enjoyed it. Despite the salty notes, it was still really creamy and full of chocolate.

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Photo of chinchill
4.41/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Shared 2008 bomber with a black wax finish in July 2016.
Dark thick motor oil appearance with a fine light brown head.
Rich deep flavor with moderate-high sweetness.
Dark roasted grains and a modicum of hops kick in eventually in the aftertaste to cut the bitterness, leaving an excellent dark roasted grain flavor.

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Photo of jtirpak22
4.88/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

2016 vintage from the bottle.

A - Dark black with thin layer of tan head, oily.
S - Licorice, roasted malts, dark fruit, molasses
T - Vanilla, chocolate, coffee, and a sweetness, boozy.
M - Fairly thick and syrupy.
O - This was historically one of my favorite stouts but recent vintages have been a bit too sweet for me. This was a big step back in the right direction though. Significantly improved over recent years.

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Photo of bcbs4040
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Black ink, motor oil
S: Dark fruits, licorice and chocolate
T: Sweet, slight bitterness when fresh, and nose carries over perfect
M: Thick as they get, fudge, paint, viscous
O: Lives up to hype, only thing that can make it better is a barrel.

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Photo of brewskifan55
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed in a taster glass. 2015 version. Thanks, Shannon.

A: Evil dark black with light tan hazy head that quickly ran away.

S: Bourbon, molasses, chocolate with light vanilla and a shot of coffee.

T: Oooh, too sweet. This one can induce diabetes. Still tasty despite the overabundance of sugar. Getting booze, vanilla, chocolate, coffee and molasses. But sip this one slowly.

M: Medium to heavy with thick, syrupy carbonation.

O: Glad I finally got to try this bucket list beer. But the sugar is way too much. Take that down a few hundred notches and this Dark Lord is a winner.

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Photo of dvmin98
3.16/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3.5

2016 Looks great. Smells like a decent RIS. Tastes like a complete sugar bomb. So disappointed. Glad I shared this because I could barely get through 6 oz. Sad

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Photo of jaypaul522
3.57/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

After all the fuss, what a let-down. The pour was good, with a nice full head. You could smell the roasted malts, but the taste was so overwhelmingly sweet I couldn't get past that. I see other reviews listing several flavors, but I couldn't taste anything but the strong sugary taste - it completely hides the 15% alcohol it is so dominant. Not a favorite.

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

L: Black beer brown head that vanishes completely in a few seconds
S: Vanilla, roasted malts, chocolate, raisins, maple syrup, or chocolate chip pancakes with maple syrup.
T: Maple syrup, raisins, figs, chocolate, coffee. The alcohol is non existent
F: Syrup smooth sticky thick
O: A very impressive beer. This is on the sweet side. It's complex and lives up to the hype.

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Photo of Lapalou
3.53/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2016, pour is dark and thick with no head. Some slight tan lacing sitting at the top. Nose is a bit off putting, nothing of note, looking for coffee or roast, but getting sweetness. Taste- like a dunkin donuts Ice coffee where the sugar hasn't dissolved at the bottom and you get granular sugar in the first sip. Overwhelmingly sweet. Definitely doesn't feel like 15%, but doesn't taste like a beer either. I like dessert type beers, things like AC gccs, but man this beer is tough to drink. Like a flat Mexican sugar Coca Cola. No thanks. Wouldn't buy it on the shelf. Not the worst beer and no soy sauce for me but sugar bomb

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Photo of Zoomslowik
4.29/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L- Very dark, head is basically non-existent. No lacing. Pretty thick.

S- Boozy, molasses and chocolate.

T- Very sweet, but not to the point of unpleasant. Coffee and chocolate notes, but they're in the background. Mostly caramel and molasses flavors. Doesn't remotely feel like a 15% alcohol beer to me.

F- The strongest feature. Thick, a little creamy, very smooth. Exactly what I look for in a high-end stout.

O- Very good, but could use a little more variety of flavor. I'm excited to try a barrel-aged version.

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Photo of NHhomebrewguy
4.49/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this with a couple of really good friends and beer connoisseurs and we were all delightfully surprised! Lots of chocolate, burnt sugar and roasted malts. Thick syrup like mouthfeel. Very enjoyable. Not sure why people give this beer such a bad rap.

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Photo of HopBomb515
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black, virtually no head, no lacing and a nice rippling on the surface. Notes of vanilla, cane sugar, light coffee, carmel, and toffee for days. Thick, like syrup thick, coats the entire pallet and stays around a while. Amazing stout, I didn't mention it in tasting notes but I get the soy sauce but it isn't the prominent flavor.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

this is one of the highest rated beers that i have not been able to get my hands on until now. i feel like ive been hearing about this darn beer forever now, and its amazing to have a buddy bring it over this weekend, although i have to say, the hype and the wait are not warranted or worth it, and as tasty as this is, its for one past its prime and for two not that amazing. maybe it was when it came out back in the day, but the rest of the field has risen. this is a 2011 ediiton, and may have been best a year or so ago. i smell slight oxidation, but after that, its held up well enough i imagine. shiny black chocolate syrup color and texture to it, actually a decent little head on the pour but it has no persistence at all. the nose here is great, i guess i never realized it had all these other ingredients in it, whatever coffee was here has faded a lot from nose and taste. the vanilla is there pretty prominently still though, and its certainly sweet, my goodness, its about as sugary as those bruery anniversary releases, and just as strong although the booze isnt over the top for its strength and doesnt bother me in the least, even when it warms up. lots of molasses in the flavor, and it really just doesnt taste as dark as it looks to me. i still get some deeply roasted malts, but its more sweetness and extra fermentables than it is grain, and the leftover sugar is a problem after awhile for me. glad we were sharing this bottle three ways. it sucks to think the cellar time may have been too much, but i find it hard to believe people would freak out the way they do over the beer if it tastes like this fresher. its still good, but its nothing overly special i dont think, aside of course from its rarity. the sugar and the stillness bother me a little, and the coffee doesnt add what i hoped it would. if you like them sweet and huge, dig on this, but i am now real keen to try a fresher version to see what the real story is. fun to crack with some friends but not what i had it built up to be in my head, not by a long shot...

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Photo of LloydDobler
4.54/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into snifter- '16 vintage(glitter&black wax)

Can't believe that I haven't rated this before, but I guess it's about time. Pours out a sludgy black with a dark brown cap of foam. Nose is super sweet. Almost like a homemade simple syrup with bits of chocolate in it. The sweetness overpowers everything in this one, but that isn't nessicarily all bad. A barrel helps this already great beer out tremendously. I believe this is the reason why there are so many BA variants. The best of this one comes from the full mouthfeel. Almost like lightly carbonated jello that has yet to firm. This is the first big beer that I enjoyed, and got me into bigger stouts in general. I feel the darkness flowing through me and I now know that this beer will always have a place in my evil little heart.

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Photo of Stardusthotel83
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25


The thing that jumped out to me the most was how smooth this was. Great chocolate malty smell with some some raisins. Excellent smooth flavor, i couldnt get the vanilla in the smell but I could tatse. Almost like chocolate -vanilla ice cream that melted together.

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Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
4.28 out of 5 based on 4,231 ratings.
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