Dark Lord Imperial Stout | 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
95
world-class
4,252 Ratings
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Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

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

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
Green with silver glitter = 2017 - New Label

Added by cretemixer on 12-13-2002

BEER STATS
Ratings:
4,252
Reviews:
1,283
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
14.49%
 
 
Wants:
3,218
Gots:
2,083
For Trade:
191
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 4,252 |  Reviews: 1,283
Photo of kjkinsey
4.75/5  rDev +11%

Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of Knapp85
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 Bottle: Pours out as a really deep black, a brown head that vanished quickly. The beer coats the glass for a little while after each sip. Smells burnt and alcoholic more like a barley wine, some really dark fruits and molasses. Tastes like burnt caramel, dark chocolate, lots of dark malts. Light oily and kinda thin, not much carbonation really. I was a little disappointed... I have heard that the 2010 Vintage is better, so hopefully that is correct. I have an unopened bottle of that year still waiting to be drank.

 524 characters

Photo of nmann08
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3/5  rDev -29.9%

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

06 sampling: Different than last years. Still a super beer, but it has changed. Most noticably is that the soy sauce, sherry, old ale flavors and syrupy texture has been substituted by fresh fruits and berries (most noticably apples and grapes). While it's not the same, it does lighten the beer up a bit. Still good enough for a near-5 rating.

I can obviously see why this beer is among the top ranked in the world. After drinking a lot of imperial stouts lately, this one is a certain standout. After burrying your nose in this one, I immediately detected port wine and expresso. Complexly melded and mellowed. Close behind lurks cherries, dates, prunes and to a lesser extent, a tartness in the range of soy sauce, yeast, and earthiness. Taste brings about an abundance of flavors; most notibly chocolate covered cherries and bourbon balls. Others include bittersweet chocolate, coffee, prunes, dates, figs, berries, caramel, vanilla, cream, hops, and alcohol. These flavors are not what makes this beer great. What does is that it is aged to perfection. Flavors extend forever and reveal themselves constantly and subtlely because of its mellow maturity and the fusion of ingredients. I could drink a thousand of these and always find new flavors. Because of the maturation, this one isn't as thick or as heavy as expected, but not as abrasive either. Coats the palate very well and lingers into today. It's the gift that keeps on giving. Finishes strong, bold and mimicks all the flavor in the nose and body. Final statement: One of the most complex beers that I have ever tried.

 1,585 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of kojevergas
3.35/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

2010 vintage bottle acquired from the very gracious Duff27. Green wax-ed over pressure cap bottle. 650ml brown glass bottle with interesting label art served into a Guinness goblet in me parents' gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are sky high given the brewery and its current 96 rating. Reviewed as a Russian Imperial Stout because the label description identifies it as such.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a half finger khaki-tan head which recedes inside 10 seconds.

Body colour is a solid opaque jet-black. No floating yeast particles are visible; it's quite clean.

Overall, I'm a bit underwhelmed.

Sm: Molasses, chocolate, wisps of dark fruit, dark malts, chocolate malt, and some acidic ash. Depleted cherry. A biteen burnt. Somewhat vinous. Crappucino.

It's pretty reticent for an imperial stout, but I'm intrigued. A pleasant if somewhat muted aroma of mild strength.

No yeast character or alcohol comes through.

T: Sweet, sure, with plenty of fruit - dark and sweet alike. Plum, cherry. Ash. Tobacco. Vague molasses. Nebulous vinous character. Black currants. I do get some char/ash. It's balanced, sure, but nowhere near as complex/subtle/intricate/nuanced as I expected given its rarity and high rating. It's certainly on the sweeter side.

Above average depth of flavour. Average duration and intensity of flavour.

More cynical reviewers might claim there's a soy sauce note.

No yeast character or alcohol comes through.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Nice body and thickness. A biteen overcarbonated. Nice presence on the palate. Lightly syrupy. Sticky. Has weight.

Not oily, astringent, gushed, hot, boozy, or harsh.

Dr: Certainly drinkable for the high ABV. Sure I'd buy it if I saw it in the store, but it isn't worth seeking out to be honest. I expected far better, but it's nice. I don't know that age has made any substantial difference/developments. It has many characteristics which evoke more of a port-wine or liqueur character. I know many claim it's too sweet, and I can see that argument, but I think it's fine as-is. I'm real disappointed. Thanks for the opportunity to try it, Duff27.

Low B-

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Photo of brentk56
4.64/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours out an incredibly dark black viscous color with a beautiful tawny head and some lacing; the head fails to last, however and the liquid just sits there like molasses

Smell: Starbucks on steroids; deep roasted coffee bouquet with lots of dark cocoa powder and alcohol mixed in

Taste: Incredible stout flavors; lots of deep rich coffee, dark dark chocolate and hints of dark fruit swirl around the tongue with a nice bitter chocolate finish with a touch of mint

Mouthfeel: Thick and viscous; moderate carbonation; plenty of warmth on the finish

Drinkability: Not to be indulged everyday, this stout demands a special occasion; a wondrous potion with an incredible mouthfeel that sets it apart from other beers

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Photo of oline73
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I was able to try the 2007-2011 versions of this beer side by side during a tasting this past weekend. My rating is from the 2011 version, which was my favorite. Poured into my Colossus snifter.

Appearance: Pours almost black with just a little bit of light coming through at the very edge of the glass. There is a layer of tan carbonation that disappears completely.

Smell: Sweet with some cocoa and caramel. There is a bitterness from the roasted malt and some molasses in there as well.

Taste: Lots of sweetness up front. There is a strong presence of roasted malt with some chocolate and brown sugar. There is some dark fruit flavor mixed in there as well. This version has a slight metallic taste to it that seemed to show up even more in the older versions. There is a mild hop bitterness in the finish as well.

Mouthfeel: The body on this one is quite thick with tingly carbonation and a dry finish. Quite nice.

Overall: There is a metallic taste that I'm getting in all of the versions that isn't completely pleasing. Everything about this beer is good enough and I'll probably try the future versions.

 1,115 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.46/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Ringing in the new year with an '07 from DLD.
Poured at 50º into a 3F imperial pint. Dark mocha tinged foam swells to the rim, around three fingers high. The slow cascade effect is pretty impressive as well as the high density of the head. Over time, the foam diminishes, but the first impression is spectacular.

Sweet aroma of prune, raisin, bittersweet bakers chocolate, slightly milky. More smoke or char would be nice, but this works, it's not boozy at all. Very desserty.

Plenty of complexity, layers of Belgian chocolate, plums, raisin, molasses, very slight residual hint of coffee in the sweet, roasty finish that lasts for a few minutes.

Rich, sticky, and lip-smacking. The body is huge and fudgy, and the extra long finish is perfect for a RIS of this fortitude.

One can finish a bottle, but it's a very rare treat. Just like eating that 2nd or 3rd piece of chocolate cheesecake....

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.92/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle courtesy of Tpaliga (2006 vintage drank in April 2007): Poured a pitch-black color stout with a small foamy head with average retention. Aroma of honey and sweet malt is overwhelming and somewhat interesting. Taste is way sweeter then expected with some alcohol hint. Body is full and has a creamy and oily texture like I have never seen or tasted before. Low carbonation is to be expected but the alcohol really comes out and I didn’t enjoy this part. Some subtle vanilla and roasted malt were noticeable but were for most part covered by sweetness which kind of got gross after half a glass. This beer kind of reminded me of Avery Meph with the dominating sweetness and alcohol. I’m glad that I finally had the chance to try this highly coveted beer even thought I am not the biggest IS fanatic out there but unfortunately I wasn’t fond of it in the end.

 866 characters

Photo of largadeer
3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2007 vintage with silver wax.

Appearance - Oily and black with no head whatsoever. The occasional rising bubble settles on the surface for a moment, giving the appearance of a bubbling tar pit. Although there's no lace, the beer does coat the glass in an oily residue.

Smell - Sweet and rich. Molasses, coffee and milk chocolate come to mind, with undertones of vanilla and raisins.

Taste - Mellower than I was expecting and actually downright pleasant. Flavors of licorice, molasses, vanilla and coffee blend together harmoniously, presenting enough complexity to make this an enjoyable beer to sip for several hours. The finish is long and coating, leaving a roasted bitterness on the palate. No noticeable alcohol despite the rather high ABV; the sweet, rich flavors seem to overpower its presence.

Mouthfeel - Thick; absurdly thick. Dark Lord gave me a new standard for the term "full-bodied." This beer literally has the consistency of whole milk. Carbonation is nearly non-existent and never really felt, which only contributes further to the chewy mouthfeel.

Drinkability - The massive mouthfeel, while probably the beer's greatest attribute, also makes it difficult to drink both frequently and in large quantities - I'd have a hard time finishing a bottle by myself.

 1,280 characters

Photo of zeff80
4.73/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared with dertbert who acquired it via trade from bradlikesbrew.
2007 Edition.

A - Best looking beer I've ever seen. Poured out an opaque, jet black color. It had an extremely bubbly, caramel colored head. It didn't leave lace, but it left a residue that was difficult to wash off.

S - The aroma was dark chocolate and caramel. A candy-like sweetness.

T - A nice smooth maltiness with great dark chocolate flavors. Also, a nice blend of caramel malts. It did have a touch of grassy hops.

M - It had a warm alcohol presence. It was velvety smooth. A very heavy-bodied beer.

D - This is very outstanding. I understand the hype. The flavors were amazing. But, hands down, it was the best looking dark beer I've ever seen.

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Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of zestar
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of olradetbalder
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of Thorpe429
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at DLD 2009.

A: Very, very dark with a small dark head.

S: Lots going on here, with pretty much everything dark in this one--chocolate, coffee, molasses, dark fruits. Some very mild touches of vanilla.

T: Very, very complex. The fresh version isn't quite as complex and delicious as aged. I also had a sample of the '08 Dark Lord, and that one definitely would get a 5.0 on the taste scale. This one is still beyond excellent, however. All of the tastes are similar to the smell, and simply envelop the palate with goodness.

M: Very, very smooth. Almost no carbonation, and barely a hint that this thing is 13% abv.

D: Incredible. Definitely got my freebies with the golden tickets. Hats off to Three Floyds for an absolutely incredible beer. It was my first DLD, and I plan on going back every year from here on out.

EDIT: Not changing the original scores but a few notes. Opened up my first 2010 Dark Lord on 11.20.2010. The initial smell was a bit smokey to me and not nearly as sweet as the 2009. Strangely enough, we also opened a Batch 9000, which resembled the 2009 DL more so than this beer did. The 2010 DL also had some faint chocolate, but not really any of the sweet sherry-type notes of the 2009.

 1,222 characters

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.

 945 characters

Photo of nickfl
4/5  rDev -6.5%

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

Had this as part of the Central New England BA meetup #1.

A: No head for this, it's a headless pile of dark ooze. It's thicker than the thickest thing I can remember. Super catastrophically pitch black, its a technical term.

N: Tons of malts and raisin. Some roast and chocolate follow. I think theres a bit of black patent malt as well. The heaviness doesn't seem to want to come out of the glass as the aroma itself weighs a ton. When I swirl it a little aroma comes out and it seems to glob together like T-1000 after he gets frozen and melted. Some sweetness and bourbon, as well as a little vanilla and oak.

T: Wow, super thick and sweet! Lots of sweet malts, caramel, and brown sugar. Tons of raisin to go with it. Then the bourbon just takes over. Lots of oak and bourbon, as well as some fruity flavors from the bourbon. More molasses, some heat and boozy flavors, thick and creamy. It's actually kinda hot with booze. More raisin in case I didn't mention that yet.

M: Thicker than liquid metal, no carbonation at all.

F: Sticks all over the mouth and weighs it down so much that my tongue almost wants to fall off. The tons of raisin, brown sugar, malts, bourbon, and oak really just take over and never go away. It's also still really sweet all the time. A little too sweet if you ask me. A little more chocolate and roast follow late as well.

Again an amazing stout and 3F nails it on the head. Th eonly complaint is that it is a little too sweet. The taste and heaviness is awesome otherwise. This reminds me a lot of Black Tuesday with a little less booze, a little less sweetness (surprisingly, not sure how I even managed the BT), and less bourbon.

 1,670 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
4/5  rDev -6.5%

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

Note: I've had this bottle for quite some time and never really got around to reviewing it because I just didn't believe the hype.... well, trust me, you can believe the hype! It's remarkable!

It pours a stunningly dark black body beneath a huge head of creamy dark brown foam that eventually drops, but still maintains a wide, creamy collar and almost complete surface covering until halfway through the glass (which can be a very long time). Additionally, the lacing could be a bit better, but for a beer of 13% there's not much more than you can ask of this.

The nose expresses sticky sweet, dried dark fruit; some typical "burnt currant"; lightly spiced cookies with ginger and cinnamon (probably due to its alcohol); ...alcohol; a nip of black licorice; and some dark and sweet mocha java.

In the mouth it's quite full bodied and viscous... passingly amazingly smoothly, but still more like motor oil than anything creamy.

The flavor is more intense than the nose suggests with dripping, juicy fruit (red and dark); toasty caramel-drizzled oatmeal cookies; chocolate; molasses; and leafy hops. It finishes semi-sweet but not cloying (despite its girth); with quick passing notes of fruit and chocolate that fade to caramel, chicory, honey, coffee, and then lingering wet tobacco.

I intitially thought that the drinkability of this was hindered by its intensity, but I've change my mind on that. As you progress through the glass, it warms and changes and becomes more complex. It's a sipper, not unlike a Sam Adams Triple Bock or Dogfish Head World Wide Stout; and as such, it has a great drinkability.

 1,622 characters

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.

 315 characters

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

2007 release, acquired from grub courtesy of the Birthday Club 2 BIF, so a big "Thank you" goes out to him. Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark black color, with a thin brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of dark robust roasted malts, dark fruit, chocolate and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste is everything you look for in an RIS. The semi-sweet flavor of dark chocolate is complemented by mild flavors of dark fruit and coffee. The malt character is as hearty as you will find and there's a mild hops presence that is enough bring a good balance. There's absolutely no trace of the 13.00% ABV. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Viscous and extremely smooth, heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, sticky finish.

D: Very tasty and flavorful, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling for such a thick beer, very strong kick, excellent representation of style, this is a tremendous beer that is worth all of the hype it has received.

 1,041 characters

Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
4.28 out of 5 based on 4,252 ratings.
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