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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Reviews: 1,278 | Ratings: 4,228
Photo of Boccu
4.9/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Pours black. Two finger deep brown head that fades slowly. Nice lacing. Aroma molasses, raisins and coffee. Taste is boom! Molasses, dark fruit juice, raisins, plums, burnt dark sugar, deep vanilla, tobacco, toffee, fig with a light apple strudel finish. Love this imperial stout. Look forward to more from them.

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Photo of ssm462
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A friend of a friend of a friend had a 2013 shipped over to his house. I went over to his house at 10am and we had a little tasting. A 2016 prairie bomb, kbs 16, kbs 17 and finally had the dark lord. it pours motor oil thick with very little head. We used snifter for this one.

Dark rich, thick, very syrupy. Not much head retention and carbonation has decreased no doubt from aging.

alcohol and cherries. molasses and green apples. this is complex.

i think this beer is worth aging due to the high abv. its smooth and delicious. creamy but very sweet. lots of cherry and molasses. you can taste the toasted barley. maybe give it another 3 years? maybe you shouldn't age it at all?

smooth and tasty. low carbonation. great mouth feel.

this beer lives up to the hype. I'm glad i had a chance to try this awesome brew. I'm not a huge advocate for aging but this one definitely needs it. at 15% abv this is a beer you will have to share with others.

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Photo of Jay_P22
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2014 blue wax edition. Poured into a Teku.

Look is a dark and thick stout. Minimal head, no lacing.

Smell is bakers chocolate, figs or raisin, and slight bourbon.

Taste follows the nose. This beer is sweet for sure. Booze has mellowed, and now it's balanced, and chocolates.

Mouth feel is thick, syrupy and complex.

Overall, it's a great stout. Very glad I finally drank a dark lord. I've sat on this for along time and I can't imagine it being better than it was today.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 vintage; drank 5/13/14 @ the Palace.

Purple/black color.

Minimal dark khaki head; no lace.

Fresh earth & candle wax nose.

Thick, syrup-y mouthfeel.

Bakers chocolate, fresh earth, candle wax & a hint of dark cherry. Not overly boozy, but still kinda raw. Needs time.

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Photo of DoubleABaird
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 Vintage (5 years of age)

L: Motor oil black with only a wisp of dark tan head. Poor retention and the beer is fully opaque.

S: Strong malt sweetness with notes of raisins, dried figs, tobacco, port wine, and light traces of leather. No roast or hop aromas. No apparent yeast derived aromas

T: High malt sweetness dominates the overall flavor. Notes of tobacco, port wine, bittersweet chocolate, dried figs, and raisins. As the beer warms, some toffee and sherry flavors mingle with the initial flavors.

F: Low to Medium-low body. No astringency. Moderately-low carbonation.

O: Very nice at five years of cellaring. Flavor is somewhere between an English Barley wine and a Belgian Dark Strong. This is an excellent example of what good cellaring can do to a great beer. No unwanted off-flavors. Really nice overall experience.

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Photo of cherche
2.78/5  rDev -35%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

l: good looking beer, think when poured, nice thick mocha brown head, black body, retention is decent, didnt drink enough to actually see lacing
s: soy sauce. im sure there are other characteristics but when the first smell tastes like i should did some sushi in it everything sort of just stops there
t: surprisingly not soy sauce, which would be salty and bitter. this was sweet, too sweet. mostly just tasted like what i imagine an imperial stout with a few table spoons of sugar added would taste like. reminded me a bit of marshmallows.
f: decent mount feel for an imperial stout but with how sweet it was the thickness seemed like less of a positive
o: not good, not the worst. i didnt drink much because i dont want to drink much of a 15% abv beer i dont really like. i tend to agree with the "haters" on this more than the "hypers" but i can't say its the worst beer ive ever had, just not very good unfortnutely

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Photo of XBeerBellyT
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

L: Pitch black
S: Sweet burnt sugar. Dark chocolate and dark fruits.
T: A very heavy sugar forward bear. Get caramel and burnt sugar flavors up front. Finishes like a bitter/sweet honey glaze.
F: Very syrupy. Not 'thick' but had a syrupy feel to it

-2014 variant

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Photo of Can_has_beer
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2014 Vintage consumed on 12/24/16, almost 3 years of age. The beer pours with minimal head but has a very interesting burnt red hue along the rim. The flavor is very smokey, mouthfeel is thick. Very interesting.

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Photo of Buck89
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 version. Poured inky black with viscosity like motor oil. A then dark tan head that didn't stay long. Aromas of roasted coffee, rich chocolate, and caramel. Super rich chocolate taste. The feel was huge, silky, and chewy. Some notes of coffee, vanilla, and molasses. A gentle warming on the back palate, but did not seem boozy.

 332 characters

Photo of Timato
4.71/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2010 vintage
-pitch black
-smells of dark fruits and molasses
-taste follows the nose with hints of black licorice and slight oxidation but compliments the flavor

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Photo of q33jeff
4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5


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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Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
4.28 out of 5 based on 4,228 ratings.
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