Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

Dark Lord Imperial Stout | 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout
4,318 Ratings
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
Green with silver glitter = 2017 - New Label

Added by cretemixer on 12-13-2002

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 4,318 |  Reviews: 1,297
Photo of csparace
4.75/5  rDev +11.2%

Photo of Amberluvsbeer
5/5  rDev +17.1%

Photo of bvdubn
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

Photo of RMelyon
4.84/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

If you like sweet stouts, this lives up to the hype. If you don't, it wont. I do. Particularly notable is a maraschino cherry note that is thoroughly enjoyable. The fest they throw is usually pretty OK too.

 206 characters

Photo of mnphish
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of JammyV
4.75/5  rDev +11.2%

Photo of Kirk
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

Photo of anhigdon
4.75/5  rDev +11.2%

Photo of CarolinaKev
4.75/5  rDev +11.2%

Photo of Auztan
4/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of sudsy2drunk
4.75/5  rDev +11.2%

Photo of mjm47
4/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of Scalawags
4.75/5  rDev +11.2%

Photo of kevrice88
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of Hophunter18
4/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of magictacosinus
3.11/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Consumed during the second monthly "Beermageddon" with many others recently. 2013 vintage. Poured into a tulip glass from a 22oz bottle. Review is from my notes. Split with 7-8 other people. Even though this was the final beer I had from the night before I lost enough sobriety to review (or physically drink) any further beers, I'm reviewing this first because I have a lot to say about this one. I attended DLD, had a great time, and did indeed wait in line 3 and half hours to buy three of these. However, I learned over time more and more about criticisms of this thing (really, it's not a "beer" in my view) and also how much this polarizes people overall unlike probably any other offering in the country. Did it confirm these suspicions? Yes, and more! Read on.

Pours a thickened, motor oil, extremely viscous, resinous beast of an imperial stout. The brewers who crafted this definitely seem to have tried to make this the most over-the-top beer from the get-go, and it's evident in the appearance alone. Extremely opaque, which a soft, creamy milk chocolate covered head that quickly dissipates, leaving nothing behind. No lacing. No carbonation. Simply a putrid, dead, fortified wine looking beer. It actually is unlike any beer I've ever seen in that regard, although it's definitely very, very ugly and simultaneously pretty awesome.

The aroma is actually pretty great, combining loads of dark chocolate nibs with black cherries, currants, figs, and coffee extract in one giant load of sweetness and treacly, resinous manner. Extremely boozy, although it accentuates the sweetness within the initial phenols that make this pretty fascinating. Not as sugary sweet as I expected, but rather in the realm of sweetness imparted by brandies and Tawny port wines that I've had in the past. Other flavors linger, such as big molasses, caramel, vanilla, a dash of wood (?), and highly concentrated boozy caramelized notes. However, this all is pretty balanced here and comes in spades, but did not prepare me for what was about to happen next.

What happened next? I found myself pelted with a "stout" of the most extreme, harshest nature possible, resembling a combination of a chocolate liqueur, a sweet brandy, and port wine. Absolutely overwhelms the senses right away, combined a slightly burnt brown sugary, syrupy flavor with cherries, molasses, currants, blackberries underneath jaggery and caramel notes. Not as chocolate forward as I like it, and the coffee that this was infused with is nowhere to be found. The alcohol adds a ridiculous amount of sweetness to the beer, but it is also scarily hidden, resulting in an experience that knocks you off your feet if you're not careful. There's a lot of residual sugars and caramelized flavors, but what it makes up in decadence it lacks completely it complexity. No subtlety here, so don't seek this out if it's what you like in the style. The mouthfeel is decent at best, and while it does indeed lack extra carbonation, its sludgy feel reminds me of a heavily tannic and extra sweet port wine (a type of drink I enjoy) rather than a beer, so it's not horrible by any means - only average-minus for the style at hand, and in some ways unlike *anything* within the style. Pretty insane, and it's hard to know what FFF was going for here other than attempting to make the most "ballsy" beer possible, if that.

I know FFF is capable of subtle, delicious beers, and I realize this beer is an excuse to make one of the most ridiculous beers around and create an event out of it in a demented (and some would say brilliant) marketing scheme. I had a lot of fun at DLD for other reasons, but the outcome is definitely disappointing. However, with that said, this does get a high-ish overall score from me because no matter how cloying and grating the drinking experience of this beer is, it's easily one of the most memorable I've had, for better or for worse. It's by far my new favorite crappy beer, because as awful and unbalanced as it may be, it's a lot of fun to drink and is the most intimidating in the style - which is probably exactly what FFF is going for. If you want to see how an imperial stout *shouldn't* be made, but still want one to sample what could be THE hyperbole of craft beer, give this a shot. It definitely is worthy of discussion alone, whatever the hell it is.

 4,347 characters

Photo of jaxon53
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

Photo of ChrisYager39
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

Photo of beerinNV
4/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of Hessian257
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of purdueflyguy
4.82/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2009 dark lord had on 6/16/2013 at craftheads in Tokyo.

Pours like motor oil with no head. Almost black but a lttle brown comes through.

Smell just a little booze big dark fruit a vanilla notes. With a little chocolate in the background. A little oxidation from the 4 years of age.

Taste big coffe bitterness yet sweet vanilla and bakers chocolate shine through. No booze in the taste.

Feel almost silky smooth with the right amount of carbonation.

Overall awesome beer that was perfectly aged and ready to be drank.

 526 characters

Photo of stogirelli
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of nick_asian
5/5  rDev +17.1%

Photo of Canada_Dan
3.96/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Photo of EROCK75
5/5  rDev +17.1%

Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.27 out of 5 with 4,318 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.