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
Green with silver glitter = 2017 - New Label

Added by cretemixer on 12-13-2002

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,264 |  Reviews: 1,284
Photo of DIM
4.73/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2008 vintage

a: This was absolutely black.Even at the thinnest part of the glass, no light gets through. It pours with a short lived, dark mocha colored head that leaves speckles of lace in its wake.

s: Big roasty cocoa aromas that radiate a gentle heat dominate. Some dark fruits and molasses provide some sweet balance. As this warmed, I detected a little hop bitterness.

t: Bitter dark chocolate flavors start things off. A brief hint of pungent, dark fruits comes next. Towards the end this becomes surprisingly sweet. The chocolate and fruit flavors meld with some vanilla and molasses. The aftertaste is a lingering unsweetened cocoa. There were flavors I didn't bother trying to decipher, I just wanted to enjoy this beast!

m: This has a unique feel in the mouth. At first this has the body of an above average RIS. It slowly expands as its chewed, completely covering the palate.

d: I got this bottle from scubarex quite a while ago. Thanks again! This was one of the best I've tried so far. I'm really glad I was able to trade for one of these.

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Photo of CHSLBrew
4.73/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz bottle of the 2007 poured into a stemless wine glass.

A-Poured with a brief dark-brown head, which quickly reduced to thin layer with a bubble ring. Deepest deep black, DARK beer, opaquely dark as the heart of the monster on the bottle. The viscosity of this beer makes it stick to the sides of the glass like glue!

S-Big malts, deep chocolatey and heavy, dark roastiness. Very deep, complex dark fruit aromas. Some lighter esters.

T-Starts with an initial sensation of the presence of alcohol. This is instantly overcome by dark, dried fruits (plums) with rich chocolate and beefy, hearty roasted malts. An undertone of smooth alcohol is pokes its head in on occasion.

M-Appropriately low carbonation. Very thick, full body, well past the realm of "chewey." The thickness moves in my mouth slowly, but not clumsily or forced; more like satin.

D-This is surely an interesting and great beer. I will await another opportunity to drink this in the future.

Thanks to my brother Lofgrep for sharing his bottle with me.

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Photo of nyoung
4.73/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Went to 2015 Dark Lord Day, and let me say the experience was memorable! It poured rain the entire time I was there, but everyone was having a blast!

Now, I cracked open a DL 2015 with a year of age on it. I did not open a fresh one so this is my first impression.

Look: It was thick, oil looking. Poured well with minimal head. Jet black in color.

Smell: You can smell the alcohol right away, with sweet notes. I couldn't pin point what it was, but I could it was very enjoyable.

Taste: After one year of aging, at 50 degrees in my wine fridge (Standing up, not laying down), this has some serious heat still. Very strong, almost overwhelming in my opinion, but I know many people enjoy that. Looking past the alcohol, it has a coffee and slight chocolate taste, maybe even a hint of caramel. The more to came to room temperature, the flavors become more pronounced.

Feel: Thick, rich texture on the palate. The only reason it did not receive a 5 out of 5 from me was the alcohol was still strong, which was noticed right away and detracted from the overall feeling (if that makes sense).

I highly recommend attending DLD if you every get a chance. Great people, great bottle shares, and a memorable time to say the least! As always, enjoy responsibly!

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

Stood in line at DLD 2009 to pick this up. I let it sit for a little while but I got some good news and felt like it was a good celebration drink.

A: Cut off the white wax and poured aggressively. It's black and viscous with a hint of red. Tiny bit of ruby red showing through on the edge against the light. Fizzy small dark coffee copper head that dissipates quickly. No head to provide lace but it leaves an oily coating on the glass.

S: Grainy, roasted malt, fruity - black currant type smell. Hint of whisky type booze but not much.

T: Lovely. Dark chocolate, burned acidic coffee. Hint of tart dark fruit. A little burn from the alcohol but barely noticeable. Really dry woody aftertaste that makes you want to go in for another sip. As the drink warmed more, the tartness become more prominent and the sweetness became more intense - really nice.

M: Amazingly thick and smooth stuff. Hint of carbonation gives it a wee bit of life but who cares, it's like an awesome beer milkshake!

D: Very excited about having it. No regrets. Met the hype. Serving it warmer than recommended definitely was the way to go. Dangerous stuff - very potent but the alcohol is pretty well masked and it's so tasty, you find yourself drinking it quicker than you intended. Really great brew.

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Photo of rsquared59
4.72/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

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

2006 bottling. Served at room temperature.

Very large active cascading head,and a scant one finger of liquid under.head and liquid eventually even out. Head is dark tan, liquid is just black. There's a slight cola fringe when held to the light.

First thing that hits you onthe nose is deep dark molasses, then dark cherries, rasins, and some almond. Eventually a chocolatey/smoky smell emerges.

A smokiness hits me right up front. A lovely sort of burnt molasses hits right after, then some rasin, and a little cherry. There's awoodinessthatdevolps high on the palate as it progresses, along with a pronounced bitternes. Rather nice. Very in-your-face, but that's the point.

Mouthfeel is very nice- with a hearty thick liquid paired up with a rather miniscule carbonation.

I find this one amazngly drinkable- but not quite as drinkable as the bourbon barrel aged 05 Dark Lord.

Be well

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Photo of bufleraj
4.72/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of Proteus93
4.72/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Received in a trade, courtesy tayner - big thanks, Dana! Cracked and shared at Beer Run with owner Josh and acquaintance Steve. Good beer is meant to be shared with good company!

A: Black as can be. A nice brown head (and when I say brown, I mean brown - this is dark!) and laces in stringy webs.

S: Rich, fantastic, creamy chocolate aroma - so deep and complex. A deep note of woodiness, almost. A buried cherry-like fruitiness in there, like a subtle dark-chocolate covered cherry. Some molasses. Fabulous!

T + M: Deep chocolate and espresso. The chocolate flavours... Good Lord. So deep, so rich, creamy... like a milkshake, it was mentioned! The body is insanely thick... amazing and huge. Like a fine brewed mocha latte, made with a fine bean, freshly ground. It's complemented by a hint of vanilla bean and a nice molasses touch that is somewhat enhanced by the mouthfeel, which makes it seem more like that has been poured in as an after thought.

D: Huge, and amazing. Worthy of the hype, I'd say. This was a wonderful sharing beer with that ABV, and while the note of heat was there, it was covered VERY nicely. Laid down for 4 - 5 years would likely make it orgasmic.

 1,183 characters

Photo of UniversitateaDeBere
4.72/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

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

22oz bottle from mbierz (thanks for the trade, Matt!). 2011 release. Served in a Terrapin snifter. 

Pours vicious oil black with a half finger quickly-vanishing mocha head. No lacing, just a gorgeous jet black pool. 

Interesting sweet nose. Soy, dark fruit, candy sugar, vanilla, cocoa. 

Wasn't sure what to think at first. Unlike any other stout I've tried. Very sweet, with tart cherry, vanilla, coffee, caramel, burnt sugar and soy sauce. At first I thought it may be too sweet but the more I drank, the more I wanted. Flavors blend well and hide the 15% abv incredibly well. Long sweet delicious aftertaste.

Very thick and heavy with almost no carbonation. Almost spot on for how I like my stouts. 

Very happy to finally try this one and even happier to have a 2012 bottle to drink at a later date. It may sound cliche, but there is not another imperial stout out there like this one. Dark Lord is original, distinctive and incredibly delicious. Well worth a trade and I will certainly be looking for more. 

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

Big thanks to the venerable trader that is afatty for this bottle, 2006 vintage.

a - pours thick and black as motor oil, one-finger brown head with little retention and lacing, a look that just screams big stout

s - big aroma of dark fruits, lots of plum, black cherry, raisin, some bittersweet chocolate and hints of dark roasted coffee, definite alcohol presence

t - starts out a bit sweet with lots of dark fruits, plum is predominant, body has a lot of bittersweet chocolate, roasted malt, and coffee, finish has more dark fruitiness, slight hoppiness, alcohol notes, and a lingering taste of bittersweet chocolate and coffee, divine!

m - full-bodied, just the right amount of mild carbonation for a big stout, moderate sweetness mitigates the dryness of the finish

d - for a huge stout, this is quite drinkable, palate isn't destroyed at all after a bomber, if this wasn't so damn hard to get, I could sip on this all night

Call it hype or whatever you want, this is one damn fine beer...one of the very best I've tried. It lived up to all the hype for me. Well worth seeking out, regardless of what it takes.

 1,120 characters

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.

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Photo of Drewer757
4.72/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow. I finally experienced the Dark Lord ('07 edition) after the birth of my boy. It poured like oil, and looked as dark. There was very little brownish head that laced the glass with each sip. The taste on my palette was chocolate syrup, followed by black coffee and then a strong stout. It was VERY thick. I couldn't finish a bottle by myself, but thanks to Mark who brought it for me, we finished it off.

 407 characters

Photo of TheBeard89
4.72/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

I was going to wait till my 1000th karma point, but what the hell, can't wait that long.

Crack open the silver wax sealed bottle to a soft whiz, pours an oily jet black into the Duvel glass with no action at first, then out of the abyss (er, not that one) comes a dark tan head of an inch, slowly creeping back into the shadows, forming a ring around the outside and a hazy fog in the middle. The lacing comes in sheets down the glass, dissolving with small smattering left as relic.

The aroma lets you know something dense is ahead, but mysteriously so, as if it were a magician slowly revealing its tricks. At first, the obvious, deeply roasted malt, patent, brown sugars and molasses, a faint leafy hop, chocolates, ripe dark fruits. Quite lovely, round, and enticing, it beckons you forward.

The taste is more assertive than the nose, just as well developed. I was almost expecting something more vile, evil and contemptuous, as if I were awaiting the sucking up of my soul. However, Dark as this Lord is, its a delightful treat, thick, oozing flavor, bite-able thickness. Lovers of chocolate, beware! this beer will consume you. Then comes the more bittering flavors, the molasses, but also a sweet brown sugar, dark fruits, and a warm rum like alcohol. Then some leafy hop and sweetness comes though the mid-ending before it bitters out with burnt malt, coffee espresso, and a general kick in the nuts. (Sometimes, I laugh at our attempts to review such beers, cause I just reread this, doesn't even come close)

The mouth, as stated, is thick, viscous, oily slick, silky smooth, nicely warming, and utterly exceptional. The alcohol really is a bit sneaky, though, so watch out.

I'm glad I took so long in searching this one out, and also that I didn't wait on it. Hype notwithstanding, this is an excellent beer, well worth the praise and standing. Personally, I have other favorite RIS's, but don't we all.

A mighty large thanks to MuenchenerKindl for sending me this one (and possibly another soon too!).

 2,018 characters

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

I have had multiple vintages of this, looking forward to sharing my 2011 bottle with Friends later this year.

From notes. This beer pours with a non-existant head, but it looks like syrup. One of the thickest most viscus stouts I have ever poured. Smells fantastic, layers and layers of flavors going on in there. Tastes great too! Lots of dark fruit, coffee, cacao, a nice earthiness, just extremely complex. I am getting a little heat on the back end, the beer is warming me up.

A true classic, and deserves the hype.

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

I went to DL day 2007 and bought my bottles. This is the first one I've tried. It also happens to be the day that I am completely finished with my undergraduate career.

That said, I poured it into a 23oz pilsner glass (not recommended) in order to celebrate finishing school. Pours like used motor oil, syrupy, deep brown/black. The head that forms was quite small, brown in color, and lasted for awhile.

What an aroma. The smell of fruit, cherryish, along with coffee and malt smell combine for one the most complex yet enjoyable aromas I have sampled.

Tastes just as good. The RIS qualities shine through, with other flavors of vanilla, cherry, and other fruits, as well as coffee, and chocolate. I could find so many other tastes in this.... but we don't have all day.

Feels fairly good in the mouth. Very thick, good amount of carbonation. Warming aftertaste, but not too warm.

Drinkability is OK. I had a lot of trouble finishing this bomber. It was so thick. yet tasty. Don't try this on your own. Get some friends together, and pour 5 oz samples.

As for the hype... this is the most unique beer I've had. Completely different from Stone RIS or Bell's expidition or victory king. There is something here that can't be described in these terms. Definitely worth a try if you get the chance. Is it worth $15 a bottle though? Now thats a tough decision.

 1,374 characters

Photo of Gary779
4.72/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

'09 Bottle, White Wax

A: The beer pours with a nearly black stream, which forms a coffee crema coloured head that sadly shows little retention. The beer itself is very dark with burgundy edges that turns golden on the very edge. Left no lace.

S: Amazing. A smooth blend of fresh oranges, chocolate (both sweet and dark), musk, aniseed, dark caramel, soy sauce, mint and cedar wood. And those are the main smells I could pick out. The rest of the smell body is made up of a mellow blend of alcohol and other pleasing flavours.

T: The taste is a direct compliment to the smell, including all elements, but being more bitter. A sip finishes off with the distinct taste of Lindt 85% chocolate. Alcohol presence is a tad high.

M: Carbonation is very smooth. Body is medium to heavy (I was expecting heavier), and the beer has quite a sticky feel to it.

O: This is a beer that comes highly acclaimed, and is one of the only ones I have tasted that actually lived up to its name.

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

This one with many thanks to brothers-from-other-mothers DavidEddie and drunkmonk. YOU GUYS ROCK!! THANKS SOOO MUCH!!!
Again, i need to be reminded about 'true to style'...and what the difference is in expectations between RIS and Double Stouts. Personally, this one leans more towards my favorite 'Doubles'. The smell is aggressive and rich with a ton of depth and complexity. The sweet rich substantive characteristics of molasses, licorice and dark fruit dominate the nose and it is complimented by the full bodied, lightly carbonated, creamy yet almost oily character of the mouth feel in the way that it lingers appropriately. Full flavored, the taste is as complex and as deep as the nose. Molasses, licorice, roasted malt, ja-mocha and slightly fruity. A classic "sipper", the 13% ABV is genuinely part of the experience, but somehow buried beneath the intensity of the flavors and textures. Seriously 'way beyond' my expectations.

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Photo of rab53
4.72/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

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

Thanks to cmrillo/hodgin for this bottle! Great traders! 22oz brown glass pry-top with green wax. 2010 Vintage. Served at

Appearance: Pours a thick oily black with 1.5 fingers of frothy dark tan head that leaves some lacing.

Nose: Wow, could smell it instantly after cracking the cap. Big roasted grains, cocoa, fruit cake, miso, braised beef, molasses, demerara sugar, raisins and figs, maybe prunes really. Big and complex. Lots of bold aromas going on here.

Palate: This beer walks with a big stick, for sure. Big and dense and chewy. Sweet doesn't quite cover it, it's really viscous. Lots of molasses, darkly toasted oak, prunes, dates, dark roasted malts, leather, black coffee that's over sweetened. Long, drying finish. Carbonation is low but creamy.

Notes: I know a lot of BAs who say this beer is a mess. Well, it is - but I love it! It's huge and extracted, but the one thing that keeps my attention is that it's not boozey, or sickeningly sweet or slick like some high ABV IRS's (think Mephistopheles). Badass beer! Love it.

 1,041 characters

Photo of Drifter1
4.71/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Joethebeerpro
4.71/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

750mL bottle in a sniffer. thank you Ben! 2011. Jet black with thick white head. Complex aroma of toffee, coffee, vanilla, malt. Thick mouthfeel. Sweet, complex taste of vanilla, caramel, chocolate, and toffee. Best beer I have ever had. ---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone

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Photo of Norvelljeff
4.71/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

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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Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
4.28 out of 5 based on 4,264 ratings.
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