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
4,317 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: 4,317 |  Reviews: 1,296
Photo of twizzard
4.73/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of julian89
4.73/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

So, it has been a very long time since I have actually rated a beer, but my very good friend mscudder (previous rater on this brew) shared this with me yesterday. Ah what an experience. I haven't tasted a stout of this complexity since a founders backstage series beer from 2011, you may have heard of it, you know a beer by the name of CBS!!! Anyways, we opened it after letting warm a little...
Apperance: Color was great, nice dark syrup feel (expected from a coffee stout), good lacing too. What it lacked was a proper head and retention. Don't get us wrong we know how to do a proper pour, the beer just wasn't having it, but this is really my only downside to this brew.
Smell: Oh sweet beer gods! The sugary waft, the subtle coffee, oh so great. Vanilla was very very subdued by this point, I forgot to say we were drinking a 2012.
Taste: First hit is a fantastic medley of dark fruits for me (dates, raisins and plums). The sugars taste as if they were a purified syrup. Definitely gearing towards a dessert beer here. Coffee doesn't have the pungent taste of many coffee stouts I've had in the past, but this may be due to the aging process.
Mouthfeel: This, in my opinion, is the high point of the beer. It was oh so chewy, coated the tongue with sugary delight. The froth of the dissolved CO2 was at a perfect level (despite the lack of visual indication). Excellent mouthfeel for a RIS.
Overall: Definitely a beer I would like to enjoy again. Maybe next time we will try fresh off the line. Thanks again for sharing Scudder.

 1,536 characters

Photo of DaveHS
4.73/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to francisweizen for splitting this with me.
Pours with almost no head. Thick and oily. Smells like fruitcake, charred wood and espresso beans. I already know this will be exceptional.
The mouthfeel is thick, almost overwhelming. But smooth. Overwhelming flavor profile. Roasted grains, vanilla, espresso beans, and chocolate covered cherries. Slightly medicinal and boozy, but its all academic once you've had a few sips!
This is one of the few beers that really lives up to its hype. I was ready to be disappointed but I have to say, its easily one of the top three Russian Imperial Stouts I have had the pleasure of trying.

 637 characters

Photo of 4thFloyd
4.73/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of DNICE555
4.73/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

09 Dark Lord, White Wax... black soul. 2nd in line at the big Christmas 2010 Epic Stout Tasting. Poured myself about 8 oz and split the rest between Zapps, Cpie, Larsonstyle, R Moe nay, and Jlynn.

A - The body looks like the devil in black camouflage. A nice healthy dark tan head comes fourth from the depths of hell.

S - Roasted grain, big malty clouds, tempting fruits from the garden of Eden , molasses, raisins, chocolate. If this beer had a wallet, it'd be the one that say's bad motherfu*ker on it.

T - This beer is the Peter North of beers. Both my unit and the Dark Lord are huge. This evil serpent slayed me. I barley made it out alive. Every component seems to be exaggerated.

M - Consistency of a creamy bowl of oatmeal. Good carbonation. 10 inches+

D - I can't believe this is 15% percent. I am enjoying an 09' at the end of '10 but I can barely detect any alcohol at all. The flavors are exaggerated and it is sweet but not overly. I was very impressed and happy to enjoy this demon.

 1,005 characters

Photo of zeff80
4.73/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

 725 characters

Photo of KBlodorn
4.73/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Heischman
4.73/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First I need to send a super thank you Mr Mike in IN for the greatest Xmast Gift ever!
Beer/Brewery - The Dark Lord 2011 – 3 Floyds
City/State- Munster, Indiana
STYLE – Russian Imperial Stout
ABV – 15%
IBU – Unknown
DATE – 03 JAN 2012
SERVING TYPE – 22 oz Bomber Wax (Yellow) Dipped
GLASSWARE – Small Snifter
APPEARANCE –Dark Brown almost black with no light passing through, Very Little head
AROMA- Boozy and chocolaty
TASTE – Sweet but with a roasted bitterness, such a well proportioned balance it is UN real! Hints of a dried fruit as well maybe raisin or date, or eve prune.
MOUTHFEEL – Nice thickness that a stout should have, and so smooth.
CONCLUSION – Truly a once in a life time brew! Again I thank MR MIKE for the most wonderful Xmas gift ever!

 782 characters

Photo of ATLbeerDog
4.73/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful deep black color with a constancy of 10W40. The small tan head quickly dissipates. Below average lacing and below average carbonation with a smell of sweet roasted dark malts, coffee and vanilla. Tastes of strong coffee, sweet roasted malts, coffee, vanilla, and toffee. Very complex. Very tasty - This WORLD CLASS. Drink and Enjoy!

 350 characters

Photo of brewcrew76
4.73/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 Silver Wax

A - Pure black with a creamy 2 fingers deep brown head. This pours the blackest of any beer I have seen.

S - Dark, very rich chocolate, molasses, espresso, dark fruits & anise.

T - Coffee, rich fine chocolate, caramel, toffee, deeply roasted malt and molasses.

M - Thick and chewy. Borderline syrupy but not quite. Low carbonation and the alcohol is hidden very well.

D - I wasn't a big fan of the 2005 and 2006 Dark Lords but the 2007 has made me a believer.

 481 characters

Photo of DIM
4.73/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

 1,059 characters

Photo of CHSLBrew
4.73/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

 1,026 characters

Photo of nyoung
4.73/5  rDev +10.8%
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!

 1,261 characters

Photo of sgoodship
4.72/5  rDev +10.5%
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.

 1,280 characters

Photo of rsquared59
4.72/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of UncleFlip
4.72/5  rDev +10.5%
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

 907 characters

Photo of bufleraj
4.72/5  rDev +10.5%

Photo of Proteus93
4.72/5  rDev +10.5%
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 +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of ThickNStout
4.72/5  rDev +10.5%
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. 

 1,021 characters

Photo of WeisGuy
4.72/5  rDev +10.5%
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 +10.5%
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.

 739 characters

Photo of Drewer757
4.72/5  rDev +10.5%
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 +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of objectivemonkey
4.72/5  rDev +10.5%
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

Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.27 out of 5 with 4,317 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.