Dark Lord Imperial Stout | 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
1,267 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Indiana, United States | website

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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,267 | Ratings: 4,165
Photo of bassmantin
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to iconoklaztor for letting me taste this. What an epic event.

Smell is very very sweet. Reminds me of the Sam Adams Triple Bock. I know that sounds weird, but it's very sweet. The sweetness is incredibly intense and last very long. I like it but the mouthfeel is very intense and sticky. The uniqueness here is in the durability of the taste; it lasts forever.

I'm not blown away, but it's a great beer. A little too sweet for me, but still awesome.

 460 characters

Photo of bgramer
2.75/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

We opened a 2006 and 2007. My review is focused on 2007.

This pours thick like oil and completely black. There's a nice tan head but that disappears quickly leaving a thin ring around the glass.

This is a BIG beer - incredibly complex with a lot going on. I smell vanilla, roasted malts, chocolate, caramel, coffee, licorice, dark fruits like raisins, etc.

Very low carbonation but very thick and sweet with a medium to full body. It's smoothness and strong flavor really hides the alcohol but is flawed because of that overt sweetness.

This beer is good and worth getting to put aside. It needs aging time.


 617 characters

Photo of tempest
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 Vintage served in a Surly Darkness tulip.

Poured an opaque black with a thin, light brown head with a thick and sticky body that left a film on the side of my glass, damn. The taste first reminds me of chocolate cookie (like an Oreo minus the white stuff) with espresso, so of like a chocolate beer biscotti. As it begins to warm there a mild fruitiness of cherries and strawberries that catches me off-guard. The beer finishes with a dry mix of black roasted grains and citrus and spicy hop flavor.

For a 13% RIS, this beer is surprisingly drinkable. I didn't have any problem splitting a bomber with my generous friend who acquired this via trade. There's a lot of smooth chocolate flavors going on and I highly recommend pairing this with the richest chocolate cake, brownies, or fudge you can find.

 809 characters

Photo of Deuane
4.55/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A 2007 vintage bottle enjoyed almost at a full year old.

A-motor oil, the very darkest of black with dark caramel head that leaves mucho lacing.

S-Big roast with vanilla, caramel, alchohol. Twinges the nares a bit if you inhale too hard!

T-A cornucopia of all the good things in a RIS.
This brew has them all! Cocoa, nuttiness, dark fruits, robust coffee, licorice, soy sauce, etc.. This is one complex MF'er!

M-Big, bold, robust and full of body...like you thought this would be thin! Ha...more like 10-W40!

D-With all of it's BIGNESS it is extremely smooth, and that is the genius of this beer. The ending alcohol burn lets you know what you are dealing with! This one fresh is a bit much...but with almost a year under it's belt well, this Dark Lord is all grown up!

 774 characters

Photo of JDV
3.88/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 bottle from acertain. Thank you so much for your generosity!

Poured dark black into a snifter with ruby edges when held to the light, and with no head. Mustered a slight dark tan film as it swirled in the glass, but no more than that.

Smell is of char, roasty malt, figs, definite soy note but not in an unpleasant way, and big notes of tart cherry, sweet creamy chocolate and especially lots of molasses. Some alcohol showed, but didn't hinder it, really.

Taste is dark and very rich. Fudge like chewy chocolate, with light hints of soy sauce and the same highly sweet molasses flavor and tart cherries again. Didn't get any notes of coffee whatsoever.
Very low carbonation and a rich mouth coating body. Would actually prefer a touch more carbonation in this. Overall, rich, and smooth and definitely a very creamy, robust flavor, but in the end it was cloyingly sweet, I found. Definitely not one of my favorite Imperial Stouts, but not one I'd ever turn down trying either.

 989 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
4.69/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I got this in a trade with orbitalrOx. Thanks Don!

2007 Vintage:

With a vigorous pour, I get a short lived 1" head of tann foam and no lacing. Colorwise, it's a very dark brown/black with some reddish highlights but the first thing I noticed was how thick it looked during the pour. Wow.

The smell is loaded with dark fruit, chocolate, coffee, caramel, cocoa, molasses....will it ever stop? ;^)

The taste pretty much reflects the nose with the addition of a strong port flavour that I didn't really notice in the smell. What I find interesting is that all the flavours seem to take turns taking center stage, not allowing any single one to completely dominate. Sip after sip, sometimes the fruit shines through more, sometimes the Port, sometimes the coffee...you get the idea. lol. The abv is very well hidden because I don't get *any* warming during or after the swallow. I think that's amazing!

Really thick mouthfeel and very lightly carbonated, it finishes mostly with a lean towards chocolate and cocoa so it's a nice pleasant bitterness that I get to enjoy there and in the aftertaste. Very nice RIS and I'm very pleased to have gotten the chance to try it.

Bottom line: Super complex in flavour yet so smooth and easy drinking...hell of a testament to Three Floyds' brewing expertise. Highly recommended!

 1,318 characters

Photo of scottoale
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 vintage reviewed...thanks mucho for the bomber gift Westsidethreat and the bomber trade jaustin72403.

Pours a thick-ass black-brown with a very unique, faint carbonation that forms no head and leaves no lace, so to speak. It does however coat the entire inside of my tulip glass with a gritty, oily looking residue (like sump oil).

The smell is very bitter and burnt, roasty dark chocolate and esspresso that is full of ultra sweet dark over-ripend fruits and molassas. A big note of hazelnut carries throughout, with some alcohol creeping in at times...very nice.

Huge syrupy intro with layers of sweet dark fruits, massive malt, burnt coffee, charred wood, molassas and hazelnut. The flavor penetrates and coats the throat and tongue, then lingers on till your ready for the next sip. Overall very sweet with some chalkiness, but very tasty as well.

Heavy thick body with a tingle on the tongue from the subtle carbonation. The alcohol is fairly well masked for a whopping ABV of 13%.

Kick-ass for the style, easy for me to drink...how bout you?

 1,058 characters

Photo of gwong
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 edition poured into a tulip glass. Thanks to mudpuppet for a chance to try.

A: Pours a pure black with a reddish hue around the edges when held to the light. No head and no lacing on the glass.

S: Roasted malts and coffee in the nose with hints of fruit.

T: Malts and coffee are prevalent. There's some fruit flavor and a nice port-like finish.

M: Thick, motor oil consistency that leaves a thick coat on the tongue.

D: The ABV and overwhelmingly strong flavors make it difficult to drink more than the serving I had.

 527 characters

Photo of Sigurd
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to mudpuppet for splitting his with a few of us. This was a 2007.

A: Thick dark brown with a red hue on the very outside edge. No head at all.

S: Lots of molasses.

T: Even more molasses with a little maple. Very complex and very flavorful

M: Thick and sticky. Stays in your mouth for a long time after the beer is gone.

D: Heavy, but I could definitely drink a few of these. There's so much flavor and the alcohol doesn't feel like 13%.

All around excellent. If anything it's just a hair too sweet, but that's being nit-picky.

 539 characters

Photo of triplecoil
4.02/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a small wine glass.

Appearance is pitch black with some ruby highlights at the rim and no head to speak (probably the way we poured). Nose is burnt fruit, alcohol, prunes, port. Taste is burnt malt (and lots of it), some over-ripe fruit, raisins, milk chocolate, some mild hop aftertaste and alcohol. Mouthfeel is very viscous with mild bubbles and a lingering burned malt flavor.

A good brew, very mildly reminiscent of Sam Adam's Triplebock in some respects. I would have it again, but it is certainly immensely overrated.

 552 characters

Photo of Mudpuppet
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Silver waxed 2007 bottle.

A- Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass. Pours a motor oil black with a reddish hue around the sides. No head to speak of.

S- A bourbon barrel nose (even though I don't think it is bourbon barrel aged). Dark malts prevail in this nose. Not quiet as fragrant as I was hoping.

T- Very dark malts with a noticeable alcohol. Molasses, dark fruits and a boubon-y flavor. Some coffee and chocolate in this one too.

M- This is a thick one. Nice mouthfeel for a RIS. Lower carbonation.

D- So obviously I couldn't get too many bottle of this but it is very tasty. I tried Darkness recently and was let down so I am happy this is a great beer.

 672 characters

Photo of twokansamm
3.02/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

2007 Bottle

What a total let down. I split this bottle three ways and thank God I did, because I couldn't have handled more than the 7 1/3 ounces I put down. All I can keep thinking is that this is a stout that they actually added some port wine directly to the bottle for a 50/50 mixture. The look and aroma are really a wonderful thing, but the sweetness and wine like taste are just too much for me.
I've had many other imperial stouts, and this ranks at the bottom. In fact, the next beer I am going to review has a higher alcohol content (It is the Bristol XXX Winter Warlock) and it totally retains a stout like character. I would never have known that the DL was an imperial stout. My suggestion... don't skip this one... you have to try just to say you've done it, but be ready. As far as flavors go in the DL, pretty much all the other reviews hit it head on... they just forgot to mention the addition of 11 ounces of port wine. :)

 950 characters

Photo of irishevans
3.78/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours opaque brown/black with very little brown head, and smells almost like an english barleywine. the taste is very carameley sweet, but still bitter at the same time. it has a super thick mouth-feel one that i would expect from a barleywine, not bad, but not quite what i was expecting. drinks real slow. overall a good brew, just not quite what the hype makes it out to be.

 377 characters

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 vintage, thanks to orbitalr0x for the trade.

Pours incredibly black with no light escaping and no head whatsoever. The nose is strangely sweet and reminds me slightly (very) of JW Lees. Wierd I know. Upon first taste there are notes of smoke and oak. Plenty of Vanilla. Dark bitter chocolate and slight coffee flavors round out the middle. Hop bitterness creeps up on the finish with an akward sweetness ala BBCS on the finish. Mouthfeel is good and viscous, but could be creamier. The drinkability is good, but Ive had better. I can't help but think this is a classic case of the hype machine getting out of control. This is a wonderful imperial stout, but to tell you truth, Id rather have a breakfast stout or and old/older viscosity. Dont get me wrong, this is a wonderful imperial stout, but, well... didn't live up to the hype for me.

Note: 2008 vintage was more desireable for me fresh, and having tried some vintages as early as 05, this beer ages extremely well. A fine imperial stout, under the right circumstances.

 1,032 characters

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

A beefy two finger milk chocolate brown head has incredibly active bubbles that fade to just a skim in a couple of minutes. Body is an evil soulless pure blackness. Nose resembles port very much in a good way with alchol soaked dark fruit, well made licorice with some electric sweet tones. Smooth silky blackness enters the mouth with first sip. The port characteristics keep true with the flavor with some dark chocolate notes mixed in. Raisens, plums, and rum cake is are darkly delecious. This is luxurious and quite the sipper. Unique in its deepth and complexity among stouts. Mouthfeel is very dark and desirabley rich. Although I couldnt drink this everyday, I would love to. Amazing, bold and rich.

 707 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 hwwty4
4.68/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks BradLikesBrew.

Vintage 2007. Poured into a 6oz brandy snifter. Poured jet black with wisps of mahogany along the edges when the liquid was held up to the light. The beer had almost no head whatsoever even with a aggressive pour, but left oily lacing down the entirety of the glass. Beautiful beer. Aroma was big with coffee and bakers chocolate up front. Hints of vanilla, toffee, and plums were also there. The finish of the nose was almost cherry/almond. Taste was up front with the coffee and anise but mellowed into dark fruits and chocolate with a slight alcoholy burn that paired extremely well. Mouthfeel was full and oily. Exceptionally drinkable.

 664 characters

Photo of Mebuzzard
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bottle of 2007 consumed just about one year later.
Black. Dark. Evil pour. Motor oil is lighter than this. Smooth looking as well. Head stayed a bit low, built up to about 1 finger, dense off brown/tan and sticky.
Coffee, chocolate, powder cocoa, anise, plum and alcohol round out the nose. Not one is dominant or too strong. Nice blend. Mix could be confusing.
Coffee and anise at the start of the taste. Followed close with unripe black plum, some prune and molasses. Ends with a touch of caramel, but mostly powder cocoa and silk chocolate. Not as complex as I thought it would be. Not as outstanding as I thought.
A good brew, but not worth the trade and effort to obtain.

 678 characters

Photo of flexabull
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally decided to crack this one open...

I got 2 bottles courtesy of mynie and todd1, thanks again guys!

This is from 2007.

Pours super thick, black, and with a dark tan head that fades rather quickly.

Aromas are of burnt sugars, molasses, dark baking chocolate and booze.

This is a very flavorful beer, but not overpowering. Smooth dark burnt bitter chocolate, dark fruits, roasted malts, molasses, and some booze flavors. Finish is warm, long, and with a sharp mineral hop bite.

Mouthfeel is great, very thick and full in the mouth.

Drinkability is quite good. Dark Lord lived up to the hype for me. Not the best beer I have had, nor the best Russian Imperial Stout I've had either. But with that said, this is still a top notch beer, that is very deserving of the high scores it receives.

 800 characters

Photo of kdoc8
4.9/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I haven't written a review in a while...you know how it goes. However, I recently acquired a bottle of Dark Lord from a friend back in Indiana for Christmas (new best friend). He went through all the trouble of waiting in line on Dark Lord day out in Munster, and I got to reap all the benefits. Thanks Konrad! You're a hero among men.

Dark Lord. It's definitely a sippin' beer. A spectacular sippin' beer. I poured it out and you could immediately smell it from across the room. Very strong flavors of oak/chocolate/coffee and fruit and just plain roasted octane. It is a deep dark black color, no opacity, with a brown bubbly head. As if the smell wasn't enough,the taste was just as good and complex - all those flavors that came out in the smell were there in double in the taste.

The only reason this isn't a total 5.0 exceptional in my ratings is because...well, I just don't think I could drink more than the half-a-bottle that I had. It's one of those exceptional things that you can only have a tiny piece of, and only need a tiny piece of, to know that it's special.

 1,079 characters

Photo of HopHead1982
4.84/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

WOW. This beer afflicted pain, in a good way, on everyone of my taste buds. Very strong, I wouldn't be able to drink a 750ml by myself.

A friend brought this over for me to try, and now I have vowed to attended Dark Lord day every year to replenish my stock until I die.

 272 characters

Photo of SacoDeToro
4.77/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to KAME for trading the bottle a few years back - this led to many great friendships.

2006 vintage.

The beer poured a deep coal black with a nice dark brown head.

The aroma of the beer was full of rich coffee, roasted malts, dark chocolate, and some faint vanilla. Some tobacco in the aroma as well. The alcohol helped carry the aroma brilliantly.

The flavor of the beer was full of intense flavors that transitioned well from one to another. Coffee - Chocolate - Rich roasted malts. The flavors seemed to have melded well in the two years of aging. The hops were there in good presence, but not too intense. The finish had a faint smoky/tobacco note that blended very well with the rest of the flavors.

The mouthfeel was thick, but stopped short of being too heavy. The carbonation seemed dialed in well.

DL lived up to the hype IMO. This beer was rich with complex flavors and well balanced. It seemed to seamlessly cascade from one flavor to the next.

 967 characters

Photo of mixylplik3
3.25/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I got my hands on a bottle in '07 thanks to a friend of mine out in IL. I had been sitting on it for a special occasion so cracked it during the Super Bowl.

As I poured the viscous, used motor oil looking liquid into my glass the only thing I could think is "what have I gotten myself into?" My new-found affinity for darker stouts and porters (and the hype) had me anxiously awaiting the first sip. Lacing was non-existent and to borrow a wine term- this brew has legs. Actually, it doesn't have legs so much as an oily residue.

The taste? Well, it tasted okay. Chocolate, coffee, smoke... the "dark" flavors are all here. Then there is that alcoholic bite, which helps keep the soy and roasty syrup at bay.

The mouthfeel is heavy, oily, and stifling. The flavors linger but are overwhelmed by the heavy consistency. The flavor to me was simply overpowered by the dense liquid. As a result, I can't say I'd ever seek this out again. Worth trying once.

Not really impressed. Succeeding at beyond over-the-top, but not enjoyable to drink. I ended up pouring the last 1/3 of the bottle.

March 2011...
Recently had some 2010, and didn't like it. I will not change my original review, but this beer is grossly overrated, IMO. Not an enjoyable RIS. I'd give it lower marks if I re-reviewed it.

 1,293 characters

Photo of deepsouth
4.74/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

a BIG thanks goes out to BradLikesBrew for this 2007 version of FFF Dark Lord.

this beer poured a thick black substance with little head, but who cares? i have never seen a beer pour so thick and glug out of the bottle.

the smell is exceptional. the smell is of molasses, chocolate, toffee, raisins, dates & other pitted fruits. i'm not certain it gets better than this.

the taste is wonderful and consistant with the smell. ultra complex and a bit smokey tasting. little alcohol is present at first, but it settles in quite nicely.

the mouthfeel is thick, oily, full, & sticky.

i loved this beer and as barefootbrewer said below, begs to know if there is another.

as a side note, i have also never seen a beer cling to the side of the glass like this one does. by the time i finished the beer, the entire inside of my glass was coated with a thick molasses like substance that i completely feel like i cold have scraped off and shoved down in a pipe and smoked.

thanks again Brad for this badass beer.

 1,010 characters

Photo of barefootbrewer
4.84/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Dark Lord 2007:

Well, I turned up the bottle and a thick oil oozed out. There was a slight brown head that decided not to stick around. The aroma is a complex blend of caramel, raisin, coffee, alcohol and chocolate - it is seductive. The taste is a mixture of raw molasses, raisins, brown sugar, and just plain old love. This beer sticky with an alcohol bite. It begs the question - is there another.

 401 characters

Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 1,267 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.