Dark Lord Imperial Stout | 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

1,275 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,275 | Ratings: 4,223
Photo of Lapalou
3.53/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2016, pour is dark and thick with no head. Some slight tan lacing sitting at the top. Nose is a bit off putting, nothing of note, looking for coffee or roast, but getting sweetness. Taste- like a dunkin donuts Ice coffee where the sugar hasn't dissolved at the bottom and you get granular sugar in the first sip. Overwhelmingly sweet. Definitely doesn't feel like 15%, but doesn't taste like a beer either. I like dessert type beers, things like AC gccs, but man this beer is tough to drink. Like a flat Mexican sugar Coca Cola. No thanks. Wouldn't buy it on the shelf. Not the worst beer and no soy sauce for me but sugar bomb

 627 characters

Photo of Zoomslowik
4.29/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L- Very dark, head is basically non-existent. No lacing. Pretty thick.

S- Boozy, molasses and chocolate.

T- Very sweet, but not to the point of unpleasant. Coffee and chocolate notes, but they're in the background. Mostly caramel and molasses flavors. Doesn't remotely feel like a 15% alcohol beer to me.

F- The strongest feature. Thick, a little creamy, very smooth. Exactly what I look for in a high-end stout.

O- Very good, but could use a little more variety of flavor. I'm excited to try a barrel-aged version.

 523 characters

Photo of NHhomebrewguy
4.49/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this with a couple of really good friends and beer connoisseurs and we were all delightfully surprised! Lots of chocolate, burnt sugar and roasted malts. Thick syrup like mouthfeel. Very enjoyable. Not sure why people give this beer such a bad rap.

 256 characters

Photo of HopBomb515
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black, virtually no head, no lacing and a nice rippling on the surface. Notes of vanilla, cane sugar, light coffee, carmel, and toffee for days. Thick, like syrup thick, coats the entire pallet and stays around a while. Amazing stout, I didn't mention it in tasting notes but I get the soy sauce but it isn't the prominent flavor.

 339 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

this is one of the highest rated beers that i have not been able to get my hands on until now. i feel like ive been hearing about this darn beer forever now, and its amazing to have a buddy bring it over this weekend, although i have to say, the hype and the wait are not warranted or worth it, and as tasty as this is, its for one past its prime and for two not that amazing. maybe it was when it came out back in the day, but the rest of the field has risen. this is a 2011 ediiton, and may have been best a year or so ago. i smell slight oxidation, but after that, its held up well enough i imagine. shiny black chocolate syrup color and texture to it, actually a decent little head on the pour but it has no persistence at all. the nose here is great, i guess i never realized it had all these other ingredients in it, whatever coffee was here has faded a lot from nose and taste. the vanilla is there pretty prominently still though, and its certainly sweet, my goodness, its about as sugary as those bruery anniversary releases, and just as strong although the booze isnt over the top for its strength and doesnt bother me in the least, even when it warms up. lots of molasses in the flavor, and it really just doesnt taste as dark as it looks to me. i still get some deeply roasted malts, but its more sweetness and extra fermentables than it is grain, and the leftover sugar is a problem after awhile for me. glad we were sharing this bottle three ways. it sucks to think the cellar time may have been too much, but i find it hard to believe people would freak out the way they do over the beer if it tastes like this fresher. its still good, but its nothing overly special i dont think, aside of course from its rarity. the sugar and the stillness bother me a little, and the coffee doesnt add what i hoped it would. if you like them sweet and huge, dig on this, but i am now real keen to try a fresher version to see what the real story is. fun to crack with some friends but not what i had it built up to be in my head, not by a long shot...

 2,052 characters

Photo of LloydDobler
4.54/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into snifter- '16 vintage(glitter&black wax)

Can't believe that I haven't rated this before, but I guess it's about time. Pours out a sludgy black with a dark brown cap of foam. Nose is super sweet. Almost like a homemade simple syrup with bits of chocolate in it. The sweetness overpowers everything in this one, but that isn't nessicarily all bad. A barrel helps this already great beer out tremendously. I believe this is the reason why there are so many BA variants. The best of this one comes from the full mouthfeel. Almost like lightly carbonated jello that has yet to firm. This is the first big beer that I enjoyed, and got me into bigger stouts in general. I feel the darkness flowing through me and I now know that this beer will always have a place in my evil little heart.

 793 characters

Photo of Stardusthotel83
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25


The thing that jumped out to me the most was how smooth this was. Great chocolate malty smell with some some raisins. Excellent smooth flavor, i couldnt get the vanilla in the smell but I could tatse. Almost like chocolate -vanilla ice cream that melted together.

 270 characters

Photo of MarvinSnyder
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2009- white wax. Poured into a small snifter.

Appearance: Pours a dark reddish brown with a thin yellow head. Sporatic lacing.

Smell: on the nose expect alcohol infused chocolate covered cherries, plums, caramel, roasted malt, and burnt sugar.

Taste: What you smell is what is delivered! Dark chocolate, cherries and plums, caramel, burnt sugar, and roasted malt. A strong alcohol taste warms the belly.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth over the palate. A dry finish. The alcohol warms.

Overall: I waited as long as I could on this beer and I was not disappointed. Probably the best cellared beer that I have had to date. The next one will not Have an extended stay on my shelf!

 690 characters

Photo of pezhead_79
4.68/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2016 Vintage has a less pronounced sweet taste with immediate tasting (day of release). But, 2015 vintage has aged similarly with 1 yr. of cellar aging.

 153 characters

Photo of Roland7792
2.02/5  rDev -52.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This shits disgusting! Most overhyped beer ever. No one can actually enjoy drinking this garbage.

Taste like simple syrup sugar with a touch of soy sauce and coffee.

 169 characters

Photo of nawpnawp
4.56/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 orange wax bottle.

This thing is a monster. The nose is molasses, vanilla, caramel and bourbon. The taste follows much of the same. The first sip is extremely sweet, but as your palette adjusts, it rounds out and the other flavors start jiving. It's been awhile since I've had one fresh, but it has held up extremely well over 3 years.

There's not much more I can say that I haven't already. It's definitely worth seeking out and lives up to the hype for me.

 471 characters

Photo of BRZLNR
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A couple of years ago i used to buy Dark Lords of of ebay when they were accessible there. Now they are extremely rare to pop up on ebay. In 2010 i purchased my first Dark Lord and it was a 2007 Silver Wax bottle.(3 year old beer at the time). For some reason i thought the beer would be fine but it tasted terrible. Nice dark chocolate color, no foam, stale smell, horrible bitter mud taste.
After the first experience with Dark Lord, i went on to acquire recent bottles as they were released. (1x2010 Green Wax, 3x 2011 Yellow Wax, 1x2012 Red Wax)
In my personal and honest opinion this beer is a phenomenal beer that it does live to its expectations.
I Poured the 2010 and 2011s into a pint glass and the 2012 on a tumbler wine glass.
They all similarly presented strong dark bold muddyish black color. Beautiful thick foam. Strong dark cacao and roasted caramel smell. Sweet roasted dark chocolatey taste. Very thick and very robust. Overall an amazing and delicious beer.

 978 characters

Photo of Hootie159
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From bottle. Nice dark head makes way to the oil spill floats. Sugar is the main item on the nose. Some booze kicks in as it warms, but this is nice. Taste is great for being 15%. Super sweet both in the vanilla and sugar. Hint of booze burn in the back. Coffee floats in, in the aftertaste. Touch thin but otherwise smooth. Glad I got to try this.

 348 characters

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!

 1,261 characters

Photo of CraigP83
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Smell is sweet sugars and alcohol, almost darkness like. Chocolate covered cordial cherries, this is a very sweet thick syrupy beer. It's good but definitely deserves to be shared. I got no soy or green pepper.

 210 characters

Photo of HomerSwim
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Let me tell you about my dark lord day. I sat in the cold, rainy weather drinking beer with strangers. I sampled beer from all over the world. I had homemade coffee moonshine! I won the golden ticket to get the BVDL. I had my extra bag of beer stolen from me. Woke up the next day with jeans covered in mud, but somehow had drunkedly bartered all the beer in my backpack for more bottles of dark lord.

So my rating for Dark Lord is as follows: 4.5 when drank at dark lord day. 4.25 when drank else where. So let's go in the middle.

 541 characters

Photo of blackcutlass
3.99/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drank this after it had aged for a year. Viscosity of motor oil; sticks to the glass so much that just when you think you're done, the residual slides down the edges of the glass and pools at the bottom for one more sip. Smells a bit like soy sauce, but has really unique coffee and biscuity malt flavor. Something to behold, for sure.

 335 characters

Photo of sittinggc
2.65/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

2015 vintage poured into tulip. Saved for a year, as i heard it was a tad sweet fresh.

Look: Pours a menacing pitch black with little head.
Smell: Umami with some sweetness.
Taste: Again get some of that umami as well as some soy sauce and sweetness. Dark fruits. As it warmed i got a little of that vanilla taste, but hidden behind the sweet umami.
Feel: The highlight of this beer. Thick as hell! This is how a stout should feel going down. Alcohol very well hidden.
Overall: Slightly disappointed with this beer. I typically like my stouts on the sweet side, and this was pretty sweet. But i could not get over the taste. Hardly got any coffee or vanilla. Maybe i should have sat on it for longer.

 702 characters

Photo of Gambyt20
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Read reviews about all the hype and overrated comments about this beer. Finally got to taste it for myself. And holy crap this beer is amazing. Going in with some rather high expectations and it definitely does not disappoint at all. 2015 bottle and pours used motor oil thick and dark. Smell absolutely amazing and robust for a non-BA beer. Taste is decadent and thick and absolutely a joy! Wow! I can only imagine what a variant or a BA version could taste like. Got tix for DLD 2016 so I am very excited to be getting some bottles of my own.

 544 characters

Photo of lemmy187
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Trying this with about a year of age on it.....Pours thick like motor oil. Tons of chocolate in the nose. Taste is sweet....lots of chocolate and the high ABV is well hidden. Feel is syrupy thick with little to no carbonation. Overall, a great imperial stout....but the high level of sweetness prevents it from being elite.

 326 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
4.31/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is great looking stuff, deep black, brown head around an inch deep, small bubbles. Aroma was tons of roast, lesser dark fruit, not bitter dark fruit.

A big thick chewy plum aspect to the beer, super thick so it works. These seem to get better with a few years on them. Amazingly chewy and drinkable beer of this strength without barrel aging. Great artwork.

 369 characters

Photo of atigerlife
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2008, black wax. So, going on 8 years old.

Pours black. Black hole black. Very small light brown head which dissipates quickly. Small collar.

Aroma of dark soy sauce, vanilla, strong coffee, malt. Very strong and complex aroma.

Taste is of coffee. Mocha. Dark chocolate. Vanilla sugar. Dark fruit.

Mouthfeel is silky smooth, heavy. Surprisingly dry at the end.

Overall, Wow!! Very nice. Delicious.

 415 characters

Photo of churchillps
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2012 vintage drunk on 1/25/16. My god, it's a wonderful experience. Overall act of drinking better than the sum of its parts. I didn't find it particularly attractive, and I wasn't a huge fan of the mouthfeel, but the complexity of flavors was absolutely unbelievable. Chocolate covered cherries and molasses were the most dominant, and I didn't find it overly sweet. Opened it up after having a really bad day and it changed my whole perspective.

 447 characters

Photo of Stevem68
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark chocolate color. Aroma is super roasty and dark chocolate. Flavor is roasted dark malt. Chocolate and a smooth finish. Overall glad I saved this. It aged so well. This is delicious.

 195 characters

Photo of RLVineh
2.21/5  rDev -48.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I dont understand the Love of this beer. This is possibly one of the most overrated beers i have tried:

Pour is black with caramel color lacing. looks thinner than expected

Smells like soy sauce and molasses.with a hint of alcohol, very off putting

Taste sweet soy sauce, molasses, alcohol is not a factor in the taste, but it feels like the beer is the wrong style. does not taste like an imperial stout

Feel is nice medium body, thicker than the pour suggested

Overall, disappointed to say the least, not a very good beer.

 529 characters

Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
4.28 out of 5 based on 4,223 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.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

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