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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

Added by cretemixer on 12-13-2002

For Trade:
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Reviews: 1,271 | Ratings: 4,197
Photo of JWD
4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to RoyMunson on this one, Thanks for the opportunity to try this very hyped beer,2008 bottle. Also a 2007 bottle, from another trade!

A-2008 Death black with an evil dark tan head, the lacing and sludge that this beer produces as it warms is second to none, i still cannot see through the glass correctly.2007 looks identical

S-2008 its good but very sweet, sweeter than i imagined for a beer of this caliber, the Abyss, Stone RIS are better more traditional examples of this style, this is still very good. 2007 bottle was IMO better as some roasty coffee was detected which offset the sweetness up front.

T- Once again just ok for the 08 and very good for the 07, it taste like raisans, molasses, sugar, and more sweetness. there is a big disappointment here on the 08, the 07 has a very balanced and more complex less sweet taste. (its is a year older)

M- Very thick, GI BCS is thicker cold but as it warms this is the thickest beer i have ever had, hell it almost frothy like a starbucks mocha..

D- Not bad just very sweet, it makes your lips sticky and the sweetness is off the charts as my lips are very sticky right now. The abv is undetectable.


2008 bottle, Very good just a little sweet with lack of other flavores to balance it out, outstanding and a must try.

2007 bottle, Outstanding!!! everything i missed in the 08 was found here, some roasted coffee!!

I will continue to seek this out and age if a year of rest makes it this good. Dark lord day 09!!

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Photo of russpowell
4.81/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This came as an EXTRA from Melbatoast93, cheers & cheers again Hart! Got this last summer, so 08 Vintage, says so on the bottle

Decanted into my La chouffe tulip, pours pitch black with a 1.5 fingers of cocoa colored head. Average head retention & very good lacing, a brown film shades out much of the upper glass

S: Dark chocolate, rum raisin & a touch of leafy hops

T: Dark & bitter chcolate, prunes, oaky dryness & a bit of charred grain & leafy hops up front. Dryness dominates as this warms, along with some chocolate covered dates, plums & a touch of molasses, getting better as it warms. Finishes oh. so dry, with mocha, molasses, iron, boozey coffee, dates & plums

MF: Oily, slick, but some noticeable carbonation here. Nice chewyness & stickyness as this warms, then nice a great warming sensation & luxurious silkyness

ABV is well hidden, upper echelon RIS to be sure, a few I've had just as good are just as good, but only a few. The dryness does slow me down a little, but otherwise, going down great on a cold, snowy Colorado evening!

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Photo of DARIVA
4.81/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Very dark beer with a small head.

S: Delicious bitter smell.

T: Great taste of menthol light, sweet and brown sugar.

M: Good ratio, light carbonation and even somewhat syrupy.

O: Special delicious aftertaste, drinking well is really top of the bill.

(I've got the yellow one)

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Photo of mikeale
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks GrandCruDrew!
2008 vintage
Served in my Ebenezers pub sniffer

A: Dark chocolate, bordering on black, with dark amber highlights around the edges. Cocoa head.

S: Booze soaked fruits, rich robust cocoa/coffee

T: Chocolate up front, then the ABV hits, mocha is present, nutty in the finish that lingers for a while

M: Thick!! Coats your mouth, full bodied, rich, creamy, alcoholic finish, sticky sweet.

D: Highly balanced 13% stout! I could enjoy this ever month or so. Not a beer I could drink more than once in a setting. Worth the hype and my wife agrees.

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Photo of CBlack85
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to JAYBLACK for sharing this bottle with me while I was in Indy this week.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a goblet. Vintage 2010

This beer pours as black as midnight. No highlights at all, utter complete darkness. There is a very small tan head that recedes quickly and leaves no lacing; and at 15% I didn't really expect any.

The nose is huge, and full of dark chocolate, coffee, dark fruit, and a fair amount of alcohol. Quite a big aroma that matches the thick oily appearance.

The taste is very much like the nose only bigger. Lots of chocolate, cherries, prunes, and port wine. Very sweet initially, but seems to mellow and bitter as the beer warms. There is a fair amount of alcohol presence, but nowhere near what you would expect from a 15% beer. Body is heavy and thick with low carbonation. This is truly a well crafted imperial stout.

This is a terrific beer that is very drinkable considering the ABV. Outstanding offering from Three Floyds.

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Photo of RedBrewer83
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into snifter...

A: Pours an incredibly thick black into the glass with hues of ruby around the edges. Small head of tan foam, falls slowly to a thin ring around the glass.

S: Huge complex aroma, coffee, roasted malt, dried fruit, booze, molasses, caramel, incredibly huge aroma here!

T: Like the nose, massive and incredibly deep, all of the flavors mentioned above and yet so balanced and layered. This is truly world class, one of the greats!

M: Smooth and creamy heavy body, slightly boozy, but in a good way.

D: For 15% it is crazy drinkable, and so delicious that you want to keep drinking it. Definitely one of the best examples I have ever tried!

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle of ’04 courtesy of the very generous TMoney99. Appears dark brown, almost black with absolutely no head to speak of. This is a very viscous liquid. And I mean very viscous. Just a slight swirl of the glass leaves a coating covering the entire inside of the glass. It does pretty much the same to the inside of your mouth. Taking over and coating it more and more with every sip. A very well put together beer that has many ’o flavors going on. Some very smooth chocolate and high end coffee. The alcohol was subdued and refined due to the aging. Not as hot or dominating as a fresh bottle. A truly incredible beer, that reminds you every time that you drink it, why it’s this highly rated.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Deuane for the bottle.

Pours a nice 1 1/2 finger head with decent lacing that fades fairly quickly Thick, dark brown color. Very viscous looking.

Smell is of pale and caramel malts. This is followed by mint, raisin, and black licorice. I also notice some chocolate malts and some roasted malt undertones. Hops are faint in the backround.

Taste is delightful. The flavors blend wonderfully. The chocolate malts are dominant with a significant balance from caramel malts. The hop bitterness isn't overly assertive at all and is just enough to balance out the thick syrupy sweetness of this beer. Oh man, yummy. Not that boozy for a 13% abv beer.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy.

For a 13% abv beer, you can't get more drinkable

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 bottle thanks to melbatoast and IBULover.

Pours jet black with a dark brown, caramel like colored head. In the aroma, molasses, roasty coffee, cherry notes, almost wine-ish. In the taste, Roasty, chocolate, cherry hints, small hops and some alcohol heat in the end. A small bitterness and medium to big bodied mouthfeel, with a semi dry, roasty chocolate aftertaste. Very easy to drink, very big flavors and very good.

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Photo of JackieTH
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2010 bottling with green wax.

Pour is dark brown-black, like angry, thick, used and abused 80 weight motor oil with a skein of mahogany foam that persisted.

Smell is huge figs, black molasses, raisins, chocolate, subtle espresso and roasted elements.

Taste is dominated by mocha and espresso with layers of subtle flavors including molasses, figs, raisins, dark cherries. Some sweetness appears which is deliciously balanced against coffee and hop bitterness into a long faded espresso finish.

This is one thick and chewy beast. Powerful. I'm amazed it poured out of the bottle without banging on the bottom of it.

Excellent, excellent, excellent. So rich yet so drinkable and where the H is the 15% ABV hidden?? Absolutely lives up to the hype.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

06 sampling: Different than last years. Still a super beer, but it has changed. Most noticably is that the soy sauce, sherry, old ale flavors and syrupy texture has been substituted by fresh fruits and berries (most noticably apples and grapes). While it's not the same, it does lighten the beer up a bit. Still good enough for a near-5 rating.

I can obviously see why this beer is among the top ranked in the world. After drinking a lot of imperial stouts lately, this one is a certain standout. After burrying your nose in this one, I immediately detected port wine and expresso. Complexly melded and mellowed. Close behind lurks cherries, dates, prunes and to a lesser extent, a tartness in the range of soy sauce, yeast, and earthiness. Taste brings about an abundance of flavors; most notibly chocolate covered cherries and bourbon balls. Others include bittersweet chocolate, coffee, prunes, dates, figs, berries, caramel, vanilla, cream, hops, and alcohol. These flavors are not what makes this beer great. What does is that it is aged to perfection. Flavors extend forever and reveal themselves constantly and subtlely because of its mellow maturity and the fusion of ingredients. I could drink a thousand of these and always find new flavors. Because of the maturation, this one isn't as thick or as heavy as expected, but not as abrasive either. Coats the palate very well and lingers into today. It's the gift that keeps on giving. Finishes strong, bold and mimicks all the flavor in the nose and body. Final statement: One of the most complex beers that I have ever tried.

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Photo of MrDanno96
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage

A: Pitch black, viscous with a thin, tan head. Some spotty lacing quickly slides down into the liquid abyss.

S: Huge, complex nose! I get a ton of chocolate up front, follow by suggestions of fig, raisin, currant, cinnamon, and molasses. Vanilla and alcohol waft up from the depths as well.

T: Very roasty up-front: dark malt and very strong coffee/espresso. Alcohol soaked chocolate cake and more bitter chocolate and mocha come through mid-way. The quaff finishes sweet with dark fruits making a strong impression: figs, currants, and raisins soaked in dark red wine. Fairly sweet overall, but beautifully so.

M: Quite full-bodied and thick. Lots of alochol burn all the way through each sip, with a slightly dry finish and bitter finish that combines well with the sweet fruits.

D: A true behemoth as far as Imperial Stouts are concerned. A real treat. However, this is pretty hot even after a year of age - what does it taste like fresh?

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2007 vintage. Black as you can possibly get, Its carbonated but there is nothing noticeable on the surface. Deep aroma of dried fruit. Very inky and oily smelling-it even smells black! Huge roasted and malty flavor with a fair amount of bitterness. Dried fruit, plums and bitter chocolate all pour out into a perfect blend of flavor. Notes of oak and vanilla. The last sip from the bottle had a fantastic roasted and dark chocolate flavor unlike any I have ever had in a beer-same as I near the bottom of the glass from it warming and sitting. Fantastic body-seems well attenuated-not syrupy sweet or the proverbial treacle like. Fantastic beer-everything I hoped it would be after finally getting to try it-has an amazing drinkability for being as complex as it is. I am ready for another.

Thanks to popedx for what might be the best trade I have ever done.

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Photo of Mistofminn
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this bottle a couple months back in a trade with hero27. Thanks a million Eric!

2008 vintage, multiple pours into my Darkness tulip.

Pours black as night, and thick as motor oil. It looks unsafe to drink, and could probably double as heavy machinery oil. Two fingers of dark dark brown head are produced. Looks like someone piled some dark brown sugar on top of my beer. Excellent retention but the lacing is surprisingly lacking.

Huge notes of roasted malt, bitter bakers chocolate, coffee, woody characteristics, earthy qualities along with a soft fruitiness such as raisins, prunes and dates. Super intense and complex. Everything a big stout should be and more.

Again, huge notes of roasted malts, chocolate and coffee and dark fruits. A lot sweeter than I expected. It's amazing, with so many flavors there isn't a single one that stands out the most. I get subtler hints of vanilla, molasses and brown sugar, plums and even a earthy woody character. It tastes fantastic and then some.

Thick and chewy, rich and sticky. It goes down like oil. Extremely smooth at the same time. Drinkability is amazing. Notice I haven't mentioned the 13% ABV yet? That's because it's hidden so artfully. If I picked it up I would have written it down.

A word to the wise. Take your time with this one, it catches up to you fast. The alcohol is hidden extremely well and only shows up after the bottle is empty!

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Photo of Brian700
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I should mention that this is the '05 because they used a different kind of coffee (starbucks I believe) than in the '06 version.

This pours super thick and black. It has a nice brown head that stuck around for a while. It looks like you could pours this on a skillet and make Dark Lord Pancakes with it.

The Aroma is Chocolate, Coffee, Roasted Malt.

The flavor is simply amazing. It is full of Chocolate flavors that are blended perfectly with the coffee presence. Great roastiness going on here. I was worried that this beer wasn't going to live up to the hype but it has far surpassed the hype.

The mouthfeel is full bodied with medium carbonation. Coats the mouth nicely leaving behind nothing put liquid smiles.

This is a very drinkable beer. Good luck getting your hands on any.

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Photo of sholland119
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared with friends as part of a KtG/DL blind tasting.

A-Pours a deep jet black with a thin brown head with a little lacing.

S-Licorice and roasted malts predominate. Also hints of coffee and chocolate with just a bit of alcohol.

T-Delicious, complex flavors. A bit sweet throughout but lots of interesting flavors also. Coffee, dark chocolate, molasses and dark fruit all come through. A bit of alcohol but well hidden for the ABV.

M-Very rich and thick with light carbonation. Nice.

D-Only if you are not driving. But if you are not driving, by all means have two.

Like Kate the Great, this really does live up to the hype. Can't wait to try another one in a few months.


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Photo of bobbypaulson
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I opened up my first Dark Lord (green wax 2010) about a month ago. The 22oz bomber pours a thick syrupy black color into a snifter with almost no head. The smell is of sweet dried fruit and a huge amount of burnt sugars. The taste is full and mouth filling, very oily a little hot but then you get the coffee vanilla chocolate and a huge finish of burnt sugar sweetness. This is a huge beer, amazing and gets better with every sip. Wow I’m happy I have more of these, because it totally lives up to the hype and from what I hear it gets better with age!!!

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Photo of birchstick
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - pours a deep, dark black with about a 1/2 finger head

S - smells of sweet, rich chocolates with some very sweet vinous qualities.

T - whoa. Starts off with rich milk chocolates that fade to sweet, syrupy cherry flavors. Following the upfront sweetness Dark Lord transitioned into some vinous flavors. My tongue was next bombarded by some dark chocolates and a load of coffee flavors. Finishes with a blend of espresso and dark chocolates. This has a very bold, rich flavor profile that is more sweet than roasted. Exceptional.

M - this was medium to full bodied with a modicum of carbonation. No alcohol detected whatsoever.

D - This is easily one of the best RISs I have ever had. I can see why this beer has a whole day dedicated to it and why people stand in line for hours just to obtain a couple of bottles. I was pretty fortunate to come across this bottle and have found a beer that has raised the bar for other beers to reach.

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Photo of Chaney
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I want to give a special shout out to my brother in law for picking up the vintage 2010 version for me last year at DLD. Thanks Jaime!

2010 version:

I split this one with my wife tonight. I'm sure she's sick of me talking about it all the time... so the least I could do is split it with her.

A: About as black as outer space without any stars. After a hard pour, I summoned up a two finger or so mocha head that stayed afloat throughout the session. Beautifully dark!!!

S: Maraschino cherry juice, licorice, molasses, teryaki sauce, and quite a bit of the FFF taste profile shining through. I could smell "Alpha King" lurking inside the sludge!

T: Candy-coated booze (in the way that FFF does it!), sweet candy sugar, molasses and then some, cocoa, and tons of dark fruit... actually not that dark. I got tons of cherry in there also.

M: Thick as oil... and I truly mean that! The carbonation level was VERY low, but this was totally appropriate. Very sweet, but it was in a candy-coated sort of way. Sure it was syrupy and coated my mouth and then some... but God bless it for that!

O: FFF makes so many truly incredible beers that it's hard for me to call this their crowning achievement... but it is.... at least one of them. Believe the hype, because Dark Lord is the real deal!

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Photo of beermanbrian
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 gold wax

Much thanks to my brother for standing in line in the rain for 2 hours for this one. Had one bottle of it on the eve of his wedding a few months ago and have finally decided to break open a 2nd one. 2 left in the cellar for future tastings.

Pours a deep dark black color but it has a brown tint to it when held up to the light. A fine bubbled dark tan head foams up with the pour and quickly drops to a ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell is huge. Expresso, dark chocolate, dark fruits, bourbon. Just a rich overpowering smell that makes you crave that first sip.

The taste dosn't dissapoint. Rich roasted coffee beans, deep dark chocolate and just an overall thick full taste. A little bit of smokeyness comes through.

Actually not as heavy as i expected on the mouthfeel. The alcohol shows itself but isn't obtrusive.

Drinkability - well it certainly isn't a session beer, and that is the understatement of the year. It is a real sipper of a beer and one you can sit and enjoy. If you have a chance to taste this beer you must try it. Is it worth the hype, maybe. Is it worth the $15, definately. Don't pass this one up if you are lucky enough to grab one.

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Photo of adkirkish
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Smells of booze, but don't know what kind. I got Notes of Rum and bourbon, sweetness, and finally warms to espresso.
A: Pours black w/ chocolate colored head. Quickly dissipates, leaves no lacing.
F: Sweet and fruity up front w/ slight umami and soy sauce notes. I believe that cantaloupe was also used to describe at this point. If it wasn't cantaloupe, it was some kind of melon on the back end.
M: Oily and slick, goes down smooth w/ a slight alcohol burn. Finishes boozy
O: I'm now a believer that the hype is real. #DLD2011, here I come!! Definitely buy enough to drink through the ages. 25 year Dark Lord? Yes!!

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Photo of HopDerek
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Kegatron for sharing this bad boy with me.

Pours a thick, motor oil viscous and black color with very little burnt wood tan head, no retention, no lacing, but there is a grease layer, beautiful. Bottom of bottle has a chocolate syrup type sediment, which oddly enough, made an evil face in my glass, must be the Dark Lord himself. Smells of burnt embers, milk chocolate, baking cocoa, coffee, and dark fruits. Lots of flavors going on here. Taste starts off like a creamy chocolate milkshake with some black cherries and a touch of semi-sweet chocolate on top, but just as you're sitting down to a nice dessert milkshake, you're reminded that you're drinking pure evil, and with an assault of coffee and espresso, you're brought back to reality. Lots of heat as it comes to room temperature. Creamy and smooth, any fuller in body and it would break the glass. Only downside, the alcohol presence as it warms takes away from some of the taste. One of the best beers out there, and while some may say it's overhyped, it deserves its honors. If only it were more readily available, I'd drink this stuff as much as possible.

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Photo of purdueflyguy
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
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.

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Photo of Bumpon10s
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Deep, dark, very viscous. Pours very slowly, with a thin tan head and nice lacing.

Smell: A simple swirl unlocks chocolate, coffee, smoky fruits and alcohol.

Taste: Holds even more suprises than the aroma, more chocolate and coffee, a even harder hit of smoke and alcohol with notable cherry.

Mouthfeel: Very thick and very velvety. A delight to all the surfaces.

Drinkability: Would have recieved a 5 were not for a above average ABV. As much as I'd absolutley love for this to be an everyday beer, it is an "special occasion" only due to price and my envy for it.

This is very well the best beer I've ever had, prior to this I had a scattered love for deep stouts, but this brought me around. It is simply too good for someone not to try at least once. Were I to have a final meal, this would be my choice of beer, bar none.

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Photo of mtbdonn
4.83/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-Pours very black and fairly thick with a very nice 1/2 inch, mocha brown head which dissipated rather quickly, but kept a nice carbonation ring around the top edge of the beer throughout consumption; definitely more carbonation then I expected from a 2008. Small amount of lacing left on the glass.

S-Very sweet and rich aroma, definite hints of chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, molasses and maybe some vanilla and cherry.

T-Very much like the aroma, it’s very sweet. Hints of roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, molasses and maybe vanilla giving the sweetness. A very nice balance of sweetness vs alcohol with the sweet vanilla carrying over on the backside.

M-Body is full, smooth, and again with nice carbonation for such and aged beer. Very easy to drink. The alcohol is pretty well hidden, but you do notice it, which I personally like, but still doesn’t taste like a 15% ABV beer.

O-This is an amazing beer! Very familiar to the Goose Island BCBS stouts, which I love, but I have to say I like this better!

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Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
4.28 out of 5 based on 4,197 ratings.
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