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

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Reviews: 1,278 | Ratings: 4,228
Photo of Bierman9
4.88/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed from a 22oz bomber. Didn't find any freshness info anywhere... I believe this is from 2005, obtained in a trade for some Andechs Doppelbock with AKSmokedPorter (RIP) at the BA American Beer Fest in June of that year. Waxing over the cap is shaded a light orange hue.

Dark Lord? Dark is right! Poured into my Rapscallion snifter, it was most definitely dark, like inky, North Sea crude. Held up to a nearby lamp, light still failed to penetrate. Black hole, eh? I'll call it deep, deep, dark brown, for shits and giggles. The head is a rich tan, initially about 1/3", slowly ebbing to a fine, thin layer which maintains itself enough to cover the bier for the duration. Lacing is solid, leaving attractive patterns down the glass. Aroma is replete with heavy coffee notes, some dark chocolate, and a lovely layer of dark fruit action. Has a little floral hop activity going on as well. Wow! What a smooth and creamy bier! Thick, full-bodied, chewy and satiny slick over the tongue. This is a top-shelf mouthfeel!

Flavor? Whoa! Espresso, roasty coffee, and more dark chocolate kick some serious ass. There's some "burnt" action going on here, too, and smidges of molasses. On a more subtle level, some currants, raisins and figs come into play. What a hell of mix! The palate doesn't know where to concentrate it's attention. Damn!! Hoppage is on a major-league floral level, and quite pronounced, lasting long and hard after the bier itself has hit the stomach. The lupulins also have an earthy lean to them and, did I mention, they really stick in the nooks and crannies of the mouth. There is a definite warm feeling in the belly, though it's not really representative of a 13% abv bier. Worth the wait? Damn straight! And the hype? Deserved, without a doubt. My apologies to those naysayers out there, but this is one fine, tasty bier.

One caveat, of course - I didn't pay $13-15 for it. As mentioned, it was the byproduct of an Andechs Doppelbock trade. Would I pay that kind of coin for it? Perhaps once in a while (when/if available). But not regularly; biers like Portsmouth Kate the Great or Smutty RIS are, dollar-for-dollar, far and away a better value. But that's not the point here, is it? Dark Lord tastes superb; it's a lovely bier.

Now, I know numbers are (mostly) irrelevant here. But they are fun to fuck around with now and then. That said, I'm glad I saved Dark Lord for my review #1000.

Thanks AK ;-)

Zum Wohl!!

overall: 4.9
appearance: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | mouthfeel: 5 | drinkability: 5


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

Had the opportunity to worship at the altar of the "almighty lord" at the Indiana Brewers Guild beer festival - many thanks to FFF for sharing a keg of it with myself and other attendees this year.

Pours thick and black with a cocoa-colored head that lasts. Looks a bit like a black chocolate milkshake. Aroma has hints of caramel, coffee, and light roasted malt. The most striking thing for me is not the flavor but the mouthfeel. What cream is to milk, Dark Lord is to beer. Huge body, silky feel on the tongue, thick, creamy and sweet but well balanced. Hints of port wine, chocloate, and light roast.

Really looked for forward to trying this beer to see if it lived up to the hype. Mixed feelings after having had it. On one hand, not sure anything could ever really live up to the extraordinary levels this beer has commanded. On the other hand, it is a most excellent R.I.S. Anyone interested enough to be reading this knows already, so I won't bother to say it's worth seeking- you already know that...

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Photo of Bierguy5
4.97/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2006 version, 22 oz. bomber. Big thanks to BA mcallister for sharing this one with me, and not waiting until my birthday to do so!

Pitch black in color. Nothing else. Seriously, this is a black hole of a beer, no edges, shades or hues of anything else, just black. Period. Great looking dark tan head. What a looker! Great contrast between the beer and the head. Head retention was ok, especially considering the size. A few spots of lace.

What a nose. Aromas practically leaping out of the snifter. Dark chocolate, fudge, espresso, dark fruits, black cherries, currants, mocha, the list seems to go on and on. I can't imagine a beer having a better nose than this. Alcohol is also present in the nose, particularly after it warms up a bit.

Taste starts out with a big chocolate, fudge flavor. Lots of dark fruit follow, then some espresso. The espresso or coffee flavor seems to linger on the palate the longest. Some warming alcohol present.

The impressive thing to me is that this drinks almost like a milkshake. So full, thick and creamy. Low carbonation. I thought that this really lives up to what everyone says. Such a thick, rich stout. Hard to imagine many beers being better.

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Photo of shbobdb
4.46/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was fortunate enough to score a bottle of this from BA Sephiroth. Ahhhh, thanks buddy. 2007 Vintage, drank on Tuesday, July 17th, 2007 (really more like Monday night).

It is a little young, I agree. However, a buddy of mine was visiting and fine beer is meaningless if you can't share it with a friend. And what could be finer than a Dark Lord? Drank from the fancy-shmancy Sam Adams glass (hell yeah).

The beer pours motor-oil black with a thick, beautiful coffee-and-cream head. The head is, however, incredibly short-lived. After the head dies down, the beer looks slick like motor oil. That makes sense, it look like motor oil probably because it should!

The nose is heavily alcoholic. Coffee and chocolate ("mocha" if you wanna be a douche-bag about it) is also present along with a strong play-dough smell that I associate with homebrews that are still a touch too young.

The taste follows the smell, but with a very rich malty backbone added on. Hersey's this ain't, it rivals the finest Belgian chocolates, mixed with delightful coffee, a touch of toffee, and some play-dough. It reminds me of the Founder's Kentucky Breakfast Stout, but more "beer-y" if you know what I mean. I know I am drinking a beer with this guy.

The mouthfeel is slick. This monster takes a looong while to drink, so the carbonation is long gone by the time you get around to reviewing the beer. Instead, you are left with a very full, very slick feel in the mouth. Since the taste is so pleasant, having my mouth coated with this bad-boy is a pleasure.

The drinkability, well, this guy is intense. But I like it. I've drank it (well, 11oz of it) for over an hour now and I am not yet bored. Really very good stuff. Perfect for hanging out with a friend and talking about the good ol' days. Like scotch, but beer, if that makes sense.

I dig it. I understand why people like it so much.

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Photo of Overlord
4.56/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Schneid for giving me the chance to try this (hopefully) magnificent brew.

As I type this sentence, I am about to pour the first glass.

There is no head, at all, and the brew is dark, inky black. Easily the darkest beer I've seen (except, perhaps, for Speedway Stout). The smell is complex, with chocolate being the overriding scent I detect. Though coffee is also abundant.

Now for the drinking portion of the evening's festivities.

The mouthfeel is superb, think and viscous, but with a velvety smooth texture. Chocolate is, again, predominate, with just a hint of carbonation. I detect coffee, some vanilla, with an aftertaste that's somewhat oaky...or is that cedar. I am stunned by the high fruit content. Along with chocolate and vanilla, there's definitely caramel and several different fruit blends mixed in there. An absolutely stunning concoction. The massive alcohol content is difficult to discern.

It can serve as a dessert, a sipping drink, or a serious thirst quencher on a cold (or hot) day.

Not to be missed.


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Photo of bennetj17
3.94/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 Vintage. Syrupy black pour, very faint bubbles fail to produce any head of even a ring. Very dark but almost dead looking. Rich aroma of fruit and chocolate. Cherry and raspberry with cocoa and a hint of vanilla. Light alcohols peek through in the background.

Rather dry with more sweet dark fruits in the taste. More cocoa/chocolate flavor with a lingering bitterness that for the most part gives some balance although it's still a bit cloying.

The mouthfeel is heavy/syrupy and overall the carbonation is too weak though at least it's not flat.

Overall the Dark Lord doesn't live up to the hype. It was way too malty/thick for my liking. The beer coated the glass in a way I've never seen before, and although I wouldn't call it sludge, the last half of the beer was certainly thick and chewy. The alcohol wasn't too much, and there is some balance of flavor. It just wasn't that special. I'd recommend The Abyss instead...

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Photo of letsgopens
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

The build up for this selection was certainly justified. It pours black and syrupy with slight ruby highlights. The deep brown head recedes to a short cap leaving some lace.

The aroma is malty and a bit dim compared to its formidable appearance. Roasty and sweet of molasses and coffee.

Very deep and complex in flavor. Loads of roasted malt, dark chocolate, coffee, sticky caramel, smoke, nuttiness, and hint of bitterness in attempts to achieve balance. But predominately sweet malt with great and numerous undertones.

Syrupy tar. One of the thicker brews I've had. Certainly an experience. Not my favorite stout, but an awesome one nonetheless. Should easily be considered one of the best in the world.

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

At last week's unveiling of the infamous QuaPA homebrew (made with, um, special herbs and spices), my man Ezra busted out this gem of a beer he scored in a trade. Muchas gracias, Ez, for sharing.
Pours a deep, dark black that akin to that of the bottom of a darkened mineshaft. Consistency of spent motor oil, with a thick, dark tan head. Aroma of deep, dark, rich malt, burnt brown sugar, figs, and blood orange.
The palate is an amazing amalgam of huge dark malt and tons of dark fruit. Notes of burnt sugar, caramel, and dark chocolate lurk underneath, along with some mild chili spice and a pervasive blood orange character. The body is rich, creamy, and heavy, coating everything. I don't think there's anything else out there with a comparable mouthfeel.
Although it packs a punch, the beer is highly drinkable for an imperial stout. That being said, you'd probably be best off not trying to drink the entire bottle on your own. Find a friend, as the roughly 1200 calories the Lord contains would certainly weigh you down.

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Photo of tpd975
4.9/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got three of these beauties (2007 version) via trade for some Westy's. A big thank you goes out to Duster72, WankerWeasel, and westweasel.

Oh boy here it goes!

A: I peeled back the wax and popped this bad boy open. I swear I saw smoke coming from inside the bottle, was I imagining this or was there really smoke? This is the absolute darkest beer known to man.... Period! Black does not start to describe this beers color. That being said as I swirl the glass I see hints of red popping thru. It pours with the consistency of 10W40 motor oil with a nice two finger espresso colored head that settles down nicely. I see some mud at the bottom of the glass, can't wait to consume that, I may pour it over ice cream. There is no lacing, but the glass appears to have been dipped into oil. The contents of this bottle may be the remains of the Exxon Valdez spill as there is an oily film left behind as the contents disappear.

S: Very complex. You really have to concentrate to pick out the aromas. I smell dark espresso, vanilla, prunes, raisins, and a hint of alcohol, port wine maybe? Pure goodness in a bottle.

T: Ah yeeeessss. I really like this one. Some of the finest malts on earth must have been used to brew this stuff. I can confrim it is not the remains of the Exxon Valdez what it is though is one great beer. The first thing that comes to my mind here is rich creamy chocolate cake. There is an overload of chocolate at first. As it oozes down my throat and believe me it oozes there are notes of cherries, plums, raisins, currents, and a hint of smoke. This is one complex brew. Danger Will Robinson I am in Sensory Overload.

M: You could chew this one, put it in a pan and bake it and you would have Fudge. In all honesty this is a thick brew but it is so rich, creamy and smooth. BRAVO!

D: Obviously at 13% ABV and the cost this is a one bottle brew. But it is one of the most enjoyable bottles of beer you will ever consume.

Overall: Move over Slimfast we now have a meal in a bottle instead of a can. This one is so ever filling. It leaves your belly so full and your insides warm and tingly. After consuming this beer you will forget all about calories. As for the hype related to this beer; what hype? This beer lives up to the billing. 3 Floyd's takes great care in making this beer and it is deserving of its own day for release. I realize the whole Dark Lord Day may have grown a little out of hand, but the hoopla helps to make this beer even more special than your every day or seasonal beer.

I was born and raised in the Hoosier State where all my family still resides. From this day forward we will take an annual trip back home, to visit our family, friends, and the FFF family. I will score mass amounts of this stuff to drink as I please and to share with those less fortunate who can not attend.

In closing this beer could probably easily receive 5* but I am still holding back for that perfect beer that I have yet to find... I may be on to it though. The oak aged version of this may quite possibly push this one over the top making it deserving of a 5 star rating. I can't wait to get my hands on some and find out. If it is you will be the first to know.

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Photo of bigdeuce
4.57/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a black tar color with a decent head and some lacing on the small glass I had the priviledge of tasting. Unreal flavors going on: Vanilla, chocolate, cherries, coffee, orange...full of flavor. Yet, they all blend nicely together. I have trouble putting down beers over 9-10 percent, but I can see drinking a few of these, but extemely potent and highly drinkable. One of my top 20 without a doubt.

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Photo of wagenvolks
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

thaks to trep for the share of the 2007 DLIS

A jet black, syrupy pour hits the glass, making a slightly thin, dark head that disappears into the murky depths below. Aroma is not as rich as I had expected: raisin, plum, clearly a presence from notes of smoked malts, chocolate, and grape rinds.

Taste is fantastic, I was amazed (although the hype said that I shouldn't be) at how well the flavor masked the 13% ABV. Coffee, raw cocoa (not chocolate, it's a bit more primitive than that), and some smooth hoppy notes are all in attendance. Mouthfeel's creamy and smooth, almost chewable. Carbonation is near extinct due to the high alcohol content, but it works. The alcohol isn't big in the taste, but you can definately feel it warm the face and seep into the minute cuts on the roof and sides of the mouth. Bottom line: amazing beer, no doubt worth the hype. It's tasty, complex, and the pricetag is justified. Can't wait to see how I like it the second time around.

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Photo of iwrs
4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This was a 2007 batch. This was my first Dark Lord, and I must say I am impressed.

This was poured from a 22 oz. bottle. Poured very thick, creating a cling to the glass almost instantly. Not as dark as most stouts could be, but very brown and the thickest I have ever seen. The 'motor oil consistensy' pun is no joke, believe it.

The smell is unlike anything. Chocolate, caramel, sugar and alcohol fill the nose. Such a great smell I almost was satisfied enough not to drink it.

The taste is so hard to describe. You taste pretty much what you smell, as well as cherries and malt. This beer is strong in flavor, it really sticks to the tounge and doesnt wash away. The alcohol is not strong in any way shape or form.

This beer feels great in the mouth, so silky and creamy, not overly carbonated but just enough for a stout.

This beer could be drank all year round. I had it alongside a fire and it went down smooth and I didnt want the glass to be empty. This beer doesnt need to be super cold, the warmth in this brew brings out the flavor so much more. Three Floyds does it again. I will be returning to Indiana every year for this tasty stout from here on out.

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.7/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz. bottle - 2006 edition - Many thanks to beermanbrian

After a year of patience, it's finally time to see if the hype surrounding this beer matches the reality.

Pours a very thick, black color with a dark cocoa head that recedes. Mild lacing on the glass.

Aroma is huge! Sweet and sticky with a blend of roasted malts, dark fruits, cocoa, coffee, and a hint of booze. Wonderfully complex and rich.

Big sticky sweetness upfront leading into rich roasted malt flavors and a bold dark fruitiness. Plenty of dark cocoa and espresso flavors, and even a hint of hops come through in the middle. But, the sweetness remains constant from start to finish - nothing jumps in to balance it out. The taste becomes as cloying as it is complex.

Enormous body, quite syrupy. Light carbonation.

Well, it appears that the hype has triumphed again. While this is a giant beer and full of complexities, the sweetness just becomes annoying. It really lacks balance, and that really limits the drinkability. Certainly worth a try, but doesn't come close to living up to the hype.

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Photo of kkipple
4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Hail minions! It's kkipple with a review of Dark Lord, everyone's favorite scarce and expensive Imperial Stout! If you want to dispense with the nonsense, then yes, believe what everyone else has already told you: Dark Lord really is that good, it's world-class, etc etc. But since it seems a BA tradition to write long-winded, silly and completely pointless reviews of this beer, onward! This one is from the 2007 vintage, drunk the same year.

Appearance? Well, how best to 'splain it? It's dark. Real dark. If Bush and Hilary Clinton had a daughter, who then became a concubine of Kim Jong-il and had a son -- well, his heart might be as dark as Dark Lord. But probably not. It's sticky. Real sticky. Has legs like Yao Ming in stilettos. I’ll pause while you claw your eyes. ...
Ok. A few tiny bubbles swirl around the vile, sickly morass. I fear the stain of the Dark Lord may never come out of my glass. I give it a 5.

The smell is nearly as sinister. Deep, silent roasted malts lie in wait behind prunes, espresso, black rum, black holes and carbon, just waiting for you to come closer so they can beat your nose within an inch of its life. I hesitate to call it pungent, but it’s aromatic and ornate. Some alcohol is present, but is cunningly hid for the advertised 13%. A deeply burnt, dark, evil smelling beer that begs to be drunk.

Ah yes, but what does pure darkness taste like? Dark Lord is sweet, rich, and floods the mouth with a potent oil-slick of roasted grains, cocoa, carbon char, prunes, raisins, vanilla and a hint of tobacco. It’s super sweet without being cloying, but is also wonderfully rich and complex, more akin to drinking a sauce or reduction than a beer. The carbonation level is low, providing just enough fizz to tingle the edges of the mouth before the violent espresso / char / stout syrup wallops the everloving tar out of your taste buds.

Dark Lord continues its assault on your senses by completely coating the inside of the mouth. Have you ever drunk oil-based paint? No? Well, neither have I, but I imagine it’s a similar feeling. Clinging, slick, and malicious, the rich burnt taste of Dark Lord floods your mouth. The finish is well nigh everlasting for a beer; the flavor lingers seductively on your tongue for minutes after you take the smallest of sips. Superb.

But is it drinkable? Tough question, really. I think a 6oz serving would satisfy me most anytime; all the better, I suppose, since this is one to share with your very best friends. So lower marks here, but that said, Dark Lord is one of the finest beers I’ve ever had the pleasure of indulging in. While I suspect that part of its mystique comes from its rarity, there’s no denying that ole DL is one world-class beer. If you have the chance to get it, do so. Evil never tasted so good!

Huge thanks to Khaismus for sharing his only bottle!

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

Thanks to Quatertill2 for the trade on this.

A- Black. If you hold it to the light, there's a little tiny bit of brown around the edges. Leaves a brown stain around the glass. Head was dark dark brown, poured a couple fingers after a hard pour. It dissipates and begins to look like used oil.

S- Rich and heavy. Dark roasted malt, chocolate, fig, burnt sugar, oak, molasses, wood, alcohol.... smells absolutely wonderful. Mind blowing.

T- Sweet malt, balanced by dark roasted grains, some dark cherry, burnt malt, burnt sugar, chocolate, dark fruit, roasted espresso, alcohol, faint hops, lingering bitterness and sweetness, though both crazy strong, they're balanced.

M- The best mouthfeel. Ever. Period. Chewy, smooth, lingering, medium low carbonation... geez. it's perfect.

D- I love it. Insanely enough, if this beer was readily available, I'd drink it all the time. It's such a treat that you can't... but I think it would sell very well if it was available all the time, still. Five is not a good enough score. makes all the others, so far, look weak.

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Photo of frazbri
4.16/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Dark Lord 2007

The 2007 edition of the Dark Lord poured deep, impenetrable black topped by a thick chocolate brown head. Instead of lace, a syrup sticks to the side of the glass. Aroma had notes of chocolate, coffee, a faint whiff of pine, carmelizing sugar, with a little alcohol emerging as it warmed. Flavors of espresso, cocoa, molasses, raisin, plumbs throughout, but alcohol reigned after it warmed. Mouthfeel was thiiick, with low carbonation (but far from flat) and mouthcoating.

This is a ture heavyweight. It deserves much of the accolates it deserves, but at the finish it got a little hot. Next time, I'll share.

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Photo of BillyB
4.85/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks to hero27 for this one. I traded a westvleteren 8 and 12 for it. I had a bunch of westies so I figured it was worth it.
I got the bottle about a month ago but saved it because I was buying a house and thought it would be a great house warming beer.
Closed on the house friday afternoon and moved in all evening into the night. Finally when my wife and I were finished moving, I popped this one open as we sat among all our belongings boxed and bagged and scattered all over our first house.
The aromas were absolutely amazing. Deep, rich, coffee, chocolate and roasted malt aromas. As well as hops and alcohol.
Appearance was a beautiful jet black, motor oil crude.
Taste is just off the charts. Comparable to Stone's Russian Imperial but more hop tastes, and more alcohol warmth. The Lord is also fuller bodied than the Stone Russian (which was my favorite beer until tasting this one). Some slick, oily, thickness. Slightly syrupy.
Overall I actually believe that this one lives up to the hype. It's a big beer! The availability definitely adds to the mystique but after drinking this one I was a true beleiver. I may even trade my new house for a couple cases.

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

It's a good thing "subtlety" and "complexity" aren't categories, or this beer would score close to a zero. However, that's not what this beer is all about; power and a tidal wave of flavor is what this beer is about.

The beer pours a black brown color, looking more like used motor oil then any beer I've ever seen. Just looking at this beer you know you are in the presence of something pretty special. The beer looks thick and viscous. There is almost no head on this beer, but the lacing is otherworldly. What foam there is clings to the side of the glass.

The aroma of this beer is probably it's least impressive attribute, but of course even here it's pretty outstanding. The aroma is very one dimensional, blasting the nose with odors of vanilla, coffee, wine and nuances of oak. Fabulous stuff.

On the palate... what can one say. The beer is incredibly rich, full bodied and long. It has a satin, fluffy sort of mouthfeel, with incredible plush smoothness. The beer is just luscious. The mouthfeel on this beer is comparable only to Founder's Kentucky Breakfast Stout in terms of richness, plushness, and soft smoothness, but I would give my nod to the Dark Lord. Simply amazing.

Yes, this beer is not the most drinkable beer I've ever tasted, but it's not meant for that. This is the perfect bottle of stout to crack open and sip with some friends. The finish just lasts and lasts, and every sip is a joy. Believe the hype, this beer is a masterpiece.

Note: Recently had the chance to try a vertical of the DL, from 2007 through 2011. I had always assumed that this beer would be pretty age worthy, but based on the vertical, my thought is now, "not so much." The 2007 tasted a bit oxidized, with something of a copper or metallic taste. The 2008 was better, but it still had some sort of different, slightly off taste I thought (though it was still excellent). The 2009 was outstanding, and the 2011 seemed to be the best of bunch (with some nice chocolate and cinnamon flavor). The 2010 was good, but seemed a bit hot and boozy. It was better than the 2007 and 2008 I thought, but not as good as the 2009 and 2011.

A very interesting, tasting experience, to say the least...

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Photo of dren
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours like motor oil. Smells of cherry, a little chocolate, coffee notes. Tastes the same, very strong sweet cherry flavors but they melt well with the chocolate backdrops. A slight smoked coffee flavor after the rush of cherry and then some bourbon and oak. The flavor is very robust with a long pleasing aftertaste. It's like I'm eating a rich chocolate cake. A very full boddied beer, and I'd say the most full boddied I have had. While this beer was extremely good tasting it was hard to drink because of the weight. I hate to say this but I would rather have a half pint of the stuff for dessert. Finishing an entire bottle would be a chore. I am glad I wasn't the one waiting in line for this brew. It's good but not worth the wait unless you are completely obsessed with stouts, which I am not. The beer does hold up to its expectations as far as tastes go.

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Photo of MrMcGibblets
4.55/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

super dark in the glass with a ridiculously dark brown head and lacing, just looks super thick. complex and powerful bouquet of molasses, rum, raisins, toffee, caramel, honey, chocolate, and coffee, with citric hops struggling through. taste is sweet and thick. carbonation fights in vain, as this is as muddy as unchanged motor oil on a yugo. huge mouthfeel. this is a gigantic beer. left sick stains on the glass. finish goes on and on. for the record, there was no sludge in my bottle. just a thick ass beer. not a session beer, but a sipper, obviously.

update: have had several from different vintages, also on-tap. this definitely improves with age, i would say they need at least 6-12 months of cellaring before drinking. raw boozy fruit diminishes over time, allowing other big flavors to intermingle and show.
march '10: '07 the best to date.
oct '10: '08, '09, '10 side by side. '08 clearly the best, complex, multifaceted, long finish, no off flavors whatsoever from age, also happened to have the most carbonation and best head of the three. '09 clearly the worst-a sweet mess, not alot going on, undercarbonated, some worcestershire/soy. '10 pretty good, seemed a bit raw and young but should improve.

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Photo of Zorro
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Obtained in a trade with hero27.

A beer that is said to be superior to Stone IRS but one that never seems to show up to be compared with the stone offering.

As I prepare to open this bottle I cant help but feel like a James Bond Supervillain who has finally cornered James Bond. My six henchmen three Stone Imperial Russian Stouts and three Stone Old Guardians are pretty sure this sucker is over rated.

The three year chase is over and now the time for its test is at hand!

In the glass this is an inky black beer impervious to light with a thin but dark brown head. A very nice try to create a black head on a beer but no one has yet achieved that.

From the moment that the cap is cracked there is a wonderful boozy and fruity aroma from this beer, so far this beer hasn't had a weakness. Sweet smelling with the aroma of prunes and figs with little berry aroma. Lesser scents of chocolate and patent malt robustness. Different from the Stone version and more like DFH WWS. The boozy scent is faintly of bourbon mostly vanilla, whiskey and oak.

The flavor begins sweet and highly roasted with a berry after taste and a lingering burn from the alcohol. The flavor here is very complex, chocolate, berries, char, vanilla, ash, and that is about all I can name at the moment.

Mouthfeel is about like drinking whole cream, probably closer to 6 than a 5 on the scale.

Quite the strong ale indeed. I can't say that this is overrated but I would compare this MUCH more to DFH WWS rather than Stone IRS. The only real weakness with this RIS is in the drinkability department. An intense brew this would be better from 6 ounce bottles and sampled sparingly; the same as DFH WWS should be.

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Photo of kajerm
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 bottle, I've been waiting a while for this one...

Pours like castor oil, by far the most viscous beer I've ever seen in my life, and in spite of having an almost nonexistent brown head, it leaves film and lacing all over the walls of the glass.

The aroma is awesome-- balanced and complexed as hell. Mixed dark malts, molasses, black patent, coffee (and GOOD coffee), vanilla, and a little chocolate. Pretty much everything I liked in the Oak-Aged Dark Lord, minus the bourbon and oak. The smell is rich and hangs around forever. And maybe I'm nuts, but I can't smell alcohol at all.

Opens up with subdued malty sweetness, with strong coffee flavors appearing mid-to-late-palate. Shit, I really need to get me some Intelligentsia coffee. Like now. Molasses background is present but not overwhelming. Dark chocolate shows up late-palate, and blends with the coffee and black patent malt into an awesome mocha flavor that lingers for at least a year. I keep looking for the 13%ABV that's supposed to be in here, but I can't even make shit up about it-- I just can't taste it. After more drinking, I can feel the warmth in my chest, so I know Nick Floyd didn't lowball me, this beer is just THAT balanced-- totally contrary to everything I've heard about previous years.

This beer kicks ass.

Mouthfeel is heavy and oily. Actually, that's a huge understatement-- the mouthfeel is like a barrel of crude, which is fitting since this stuff is e-baying for about the same price.

I guess I have to rate drinkability, but that seems a little unfair-- you can't even buy this stuff, let alone drink it. That said, you can't really drink more than a glass or two of it either. Lack of obvious alcohol helps it out a little bit, though.

But man oh man, will that be a good glass.

NOTE: People have been pissing and moaning a lot about the large amount of sludge in the bottle. I'd say that there's about 2oz. of sediment in a 22oz. bottle (at least there was in this one); not a ton, but it's worth decanting.

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

First of the '07 batch, opened to celebrate beer, life, and masters degrees. Thanks to Janice and aforbes10. Probably not quite ready yet, but hey, I can always re-review it after it's had the proper aging.
Pours out a super opaque black with dark brown fringes. Sludgy, syrupy, chunky. Dark brown head looks nice but fades quickly. The lacing has chunks in it. This is some serious beer. Nose is sweet strong malts and alcohol, with campfire and coffee. Complex and nice. Taste is sweet sugarcane smoked malts, oak, plums, vanilla, and spicy bourbon. Alcohol is very well hidden. Exceptional.
Mouthfeel is good. Certainly way above average, but probably the weak point of the beer. Doesn't taste as thick as it looks. Drinkability is surprisingly and dangerously high.

I can't wait to try this again in 7 months or so.

I've now had a few different batches of Dark Lord over the years. The 2007 (silver) batch tasted in late 2008 (about 16 months of bottle conditioning) was the single best beer I've ever had. I also had the 2007 more recently (2013) and it was pretty muddled and not nearly as good. Some of the newer batches, like 2012, don't seem quite as good to me. That being said, every time I've ever had Dark Lord it was exceptional - if a one-year old 2007 is the pinnacle of beer, a 2012 is still in the top 5% of beers.

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Photo of montageman
4.36/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Purchased at DLD '07. Poured into a tulip.

A: Motor oil thick. Black as night with a nice tan head that leaves a good amount of lacing. The most interesting part visually, though, is the carbonation. After the initial pour, it looks as though there will be little to no carbonation. All of the sudden, tiny bubbles burst forth, which is totally cool.

S: I was expecting a more assertive nose on this beer. It's nice, but quite mild. Chocolate, raisins, and coffee. Nothing tremendous, though.

T: Very fruity - grapes, raisins, similar to a good red wine. There is a segue into the coffee/dark chocolate and the ending is dry and sugary, Very complex & quite nice.

M: Absolutely luscious. Coats the tongue. Creamy, perfectly carbonated.

D: Wow, this is rich. Almost too much - almost. No doubt this is an excellent beer and great take on the RIS style. However, it is certainly not the best beer I've ever had.

I believe that the aura around Dark Lord means more than the beer itself. So the beer isn't the best ever, oh well, Dark Lord Day was a lot of fun and I wouldn't trade that experience for any amount of whatever the best beer may be.

Highest recommendation, especially if you can make it to Dark Lord Day.

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Photo of Raymond69
4.55/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2nd out of a sixer picked up @ DLD 07.

Poured into goblet. Small tan head. No light escapes when held to light.

Smell of hops , faint dark roasted coffee. Some alcohol.

The beer has the RIS style amplified. Plenty off bittering hops , dark sweet malt, and bitter chocolate.

Mouthfeel is thick, the hops help it dry out somewhat.

Drinkability suffer a bit from the high ABV , thickness and complexity.

Overall and interesting RIS , maybe not my favorite, but worth seeking out.

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Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
4.28 out of 5 based on 4,228 ratings.
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