Dark Lord Imperial Stout | 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

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Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout
4,363 Ratings
Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout

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

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 15.00%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
A demonic Russian-Style Imperial Stout brewed with coffee, Mexican vanilla, and Indian sugar, this beer defies description. Available one day a year, in April at the brewery: Dark Lord Day.

Vintage guide:
Red wax = 2004
Orange wax = 2005
Gold wax = 2006
Silver wax = 2007
Black wax = 2008
White wax = 2009
Green wax = 2010 - 15% ABV
Yellow wax = 2011 - 15% ABV
Red wax = 2012 - 15% ABV
Orange wax = 2013 - New Label 15% ABV
Blue wax = 2014 - 15% ABV
Maroon wax = 2015 15% ABV
Black with glitter flecks wax = 2016
Green with silver glitter = 2017 - New Label
Silver wax = 2018

Added by cretemixer on 12-13-2002

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,363 |  Reviews: 1,306
Photo of brewandbbq
4.53/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Kunzbrew for being so generous.
Poured flat black and opaque, dark brown fine bubbles struggled out of solution.
Thick, rich, chewy nose.
A dumptruck filled with chocolate drizzled espresso grounds and bits of tar- that just ran over vanilla beans.
Warming alcohols muted by the huge stout character.
Viscous and chewy on the pallet.
Over-the-top body that reminds one of your tongue being wrestled.
Dark chocolate brownie mix thinned with Old Rasputin and alcohol.
Finishes extremely long and coats your mouth like driveway sealer.
Warming in the throat, but very well hidden behind the black curtain.
Dark Lord should get even closer to the perfect "5" as it ages.
A real gem and certainly the benchmark for the style.

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Photo of waldowin
4.78/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a molasses-thick black. No light gets through, even at the sides. A thick, dense dark brown head forms quickly, and fades to a capper that just stays around for days.

Smells toasty and roasted, with hints of coffee and roast.

Tastes extremely complex, with an aftertaste that changes and fades for ages. Tip of the tongue is cashews and dark chocolate. Pushes back to cherries, grapefruits, and citrus, as the hops and sweeter flavors slam through. Aftertaste is again of dark chocolates, biscuits, and cherries, taking ages to fade. Alcohol hides very well, and just warms your throat at the very end.

Mouthfeel is thick, bubbly, and chewy. Pretty big, and gets ludicrously massive as it warms. Leaves a nice bitter toasty feel in the mouth.

This stuff is silky smooth, and very tasty. Watch that ABV! I could drink it all night, a real shame it's so hard to find. Now I definitely need to grab one and age it for a while, see how it holds up.

A HUGE thanks to Jetsbeer for shooting one my way!
Only better beer I've ever had was a 2-year old Stone RIS. My money says this stuff would be even better with a year or two on it.

[edit] 13%?? I knew it was high in ABV, but no idea it was that high. This stuff definitely gets a "5" for mouthfeel, there's no way you'd know it was that high until you were floored.

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Photo of lostbearbrew
4.6/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Ken! This was a long awaited treat; it surely didn't disappoint, and was likely the most complex Double or Imperial Stout I've sampled. Ok, so here's my review:

22oz. bomber with drippy orange wax seal...served at about room temp, with a lil chill added, maybe 65 degrees F. Served in snifters, to three people, so maybe 7.6 oz each.

My God is this stuff BLACK and THICK! Reverse cascading head that brings a tan head of an inch or so. The thickness of the brew extends to the lacing - sort of morphs slowly along the glass.

At first whiff, there are three aromas that come screaming to mind - coffee, chocolate and dried fruits. Upon a few more sniffs, there comes clear a distinct plum and cherry aroma. Then the brew warms more and berries, currants, roasted malts and other burnt odors come forth.

First sip was almost too much for the palette to handle. Very complex and HUGE beer. Simply overwhelming. From the coffee blast to the sweetness of chocolate, to a bitter chocolate to some hops, that all atop a huge malt backbone, with what tastes like it could be nearly a half dozen malt flavors fighting for the top levels. The roasted ones make the top tier and sort of perform a landing platform for the rest. Maybe some molasses or brown sugary/caramel notes way late in the sip, right before the alchohol blast, which grows larger as the beer warms completely to room temp. Leaves a strong bittersweet chocolate flavor on the back of the tongue.

Mouthfeel is gigantic, almost too much happening to completely enjoy the beer. I find it almost overdone, but certainly intriguing and enticing in many ways. Drinks like a freakin milkshake, and with much more flavor.

A sipper, and honestly, glad I split out the bottle with 2 others, but, wish I had another for on down the line at the same time.

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Photo of Px2GrafX
4.88/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

presentation: 22oz. bomber with an orange wax sealing the crown. solidified wax drippings stream down the neck of the bottle. label is a full color comic book-like illustration of a muscular, armor clad and caped dark lord with a staff-like weapon in hand standing over the skulls and bones of his fallen opponents. the words "dark lord" are large across the top of the label in a "secret of nyhm" like font. the three floyds logo is on the bottom left. along the right hand side of the label, there are odd charactered words explained by: "beer dark warlord imperial russian strong". three floyds explanation of their russian imperial is also on the right with a map to the brewery. no abv or freshness date is displayed.

appearance: pours black as midnight with no real highlights in a snifter glass. nice rolling reverse cascading head that is a tight and creamy tan 2 inches. retention is amazing. thick, slow moving, almost oozing lacing down the glass.

smell: strong coffee and sweet chocolate aromas. there's tons of dark fruits. plums, cherries, currants, raisins. there's also a charred woody aroma or toasted malts. alcohol aromas as well and a tad vinous as the brew warms.

taste: wow! the flavors are overwhelming. lots of sweet chocolate, coffee and a nice lightly spicy hop bitterness that makes a feeble attempt to balance the malts. there is only the slightest hint of alcohol, but very warming. excellent roastiness. tons of fruit as well. molasses and chocolate coated currants and raisins. there's just so much going on. like in the smell, the alcohol becomes more prevalent as the brew warms. wonderful bitter-sweet chocolate finish and aftertaste. lip smacker between sips.

mouthfeel: this mouthfeel is second to none. rediculously thick. complete coating of the inside of your mouth. between a thick chocolate milk and a thin milkshake. good carbonation and silky swallow.

drinkability: this is the exact opposite of a chugging beer, however, for it's thickness and high alcohol it's easier to drink than expected. tastes so good and is so dessert like, that you want to drink it. but this one's a sipper.

overall: this brew is huge and damn near perfect. flawless appearance, taste and mouthfeel. i can't give a 5 for smell 'cause bell's expedition stout was the best smelling ris i've experienced. but close to perfect in that catagory as well. i love stouts, and the bigger the better. if drinkability wasn't factored in for double stouts, then this is as close to perfect that i've ever had. my greatest appreciation to mnben for hookin' me up with the dark lord in a trade.

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Photo of HopHeadKen
4.7/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First and formost, I love Imperial Stouts. I was at the 2005 release of Dark Lord and acquired a case of these. I did not want to fall into or be influenced to 'follow the crowd'. So I have waited, and patiently consumed THREE (3) of these over time; checking 'quality and consistency' within this one batch (and thats the story I am sticking to).

The bottle opens with a faint Pfffttt. Served at cellar temp (68 F) the beer pours with a deep garnet highlights to a rich black background.
A small (1 finger) rich tan head on the glass.

Smell is sweet, roasty, malty, coffee.

The taste is rich & complex; roasty, coffee, carmel, chocolate covered raisins, blended hops. Its Mel Torme, Al DiMiola, Frank Sinatra, and the Who in concert together. It is brandy like, with an occasional alcohol blast peaking out from behind that huge malt bill.

The mouthfeel is thick and smooth, full, viscous.

You really have to love Big Beers to drink this. My wife will not touch it. It is much more drinkable than it is available. The price is a bit over the top, but it undoubtably is packed with first quality ingredients, care and nurturing and just costs that much to make.So that helps pace the consumption; otherwise I would drink it all the time, and it would become 'normal' which is NOT what Three Floyds is all about !

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Photo of kevinl6
4.9/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Ok.... came out of 'review retirement' for this one. Firstly, HUGE thanks to Ben in Minnesota for the hook up. Shared this one with WOLFGANG and inman66... lucky mofos! Not so good at adequately describing things.... but I'll do my best.

Presentation: Bomber (you've seen the pic) - captivating. I acquired this one Tuesday and sat and stared at it every night till Fri., giggling like a little kid.

Poured slowly into a Goblet...

Appearance: Black as black can be. Motor oil, sludge are words that come to mind. A very slight tan head tops it off. Actually, I expected a little thicker head.... but this one is still a 5 on appearance!

Smell: Absolutely hypnotizing. I couldn't quit smelling it! Strong, coffee, chocolate....

Taste: Burnt espresso, coffee, magnificent! Only a slight taste of Chocolate to my surprise... or maybe my palate was just overwhelmed with the coffee taste! Sweet and malty as well.... never tasted anything like it. Strong alcohol taste, but not as strong as I expected given the massive 13% ABV.

Mouth feel: Thick, chewy, perfect consistency.

Drinkability: Very easy drinking, surprisingly. I only put my glass down when I wanted to further admire the appearance. The sheer complexity and perhaps the ABV alone ensures that I wouldn't want 2 glasses back to back though.

An absolute must try IMHO.... after all the hype, I had tremendously high expectations, and I was not disappointed.

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Photo of IrishRedRock
4.88/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

So my good friend and fellow BA ElGuapo (herein referred to as Deez) is at my apartment Friday night and we plan on heading to the shore on Saturday for the holiday weekend. Thus, we need to begin our weekend with some good brews. Now he knows I have this bottle of Dark Lord, and I know he knows, and we both know we've been trying to get our hands on this elusive beer for the better part of 2 years now. And BuckeyeNation sent me a bottle in trade. So I says, "whaddaya think...we drink that bottle of Dark Lord, see if it stands up to the hype?" Deez thinks this is a good idea.

So here we go. We need to sit down for this one. It takes me a minute to pry the cap off from under the thick wax atop. Thank the (dark) lord we're splitting this bottle, as I can smell the alcohol almost immediately. Pours dense. Black. Thick. The body, the head, appears meringue thick, the head a chestnut brown. Stays this way throughout the life of the beer in my glass. Wow.

Aroma is extremely complex and at this point I'm thinking, maybe this really will live up to its billing. Rich, dark chocolate covered cherry nose with licorice, anise, coffee, oily hops and booze. The taste...follows suit. Holy crap. Viscous and creamy, with a mouthfeel that I can only describe as perfection - uncomparable smoothness unlike that I've ever encountered. Carbonation is barely detectable yet you know its there. You'd never mistake this for being flat. Complexity abounds. Dark fruit drizzled in melted Godiva Dark, earthy gourmet coffee and a dark maltiness meld seamlessly with a mildly bitter, chewy hop finish. Alcohol is warming and noticeable without overshadowing any of the flavors.

So if there are any naysayers out there, any unbelievers or nonbelievers that this can be as good as people say it is. Bulee' dat! It is. And then some. I'm keeping it on the ol' "want list" because I want more. I want an endless supply. It's that good. BuckeyeNation...I will trade whatever to get more of this. Many many many thanks.

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Photo of Bumpon10s
4.82/5  rDev +12.9%
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 blitheringidiot
4.56/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured out with a buh-lack hue topped with a buh-rown head cap loaded with hop infused coating.

Scents are a decent malty coffee and pancake flour.

First swigs: Deep espresso and flour thick rum brandy Irish coffee hints. Some Hot heat brought out by the high ABV.

Feel is thick as thick can be. Reminds of Thomas Hooker thick, and caramelly deep cake as can be.

Drinkability is hindered by the overwhelming coffee, but all in all, it is good. Close to Great Divide Yeti, yet with a je nai' c'est quoi. Good beer. Worth trying. I can't get over the "rare beer is sooo good" factor.

Beer is good. Happy beering. Thanks to orbitalr0x for the bottle.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.75/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Note: I've had this bottle for quite some time and never really got around to reviewing it because I just didn't believe the hype.... well, trust me, you can believe the hype! It's remarkable!

It pours a stunningly dark black body beneath a huge head of creamy dark brown foam that eventually drops, but still maintains a wide, creamy collar and almost complete surface covering until halfway through the glass (which can be a very long time). Additionally, the lacing could be a bit better, but for a beer of 13% there's not much more than you can ask of this.

The nose expresses sticky sweet, dried dark fruit; some typical "burnt currant"; lightly spiced cookies with ginger and cinnamon (probably due to its alcohol); ...alcohol; a nip of black licorice; and some dark and sweet mocha java.

In the mouth it's quite full bodied and viscous... passingly amazingly smoothly, but still more like motor oil than anything creamy.

The flavor is more intense than the nose suggests with dripping, juicy fruit (red and dark); toasty caramel-drizzled oatmeal cookies; chocolate; molasses; and leafy hops. It finishes semi-sweet but not cloying (despite its girth); with quick passing notes of fruit and chocolate that fade to caramel, chicory, honey, coffee, and then lingering wet tobacco.

I intitially thought that the drinkability of this was hindered by its intensity, but I've change my mind on that. As you progress through the glass, it warms and changes and becomes more complex. It's a sipper, not unlike a Sam Adams Triple Bock or Dogfish Head World Wide Stout; and as such, it has a great drinkability.

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Photo of mentor
3.29/5  rDev -23%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Okay, my second review of the 2005 release. My first review was less than stellar and I was concerned that I'd had an unusually off sample. This bottle was provided by GCBrewingCo so I could have an independent sample. Thanks for the opportunity.

This bottle was shared with absolutesites and Chris Black. Thank goodness, as I *never* could have choked this down all by myself. This bottle was better than the first one I tried, but still not something that knocks my socks off.

Pours incredibly viscous. A short dark brown frothy head hangs over an utterly pitch black liquid. Smells caramel, roast, chocolate, and alcohol. A floral hop that I can only describe abstractly as 'spherical'. Some sour from black patent. It's hidden beneath the other scents, but I imagine they used a boatload of it to make this beer. Taste is so potent in roast and chocolate that little else can be detected. Some alcohol and a bit of cherry sour. What I get new in this bottle is that there is some molasses that leaves the way for some dark fruits. At this point, just prunes, but there is hope for more as the beer ages. Super-thick syrupy mouthfeel with mild carbonation. The aftertaste just hangs around as a bitter roast torment in the back of my throat and on the flat of my tongue.

The only way I could finish my portion was to actually dilute it, 2 parts DL and one part water. This was a great combination that made for a really roasty dry stout.

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Photo of ejquin
4.58/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is a re-review for me. The first time I reviewed this beer it was at the end of the night and I had had a few other beers before hand. This time I wanted to be able to sit down and concentrate on just this bottle alone. Both reviews are of the 2005 vintage.

App: Blacker than Black with a clingy frothy dark brown head

Smell: Coffee, slight cherry aroma, and chocolate. Touch of anise as well.

Taste: Heavy coffee and chocolate up front mixed with a hop bitterness that stays through the finish. Helps obscure alcohol a bit but it's still there. There's a slight fruit twinge as well.

Mouth: Heavy and silky smooth. Great carb level.

Drink: Good

Overall: Well basically, yeah, this is as good as I thought it was In my top couple beers of all time. It's just magnificent.

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Photo of brentk56
4.64/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours out an incredibly dark black viscous color with a beautiful tawny head and some lacing; the head fails to last, however and the liquid just sits there like molasses

Smell: Starbucks on steroids; deep roasted coffee bouquet with lots of dark cocoa powder and alcohol mixed in

Taste: Incredible stout flavors; lots of deep rich coffee, dark dark chocolate and hints of dark fruit swirl around the tongue with a nice bitter chocolate finish with a touch of mint

Mouthfeel: Thick and viscous; moderate carbonation; plenty of warmth on the finish

Drinkability: Not to be indulged everyday, this stout demands a special occasion; a wondrous potion with an incredible mouthfeel that sets it apart from other beers

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Photo of Gaisgeil
4.58/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I'm, ugh... spellbound, this beer is a real monster deserving of it's title, this a beast. Everything about it is over the top, taking a huge style like Russian Imperial Stout and bringing it to a new level. I've had some very good RIS's before, but this one definatly has a bit of an edge.

Appearance is absolutely gorgeous, it looks like a glass of pudding, extremely viscous and eye catching, very, very appealing. Nose smacks of bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, molasses and alcohol, extremely strong. Someone mentioned chocolate cake, I think that hits it spot on, delicious, luscious chocolate cake. There is a lot of complexity underlying though, raisins, vanilla, huge on the malts, but perfectly balanced in bitterness. Carbonation is near perfect as is mouthfeel. This brew was accompanied by a gorgeous medium brown head, frothy and inviting.

This beer really is a masterpiece, not something to drink all the time, but definatly something to make an event out of.


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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.75/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2004 edition. Impenetrable, tenebrific, inky, utter blackness. This is where light goes to die. The Stygian darkness fits so aggressively against the glass, crowding out all semblance of light so completely, that the glass itself seems to have disappeared. The cinnamon colored head was a cascading behemoth during and after the pour and is now a solid two finger mass of dense, heavy cream. It looks as if the 13.0% ABV has effectively scared off any lace. No matter, this is one of the most impressive looking beers that I've ever seen. I can't award perfection, though, with no lace.

The rich, powerful nose is redolent of dark chocolate, dark caramel-toffee, molasses-soaked hops and amazingly little coffee. I'm surprised that it isn't quite as bombastic and as menacing as I had hoped. The aroma is deep and multi-faceted for sure, but since I can imagine a better nose, and have smelled a few, it doesn't earn the ultimate compliment of a 5.0.

The apocalyptic flavor is as expansive and as mouthfilling as they come. With barely controlled fury, The Dark Lord rides roughshod over all in his path... currently my taste buds. There's a tripartite flavor profile of fudgey chocolate, melted caramels and coffee liqueur. Each sip is like an explosion of the most amazing beer candy in the universe. It's much sweeter than expected, but I absolutely love it.

The obdurate, rock solid backbone of hugely roasted malt has very little charred character. All rough edges have been effectively smoothed over by a teeming, sticky river of dark honey and molasses. Each sip shoots me up to dizzying heights filled with swirling, thick ropes of intertwining flavor: chocolate, caramel, treacle, coffee, more chocolate... ad infinitum. It then lets me down frightfully easily on a diminishing, lingering tide of those same amazing flavors.

What to say about the body? This is, without a doubt, the biggest, thickest, most viscid beer that I've ever had. I'll dispense with the much deserved string of adulatory adjectives and say simply that Dark Lord's mouthfeel is sheer perfection. It's hard to believe, but the 13.0% ABV is very nearly completely hidden. I pick up a trace of it on the finish, but it's a beautifully integrated, perfectly polished addition to the mind blowingly complex whole. Make no mistake though, its soporific power is threatening to overwhelm my senses, and a soft place to land is now high on my list of priorities.

This bottle has been lying in wait, biding its time, eagerly awaiting its chance to impress the hell out of me for well over one year now. And the hell has been impressed out of me and then some. DL is a legendary beer that deserves every one of the breathless accolades from its legion of devoted acolytes. Count me among the converted. All hail the Dark Lord!

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Photo of tiodan
4.78/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

out of the bomber, into a snifter. pours thick and viscous, completely opaque with a nice dark tan head that settles after a minute or two to leave a nice ring of lace as i work my way through this monster. smells of chocolate cake, dark coffee, molasses, and maybe a bit of human blood. the taste is incredibly restrained and subtle for a bone crushing, 13% stout: chocolate, creamy coffee, plums (?), and a creeping, extremely subtle alcohol sting that reveals itself more and more as the beer warms. i've never had a bottled beer so finely carbonated, and the combination of this smoothness with the intense viscosity lets me coat each and every part of my mouth with this glorious beer before it slinks away to warm my belly and curl my toes. how to rate the drinkability? this is certainly the antithesis of a session beer, but the perfect flavor and impeccable mouthfeel make for easy, utterly enjoyable drinking. i can scarcely imagine a beer being better.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.48/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Received courtesy of that great BA Mentor. Thanks! I am sharing the bottle with Stopper at just below room temperature in a pint glass.
I begin to pour the beer into my glass. Holy viscosity Duffman! The beer pours incredibly thick and is pitch black witha dense creamy tan head foaming up easily and gradually fading to a sturdy surface layer.
Aroma is rich malt with roasted hits and dark chocolate with some raisin and espresso notes as well.
First sip is deep with a heavy filling body with fine gentle carbonation.
Flavor starts sweet with brown sugar and chocolate dominant and then moves to an espresso bitter finish with an appearance by the alcohol with a warming sensation down the throat to my belly. The finish is also fairly dry and bitter.
The beer leaves a sweet sticky residue on my lips after each sip. This is a very tasty beer, I am amazed at the lack of alcohol presence and also surprised that the bitter coffee finish, when I expected more of a twangy sweet finish. Quite a nice beer and well worth the quest many take to obtain it!

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.82/5  rDev +12.9%
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 far333
4.58/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served at cellar temperature. Deep dark brown colored, looks thicker than motor oil. Not much head at first, but as I top off the glass a thick inch-high dark brown head rises up from the depths of the liquid and pushes up the sides of the glass. The bubbles at the bottom release their gas to the surface and create a small cascading effect.

Aroma is full and rich - roasted malt, toffee and raisin, some bitter cocoa, and some sweetness.

Flavor is rich and pungent, but incredibly smooth. It's full of ripe fig and plum, raisin and cocoa, a bit of a cherry/rhubarb tang, rich and airy milk chocolate, and burnt espresso, all wrapped in a smokey outer layer. A fine hop undercurrent rides beneath. The flavors all do their thing at the same time, rolling around as the liquid moves through the mouth and across the tongue. The ABV is scarily hidden, very understated, not making its presence known.

Mouthfeel is silky smooth, velvety. Moderate carbonation allows all the flavors to rise up. Pretty damned drinkable for what it is. Perhaps a good thing I only have one.

This was an early birthday gift from BuckeyeNation a few months ago, but I held onto it until my birthday a few days ago, and what a generous gift.

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Photo of mattcrill
3.33/5  rDev -22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to cmaruschak for obtaining this rare one. Split this with him and BA mmmmbeeer.

Sampled the '04 version on 1/05 and although I never reviewed it, it blew me away. Would have been nearly close to all 5's if not all 5's for me. I was very excited about the '05 version of this beast and was very much let down. Too many other great local double stouts around here to ever bother with this one again. I hope next year they go back to the '04 recipe.

Appearance: Darkness descends into the glass. An inky black pour with a tan foamy head. Head doesn't retain that well and rings the glass and leaves small patches of carbonation throughout.

Smell: Searing alcohol up front. Rum soaked raisins and a touch of roasted malts. Mostly alcohol.

Taste: Licorice, baker's chocolate, slightly burnt coffee, bittering hops, and alcohol. The presence is all bitterness and alcohol. Towards the middle, the chocolate and coffee profile improves but then gets overtaken by the alcohol near the end.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and slick. Very disappointing considering last years recipe was my perfect standard for judging mouthfeel (both with and without sludge...I liked the sludge so get over it!).

Drinkability: A sipper to be sure. No way I would want a whole bottle of this.

Glad to have tried it but I probably won't be bothering with this one in the future unless the recipe changes.

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Photo of budsboy
4.68/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours like a deep walnut wood stain ... black, viscous, oily ... leaves a brown head with darker brown blotches here and there.

Smell is deep and dark fruit (a toasted plum), dark chocolate and roasty malt. It pulls you in.

Tastes like black. Dark, dark plum, coffee and creamy chocolate that lasts. Alcohol is tucked in well behind all that big malt flavor.

The most remarkable aspect of this beer is mouthfeel. Smooth? Ha! Way beyond smooth. Milky, silky and sexy. Lays on the tounge like a pillow. Truly exceptional.

A very drinkable impy stout. Not for the weak of palate though. Not for the weak of wallet. Very expensive. Still, you've gotta try this stuff.

Many thanks to Hustlemuscle for sharing his bottle.

One final note: If you see this, try it. That being said, I will not likely have this again because of the price. While it is a truly an exceptional beer, there are other, less expensive exceptional beers that I like as well.

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Photo of hustlemuscle
4.36/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It is hard not to wax poetic or hold this beer to a higher standard because of it's rather hefty price tag. I wasn't expecting to be able to even try it this year, as my usual beer store in Columbus told me they were not getting any this year.

Thusly I was suprised when I saw a trio sitting on a shelf overlooking they cash register by themselves. I didn't have to see the label to know what they were. And then came a little soul searching...

Enjoyed on Budsboy's darkening porch, with a pair of dogs and a humming air conditioner.

Pours very very dark, viscous and thick. Not much of a head, but what was there was mocha, and got darker with a gentle swirl. Positivily 'glugged' out of the bottle, like oil.

Smells rather murky, burnt and fruity.

The actual taste of the stuff is over shadowed by the 'holy cow' mouthfeel. The earthy, charred malts with it's accompanyment of plums and mild hopping positivily floats across the toungue, with a tiny tickle to the lips. Airy and light, it is unlike anything I have ever drank, like some kind of dessert for the mouth. It is hard to describe just how this beer feels. Remarkable is a good start.

A great beer to sit and sip and enjoy. Nothing would stop you from drinking this for hours, apart from the 13% abv, which, by the time I had finished my half of the big ol' bottle, was starting to take hold.

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Photo of RealityDeviant
4.88/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 22 oz. brown bomber bottle from Armanetti’s in Chicago. I don’t see a date on it, but I’m not exactly worried. The artwork on the label is pretty nice and the wax on the top of the bottle suggests that it is more important than the other beers in your home just by virtue of it being there.

Appearance: There’s no doubt that the rumors about this beer being similar in appearance and consistency to crude oil were true. The beer is a deep, inky black and seems to cling to the sides of the glass. After being poured it offers a small, chocolate head that slowly dissipates and gives way to a little bit of lace. Overall, I’d judge the appearance to be excellent.

Smell: I’d say that coffee and dark chocolate were dominant aromas in this brew, but there’s so much going on in the smell that it’s difficult to tell how accurate that statement is. Along with coffee and chocolate I detect vanilla, caramel, cedar, and hints of prunes and other dark fruits that gave the smell a port-like character. I cannot deny that the relatively high alcohol content can be noticed in the smell, but it’s in there with so many other aromas that it isn’t much of a bother.

Taste: Well, this is certainly complex. Coffee, dark chocolate, caramel, prunes, vanilla, and molasses. Can you say roasted malts? I knew you could. The blending between the flavors is no less than exceptional. It’s sludgy, fruity, espresso-like mudslide, and it’s brilliant.

Mouthfeel: The epitome of a smooth, full-bodied beer. You don’t swallow it, you open your throat while it oozes downwards. Still, it doesn’t give up, coating everything it touches.

Drinkability: Absolutely drinkable. You wouldn’t need more than a bottle, considering how long the taste lingers in the mouth. Normally, I don’t feel as placid after brews that are beyond ten percent.

Many thanks to TheLoneGunman for reserving two bottles of this sweet nectar for me. I don’t know how long I’ll be able to store the last bottle of this liquid temptation.

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Photo of Higravity
2.69/5  rDev -37%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

First, many thanks to Mentor for this bottle in BIF20.

For such a hyped beer this sure was a let down. I could see all the interest and I have read the reviews, I've drooling for the past year, but this beer didn't meet up.

I served this beer at about 65F in a snifter and finished it in about an hour.

It is thick black with a real chocolate foam of a head that settles to lay on top of the beer mostly around the glass. The thin of the beer is brown and I knew I was in for a roasted malt treat.

The first smell was a bit choking as the CO2 was still escaping, but it concetrated to a roasted malty sugar and alcohol smell, the hops are present but muted, overall I really like the smell and when I am not sipping at the beer the snifter is under my nose.

Well . . . pow first sip is roasted bitterness with hop undertones that are nothing but bittering, no big flavors, it coats the mouth and the after taste is vinous and a little sherry like but more bitter. There is no creamyness and through just a few sips in this is really starting to taste really middle of the road and two dimensional, alcohol and heavily roasted malt. At the end of the bottle, the taste is really grating thin on my palate, it is not getting better, each sip is not savored and I can't wait to be done the beer. I have had better RIS's before.

Yeah this is a thick beer, but it really could use some smoothing out.

This is best to share with a friend after 22oz I don't think I could of taken another sip.

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Photo of PatYoda
4.88/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow, finally got the Dark Lord!!! I arrived a bit late to the release party and missed the tailgate, but at least there was some of this left! I got two bottles, but due to generous friends, this is my second time sampling it, and I still haven't broken open one of my own bottles. Suckers.

Appearance is perfectly black with a long lasting brown head and some great lacing. Smell is strangely lacking compared to the taste, with very faint burnt malt and some vanilla coffee. Too much alcohol on the nose as well. But when you take a sip, you know why this is so great! Tastes are too many to pick out. Dark fruit, coffee, milk chocolate, vanilla, and dark chocolate all make an appearance, all surrounded by that great burnt malt. Coffee bitterness takes over at the end, but you can tell the hops are there bolstering also. I can't taste the alcohol at all - weird that it smells so strongly. And the mouthfeel - if there was a 25, that's what I would rate it. It's incredible - the match of a well cooked marshmallow, minus the crunchy exterior. This stuff just coats the mouth. Pure genius.

Edit (12/23/05): After trying a sample at room temperature and aged 8 months, most of the alcohol is gone from the smell. It now smells richly of milk chocolate and coffee and fruit. The taste has also changed quite a bit. Dark chocolate has almost totally taken over. It is STRONG - the finish lingers forever with its wonderful chocolatey bitterness. I've bumped up the smell to 4.5 from 4.0 and the drinkability to 5.0 from 4.5. This is as close to the perfect beer as I have ever experienced.

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Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.27 out of 5 with 4,363 ratings