Dark Lord Imperial Stout | 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

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Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout
BA SCORE
4.27/5
Outstanding
4,338 Ratings
Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

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

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

Added by cretemixer on 12-13-2002

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#666
Reviews:
1,299
Ratings:
4,338
pDev:
14.52%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
3,221
Gots:
2,115
Trade:
199
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,338 |  Reviews: 1,299
Photo of JayT
3.08/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

got this in a trade from cretemixer (cheers, Dale).

WoW!!! This beer was increasingly underwhelming with each sip. I hate that most of Beer Advocate disagrees with me about this but I don't get the hype over this beer other that the fact that it seriously looks like motoroil and has a super thick mouthfeel. The bottle promises an inverted cascading carbonation--which it didn't provide. Impy stouts normally aren't all that carbonated and this was no exception but why put this claim on the bottle label?!?! Taste is mildly acrid with some burnt fruit flavors and maybe some coffee/mochachino flavors. The finish is acrid and burnt, not my definintion of flavorful. The burnyness lingers well after the finish. In short, this beer was interesting and great to finally try but was lacking and didn't live up to my idea of a world class imperial stout.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
4.97/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Well, tonight I finally succumbed to the Dark Side, er, I mean Dark Lord. I finally took off the red wax seal and popped the cap off a 22oz bottle of Three Floyds Dark Lord, 2004 vintage. Rewarded with a soft "phfftt", I gently poured about 80% into a large snifter before getting, quite literally, chunks of beery sediment.

Appearance: holy crap, I've never seen a beer this damn thick! It oozed out with all the consistency of light crude. Inky, impenetrably black. A dense, compact espresso colored head perched on top briefly before shrivelling down to a tiny ring. Lace? No. BEER clung to the walls. Unbelievable.

Smell: very sweet aromas of dark fruits and a solid jab to the nose from the alcohol. Dense coffee notes, blackened and charred marshmallows, prunes, and port wine. Smell is simply amazing.

On the first pull, Dark Lord invades every nook, cranny and fold of the mouth, slathering everything with the thickest, fullest brew I've had pass my lips. Initially sweet with raisins, plums and dates. Not for long, though. An onslaught of espresso beans, dark bitter chocolate, and ages-old, run-through-the-filter-five-times coffee. Then comes the right cross of alcohol that's just mind-bending. Don't get me wrong; I love it. Finishes with a blast of herbal hops. The taste of bitter herbs and scorched malts lasts long after each sip is gone. Un-effin'-believable!

Well, I'm down to my last couple sips of the sludge that's grudgingly leaving the glass. I wish I had a giraffe's tongue to get every speck of beer outta the glass. Hell, I might put this glass back on the shelf dirty just so I can smell it tomorrow. Dark Lord is seductively smooth and lush and so complex. The epitomy of imperial stouts. Huge thanks to jables for sending this bottle my way January, 2004.

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Photo of Viggo
4.65/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, I had been excited about opening this one for a while. Cracked the orange wax, killed one bottle opener and then continued. Poured, and a dark brown/tan head rose from the depths, laced and stuck around until i finished my goblet. The lace just stuck to the glass like glue. The beer is black as anything I've seen, I thought it was going to suck in all the light from outside. Very oily consistently, very thick. Smells like coffee, with a slight slight alcohol underton, very roasty and you can smell the bitterness from the malts. The taste is like fine espresso, very nice and bitter coffee, the monster 13% ABV camoflaged in the flavour. Very roasty bitter and dry, and not very sweet like most imperial stouts I've had. The mouthfeel was insanely thick and coating, but this beer was very smooth and creamy for how big it is. I would not be able to drink a whole bottle but what I had was enough to know this is definately a world class beer, can't wait to open my other bottle.

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

Ah the Holy Grail of beerdom. Many thanks to merlin48 for sharing this with me plus thanks to the other BA's hands it has been passed down thru. 2005 vintage with orange wax seal.

Pours motor oil black, Dark Lord lives up to its name in apperance, thick rich looking with a dark chocolate head little more then a finger tall seems to back build. Actually leaves behind some lacing at 13% its impressive

Aroma is strange starts as smoked chocolate that dominates all else, deeply roasted malt that mellows as it sits and fruit comes forth. Molasses dipped plums, raisins, tart cherries and vanilla hints find there way out of the darkness. The way the aroma changes is nice, overall very nice, but was expecting little more intensity.

Taste is wonderful big and full roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate, dark fruits, smokey woody flavors mixed with vanilla and light alcohol mingled thru out but does not detract at all even adds to the bliss. The flavor just keeps going and going. Some hops come out and add to the coffee flavors as it warms to room tempature. Finishes with mingling coffee and hop bitterness mixed with smoke and vanilla. This is one monster stout very well done very tastey no hint of the 13% at all.

Mouthfeel is well I thought I have had what I considered full beers before, but his stuff tastes like you could cut it with a knife. Very big probably has a texture that motor oil would. Would rate it 5.5 if I could.

Drinkability is bad ass kick ass lives up to the hype and then some, no doubt it should be the number one Double Stout. Wishing I had more these are expensive and hard to come by yes, but worth it, can I have a amen. Praise to the Dark Lord, need to plan a trip to the brewery next release.

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Photo of Sammy
4.03/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Intense, slow drink. Gorgeous dark colour. Sweet sour. Bitter at first, Roasty finish. Chocolate malt subdued to roasty Starbucks coffee. Alcohol clobbers later. Very smooth. Medium-thick mouthfeel. Had 2011, and it is good but very sugary.Averaging my 4 ratings over the years.

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Photo of merlin48
4.88/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to kmpitz2 for picking this gem up for me, and to clvand0 for safekeeping it until I could pick it up in Lexington, Ky, on May 21,2005. Enjoyed with mtnlover on the evening of May 21.
Appearance: Tension mounts as the orange wax seal is finally scraped away to reveal a standard TF swirly bottle cap. Served slightly chilled, the body is an opaque ebony color with a medium brown head with ruby highlights. Head begins at about one finger in height, slowly dropping into a persistent film and collar of lace. Nice coat of lacing is left on the glass. Very attractive and inviting.

Aroma: Coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla, molasses, cherry esters, and other fruit esters that I can't pinpoint. I need another bottle in order to nail down all the nuances of the complex aromas present in the nose.

Mouthfeel: Thick, coating, and very full bodied. Mild alcohol burn, but the mouthfeel is exceptional, insistent on pulling you into the experience of this exceptional stout.

Taste: Very rich and complex, with vanilla, chocolate, smoke, cherries, burnt roasted coffee, fried grapes(a new flavor), some fruity hops. Flavors become more compelling as it reaches room temperature. Alcohol is hidden away in the layers of flavors, impressive considering this is 13% abv. Truely, a world class experience here.

Drinkability/Impression: This monster stout seems to change aromas and flavors with each sip, very playful on the palate. Best stout I've ever had and worthy of its hype. I could drink this all day, every day. Drinkability limited only by availability and price. Wow! Get your paws on some of these if you can find it.

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Photo of OStrungT
5/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a black so dark that I think it actually makes the room a little darker. It pours as thick as motor oil. The head is very dark brown. The head is very thick and creamy looking. It fades very slowly. I have been looking at it for about 5 minutes, and it still has almost the same amount of head as when I first filled the glass. It leaves laces so thick, I can not see through them. This beer smells strongly of alcohol. After the wave of alcohol, coffee aroma is present. It also smells strongly of roasted malts. Hints of chocolate are also present. As for hops, there is a slight aroma, but it is almost totally masked by stronger aromas. The first sip of this beer makes all the work, and expense I went to trying to get it all worth while. It tastes very strongly of coffee and chocolate. It is quite bitter, but very well balanced. It is very malty. The alcohol tates is a little harder to make out, but it warms my throat as it goes down. This beer is very thick and creamy. It is a very full bodied beer. It sits heavy on the palate, leaving a coffeelike aftertaste. Due to the rather high alcohol content, and the very aggressive flavor, this beer might not be the best session beer for some. I personally think I could drink it all night, or at least untill the alcohol got to me. I think this beer is amazing. I wish it was not so hard to come by. I would like to thank both goodbyeohio, and mentor for supplying me with this great beer. In a few months I will drink my other bottle and compare it. I just hope I can wait that long.

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

Appearance: Black, thick, dark as all get out. The head is frothy and thick tan with good retention.

Aroma: Roasty burnt wiffs. Sweetness of honey, maple syrup slathered on bread. Very solid smells coming from a solid looking beer. Fruitiness and a slight twinge of sour might have some cherryness behind them.

Taste: Stick to your stuff mouthfeel. This might be the fullest bodied beer I've ever tasted. The bitterness from the roastyness is balanced by fruit (cherry and plums) and sweetness from caramel-like sources. This beer fills the mouth and coats it with flavor. Coffee flavor is balanced by chocolate and cherry sweetness. The alcohol is mostly hidden by the massive presence of the other flavors. Bitterness lingers for quite a while after the final swallow. Bubbles are nice and tingly, helping to achieve a superb mouthfeel.

Notes: This beer is comforting like a wooly blanket. There is little more to say here. Don't miss.

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Photo of Wildman
4.65/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Well I have waited a long time to try this beer, and this brewery sure made me pay for it, but then Dreadnaught should have given me a clue. This beer poured dark as a black hole with no light penatrating it's heavy mass and just probably sucking it in. It formed a reverse cascading (aka Guiness) like foamy dark brown head that refused to leave and coated my Expedition snifter solidly with lace. The aroma was heavy on the malt, with sharp hits of expresso coffee, dark chocolate and and plums. The flavor was heavy malt, dark chocolate with a lighter touch of expresso coffee. The body on this this one is quite thick and creamy while the finish is bittersweet. The alcohol is well hidden and tends to finally make its apparence like a brick wall in the dark. This is a amazing brew, but I doubt I will pay for it again at it's current cost, considering I can get Expedition in my area cheaper. If I begged them to get rid of the wax, will that drop the price a little?

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.8/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The beer poured like motor oil into the glass. The color was pitch black and no light penetrated the murky darkness. The head was deep dark brown and frothy. The head was nearly noexistent when first poured and slowly rose in the glass to overflow with a two fingered pour like a volcano erupting in slow motion. The head than took the time to coat the glass as it fell back to the surface of the liquid.

The aroma was strong chocolate and very strong molasses. Also present was a huge dark fruit presence of cherries and prunes and raisins. Alcohol was present in the aroma and added complexity as did a nice biscuit presence and a nice vinous aroma. The aroma was bready and interesting.

The flavor was chocolate and coffee when the head was slurped to avoid spillage from the growing CO2 release as the beer was poured. The head was very thick as was the beer. The flavor of the head was molasses. The flavors of the beer once consumed were coffee and chocolate and a nice roasty character. The fruits of the aroma existed in the flavor and were raisins and prunes and once again cherries. Chocolate and coffee ruled the aroma and a slight molasses flavor added complexity. A slight bit of alcohol was present, but mainly just to even out the flavors and never detracted.

The finish was malty and chocolate with coffee and those same raisins and prunes lasting long into the aftertaste with a slight vinous characteristic. The body was full and viscous similar to motor oil. With the alcohol being so high, it was interesting that it did not detract from the beer and was only highly present in the alcohol warming after consumption.

100% worthy of the hype. At $15 per bottle including shipping, this beer was a steal. Thank goodness 3 other bottles lurk in the cellar awaiting the light of day. This beer was astounding! Almost my first 5 but I couldn't drink more that a bottle in a night.

22 ounce bottle, 2005 release. Thanks to beerinator for purchasing and sending the beer and to AKSmokedPorter for receiving the bottles for me and bringing to his place of work for me to pick up.

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

I owe Kevin (kmpitz2) my first born for picking this up for me. 22oz. bomber poured into a tulip-style glass. It pours a deep onyx black color with three heaping fingers of very dark tan head that seem to cascade like a nitro brew, and never goes away. There is an insane amount of lacing. The smell is rich and full of dark roasted malt with just a bit of sweetness. Even some dark fruit present. Lingering espresso as well. The taste is very intense. The amount of burnt malt that comes through at first is off the scale. It's fucking huge! Lots of coffee, chocolate, and candied plums. The finish is nice and hoppy, and has a lingering espresso bitterness. The mouthfeel is thick and heavy, just coating the tongue. I can feel it on my lips after the beer is gone. The drinkability is very very nice for a 13% brew. Astonishing.

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

heres a moment I have been waiting for, lets see if it was worth the wait. Pours black and syrup like. Not traces of dark red or brown like you see in most stouts. Dark brown and thick bubbley head. Dark foam litterally sticks to the edge of the glass. This is so thinck the bubbles almost stay suspended in the beer. Smells of roasty dark malts and molasses. Coffee and alcohol are present as well. Some hoppy notes that round off the nose. Holy crap is this stuff potent. Taste is bitter charred dark malts up front. Tastes like charcoal was thrown into the mash. Warming alcohol makes itself known for sure. Some coffee and molasses notes. This beer is dry and biter, a la charred. Damn is all I can say. This stuff is thick, it freaking coats my mouth throat and stomach. Viscous is an understatement. The aftertaste is still bitter. Wow, this beer kicks ass. Drinkability is a little lowere because it is so thick but damn if I wouldnt want to drink these all the time. This is a winner, too bad its so hard to get ahold of. I know they are living off the hype, but make more of this, and get it up to wisconsin damnit.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.32/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a medium snifter)
A-This beer has an inky black hue and no carbonation is visible except for the bubbles that form the head. The head is dark tan and clings to the edges of the class.

S-The aroma is molasses and dense heavy malts. Almost a tar aroma but more sweet.

T- This has some coffee flavors popping out of the roasted malts and thick black-strap molasses also. The hops flavor comes out and has a bit of a pine and bitterness to them. There is also some currant and licorice flavors aswell. As it warms more of a smokey flavor comes to taste.

M- The mouthfeel is thick and creamy with a very slight astringency. But no real alcohol warmth.

D-Wow this is a big tasty beer, and even though its young it still is very impressive. The only fault I see is it needs a little age to blend but then it might loose that great hop quality that you don't expect in a beer this big. I will be in line next year for more of this brew.

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Photo of LuckySevens82
4.78/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle, waxed in orange, brought to me courtesy of orbitalr0x (well, more like sent to me...thanks Don!)

Pours a rich, deep black, like someone else said it looks like used motor oil. I don't think I've seen many double stouts that pour this color. I know I've never seen a head as dark brown as this one is. Retention is amazing as is the lacing. Just a damn fine looking beer.

Smell seems to me to be fairly straight forward actually. Roasted malts, coffee, loads of cocoa, dark chocolate, etc. Some hops, not much alcohol. There is kind of an interesting nutty character to the aroma which is pretty neat.

Taste is impressive. An extremely complex melding of bitter sweet chocolate, molasses, that same nutty character, a fair amount of hops, and bitter coffee. Actually, it seems to me that the bitterness of this beer is not one from the hops (which I'm sure part of it is, I'm just saying)...but from bitter espresso...good, bitter espresso...REALLY good. Fruits are present as well: dates, figs, black currants, a little grape flavor. Alcohol is present, but only in the slight warming sensation in the back of your throat as you swallow. Which is pretty damn impressive for a 13% abv beer. This is not "hot" at all, what so ever.

Mouthfeel is pretty good as well, not too slick, but not by any means over carbonated, quite chewy, complex, and overall, enjoyable

Drinkabilty only suffers due to sweetness of the beer and the alcohol.

Overall: I must say I'm really kind of surprised. I was expecting a good beer, but no where near this good. This certainly lives up to whatever hype that has been placed upon it. I am so glad I have another bottle in the cellar waiting for a special occasion.

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Photo of clvand0
4.78/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to kmpitz2 for picking me up a case of this stuff. 2005 vintage. Cellar temperature. This beer pours a darkest of dark color with a tall and thick brown (mocha) head that has great retention and leaves tons of lacing on the glass. Very attractive and also a bit daunting. The aroma is all about coffee. Lots and lots of coffee/expresso. Maybe a slightest hint of alcohol, but minimal. Some slight chocolate in there as well, but mostly coffee. The flavor kicks you in the face. Strong presence of coffee and chocolate with hints of dark fruit and molasses. Big, big taste. The body is huge. Tons and tons of body, but it manages to avoid the oily syrup feel (which is great). Soooo thick. Awesome. Just awesome. The alcohol is very well hidden in this darkness. Drinkability is extremely good for 13% and they somehow avoid some of the drinkability problems that other large impy stouts have. Awesome brew. Glad I have most of a case left.

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

Excellent.

This one pours out to a jet black in the glass with a very slight head. However, that slight head looks like carmelized molasses and sugar. The aroma is that of raisins, plums, blackberries and anise. The taste is absolutely incredible. Roasted malt and licorice massage and encompass your taste buds entirely. The mouthfeel is perfect. It takes the full-on flavor and coats your mouth in a creaminess of stout and all its glory. The ABV is well-hidden.

This was a beer experience.

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Photo of RDAdams
4.8/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I have had Dark Lord on-tap and bottled. On-tap is exceptional <period> In a bottle the drinkability came up short by comparison.

The appearance is every thing you would expect from a stout - smooth, thick, and dark. The smell is heavenly. I sat there for a few minutes just enhaling the aroma. I put my finger it to taste it. It was so good that I kept using my finger until my brother pointed out how far down I drank without putting it to my mouth.

The mouthfeel was equally awesome and smooth.

The drinkability was only a problem with the bottles we purchased. They needed to be racked due to sediment.

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Photo of RoyalT
5/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance – This one is interesting even before you pour it. Hold a flashlight up to the cool-looking artisan bottle and you will see mounds of sediment. It looks like there’s more sediment in there than beer.

Watch it again as you pour it from the bottle. It really does ooze instead of flow. I have to go back through my other reviews and delete any reference to “motor oil” after seeing this stuff come out of the bottle.

This 13.00% ABV monster actually brought along a great head. The head is so darkly browned it’s almost black itself. This truly is the “Dark Lord.”

Smell – I can’t even think of any way to describe this without sounding like I’m exaggerating. The malts are burnt, there are about eight different scents of coffee and espresso styles in there, and the fruits are enormous. Every dark fruit I’ve ever had is in this nose. The alcohol is there but in a really good sort of way. Think Kettle One.

Taste – The flavors are like a crowd of people at a pub each one calling for the bartender’s attention. I can hear some screaming, “Coffee, espresso,” and others calling out for, “Dark, heavily roasted and burnt malts.” The “fruit table” in the back room is really getting rowdy.

If I had to focus on one “group” of flavors it would have to be the fruits. They are giant, hybrid fruits that have genetically mutated into unnatural monsters. The cherries and apricots are like giant boulders avalanching down a mountainside. The dates are bigger than a Boeing 747. All of these giant fruits are covered in a chocolate mudslide of historic proportions (think, cheesy 1970s “The Blob” movies).

Mouthfeel – This really does cause one to pause and reassess one’s definition of a “full-bodied” beer. Do I have to go back and change all the other “big beers” I’ve had to “medium?” It’s almost as if they made a thick stout then reduced it down in a saucepan.

This redefines smooth. It just oozes along your teeth and gums. It’s like a really good, sexy, juicy French kiss. Think, “Making out with Pamela Anderson after she just ate a box of Belgian chocolates.” If this beer had a finger sticking out the side of the bottle I’d put a wedding ring on it.

Drinkability – I don’t think it would be accurate to say that it, “masks” the alcohol, because there’s no question when drinking this that it’s got a high ABV. The alcohol is just so good, like really good, high-quality vodka. You know it’s booze, but it goes down like water.

I can sincerely say, without sounding too over-the-top, that this is smoother than water. It is just that good. This is so far above any other Stout that I’ve had it’s a shame that I can’t give it anything higher than all 5’s.

Comments – The most unbelievable part of this story is that the bottle wasn’t even mine. Skyhand was incredible enough to split it with me. Now THAT has to be the ultimate BA sharing experience. I’d push my mama down a flight of stairs if she tried to take a sip of my Dark Lord.

Update – Yes, skyhand was kind enough to share with me a 2005 just after release. It gave us an opportunity to evaluate this amazing beer at a young age.

At this stage, the bitterness was much stronger and the flavors a little less blended together. I think for 2005 they also changed the filtering process because this bottle lacked sediment of any kind.

Overall, is it still a perfect 5.0? Yes, indeedee, it certainly is. This is the pinnacle of the ADS style and stands apart from the crowd like Tiger Woods at a child’s Putt-Putt golf park.

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

An ebon curtain of enveloping blackness.
A patchy ceiling of brown.

An unholy olfactory onslaught of roast. Wailing vapors of blackberry brandy. Soul-stealing vanilla. Curdling caramel nougat. Emblazoned pine needles.

And so it begins.

Coats the mouth with blackness. Not with some sort of allegorical, punny, namesake, evil simile, but quite literally full of just about every goddamn dark, black thing imaginable. Molasses. Chocolates. Plum. Currant. Liquorice. Blackberry. Espresso-and other, more foo-foo coffee creations, Cafe Au Lait, Cappuccino, whatever. Tar, that gooey, stick-to-the-soles-of-your-shoes-in-the-summer-type. Quells as it progresses into a molten bath of caramel and nougat and vanilla and brown sugar. This is where it is at its most delicious, even as it teeters on becoming oversweet. More currant and plums reform, as its cycle starts anew. Holy shit. This literally goes through revolutions, metamorphoses, in the mouth, as it rotates through its stages, then repeats itself without any additional sips.

BLACK
HARSH
SWEET
BLACK
HARSH
SWEET.

The booze quotient is mystically hidden. It's thicker than soup, but never explicitly hot. The alcohol is manifest in mellow tendrils of blackberry brandy, bourbon, rum and cognac, but solely in flavor, never in burn.

Hops are largely overcome by the wicked wrath of the malt girth. Pine resin is predominant, but burnt black and driven into the magma.

It's mouth-binding hugeness prevents drinkability in common-sense definitions. But I could slowly sip this anytime, any place.

Those last drops of mudslide, protein slop from the bottom are like some sort of (nearly) liquid Irish Crème chocolate fudge brownie. You haven’t lived, bro –you really haven’t- until you lap up the sticky remnants from your facial hair.

Hype is a motherfucker.

And so is this.

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

Appearance: I poured this into a pitcher so I could dispense it in one pour. I had heard that this was a good idea since there was apt to be quite a bit of sediment on the bottom of the bottle. It came out black, plain and simple. It was very viscous and almost oozed into the pitcher. A thick, dark brown head rose up and stuck around like it owned the place. I went ahead and poured two glasses (Bruiser81 helped me tame this beast) while there was still quite a bit of head, and the foam seemed to flow. If the glass was swirled, the bubbles coated the glass in a solid sheet and stuck there for awhile before gently sliding back into the ebony liquid from whence it came.

After the head had completely dissipated, the pure black liquid could really be admired. When the glass was swirled at this point, it left a ruddy brown sheen on the glass, acting not unlike a high alcohol wine.

There was a ton of sediment left in the bottom of the bottle. I stopped pouring when the beer turned muddy and there was still about three inches of liquid left in the bottle. We poured this into the pitcher when we had finished the "clean" stuff, and it looked like what is left over in the bottom of my brewpot when I make beer. Neither one of us was brave enough to sample this muck.

Smell: There was a lot going on in the aroma. Very vinuous and chock full of dark fruit. This combined with chocolate, bitter coffee and bitter chocolate, smoke, and a bunch of burnt or charred stuff. Nice. The sludge on the bottom produced an aroma with a lot more hop character. However, as it sat it just became rude.

Mouthfeel: Unbelievable. Thick, viscous, creamy, and mouth coating. Full-bodied to the point of being ridiculous.

Taste: Nothing surprising here after the aroma. Very vinuous, full of sour cherries and plums. There was chocolate, smoke, and charred wood. A little bit of hops came through on the finish. Absolutely none of the 13% alcohol came through in the flavor. I was stunned to learn it was that high after I had drank the beer.

The one thing that amazed me about this beer was how smooth it was. The amount and intensity of the flavors was huge, but there was no harshness or biting quality. Also, the flavor seemed to build through the finish and beyond. Long after the beer had left the mouth, it continued to intensify until about 20 seconds later I found myself smacking my lips and wondering if it could become any stronger. I'm telling you, this thing lingered.

A great beer. Every aspect of it was over-the-top huge. The mouthfeel and appearance were totally unique and blew me away. As far as aroma and taste, they were wonderful and crazy big, but nothing unique when it comes to imperial stouts. To me, this was just like a Sam Smith's Imperial that goes to 11.

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Photo of Rastacouere
3.72/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

No sludge bottle. No head to cover this tar black oil body. Who cares about head anyway, let’s not bother with such futile details. Restrained aroma, hypothesis that the huge body keeps it from expressing, but it’s still lacking in the department. You have to fight to get a not so exciting vinous alcohol nose, though you would never expect 13%. Slight fruity hints when warming, mild cocoa, even milder roastiness. Who cares about aroma anyway? Let’s not bother with such futile details. There it comes, the palate baby, the mouthfeel! Heavy, oily, thicker than syrup, fuller than 35% cream, neglectable carbo is just fitting perfectly with that beast. Chocolate cream. Easily the thickest beer in the universe as I imagine it. Taste comprises of extreme molasses. Big honey/maple sweetness. Excessive sweetness in fact, this never aimed to be balance and it isn’t. It remains rather sustained and with nice subtle nuance for a 13% beer with no in your face flavours, it just wants to be heavy. Well contained hoppiness (flower, herbs, grapefruit), chocolatey. It doesn’t taste fully fermented ultimately, but again, this has to be an effect from the mouthfeel. It just tastes incredibly sweet and without much of the fruitiness I’d like in an impy. Cloying finish, unique. 1 yr certainly did it good because as it is now, it tastes like malt syrup mixed with molasses. Extremely challenging and pleasant beer to try, but in small quantities. A beer to share, a beer to be scared of, a beer to admire. Congratz to the people at FFF for their adventurous nature

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Photo of wyllder
3.49/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

First things first: thanks to deejaydan for the sample!

Ok, I saved this one until All Hallows Eve, the perfect time to commune with the Dark Lord.

Appearance. I'm giving a 3 here because, depending on where you are in the bottle, or how fast you pour, this has enough sediment in it to make it appear downright revolting. If you get a good pour and avoid all the sediment, it's an appealingly opaque deep chocolate brown with a thin caramel colored head.

Smell is solid. There's no confusing the heritage here, the smell is Imperial Russian Stout all the way. Chocolate, dark cherry, molasses are here, all the while backed up with the pungent, almost soy sauce, aroma you find in most Russian Imperials. (I'm not sure why/how this has been classified as an American Double stout by BA, but the bottle is labeled as Russian Imperial and the flavor profile doesn't disagree)

Taste is good as well. So long as you don't get a glass full of sediment this is a very pleasant Russian Imperial. Again you have dark chocolate, sweet molasses and black cherry. The aftertaste is pleasantly bitter, fading out the salty character and leaving a lasting bitter chocolate & molasses taste on the palate.

Mouthfeel is a mixed bag. Again, there's simply too much sediment. This goes from being a thick, decadently rich beer, to being syrup.

Drinkability gets the lowest mark, IMO. Between being a terribly potent, sipping brew, and having more sediment in the bottle than any beer aught, this just doesn't get me to want any more of it. In fact, I'm damn glad I had 3 friends to split the 22oz bomber with or this would have found its way to the sink drain before I made it half way.

Overall, I really don't understand all the high 4 marks. Try Siberian Night, or Stone Imperial if you're in the market for a great Russian Imperial. Something tells me people are giving this brew too many points for a slick presentation, brewer reputation, and BA anticipation.

Wyll-

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Photo of edchicma
3.88/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to wyldder for the sample. Pours jet balck and syrupy. Smell is of molasses and soy sauce....interesting. Taste was somewhat disappointing...a lot of malt, naturally some alcohol, but not a great deal more. Mouthfeel is thick and it is too syrupy. Drinkability is smooth and coats the tongue nicely.

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Photo of bditty187
4.85/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Halloween Night, no better time to unleash the Dark Lord!

Black. There is not sissy hue to this beer. There is no color depth, just a soulless black tar abyss. When I held my glass to a light I played God and created an eclipse. The pour was impressive, it exited the bottle like motor oil after 6,000 miles. Even though a head didn’t really form this beer is still awesome in appearance; only a few foamy pockets, like small islands of brunette bubbles, formed in the middle of the dark liquid. There was a thin collar too. No subsequent lacing. Even though this beer sat in by glass lifeless it still looked most daunting! Served a tickle warmer than cellar temperature. Even at this warmth the nose was a little standoffish for me. Now, with that said, the aromas that were presented were magical. There were huge roasty qualities that were perfectly rounded into form by a cornucopia of other smells. I’m impressed there was just a trace of alcohol, incredible considering the lofty abv. I guest Three Floyds is *that* much better than Avery (but I knew that!). Fruits are deep, dark, tropical with raisins, dates, grapes, and caramel covered apples. Port wine. Brandy. Candied sugar that is burnt around the edges. Assertive hops with Pacific Northwest bloodlines. Acidic. Astringent. Weak hint of coffee. Molasses. Winey. Burnt. Freaking awesome! There is an amazing amount of depth; especially considering the potency is moderate. Inviting, duh. The first sip of this motherfucker brought moisture to my eyes. Goddamn, I needed a moment to compose my thoughts. I was hoping the beer would be good. I was praying it wouldn’t be an alcoholic bomb. It wasn’t. How could another Imperial Stout ever top this beer? It can. It is blasphemy to think otherwise. The palate is rich, chewy, and fairly sweet but far from cloying even though there seems to be about four types of sugar in the mix. Brown sugar and candied sugar just to name the most prevalent. Molasses. Burnt sugar. Toffee. Caramel apples. Hints of chocolate covered raisins. Figs. Assorted spices. Aggressive American hops bitterness that plays so gleefully with the astringency of the roast. Espresso. Soft acidity at the back that melts into some marmalade-like fruitiness, at the finish is the only warmth from the alcohol. Some spice too. The aftertaste has a “clean” ale/hoppy thing going on, all I can say is it reminds me of a Rogue beer. I don’t know how to describe this “feel” but it is a good thing! Overall the palate is a gem. Perfection really. I love the hop burps too! Full bodied. Low carbonation. Thick, heavy but not sluggish mouthfeel, surprisingly smooth actually. Flawless. Amazing. I have had about a half dozen beers that have truly amazed me. Dark Lord is now added to the list. Is this the best Imperial Stout I’ve ever had? Yes. Is it the best beer I’ve ever had? Yes… but it is “tied” with a couple others. It is truly amazing. Every sip was like suckling a Goddess’ teat. I wish I had about fifty bottles in the cellar but, alas, I had one bomber. I am indebted to cretemixer forever. Thank you so much for this beer. Dark Lord is so worthy of its high praise. World Class. Highly Recommended.

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Photo of Boto
4.56/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22oz Bomber: This beer pours thick: It has the consistency of motor oil. The color is almost the same, but it is a very dark brown. If you hold it to the light, it actually has a hint of a Guinness-like cascade. The head is strong and brown. The aroma is interesting: imagine if you will chocolate hops, because that is what it smells like. The taste is heavy and sweet: mainly chocolate, with hints of plums and coffee, other varied fruits. I can also taste some hops, but no bitterness makes it through. Excellent! Thanks to TAR for this trade!!!

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Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.27 out of 5 with 4,338 ratings