Dark Lord Imperial Stout | 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

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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

Added by cretemixer on 12-13-2002

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,275
Ratings:
4,223
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
14.49%
 
 
Wants:
3,204
Gots:
2,062
For Trade:
190
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,275 | Ratings: 4,223
Photo of atrus138
4.97/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Everytime I've described a beer as looking like motor oil has been a lie. THIS is a beer that looks like motor oil. No head whatsoever. This beast is far too dense for a head. It has its own gravity and pulls any head into itself. The glass is absolutely stained yellow after drinking. Epic. Smell is hugely complex and awe-inspiring. Smells like the best coffee, the best brownie, brown sugar, and some dark fruits thrown in for good measure. I'm amazed that the taste actually meets and surpasses everything promised by the smell. Mouthfeel is massively thick. After swallowing, it's like my entire digestive system up to and including my stomach is coated with this stuff. Normally, with such a huge beer, I'm a bit more conservative with dropping a 5, but I would have this anytime I can.

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Photo of HopHeadKen
4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
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 cpmichael
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010

A: Pours dark and thick. A pretty heady beer, with a mocha colour on it. Looks delicious.

S: It smells of dark chocolate with roasted coffee, molasses and a raisiny/fruity complexion, and definitely alcohol.

T: Very complex. At first, the fruity/rasiny quality is present, followed by the dark chocolate and coffee. Very layered. Finishes with the alcohol.

M: Very thick and creamy. The alcohol burn at the end is noticeable at the end, yet i find it to be fairly smooth.

D: This is a beer to be shared, that is for sure. Fantastic flavoring. Worth every minute that I stood in line for it. I'll do it again this year.

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Photo of dowen17
3.62/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours pitch black with no head. Gurgles into the bottom of my snifter.

On the nose is cherries an dark fruits. Dark roast malts, bitter chocolate and hints of char and alcohol. I see why people are saying soy sauce. I definitely pick that up on the nose as well.

Taste is cherries, sweet molasses, sweet and dark malts. Dark fruits, sugar, char, a hint of vanilla. Very very sweet. Sweet to the point that its almost not drinkable. Wow. And again, definite soy sauce on the after taste. Very interesting. The more I drink and smell the more soy sauce begins to come out.

Mouthfeel is huge and chewy. One of the thickest stouts I've ever tried. Massive, massive, massive.

This beer isn't worth the hype at all. It's decent at best. Very very sweet but the soy sauce flavor and smell really ruined it for me. I think going to DLD really ups the ratings for a lot of people with the experience involved but oh well. Try it if you can.

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Photo of imagineiii
3.06/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

09 vintage, thanks to stowehop for bringing this bottle to my friday afternoon porch "party" (its really 3 guys sampling awesome bombers on my porch)

Poured into a wine goblet, thin head dissipates before I can take many notes. no lace.

Smells like Raisins, Rum, Molasses, and chocolate syrup. very sweet.

Sweetness is invasive. chocolate syrup, raisins and molasses are still there and VERY prevalent. sweetness sticks to your lips. not much roasted character at all.

Cloyingly sweet, sticks around far too long, considering theres no roasted bitterness to balance it at all.

Drinkability is very low. split 4 ways we didnt finish it, gave the rest to hopopotomus when he stopped by hours later.

i understand why somebody would LOVE this beer, but I dont understand why EVERYBODY does. Its far too sweet, almost a sugar bomb. Not roasted enough for me.

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Photo of tippebrewcrew2
4.85/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2/21/10

Three Floyds Brew Co.
Dark Lord
R.I.S.

L= 4.5 Thin quick dispersing dark brown head. Flash! It's gone. It pours like you scraped the tar off of a black top highway road going to or coming from hell. Extremely viscous with one of the most incredible display of lacing I've ever seen.

S= 4.5 Dark roasted coffee beans, Caramelized caramel, heaven, fig, dark cherry....I could go on forever. The smell is almost indescribable. I feel the smell is above me at this point of my beer tasting journey.

T= 5.0 First sip, the beer touches your lips and it immediately disperses to your entire mouth. Your mouth is coated with this ...this thing. This beer has taken over my mouth and coated it with its fruitful seed. This beer made me its b^&%$ and I didn't even put up a fight. Sweet molasses, fig, caramelized caramel, figs, coffee, and a light tart dark cherry finish. Right at the middle of the tasting you get a tingle on your tongue from hops and a light alcohol burn. This is the best imperial stout I've ever had in my entire beer drinking life thus far.

F= 5.0 Very chewy, thick, extremely creamy, oily feel. The beer it's self seems to suck to your mouth like a magnet.

D= 5.0 this is a beer. This is the highest I've ever rated a beer and I do not give out high ratings often. I have yet to find a beer that actually compares to this. There is just so much going on in this beer that I can't possibly do it justice. I have been into micros for about 3 years now. I have tried approx. 350 beers ranging from hopping frog bourbon barrel, KBS, storm king to hopstoopid. This is the most complex beer I've ever had. I feel as if I had tried this beer any earlier in my beer career, I would not have liked it. I don't believe I would have understood it and I still don't believe I fully understand it now there is just that much going on. I can not wait to try this beer again after 6 months from maybe even a year to see how my palate has advanced. If god were to drink beer, this would be it. Special thanks to Sean for being a lazy a&* and Dan, It was an adventure and you should have went to jail, but you got it, you did it! Thanks guys

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Photo of amatuerbeerguy
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out black as night, with a tan head. Head retention long, high, lacing throughout. Aroma of chocolate, raisons, licorice, coffee. Flavors fruit seemingly dry, chocolate, coffee, with smoke also. Those were all that I can distinguish, more in there. Thick and creamy mouthfeel. Drinkably is high for flavor but the alcohol will catch up with you.

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Photo of kevinv
2.36/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

2010 vintage poured into a pint glass.

Appearance:
Looks like motor oil. It pours a thick, oily, viscous pitch black. As you pour, it looks and even sounds very syrupy. The dark brown head dissipated quickly. Was only about a 1/2 finger at the max.

Smell:
Lots and lots of dark fruits. Strong on the molasses, brown sugar. Mild bourbon and chocolate scents. Very strong on the alcohol. This smells over the top sweet.

Taste/Mouthfeel:
Dark fruits (raisins??), molasses, chocolate. Holy ****, why is this so sweet? Not appealing at all. It's almost undrinkable. Pretty much zero carbonation and the thickness feels like sludge in your mouth which leaves a disgusting coating. You almost have to chew this beer to get it down. Feels like somebody poured syrup into my mouth.

Drinkability:
Very low drinkability. I'm pretty sure that I'm in the minority here, but this beer was bad. Really bad. Luckily, I split this with a friend, otherwise I'm pretty sure I would have poured the other half of the bottle out. This beer is definitely a sipper.

I had really high expectations going into this one and was excited to try it after seeking it out, but I was hugely disappointed. I think I want to try this one again at some point - maybe a different vintage - but this one was a letdown for me.

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

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

S- Boozy, molasses and chocolate.

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

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

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

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Photo of stonequarrywest
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 into my KBS snifter

Pours deep dark and beautiful...like motor oil. Really is like motor oil... thin head that doesnt stick around.

Complex nose of deep roasted malts, chocolate, burnt fruits..tobacco. Love it.

Clings to the glass with every sip..Huge thick mouthfeel...fork and knife thick. Sweet coffee, raisins, chocolate....

Insanely good Beer

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Photo of gregc
2.95/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Reviews of 2008 and 2009...averaged out.

2008 bottle.

pours a motor oil like thick black. with a nice espresso like thin head.
smells of heavily roasted malt, burnt coffee, dark chocolate. Very complex.
taste is very similar to the nose roasted malt, burnt coffee, dark chocolate, caramel. A very complex and intense beer. The mouthfeel is ridiculous, so think almost milkshake like.
A wonderful beer.

2009 bottle

Appearace sucked...poured into a glass, little to no head,
thin looking body.
Aroma started out ok, some chocolate, roasted malts, then
i was hit with the nail polish remover, acetic acid and
sweaty towel. Not really what i was expecting from this
bottle.
Taste was pretty God awful. Burnt meat from a gas grill,
vinegar, and rotten coffee grounds. Im very shocked, i
think i may have gotten a bad bottle, but i have been told
by a few people that they have had similar experiences.
Mouthfeel also sucked...thin, boring.
Drinkability dumped over half the bottle...

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Photo of TheBeerCarl
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark rich brown/black coloring with a nice thin brown head.

Smell: The first thing I thought of when i took my fist whiff was German Chocolate Cake. It definitely has a delicious smell filled with chocolate, caramel and pecan/praline with light hints of licorice and cherry. The heat is definitely present but not overwhelming which is impressive for a 15.5% beer.

Taste: Coffee and dark chocolate hit the palette first with lingering vanilla and caramel notes. The taste is well complimented by both the smell and mouthfeel of this beer.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, thick with little carbonation. Has almost a smooth feel.

Opinion: I would definitely drink this stout any day but its intense popularity, I can only contribute to the scarcity of great beer in the mid-west. Before I tried it I was ready to make the once a year trek to the 3 Floyds brewery to try this beer that has seen the top ten quite often on this website. After trying however I am glad i didn't do so, although road trips for beer are always fun.

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Photo of Adamdc
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

08 vintage (black cap) poured into tulip.

A: Jet black pour with no head whatsoever. Looks very thick!

S: Coffee and dark and milk chocolate. Below this is dark fruit, molasses and soy sauce.

T: Molasses is much more prominent in the taste followed by coffee and chocolate. It's also pretty hot, more than I expected for an '08.

M: The gold standard for 'thickness'. Liquid tar.

D: The 'heat' and the abv limit this beer's drinkability.

This is my second bottle of DL, the first being an '09, and I like this one much better. A very nice beer, a little hotter than I expected but still nice.

Update---just had the '10 version and it is AMAZING!! Lots of coffee, chocolate, molasses and some soy sauce both in the nose and taste. The trademark DL thickness is there and no heat whatsoever. Also smooth as silk!!! This truly is a fantastic drinking experience!!

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Photo of spoons
4.49/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap and poured from a bottle. 2010

Pours black and not much head at all.

Smells of dark roasted malt to begin with. Reveals a lot of dark fruits like prunes and cooked figs. A little coffee too.

The mouthfeel is very thick and syrupy. Tastes right away of sweet sugar and molasses. Lots of caramel and roasted malt flavor. The dark fruits seem to be coming across more now after a few months in the cellar. A lot of stewed prune and date flavor come across. I cant wait to try this one in a few years and see where it goes.

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Photo of Mess
3.62/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

White wax 2009 bottle. Thanks to Heater for the trade - first time trying Dark Lord! Served in a snifter.

A - Pours like a black hole. Light does not escape. Dark, slick oil, minimal rich crema, hot chocolate head, tight lace.

S - Dark bitter chocolate. Raisins, port, fruit cake. Slight soy?

T - Sweeet, like sugar cupcake icing. Sweet tobacco, like an unlit Swisher Sweet. Molasses, but don't taste any coffee.

M - thick and viscous - coats mouth, yet slick too and frothes on tongue.

O - Hmmm....been waiting waiting waiting to try this beer, patiently cellaring since I traded with Heater in the Spring. Over worked my expectations; not as blown away as I was hoping to be. Sickly sweet. Lot to drink by oneself. Not sure if '09 is 15%, doesn't say on bottle but does not feel like 15%. Glad I tried it.

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

2012 vintage poured into a Duvel tulip at 46 degrees. Pours a midnight oil black. 2 inch beige head quickly shrinks to nothing. Lacing is minimal. Aroma is dark fruit, plum, raisin, molasses, mild pine, maple syrup, toffee, and caramal. Taste is very sweet. Candi sugar, dates, raisins, molasses, toasted malts, raw earth in the back of your mouth, dark baking syrup, faint grass, and roasted barley. Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy. There is hardly any evidence of alcohol, which is amazing for a 15%abv. Awesome beer. So complex and amazing. I cannot wait till i try this over the next few years in my cellar.

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Photo of JToad
3.26/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I've given Darklord 3 tries, and I keep coming up with the same notes, so hear goes my review:

After obtaining this directly at Darklord day, my expectations were high. I poured it directly into my Samichlaus goblet. It was motor oil pitch black. Thick and dark, with nice tan lacing.

Smells of burnt fruit, and metal. Chocolate and coffee thrown in there as well. A lot of smells going on, almost too many.

First taste is of metallic, bitter chocolate. You can really taste the burnt fruit. Not at all what I hoped for.

It was hard for me to finish this beer. Im not a huge fan of stouts, but there are so many others I prefer. Bourbon County Stout, Kentucky Breakfast I enjoy much more.

All in all, I'm a tad dissapointed. I tried a sample of the Vanilla Bean DL and it was awesome. This beer just seemed like a clusterfu*k of flavors, and it didn't work for me at all.

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Photo of scarnold8
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 bottle poured into a small glass, split amongst 3 good friends.

A - Thick and black/dark brown. Very thin dark brown/tan head.
S - Licorice, malt, and chocolate.
T - Coffee, smokey, chocolate malty-ness, and a bit of bitter alcohol/hops finish.
M - Heavy. Very thick and creamy, more so than expected for the style, but still good.
D - Not great, it's heavy and has a high alcohol content that makes it difficult to drink a bottle on your own, much less more.

The 2010 vintage is definitely better than the 2009 and redeems the Dark Lord name. It is a good RIS that demonstrates the expected coffee, licorice, malty, smokey smells and taste.

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Photo of fastpass17
3.8/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2011 yellow waxed bottle, thanks Nate.

A: Very dark chocolate in color not quiet black in my opinion. Very little head which was expected, a fair amount of carbonation, which may fade over extended aging.

S: Roasted chocolate, coffee, caramelized sugar, a hint of booze, cinnamon and nutmeg. This has a wonderful nose.

T: A very pronounced sweetness hits the mouth first (I wonder if lactose is used). Then roasted malts and coffee come into play. There are a number of things going on spice is mixing with some heat from the alcohol. This has a very distinct flavor for the style.

M,O: This beer certainly coats the palate. It is very unique in so far that I had expected the beer to be slightly dryer on the mouth due to the strength instead there was a nice sweetness. I am interested to see how this beer ages.

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Photo of mryuk
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours extremely dark with little head.

smell is sweet molasses with prunes and some mocha.

taste is smooth sweet molasses with some fruit. slight hints of dark chocolate. not very alcoholic. would be a great beer but a little too sweet.

mouth is very thick with low carbonation.

overall very god but fairly disappointing given what I was expecting. too sweet.

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

L: Black beer brown head that vanishes completely in a few seconds
S: Vanilla, roasted malts, chocolate, raisins, maple syrup, or chocolate chip pancakes with maple syrup.
T: Maple syrup, raisins, figs, chocolate, coffee. The alcohol is non existent
F: Syrup smooth sticky thick
O: A very impressive beer. This is on the sweet side. It's complex and lives up to the hype.

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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 HoboAGoGo
4.9/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2006 gold wax sealed edition into the oversized snifter glass. Poured with a cascading head, loved watching it bubble up to the surface, a dark brown head sat atop, but fizzled away to nothing in very little time. The nose was strong in a cold, espresso smell, with dark chocolate, and alcohol soaked fruits. The initial flavor on the tongue is of dark roasted chocolate covered espresso beans, with a mild hop bite, alcohol follows the sips down the throat. After letting it warm up, more fruitiness comes into the picture, as you start to get an almost rum covered cherry flavor, a black cherry. After the beer became room temperature, the vanilla comes into play, and makes this beer extremely easy to drink. Last years was a bit easier on the palate to drink, but the complexities that made me put an additional half an hour into this beer makes me wonder at the possibilies of how this beer will taste with a few months put on it, or even another year or two.

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Photo of JWD
4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well,

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

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

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

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Photo of Monsone
4.68/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber with silver wax obtained at 2007 DL day. Shared with two of my buddies. Pours out pitch black like burnt motor oil. Man this stuff is thick. Forms a head that is thick and brown.

Smells of coffee, alcohol, sweet malt, and dark fruits.

Taste...WOW!.. Big sweet roasted/burnt malt. Dark fruit and alcohol mix and finished with bitter coffee. So big and complex, but so well balanced.

Overall... This is one amazing RIS. This beer is great and almost lives up to the hype (which is pretty damn good considering). Definately a beer to try if you can get your hands on one. I think the others I bought at DLD will age very nicely.

Mouthfeel is huge full bodied. Creamy and thick. Very nice.

Drinkability takes a hit from the pain it is to get this beer. Also I don't think this a beer that you finish a bomber yourself. The big alcohol makes this a sharing beer. Also $15 a bomber makes it pricey.

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Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
4.28 out of 5 based on 4,223 ratings.
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