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 | website

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:
1,267
Ratings:
4,165
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
14.49%
 
 
Wants:
3,202
Gots:
2,045
For Trade:
178
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,267 | Ratings: 4,165
Photo of Rope
4.36/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013

Appearance-
Dark, and in direct light a rich red. Thing tan head that dissipates quickly.

Smell-
Thick, syrupy, and roasted tones. A warm alcohol undertone towards the end.

Taste-
Sweet and thick (hey kinda like the nose), preserved fruits, and a long sweet aftertaste.

Mouthfeel-
Surprising for how thick it is, it actually has good carbonation. The sweetness coats everything, including low hanging mustache hair.

Overall-
If Stone went for bitterness with IPAs, Three Floyds went for sweetness with RTS.

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Photo of hrking
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I think all the hype around this beer is greatly over rated. I have had all the great stouts and this being a good beer is not a great beer. It's good. There are other beers that deserve to be placed higher on the upper throne of Rate Beer beerdom board. This beer should be in the top 50 but not top 10. But that said this is the beer that started it all.The Dark Lord developed such a cult following it remains a top the ratings, This beer is thick on the palate and almost oily to drink. Lots of flavors come out and almost changes with each sip as it warms. Worth seeking out but there are better beers to be had.The 09 version of this is the best batch yet!

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Photo of goethean
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage, served on Dark Lord Day 2011. Mostly flat. Big, full-bodied. Molasses. Very sweet. Malty, sweet. A bit of coffee. Dark chocolate. Dried plums, dates, figs, raisins. Aftertastes of dry herbs, licorice.

I have had a lot of Bell's Batch 9000 in the past year (about one per week), which has been a steady supply of dark, fruity malt bomb. In that context, and given the hype around Dark Lord, the price, and the difficulty of obtaining, Dark Lord is just not nearly as impressive as it used to be.

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

2009 Bottle. Finishing off a great week of vacation and following the sampling of many tasty DFH brews with this whale. Pours a black color with a caramel colored head. Has an aroma of dark fruit, vanilla, and coffee, with hints of chocolate. I know its easy to get caught up in the hype with this brew. But as one that has sampled several top IS's, this beer lives up to its hype and high regard. Starts sweet with the dark fruit. Then creamy with a pinch of carbonation in the middle. The coffee is very subdued but gives it that spice right after the creaminess subsides. Then the gentle bitters carry you to the finish. The finish is excellent. The velvety chocolate lingers on the tongue while residue from the dark fruit is still present. Notes of vanilla on the finish as well. The creaminess of this brew is what really makes it so special. Many IS's are this complex but others tend to be more syrupy than creamy. Damn fine beer. Will age the other 2009 another year.

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Photo of BenjieK
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Jimmy J, thank you brother!

A: Dark black. Motor oil.

S: figs, coffee, chocolate, licorice. Deep and complex aroma.

T: Coffee, sweet, loads of dark fruit.

M: Amazingly soft and very little alcohol burn.

D: Too drinkable! This beer put me on my ass!

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Photo of FishGetter
4.63/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009 Vintage
A huge thanks to jaxon53 for sharing a bottle with me during his tour at Czepiel Farms. Jet black apperance, slight brown color when held to the light. Dark mocha head, one finger, fades to small ring around glass rim.
Coffee grounds, mild, mixed with dark cherry aromas. Reminds one of chocolate cherry truffles.
Cherry liquor flavors detected after a good room temp warm-up. Toasted grain flavor of chocolate and coffee. Mild hints of liquorice and alchol. Some aok tannis detected.
Thick heavy mouthfeel, good syrupy feel. Great solid body here thats a bit chewy.
Truelly a remarkable offering here. Very complex charecters especially as brew warms up. Well worth the troubles one may encounter to have the privilege of trying this one.

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

Had this during one our recent tastings thanks to ThirdLap.
The 08 is among the best beers I have ever had, and without a doubt the hype is worth this exquisite sample of brewmastership.

It looks like someone melted the wax from the top of the bottle and allowed it to flow like lava into the rest of the bottle. Beautiful ebony body with just the right amount of weight.

Smells like malt and caramel with a fig soaked for weeks in bourbon.

The taste of this is no less impressive than the rest of the beer. Gorgous oak aged bourbon with an edge of caramel.

The most impressive aspect of DL is the amazing mouthfeel. No kidding this feels like drinking a glass of double heavy cream. I expect it to taste like whipped cream but instead I am overjoyed with the flavor of the Dark Lord.

I could drink a bottle ot this myself, though it wouldn't be a good idea. It is without a doubt not overhyped...! If you have not tried Dark Lord 07 you MUST do what you have to to get a sample.

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Photo of Zaso
4.76/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

2013 Vintage, poured into a snifter. Motor oil black, very little head, low carbonation.

A - Notes of caramel and fruitiness jump out right away. You can smell the bite of alcohol pretty clearly, which I only mention because it is well disguised in the taste.

T - Was not expecting the amount of sweetness that I got from this beer up front. Your taste buds are immediately bombarded with sweet, fruity notes of licorice, cherry and raisons, with just a hint of the typical molasses. The fruity assault is immediately followed by a pleasant, drinkable finish that doesn't taste boozy, but also lacks complexity. Finishes mild and neutral, leaving you wanting another sip. Somewhat dangerous for a 15% creation.

M - Medium thickness for an imperial stout. Of course tasting the ultra-thick BCBS afterwards might have made it seem thinner. Overall a very balanced viscosity that is extremely drinkable.

Was very excited to drink this beer and was hoping for it to stand out among the many imperial stouts of today's world. I wasn't at all prepared for the blast of dark fruitiness that hit my taste buds at first sip. It's almost overwhelming, but disguises the booze so nicely and differentiates this one from others. It has a really pleasant and mild finish that makes it easy to drink. Overall, a great experience.

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Photo of MeLikeBeer
4.16/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Acquired and sampled with much gratitude to fellow BA, Enlil.
Also tasted with SMF.
2006 edition in 22oz bomber with the gold wax.
Poured a jet-black color, the color of motor oil mixed with molasses and appeared to have the same consistency. Small, creamy head definitely laced the glass throughout.
Great caramely malt scents, coffee aromas and strangely...fruit.
The taste is very complex....thick coffee flavor, hints of chocolate and a sweetness- raisins? maple syrup? Can't seem to nail it down. This heavy, malty stout has a thick mouthfeel with a smooth finish. Overall the flavors mask the high alcohol content of this beer....very good. I'd like to have tried another, but was limited to one...that's okay, I'll seek it out again next year. The hype is worth it.

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Photo of phisigben
4.41/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010

I had this as a part of a small tasting thrown for a friend. It was poured into a tasting snifter it produced a great dark mocha colored head with about a finger and a half width. The smell has improved with some age when fresh it smelled hot and sticky sweet, that has mellowed very well the coffee comes threw a little more. Huge coffee flavor, some chocolate, dark fruit flavor like fig. The mouth feel has also thinned a little an some of that sticky sweetness has mellowed, it still coats your entire mouth and stays there. Overall this is one of my favorite beers I guess you can call me a homer but I am so happy FFF brews in my state.

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Photo of aliveguy17
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

After five years of attempts, I finally secured a bottle of the enigmatic Dark Lord this year, thanks to my friend Adrian, and I opened it last night. This will also be my first review for BeerAdvocate, and I couldn't think of a better beer with which to start.

A-It looks like your typical high-alcohol Russian Imperial Stout, with very little carbonation or head.

S-The smell smacks of charred fruit or English pudding. This is where DL starts to distinguish itself.

T-The charred fruit smell segues into similar taste notes of charred fruit. I may have detected a bit of Port too. The finish smacks of coffee.

M-Mouthfeel is not nearly as heavy as I expected, certainly not as heavy as the often-used analogy of motor oil.

D-While the 13% alcohol content is not so evident in the tasting, it definitely catches up with you quickly, plus the richness of the taste causes a decreasing rate of enjoyment after the first glass. I drank the entire bomber by myself, and I wouldn't recommend trying this.

Overall Dark Lord was a phenomenal beer. I don't think it is worthy of traveling across the country for, but few things with that much hype live up to 100% of it. This is definitely in my top 10 of beers, and I look forward to the next time I can enjoy Dark Lord.

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Photo of jgap
4.76/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Enormous thanks to Matt for contributing this bottle to our tasting. Wow... Smell is wonderful- fruits, chocolate, and coffee mocha. Lots of mocha sweetness. Hops are detectible. The taste is instantly toffee. It's a nice intro because if you haven't heard about how huge this beer is the smell warned you that you're in for it. A splash of ripe fruit, dark raisins, and prunes then, like cat Vs train, it hits you. Thick, very thick molasses, huge roasted toffee, and a little hops with some coffee notes to help you through. It's an amazingly deep taste of dark fruit, however, you can also concentrate on the lighter toffee, coffee and hoppy notes to experience it in a completely different way. It's very rich and fades with a coffee tinge. The alcohol is dangerously undetectable. There is also a craft/homebrew feel to it. I'm not sure if that is coming through in the taste, the smell, or if my mind is simply projecting it. Extremely complex and quite remarkable. Per Matt it's "scrumdiddlyumptious" and I can hear the whistle fading in the distance...

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Photo of hotmanflab666
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

what can i say about the darklord, most look at this like a gigantic stout, which it is. but not the best of all of them, darklord is a very good but rough drink. very hot and strong rigid complex flavors, i drank out of brandy sifter. very good, just split the bottle with a friend

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

Today was 'Open that Bottle' day, so I figured why not celebrate by finally cracking a bottle of Dark Lord to split with BA Macktbone. This was an '08 example, which I figure makes it at least ten months old.

No goblets on hand, so we had to go with pint glasses. DL pours thick, viscous, and oily, with a thick, creamy-looking dark tan head. The head recedes to a slight film after a few minutes, revealing lots of lacing. Swirling results in a viscous coating that tints the glass dark brown. This stuff just looks evil.

The nose is filled with molasses, roasted malt, candied sugar, dark chocolate, soy, and a bit of hops. Very nice.

Dark Lord is dark bitter chocolate on the tongue initially, followed by a subtle hop bite and a myriad of difficult to discern flavors. Dark fruits, molasses, brown sugar, coffee... it's all here. Absolutely delicious.

That said, the one thing that absolutely sets DL apart from any other beer is its mouthfeel. It literally has to be experienced to fully comprehend just how this beer completely envelops your tongue on each sip. It's like a stout with the consistency of sweet thick cream. You find yourself taking sip after sip to experience it again.

Carbonation is relatively low, and most apparent with the swallow. I'm still amazed that this beer is 13% abv, as the alcohol burn is almost non-existent. Finish is smooth and chocolatey.

This has become my new favorite Russian Imperial Stout. Dark Lord, like Westy 12, is worth the hype.

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Photo of mentaltraveller
3.05/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

2010: This beer comes highly anticipated, and, in all honesty, I was expecting it to disappoint. It ended up being quite good. Pours a thick black with minimal head; chocolate, whiskey in the nose. The taste is very good; creamy chocolate balanced with some alcohol and espresso-like bitterness. The mouthfeel is remarkably smooth. One of my top imperial stouts. Drink it if you can find it.

2012 Dark Lord edit: This beer is drastically different than it used to be, and unfortunately, it is much worse. It smells like it has potential, but it goes downhill from there. This beer is incredibly sweet, and its sweetness snuffs out its former complexity. It's a one note beer now, and not a very good one.

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Photo of mindspin315
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage - Yellow Wax

Poured a nice thick deep tan head and a dark body. Good amount of lacing and legs.

Big, boozy, and sweet aroma. Heavy on the dark fruits. Figs, raisins, chocolate, roasted/burnt malts, molasses, peat, maple syrup, faint nail polish remover, and anise. Not detecting a whole lot of coffee...thought I'd get a big dose of that especially since it was brewed with coffee. This bottle is almost a year old so the coffee aroma may have faded...never had it fresh though.

I'll start out before I even talk about the taste that the feel and drinkability for 15% is quite impressive. Sweet syrupy molasses coats the palate right away and sticks around all the way through the finish. Getting a touch of the coffee in the flavor which I wasn't picking up in the aroma. Not a huge dose of coffee but detectable. Flavors of dark sweet chocolate, molasses, chocolate coated cherries, toffee, and anise on the tip of the tongue. Full bodied, medium-low carbonation (the density causes the carbonation to not come through as much), and smooth velvety mouthfeel. The alcohol is not coming through at all...for such a high alcohol beer it is quite impressive. Even though it comes at the expense of the sweet sugary mouthfeel/flavors.

All in all Dark Lord masters much of what it looks out to accomplish. Although some of the complaints of this beer are warranted. It is a bit to sweet and a lot of the components get masked by it. Even with the couple of complaints it still is a very solid RIS. It definitely ups the notch on what a RIS can be. The mouthfeel is very enjoyable and Dark Lord definitely drinks like no other. Needs to get the sweetness in order and this would be a damn near perfect beer.

[93/100]

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

Reviewed from notes...Absolutely worth the 10 hour drive from Oklahoma. Had this on tap @ DLD 2010. Pours thick, aroma is of toffee and coffee with hints of chocolate and vanilla. Appearance dark black as expected from a RIS. Taste and Palate...Hints of toffee, coffee, camel and chocolate. Feels heavy on the tongue and fills the mouth completely . Overall I think this beer definitely lives up to the hype!

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Photo of purdueflyguy
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2009 dark lord had on 6/16/2013 at craftheads in Tokyo.

Pours like motor oil with no head. Almost black but a lttle brown comes through.

Smell just a little booze big dark fruit a vanilla notes. With a little chocolate in the background. A little oxidation from the 4 years of age.

Taste big coffe bitterness yet sweet vanilla and bakers chocolate shine through. No booze in the taste.

Feel almost silky smooth with the right amount of carbonation.

Overall awesome beer that was perfectly aged and ready to be drank.

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Photo of bgramer
2.75/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

We opened a 2006 and 2007. My review is focused on 2007.

This pours thick like oil and completely black. There's a nice tan head but that disappears quickly leaving a thin ring around the glass.

This is a BIG beer - incredibly complex with a lot going on. I smell vanilla, roasted malts, chocolate, caramel, coffee, licorice, dark fruits like raisins, etc.

Very low carbonation but very thick and sweet with a medium to full body. It's smoothness and strong flavor really hides the alcohol but is flawed because of that overt sweetness.

This beer is good and worth getting to put aside. It needs aging time.

---

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Photo of SQNfan
4.88/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2007 bottle at DLD: Black as night it had a slight brown head that left some nice brown lacing. The nose was huge and filled with expresso, chocolate and porty overtones. While not as potent as the barrel-aged version, in the mouth it was the dense, thick, syrupy and oily. While the alcohol lever is high, it is never hot. The flavors from the nose fill the palate and cover every nook and cranny. This is an intese huge beer that should be drank in small quantities. However credit needs to be given as it is balanced which is not an easy feat for something this size.

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Photo of tsatem
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage procured by and shared with ColdPoncho, in a tulip. From notes.

A: Billowy burnt colored one finger head. Very dark, only the smallest amount of light around the edges.

S: Dark bitter chocolate, burnt leather, espresso, cocoa, toasty tobacco.

T: Slightly hot, but very nice for the ABV. Sweet after taste. Very earthy with roasted malts. Spicy and port-like. Coffee. Lots of tobacco. Everything from the nose comes through as well.

M: Very light carbonation. Extremely thick, coats the mouth cloyingly.

O: Very impressive. Overall much more balanced than I was expecting and incredibly enjoyable. The spice heat was strange, and half a bomber was enough for me, but this stands out as a great beer.

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Photo of betsona
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on-tap at DLD 2011. Served in a 8oz squat whisky glass.

A- Pours a motor oil black that causes dreams of trying to drink utter darkness. When I received it, there was no head, but swirling was able to produce a thin wisp of mocha colored head. No lacing on the glass.

S- Lots of raw alcohol right off the top which persisted throughout the entire drink. As it warmed up, a robust coffee aroma mixed with sweet caramel came through more. Probably a tad too sweet.

T- Lots of brown sugar right off the top which combines nicely with plenty of thick chocolaty taste--almost like browny batter. Lastly, there was some taste of alcoholic coffee drink. All the flavors fuse quite well.

M- Thick body with minimum carbonation. Leaves the tongue feeling like it was rubbed against a piece of velvet. Lingering alcohol taste that warms the mouth all the way down.

O- I can easily understand the hype surrounding this stout. I have to admit that I am not a stout fan, but this one easily made be rethink the style. This is an easy drinker despite the abv--does limit the amount I would drink--yet it is one that I would only open with a group of friends.

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Photo of nawpnawp
4.61/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2013 orange wax bottle.

This thing is a monster. The nose is molasses, vanilla, caramel and bourbon. The taste follows much of the same. The first sip is extremely sweet, but as your palette adjusts, it rounds out and the other flavors start jiving. It's been awhile since I've had one fresh, but it has held up extremely well over 3 years.

There's not much more I can say that I haven't already. It's definitely worth seeking out and lives up to the hype for me.

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Photo of Deconstructionis
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a stout Stout. Rich, potent flavorful, complex-- a classic.

As close to black as it is possible to get with a creamy light brown head that subsides to a surface foam. one of the best smelling beers ever. Roasted malt mixed with coffee. pecans and light smoke. This is beer. the taste is robustly malt with everything else appropriately in the background but what a background-- coffee, chocolate, nuts, a hint of smoke, savory spice-- just a real work of art. Rich, luxurious even, body but not overly syrupy. This is a heavy brew in all respects but so good you'll be tempted to indulge past the point of good sense.

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Photo of DousedInStout
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

09 Vintage poured into snifter.

A - Deep, dark black with ruby highlights. However, tan head dissipates quickly and leaves little to no lacing.

S - Not as in your face as expected. Some dark cherry and candied fig esters, but not as much chocolate/coffee as expected.

T- The taste is sweet and fruity at first. A lot of molasses and brown sugar, followed by cherries and dates. I also faintly get apple, perhaps a faint aldehydic note. Some roast and hop bitterness kick in at the end, and the heat from the alcohol lingers.

M - The mouthfeel is second to none. Phenomenal body and mouthfeel, and perfect carbonation.

D - Pretty heavy, but deliciously drinkable

Overall, it didn't quite live up to the hype in my opinion, but still an exceptional beer. I would've liked a little more coffee and chocolate flavor from the roasted malt, and a little more hop balance to the sweetness. I also would recommend giving this one much more time in the cellar.

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Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 1,267 ratings.
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