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:
4,218
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
14.49%
 
 
Wants:
3,202
Gots:
2,061
For Trade:
191
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,275 | Ratings: 4,218
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 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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Photo of adkirkish
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Smells of booze, but don't know what kind. I got Notes of Rum and bourbon, sweetness, and finally warms to espresso.
A: Pours black w/ chocolate colored head. Quickly dissipates, leaves no lacing.
F: Sweet and fruity up front w/ slight umami and soy sauce notes. I believe that cantaloupe was also used to describe at this point. If it wasn't cantaloupe, it was some kind of melon on the back end.
M: Oily and slick, goes down smooth w/ a slight alcohol burn. Finishes boozy
O: I'm now a believer that the hype is real. #DLD2011, here I come!! Definitely buy enough to drink through the ages. 25 year Dark Lord? Yes!!

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Photo of branimal9
4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage, shared with my fellow Upstate BA'ers - 6/9/2010. Thanks to whichever kind soul brought out this bottle of evil.

Deep brown and dark as hell in color. Raisiny, chocolate hotness on the nose. Flavor brings with it waves of dark chocolate, cherry, raisin, vanilla & coffee. Thick and oily in consistency, with syrup-like texture. Difficult to fully express in words, but this was a beast of a beer that I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience.

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

Smores. Smores. Smores. All I get from this 2011 bottle is smores. nice pour into a dixie cup. I can only assume it is black. Large bubble tan head. Smells like all the things you would make smores with. Tastes like all the things you would make smores with, and, oddly enough, tastes a little bit like ginger ale, but this is a good thing. And smores. Good slick mouth feel on this sweet beast. Overall a great beer, worth the wait, but not the hype. Smores.

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Photo of drowland
4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle shared by my older brother. Of course deep black and a big old brown head. The aroma is raisins, molasses, a bit of soy, and a hint of roast. The flavor is sweet raisins, maple syrup, and a subtle but wonderful dose of chocolate and smooth coffee. The coffee lingers nicely and the beer is extremely smooth despite a hint of alcohol.

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Photo of animortician
3.92/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

2011 poured into two wine glasses and split with a friend. (Thank God there was a second person sipping this down)

A: Dark Brown to Black in Color not as thick as I was expecting it to be. Very very little brown head/foam, no lacing.

S: Dark, Roasted Barley, some coffee. Had an almost earthy smell to it, very intriguing.

T: At first the Flavor is very balance and interesting with complex flavors: Dark Malt, Coffee, Chocolaty Big Barley backbone. But then as the beer moved to the back of my mouth and as I swallowed this balance complex beer turned into a whole nother monster. SYRUP and BOOZE! Not like a Kahlua Syrup and Booze, (I actually got some out to check, since they are only 5% ABV Different) The flavor on swallowing was so intense it almost ruined it for me.

M: Not as think of a body as I was expecting especially with how high the ABV is. Could have had more carbonation though. The hard part about this beer is the Boozy feel on swallowing.

O: This beer should start another category of its own called "Barley Port" Cause this is exactly what it is. Just as Port is a wine to be sipped this is a beer to be sipped, Try taking a full mouthful and you will know what I mean. Big beer, hard to imagine how they do it and for that I give them props but I don't really like port or desert wines and I didn't really enjoy how sweet this beer was.

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

09 vintage

A - Dark as Hitler's syphilitic soul. Quite beautiful. For a beer. Not a soul.

S - Molasses. Rich and sweet. Some dark fruit.

T - Mmm. That is mighty fine. Dark sugar. The roastiness is toned down this year. Very sweet. Dark fruit. But it all comes back to the sugar. A bit of warmth at the end. Previous vintages would get a 5 but I'm taking this down a bit.

M - Nice and thick. Coats the mouth.

D - Surprisingly drinkable. Got to watch myself.

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Photo of littlekidlover
4.78/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Awesome, for the second year in the row I get a couple bottles of the coveted Dark Lord! Poured this into my beer tasting wine glass. The appearance is jet black and doesn't seem to let through any light at all. I poured it as fast as I could and hardly got a head. The smell is a lot of raisin, lactose, burnt malt, seems sweet for an RIS. The taste is extremely complex. Alcohol, chocolate, vanilla, caramel, raisins, wood, smoke, again a little lactose. The mouthfeel may be the most remarkable feature of this beer. The viscosity is similar to whole milk. I found this very drinkable for a extreme beer, but I drink gin martinis so I don't think I can speak for the average. A strong effort, however I remember liking the 2008 a bit better.

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Photo of ddarden
4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz Bomber - thanks uncle flip

Poured into a chimay chalice....black with a reddish brown head that falls very quickly. Almost no carbonation and no light getting through this beer. The smell is alcohol, dried fruit, coffee, roasted malt. Very complex. The taste executes on the smell....cherries, vanilla, nice finishing hops, and ends with a very nice alcohol warming. Definitely one of the best beers in world. The alcohol is present but very well blended with the other flavors. The mouthfeel is perfect for the style...thick, chewy and smooth. The drinkablility for the style is great, not perfect due to the alcohol, but about as close as it gets. Excellent beer!

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

This is my second to last bottle from DLD 2008. Traded three and drank one at a tasting. I shared this one with my best friend who loves coffee and thus loved this beer haha. Well worth it to share with my friend because I could never finish this one alone.

Pours a pitch black with a thick mocha head and nice lacing.

Smells of tons of coffee, roasted and burnt malts, chocolate, and a little bit of hops.

Chocolatey smooth, coffee richness. Burnt, roasted malts. Just a huge flavorful beer that for me is the definition of the style.

Absolutely the thickest, most rich mouthfeel I have had.

13% ABV is huge but its well hidden and this is just an amazing beer. I just don't think I could ever finish one of these by myself but I don't think thats a bad thing because its a fun beer to share.

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

Poured into my tulip glass. This was an '08 bottle, so it had been waiting to be opened for about 3 months from DLD.

This beer (obviously) poured out dark as hell. What little head was present was a very tightly formed group of nice brown bubbles. No light passes through this liquid, even when held up in the air to a light source. The only hint of light was at the very rim of the beer where the color changed to a dark brown instead of black. Not much lacing was left on the glass at all, in fact about zero lacing. However when swirling there was an oily residue that seemed to be left over along with what looked like sugar when you swirl wine in a glass.

Aroma was initially of chocolate, molasses and some coffee bitterness, along with some burnt notes as well. Alcohol, anise, hops & some lactic sweetness came through after some swirling around in my glass. Some of the alcohol aroma gives a slight burn to the nostrils when you really stick your nose down in the glass.

I couldn't even absorb the flavors I noticed at the first sip, I was too overwhelmed with the complexity, richness and deliciously full and smooth mouthfeel. The easiest taste to write about after one sip is the lingering toasted malts and bittersweet chocolates. Alcohol is only a fleeting note across the middle (not as boozy as I had expected from hearing others talk about the fresh '08 batch). Bitterness and richness are just dominating throughout. A very full and amazing beer.

I love this beer and its mouthfeel. It is amazingly full bodied & smooth, yet not overwhelming with the alcohol or any other characteristic.

Again, with that supposed booziness not being present as I had heard it would be, the drinkability on this one is very high considering the ABV. But it's a RIS, so the ABV should be high, can't fault it for that. I could sip on this beer all night long and wouldn't stop until suddenly that 13% caught up with me by surprise. Delicious, delicious beer.

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

A - perhaps a shade of brown away from black-hole black, deep khaki head. pours with the consistency of whole milk, perhaps half and half. marvelous

S - dark chocolate, toffee, and a lot of the Intelligentsia coffee that is markedly used in this Chicago-area brew.

T - basically, everything you want from an RIS: coffee, chocolate, roastiness, a twinge of alcohol (something that would suggest 7-8%, but certainly not 13%), gourmet raisins, and perhaps a little dark berry. this is a symphony to behold.

M - thick, but not cloying, like a milkshake that's melted down all the way, with only a bit of carbonation, enough to let you know it's there.

D - for a 13% RIS, i can only again bring up the milkshake analogy. it gives the drinker the amount of pleasure that a perfectly blended shake would give an 11-year-old boy after a Little League game. while it isn't my favorite american stout, it is quite probably the best beer i have ever tasted.

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Photo of timjr2500
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First things first. This beer is not to be trusted, it will lead you to believe that you are more than just a mere mortal. In fact it may even have you believing you are some type of Lord of darkness yourself, but do not be deceived.

It pours like some kind of dark, mischievous syrup that springs forth from the dungeons of hell. It slides down the glass like its being drug back into the far reaches of the hell from which it came.

At just under room temperature it smells of sweet coffee and that traditional alcohol that all the best imperials have. But something really stands out in the nose beyond what other traditional stouts possess and it comes back to that sweet smell. It isn't overly steeped with coffee or smoke, it ironically leans towards the dainty side.

Any doubts you may have about the flavor, due to the unfair sweetness, are quickly diminished as the Lord oozes across your tongue. The perfect blend of molasses, slight coffee, and only the most purely demonic ingredients. SO pure in fact that they transform the beer into something more. So much more that you forget you're drinking a beverage designed to crush you like the mere mortal that you are. One bomber of this and you'll be speaking in tongues and selling your soul for another.

Pair this beer with red meat, human flesh, or .. whichever you prefer.

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Photo of fightingirishcmk
4.72/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I went to DL day 2007 and bought my bottles. This is the first one I've tried. It also happens to be the day that I am completely finished with my undergraduate career.

That said, I poured it into a 23oz pilsner glass (not recommended) in order to celebrate finishing school. Pours like used motor oil, syrupy, deep brown/black. The head that forms was quite small, brown in color, and lasted for awhile.

What an aroma. The smell of fruit, cherryish, along with coffee and malt smell combine for one the most complex yet enjoyable aromas I have sampled.

Tastes just as good. The RIS qualities shine through, with other flavors of vanilla, cherry, and other fruits, as well as coffee, and chocolate. I could find so many other tastes in this.... but we don't have all day.

Feels fairly good in the mouth. Very thick, good amount of carbonation. Warming aftertaste, but not too warm.

Drinkability is OK. I had a lot of trouble finishing this bomber. It was so thick. yet tasty. Don't try this on your own. Get some friends together, and pour 5 oz samples.

As for the hype... this is the most unique beer I've had. Completely different from Stone RIS or Bell's expidition or victory king. There is something here that can't be described in these terms. Definitely worth a try if you get the chance. Is it worth $15 a bottle though? Now thats a tough decision.

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Photo of KCHopHead
4.78/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to GBvDave for the trade. 2009 Version. Poured into leftover cocktail glasses at the end of brewday/beer trade as "the closer".

What's blacker than black? Dark Lord. Head was thin and brown. Delicoius sediment coating the glass and bottom of the glass.

Smell was amazing with chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, some complex fruit and not much alcohol (decieving).

It tasted like heaven but the bottle suggests hell. Thick maltiness with cocoa, roasted malts, coffee, was there any hops in this? You don't taste too much with the dominite grain bill.

The mouthfeel was my favorite part of this beer. It seemed to linger at the roof of my mouth and pushed it's way to every creavis and hit every taste bud. It has been the most interesting, complex mouthfeel I've had yet. I just wanted to let it sit there for a while before I gullped.

Drinkability, more like eatability. You are not going to pound a bottle of this without hurting yourself. Seriously though it was fun to drink.

This beer has forced it's way into my current top 5.

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Photo of nmbr0ne
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage poured into snifter.

Appearance: Dark black body with a tiny head. Little to no lacing though after the head dissipates.

Smell: A strong boozy smell slightly burns the nostrils. Coffee and chocolate notes, but not as roasty as I would like. You can definitely tell it's a high alcohol beer.

Taste: Sweet. Maybe even too sweet. I can detect the coffee and chocolate, but it is overwhelmed by the sweetness. Doesn't taste as boozy as it smells.

Mouthfeel: Slight burn of the alcohol in the finish. Great beer to warm up with. Decent carbonation. Thick body.

Overall: The beer would be a lot better if it wasn't so sweet. I think that's what put it over the top for me. The flavors are good, but I can't get past the sweetness. It's also missing more roasted notes.

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Photo of Heischman
4.73/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First I need to send a super thank you Mr Mike in IN for the greatest Xmast Gift ever!
Beer/Brewery - The Dark Lord 2011 – 3 Floyds
City/State- Munster, Indiana
STYLE – Russian Imperial Stout
ABV – 15%
IBU – Unknown
DATE – 03 JAN 2012
SERVING TYPE – 22 oz Bomber Wax (Yellow) Dipped
GLASSWARE – Small Snifter
APPEARANCE –Dark Brown almost black with no light passing through, Very Little head
AROMA- Boozy and chocolaty
TASTE – Sweet but with a roasted bitterness, such a well proportioned balance it is UN real! Hints of a dried fruit as well maybe raisin or date, or eve prune.
MOUTHFEEL – Nice thickness that a stout should have, and so smooth.
CONCLUSION – Truly a once in a life time brew! Again I thank MR MIKE for the most wonderful Xmas gift ever!
-JH-

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

This is my first review so I figured go big or go home!!! This beer was shared with my two brother in laws. One is a novice and likes his bud light. The other traveled in from Seattle for the 4th holiday and is constantly looking for the holy grail of beers. So here goes...

A - The beer poured a jet black with a hint of brown undertones spewing out after the pour. Almost like the dark lord himself rising from the ground.

S - I would best describe it as a coffee smell with a hint of chocolate and dark fruit flavors. Very enjoyable!

T - This is where this beer excels. You can really taste the espresso and chocolate with a dark fruits flavor without the hard hitting alcohol taste

M - This is a very thick and creamy beer with a coating left to your mouth.

D - I could definitely drink one by myself and will the next time around, but this is a beer worth sharing. My brother in laws thoroughly enjoyed the beer. I imagine I will store two of these and plan on a Christmas Eve celebration once the kids go down. Sit by the fireplace and enjoy a bottle to myself. I can't get this taste out of my head. So long Dark Lord until we meet again...

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Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
4.28 out of 5 based on 4,218 ratings.
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