Dark Lord Imperial Stout | 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout
4,293 Ratings
Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout

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

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 15.00%

Availability: Spring

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

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

Added by cretemixer on 12-13-2002

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,293 |  Reviews: 1,290
Photo of doughanson78
4.85/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter. 2011 vintage (yellow wax). Drank New Years 11-12. Huge thanks to Phelps in the Tickers BIF!

A: Pitch black. Just a wisp of a head that doesn't stay at all. Very little lacing. But I really didn't expect none from this. Still beautiful.

S: Big nice blend of bourbon, dark fruits, dark chocolate, roasted dark coffee, butterscotch, vanilla, hints of tobacco. Amazing and complex.

T: Dark chocolate upfront. Pretty sweet. Dark fruits, vanilla, butterscotch, roasted malts, and slight coffee. Touch of alcohol in the finish, but for 15% it isn't much. One of the best, if not #1, RIS's I've tasted.

M: Thick and full bodied. Super creamy and smooth. Very light carbonation, verging on none.

O: Amazing beer! Can only imagine one aged a few years. Might just have to trade for one. One of the best beers I've had.

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Photo of Jho3325
4.75/5  rDev +11.2%

Photo of gcamparone
3.93/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a 3F tulip glass. Acquired from Surge1311, thanks buddy! 2011 vintage

A- Pours a deep brown, nearly black, opaque body with a slowly rising light chocolate colored head that reduces slowly to a ring of foam, leaving some rings of lacing on the side of the glass.

S- Very interesting aromas on the nose.. a strong maltyness reminiscent of a mixture of molasses, soy sauce, milk chocolate, and toffee. There's a biscuity, bready aroma too.

T- Woah, way too sweet. I've never tasted a stout this sweet before.. it's like someone mixed simple syrup with an imperial stout, what's up with that? It almost tastes like the sugar fermentation process was stopped short. Getting past the syrupy, almost artificial sweet flavor, I get a little chocolate, coffee, dark fruits on the follow through. The finish is very roasty and charred which is pleasant. You also can't taste the 15% alcohol which is also very nice, but I just can't get past the EXTREME sweetness of this beer.

M- Heavy, sticky, syrupy body. Almost no carbonation.

Am I impressed with Dark Lord? Not the in the least bit. Honestly I have no clue how it gets the ratings it gets on Beeradvocate.

Is Dark Lord a huge, heavy bodied, flavor-packed, monster of a stout? I'll give it that. Just not in the best way possible.

 1,318 characters

Photo of jkball01
4.75/5  rDev +11.2%

Photo of BeerSamurai34
4.17/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I have multiple vintages of this beer, but this was actually the first time I popped one. I get the soy sauce comments. I definitely detected a lot of saltiness, but somehow I still really enjoyed it. Despite the salty notes, it was still really creamy and full of chocolate.

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Photo of jason_nwx
4.8/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of OUJayhawk1799
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of RyanTheLion13
4.47/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of younger35
4.52/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed this last year at, get this, Dark Lord Day. Yep, just stood in line for 4 hours and viola! Dark Lord. Figured this would be a nice beer to pop on Easter but now that I think of it, this was a horrible beer to open on Easter. Sorry Jesus!! Drank from my Surly Darkness snifter.

2008 version

Appearance- Pours a pitch black with a decent half finger dark brownish red head that disappears as quickly as it showed up. No cap or collar is anywhere to be had.
Smell- Loads of deep dark molasses and caramel and although they're both strong, the dark chocolate wins. Some coffee, or probably more accurately, espresso isn't as strong as you'd think but it's there. Lightly smoky and somewhat charred the fruitiness cuts in with loads of prunes, the burnt currants mentioned on the bottle and cherries. Also a bit of black licorice and alcohol.
Taste- It's like a big burnt fruity ball of licorice and molasses. Starts nice and roasted with a fair amount of sweetness that is very Port like. Tons of bourbon soaked cherries, prunes, dates, figs and any other overly ripe dark fruit you can think of. Both red and black licorice and tons of rich caramel with a touch of chocolate. Not really much in the way of coffee but I think I'm perceiving it more as the roasted character of the beer. Plenty of hops as well as a light bitterness is detectable under everything but the sweetness sort of keeps it hidden fairly well. Finishes with a dark spiciness that is roasty and toasty and lightly smoky.
Mouthfeel- Thick and rich and viscous with a hugely bold feel that is cough syrup like. Amazing how much smoother this brew got over the past year. When I popped a bottle the day I got it last year it was still big but it wasn't yet creamy and smooth. It was gritty and very raw (as is the final pour of the bottle)
Drinkability- Well all in all it's amazing how everything really comes together after a year. It's much easier drinking, although I still find myself having problems putting down an entire bomber. It's 10x better than Darkness though as the hops aren't quite so over-the-top. All in all great beer that is a treat every-now-and-again. Can't wait to grab a couple bottles of '09 in a couple weeks.

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Photo of Nolen12
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

Photo of Spider889
4.29/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by nrbw23. Review from notes.

Pours syrupy as hell. As much as I get tired of hearing Ryan describe DL as "dip spit," I suppose it actually does resemble the thick grossness that is dip spit.

That said, those properties in the appearance of an Imperial Stout are not always a bad thing. Small dark mocha head. The pour was too small to appreciate any potential lace.

The aroma is very sweet. Some vanilla and light dry oakiness comes through, I imagine that the dry, bitter black malts are responsible for this. Toffee, licorice, and char are all prominent.

This is definitely a sweet stout. While attempting to drink more than a glass or so of this might grow wearisome given the sweetness, I actually found this to be refreshingly flavorful. Many RIS's are overly dry, bitter, and chock full of grainy ash and char. Some sweetness here is a welcome change from many of the stouts I have been drinking recently.

Deep notes of molasses and burnt brown sugar give way to vanilla and a few mildly tart dark fruit characteristics.

Medium carbonation, very thick and chewy, ultimately a full-bodied RIS to be sure. Slightly hot, though at the time I remember being amazed that this beer was 15%.

Overall I liked it, and can't wait to get my hands on a bottle of my own, or at least the chance to partake in a full pour sometime.

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Photo of match1112
3.75/5  rDev -12.2%

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

this particular 2008 bottle (black wax) is a gift. i know i got another 2008 bottle from an actual trade, but this one was from the guys at three floyds (FFF) themselves. ok, so here's the story: at EBF'08, my brother and i were at both saturday sessions, but DL ran out before we could get some during the first session. so we made sure to wait in line as early as possible for session two. so we were pretty much implanted in the minds of the guys representing FFF at the table. at EBF'09, we were thus gifted a bottle of this sweet nectar for our small little act of beer geekdom from the previous year...

tasted in early/mid may 2009. poured into tulip.

midnight black. head requires vigorous pour or swirling, to create 1.5-fingers of sepia brown colored foam, w/ an orange tint. fades to a thin layer, then wisps, then just a ring. some thin rings of lace, but some fade to splotches. and even then, lace formation requires a deft touch when tilting the glass for each sip. anyway, the high appearance score is mainly for the opacity and viscosity, otherwise would've been a 4.0

(note: the dregs at the bottom of the bottle, when poured into our glasses, COAT the glass. literally like used motor oil! whoa! might even elicit a "yuck" for some people...)

aroma: rich caramel, molasses, with roast malt and notes of cocoa and coffee. hints of cherry and trace vanilla. faint mash and coffee-like acidity meet a very faint note of alcohol and booze. as it warms, it actually has reminiscences of port.

taste: rich, rich, RICH! caramel, molasses, and brown sugar meets the roast and hop bitterness, with bright cocoa and coffee tones, twinge of mash and coffee-ish acidity, into fruity acidity, more rich malts, coffee and faintly charred character in the finish, lingering with hint of dry grassiness (from hops?)

feel: velvet smooth yet viscous. unbelievable. creamy. the thickest beer i've ever drank! yet still smooth and also complex with some astringent coffee tones in the finish. mild to moderate carbonation only helps to accentuate all the smooth and creamy tones. wow.

(note: the feel of the dregs is reaaallly viscous! sticky, and *almost* hard to swallow! my brother was ambivalent about this, but i was like, "woo hoo!")

okay, let's be honest about the drinkability though... a full bomber of this all on my own would kill me...

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Photo of brians52
4.75/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Cath
3.9/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of phishbone23
4.75/5  rDev +11.2%

Photo of PrestigeWorldwide
4.37/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of browniewithnuts
4/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of kimcgolf
4.18/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had a bomber of the 2008 version. Very complex aroma of chocolate, toffee, coffee, licorice and malty dark fruits intermingling together....with the alcohol weighing into the nose for effect. Poured pitch black with a dark brown head that lingered well and left good lacing on the glass. Mouthfeel was bready and chewy, and the taste was a virtual copy of the nose, with each sip accentuating a different blend of flavors. Finish was heavy, long lasting and warming, which was perfect on this cold winter's night.

I'm not a big fan of Impy Stouts, but this beer lived up to its hype.

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Photo of t8dd
5/5  rDev +17.1%

Photo of roadhouse
4.63/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber into a brandy snifter

2009 vintage, white wax

Pours a very dark black color with a half inch dark tan head that falls to a skim rather quickly. Super viscous. Not much in the way of retention with this one, but it doesn't matter. Some spotty lacing.

Aroma has a strong molasses component, some coffee and chocolate. A fairly strong alcohol whiff. Really quite underwhelming compared to some other Imperial Stouts.

Taste is another story. Very sweet up front with heavy molasses flavors. Some chocolate covered raisin dark fruit character. A bit of cherry like fruitiness. Coffee flavors come in towards the finish with some slightly astringent roast. Heavenly.

Mouthfeel is super thick and super smooth. So creamy it's kind of like drinking a milkshake, in a good way.

I had this at a Three Floyds dinner in January, but they served it at the end of the dinner after 13 other beers, so I was in no state to taste it properly. I had it on-tap at Dark Lord Day, but I had tried thirty or so different beers before that. Again, not in a state to taste it. I have three bottles from DLD this year so I decided I needed to try one fresh with a clean palate. I was not let down. Of all the beers I've had that are hyped up, this is one that truly lives up to it. The taste is unlike anything that I've ever tasted. I wish I had more, I could drink this all day.

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Photo of steve8robin
4.49/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Opened an '07 on New Year's Eve 2009...

A: Pitch black with no head and mocha colored lace around the rim.

S: Smells awesomely complex! Very boozy upfront with almost a raisin bread scent. Malty chocolateness hides in the background.

T: Very boozy upfront with a strong raisin flavor following quickly behind. Backend is of chocolate. This almost has a wine taste to it. Very complex and tasty! Almost like a vodka flavor mixed in. Very interesting.

M: Good mouthfeel. A hint too much carbonation.

D: Very good with a hint too much booziness upfront so it goes down a touch harder than expected.

All in all, this is an incredible example of a Russian Imperial Stout. Very smooth and incredibly complex. Glad I got to try this one. I imagine even a few more years of aging would make this perfect!

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Photo of coldmeat23
4.87/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: approx 45 - 50 degrees
VINTAGE 2009 (Had @ DLD)
My review #250!

Very black, as would be expected. About one-fingers worth of a dark brown head of foam. Dissipates to nothing after a minute or two. Lacing is not really anything to speak of, but this brew COATS the side of the glass, like an oil slick. Seriously, it looks like the glass is stained with a dark brown, almost black, rinse.

F-in' complex. That's the best way to describe this nose.
Huge notes of chocolate covered chocolate brownies. Lots of big, bold, dark fruit notes. Big presence of roasted coffee. Big, dark, sweet, roasted malt notes. Nice raisin presence. Hints of molasses. A touch of vanilla and a slight smokiness. A nice touch of hops.
The best/worst part of this nose is that everytime I give it the slightest of swirls I pick up some other scent.

Taste definitely follows the nose, here. The chocolate flavors are so intense, in a truly delicious way, it's like a fudge covered brownie in a glass. Then there is the coffee presence, which is bold enough that if the chocolate weren't there it would probably ruin this brew. As it is though, they play nicely with each other, sometimes letting each other take a tiny step, front and center, but mostly combining to become a wonderful, sweet, coffee-mocha blend.
Tons of wonderfully ripened dark fruits are in this glass. Light-ish notes of brown sugars. Wonderful roasted malt presence.
The taste is also quite complex. The good part is that no single element overpowers the others. They all combine their presence to become some beautifully tasty nectar.

This is truly where Dark Lord shines and gets seperated from every other beer out there. I would rate the mouthfeel with a 7, if I could. It's beyond the scale.
Yes, it's full-bodied. It is thick. It is oily. It is the definition of viscous. Yet, at the same time, it is smooth and creamy beyond anything I'd imagined. It is truly 'lush'. It's beyond velvety.

Drinkability is also exceptional. The only negative would be the 13%ABV contained within. Even at that high rate of alcohol, though, I only detect the slightest trace of warming sensation. It is very well hidden.
This one is a little bit of a mess, right now, flavorwise. I can only imagine how good it's going to taste with some cellaring time on it, when it smooths out. Hopefully, I can leave a couple of bottles alone long enough to find that out.
This one, IMO, is truly worthy of the hype that it receives. As far as my palate goes, Dark Lord is damn near "Perfect".

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Photo of jkane101
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of ObeMaltKinobee
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%

Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.27 out of 5 with 4,293 ratings
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