Dark Lord Imperial Stout | 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

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95
world-class
4,281 Ratings
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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
Green with silver glitter = 2017 - New Label

Added by cretemixer on 12-13-2002

BEER STATS
Ratings:
4,281
Reviews:
1,287
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
14.49%
 
 
Wants:
3,215
Gots:
2,099
For Trade:
199
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,281 |  Reviews: 1,287
Photo of largadeer
3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2007 vintage with silver wax.

Appearance - Oily and black with no head whatsoever. The occasional rising bubble settles on the surface for a moment, giving the appearance of a bubbling tar pit. Although there's no lace, the beer does coat the glass in an oily residue.

Smell - Sweet and rich. Molasses, coffee and milk chocolate come to mind, with undertones of vanilla and raisins.

Taste - Mellower than I was expecting and actually downright pleasant. Flavors of licorice, molasses, vanilla and coffee blend together harmoniously, presenting enough complexity to make this an enjoyable beer to sip for several hours. The finish is long and coating, leaving a roasted bitterness on the palate. No noticeable alcohol despite the rather high ABV; the sweet, rich flavors seem to overpower its presence.

Mouthfeel - Thick; absurdly thick. Dark Lord gave me a new standard for the term "full-bodied." This beer literally has the consistency of whole milk. Carbonation is nearly non-existent and never really felt, which only contributes further to the chewy mouthfeel.

Drinkability - The massive mouthfeel, while probably the beer's greatest attribute, also makes it difficult to drink both frequently and in large quantities - I'd have a hard time finishing a bottle by myself.

 1,280 characters

Photo of zestar
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

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

I have no idea why I haven't rated this yet. I have had it quite a few times already, but never bothered to review it.

So, I am going to review the 2008 version on tap at the Great Taste 2010. I had multiple pours of this one because it was worth it. I also had the 2007 an hour later and preferred the 2008 to it.

Pours a dark tan head/brown head with some nice retention. Color is oil black.

Aroma: Creamy flavors, chocolate, caramel, and some sweetness. A ton of malt flavors here. No hops really showing.

Taste: Dark chocolate, milky/cream flavors, roasted malts and coffee, dark fruits/molasses. Very, very rich.

Mouthfeel: Very cream, rich, and smooth. Full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends rich and roasted.

Overall, Dark Lord is one amazing stout. It has a lot of great flavors and deserves to be near the top. I am glad I have been able to try multiple years of this one as the beer does vary, but still are great.

 945 characters

Photo of olradetbalder
4/5  rDev -6.5%

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

Note: I've had this bottle for quite some time and never really got around to reviewing it because I just didn't believe the hype.... well, trust me, you can believe the hype! It's remarkable!

It pours a stunningly dark black body beneath a huge head of creamy dark brown foam that eventually drops, but still maintains a wide, creamy collar and almost complete surface covering until halfway through the glass (which can be a very long time). Additionally, the lacing could be a bit better, but for a beer of 13% there's not much more than you can ask of this.

The nose expresses sticky sweet, dried dark fruit; some typical "burnt currant"; lightly spiced cookies with ginger and cinnamon (probably due to its alcohol); ...alcohol; a nip of black licorice; and some dark and sweet mocha java.

In the mouth it's quite full bodied and viscous... passingly amazingly smoothly, but still more like motor oil than anything creamy.

The flavor is more intense than the nose suggests with dripping, juicy fruit (red and dark); toasty caramel-drizzled oatmeal cookies; chocolate; molasses; and leafy hops. It finishes semi-sweet but not cloying (despite its girth); with quick passing notes of fruit and chocolate that fade to caramel, chicory, honey, coffee, and then lingering wet tobacco.

I intitially thought that the drinkability of this was hindered by its intensity, but I've change my mind on that. As you progress through the glass, it warms and changes and becomes more complex. It's a sipper, not unlike a Sam Adams Triple Bock or Dogfish Head World Wide Stout; and as such, it has a great drinkability.

 1,622 characters

Photo of Kurmaraja
3/5  rDev -29.9%

Photo of chinchill
4.41/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Shared 2008 bomber with a black wax finish in July 2016.
Dark thick motor oil appearance with a fine light brown head.
Rich deep flavor with moderate-high sweetness.
Dark roasted grains and a modicum of hops kick in eventually in the aftertaste to cut the bitterness, leaving an excellent dark roasted grain flavor.

 315 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at DLD 2009.

A: Very, very dark with a small dark head.

S: Lots going on here, with pretty much everything dark in this one--chocolate, coffee, molasses, dark fruits. Some very mild touches of vanilla.

T: Very, very complex. The fresh version isn't quite as complex and delicious as aged. I also had a sample of the '08 Dark Lord, and that one definitely would get a 5.0 on the taste scale. This one is still beyond excellent, however. All of the tastes are similar to the smell, and simply envelop the palate with goodness.

M: Very, very smooth. Almost no carbonation, and barely a hint that this thing is 13% abv.

D: Incredible. Definitely got my freebies with the golden tickets. Hats off to Three Floyds for an absolutely incredible beer. It was my first DLD, and I plan on going back every year from here on out.

EDIT: Not changing the original scores but a few notes. Opened up my first 2010 Dark Lord on 11.20.2010. The initial smell was a bit smokey to me and not nearly as sweet as the 2009. Strangely enough, we also opened a Batch 9000, which resembled the 2009 DL more so than this beer did. The 2010 DL also had some faint chocolate, but not really any of the sweet sherry-type notes of the 2009.

 1,222 characters

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

Had this as part of the Central New England BA meetup #1.

A: No head for this, it's a headless pile of dark ooze. It's thicker than the thickest thing I can remember. Super catastrophically pitch black, its a technical term.

N: Tons of malts and raisin. Some roast and chocolate follow. I think theres a bit of black patent malt as well. The heaviness doesn't seem to want to come out of the glass as the aroma itself weighs a ton. When I swirl it a little aroma comes out and it seems to glob together like T-1000 after he gets frozen and melted. Some sweetness and bourbon, as well as a little vanilla and oak.

T: Wow, super thick and sweet! Lots of sweet malts, caramel, and brown sugar. Tons of raisin to go with it. Then the bourbon just takes over. Lots of oak and bourbon, as well as some fruity flavors from the bourbon. More molasses, some heat and boozy flavors, thick and creamy. It's actually kinda hot with booze. More raisin in case I didn't mention that yet.

M: Thicker than liquid metal, no carbonation at all.

F: Sticks all over the mouth and weighs it down so much that my tongue almost wants to fall off. The tons of raisin, brown sugar, malts, bourbon, and oak really just take over and never go away. It's also still really sweet all the time. A little too sweet if you ask me. A little more chocolate and roast follow late as well.

Again an amazing stout and 3F nails it on the head. Th eonly complaint is that it is a little too sweet. The taste and heaviness is awesome otherwise. This reminds me a lot of Black Tuesday with a little less booze, a little less sweetness (surprisingly, not sure how I even managed the BT), and less bourbon.

 1,670 characters

Photo of nickfl
4/5  rDev -6.5%

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

2007 release, acquired from grub courtesy of the Birthday Club 2 BIF, so a big "Thank you" goes out to him. Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark black color, with a thin brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of dark robust roasted malts, dark fruit, chocolate and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste is everything you look for in an RIS. The semi-sweet flavor of dark chocolate is complemented by mild flavors of dark fruit and coffee. The malt character is as hearty as you will find and there's a mild hops presence that is enough bring a good balance. There's absolutely no trace of the 13.00% ABV. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Viscous and extremely smooth, heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, sticky finish.

D: Very tasty and flavorful, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling for such a thick beer, very strong kick, excellent representation of style, this is a tremendous beer that is worth all of the hype it has received.

 1,041 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle share in Hoboken, NJ.

2011 Vintage.

A: Pours an opaque midnight black in color. The beer has a very thin dark tan head that quickly reduces to nothing. There is no lacing observed with this beer.

S: There are aromas of cocoa, vanilla, bourbon, caramel, and milk chocolate. A very nice complexity to the aroma of this beer. Some dark fruit sweetness from the plum/dark cherries and just the slightest hint of soy.

T: The flavor of this beer is quite interesting with a good amount of sweetness. There is some definite dark fruit, plum and dark cherries, contributing to the sweetness upfront. After that, the flavors of the vanilla, bourbon, chocolate, and caramel come through next. After that, there is a slightly unpleasant soy sauce taste that comes and then goes. Finally, the finish of this beer is a little of bitter chocolate.

M: On the lighter side of full bodied with light amounts of carbonation. A little thinner than I desired.

O: Very enjoyable and I'm glad that I had the opportunity to try this one. Maybe a little more highly rated that I expected after tasting it but definitely a good beer. I found the hints of soy sauce a little unpleasant but otherwise the complexity of the flavor/smell was great.

 1,232 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
4/5  rDev -6.5%

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

2007 silver wax topped bomber into a Duvel Tulip. Special thanks to Deuane for the hook up on this.

Pours an inky motor oil black with a finger width of burnt tan colored foam. There is almost zero head retention though, as it quickly fizzles out into a thin outside ring and then finally nothing. Just a calm, reflective surface of pitch black. This guy retains in a very different way however, as with each sip he leaves a viscous brown oily residue on the side of the glass, the likes of which I have never seen from another beer. I also have to mention the sediment that was left in the bottom of the bottle. Actually I don't know if sediment is even the right word for it, as it poured out in the glass more like Hersheys Chocolate Syrup and stayed suspended in there for a good bit. This beer just appears beefy and mean and looks like it means serious business. Just awesome looking appearance! The aroma is a huge, and I mean huge nose, of everything that is right about a RIS. Dark chocolate sweetness, burnt coffee, espresso notes, dark fruits, and just a shot of alcohol, the more it warms. I could sit here and sniff this for a good half hour before even taking a sip.

The taste of this brute matches the aroma profile almost to a tee. Chocolate sweetness dominates but once again up rears very pronounced accents of coffee and espresso mixed with dark fruits. It finishes with a combo of burnt bitterness and a warming heat that lingers long after it's left your mouth. The mouthfeel of this beer is like nothing else that I have ever felt, with a monstrously thick and viscous feel that coats the entire mouth. To be honest, as impressed as I am with the body, it also presents my only complaint with the beer, as it's so beefy, it actually helps detract from trying to sense its taste sometimes. Heat is present in each sip but it compliments rather than hinders, adding some much needed warmth to an already awesome feel.

Wow, if ever a beer's name matched its personality, it's the Dark Lord. From its appearance, to its taste, to its body, this is just one dark, angry, powerful mother of a beer that takes what is capable in an RIS to a whole new level. While definitely a steady sipper, it's still an unforgettable beer drinking experience.

 2,266 characters

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of Rifugium
3.9/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First had: '09 vintage shared at a Dec. '12 Philly suburbs bottle share.

I've been sitting on a '11 bottle for a while, but someone was nice enough to bring a '09 to the bottles share, so thanks. As I suspected, this is nothing more than another grossly over-hyped beer that just gets super high ratings because of its rarity. Is it good? Yes, but in the end, it's just a pretty typical imperial stout.

Dark, opaque, black pour, with a small brown head that sank to a ringlet. In the nose, dark roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, a touch of licorice and/or anise. More of the same in the taste, dark malt sweetness, semi-sweet chocolate, roasted coffee notes, mild dark fruits, hints of molasses and licorice. Meh. I mean it's a good stout, but what makes it so special, other than rarity and a high price tag? Body is on the heavier side of medium, chewy mouthfeel, and a bit chalky. Overall it's pretty good, and I'm glad I have a bottle sitting in the cellar, but I definitely wouldn't go hunting anymore down.

This is a nice basic RIS. Certainly not good enough to have a day named after it though.

 1,117 characters

Photo of nathanmiller
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%

Photo of Ciocanelu
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of XmnwildX12
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of billab914
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2009 vintage poured from a 22oz bottle into my Portsmouth tulip. It poured thick and pitch black, with a thin, spotty head scattered across the top of the beer. The thin head it started with disappeared not long after.

The aroma has a lot of dark chocolate coming through. I get a moderate fruity quality to it with some cherry and maybe a hint of raspberry. Some very moderate roasty and coffee flavors are there, but they are pretty light for such a big RIS. Some alcohol comes through as well.

The taste shows a lot of the dark, bitter-sweet chocolate to it throughout the flavor. Midway, I get some dark fruits coming through with some cherry to it. Some roasty flavors come out in the finish, along with some alcohol heat. It gets a pretty sweet in the finish overall, a little more of a roasty, bitterness would have put it over the top for me.

It's definitely one of the thickest beers I've ever had. Carbonation is on the lower side as well, which I really like in big RIS's. I love the mouthfeel on this beer, probably my favorite part of it.

Drinkability is good, it has some very nice and bold flavors to it. It's a very big beer with some big flavors. I really enjoyed sipping on it this evening. A very good beer overall.

 1,242 characters

Photo of dcmchew
4.59/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of mendvicdog
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

OK so this is a dual review comparing the 2012 and 2010 bottles I have had recently.

2012 has a much more intense smell, alcohol burn, and overall flavor. 2012 just seemed to have so many different flavors hitting you at different times throughout the sip. It just seemed magical almost.

2010 was much more creamy with a more subdued flavoring, but still very good, much more similar to a CC Zhukov than the 2012.

Both are great, but the 2012 version is much better in my opinion. Maybe I just prefer fresh Dark Lord.

Edit: Have had 2009 and 2011 recently. While the beer smells amazing and has great mouthfeel, the taste is a little lacking.

 646 characters

Photo of vfgccp
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of atrocity
2.75/5  rDev -35.7%

Photo of russpowell
4.81/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This came as an EXTRA from Melbatoast93, cheers & cheers again Hart! Got this last summer, so 08 Vintage, says so on the bottle

Decanted into my La chouffe tulip, pours pitch black with a 1.5 fingers of cocoa colored head. Average head retention & very good lacing, a brown film shades out much of the upper glass

S: Dark chocolate, rum raisin & a touch of leafy hops

T: Dark & bitter chcolate, prunes, oaky dryness & a bit of charred grain & leafy hops up front. Dryness dominates as this warms, along with some chocolate covered dates, plums & a touch of molasses, getting better as it warms. Finishes oh. so dry, with mocha, molasses, iron, boozey coffee, dates & plums

MF: Oily, slick, but some noticeable carbonation here. Nice chewyness & stickyness as this warms, then nice a great warming sensation & luxurious silkyness

ABV is well hidden, upper echelon RIS to be sure, a few I've had just as good are just as good, but only a few. The dryness does slow me down a little, but otherwise, going down great on a cold, snowy Colorado evening!

 1,052 characters

Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
4.28 out of 5 based on 4,281 ratings.
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