Dark Lord vs. Darkness

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by VeganUndead, Feb 17, 2013.


Which did you prefer Three Floyds Dark Lord or Surly Darkness?

  1. Dark Lord

  2. Darkness

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  1. bamadog

    bamadog Meyvn (1,253) Oct 21, 2008 Ohio

    If you ever had the chance to try to the '08, you would not question it anymore. That vintage alone is worth the hype. Anything beyond that, yes, I agree, disappointing.
  2. The_Birdman

    The_Birdman Initiate (0) Dec 14, 2012

    IMO, every Darklord vintage that I have tried are better after cellaring for at least a year. It really needs some time to mellow out-its just not that great when its first released-too green. Give it some time and it will improve!
  3. KarlHungus

    KarlHungus Poo-Bah (3,012) Feb 19, 2005 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    I know that a lot of people here think that variations among limited release beers that are the same recipe year-to-year are fun, but it tells me that the brewer does not have control over the beer they make. If the recipe is the same every year the beer should taste the same. I've had Darkness every year since 2006, and it has consistently had the same great taste. I've only had 08 and 10 Dark Lord, and they tasted nothing like each other. The 08 was too hoppy to be enjoyed as a stout, and the 10 was too cloying to be enjoyed as anything. I'm not sure if Three Floyds is trying to produce different versions of Dark Lord every year, or if they simply don't have the skill to produce it consistently. With that said, I will continue drinking Darkness every winter, and passing on Dark Lord.
  4. biglobo8971

    biglobo8971 Devotee (481) May 6, 2010 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    for someone who has done an 07- current year for the last 2 years (will do a 3rd this year) of Darkness, and someone who trade a ton of beer for 06-11 Dark Lord and have been to DLD for the last 2 years and Darkness Day for the last 4. I prefer them both. I prefer Dark Lord when I want an over sweet stout that has hints of dark fruit (fig) and burnt sugar and I choose Darkness for the (what did Todd focus on this year)'ness. Dark Lord to me has always been a sweet beer. Darkness has always been different year to year, for example, this year had a lot of cocoa/chocolate flavor with very little hop flavor to it. 2008? Still has hop character to it. So which one do I pick, depends on the day. And right now, I choose Woodford Reserve with 2 ice cubes.
    gpawned, DrGonzoDDS and corby112 like this.
  5. EJLinneman

    EJLinneman Aspirant (226) Mar 2, 2009 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I tried Darkness last year for the first time on tap at Churchkey in DC and I wasn't very blown away. I felt the same way about Dark Lord too though. There are plenty of imperial stouts that I'd chose over both of them.
    gpawned likes this.
  6. shutyourface

    shutyourface Initiate (0) Aug 24, 2010 New York

    I find them both FANTASTIC...... to TRADE :-)
  7. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (12,446) Mar 18, 2010 California

  8. BrianTheBrewer30

    BrianTheBrewer30 Aspirant (211) Nov 17, 2009 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    This thread is a joke right?

  9. AleWatcher

    AleWatcher Initiate (0) Jan 25, 2009 Illinois

    Judging Darklord by drinking a 2012 vintage is like drinking an 09 Abyss and hating on it.

    Perhaps a bad example because Abyss fucking sucks every year but 09 was especially unpleasant with the infection.

    2011 DL was fantastic fresh. Last I had one it was good, but not as good as fresh. I'd say it was in an awkward phase-- the coffee faded out but the malts haven't matured fully.
    Currently 09 is outstanding.

    I have enjoyed darkness many times, and I will say that Darkness is consistantly better FRESH than DL... but DL ages much better.
    gpawned likes this.
  10. hannydawg

    hannydawg Initiate (0) Apr 4, 2010 Illinois

    I cannot drink Dark Lord. Ask my friends on here, have tried many times. Darkness is an average RIS, but there are many on the shelf of my local that are better IMHO.
    gpawned likes this.
  11. DrGonzoDDS

    DrGonzoDDS Initiate (0) Mar 7, 2010 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    If you can't decide, just drink a Baller Stout and call it a day.
    FUNKPhD likes this.
  12. GeezLynn

    GeezLynn Champion (856) May 10, 2009 Colorado

    :astonished: Still waiting for the punch line here.....
  13. harrymel

    harrymel Initiate (0) Dec 15, 2010 Washington

    I've NEVER had Darkness, but I know the answer will NEVER be Dark Lord in a question of this format.
    draheim likes this.
  14. Jeffo

    Jeffo Poo-Bah (2,761) Sep 7, 2008 Netherlands

    Dark Lord seems to change every year. I found the 2010 impressive out of the gate, but the 2011 was more challenging and the 2012 absolutely disgusting. We had a 2008 a while back that was pretty nice after all these years.

    I would venture a guess that the only reason Dark Lord has such a high score is that it is a relatively easy limited-release to get and it has plenty of hype, so lots of newcommers get at it early in their drinking career. This might explain why I find it worse every year; when you've got more to compare it to, you realize how lousy it actually is.

    Darkness, on the other hand, seems to be more consistent. Every year it's relatively good, with a strong hop profile, out of the gate, but seems to sweeten horribly over the next year or two. I found 2010, 2011 and 2012 all good fresh, but a little rough going after a year on them. Strangely enough, during a 2012 - 2008 vertical, the fresh one was the best, but the 2008 was the nicest vintage. The other two asked a lot of me.

    In the end, these are both beers that are relatively easy to come by and many craft beer enthusiasts get to try them early on before they've got any real exeprience and can see through the hype. I am also guilty of this, as my reviews are very old and probably not accurate any more. Then again, some vets just love them, and that's understandable as well. For me, I will have to re-review with fresh vintages when I get the chance.

  15. 2BDChicago

    2BDChicago Aspirant (256) Nov 21, 2010 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Ok, I'm not done.....

    Chicago Tribune February 19, 2013
    The James Beard Foundation Awards, the lavish, annual tip-of-the-cap to chefs and restaurants, announced its semifinalist list for 2013. It's arguably the highest honor in the American culinary field....
    Brothers Nick and Simon Floyd, and their father Mike, founders of Munster’s Three Floyds Brewing, are semifinalists in the Outstanding Wine, Spirits & Beer Professional category.
  16. DovaliHops

    DovaliHops Initiate (0) Nov 16, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    Only had 2009 Dark Lord. Just did a 2008-2012 Darkness vertical yesterday. I found that every year of Darkness tasted better than the 2009 Dark Lord I had.
  17. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Meyvn (1,167) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    This means what in the context of this conversation? This is a huge honor for Three Floyds but it does not mean they cannot make some awful beer. Dark Lord is still a bad beer in my opinion but my opinion of the brewery is not based off of Dark Lord.
    gpawned likes this.
  18. madvike

    madvike Initiate (0) Sep 11, 2009 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    I've had 05-11 Dark Lord and 08-11Darkness. For me, Darkness wins hands down, especially the hoppy 09 vintage when fresh.
  19. djrn2

    djrn2 Poo-Bah (1,958) Nov 4, 2009 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Did a 11 DL and 12 Darkness over the weekend. Darkness was way better I thought. Even with almost 2 years on the DL it was still boozy and super sweet.
  20. FUNKPhD

    FUNKPhD Initiate (0) Apr 13, 2010 Texas
    Beer Trader

    He's just a homer, and thinks that because people don't like one beer, from one brewery, one that he frequents, he has to prove that they're not bad.

    I'm not sure why he took something on the interwebz so personal.
    gpawned likes this.
  21. Thickfreakness

    Thickfreakness Initiate (0) Oct 2, 2010 New York

    These are two completely different styles of RIS/American Imperial. One is sweet/soy/brown sugar/dark dried fruit... and the other is hoppy and full of charred wood/cocoa/coffee. There is also a 5% ABV difference in the two. That's HUGE! Comparing these two RIS' isn't apples to apples... it's apples and assholes. Both taste very different. It's like comparing Chuck Berry and Pink Floyd. Both are excellent at what they do... just completely different versions of something similar.
  22. sprucetip

    sprucetip Initiate (0) Nov 13, 2007 Alaska

    I am not into Dark Lord, but I suppose I could try again sometime. But I don't feel compelled to. But I loves me some Darkness!
  23. gpawned

    gpawned Initiate (0) Jun 5, 2012 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    I don't know how a barrel fixes it, but it certainly does. Science is crazy.

    Yes it is ridiculous and incredibly entertaining. I too am a Chicagoan (living out of town for a year, though) and I'm a huge fan of a number of FFF beers...but Dark Load isn't one of them. I worked so hard to finally try DL and Darkness this year for the first time and unexpectedly ended up trying DL 10-12, Baller, Murda'd Out, BADL, and Darkness 09-12.

    DL '12 was such a disappointment. I couldn't bring myself to drain pour it, but I wanted to. I tried to get friends to help and no one got past a sip. I got to try it again in Nov and Jan and each time it was slightly better, but still terrible. If you love port wine, I can see how someone would like some of the characteristics...but I found the apple flavor to be really unpleasant and it was so sticky sweet.

    DL '11 was somewhat better, but still not enough to want to finish my taster of it.

    DL '10 and BADL were both delicious. I was shocked that '10 was so good.

    I also didn't really enjoy Baller that much, but Murda'd was nice. Not $50 nice, but nice.

    I was also unimpressed with Darkness '12 and '11. But '10 at least resembled the previous years. '10 and '09 were both very tasty.

    While I will gladly attend both Darkness and Dark Lord Days...those particular beers are of small importance to me compared to the events themselves.

    It is widely established that people find both of these beers more desirable with age on them...especially more recent vintages of DL...maybe some people like to stick them in a cellar for a couple years until they are actually good. (Just one more explanation).
  24. seplo

    seplo Aspirant (271) Sep 8, 2009 Connecticut
    Beer Trader

    Imperial Stouts are one of my top two styles. That being said I personally don't like either one of them, to me I think they're both to sweet for my liking BUT if I had to pick I'd go with Darkness....CHEERS
    gpawned likes this.
  25. barleywinefiend

    barleywinefiend Initiate (0) Nov 22, 2007 Washington

    We killed a mini Darkness vert two weeks ago (2010, 2011 and 2012) and had a 2012 DL present. No contest, Darkness.
    gpawned likes this.
  26. nben60

    nben60 Initiate (0) May 30, 2011 Indiana

    I tried 12 dark lord and 12 darkness at the same time, and I would take darkness. I like dark lord, but its hard to compare these 2 beers, because they are so different. I would prefer darkness with dinner and dark lord for dessert. I think it is unfair to call dark lord a drain pour. I don't think I can drink a whole bottle of dark lord, but if I got like a 4oz pour I would gladly drink it all. If you were handed a 4 oz pour without knowing it was dark lord, would you finish it or pour it out? I feel most people would finish it. Also if it was on tap year round at a small unknown brewery, would it sell? I think it would. There is a high expectation for FFF beer, and dark lord is good but doesn't live up to that expectation. I also think people hate on dark lord or FFF because they can't get it, and when they do get it, they are expecting an orgasm in a bottle, which leaves them unsatisfied. Dark lord and darkness are both great stouts, but I have had much better and much worse stouts.
  27. gpawned

    gpawned Initiate (0) Jun 5, 2012 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    There is something to this managing expectations thing...

    Try Dark Lord '12 for first time expecting it to be amazing. Hate it. Debate pouring it out. Cry on the inside.
    Try Dark Lord '12 for the second time expecting it to be awful. Hate it...but slightly less. Fool me once...
    Try Dark Lord '12 for the third time, purely as an experiment knowing it is going to be horrible. Eh. Yeah, still bad but it no longer makes you want to cry.
  28. jgluck

    jgluck Initiate (0) Apr 19, 2012 California

    I have pretty regular access to Alpine year round bombers (such as fresh-from-the-truck, Nelson and Duet), so if anyone reading this is interested in trading a few Alpine bombers for any vintage of DL, please PM me.

    I've only had the '10 DL recently (which I found fantastic), but I would love to try the 11 or 12, even if they are overly sweet. I would gladly make this part of a larger trade.
  29. stealth

    stealth Zealot (508) Dec 16, 2011 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    I've only had Darkness '11 and '12, both on tap and bottled. I've disliked every pour I've had to a great extent. I can feel cavities forming as I try to drink it. Just too sweet for me. I haven't had DL at all, but hear it's sweeter thank Darkness? F' that.

    I would still like to try the older vintages of both, which I hear aren't as sweet...maybe I would like those.
  30. Grohnke

    Grohnke Initiate (0) Sep 15, 2009 Illinois

    Its hilarious that one could say that NOT drainpouring a DL is due to an unsophisticated palate or drinks it simply because they really dont have access to FFF.

    My point is is that your comment is ridiculous man. FD: I have drain poured a DL into my dads garden and I have enjoyed a DL too. I have plenty access to FFF and quite frankly, i dont believe my palate is "unsophisticated". And honestly, I wish i did consider it unsophisticated so i could just say "hey buddy, yea I dumped the beer - it sucked and I didnt like it. Big deal"

    My other point is - dont attempt to attack someone for their preference in beer. Its not worth it man, lets all just be happy and say "oh damn dude, you drainpoured a DL?! i would have taken it, i love that beer!!" rather "Your palate sucks and is why you drainpoured it"

    Cheers dude
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