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Beer Information
Average Review High Score Low Score Reviews Tried Consumed
86 96 72 13 70 67
Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout by Three Floyds Brewing LLC
Russian Imperial Stout
15.00 % ABV

A Demonic Imperial Russian stout brewed with INTELLIGENTSIA coffee,vanilla, and molasses.

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 

Latest news for Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout
Three Floyds Dark Lord Day 2012 Ticket Information
Review by James Kitchens on 10/30/11  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
90 3 10 18 5 9 2007
2007 bottle of Dark Lord, having it while we carve pumpkins. Have to say that this one has held up very well with 4 years in the cellar. It's a bit boozy, but the sugars are still very apparent. Simply gets better with some age.

Served In: Pint Glass

Review by joe1510 on 02/16/10  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
72 3 8 14 4 7 2008
22oz Bomber

2008 Vintage
Black Wax

Yet another world class brew received from hoppymeal, thanks again Derek! Dark Lord's body is as black as the soul of the beast. Don't even think about any ray of light coming forth from the body. The mocha brown head was nothing but a swirling until I lifted the bottle about a foot from the glass and managed to coax up a one finger head that never moved. Each drink taken left behind thin sheet lacing stuck to the glass. This is one impressive looking stout.

The smell of this beer is gigantic and unfortunately seems to be a little cluttered. All the aromas would work well with one or two brethren but this beer sports so many robust smells that it overwhelms the nose. Actually as this beer steps closer to room temp things seem to smooth out. Honey, blackstrap molasses, brown sugar, and vanilla all come around at one time or another in that order of intensity. A tendril of smoked meats rises through the air. All of these aromas are over the top of a solid dark berry presence, blackberry first and foremost. This blackberry is then over the top of a big dense roasty maltiness. Hell there's even a slight vinous aroma flashing here and there.

The flavor follows the aroma very closely. There are some different points here and there but for the most part it's very similar. The components come together much better in the mouth then I figured they would from the aroma. The dark berriness comes through first in the flavor, over the top of the roastiness of course. Mid palate come all of those adjuncts I listed in the aroma. The order of intensity is a little different in the mouth then in the nose. Blackstrap molasses, dark brown sugar, honey and vanilla keep it coming. There is a massive load of hops in this brew as well. I can't pick out the hop flavors because of all the other dominating flavors but the bitterness is there without a doubt. This is a massively complex stout that walks the fine line between being a clusterfuck and being a greatly complex masterpiece. Luckily it leans toward the latter.

The mouthfeel is all at once thick, viscous, rich, warm, bold, and bitter. There's a slick oiliness to the body that leaves a film on the tongue and cheeks. For such a giant brew the alcohol is barely noticeable but for a little heat on the swallow. The oil slick left behind invades every nook and cranny causing the aftertaste to last forever.

This is a beer that demands to be sipped and savored. There is no other way it can possibly be done. The drinkability is hampered by this fact but it is enjoyable to drink none the less. I can't seem to get enough of the unfolding complexity.

Whether you think Dark Lord deserves the accolades it gets or not you must admit this is a hugely complex beer. It is big and bold and hard to touch in that department. Dark Lord is a huge beer that needs to be respected. I have to give a big "Thank you" to Derek for sending me a bottle of this since I couldn't make the release this year. Thanks Derek!

Reviewed: 7/17/08

Served In: Snifter

Review by mr. furley on 03/21/09  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
82 2 10 18 3 8 2007
first crack at this one. heard a lot of complaining about various vintages... the sludge.. too hot, etc.

aside from being basically flat, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this beer. it's pretty damned tasty. very busy beer. lots of different flavors hit in waves. has the beginnings of ST Choklat, middle of a dark almost sour fruit and finishes dry with a roasted chocolate flavor.

big fan of this beer. dunno how it compares to other vintages but i like this one just fine.

not the best RIS i've had but in the conversation.

Price: $15.00 Served In: Snifter

Review by tjthresh on 07/30/08  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
86 3 10 17 5 8 2005
Pours black with a moussey brown head. The heads has some kick ass red tones. Tons of lace. The aroma is full of molasses, vanilla, dried dark fruits, winey alcohol, and cherry cough syrup. Sweet malts, abur sufficenlty bitter. Grape juice, burnt steak, and dried cherries. Meaty thick, coating, and warming. What a huge beer. I’m not a real fan of the Russian style of imperial stout. I tend to enjoy the American versions, but this is damn good.

Served In: Bottle

Review by seaoflament on 05/23/08  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
80 2 9 17 4 8 2007
Thanks to hoppymeal for sending me this as an extra! Now I finally have one to review. This is a 07 (silver wax) vintage.

The Dark Lord pours very dark and viscous, minimal to no head on this one and almost looks flat after 30sec. The beer leaves some oily trails on the glass when I stir it.

I got a whiff of coffee as soon as I started taking off the cap. Then after pouring I pick up a rich dark fruit aroma with bitter chocolate, molasses, brown sugar, some vanilla, oak, sweet raisins, and hints of cherries from the alcohol. It definitely smells like a big beer. Ha, my friend just came in and I gave him the glass and he said it smelled and tasted like “something you cook with” and I said “Soy sauce?” “Yeah that!” He didn’t like it very much…but he’s not the one reviewing. As the beer warms up in the glass it seems that the aromas become mellower and unified; there is a lot of chocolate, vanilla, burnt caramel, and some oakiness near the back. The aroma reminds me of Oggi’s- Witch Doctor but not as good as the Doctor. I’ll give my friend a little credit as there is a hint of soy sauce in it along with various dark fruits (figs, dates, plums). After a few minutes of just smelling the beer, without taking a sip yet, I pick up the weird green olive aroma I’ve encountered in a couple RIS. Now, I love green olives but it just doesn’t seem like a good combo with a RIS.

The taste is a little tangy at first, don’t dig that too much, but the finish is very tasty. There’s chocolate, cocoa, vanilla, cookies, and oak in the second part of the sip. It has a weird start that I can’t but my finger…eh tongue on, it’s like a sweet soy sauce flavor. I’m also getting some chocolate-y wheat flavor near the finish but it could also be the roasted barley (no real bitterness though). If it wasn’t for that semi-odd flavor and texture at the beginning of the sip I would have rated it a bit higher, the finish is pretty good. As it warms up even more there is a little more carbonation near the back of the tongue.

The mouth-feel is good to very good. It has a syrupy consistency and very low carbonation.

The hefty body and calories on this one makes it a sipper but hardly any of the13% alc. can be detected. With that said, a bomber of this will take close to 2hrs to drink and that will be enough for the night.

Hype aside, it’s a good, big bad and bold, RIS. Hype into consideration, there are better Imperial Stout out there.

Served In: Pint Glass

Review by Westside Threat on 04/05/08  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
86 2 11 19 3 8 2007
A: Widdled through the silver wax and finally got the cap off the bottle. Seemed extrememly uncarbonated at first but a generous pour conjured up a fizzy almost maple colored head. Body seems thick, ultra dark ebony color. Carbonation is too low…something seems wrong.

S: Really rich, almost like port. Get a lot of plums, licorice, bakers chocolate, soy and perhaps mint.

T: Begins mildly sweet with just a hint of sourness. Super oily and silky across the palate with liquid chocolate, low sodium soy and toasted marshmallow. This is all before the swallow mind you. Quite complex really, more complex than I remember it being. Immediately after the swallow, the oilness blows up bringing with it more smooth and refined liquid chocolate. Very nice. Licorice spikes then subsides allowing espresso roast to cruise on in. All these flavors work alarmingly well in harmony. Finishes with a bravado that only premiere imperial stouts can…balance of coffee, sweet cocoa and fine vanilla.

M: Thick and smooth but lacking carbonation.

D: Some age really did help this beer along. Six months ago I found it to be too oily and quite one dimensional. Now there are multiple notes working together at once. I bet 2 to 3 months ago it would have been at is prime. If it wasn’t for the carbonation issues I would probably give it a really good review.

Served In: Tulip

Review by Lordofthepale on 03/10/08  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
82 3 10 16 4 8 2008
Great head and a blacker than black color. Smells really sweet.It has a real sweet smooth molasses taste. An awesome mocha finish. Has a good mouthfeel, taste really holds up and each flavor is noticeable. Overall its a great beer. Too sweet for my liking, buts its masterpiece in its own right. I would love to try any vintage of this beer.

Served In: Pint Glass

Review by Kegergator on 03/03/08  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
86 3 10 18 4 8 2008
Thanks to urbanhack for this brew>

Pours pitch blackness. Nice deep mocha colored head forms on the brew. Really nice lacing on the way down. Really sweet smelling. Roasted malts and alcohol make themselves known also. Taste is very interesting. Lots of sweetness in it. Roasted malts blend with sweet dark fruits and a slight hop finish. Really complex brew here, with a thick mouthfeel that holds the flavors well.

Served In: Pint Glass

Review by James Kitchens on 02/19/08  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
90 3 9 19 5 9 2007
2007 bottle, bought at DLD '07. Split this with a friend.

Color is black. This one is thick. On the bottle, they say something about motor oil. That's about right. Smell has roasted malts, dark chocolate, coffee. Almost get a sweet smell with it. Not much alcohol. The taste follows the smell, and was actually more sweet than I expected. Almost like dark fruits, dates, etc. The chocolate also stood out very well. Again, not much alcohol in there, which was fine by me. Feel is t-h-i-c-k. Super duper thick actually. And that adds to this one, as it helps it stick around and coats your mouth. You get to enjoy each drink just a little while longer that way.

Overall, I liked this one a lot. But my friend put it best --- for the effort and expense to get one of these bottles, it doesn't quite measure up to some other bottles that can be had far easier and for less money. Don't take that the wrong way, this is a stellar beer. But I doubt I'll be going to DLD again to get one. Especially if FFFs can't get it more organized. Just too much crap to wade through in order to get this beer. Doesn't change the fact that it's a very very good beer. Just that I wasn't head over heels for it, given the effort involved.

Served In: Pint Glass

Review by Tip Top on 01/01/08  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
86 3 9 18 4 9 0
I have patiently waited for what seemed to be the right time to crack this one. That time feels like now.

2005 Vintage (orange wax), served at cellar temp.

A - Nice hiss from the bottle when I cracked the seal. Into my Central Waters snifter it goes. Pours inky black. Like dark in the woods with no moonlight. Head is small, made of tight bubbles and dark cocoa colored. The foam moves to only the edges of the glass after about a minute of sitting. Nice sheets of lacing.

S - Oh my, after two years this still smells a little hot. Alcohol is immediately obvious on the nose, burning the nostrils a touch. Beneath are some huge whiffs of roasted dark malt, with expresso and day old coffee, dark chocolate, and anise. The alcohol burn really overpowers the nose here.

T - Rich, rich, and richer. Tons and tons of malt here. Starts with deep chocolate notes, with dark bitter chocolate first, working to baker's chocolate. Expresso beans come in, still working with some of the sweetness of the chocolate flavors. Some bitterness comes in, with a hint of coffee. Some dark fruit flavors washing around, with raisins and dates. Anise overtakes it for a second, with black licorice punishing the tongue. Finishes with a slightly bitter wash along with hints of cherry sweetness.

M - Full bodied, sort of syrupy. Smooth, if minimal carbonation.

D - Well, this is a good stout, but I just don't think it is up there with the creme de la creme. I just wasn't overly impressed. Definitely a lot of flavor, but just didn't come together and blend as some of the tops in my mind do.

Served In: Pint Glass

Review by tavernjef on 12/24/07  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
96 3 10 20 5 10 0
2004 bottle: review August -
The pouring out of this beast is incredible, especially the last half of the bomber where it gets all thick and gooey, and boy does it ever. Super sludgy and slow, reminds me of a melted fudgesicle thickness, color too is fudgy. Sits in the glass like black tar but keeps an overall dark fudge brown cask to its depth. A thin but thickly set super spongy tan head lays on top for a good while before it murks its way off the glass while sipping. A thin fluffy collar remains and the lacing is in webby strings along with an oily residue coating over every inch the liquid has touched. This liquid has a life of its own beyond its other attributes of smell, taste, and feel. Take a look at your glass when your done, you'll know what I mean.

Aroma has a nice soothing chocolate underlay where tossed apricot, dark cherry, molasses, and dates swirl around with dark juicy esters of spicy alcoholic warmth. Cleans the senses out pretty quickly.

Taste is thick, thick, thick, chunky even, you notice the massive mouthfeel right away. Flavors are ridiculously rich to go with it, loads of dark chocolate laced with nearly every dark fruit imaginable with a rich tangy molasses coating it all and some fine bittering of fresh hop cones and chocolate with touches of coffee beans at the finish. Slivers of alcohol has little hints to boubon barrel oakyness, smokey peet, and port to it along the way through to the finish as well. Boastfully terrific!

Feel is massively thick, beyond the reach of words here with this stuff. Syrupy, thickly creamy, mega lush, richly full bodied beyond the threshold of any other Imperial Stout I have undertaken. Oily leftovers on the lips, like chapstick. Oh my...Wonderfully thick!

At first I began to drink this down like it was nothing, but by half glass I gave up even thinking I could drink the whole thing by myself. Its like pie filling! Oh, but it is yummy pie filling...yummy. The thickness slowed me down therefore hampered the drinkability a bit for me. Still is very drinkable in a slow mannered kinda way. Respectfully. Great stuff!

Served In: Pint Glass

Review by Organized Chaos on 12/07/07  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
94 3 10 19 5 10 0
Thanks to westsidethreat for this one

This beer pours solid oil black with a small tan head that doesn't stick around long.

Chocolate, roasted malts and some alcohol encompass the smell of this one, very good.

Great taste, chocolate a sight sweet fruity taste with a coffee finish, this is an amazing and complex beer. So much going on with this one.

Beer is very smooth and has appropriate carbonation for an RIS.

Overall, great beer and my Brother in Law and I are making plans to get out to the DLD next year to get a few bottles of this.

Served In: Pint Glass

Review by tangfoot on 11/24/07  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
94 3 10 19 5 10 2007
Thanksgiving weekend, the date at which the brewers said the 2007 Dark Lord would be ready for consumption.

22 oz bottle with really funky artwork, sealed with silver wax that has dripped all the hell over the place.
The beer pours out thicker than anything I've ever seen. It is coating the glass with a viscous "fluid" that is reminiscent of a liquor, rather than a beer. The beer itself is black, black, black with a very fine ring of tiny bubbles around the edge of the glass. Too much alcohol for much more than that.

The smell is wonderfully roasty and chocolate. Also, some motor oil and strong alcohol. Hey, whatever works I guess.

This beer tastes as good as any beer I've ever had. I did my level best to remain as objective as possible, but this shit is damn fine. The roastiness and chocolate are combined with some wonderfully sweet malts and a very hot alcohol burn. Amazingly, this all combines into a beer that is smooth and creamy, making it frakking amazing. (I had to get the BSG reference in here, as I am watching the latest episode right now.)

Overall this beer is outstanding, I would recommend it to anyone who appreciates the finer things in life, and/or likes good scotch or port.

Served In: Pint Glass

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