RATINGS: 1818   WEIGHTED AVG: 4.28/5   SEASONAL: Spring   EST. CALORIES: 450   ABV: 15%
Dark Lord is a demonic Russian-Style Imperial Stout brewed with coffee, Mexican vanilla, and Indian sugar. (2017 version)

DarkLord is only available once a year at DarkLord Day at the Three Floyds Brewpub.

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
Burgundy wax = 2015
Black speckled wax = 2016
Green wax = 2017

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Sombeast (151) - Pewaukee, Wisconsin, USA - MAR 12, 2007
Rating #100 is a 2004 DarkLord, it doesn’t get much better than that! Consumed at the Pewaukee Tasting courtesy of Dave (thanks!!!), just after three green fairies flew laps about the room. Fruity chocolate pudding aroma. Dark brown, thick appearance - this wasn’t from the top of the bottle but no matter. Fine roasty bitterness does not do this any justice. This is a literally thick, creamy pudding-like beer that just quivvers and tingles in my mouth. Wow, this is quite different than expected and I now understand the cult-like following for this beer. DarkLord Day here I come!

EKGoldings (666) - Radford, Virginia, USA - MAR 10, 2007
One of the world’s great beers. I can’t tell you how happy I was when they first decided to bottle this stuff. A cold night and a crackling fire after a day skiing, I can’t think of another beer I’d rather cozy up with. A tad sweet, truth be told, but the flavors are all there.

kseecs16 (1216) - Naperville, Illinois, USA - MAR 5, 2007
UPDATED: JUL 24, 2007 Never having had Dark Lord before I got my first crack at this one on cask at the Night of the Living Ales, 2007. It was good, though there was a cough syrup like consistency that would leach in to the the flavor as well that was a little off putting. Nice aroma, coffee, molasses, dark chocolate. This was not a punch in the face like some horribly unbalanced Imperial Stouts out there. This packed a lot of flavor with a beautfiully masked alcohol profile without presenting any over powering flavors. Just a nice blend of rich malty flavors. A touch of warming sensation accompanied this very full bodied brew. Only the extreme viscuous syrup-ness of this one kept it from being extraordinaly amazing.

drewbeerme (3920) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - MAR 4, 2007
UPDATED: DEC 21, 2009 on cask at the Night of the Living Ales 07. 2007 vintage. poured black and watery (cask). nose was loaded with coffee and vanilla. flavor was way too syrupy, reminded me a lot of kaluha. alcohol was very well hidden. maybe the beer is too young or the Dark Lord hates the cask. 3.2.

12/4/07, 3 year vertical (05-07):

2005, pours black with tan head. nose of burnt coffee, doughy, chocolate, and really roasty. flavors are pretty sweet with brown sugar, loads of caramel, evolving into a chocolately, coffee, roasty, and sweet candy finish. pretty thick mouth feel with no alcohol taste. pretty sweet beer for sure, but the finish is a bit raw and roasty towards the end, a little too much to be perfect.8/5/8/5/17=4.3.

2006, pours black with tan head. nose is loaded with green apple, it is tough to get past it but some other notes of molasses and espresso. flavor has lots of sugar and green apple, some chocolate, espresso, and vanilla too. mouth feel isn’t thin but is the thinest of the 3. I can only hope and pray that age takes care of the green apple. if there is one off batch of Dark Lord then this is it. 5/5/7/4/13=3.4.

2007, pours dark brown with no head. nose has lots of brown sugar, molasses, vanilla, alcohol, and very slightly sour green apple (more less than 06). flavor is loaded with molasses, honey, vanilla, caramel, some piney hops, with very mild chocolate and espresso finish. this is way too sweet right now and lacks a real chocolate and coffee presence. very thick body that coasted and stained the glass (only version in the vertical that did that) with no alcohol noticed. perhaps this could be great with several years of age. 7/3/8/5/15=3.8

Final Comments: Okay, 2005 Dark Lord is tasting good right now. I wouldn’t say it’s worth the hype though. 2006 is a big mistake, the green apple hasn’t aged out at all and probably never will. 2007 is overly sweet and although those sugars are complex the beer lacks any real chocolate, roast, or coffee presence. However, the 2007 could age wonderfully as it is clearly the less filtered of the 3. DL is using sugar in an impressive/intense way but also over bearingly lacking some sort of balance and typical stout flavors (a few would be nice here). Finally, 2004 Dark Lord was significantly better (much more chocolately) than all of these. Too bad that wasn’t here tonight.

5/3/08, 2008 vintage released 1 week ago. pours black with no head. nose of coffee, raisins, caramel, dark chocolate, and citrus. flavor have a bit green citrus hop character, coffee, roast, molasses, dark chocolate, and still way overly sweet. couldn’t taste a lick of alcohol. full bodied but not as thick as the 07 and this didn’t stain the glass. i think this will age wonderfully and with any luck will taste like the well aged 05 vintage in 2-3 years. I think this vintage closely resembles the 07 but I do prefer this vintage over the 06 and 07, but i dont recall the 05 fresh and never had the 04 fresh. However, the 04 and 05 were far superior with 2-4 years on them. Those two vintages aged had a more balanced sugar level with more balancing roast and chocolate character. Hopefully the 07 and 08 will age into that with a few years. 7/3/8/5/16=3.9.

7/12/08, ’04 vintage. thanks Blake! pours black with no head. nose is extremely sweet but wonderful port, raisins, sugary. flavor is extremely sweet chocolate, dark fruit, coffee liqour. wow just really great brew. I wish the other DL vintages tasted like this. this is amazing.4.4.

11/3/09, ’09 vintage shared by 17thfloor! pours black with no head. nose of licorice, chocolate, alcohol. flavor is chocolate with dark fruit and licorice. oddly thin body for dark lord. not very good. 3.3.

12/19/09, 2006-2009 vertical tasting.
2006: pours black with creamy tan head. nose has coffee, soy sauce, smoke, dark chocolate, and cardboard. flavors of dark chocolate, raisins, espresso, cardboard, with a mild soy sauce finish. thick body and after 2 yrs or so the green apple notes are gone! Too bad it took so long for the green apple notes to fade out that oxidation is setting in and this one doesn’t have much time left. Tasting pretty good right now and many considered this the best in our vertical (which I gave a nod to the 08). 7/4/8/5/16=4

2007: pours black with no head. nose has smoked meats, fusel alcohol. flavors of dark chocolate, sweet raisins, smoked meat, and honey. a thin body (as far as dark lord goes), probably the thinnest dark lord ever. initially that chemical and hair spray notes were present but faded as it breathed. my least favorite dark lord of all, it might get a little better next year but I’m not holding out hope. 6/3/7/3/13=3.2.

2008: pours thick black with a creamy tan head. looks great. aroma is smokey toasted grains, chocolate, and piney hops. flavors got some of that piney hop notes, dark chocolate, dark fruit, sweet molasses. very thick dark lord (almost 04 thick), will still some of those hops which makes it the hoppiest dark lord in several years, this vintage has great aging potential. 7/5/8/5/16=4.1

2009: pours black with no head. the aroma is extremely sweet, sweet raisiny notes with honey and molassess, rather green too. initially smelled of bananas but that faded out. flavors are extremely sweet and green, honey, currants, molasses, chocolate. wow you get a sugar high from this one, in a guilty pleasure sorta way i’m kinda digging the sweetness of this. rather low carbonation which i think makes it seem like a thin body but the body has a heavy sweet quality to it as I let it sit on my tongue. 6/3/8/3/15=3.5

Final thoughts: Ranked in order of preference would be 08,06,09,07 (this also happens to be the order of thickness). 08 has great aging potential, 06 is going downhill, who knows with 09 perhaps it could meld together better but who knows with this one, and i dont have high hopes for the 07 as it is thin and odd and still hasn’t improved a whole lot from when it was 1 yr old.

BeerHawk (1810) - Huntsville, Alabama, USA - FEB 19, 2007
Thanks to illinismitty for sharing this bottle (’06) with us at the Nashville Tasting! Pours very dark with a brown head. Nice roast aroma of dark & milk chocolate, coffee, and a hint of vanilla. The flavor follows much of the same. Full body, creamy texture, and damn smooth. Truly awesome!

SoLan (1550) - Florida, USA - FEB 18, 2007
Courtesy boboski. Red/orange wax. 2005, I believe. Black viscous pour topped by a thin layer of tan foam. Roasty and burnt malt, coffee, dark chocolate, honey, milk chocolate, marshmallow, vinous dark fruits, graham crackers, dry spices, subtle. Beautifully complex, a little too sweet for a 10 on flavor. Full body, smooth, viscous. This bottle (sampled about 6 or 7 months ago) was worth the hype. I had the chance to sample an ’06 a few weeks ago, not worth the hype.

Saarlander (1686) - Saarlouis, GERMANY - FEB 12, 2007
Bottled, Dusseldorf gathering. Very dark pour, Light brown head. Fruity aroma, lots of bittersweetness to the brew, Chocolate, coffee, Hints of vanilla, Anis. Everything comes together nice.

mgumby10 (1856) - Jupiter, Florida, USA - FEB 8, 2007
UPDATED: MAY 4, 2007 Pours pitch black with a very light tan head that kind of hazes into the darkness making it extremely inviting looking. It has quite the powerful roasted malty smell, chocolate almonds, dark chocolate, and all that goodness of imperial stouts. Body was thick and lovely, just like I like it, with hazelnuts, chocolate, hint of vanilla, and roasted malts. Thye created a very nice balanced sweetness. The finish is smooth as hell. Nothing overpowers you, but hangs out on the back of the tongue to let you enjoy it for longer. This brew is one of the reasons that imperial stouts are my favorite style. This will get the honor of my highest rate so far.

Magjayran (1378) - Durham, North Carolina, USA - FEB 7, 2007
So here it is. I planned on drinking this one on my birthday but the keg of Old Rasputin prevented that from happening. I definitely wanted to taste the famous Dark Lord on a clean palate. 2006 version. The beer pours like a typical Imperial Stout without a bunch of carbonation. Slight trace of brown head on top. Oily black. Looks good. The aroma hits me first with Espresso before revealing some chocolate and perhaps a bit of port wine. Smells really good but not mind blowing. The taste......HOLY SHIT THAT’S GOOD! Amazing espresso flavors lead into chocolate into wine like alcohol notes into a sweet brown sugar finish. What strikes me most about this is that the appeal doesn’t really come from complexity. I’ve tasted what I taste here before. It’s the volume at which these flavors come screaming through that blows my mind. As with a lot of top 50 type beers, I expected this one to be very good but overated. As with a lot of top 50 beers, I was pleased with how awesome it was. Hats off to Three Floyds. You guys are definitely awesome!

BeerBeing (1) - Pennsylvania, USA - FEB 7, 2007 does not count
A beer perfect in any and each way but drinkability. Because it is such an extreme beer, drinkability (greatly ?) suffers

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