CaptainCougar (7133) - Columbia, Maryland, USA - DEC 21, 2002
UPDATED: MAR 14, 2009 2005 bottle sampled on 3/14/09: Rich, oily opaque pour with a rich light brown head. Aroma of rich dark chocolate and caramel with lots of dark fruity complexity. Body starts hugely rich and creamy with a lot of complex coffee and dark chocolate. Very smooth, although still quite thick, but seems to have aged well.
jskendzel (602) - Washington DC, USA - DEC 21, 2002
2008 bottle sampled on 5/3/08: Same oily viscous appearance as always. Aroma of sweet, rich dark caramel and chocolate with some roasty coffee notes and dark fruits. Smooth, full flavored and sweet dark malty before a rich, creamy bittersweet dark chocolate finish. Definitely as tasty as I remember from years past.
2004 bottle sampled on 2/26/07: Pours a very opaque, extremely viscous with a thin dark brown, wispy head and body that coat the glass upon swirling. Rich, complex dark chocolate aroma has some aged caramel malt and mild, light fruity esters. Body starts with a full, sweet raisiny, plum, brown sugar complexity with lots of thick caramel malt and earthy bittering hops toward a balanced dense finish that hides the alcohol extremely well. It’s like eating a rich dark chocolate cake (9,5,9,5,18).
2006 vintage bottle sampled on 7/2/06: Pours a dark opaque with dark mahogany edges and a dark brown, thin-lacing head. Sweet caramel malty and dark chocolatey aroma has a big strawberry fruitiness. Body starts with a big sweet viscous caramel maltiness and some light fruitiness with a more complex mild raisin and plum character. Well-balanced and should age well for years to come.
2004 vintage bottle sampled on 6/11/06 courtesy of EddieG: Still about 6 oz of sediment in the bottle. Pours a thick and oily black with only a ring of dark tan head. Rich dark fruity caramel aroma has tremendous complexity. The thickest beer I’ve ever had, very sweet and roasty. Nicely hopped and well-balanced. A unique and enjoyable imperial, yet expensive for the drinkable amount you get per
UPDATED: APR 28, 2003 There is a lot to say about this beer but many others have already picked it apart below...vanilla, velvet, berries...who cares, the beer is DELICIOUS!...so I will spare the details--I get sick of those fruity descriptions anyway. A beer should be respected because it is drinkable and when it bears the unmistakable stamp of its creator--3 Floyd's triumphs again with this beer. I would expect nothing less coming from them. I can't recall any other beer that is so complex and so satisying...I had one little glass and I am sitting here craving more...definitely something to dream about before I go to bed. Worth the hype so get your ass to the brewery to get some of this wonderful oil. MrRomero (1976) - Nolanville, USA - DEC 21, 2002
UPDATED: DEC 15, 2004 Growler from brewery: A huge beer. Extra special thanks to Racegoer for this. Huge fluffy tan head. An incredible whipped chocolate/coffee mouthfeel with hints of vanilla and English walnuts. Just an unbelievable beer. muzzlehatch (4970) - Beloit, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 19, 2002
UPDATED: JAN 10, 2003 Dec 19 "02:Hard to believe a beer this great is brewed in a no-name industrial park in a no-name dull-as-dirt outer Chicago suburb, but here"s an American paradox for you. Looks like thick tough cowboy coffee, no head at all and midnight black. Nose primarily coffee and molasses, but with hints of whisky, vanilla and peaches? Very complex and lovely. As thick and velvety as anything I"ve ever had; molasses isn"t quite it, a milkshake is closer; a jamocha vanilla brandy milkshake, maybe. Powerful warming back end with enough hops to keep it from cloying, and amazingly drinkable for a beer this thick and alcoholic -- the alcohol is no more noticeable than it is in Expedition, which is the closest thing I"ve had to this masterpiece. On balance, this is better. I"m not calling it perfect yet, but its really close and I"m going to have a hard time not killing the growler in the next day or so. Behemoth and Alpha Klaus here I come!
JohnC (3008) - Mission Viejo, California, USA - DEC 14, 2002
Jan 11 "03: bumping it up a point because A) it lasted near a month in a frequently-opened growler losing nothing but about half its carbonation and B) I get a stronger, more sensuous nose, spicier and more perfumy. Near perfection, the equal of NC Old Rasputin.
Thick, malty, w/ tastes of cocoa powder & chocolate on the palate. a wonderfully soft mouthfeel. this is one of the best. thx hopsrus
hopscotch (11182) - Vero Beach, Florida, USA - DEC 13, 2002
UPDATED: MAR 3, 2016 (2007 re-rate)herbjones (742) - Orange, California, USA - DEC 13, 2002
Bottle... This beer still rocks!... Pitch black, high viscosity pour creates little fanfare... small, quickly diminishing, rust-colored head. The aroma is an intoxicating swirl of burnt caramel, tobacco, dried plum, chocolate, oozing molasses, distilled ethanol, charcoal and tawny port. The chocolaty flavor is black cherry and molasses-sweet with overtones of burnt, singed hop and alcohol bitterness. Undertones of tobacco and charcoal. Nothing subtle about this monster! Ultra-mega full-bodied with the consistency of SAE 40 weight motor oil (after 12,000 miles of hard driving with no air filter) and restrained, but ticklish, carbonation. So many breweries have tried to copy this impy stout; some come close, but no one matches it ... and I’ve tried a lot of imperial stouts (132 and counting). I drank my first plastic cup of Dark Lord in an ice-cold brewery in Munster, IN back in December of 2002, a couple years before the stuff was bottled for the first time. I chased it with a cup of a new IIPA named Dreadnaught... and my world was forever changed... for the better. Thanks goes out to headbanger for seeing to it that I was able to try the ’07 release only four days after DLD ’07! Best bottled version of DL I’ve tasted to date! Drinking a glass of Dark Lord has always been more than just drinking a glass of beer. It’s always an experience.
Re-rate = 4.8
Draft... This beer rocks!... Everything an Imperial Stout should be. Pours as dense and black as used motor oil. Black as midnight during a new moon. No... blacker than that. Ridiculously huge, creamy, light brown head. Incredible lacing.
The aroma is of chocolate, alcohol, coffee, black strap molasses and all other things DARK! The flavor is rich and malty-sweet up front. Notes of molasses, dark chocolate and espresso. Very well-hopped on the backside. Very Victory Storm King-like, only much more dense. To describe this glass of beer as full-bodied wouldn’t do it justice. It has the body of Anna Nicole Smith... no, Kate Smith! Syrupy mouthfeel. Lively carbonation. These bubbles have to be on steroids to work their way up through the murk! Long, bittersweet, heavy, yet slightly dry finish. My 8 oz. cup of this treasure must have weighed five pounds. I didn’t know whether to curl it or drink it. So, I did both. I hammer-curled it up to my mouth for each delightful sip. My buddy, who has a very high tolerance for Coors Light was drunk after 1/3 of his cup. THIS BLACK HOLE OF A BEER IS DEFINITELY THE CENTER OF ALL GRAVITATIONAL PULL! World class effort!
Original Score = 4.7
UPDATED: OCT 10, 2004 Update 10/9/04. Sampling from the bottled version as opposed to the draft bottled version hopsrus sent. The sludge that is the last 1/3 of this bottle completely detracts from this beer. If you pour any in your glass you will get an almost gritty mouthfeel. Not pleasant and I hope they take care of this in future bottlings. Docking points in appearance and palate accordingly. Pitch black pour with a head the color of rich dark cocoa. Nose is creamy if a smell can be creamy? Full of sweet and bitter notes. The body of this is unbelievable. Smooth and supple, has to be tried to understand. Flavor is ... I give up this beer is a 5 all the way. I dont give 5's but this beer is a 5. It is by far the most complex and satisfying beer I have ever had. The flavors are vanilla sweetness balanced by a dark chocolate bitterness. A perfect yin and yang give and take going on all over your tongue.Westy was great but this is better.Many many thanks to hopsrus for this brew.I owe you big for this one. fraternie (1011) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - DEC 13, 2002
UPDATED: MAY 1, 2003 I am stunned by the complexity and perfection of this beer. I'm not sure that it's better than Westy 12 or 8, but it is damn close for sure. Flavor is deep, dark chocolate. Slight roasted flavor, very little fruit but possibly a hint of wine and berries. The most impressive feature of this beer is its incredibly smooth and soft mouthfeel not only in the finish but especially in the nose. Literally moved up 2 points on my scale as it warmed, it just keeps getting more and more complex and drinkable as well. Moderate hops in the finish. ABV is covered as perfectly as WWS, and the mouthfeel is much softer. I give this the edge. Near perfection. Jake Barnes (456) - St. Louis, Missouri, USA - DEC 13, 2002
Wow! Incredible. Dark as night. No head. Huge aroma of wine, figs, plums, berries, and coffee. The mouthfeel is unreally smooth. No hint of the huge abv. The flavor of wine, figs, berries, coffee, roasted grains, and candied dark fruits becomes more complex as you drink. I would give westy 12 a slight edge but i think this is hands down the best beer in America. MartinT (10037) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - DEC 13, 2002
UPDATED: JUN 19, 2016 (First version, hand-bottled from the tap in 2002):
Amaretto-filled chocolate truffles, aniseed, berries roam within this sumptuous Imperial Stout’s hefty mouthfeel, while black pepper and resinous subtleties emerge from sagacious hops, only to be engulfed by huge caramel, maple syrup-like sweetness...4.8...
(Bottled 2005 version):
Agressive roastiness thrives in the portly body, but bigger bubbles diminish the viscosity. Still, one of the thickest beers out there, but simply not as huge as the tap version I had, or the 2004 bottle, imho. Green, citrusy hops are also more obvious in this young monster, blending perfectly with the roasty bitterness. Still an excellent imperial stout, but not the spectacularly balanced and refined behemoth that the 2 previous tastings had proven. 4.1/5
(Bottled versions from 2009 on):
Abrasive alcohol burns the heavy molasses, while deep cherry fruitiness surrounds resinous hops. 65% cocoa sweetness attempts to link it all, but this is still quite brash. Very flavorful, but nowhere near refined yet. How many years is it going to take? 3.7...