Monday, September 28, 2009


My own personal THREE FLOYDS DARKLORD day started with some comments by a nice fella from Indiana named Jez on this blog, offering to trade me a bottle of this highly sought-after Russian Imperial Stout in exchange for some of my California rarities. I felt like, well, even if it’s as disappointing of a beer as I’ve sometime heard, I reckon that everyone who spends a little time enjoying and/or writing about rare beers should have a swig of it, right? I mean, DARKLORD is a beer that people line up for on cold mornings to procure once a year upon its release, a beer that an entire beer festival is built around called “DARKLORD DAY”, and that’s one of the highest-rated beers on the entire planet by the beer punditry assembled on Beer Advocate. I checked the box earlier this year on TRAPPIST WESTVLETEREN 12; I knew I’d be less than a man if I did not take the opportunity to do the same with DARKLORD.

I decided to host DARKLORD day at my house on an evening (last night) in which I’d run a 10K earlier in the day. That way I’d have truly earned the 4,673 calories I’d be ingesting – or whatever the number is. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve heard this beer described by smart people as a “pour-out”. I’ve heard it described as one of the most amazing beer experiences of all time. I’ve never heard it described the way I now choose to describe it, which is, “Hmm yeah, that’s a pretty decent imperial stout, much in the manner of several other decent imperial stouts I’ve enjoyed”. Here’s the deal: there is nothing – nothing – separating this one (the 2009 version) from other heavy hitters like THE ABYSS, BLACKOUT STOUT, etc. Though I’m just as guilty as anyone in equating rarity with goodness, I’m also skeptical enough to suspend all dorkified hype when it’s time to get down to drinking.

DARKLORD 2009 is really, really dark, though it’s an impenetrable dark brown as opposed to black. Apologies for the crap image, but hopefully it leads to a deeper understanding of this beer. It has a terrific chocolate malt smell to it, and a toasted black ale flavor, with really deep roasting. Not a chocolate taste (to me), just smell. It is medium-bodied and drinks a little easier than I expected – not quite the motor oil viscosity I’d planned to have to deal with. Slightly boozy, but not in an annoying way. When I was finished, I said to myself – I sez – “Not bad. I’d wait in a line for about 60 seconds for that one”. 7.5/10.

PS - Oh, and I can see the first comment coming from a mile away: “Sniff, you really should have aged this one. It really needs to lie down for a while”.


Jez said...

Yeah, that's probably how I would rate it.

I like bringing it out on special occassions and sharing small samples with 10 people at a time. I taste something different in it every time.

Oh, and I almost forgot: You probably should have aged this one. It really needs to lie down for a while.

Anonymous said...

A guy working at Belmont Station in Portland once told me he thought it tasted like soy sauce. Not exactly the flavor I look for in an imperial stout. Did you detect anything resembling that, or was he just another jaded beer store guy?

Jay said...

No, I didn't taste any soy sauce. As a high-ABV imperial stout goes, this one was fairly normal in the good-to-great range.

Vince said...

I recommend Speedway for your next Stout adventure!

Aaron said...

I drove 700 miles to stand in line for 8 hours at Dark Lord Day earlier this year, bought 16 bottles along with a bunch of other Three Floyds stuff, and still don't think it's as good as some other stouts I've had...namely Surly Darkness.

Jez said...

Sorry...I think the soy sauce taste is attributed to the Sam Adams Triple Bock. I've never heard anyone say such a thing about the Dark Lord.

See the ratebeer reviews on Triple Bock:

Anonymous said...

Um, no, actually it was Dark Lord that was described that way. I asked beerdude, "what do you think of Dark Lord?" and he replied "soy sauce." I don't recall any Sam
Adams beers being discussed at that time.