Friday, June 25, 2010

360. Three Floyds Dark Lord 2010

“I was hoping it would be like this, but drinkable.”

Another from Three Floyds, making this our ninth beer from Munster, IN, including Rabbid Rabbit, BrooDoo Harvest Ale, Brian Boru, Gumballhead Wheat, Robert the Bruce, Dreadnaught, Black Sun Stout and Blackheart IPA. And if you don’t know this is a Russian Imperial Stout, you are a sad, sad beer geek. Because, let’s be honest, is anyone else reading this? Actually, the real question is, is anyone reading this? I mean, beside my parents...

Dark Lord 2010 pours the color of used motor oil, although the lighter kind, so that there is a deep brown sheen to it—not that black as tar stuff that my dad used to dump down into mole holes. Yes, my dad did that. But that was in like 1977, when nobody cared about the earth. It is also clear, so that there are some orange highlights around the edges, even with all of the darkness. There is no sign of the patent-pending “reverse cascading head,” although this could be because this particular bottle is still rather young—the head that was there was tan and quickly ringed the glass. The nose is a roasty coffee malt explosion with some creaminess and what comes across as a touch of smoke in the background—like someone let the rauchbier dude in on brew day, and he snuck a bunch of that smoked malt into the brew kettle—and also a bit of alcohol aroma. It also smell kinda young—the aromas are there, and are good, but still run into one another too much rather than running smoothly together. Dark Lord begins with a thick rich molasses, chocolate, and roasted malt flavor in the front before shifting into dark fruit and rum raisin with a smoky burnt coffee backdrop in the middle, which lingers well into the finish and beyond. Sweetness returns in the finish, along with a whole bunch more chocolate, and Dark Lord ends with lingering chocolate and alcohol flavors. The body is heavy, thick, and rich—insert your appropriate terms here indicating massive heaviness—with a chewy mouthfeel that is also sticky and a bit cloying. The carbonation at this point is pretty minimal—maybe it picks up with age, but that “reverse cascading head’ failed to put in an appearance. It does help shift into the final third, but it also fails to lighten the mouthfeel or cut out the stickiness. The alcohol is fairly present, although more prominent towards the end—there is a bit of a lingering burn. An interesting beer, but not one that is really ready to drink—it is not terrible, and tastes very young—it most certainly would benefit from some aging. As it currently stands, while this is a challenging beer, it does not offer enough reward for the effort that currently goes into it. While we understand that this may be heresy to some, so be it. At this point, we’re not sure it lives up to the hype, but then again, as Chuck D always told us, don’t believe the hype.

From the bottle: “Dark Lord is a gargantuan Russian Style Imperial Stout, with a reverse cascading head that starts out billowing the color of burnt oil like the Dark Lord rising from the black primordial beginnings. Its resonant vinous aroma has been described as cherries, sweet malt, molasses, burnt currants, plums, with a port wine alcohol undertow. Mochachino notes buried within. Motor oil consistency, hellishly smooth yet divinely burnt and vinous. The first sip coats your palate with a palatial charred fruit and chocolate blanket. Alcohol burn wiggles its way down your throat with a thick body. Enjoy and thanks for your continuing support.”

From the Three Floyds website: “A demonic Russian Style Imperial Stout, brewed with Intelligensia coffee Mexican vanilla, and Indian sugar this beer defies description, available one day a year in April at the brewery, Dark Lord Day.”

ABV: we were told the 2010 was 15%—who knows?


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