Three Floyds: Dark Lord (USA: Imperial Stout: 13% ABV)

(2009 Bottle: Drank 2010)

Visual: Quite a natural pour, less viscous than expected. Bubbly, fizzy brown head that has a decent size but vanishes in seconds leaving just the intense dark brown black body of the beer.

Nose; Strong coffee, bitter chocolate and cherry ice cream. Black forest gateaux. Bourbon, then again bitter coffee followed by peanuts.

Body: Very smooth, truffles, chocolate gateaux. Whipped cream and treacle. Raisins. Mocha coffee. Condensed cream sweetness, coffee liquor. Slick tongue covering texture. Caramel and liquorice.

Finish: Rich chocolate drink, chocolate ice cream. Ice cream wafers. Intense milk chocolate. Slightest hops but distinctly subdued. Figs. Coffee. Hazelnuts. Slight burnt and smoke elements. Decent lasting bitterness.

Conclusion: This really can be summed up by the word so over used above: Chocolate. Whatever else this beer offers, it is the epitome of the chocolate beer to counterpoint Beer Geek Brunch weasels epitome of coffee influenced stout.

Slick smooth, layer and hiding that alcohol punch so well an entire police task force couldn’t find it – this takes the Yetis no nonsense stout crown with laughable ease with its smooth richness and flavour.

However one little fly in its ointment. This thing is going head to head with Beer Geek Brunch Weasel and Good King Henry special reserve, and whilst it is absolutely intoxicatingly overwhelmingly good, it isn’t better than either, coming in a still impressive third place. Considering the incredible cost of this beer and the difficulty to find it, it’s hard to recommend it past those two fantastic other stouts, which are better cheaper and easier to find.

The other point is that it is a beer that needs to be shared, not being available in smaller bottles its flavour becomes less welcome after the first half as burnt elements become more prevalent, and if drunk over the time required to respect its force, it will be off its peak by the time you finish it. Shared between two beer fans, these problems will not become apparent and will help shoulder its incredible cost.

Wondrous, but unless you have money to burn and already have tried the other two stouts I mentioned, I cannot recommend to seek this out first.

To avoid ending on a downer I will repeat, this beer is amazing, the criticisms just come from a field where the quality level is so high.