All Hail the Dark Lord – A Hot Commodity in Short Supply

Everyone has their favorite beer. For some, that might be Budweiser, Heineken or another mass produced beer. However, more and more people are finding their true love in the world of craft beer – there’s an immense number of great brews to learn about and love here. However, few craft beers can boast the success and popularity of Dark Lord Imperial Russian Stout. Brewed by Three Floyds Brewing Company in Indiana, this has become one of the most sought after craft beers in the nation (and perhaps the world).

Dark Lord didn’t start out as a smashing success though. The first production run debuted too little acclaim but it did sell out relatively quickly and was sold only through the brewery’s taproom. The second year, the beer sold out even more quickly with the brewery running out of product in less than a week. The third year’s batch sold out in hours, with people showing up on the day of release to buy every bottle they could get their hands on and to attend the release party held by Three Floyds. The 2011 release of Dark Lord was immense with crowds gathering for the release and a real festival atmosphere.

Dark Lord is 15% alcohol by volume, but for all of that it’s still very drinkable. Most beers with very high alcohol content have their flavor and character overwhelmed by the alcohol. This isn’t so with Dark Lord – it’s got plenty of complex flavor to it. In fact, it’s so good that the standard version ranks 39th in the world with two other variations on the recipe ranking much higher. The oak-aged version ranks 17th in the world and the vanilla bean flavored version comes in at number five. Those are some pretty impressive numbers for a beer that regularly sells out and never really sees store shelves.

For those hoping to score a bottle of this brew from a site like eBay or through some other outlet, it pays to know your years. Different production years are marked by different colored wax on the cap. The first year (2004) used red wax, while 2005 used orange wax. 2006’s version had gold wax, while 2007’s was coated in silver wax. 2008 bottles were marked with black wax, 2009’s with white and 2010’s color was olive green. 2011’s version bore yellow wax.

If you’re on the hunt for some Dark Lord for yourself, be prepared to pony up a pretty penny. Prices on eBay range into the hundreds of dollars for a bottle. It might be best just to plan on attending the next release party