History of Dark Lord

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Dark Lord was first brewed in 2002. Nick Floyd was inspired to brew this beer because a local brewery in Illinois (Flossmoor Station) continued to receive medals, including a GABF Gold, for their Imperial Eclipse Stout. Imperial Eclipse Stout was brewed by Todd Ashman while he was the brewmaster at Flossmoor Station, before he brought the recipe with him to FiftyFifty Brewing. Nick was sick of hearing about their success and wanted to brew a big stout of his own and the Dark Lord was born. The beer was only available on draft in both 2002 and 2003. Originally described as a Gargantuan Russian Stout brewed with Starbucks coffee, molasses, and honey; 13% ABV. The current description reads: A demonic Russian-Style Imperial Stout brewed with coffee, Mexican vanilla, and Indian sugar.

Following its release, word started to spread among beer circles. Drinkers reported it to be the thickest beer they had ever tried.

In a March 2003 interview with RateBeer, Nick Floyd indicated that planned to bottle Dark Lord in 12oz 12-packs. However, these plans never came to fruition. Dark Lord would first arrive in bottles the following year.

Dark Lord was first bottled in 2004, at the first release there was only around 20 people there when the beer went on sale, with maybe a total of only 50 people there throughout the day.

By August 2005 Dark Lord had reached the number 3 spot on the top 50 beers on Beer Advocate.

In 2006, Three Floyds started using Intelligentsia coffee in their Dark Lord recipe. Three Floyds built a relationship with Intelligentsia through Barnaby Struve, their brewmaster at the time. Barnaby was a regular patron of the Map Room, a well-known craft beer bar in Chicago, and met Jay Cunningham of Intelligentsia coffee. The decided to start collaborating around 2004, and used Intelligentsia's Black Cat Espresso roast in the 2006 batch of Dark Lord.

Nick Floyd speaking of the brewing process at the Dark Lord vs Black Cat event at Map Room in 2006:

Finely ground Black Cat is added during the "mash in" step of our brewing process. All the cracked barley (malt) & espresso is dropped into a big mash tun were the malt is hydrated with 160 degree water and mixed into a thick porridge-like liquid called the "mash" which is allowed to rest for 30 minutes, enzymes in the malt convert the starches in the barley to a sweet liquid called wort. The wort is then separated from the barley husks & solids using the false (slotted) bottom of the mash tun which is very much like a coffee maker. The wort is then extracted into the brew kettle where it is boiled at 212 degrees for 3 hours. After the boil the wort is chilled then pumped into a fermentor were the yeast eats all the sugars and creates the alcohol.

This page is a work in progress.

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