I first started off with a recipe I found on Hopville, but ended up tweaking it a little after discussing it with the guys from Toronto Brewing. The final recipe ended up like that:
Fermentables and others:
- 800 g American 2-row Pale
- 240 g Oats, Flaked
- 100 g Cocoa Powder
- 70 g Chocolate Malt
- 50 g Caramel
- 25 g Roasted Barley
I transferred this to my small mash tun for 1 hour with 3 quarts (almost 3 liters) of water at 160 F. Sparging was done with 4 quarts at 165 F and then the wort was set to boil. When it started boiling, I reduced to a rolling boil and added the following at the given times:
- At 60 minutes - 6 g Columbus hops
- At 30 minutes - 1 g Cinnamon Sticks - this was 1/3 of a thin, medium length stick
- At 15 minutes - 3 g Fuggles hops, 70 g of Cocoa Powder
- At 10 minutes - 35 g Brown Sugar, 1 g Cinnamon Sticks, 35 g Lactose, 45 g Molasses, 2 vanilla bean stalks cut lengthwise, 5 large vanilla marshmallows were torched and dipped into the wort
- At 5 minutes - 30 g Honey
The wort was chilled down to about 70- 75 F, racked into a gallon carboy with half of a tube of Irish Ale yeast was added. The carboy was set in a dark, cool room for 2 weeks after which the contents were racked into a secondary gallon carboy.
After 3 weeks the beer was primed with 40 g of honey dissolved in 250 mL of boiling water and bottled with 5 mL of vanilla extract.
Though the bottles need to be conditioned for 2 weeks, I couldn't help myself and had half a glass of beer just to try the beer.
First off the beer ended up at 8.9% and it did have a strong boozy note with a heavy chocolate nose. Smokey and sweet notes were also present but the booziness was overwhelming. The taste was heavy on the chocolate with slight honey notes and very light malt touches. Though it is a drinkable beer, I am not very pleased with the initial results. Good thing I have a lot more materials to make another 3-4 batches. What I would change next time is use a bit more molasses, less cocoa and at least 2 more vanilla bean stalks to bring out the flavour. I might even add some graham crackers to the grain bill.
I will do a follow up review in the next 2-3 weeks once the beers are bottle conditioned.