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Ole Mole – Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, With Vanilla Bean And Cayenne

Today’s brew is a dark chocolate oatmeal stout, with vanilla bean and a touch of cayenne pepper.
The grain bill is about 14.25lbs, and includes Pale Ale Malt, Chocolate Malt, Flaked Oats, Carapils, Crystal 60, De-Bittered Black Malt,Crystal 45, and  a smattering of Black Patent Malt in the mash. A single ounce of nugget hops provides the bittering and hop flavor, a Tbls of Cayenne for heat, and 4oz of Dark Cocoa round out the boil.

I started milling my grains, heating my strike water, and placing the two tubes of live yeast I had in the refrigerator on my counter to warm to room temperature. Once the water strike water was ready, I pre-heated my mash tun with about 3Gal of 190 degree water, swirled it around, let it set for about 5 minutes and dumped it out. I then added about 4.5Gal of water at about 168 degrees to the tun, mixed in my grain, stirred to make sure everything was properly wetted, and checked the temperature. 150 degrees, perfect. I covered the tun with an insulated lid, and other than stirring and checking the temperature every 15 minutes, let it sit for an hour.

Now it’s time to recirculate the wort, in order to clear it and set the grain bed prior to transferring the wort to the boil kettle, This is known as the vorlauf. I use a wort pump to vorlauf and run it for about 10 minutes. [hdplay id=2 ]
[hdplay id=3] Once the vorlauf is completed, I use the pump to transfer the wort to my boil kettle, and then add about 4.5gal of 170 degree water to the mash tun and stir the grain up to help extract as much of the fermentable sugars still in the grain into solution. This is known as a batch sparge. After letting the new mixture sit for about 10 minutes, I again vorlauf, and transfer the new wort to the boil kettle. The grain soaks up about 1.5-2gal of the water, so I’m left with 7.5-8gal in the brew kettle. I fire up the burner, and get the wort up to a roiling boil. I’ve also got my immersion chiller / whirlpool in the kettle to sanitize in the boiling sort.

Over the next hour I add the hops and other flavorings at the appropriate time. At the end of the boil, I cool the wort quickly by running cold water through the immersion chiller, and running the wort through the whirlpool tube. This allows much of the precipitating solids formed by the boil, called trub, to settle in the center of the kettle away from my dip tube drain.

Once the wort has reached about 75 degrees,it’s time to transfer the work into the fermentation vessel, in this case a 6gal Better Bottle PET carboy. I prefer the plastic carboys, as they are easier to clean, and lighter and safer than the same size glass carboys. I then pitch in the two vials of White Labs WLP013 London Ale yeast into the carboy, use my oxygenating wand to stir the wort and add some dissolved oxygen into the wort, and place the whole shebang into my fermentation chamber. nothing to do now but wait for the yeast to do their magic.

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