So heres how it all went-
All numbers are in reference to one nominal 6 gallon batch.
My grain bill and hop bill are the same as described above. I changed to a 90 minute boil with an 8 gallon boil volume, this increased the IBU to 72.2.
A few days earlier I started a 5L starter on a stir plate (actually a 2L and 3L). This was supposed to be a good amount for 6 gallons, which I would pitch on day 1, and then it would be active and stepped up for day 2 when I added 12 more gallons.
I used a mash temp of 155F, because, with the Irish Ale yeast, I was aiming for a final gravity of 1.029-1.030 (more on that later).
My mash tun can hold about 23-23.5 lbs of grain while at 1.25qt/lb. So in order to fit this all, I had to mash thick. I had trouble hitting mash temps (too low), but no trouble fitting everything inside. I would add more hot water to account for the temps, and it worked out ok. The last batch I finally aimed high enough with the temps and hit 155 on the first try. My mash calculator and temps are normally spot on.
Mash went fine, I use a 10 gallon cooler. Temp was fine, fly sparge was fine. After collecting about 8 gallons of wort, I was still getting some strong stuff so I started collecting in another pot to make a second runnings breakfast stout (more on that later).
The boil went fine, and I did the small 2 gallons of second runnings on the stove with some spare hops.
I added chocolate paste with 15 minutes remaining (4 oz). Chocolate paste, or chocolate liquor, is just ground cocoa nibs. My girlfriend is a professional chef and got me a bunch, as it is what they use for chocolate flavor. Its the most chocolate flavor available, with no added fats or butter, other than the fat inherent to cocoa. I never got much chocolate from nibs, so I went with this method. More on how this worked out later.
I made cold brewed coffee with a French press (100g of coarse grounds in 1L of water at room temp for 2-3 days) and added during the wort chilling. I normally only add at bottling, but I thought a bit of bitterness would be ok in this beer, and it adds the safety of pasteurization.
Stuff goes in buckets, yeast it pitched, everything seems ok, but my gravity is low. Really low at 1.088 for 6 gallons, and I normally get very good efficiencies. Clearly the thick mash hurt me, so now I have to make up gravity with the next two batches.
At this point I realize I should have not bothered with a second runnings beer, but tried a longer boil to get the right gravity. I even have a refractometer, but didnt use it because Ive never had issues. I used it judiciously for the next batches to calculate volumes and gravities to make sure I could get it right.
For the second and third batches (done at the same time with a friend), I collected extra wort for a longer boil, and collected even more and boiled it without hops or anything, just to get more sugars. I ended up with another 5.5 gallons at 1.112, 5.5 gallons at 1.102, and 1 gallon at 1.195. This brought my mixed gravity to 1.106 for 18 gallons, which seemed pretty good.
After a good fermentation, it was time to add it to the barrel. 13 days got my gravity down to 1.030-1.031, which was ideal. I added a handle of heaven hill (and previously a bottle of Dads Hat Rye the original spirit of the barrel), to keep the barrel wet. Some bourbon was still present in the bottom, but I just left it.
I deliberately aimed high on my final gravity for several reasons. The bourbon would contribute alcohol and reduce gravity. Along with additions of more coffee or chocolate to lower gravity, I thought it was best to aim high.
When adding to my barrel, I came up short of the 15 gallons needed. There was a lot of junk in the bottom of the fermenter. I knew I needed even more than the 15 gallons so I could keep topping the barrel off. So I had to use my second runnings breakfast stout to top it off, because it seems paramount to have a completely full barrel.
After two weeks in the barrel, I bottled one 12 oz bottle for testing. I had some KBS a few days prior, so I had a good reference. The KBS was very heavy on chocolate, and very sweet, with minimal coffee. My bottle had the correct aroma, but less chocolate and sweetness (the ideal amount, in my book) and minimal coffee. Using the chocolate paste finally got me a good chocolate flavor, but it was still less than the ridiculous amount in KBS.
I love coffee, and I wanted more coffee than KBS had, so I made another batch of cold brewed coffee, boiled a bit of chocolate paste in water to add some flavor that will eventually fade, and added about 4 oz of Dads Hat Rye that I had. I thought this would provide a better coffee profile, a matching chocolate flavor, and bring the gravity to the right place with some extra bourbon for alcohol, and completed with oak and vanilla from the barrel.
Thats where Im at now. Its in the barrel (around 7 weeks now), and Ill bottle in a few more weeks.