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Temperature profile during brewing process
Temperature profile during brewing process

Homebrewing an Oatmeal Stout

Grain bill #1/2: Bairds Pale Ale malt, Flaked Oats, Chocolate malt, Victory malt
Grain bill #1/2:
– Bairds Pale Ale malt
– Flaked Oats
– Chocolate malt
– Victory malt

In this article I will cover brewing an Oatmeal Stout for competition and of course enjoyable drinking.

Competition

For the National Homebrew Competition 2017 I set out to brew six beers and applied for the same number of entries, alas once the entries were accepted due to caps on numbers I was granted five out of the six so had to drop one of them.

In the end I opted to drop the Oatmeal Stout (BJCP style 16B) because the Dark British Beer category as a whole usually attracts a high number of entries so I figured I would focus on the other categories which usually attract lower numbers of entries so in theory this would give me a better chance of having beer(s) progress to the final round.

Recipe

Grain bill #2/2: Black Barley, Crystal 40L malt, Crystal Light 45L malt
Grain bill #2/2:
– Black Barley
– Crystal 40L malt
– Crystal Light 45L malt

The last time I brewed this style of beer (see Brewing an Oatmeal Stout) I used a recipe from The Homebrewer’s Companion by Charlie Papazian. This time I opted to use the McQuaker’s Oatmeal Stout recipe out of Brewing Classic Styles by Jamil Zainasheff & John J. Palmer.

Here is the tweaked recipe for my BIAB (Brew In A Bag) system and the ingredients I had available:

  • 11 Lbs – Bairds Pale Ale malt
  • 1 Lb – Flaked Oats
  • 12 oz – Chocolate malt (450 SRM)
  • 12 oz – Victory malt (25 SRM)
  • 8 oz – Black Barley (500 SRM)
  • 8 oz – Crystal 40L malt
  • 3 oz – Crystal Light 45L malt
  • 1.0 oz – Fuggles hops (bittering @ 60 mins)
  • 0.75 oz – East Kent Goldings hops (bittering @ 60 mins)
  • Irish Moss @ 15 mins
  • SafAle English Ale dry yeast (S-04)
Fuggles & East Kent Goldings pellet hops
Fuggles & East Kent Goldings pellet hops
SafAle S-04 English Ale dry yeast
SafAle S-04 English Ale dry yeast

Process

Specific Gravity reading using a hydrometer
Specific Gravity reading using a hydrometer

The brewing process involved the following steps:

  • Mash at 154 deg F (67.8 deg C) for 60 mins in 9 gals of borough water which has been carbon filtered and off-gassed overnight to remove any chlorine.
  • Boil for 60 mins after hot break dissipates.
  • Ferment at 68 deg F (20 deg C).
  • Cold crash and force carbonate to 2.3 volumes.

Statistics

The BJCP 2015 vital statistics are as follows:

  • Original Gravity (OG): 1.044 – 1.060
  • Finishing Gravity (FG): 1.012 – 1.024
  • Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 4.0 – 6.0%
  • International Bittering Units (IBUs): 20 – 40
  • Standard Reference Method (SRM) i.e. color: 30 – 40
Wort ready for fermentation
Wort ready for fermentation

Here are the target statistics I was shooting for together with actual statistics reached in brackets:

  • OG: 1.054 (1.056)
  • FG: 1.016 (1.020)
  • ABV: 5.0% (4.73%)
  • IBUs: 25.4*
  • SRM: 35.6*

* as calculated by BeerSmith software.

Overall I was very happy with where the actual statistics ended up and having everything to style i.e. within the appropriate ranges defined by the BJCP 2015 standards.

Summary

Here are my tasting notes:

Black in color with a cream colored head that lasts a long time. A light roasty aroma and flavor but lacks complexity. Medium-high carbonation which is a bit high. A medium body, lasting roastiness but no slickness on the tongue as would be expected for this style.

Sample taster of the Oatmeal Stout
Sample taster of the Oatmeal Stout

Changes for next time would be to increase the amount of flaked oats in order to improve slickness in the mouth-feel and add some complexity rather than being purely roasty. Even so all the beer went pretty quickly so was certainly drinkable…

If you have any questions or remarks, please post them in the comments section below.

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