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Make my oatmeal stout sweeter

I want my oatmeal stout recipe to be sweeter. I want a caramel like depth to the brew. Here is my grain bill.

10.5 2 row pale
1.5 Roast Barley
13oz flake oats

1oz cascade @50min

American ale yeast.

Thanks.

Add some crystal malt like 1-2 lbs 0f 40 or 60. You can add lactose also.

Add a quarter to a half pound of a very dark crystal (120L or Simpsons “Extra Dark”) for slight burnt sugar sweetness and then 3/4 to a full pound of something in the 40L-60L range.

Also you may consider using a less attenuative yeast. I like London or London ESB for this type of beer.

What’s your mash temp? Higher temp for less fermentable wort, and thus sweeter beer.

Ya I debated usin London ale yeast. I’ll try that alon with the grain additions. Thanks all. I mashed at 153 btw. Might adjust that too. Decent flavor but just fell a little flat.

Easy way…use half as much hops.

I’d say you should add a dark caramel malt to the recipe, preferably one that’s around 80 or 90 degrees Lovibond, at a rate of somewhere between 5-8%. Another point: roasted barley is the number one grain of choice for a stout, of course, but it does tend to give a pretty dry finish, which works against your desired result of a sweeter beer, if that’s the only dark grain in the recipe, and you’re using a significant amount of it. I’d say you could definitely cut back on the amount of the roasted barley. I’m calculating a total contribution of 11.7%, which I think is a little heavy-handed. You could easily cut that amount back to around 8% and still get the flavor you want without so much astringency. Another idea is to use another, less roasted malt, like pale chocolate malt, in tandem with the roasted barley. Instead of using roasted barley at a rate of say…10%, split the bill between the roasted barley and the pale chocolate malt at a rate of 5% on each grain. Another idea is to use a yeast that’s a little less attenuative than the American ale strain. There are quite a few yeasts on the market that will leave your beer with a little bit fuller body without adding any funky flavors. The British Ale and Irish Ale strains from White Labs are both excellent choices for this style. Instead of finishing out in the average 78-80% range like the American Ale yeast, they will most likely finish out at more like 73-75%, leaving the beer with a little more residual malt richness. So here’s a sample recipe format I’d suggest, just off the top of my head…

Grain BIll: 75% 2-row pale malt, 10% flaked oats, 5% caramel 80, 5% roasted barley, 5% pale chocolate malt

Hops: UK Northern Brewer for bittering only, with a total bittering level of around 32 IBUs.

Yeast: White Labs British Ale strain

Mash Schedule: 45 minutes at 144 degrees, infuse with water or increase heat directly to reach temp of 156 degrees, hold for another 45 minutes, heat again to reach mashout temp of 170 degrees, sparge and recirculate as usual.

I’ve stuck with this general format for quite a few years, and I’ve had good luck with it. Anyway, I hope I’ve given you some food for thought.

Deliusism,

First off, thanks. That was helpful. Second, won’t mashing at 144 cause the beer to have higher attenuation and thinner body? Could you please explain your our mash process? I usually just stick with a 60 minute mash around 153. Always looking to learn more. Thanks in advance.

[quote=“twotacotuesday”]Deliusism,

First off, thanks. That was helpful. Second, won’t mashing at 144 cause the beer to have higher attenuation and thinner body? Could you please explain your our mash process? I usually just stick with a 60 minute mash around 153. Always looking to learn more. Thanks in advance.[/quote]

I’ll gladly explain my mash process. I’ve been pretty disenchanted with the “in-between” mash temp approach for quite some time now. I used to go with that process, but I’ve long since moved on from it because I rarely ever got the kind of beers I wanted with it. My problem with it is basically that you’re not hitting the ideal range of either alpha or beta amylase enzymes, you’re just shooting in-between, and so you’re never getting the full benefits of either range, only a compromise balance point that isn’t really totally ideal, in my opinion. And it’s pretty much impossible to really keep a constant temp without pretty expensive equipment, so you’re always either sliding either up or down the temp scale, and one or the other enzyme range gets more or less control than the other. I find that doing a sustained mash ( it doesn’t have to be too long, 45 minutes at each temp is adequate) in the beta amylase range, then ramping up the temp and hitting the alpha amylase range, gives your mash the full benefit of both ranges. Yes, if you only did a mash at the lower temp, you would get a pretty light-bodied beer, but since you’re hitting both temp ranges, the alpha amylase rest will develop plenty of unfermentable dextrins, thus achieving good mash efficiency and an appropriately well-balanced level of fermentability in the beer. Does that make sense? Another thing you could do, which I sometimes do, is leave out the dark grains in the beta amylase rest, and add them when you do the alpha amylase rest. This will help to avoid leaching too much out of the dark grains in the way of potentially undesirable astringency, and will still give the flavor and color you want. That approach is not appropriate in all cases, but if you want a stout that’s got some sweetness, and isn’t too dry, I’d highly recommend you give that technique a shot. :cheers:

Deliusism is referring to what is known as a hochkurz mash. You can find out more info online. I have used it many times with great results. I find it works well in lieu of a traditional decoction mash.

I’ve done this a number of times, also with great results. But if I do multi-step, I’ll use a decoction to get from one temp to the next. I find it easier and more accurate (on my system at least).

I can’t say it is heads and shoulders better than single step infusion, just for some beers it seems to work better.

I’ve done this a number of times, also with great results. But if I do multi-step, I’ll use a decoction to get from one temp to the next. I find it easier and more accurate (on my system at least).

I can’t say it is heads and shoulders better than single step infusion, just for some beers it seems to work better.[/quote]
I’ve done this, too. You can even use an undermodified malt for the base malt in a stout if you want to, like British lager malt. When I used this method, I left out the dark grains until I reached the alpha amylase rest phase, just to avoid the possibility of leaching out anything undesirable from the dark grains during boiling. It worked very well. I’m a big fan of decoction mashing in general, although it takes a bit longer than infusion mashing. I think it gives a more well-rounded malt flavor, especially in darker beers. All this talk about decoction mashing makes me think I need to return to that method for my next beer. I, too, am about to brew a stout ASAP, with both oat malt and golden naked oats, and I think this method should work just fine for that recipe, too.

Decocting a stout? Are you guys kidding?

And did everybody overlook the obvious solution? Just use less hops. Geez, you guys are making a simple thing really complicated!

[quote=“Denny”]Decocting a stout? Are you guys kidding?

And did everybody overlook the obvious solution? Just use less hops. Geez, you guys are making a simple thing really complicated![/quote]
Denny I agree. I don’t do decoctions after reading that either you, or a study that you posted, indicated that in a blind test no one could tell the difference. I was simply letting the OP know the tech name for reference.

Same here, just commenting on process. Actually lost track of what beer was being discussed. :oops:

Single infusion is perfectly fine for a stout, and at a mash of 153, lowering hops should result in a sweeter balance to the beer.

Yup, pretty simple.

[quote=“Denny”]Decocting a stout? Are you guys kidding?

And did everybody overlook the obvious solution? Just use less hops. Geez, you guys are making a simple thing really complicated![/quote]
With all due respect, don’t knock it 'til you try it. Lagers aren’t the only beers that can benefit from the decoction treatment. And from what I can see in his recipe, his hopping rate is already pretty darn low- around 20 IBUs or so by my calculation- so he definitely needs to try something other than just lowering the hopping rate, because an overabundance of hops doesn’t appear to be the problem. I listed several options for him to consider, anyway. The decoction mash idea just sort of sprang out of a side discussion. It’s not something I would just up and recommend for this style of beer ordinarily; but like I said, I’ve used the method with good results for a stout in the past. I’ve read of other people doing the same thing, too. And just to clarify, I’m not talking about a multiple-step decoction mash like I would use for a pilsner or something like that. I’m just talking about starting the mash in the beta amylase range and giving it one decoction to bring the mash temp up to the alpha amylase range. It’s just a 2-step mash with one decoction; nothing overly complicated or time-consuming at all. For someone who might be interested in experimenting with decoction mashing, this simple 2-step method can work well for a very wide range of beer styles, and it can give you an idea of the kind of flavor that can be achieved with the method, without spending all day doing it. I’m not directing this advice at you per se, as I’m sure you’ve done plenty of decoction mashing with all the years you’ve been making beer. I just happen to be an advocate of the method, and I recommend it to others who may not have considered trying it yet.

I wouldn’t attempt an oatmeal stout without any crystal/caramel malt, so i’ll reiterate that in my opinion, that’s what you need to do. The OP is looking for a “caramel type depth” to the brew.

Indeed. That’s another reason why I don’t agree with the idea of just dropping the hopping rate on this recipe, which is already quite low, anyway. He’s got a ton of roasted barley in that recipe, which is going to contribute quite a bit of dryness, and he’s got no caramel malt in there at all. So dropping the hopping rate might help slightly to take a little of the edge off the roasted barley bite, but there’s still nothing in that recipe to contribute any caramel character at all. Another idea that nobody’s mentioned is to give the wort a really long boil to intensify the malt character. Apart from that, I’m about of tricks on this one.

[quote=“deliusism1”][quote=“Denny”]Decocting a stout? Are you guys kidding?

And did everybody overlook the obvious solution? Just use less hops. Geez, you guys are making a simple thing really complicated![/quote]
With all due respect, don’t knock it 'til you try it. Lagers aren’t the only beers that can benefit from the decoction treatment. And from what I can see in his recipe, his hopping rate is already pretty darn low- around 20 IBUs or so by my calculation- so he definitely needs to try something other than just lowering the hopping rate, because an overabundance of hops doesn’t appear to be the problem. I listed several options for him to consider, anyway. The decoction mash idea just sort of sprang out of a side discussion. It’s not something I would just up and recommend for this style of beer ordinarily; but like I said, I’ve used the method with good results for a stout in the past. I’ve read of other people doing the same thing, too. And just to clarify, I’m not talking about a multiple-step decoction mash like I would use for a pilsner or something like that. I’m just talking about starting the mash in the beta amylase range and giving it one decoction to bring the mash temp up to the alpha amylase range. It’s just a 2-step mash with one decoction; nothing overly complicated or time-consuming at all. For someone who might be interested in experimenting with decoction mashing, this simple 2-step method can work well for a very wide range of beer styles, and it can give you an idea of the kind of flavor that can be achieved with the method, without spending all day doing it. I’m not directing this advice at you per se, as I’m sure you’ve done plenty of decoction mashing with all the years you’ve been making beer. I just happen to be an advocate of the method, and I recommend it to others who may not have considered trying it yet.[/quote]

FWIW, I have done MANY decoction and step mashes and I have yet to find a reason to do them other than curiosity about whether it will finally make a difference. Stouts have been brewed without decoction for a long time. And while anyone is free to try anything they like with their beer, it might be worthwhile to think about why stouts traditionally don’t use decoction.

Good point. That and reducing the hopping should work well and be easy to do.

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