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Oatmeal in an extract brew

I’m brewing NB’s St Paul Porter tomorrow and since it has specialty grains I have to steep anyway, I was wondering if it would work to add some oats to those steeping grains if I were planning to steep for 30min at about 155*f? I like the mouthfeel that oats lend to beer, and was hoping this might be possible. I think I’ve read, though, that oatmeal should be mashed along with base malt.

So is this a dumb idea? Any advice appreciated as usual.



Oatmeal needs to be mashed with base malt since it has no enzymes to convert itself. Just steeping it would only add starch to your beer.

Years ago I went on an oatmeal kick (all grain recipes) to help with mouthfeel, body, etc. I never really noticed much of that and oatmeal doesn’t contribute much in the way of flavor either, malted oats do though, they need mashed too and you want to go easy with them. I use flaked barley these days for adding body, it still needs to be mashed too.

It isn’t a dumb idea. If you plan to steep at 155, and you add some base malt in there along with the specialty grains, and you use no more than about 2.5 quarts of water per pound of grain in the steep, then you are actually doing a mini-mash and you will convert the starches to sugars. But adding some base grain is key, and it should compose at least 1/3 of the grain bill.

Have to say, I’ve had similar experiences with oatmeal as Glug Master. Have never been able to get the mouthfeel I think I should be able to get from oats. Unmalted barley may be a bit better, but I haven’t used it often enough to say with certainty.

Oats need to be mashed. You’ll at least need to do a mini-mash or it is just adding starch which can cause bacterial contamination later if not consumed in a short period.

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