Make #5: Oatmeal Stout

I got a great new brewing book for Christmas (Mastering Homebrew by Randy Mosher) and decided that for the first time since I started brewing I’d brew a recipe from a book. Feeling in the mood for a darker beer while it’s still winter I decided to brew his Squidward’s Inky Ale oatmeal stout recipe.

After scaling it down to the right size for my kit (the recipe is for 5 gallons and I’ve only got the gear for 3 gallon batches) and making the necessary adjustments for reality (like rounding the hops to some sensible fraction so I don’t end up with tiny bits left over that I can’t use) I headed down to my local brew shop to find out how hard it is to actually brew to a recipe. It turned out, that the chocolate rye I needed for the recipe wasn’t in stock, making things a bit tricky. On the advice from the very helpful store owner I subbed the chocolate rye for some chocolate malt and some rye malt in some sort of vaguely sensible quantity and soon had everything milled and in a bag ready for brewing the following weekend.

I’ve not brewed with oats before, and this recipe called for toasted oats which, while easy to make in the oven, need some time to rest before they can be brewed with, so I got that out of the way well in advance of the brew day. Combined with the rest of the non toasted oats and the rest of the grain bill my mash tun was almost overflowing. When the mash was over I went to remove the grain bag and found, to my disappointment, that I’d managed to catch the bag on the bottom of the pot when heating for mash out and had melted the bag to the bottom of my pot.

After a lot of filtering and transferring, the brew was mostly back on track and, surprisingly, things weren’t looking too bad. The boil was going well and I didn’t forget any of the hop additions or mess up any of the timings. In fact, the rest of the brew went about as smoothly as it ever does and I soon had it in the fermenter bubbling away in the back room.

Just before heading to the UK I bottled it up and have since cracked open the first bottle after 2 weeks of conditioning and I’m pretty pleased with the result. The oatmeal adds a nice creaminess to the roasty flavours of the stout and I can’t even taste the burnt bag.

Now, who fancies a beer?