Still trying to crack this Oatmeal Stout egg?

Stouts, especially Oatmeal stout are mysterious, full bodied, roasty, deliciousness. With this next batch for the To Style Series I brewed an Oatmeal Stout that I entered into two stout sub categories, Oatmeal Stout 13c and Dry Stout 13a. The results were a bit surprising.

Oatmeal Stout
Briess Two Row         53%
Flaked Oats               14%
Oat Malt                     7%
TF Roasted Barley      7%
TF Chocolate Malt      7%
TF Crystal 45              7%
Melanoidin Malt           5%

mash 152*f

Super Galena  :60    .5 oz.
Delta              :10      1 oz.

15.4*P (1.061sg)
Safale US-05

Entered in category 13 c Oatmeal Stout
#1-Some coffee. Mild Roast character. Low hop aroma. Mild fruity ester. No diacetyl. Clean
#2-Roasty, Coffee, Sweet Malt.

#1-Black color, ruby highlights, clear. Light brown head with moderate retention.
#2-Dark Brown/Black color. Good head/carb

#1-A high level of roast character. Finish is dry from high roast level. Some malt sweetness in background. Moderate hop bitterness. Balance is toward roast but malty sweetness is not far behind.
#2-Roasty but to the point of being burnt, astringent. Don't get too much oat, silky, smooth flavor per the style

#1-Medium body. Light astringency from roast malt.
#2-Medium body. Sweet but not too creamy.

Overall Impression
#1-A very roasty yet sweet example of an Oatmeal Stout. Clean fermentation character. Try reducing roast malt addition and increasing body to bring this beer more in style. Needs more creaminess.
#2-ok, drinkable beer. A bit too much roast which leaves more of a burnt flavor vs. a silky chocolate coffee sweetness. Watch use of black malt, try de-husked dark malts instead. Mash at 152-154*f

#1-Certified  29/50
#2-Certified  25/50

Overall 27/50---Good (21-29)

Same beer entered as a Dry Stout in category 13a with the same judges.
#1-Some roasty coffee aroma, light malt sweetness, slight fruity esters. No diacetyl. No hop aroma.
#2-Big roasty, coffee rich nose. Slightly burnt.

#1-Black color, clear with garnet highlights. Low tan head with with low retention.
#2-Black color, opaque, tight bubble tan head with medium retention.

#1-Moderate to high roasted malt character. Slightly burnt but not astringent. Dry, unsweetened chocolate. Clean fermentation quality. Some light fruit esters. Finished somewhat sweet with a roasty balance.
#2-Roasty malty but not as strong as the aroma was. Slightly bitter with chocolate aftertaste. Hop/malt background noticed. Smooth

#1-Medium to light body with low carbonation. Slight roast malt astringency but not overwhelming.
#2-Medium to light body. Dry finish but not too harsh.

Overall Impression
#1-A roasty, sweet, light bodied example of a dry stout. Could use a little more body. Try mashing higher. Clean well attenuated. Good job.
#2-Nice, drinkable beer. Big aroma with smooth balance with roast and malt. Might benefit from more roasty, coffee flavor.

#1-Certified 33/50
#2-Certified 33/50

Overall 33/50---Very Good (30-37)

Clearly if I want this recipe to be an oatmeal stout I must create more body. First step for next batch will be to raise the mash temperature up to 154-156*f from 152*f. I've been experimenting with Oatmeal stouts at home the last couple of years with some success but still missing the elusive full body character present in some of the best examples. At this point I think it's more than just a higher finishing gravity and it's not necessarily just oats in any form (flaked, malted, steel cut) that gives the necessary body. My next batch of Oatmeal stout will also contain some flaked barley and bumping up the melanoidin malt addition to help give the tongue something to hold onto. It also appears the roast character needs to be dialed back a little bit and/or I need to look into making water adjustments. I find it interesting that this beer scored higher as a dry stout than the oatmeal stout style I was aiming for. I think this illustrates the subtle differences in processes and ingredients that can separate styles.


  1. Excellent writeup, these are great for me as I have been thinking of entering a competition or two in the near future.

  2. A couple things to think about. Have you tried wheat malt at 5-10%? That may help with the body. A higher mash temp will make more dextrin, but dextrins don't necessarily mean more sweetness. You might try a less attenuative yeast to provide a bit more sweetness, which I think would be perceived as "thicker." I echo the judge's comments to use dehusked carafa for a portion to get the color without the astringency.

  3. Great idea Nateo about using a different less attenuative yeast strain.

    I'll have to pick up some carafa to experiment with. Thanks!