The original Oatmeal Stout Recipe was brewed in England in the mid-19th century. As delicious of a beer as it is, its popularity surprisingly did not last long and waned relatively quickly.
However, as a result of it being a smooth and easy-drinking beer with a silky cream almost latte-like mouthfeel that provides notes of chocolate, roast, and coffee it is no wonder that during the resurgence of the craft beer movement in the 1980s this unique take on a Stout once again rose in popularity. They are now adored by countless beer fans and brewed around the world by brewers, microbreweries, and homebrewers alike.
Oatmeal Stouts are not just easy-drinking stouts but are also some of the easiest-drinking beers on the market, it could be argued that they are even smoother than their close cousin the Dry Irish Stout which uses nitrogen to create its smooth creamy texture, whereas as the ingredients found in an Oatmeal Stout recipe are what achieves its smooth feel.
Although dark in color and perceived as being a stronger and harsh-tasting beer the opposite is in fact true. It is a nicely balanced beer that is in no way overpowering, it presents mild flavors and aromas of chocolate, caramel, and roast as well as a silky smoothness as a result of the actual oats used in the brewing process. Many people perceive stouts and porters as being coffee-like, in that regard, an Oatmeal Stout would be a latte.
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Oatmeal Stout Characteristics
Appearance – The color of these beers is dark brown to black, there are noticeable slow-rising carbonation bubbles, and clarity wise it is opaque, light will not get through to the other side of the glass. Like most Stouts such as a Guinness draught or extra stout, the head will be quick thick, appear creamy looking, and be tan in color.
Aroma – The majority of the aroma will come from the grain bill to primarily present as coffee-like, there can also be caramel and chocolate-like aromas present. Rarely are aromas from the hops present in this beer, however, they are optional and can be if the brewer prefers. Fruit aromas created by esters are typically very low or non-existent.
Taste – It may be surprising to some to find out that an Oatmeal Stout actually does not taste much like oatmeal at all. The oats in the recipe actually add more of an earth or nut-like flavor. Like the aroma, the flavors you pick up will be coffee, caramel, and chocolate-like. The hop’s bitterness is medium and they help to balance out the sweet taste of the malts. Flavor-wise it would be considered malt-leaning versus a hoppy beer.
Mouthfeel – The mouthfeel of this beer is full but always soft and smooth, it could almost be described as being mouth-coating. You will be able to detect carbonation bubbles that are typically of a medium level but can also be low.
Oatmeal Stout Recipe Ingredients
The Grain Bill – Your base grain is going to primarily be a pale malt, where this is an English Style ale we recommend using Maris Otter or Golden Promise. Usually, the base grain will make up no more than 80% of the total bill. As it is an oatmeal stout oats are next on the list, some recipes can call for as much as 30% while others will go as low as 5%, our favorite is right in the middle at approximately 15% but feel free to experiment and adjust to your preference.
After those two staples of this style you can mix and match specialty grains as you see fit, you will see a range of different grains depending on the recipe, many of the more commonly used are crystal malts, dextrine, flaked barley, and flaked wheat. Typically under 10% of each would be used. Remember that the higher the Lovibond the more of a dark color and sweetness it will give to the beer.
And of course, being a stout you need to include chocolate malt and/or back patent in order to get the color as well as the roast, chocolate, and coffee flavors. Keep them to a minimum at no more than 5 – 10% of the grain bill as you are striving for a more mellow taste from these grains than other members of the stout and porter families. Too much of them will provide too heavy of a roasted flavor.
Hops Type – Again being a traditional English Ale most brewers will use traditional European hop varieties such as Fuggles, Willamette, and East Kent Goldings, however, it is not uncommon to see some recipes include American bittering hops such as Centennial. Typically only bittering hops are used and rarely will you see a flavor or aroma addition as the hop profile is very low in this beer with its primary focus being on the malts.
The Mash – A single-step infusion mash is all that is required with this beer style. Temperature wise you will see both ends of the spectrum with some mashing at a higher temperature of around 156℉ in order to get a fuller body and other recipes will call for lower temperatures of around 148℉ in order to achieve greater attenuation during fermentation which will allow the oatmeal characteristics to shine through more.
Yeast Strain – Any good English Ale yeast strain will work for this beer style. White labs and Wyeast are always good choices for liquid yeast and for dry yeast Safe Ale S-04 and LalBrew Nottingham English Ale yeast are great choices.
Oatmeal Stout Recipe
Batch Size: 5 gallons
7lbs Maris Otter
2lbs Flaked Oats
1lb Pale Chocolate
1lb Roasted Barley
1lb Crystal 45L
2oz Willamette (60 min)
Fermentis – Safale – English Ale Yeast S-04
Recipe Instructions: Mash between 148 – 156℉ as per your preference as discussed above. Sparge with 170℉ water. Bring wort to a boil, and boil for 60 minutes. Add the one-hop addition at the 60-minute market. Cool the wort, transfer it to the fermenter and pitch the yeast. Ferment for a minimum of 10 days. Cold crash for 48 hours and package.
If you brew up this Oatmeal Stout Recipe be sure to let us know what you think and at what temperature you mashed it.
P.S. For more recipes be sure to check out our gift to you on the side of the blog or at the bottom if you are on your smart device and get Big Robb’s top 5 favorite recipes from his brewpub. Cheers!