Oat Madness!

The semester is finally winding down, so now is as good a time as any to write about the oatmeal stout I’ll be drinking and sharing all winter.

I have spent the last couple of months on an oatmeal stout kick. It started when I drank the Oatmeal Stout from the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp, and it just spiraled from there. Just with a quick recollection I can remember drinking:

  • Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Oatmeal Stout (again)
  • Terrapin Wake’n’Bake
  • Founders Breakfast Stout
  • Stoudt’s Fat Dog
  • Dark Horse One Oatmeal Stout
  • Blue Point Oatmeal Stout (let down)

I’m sure there’s more, but you can look through my Untappd history for that. It also led to me getting into a bunch of other stouts, mainly coffee and chocolate stouts, with a few imperial stouts thrown in for good measure. So, I wanted to make an oatmeal stout of my own to get my fix from.

I scoured the web and found a great post that had received a very detailed grain bill for a Terrapin WnB clone directly from the brewery. Since this is the reigning King of Oatmeal Stouts in my book, I figured this would be the most ideal. Plus, at 8% ABV, it would be the perfect winter warmer for me. So, the week after I brewed the previous batch, I got down to doing this.

The mash smelled amazing. Scents of chocolate and oatmeal made it smell like breakfast.
The resulting wort looked exactly like coffee, which got me real hopeful for the end result.
It only smelled better when it started boiling. It even looked like hot chocolate!

Unfortunately, without a refractometer, I have no way of checking my gravity mid-boil (and didn’t think to check the wort after the mash), so I came in below my ABV. It hit 6% in the end, but still a shy of what I wanted. I also made my very first yeast starter ever for this beer, just because. I’m not entirely sure I’ll do it again, because I can’t tell if it did anything worthwhile.

It looked like five gallons of coffee.

After a week in primary, it got racked into secondary, where it met the coffee. I considered buying the proper coffee for a WnB clone, because it’s available on Terrapin’s website, but decided to stick with my usual Meijer fresh bean coffee.

To add the coffee to the beer, I did a coarse grind on about 5 tablespoons of beans, and put the grounds in a mason jar. I added about a pint and a half of filtered water, stirred, and let it sit overnight. This was the recommended method for cold brewing some coffee without an Aeropress or anything like that, according to Will at Tested.com, and he’s a coffee expert. The next day, I added the contents of the jar, grounds and all, to the carboy and just racked the entire beer on top of it, and let them mingle for five days. Then they were bottled – which was a pain in the ass thanks to all the coffee grounds – and left to carbonate in the basement.

Since I would be giving bottles of this as gifts and bringing them around to holiday parties, I decided to do something fancy for them. I hadn’t yet made a label, so I decided to seal the caps with wax. I read a post online about doing it with crayons and glue sticks, so I ran to Target for both, and set about the project. You can see the final results in the picture below. Plus, I donated the rest of the packs of crayons (sans orange) to my wife’s classroom so her students can use them.

I like how it turned out, even if they are a bit difficult to open.

All in all, this is one of my favorite beers I have ever brewed, and I’m really pleased with the way it turned out. Response has been great, and I will probably try it again in the future to refine it a little more, and maybe get that imperial quality I was looking for!

I made a label eventually.

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