If you’ve ever wondered what an oatmeal stout is, you’re in for a treat. This type of stout ale gets its unique character from the addition of oatmeal during the brewing process. It creates a velvety mouthfeel and imparts a subtle toasty flavor.
In your glass, you’ll notice an oatmeal stout has a dark brown or black color, and typically comes with a thick, creamy head. Flavor-wise, expect a mix of roast malt and coffee notes, making it a perfect drink for those who enjoy complex tastes.
The thing that sets oatmeal stouts apart is their texture. Thanks to the oats, your palate will be greeted with a soft creaminess and a touch of sweetness. With a relatively low ABV (4.2-5.9%), you can enjoy this rich, well-rounded beer without feeling too tipsy.
Origins and History
Development of Oatmeal Stout
Oatmeal stouts have a rich history that can be traced back to their roots in England. In the 1700s, stout beers evolved from strong porters called “stout porters,” and that’s when brewers started experimenting with different types of stouts, including oatmeal stout. The first recorded oatmeal stout was brewed in 1894 in London.
Samuel Smith and the Style Revival
By the 20th century, the popularity of oatmeal stouts dwindled. However, it wasn’t forgotten: Samuel Smith, an iconic English brewery, brought the style back to life in the 1980s. Today, oatmeal stouts are enjoyed by beer enthusiasts worldwide, and many breweries have their own unique variations of this classic style.
To brew a tasty oatmeal stout, you’ll need some flaked oats for a rich and creamy mouthfeel. Your grain bill should include a combination of English pale malts and English roasted barley for a roasty, malty profile. Don’t forget some English aromatic hops to add a bit of earthiness and balance to your beer.
Mashing and Fermentation
When you’re ready to start brewing, mash the grains in your mash tun with water having a high chloride-to-sulfate ratio. This step extracts the sugars from the grains and creates the wort for your stout. After mashing, it’s time to add the yeast! Use an English ale yeast to give your beer classic stout characteristics.
Here’s a quick summary of the brewing steps:
- Mix the grain bill in the mash tun.
- Mash at a proper temperature to extract sugars.
- Sparge and collect the wort.
- Boil the wort and add hops.
- Cool the wort and pitch the yeast.
- Allow the fermentation to occur.
Bottling and Conditioning
Once fermentation is complete, you’re almost ready to enjoy your oatmeal stout! Before that, though, you need to bottle your beer and allow it to condition. This process helps carbonate the beer and develop the flavors even further. Just make sure to follow proper sanitization methods and give your oatmeal stout enough time to condition for the best results. Happy brewing!
Characteristics and Flavor Profile
Appearance and Aroma
When you pour yourself an oatmeal stout, you’ll notice its dark garnet to black color, making it quite a sight to behold. The aroma hints at roasted barley combined with oats, which brings forth scents of coffee, chocolate, and caramel. Don’t be surprised if you find some sweetness in the smell as well.
Taste and Mouthfeel
As you take your first sip, you’ll experience flavors of roasted coffee, caramel, and chocolate, which complement its sweeter side. Though not as sweet as milk stouts, oatmeal stouts are a bit sweeter than dry stouts. The mouthfeel is smooth, with a lighter body generally found in this style of beer. Here’s a quick look at some key characteristics:
- ABV: 3-4.8% (by weight)
- IBU: 20-40
- SRM (Color): 22-40
- Original Gravity: 1.045-1.065
- Final Gravity: 1.008-1.020
Now that you know what to expect in terms of appearance, aroma, taste, and mouthfeel, you can truly appreciate the unique and delightful experience that is an oatmeal stout. Enjoy!
Variations and Pairings
Oatmeal Stout Variations
You might be surprised by the variety of oatmeal stouts available, all differing in flavor, texture, and sweetness. While oatmeal stouts are generally sweeter than dry stouts, they’re not as sweet as milk stouts. Common flavor notes include roasted coffee, caramel, and chocolate. You may also come across variations of the beer styles, like imperial oatmeal stouts, which are on the stronger, bolder side of the spectrum.
Food and Beverage Combinations
Pairing oatmeal stouts with the right food or drink can create delicious combinations. Here’s a quick list you might find helpful:
- Meats: Slow-cooked, savory dishes, like roasted meats and BBQ, are perfect accompaniments to oatmeal stouts. The robust flavors of the meat pair nicely with the smooth, rich taste of the beer.
- Cheeses: Bold, ripe cheeses like aged cheddar or a tangy blue cheese complement the roasted flavors and malty sweetness of oatmeal stouts.
- Desserts: You can’t beat a rich chocolate or coffee-based dessert when pairing with an oatmeal stout. The shared flavors of chocolate and roasted coffee make for a satisfying experience.
Be adventurous with your pairings and combinations, and you’ll discover what works best for your palate. Enjoy the variations and pairings that oatmeal stouts have to offer, from sweet to dry, and everything in between!