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Old 09-07-2011, 01:48 AM   #1
Flatspin
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Question Overly Oatmeal Stout

First post! I just began homebrewing over the summer. I have been doing a lot of reading and studying to get up to speed, while getting a little practical experience with extract kits. My wife recently developed a gluten allergy and I wanted to find a way to make a GF stout for her. I saw a few recipes on this forum, but thought I might give creating my own simple recipe a shot. Oats don’t seem to be a problem, so I am going to try to make an oatmeal stout without including barley.

I saw that Northern Brewer just recently started selling a sorghum syrup, so I was going to include that because I am not quite to the malt-my-own-grains stage yet! I really don't want the sorghum's flavor to be overpowering. To counteract this, and to attempt to get a decent mouthfeel from a GF beer, I came up with a recipe that I am calling Overly Oatmeal Stout. The recipe I came up with is a 5 gallon batch with 6 lbs. sorghum syrup, 4 lbs oat malt and 2 lbs roasted oats.

Based on these ingredients, I figured that I could do a partial mash with just the oat malt. According to some of my research, the mash schedule needs to include at least an hour between 143F and 149F. I know neither the oats or sorghum have great diastatic potential, but I've read that each is capable of at least converting their own starches.

My question is, would an oat malt need a protein rest at a lower temperature. If so, at what temperature and for how long? Also - and I know this has probably been asked before - how long should I roast the oats to give the beer a decently dark color? Thanks in advance for the advice!

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Old 09-08-2011, 11:16 PM   #2
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Sorry I can't answer your question about the protein rest. You might want to read up on pectic enzyme, amylase enzyme and Beano. I haven't experimented with any of those yet, but I'm very intrigued by what I have read. Also, it seems that some GF brewers actually let their mash go for as long as 10 or 12 hours

I have used the sorghum syrup from Northern Brewer with good results. Even with just a small late addition of lower AA hops (usually about a half ounce of hallertau at about 4.5% per 5 gallon batch) I don't really have a problem with the sorghum twang that many dislike. I've found that aging in the bottle makes it less noticeable. Instead of digging into the beer at 3 or 4 weeks, let it sit for two or three months and you'll probably be much happier with the end result.

When you order your sorghum syrup, you might want to tack on a few pounds of rice syrup solids to add in to some of your batches. I've used two pounds of rice syrup solids along with 6 pounds of sorghum syrup as sort of a starting point for exploring GF brewing.

There are some really cool recipes on the boards here. I've brewed Gluten Free McGee and I'm really excited about opening the first bottle soon. I've got a batch of something very close to the Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Ale in a carboy right now. Also, you might want to check out the GF American Stout. I'm thinking about trying that one sometime in the not too distant future...

If you're going to go through the trouble of roasting oats make sure you start out with oats that are labeled as gluten free, or you might wind up with something you don't want in your beer. I know Bob's Red Mill markets GF oats, either rolled or steel cut, and I think Arrowhead Farms has gluten free oats too. You'll pay a premium, but if you're going to do it you may as well do it right. Amazon.com can probably save you some money on GF ingredients.

Hope this helps you some...

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Old 09-10-2011, 07:59 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info. I will have to do a bit of experimenting with the sorghum syrup. I made a sample brew with dark rice syrup and a bit of sorghum flour. I tried one for the first time last night after about 3 weeks of bottle conditioning. It smelled very sour, but tasted fairly smooth. It should keep improving with age, and I can see sorghum being a good base for many types of beer.

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Old 09-14-2011, 12:43 AM   #4
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Since I was going to rely so heavily on oats for this beer, I decided to set up a little experiment. I wanted to see what characteristics I could get from regular oats (bulk steel cut thick oats). I preheated my oven to 375F and spread out 3 lbs of oats over two pans. Every 10 minutes, I took out some oats and set them aside for comparison. I tasted the oats themselves, and also made a tea from the oats to see what flavor could be extracted.

1-oats-roasted-375.jpg

1-oat-tea-1.jpg

I put the bottom row of oats right – left in order of time to allow easier comparison between 40 and 50 minutes. I only had 8 cups, so there is no picture of uncooked oat tea (1/4 C oats in 1 C hot water, microwaved for 2 minutes, and steeped for about 5 minutes more).
Here are my impressions of each level of roast:

10 minutes: The oats had a floury flavor and subtly thick mouthfeel. The tea had a soft smell and a mild floury flavor.

20 minutes: The oats tasted a lot like sunflower seeds, less floury – still very mild. The tea was slightly more nutty with a bready mouthfeel.

30 minutes: The oats still had a sunflower seed flavor but a bit more dry and bitter. The tea smelled sharp and maybe a little sour. It tasted more nutty than the 20 minute tea, and had a thicker body.

40 minutes: There was a slight burnt flavor to the oats, kind of like the crust of whole wheat toast. The tea tasted like it smelled, with subtle coffee flavor in the background.

50 minutes: The oats had a strong, somewhat unpleasant, bitter flavor. The tea had a fainter smell than the 40 minute tea, but the burnt character is noticeable. The tea tasted more strongly of coffee, with a nice roasted flavor.

60 minutes: The oats started with a slight bitter taste that built in the mouth. There was an espresso bean type flavor. The tea tasted milder than the 50 minute, with noticeable coffee and nut (not sunflower, though) flavors.

70 minutes: The oats still had a coffee flavor, but it was starting to mellow and be replaced by a faint burnt flavor. The flavor had a pronounced roasted, slightly burnt, nut flavor. Both the oats and tea tasted very nice.

80 minutes: The burnt flavor in the oats is more prevalent, and beginning to overpower the coffee and nut flavors. The tea had a more roasted smell and somewhat sharper, but not overpowering, burnt flavor.

That’s where I ran out of oats. I’d love to go back and see what happens if I cooked them for 2 hours, or if I just let them get really charred. I was surprised to see that the even the 80 minute tea wasn’t particularly dark, more of a nice amber color. I am curious to see if there is a point where the oats would impart a nice dark color to the beer without being too burnt tasting.

I was also surprised at how significantly the flavor of the oats could change just by roasting them for different periods of time. I found that the best flavors actually came from mixing some of the roasts together. The 20, 40 and 70 minute oats combined very well to compliment each others’ flavors. I’m sure as I experiment, I will find other combinations that are just as appealing.

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Old 09-14-2011, 12:45 AM   #5
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I figured that since I spent a full night working on this and didn't even end up with beer fermenting, I should post the results so others could use this information without quite as much work!

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Old 09-14-2011, 02:52 AM   #6
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Wow, Flatspin, that is super cool. I am totally going to put that info to use when I get around to some 1-gallon test batches that I've been planning. Thanks a bunch for posting the results of your research!

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Old 09-14-2011, 03:36 PM   #7
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Cool roasting experiment!

Back to your mash:
1. Don't worry about sorghum, its already converted and shouldn't be part of your mash.
2. Thomas Fawcett malted oats can convert themselves just barely, I would mash at the normal temps (154) just to encourage it though, too low and it might stall. I am not sure that these are GF though...be warned.
3. You shouldn't have to worry about enzymes, and I would love to hear your results.

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Old 09-14-2011, 03:55 PM   #8
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How did the steel cut oats smell while roasting? I attempted to roast them once and it stunk up the house for two days. Quite unpleasant and SWMBO was pissed.

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Old 09-15-2011, 12:20 AM   #9
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I'm glad you all found the info interesting. I'm definitely not a food critic, so you might want to try something similar to get a feel for which flavors you like.

DKershner,
Thanks for the feedback on sorghum and oat malt. Both are pretty new to me. My wife has a gluten allergy but it isn't nearly as severe as celiac's, so we can do an experiment with a small amount of oat malt.

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Old 09-15-2011, 12:24 AM   #10
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The oats never smelled bad, but they did start smoking after about 30 minutes. I opened a window and put a fan in front of it, that seemed to help a lot.

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