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Old 05-06-2010, 03:49 AM   #1
DrJerm
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Default Will Oats ferment into alcohol?

I thought oats (flaked, rolled, steeped, toasted, or otherwise) were non-fermentable when used in a cider, but it appears that my champagne yeast is eating them up. It's been almost 2 months.

Is it possible that my apple wine is getting a boosted ABV from the oats?

Ingredients so far:

5¼ gal pasteurized apple juice
6 x 12 oz cans apple juice concentrate
1¾ lb rolled oats, boiled 35 min in 1 gal of the apple juice
½ lb toasted flaked oats, baked 20 min @ 300˚
3 lbs light brown sugar
1 c dark brown sugar
≈4 lbs granulated sugar
Lalvin EC-1118 Champagne Yeast

OG 1.110 (≈14% potential ABV). Current SG 0.999. Vinometer reading: 20-25% ABV, and tastes like it might be not far off. (The oats have been moving all over the place, like drifting sand dunes.)

Intended outcome: Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal Applewine 15-18%.

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Old 05-06-2010, 03:59 AM   #2
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oats need to have their starches converted to sugar before they will lend any fermentables. I don't know what's going on in your cider, but the oats are not fermenting directly.

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Old 05-06-2010, 04:21 AM   #3
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I see. Is it possible that any part of the oats somehow got converted to maltose or some other fermentable by enzymes, or molds, or some other thing?

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Old 05-06-2010, 06:29 AM   #4
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From your ingredients list, the 5.75 gallons of AJ, 7+lbs of sugar and 6 cans of concentrate would give you an OG of 1.110 easily.

Not sure what kind of rolled oats you used, but it doesn't sound like you did a full mash on them and they probably don't have the enzymes to convert starch to sugar.

14% sounds right, I'm pretty sure the vinometer reading is off.

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Old 05-06-2010, 07:26 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pimento View Post
14% sounds right, I'm pretty sure the vinometer reading is off.
I hope so.

I'm now contemplating whether I should rack off of the oats ASAP, or let it go as an experiment. The airlock has been bubbling around 8 seconds per bubble since I stirred it 24 hrs ago to hopefully settle the oatmeal stalagmites. Before then there was very little airlock activity, yet the SG has remained the same at 0.999. If it continues to bubble steadily yet stay at 0.999, should I let it go and see what happens? (Perhaps is it possible to have sugars fermenting that don't show up on the hydrometer reading?)
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Old 05-11-2010, 04:08 AM   #6
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Seven pounds of sugar will take quite some time to ferment out completely. My last batch of cider had five pounds of fermentables and champagne yeast and it took a month to quit fermenting. I've had it in the secondary for a couple of months and plan on kegging it in September.

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Old 05-12-2010, 03:10 AM   #7
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Thanx for the reassurance. I'm guessing that boiling the oats in apple juice caused them to soak up sugars, hide those sugars from hydrometer readings, and take longer to ferment. (Hence all the CO2 activity and no SG changes; and oat movement.)

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Old 05-13-2010, 12:13 AM   #8
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Will the oats give a better mouthfeel if they haven't been converted by amylase? I understand they have that effect in beer, but will it work in cider??

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Old 05-14-2010, 01:14 PM   #9
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As I understand it, if the oats are gelatinized they'll contribute to mouth feel. If they haven't been rolled or flaked (or cooked and/or pressurized into rupturing, i.e. gelatinized) it's necessary to steep (or boil) them to draw out the creaminess. And mashing will bring out even more mouthfeel, as well as create fermentables. Hopefully someone will correct me if I'm wrong.

I'm still very green, but my experience has been that gelatinized oats impart mouthfeel immediately to the brew, and bitter/tannin/astringency over time if left in (like a few weeks or more). Toasted oats will impart an oaty/nutty flavor, sort of oatmeal cookie-ish (and some bitterness if not allowed to rest for several days first - like in a paper bag).

My friend and I steeped 3 lbs of rolled oats (from grocery store bulk food section) for 55 min in apple juice and water, and poured only the liquid into his apple wine. This added noticeable mouthfeel, but we threw out a lot of good oatmeal. Local HBS owner later told me we could more efficiently use 1 lb pre-gelatinized oats, steep or boil for 5 min to pasteurize, and add the liquid & oats to the primary for a week, then rack off to avoid bitter flavors.

There seems to be some speculation that boiling the oats creates more bitterness than steeping them (not sure what that temperature threshold is though). Personally, I enjoy a touch of bitter notes.

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Old 05-14-2010, 02:36 PM   #10
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I am going to make some oat-tea when I back-sweeten my apple brew, because lack of mouthfeel is one of my biggest complaints with fermenting apples. Thanks for the info and personal anecdote!!

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