Originally Posted by Lil' Sparky
This is what Palmer says about oats:
"Oats are available whole, steel-cut (i.e. grits), rolled, and flaked. Rolled and flaked oats have had their starches gelatinized (made soluble) by heat and pressure, and are most readily available as "Instant Oatmeal" in the grocery store. Whole oats and "Old Fashioned Rolled Oats" have not had the degree of gelatinization that Instant have had and must be cooked before adding to the mash. "Quick" oatmeal has had a degree of gelatinization but does benefit from being cooked before adding to the mash. Cook according to the directions on the box (but add more water) to ensure that the starches will be fully utilized. Use 0.5-1.5 lb. per 5 gal batch. Oats need to be mashed with barley malt (and its enzymes) for conversion."
So apparently you do need some barley for conversion. In that case, I'd add a lb or two of barley when you steep the grains, and use just enough water (at 155') to cover the grain bag (maybe 2 gals) - basically you're doing a partial mash here. Add the rest of the water when you're done steeping. You can be heating this to a boil in another pot while the grains are steeping (mashing) to avoid wasting time. Shouldn't be much more complicated than what you're used to. Hope that helps.
This is fantastic information, I had no idea that the rolled oats needed to be fully cooked and protein rested prior to adding to the mash, despite having used rolled oats previously in a chocolate stout. In that recipe I had made, i just tossed them into the mash dry. I guess that made them ineffective?
Am I to understand that the barley malt's enzymes facilitate the rolled oats' conversion? But conversion of what to what? Does it contribute to the coveted oatmeal texture? Or is it conversion of the starches to fermentable sugars?
Also, how does the 2 lbs of barley malt affect the brew? Does this add fermentable sugars? Other flavoring? I guess the question I really have is: How would this affect a pumpkin ale; will it alter the style negatively?