Is light brown acceptable color for Oatmeal Stout?

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greg75

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I have a batch of oatmeal stout made from LHBS ingredient kit in secondary, and I can't get over how light it is in color. I've previously brewed a Nut Brown Ale (with no steeping at all) and an Irish Red Ale (more Amber in color, actually, but within acceptable standards, I think). Well, the stout is lighter than both of them! :confused:

It didn't list what specialty grains were specifically in the kit, but I'd assume, being a stout, there was some chocolate malt or black patent malt. I'm beginning to think there wasn't nearly enough of it. And, I really don't know how I could have screwed something up to effect the color. I steeped the grains for 30 minutes at 155-160 F, and "sparged the grain bag until it ran clear. What more can I do?

I'm thinking either the ingredients were measured incorrectly at LHBS, or maybe some grains that provide the opaque color were accidently substituted for some other grain. Then again, maybe it will darken some as it ages??? I'm really clueless on this one.
 

G. Cretin

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Sounds like you have Beer. I say to hell with standards as long as you like what you make.
 

david_42

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The color isn't a problem, but you may be lacking the roasted flavor typical of stouts. That is easily solved by steeping 2 oz. of black patent in a cup of 160F water and adding it to your secondary until your have the color/flavor you want.

There extracts of black malt available which are used in coloring black lagers, but it's easy to make your own.
 
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greg75

greg75

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david_42 said:
The color isn't a problem, but you may be lacking the roasted flavor typical of stouts. That is easily solved by steeping 2 oz. of black patent in a cup of 160F water and adding it to your secondary until your have the color/flavor you want.

There extracts of black malt available which are used in coloring black lagers, but it's easy to make your own.
There's a good idea! My one concern, however, would be the high risk of introducing bacteria to the batch when adding the steeped liquid to the secondary. What if I boil the water and let it cool before steeping? That may minimize it to some degree I suppose.

EDIT : Better yet, it would probably make more sense to steep, remove the grain, and then boil like a normal brew, although not as long. That should eliminate any reasonable risk for infection, I'd think.
 

the_bird

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That would work, although easier would be to steep your grains in 160, then bring to a boil for 10 or 15 minutes if you are worried. Depending on how much water you steep in, I might consider adding a little bit of DME when you boil as well, so that you don't over-dilute your beer.
 
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greg75

greg75

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the_bird said:
That would work, although easier would be to steep your grains in 160, then bring to a boil for 10 or 15 minutes if you are worried. Depending on how much water you steep in, I might consider adding a little bit of DME when you boil as well, so that you don't over-dilute your beer.
Another good idea. How much DME would you suggest if I steeped two oz. of black patent malt in, say, 1 1/2 cups of water? I'm guessing it's something I'd want to go somewhat light with. Maybe 1/2 cup or so?
 

the_bird

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If it's only 1 1/2 cups, I wouldn't bother, the effect on your gravity will be minimal. I was thinking if you were steeping more like half or three-quarters of a gallon.
 
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If you steep the grains at 160, you are effectively pasteurizing the water/grain mixture. As long as you keep it covered as it cools, you can just throw it right into the fermenter. I wouldn't bother with DME - you aren't adding a significant amount of water.
 
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