Tag Archives: krausen

Gravity reading, fermenting in the tube

Don’t you hate it when you take a sample of your wort and it starts fermenting before you get a reading? No? Just me? This very odd scenario came about last last week due to a series of events. It all started with an idea to make an oatmeal stout.

Oatmeal Stout 1 steeping

Oatmeal Stout #1 with oats steeping in grain bag

I’ve been thinking about this style for a while. Did a bit of research online and wasn’t impressed with the information on how to make an extract only oatmeal stout. The advice was either: “you have to include (two-row or six-row) malted grain and do a mash” or “you have to steep with specialty grains”. In short, you need to have with grains. The reasons appeared contradictory. Some saying “you need to convert the starch” and others saying “you need to keep the sweet starch flavour”. After plenty more reading I think it comes down to the moth feeling you want from the beer. Mash if you want a smooth oily feeling. Steep if you want thick body feeling.

That’s fine, but doesn’t really answer the question for me. I want to know if it’s possible to skip the grain steeping altogether. Enter my recipe Oatmeal Stout #1.

Start with 500 grams of quick/breakfast oats. Put into a pot and 1.5 litres of water, or more. Put on heat and bring up but not too a boil. I elected for 65°C. Leave for about an hour.

Oatmeal Stout 1 sparging

Oatmeal Stout #1 with oats in grain bag ready for more sparing

I found that there wasn’t enough water and the pot was too small. It ended up overflowing. I transferred the oats into a grain bag. Then bag and liquid into a much bigger pot. Pot had an extra two litres of water added. Interestingly the starch kept settling to the bottom. So it was important to keep stirring if the heat was on. I had to leave it at this point and return the next day. And I left the bag stay in pot and cooled overnight.

Next day was about sparging the oats and washing out as much starch out as possible. Grain bag rested on a sieve and I poured water over semi regularly. This took a fair bit longer than expected, so was left overnight. Next day was finally time for boil. Started at about 11 litres. First 1.5 kilograms of liquid dark malt was added and heat slowly brought up to a boil. From there was straight forward sixty minute boil. Warrior hops at the start. Rest of liquid malt and sugar with ten minutes to go. And Fuggles hops at flame out.

Oatmeal Stout 1 chilling

Oatmeal Stout #1 chilling in ice bath and with ice inside

Sugar addition was to help push up alcohol content. I believe a stout should be strong, and over 6%. Plus the “dryness” from sugar should work well against the thick oat starch feeling.

  • 500 grams oats, soaked for hours in hot & cold water
  • 1.5 kg Briess Traditional Dark Liquid Malt Extract
  • 11 litre boil
  • 10 g Warrior hops @ 60 mins
  • 1.5 kg Briess Traditional Dark Liquid Malt Extract @ 10 mins
  • 500 g raw sugar @ 10 mins
  • 5 g Fuggles hops @ flame out
  • Chilled with ice (bath and direct into wort to bring to 14 litres)
  • Pitched onto Windsor yeast (from previous brew)
Milk Porter 1 FG

Milk Porter #1 Final Gravity

While the wort from the stout was chilling it was time to bottle the Milk Porter #1. That was a big effort. 15 litres were racked off for bulk priming, then into 45 stubbies. The remaining 3 litres were bottled into long necks with a very special twist. Each of the four bottles were primed, one shot of coffee each AND a 2 cm cut from a dried vanilla bean. These four bottles will be conditioned for a minimum of two months. Really excited about these.

Milk Porter 1 bottled

Milk Porter #1 bottled in 45 stubbies and 4 long necks

The final gravity of the Milk Porter #1 came in at 1.030 which was a bit higher than I hoped. After bulk priming this will end up at 4.2% alcohol. Not bad, but a bit short of the high 4’s I was hoping for. That said, the sample I tasted had plenty of promise. While the long neck bottles will be a few months away, the stubbies should be ready by mid/late July.

The wort from the stout took a while to chill. Over an hour even with a big chunk of ice direct into it to cool down. Then finally was ready to pour into the fermenter that had the Milk Porter, and the yeast left behind. A good shake up and done. All that was left was to get a gravity sample. This came out with a bit of froth. I left it for a bit to settle down. Then had to leave before it was clear.

Oatmeal Stout 1 OG

Oatmeal Stout #1 Original Gravity, with krausen

Next morning… krausen! The gravity sample had started fermenting with the yeast that was there. All I can do is estimate the gravity reading. The photo looks like nearly 1.090, but I think that’s partly due to the krausen pushing it up. If I remember correctly from the day before, it was closer to 1.080. The recipe should have hit about 1.081 and I’ll go with that. Moral of the story? If your gravity sample has yeast in it, get a reading ASAP!

Looking forward to trying the stout. It looks plenty dark and should be very think with all the starch in there. Might be a bit too much, but won’t know for quite some time. Not to worry, in a few weeks the Milk Porter should be ready. Yum.

Did I really skip the grain steeping part to make an extract only oatmeal stout? Probably not. As I spent so much time on the oats I think you could say this really is a extract and grain recipe. Even if there were no malt/barley grains. But I’m happy with it.

-Mikey

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