Oatmeal Coffee Stout feedback

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by CShell1234, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. CShell1234

    CShell1234 Initiate (18) Oct 25, 2018 New York

    Looking for any tips or suggestions on a stout I am trying to design.

    5 gallons
    12 lbs 2-row
    2 lbs flaked oats
    1 lb crystal 60
    1 lb chocolate malt 350
    1 lb roasted barley 300
    .5 lb crystal 20
    *added the 20L because it’s already crushed and figured I should use it

    1 oz nugget at 60
    1 oz willamette at whirlpool

    I have US-05 and WLP001 in the fridge right now but I could always get something that might work better

    Distilled water with
    5g calcium chloride
    5g gypsum
    2g sodium bicarbonate

    Aiming for around 7%

    Low to medium-low sweetness, pronounced coffee and roast, but obviously not astringent or ashy, very low to no dark fruit flavors.
    Is the roasted barley and/or chocolate malt over the top?
    Thanks in advance!
  2. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (398) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    Looks good, I use notty for my oatmeal but 05 should be fine.
    CShell1234 likes this.
  3. CShell1234

    CShell1234 Initiate (18) Oct 25, 2018 New York

    Is it true you don’t need a starter for dry yeast? Or should you still make one over a certain OG?
  4. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,476) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Dry Yeast isn't magic. You still need to pitch an appropriate amount of viable cells for the gravity and volume of wort. If the amount of dry yeast you have isn't adequate, you can either make a starter or pitch more than one pack. (The latter is typical with dry yeast, because it's relatively inexpensive.) The reason people often say you don't need a starter with dry yeast is that dry yeast packets typically come with a higher cell count than most liquid yeasts. But you should still be aware of what you're pitching and adjust if necessary. There are a few yeast calculators out there to make the math easy.
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  5. riptorn

    riptorn Initiate (109) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina

    A quick run of the grain bill and US-05 through BrewCipher suggests "If No Starter, use 1.5 Vials/Packs". It also shows a Predicted ABV of 8.6% if mashing 60 min @ 152°.
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  6. CShell1234

    CShell1234 Initiate (18) Oct 25, 2018 New York

    What is the efficiency set at? My first batch came in at only about 60%, so until I know I’ve got my efficiency dialed in, I’m going to calculate on the low side... that’s where I got 7%, and I figure I’ll be pleasantly surprised if I get anything above that
  7. riptorn

    riptorn Initiate (109) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina

    72%. Lowering it to 60% returns the same 7% you got.
  8. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (886) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

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  9. CShell1234

    CShell1234 Initiate (18) Oct 25, 2018 New York

    Speaking of my (in)efficiency... I’m doing BIAB with a “sparge” and by that I mean, I have a 10 gallon kettle and a plastic bucket, so after the mash I am putting the bag into to bucket and pouring water over top and letting it soak for a few minutes. Without too much more equipment is there a better way to “sparge”, and if this is an acceptable way of doing things, how long should I let the grains steep?
  10. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,285) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    Where's the coffee in your Oatmeal Coffee Stout?! You ignore it in your original post.

    I've never brewed a coffee beer before so I have no experience to make any comments, but plenty of other folks in this forum have expressed a myriad of opinions about how to get that flavor into a beer. In case you don't have experience either, here's a link to a search of thread titles that use 'coffee' in the wording, and it produces a myriad of posts on the topic. Good luck with your methodology decision. :slight_smile:
    riptorn likes this.
  11. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,476) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    You're basically doing a batch sparge. It will increase your mash efficiency compared to a full volume BIAB mash. At the time you're doing this sparge, conversion has already (hopefully) been completed, so there's no reason to let the grains "steep" from an efficiency standpoint. As soon as the sparge water and the grains have been thoroughly mixed, you can start draining. The exception would be if you are intentionally doing a mash out, i.e. adding water that's hot enough to raise the overall temp to about 168-170F, in order to lock in the wort's sugar/dextrin profile. In that case, I'd let it sit for about 10 minutes.

    ETA: you asked about a "better" way to sparge. Well, there's Fly Sparging, which is more efficient, but does not make better beer. But I can't think of a way to do this with BIAB.
  12. CShell1234

    CShell1234 Initiate (18) Oct 25, 2018 New York

    Ha! That’s because I’m not sure if it’s needed or not. The roast and chocolate should impart some coffee flavor and I think I’m going to wait till it’s ready to drink to see if it needs more, and if so I’m thinking I’ll add some cold brew
  13. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,443) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Two notes. #1 it's helpful to start looking at your recipes in terms of % per ingredient. That way it doesn't matter what size batch you're doing, you know that you only want to put so much of a certain something in.

    #2 is that I feel the best way to do coffee is with a cold brew. You can google that for more info. and instructions but make sure you use a medium roast coffee. A lighter roast will not give you what you want, and a darker roast can give you harsh acidic notes.
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  14. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,443) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Breaking it down into percentages this is what I get:
    70.58% 2-Row
    11.76 Flaked Oats
    5.88% Crystal 60L
    5.88% Chocolate 350L
    5.88% Roasted Barley 300L (can that be right?)

    I left out the Crystal 20 as that's just an add on.

    Given those percentages I'd say you're low on base malt and high on dark malts. I generally don't go much past 5.0% on roasted barley - although you can, and I try to keep chocolate around the same. I know it's easier to weight in solid increments but that doesn't necessarily make the best beer. I'd say you need @ 3 % more base malt.

    One more question... why just 2-row and not pale? Or by 2-row do you mean pale? I'm thinking of Briess Brewers 2-Row malt which is a little lighter in flavor and color. Also, on the other end, I see no need to use something richer like Maris Otter in a dark beer.
  15. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,476) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Do you mean the 300L part? If so, the grain Briess sells as Roasted Barley is 300L.
  16. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,443) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Exactly. I generally use Bairds which is 550.

    I should probably note, I am not a fan of Briess Malts.
  17. CShell1234

    CShell1234 Initiate (18) Oct 25, 2018 New York

    So on Brewcipher it tells me ~6.5 gallons of strike water and ~2 gallons of sparge water. Does this sound right for the method or do I need to change some parameters?
  18. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,476) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    You can set the mash water to grain ratio to whatever you want. The logic will then direct the rest of the total water needed to the sparge. The most efficient mash and batch sparge is where the runoff from each step is equal. Others can tell you whether that's practical with BIAB. I suspect it's not, but I don't do BIAB.
  19. CShell1234

    CShell1234 Initiate (18) Oct 25, 2018 New York

    Well I’m much too new to this to really know one variety from another, but I have seen the 550, and I figured that might be too intense, certainly at 1 pound (or 6%)... as I said in my original post, I thought the 2 dark malts might possibly be slightly high
    And yes, I was trying to make things easier with whole numbers, mostly just so I don’t have random little bits of specialty malts sitting around
    #19 CShell1234, Nov 8, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
  20. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,443) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    And there are professional brewers who only use full increments of 50 or 55#'s because that's what their bags of grains come in. Do you think that those are the best brewers? Exactly.

    As for the 550L vs. 300L, I'll say you'll learn. It just takes time. I do an Imperial stout that's more on the soft side that uses lighter grains and it works, but it's a different beer than most people think of when they hear Imperial Stout. In the same way, many people find Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout to be too fruity, so who knows? And I should also point out, that you're planning on adding coffee which adds roastiness. Why don't you stick with what you've got and see how it comes out? That's the best way to learn. None of my recipes are ever done until they've been brewed again and again and I've made enough changes to them that I'm happy with them. It's very rare that you hit the nail on the head the very first time.

    Best of luck with it.
    CShell1234 likes this.
  21. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,762) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin

    To add a bit to this, in addition to dry yeast packets containing more cells, they are less prone than cells in liquid yeast to viability losses over time and as a consequence of the sort of mishandling that occurs when temps fluctuate during shipping and improper storage.
  22. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,762) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin

    Briess also makes a darker one, black barley, that come in at 500L. I think I perceive the lighter one to be more coffee like and the darker one to be more chocolate like.

    I usually use Belgian malts for Belgian beers, German malts for German beers, etc., but from time to time I like to challenge myself with using only (or mostly) Briess malts to make a batch. Mostly it was the for the novelty of saying California common or English mild with all Wisconsin malts. I think these beers mostly have been successful, but I want to say that those international styles shine best with traditional (i.e., imported) ingredients. Could just be bias though.
  23. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,476) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    I hate that name: "Black Barley." When I hear it, I immediately think of Black Patent Malt, which it's not. Thanks Briess!
  24. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,762) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin

    I just realized, I think for the first time, that they have spec sheets for products named Black Barley and Black Malt and both are 500 L. The former is not malted and the later is. The unmalted one is described as more coffee like than the malted one. Given the similarity in name and Lovibond, I now find myself questioning which I have used in different recipes over the years.

    FWIW The Black Malt spec sheet says Black (Patent) Malt. I feel like in 2018, we could probably drop the reference to a patent that is centuries old. Only adds to the confusion, IMO.
  25. bryantc3

    bryantc3 Initiate (152) Apr 12, 2017 New Jersey

    Dunk Sparging helped bring my BIAB brew house efficiency up from a normal 64-68% to over 75% on my most recent coffee stout batch. Mashed grains in 6.5Gallons of water, then squeezed bag like all hell - poured 8 cups of "sparge water" over bag, squeezed again. Then dunk and squeezed the grain bag a few times in the sparge water - combined sparge water with mash for the boil. Boiled for 2 hours to get just under 6 gallons into my fermenter at 1.082.

    For coffee: I find that beans are great for aroma, cold brew concentrate is great for taste and doesn't add much if any perceived bitterness. I crack up coffee beans (or VERY coarsely grind them - we want to limit extraction) at about .75oz per gallon or so, and let sit in fermenter as I cold crash down to around 45F (limitation of my wine chiller ferm chamber). I'll add them as i begin crashing and they'll sit for around 48-72 hours total.

    At kegging I add around 100-150ml per gallon of cold brew concentrate - the more concentrated it is, the less you need.Of course the less you use - the less you're "watering down" your beer. If you really want in your face aroma - another .5oz or so per gallon of cracked (very coarsely ground) coffee beans in the keg will help. I did this back in March - counter pressure filled a few bottles. Opened a bottle last weekend and the coffee aroma was still very nice and strong.

    i'd recommend finding a local coffee roaster and getting beans from them - nice freshly roasted coffee will do wonders for aroma, and if you're lucky you'll find a variety that may compliment your beer. I use Bali from Rook Coffee Roaster in NJ - it has notes of cherry, vanilla, and dark chocolate (i also add cacao nibs and vanilla bean to this beer)
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  26. CShell1234

    CShell1234 Initiate (18) Oct 25, 2018 New York

    Thanks for the numbers!
    I think my 2 biggest problems with my efficiency is not a fine enough grain crush and lack of squeezing/ sparging.

    I do have a coffee roaster about 10 minutes from my house, so I do plan on utilizing them. And as an added bonus, once I get a good stout recipe dialed in, there is a distillery about 20 minutes from my house and they are willing to sell me freshly emptied bourbon barrels for a very reasonable price. It’s always nice when you can take advantage of local resources.
    bryantc3 likes this.
  27. wasatchback

    wasatchback Aspirant (283) Jan 12, 2014 Utah

    Just a few thoughts. Been doing tons of research on brewing dark beers over the last few months.

    Water is key, looks like you’re adding some Bicarbonate which is good. What does your calculator say your pH will be. A little higher pH throughout the whole process will help with smoothing everything out.

    Look to use some English roasted malts in the future. I pretty much wont use one product from Breiss. IMHO there tends to be much better options in almost every category. The British malts tend to have more positive roast characteristics. Baird’s and Fawcett chocolate, Simpson’s for caramel, etc. Also check out chocolate rye, chocolate wheat, and chocolate spelt (if you can find it) for more true chocolate flavors and aromas.

    Coffee: Locally roasted high quality coffee. All you need is rough cracked beans. Colder the temp the better. I’ve had better success just doing the “cold brew” in the beer instead of cold brewing on the side and adding. Be careful with contact time, it’s really easy to get the green pepper/vegetal with extra contact time especially if it’s a light roast coffee. I wouldn’t go much longer than 2 days personally.

    Mash warmer and shorter. A higher FG really helps to balance out the harsher aspects of the roast malt. I think a lot of people would be surprised how high a FG a lot of the highly regarded stouts have. Even in lower ABV beers.

    Also try adding the dark grains at the end of the mash or even doing a cold steep with the dark malts and adding them at the end of the boil. This is how Guinness is made and I’m pretty sure Treehouse does this as welll.
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  28. CShell1234

    CShell1234 Initiate (18) Oct 25, 2018 New York

    People seem to be hating on Breiss haha... I haven’t bought any ingredients yet, so it’s not too late to take the advice, or just learn for myself.

    Brewcipher did show a ph of 5.42... if I up the bicarbonate from 2 to 4 grams in ups it to 5.51, but puts the sodium up pretty high, but maybe not too high?

    I was planning on mashing at 154. I read some people mention stirring in the base malt and then pouring the roast malt on top without stirring... maybe this would produce a result somewhere between what you are suggesting and fully mixing the grains?
  29. wasatchback

    wasatchback Aspirant (283) Jan 12, 2014 Utah

    What does it put the Sodium up to? Don’t be afraid of Sodium. It takes quite a bit to become perceptible and it can really help with pallet fullness and flavor intensity. Supposedly 150ppm is where it starts becoming perceptible. Malt definitely adds some (roughly 40ppm depending on a few variables).

    If you add the roast malt at the end you won’t need the Bicarbonate as it won’t drive mash pH down. I don’t believe it would drive final runnings pH down a ton but I’m not 100% sure of that.

    I might mash even higher especially if using 05. For reference Everett from Hill Farmstead finishes at 1.030 (it’s 7.5%), most Treehouse and Trillium stouts finish even higher even with lower ABV. Depends how you want the beer to drink thought, it’s all about balance.
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  30. bryantc3

    bryantc3 Initiate (152) Apr 12, 2017 New Jersey

    i'd aim for 5.5-5.55.

    Depending on how you want your stout..I mashed at 157 and boiled for 2 hours. OG 1.082 went down to 1.020 (note I had milk sugar in mine) within 5 days with Imperial darkness
  31. CShell1234

    CShell1234 Initiate (18) Oct 25, 2018 New York

    Well in that case, I won’t worry about the sodium level.

    I don’t want something overly sweet, but I understand the importance of balance. I also don’t quite know what that means in terms of FG. I’ve done plenty of reading but I’m pretty new to the numbers aspect. The only treehouse stout I’ve had was That’s What She Said. I know it’s a chocolate milk stout, so slightly different style, but I thought it was almost grossly sweet and kinda felt like I was just drinking Hershey’s syrup
  32. CShell1234

    CShell1234 Initiate (18) Oct 25, 2018 New York

    I actually just looked up a clone for founders breakfast stout (thanks to an add at the bottom of my page) and found one from BYO. It looks fairly similar to my recipe, and I won’t be complaining if it tastes anything like it either. According to that recipe it should end around 1.020, so I think that’s closer to what I’m looking for in FG/sweetness
  33. wasatchback

    wasatchback Aspirant (283) Jan 12, 2014 Utah

    If using 05 getting it to stop at 1.020 might actually be tough if you mash at 154. I don't use 05 that often though so I'm not 100% sure on a recommended mash temp for it.