Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout clone, thoughts?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by riptorn, Aug 14, 2018.

  1. riptorn

    riptorn Initiate (73) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Trader

    I'm hoping to brew a clone of Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout.
    This is a starting point based on Clone Brews 2010, pp 278-79.
    Looking for input on whether the ingredients and process are inline with the desired results, and any tips on what could/should be done differently to replicate that beer, and why, will be appreciated?

    Yield: 5 Gallons (18.9L)
    OG: 1.050 – 1.051 Final Gravity: 1.012 – 1.013 ABV: 4.8%
    IBU: 30 SRM: 68
    Boil: 90 minutes

    Grain Bill:
    8.2 lbs. British 2-row pale malt
    8 oz. flaked oats
    8 oz. 55°L British crystal malt
    4 oz. rice hulls
    3 oz. roasted barley
    1.8 oz. East Kent Goldings 4.25% AA (8.5 HBU)(bittering hop) @ 60 minutes
    1 tsp. Irish moss, 15 minutes
    Yeast Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale yeast (preferred)
    Wyeast 1187 Ringwood Ale yeast (both ferment at 68°-72°)
    Priming 1¼ cups Muntons wheat DME boiled in 2 cups of water

    Spread oats evenly on a baking sheet and toast in a 300°, shaking the sheet every few minutes
    Mash the base malt and specialty grains at 152° for 90 minutes *. Sparge and transfer to brew kettle
    Add water to bring volume to 2.5 gallons
    1.5 oz. East Kent Goldings hops - 90 minutes *
    1 tsp. Irish moss - 15 minutes
    Cool, transfer to primary, top off
    Pitch:
    Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale yeast, preferred, (ferments at 68°-72°), or
    Wyeast 1187 Ringwood Ale yeast (ferments at 68°-72°)
    In primary for 7 days then transfer to secondary
    When complete, transfer to bottling bucket with priming solution
    Package

    They said it's ready to drink as soon as it’s carbonated, will peak at 2 - 4 months and will keep at cellar temperatures for 6 months.

    * The vast majority of recipes in this book call for a 90-minute mash and a 90-minute boil.

    Questions:
    • Enough oats? Are there other grain %'s that seem off?
    • It doesn't say how long to toast the oats...5-minutes, 15 minutes? Is that judged by taste and smell?
    • Several other recipes call for some chocolate malt but this one doesn't. Does that throw a flag?
    • Are there advantages to a 90-minute mash and 90-minute boil that are specific to this beer?
    • Quite a few posts connect "Samuel Smith" and "diacetyl". Is that something to be addressed?
    • Would Styrian Golding Celia, which I have, be a suitable substitution for East Kent Goldings? Or does it not matter since hops are for bittering only, as long as the target IBU's are met?
    • Is the recommended partial volume boil okay, or is a full volume boil better?
    • Okay to leave in the primary until done, or is transfer to secondary beneficial for this beer?
    • Reading here and elsewhere suggests an increase in hops because of altitude. Best is to add 5% for each 1000'. At 4000' I adjusted the hops in my recipe from the suggested 1.5oz. to 1.8oz.
    Thanks
     
    #1 riptorn, Aug 14, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
  2. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,737) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Premium

    I drank a few of these back in the day. Can't say that oats really come through. Maybe there is diacetyl, but it didn't register with me long ago. I would avoid intentionally brewing something with diacetyl. The Ringwood strain, and to a lesser extent the Irish strain, are known for it, but I have brewed with them both without having a problem. FWIW, I asked whitelabs once which yeast I should pick to make a Sam Smith clone. I believe they suggested the Burton strain.
     
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  3. riptorn

    riptorn Initiate (73) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Trader

    The diacetyl reference piqued my curiosity because it popped more than a few times in comments on Sam Smith products. Maybe they’ve figured out how to duplicate an amount that suits them, or maybe it’s not diacetyl at all. If it is, it’s doubtful I could dial in to their sweet spot, so probably better to avoid it altogether.

    Was your query about any ol' Smith product, or specifically Smith's Oatmeal Stout?
     
  4. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,737) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Premium

    I just found the email, and am reminded of the full story.

    ME:
    "You yeast guys often seem reluctant to say whether your strains are derived from particular breweries, but maybe you could say whether Platinum Strain WLP037 Yorkshire Square Ale Yeast, slated for Sept./Oct release, would be an excellent choice to try duplicate Samuel Smith's ales. In the mean time, I hope to brew some practice batches: what would you recommend? Some folks I have spoken with have suggested WLP 004, Irish Ale, WLP005 British Ale, and WLP 023 Burton Ale, but figured you guys might recommend one course over another. Thanks for any advice you are able to share."


    WHITELABS:
    "The WLP 037 will work well for your Samuel Smith Beers and the WLP 023 Burton would be great for your test batches."


    There is nothing definitive here, but if you can get WLP037, maybe that works best? FWIW, I never followed up on brewing with either Burton Ale or Yorkshire Square, but have made a few Taddy-inspired porters. Secret seems to be the brown malt, as suggested by Jamil Z in Brewing Classic Styles.

    On the diacetyl topic, I am reminded of really liking the India Ale the first time I had it, but the years later I noticed diacetyl. I think diacetyl once made unusual beers interesting to me when I had less experience with beer, but now raises the specter of some bad experience or other, where it must have reached overwhelming levels. If I detect it now, it is difficult for me to look past.
     
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  5. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (9,913) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania

    I did not hear this myself, but was told that a brewer from Sam Smith once said about the oatmeal in the oatmeal stout, "We don't want any of that shite in there, we just sprinkle a little on top". True or not I don't know, but with that in mind I'd say you've got enough oats. If you don't think so up it a bit, it won't hurt.

    As for toasting them, you shouldn't need to toast flaked oats. Will it give you some extra character? Yes. But will it give you some extra character in that percentage? Probably not.

    As for chocolate malt, I've used it and I haven't used it - I don't see any problem with not using chocolate malt.

    A 90 minute mash will certainly give you conversion but I don't think you need it, and a 90 minute boil will certainly give you a higher s.g. but that's up to you - you might get some extra caramelization and color out of it though.
     
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  6. riptorn

    riptorn Initiate (73) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Trader

    Main reason for questioning the oats was I had the impression they were a big contributor to 'chewiness' and smooth, viscous mouthfeel, which is one of the characteristics I'm looking for.
    Is that a misconception on my part; maybe crystal is the major player for that?

    I just remember liking this beer a lot. Guess it's time for a beer run to nail down why that is.
     
  7. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (9,913) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania

    Oats will add to a silky mouthfeel, yes, and I think you could up the percentage a bit.

    As for diacetyl I haven't found that to be the case with any of the oatmeal stouts that I've sampled, at least at noticeable levels.

    I also think anything for bittering that's even remotely close to EKG's will work.

    As to partial boils and altitude I have no experience, but I will say for fermentation it's completely OK to leave it all the way through.
     
    #7 NeroFiddled, Aug 14, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
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  8. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,737) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Premium

    I didn’t look too closely at your recipe. You can take this with a grain of salt, or barley. I don’t think there are enough roasted grains. I’m not sure which type you need to emulate Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout, but I would probably add at least half a pound more of some sort of English roasted malt. I think they vary by maltster but I have had standout stouts and porters that use Thomas Fawcett and Baird’s. However, I wouldn’t hesitate to use another’s. I know that doesn’t tell you all you want to know about sam smiths stout, but I think you’ll make something you like, in any event.
     
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  9. riptorn

    riptorn Initiate (73) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Trader

    Yeah, that's what I thought, too. Just like the majority of the recipes in the book say 90-min each for both mash and boil, the majority (if not all) say transfer to secondary. It's like they used a fill-in-the-blank form for brew day.
    Made the beer run and I don't get any buttery flavors at all, but do get the slightest hint of chocolate.
    Appreciate the input.

    You called that one....did you write this article for BYO???
    "The darkest of the roasted barleys — in the 550ºL range — are the classic grain for the dark character of stouts, especially Irish dry stouts. If you want to produce a black, almost opaque beer, the minimum amount of dark roasted barley that you want to use is 7% of the grist."
    Increasing my roasted barley by 0.5lb pushes it to almost 7% of the grain bill, and that includes upping the oats by to 12oz. The recipe doesn't say how dark, so I'll probably go dark.
    The increases result in lower % of 2-row from 87% to 80%, and the crystal from 5.4% to 5.0%.

    Thanks
     
  10. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,737) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Premium

    No, never wrote a BYO article and I wasn't using any prescribed guidelines. Just using gut instinct based on experience. I use small amounts of roasted grains for color in 5 gallon batches and 3 oz is starting to break flavor threshold territory. But if going for a traditional stout, you don't want to merely be breaking into that territory; you want more roast flavor than that. My gut feel was that 8 oz (total) would still be low, so my recommendation for another half pound was to push you beyond that point.

    FWIW, my last 5 stouts each had 1.5 lbs of roast grains in 5 gallon batches
    • Milk stout with 12 oz each pale chocolate and carafe II
    • Oatmeal stout with 8 oz pale chocolate, 10 oz simpson's chocolate malt, and 6 oz of simpson roasted barley
    • A dry stout with 1 lb Briess Black Barley and half a pound of pale chocolate
    As you can see, I like layering pale chocolate malt in my darker beers. I feel that it help rounds out some of the chocolate notes you get in the darker grains. I know I have used Thomas Fawcett and Crisp; probably at least one other one out there. In the oatmeal stout, I cold steeped half of the roasted barley and chocolate malt (not the pale chocolate). The idea behind cold steeping is to extract some of the color and flavor without all the edgy roast. I have used the technique enough to feel that it does work along these lines. If you are a little cautious about how much of those roast flavors you really want to impart, you could play with this approach. If I am making an English porter, I have employed all of these types of grains, but in recent years, I have use 8oz to 1lb of an English brown malt in the mix.
     
  11. dmtaylor

    dmtaylor Initiate (195) Dec 30, 2003 Wisconsin

    Recipe looks pretty good. I do agree with others that a bit more dark roasted grains is probably a good idea. I like to use a bit more than the average homebrewer. Any dark grains are fine, roasted barley being the most classic for any Irish stout.

    You are right to point out the 90-minute mash and boil. I find those to be a waste of time. Probably can cut back to 45 on both and come out with a nearly identical product.

    Oats can be toasted until they smell nice. Probably like 10 minutes, maybe 15. In reality, I can’t identify the oats in a stout anyway so I honestly don’t think it matters much.

    Chocolate malt is optional, not a deal breaker.

    Diacetyl is a yeast product. If you like diacetyl, use Ringwood. If you don’t, then don’t. It’s never been an issue for me at all. I don’t like diacetyl and I don’t get it with most yeasts.

    Styrian Celeia should work just fine for bittering.

    Partial boil is fine for dark beer styles like this. Just be sure your top-up water is chlorine-free.

    Leave it in the primary until finished.

    The altitude effect on hop bittering rate is interesting, I never really thought about that but it makes sense. That being said, I wouldn’t increase hop amount unless actually brewing up in the mountains. If in a valley, I wouldn’t bother. Interesting though.

    Cheers and good luck.
     
    #11 dmtaylor, Aug 15, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
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  12. Brewday

    Brewday Initiate (108) Dec 25, 2015 New York

    Not sure if it was mentioned but have you looked at oat malt.
     
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  13. riptorn

    riptorn Initiate (73) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Trader

    I have not, but will look at it. Have you used it, and if so, what did you like/not like?
     
  14. dmtaylor

    dmtaylor Initiate (195) Dec 30, 2003 Wisconsin

    Sam Smith doesn't use oat malt. I've tasted a 100% oat malt beer before. Yawn. It doesn't have the impact that people expect. Not much different from barley malt in my experience.

    If you want to use oats, stay with flaked oats (Quaker Quick Oats are perfect), toast them if you want, or don't.

    Personally I don't use oats anymore because they are pretty much flavorless in the final beer, and they can gum up the mash pretty bad. If I want a big creamy head, I use rye instead. My award-winning "oatmeal" stout actually uses rye malt but zero oats --- mua ha ha ha ha! Secret revealed!!
     
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  15. riptorn

    riptorn Initiate (73) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Trader

    Before having Smith's Oatmeal Stout I'd heard about it's "chewy" characteristic. I wasn't really sure what that meant but have since found it to be as good a description as any other for the feature.
    In your experience, is rye a contributor to chewiness and smooth mouthfeel, in addition to the head properties mentioned?

    This is slated to be my 2nd AG. The first is coming in a week or two and, as such, will be the maiden voyage of my mash tun. I'm not averse to making an 'oatmeal' stout sans oatmeal, especially if it will minimize complications when mashing.
     
  16. dmtaylor

    dmtaylor Initiate (195) Dec 30, 2003 Wisconsin

    YES. Rye adds more smoothness, mouthfeel, and creamy head than oats or anything else by far in my experience. And it's not "spicy" at all either. Earthy and bready, sort of "rustic" is how I would describe the flavor when a ton of it (up to 40-50% of the grist) is used. However, it too is very gummy. If using 5-10%, I wouldn't be too concerned about it, but if more than that, be sure to use a pound of rice hulls and it won't be any problem.
     
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  17. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,636) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium

    I brew an Oatmeal Stout 3-4 times a year; it is a favorite among friends and family.

    I make zero effort to clone Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout.

    I use Maris Otter Pale Ale malt as the base malt and also (for a 5 gallon batch):

    · Flaked Oats (1 lb. – not toasted)

    · English Chocolate Malt – 1 lb.

    · English Black Patent Malt – ¼ lb.

    The Flaked Oats provide a pleasant silky/smooth mouthfeel. The Chocolate Malt provides subtle chocolate flavors. The Black Patent Malt provides some ‘extra’ color.

    I have used a half-dozen different yeast stains for produce this beer and over the past 3-4 years I have settled upon US-05.

    Best of luck with your Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout clone.

    Cheers!

    P.S. I have used a number of different hop varieties for the bittering charge, mostly Northern Brewer but for my last batch I used German Magnum. For this beer I doubt you would notice the difference in hop variety choice since the flavor profile is dominated by the flavors of the dark malts.
     
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  18. riptorn

    riptorn Initiate (73) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Trader

    Was that a genuine cold-steep, like Lipton's cold brew in the fridge? How long did they soak?
    For steeping water volume I'm thinking 1-gal. per lb of grain, but to verify, how much water did you use for the 1 lb total wt. roasted and chocolate?
     
    #18 riptorn, Oct 5, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2018
  19. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,737) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Premium

    I do not have notes detailing exactly how I did it. I believe I put grain in quart or pint sized canning jars, probably filling the jars about halfway with crushed grain and topping off with cold water. Do whatever treatments are necessary for your water to get rid of chlorine and chloramine. In my case, that is none, because I am on well-water. Since I wasn't mashing with this part of the grain, it would not have figured into my mash chemistry calculations. I put the jars in a refrigerator overnight to keep any bacteria in check (although, I suppose if you were going for the legendary Guinness twang, there would be no harm in leaving it on your counter top. On brew day, I strained the grain and added to lautered wort, boiled.
     
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  20. riptorn

    riptorn Initiate (73) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
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    Attempts to clone Smith’s Oatmeal Stout have been abandoned.
    I instead worked up a stout recipe gleaned from input and suggestions in this thread and elsewhere. I'll post it if that would help to answer some questions.

    Is there a mash do-not-exceed temp that causes irreversible and detrimental characteristics?
    Pretty sure I overshot the mash temp on my first all-grain.


    What's your sweet spot gap setting for barley?
    I’ve read suggestions indicating 1) settings ranging from 0.030 – 0.039, and 2) try to avoid shredding the hulls "too much", saying the shredded hulls can enhance extraction of acridity and off-putting bitterness (anything to that?).
    When milling some dark malts for steeping I set the gap to 0.033 and ran it through twice. The hulls looked pretty much shredded to me but I’m not clear on what 'too much' is, visually. There didn’t seem to be an inordinate amount of powder when compared to the milled Maris Otter milled from my LHBS.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  21. dmtaylor

    dmtaylor Initiate (195) Dec 30, 2003 Wisconsin

    Do not exceed about 158 F for longer than about 5 minutes. Alpha amylase can survive >158 F for a while, but beta will get killed off fast. I've managed to "save" a few mashes like this that started too hot just by adding a little cold water right away to get down to the lower 150s. The enzymes will last for a while but not long, especially in the 160s.

    I don't measure my gap. Some say use a credit card. People I know and trust tend to go tight and say 0.028-0.032". I haven't measured mine but it's "moderately" tight. I used to have a very tight gap with average efficiency of 90-92%, but I have since opened the gap a bit to now get a more standard 82% average. Lots of reasons but a big one is just to make sure my efficiency is about "normal" or only slightly high compared to most other people, and not wacky-high.

    Concerns about overmilling the husks and tannins are definitely largely overblown. For more than 3 years I "crushed" all of my malt in a BLENDER, and never had any complaints of tannins or astringency, and won several medals. And the husks were ground up pretty damn fine during those days. I have now used a mill for the past ~10 years, but, if my mill ever dies, I would do it again with no hesitation.

    So, yeah.... don't worry about overdoing the milling, it's not a real thing. More a concern is mash pH. As long as that's between about 5.1-5.5, you're fine.
     
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  22. riptorn

    riptorn Initiate (73) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Trader

    Great feedback. Thanks.
     
  23. dmtaylor

    dmtaylor Initiate (195) Dec 30, 2003 Wisconsin

    I should have also said.... Don't worry about overmilling as long as you get good runoff and not a stuck mash. There is a point at which if you overmill, you'll tend to get a stuck mash which is a pain to deal with. Your efficiency might be killer, but if your mash tun is just going drip drip drip drip, it's just too big of a pain.
     
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  24. riptorn

    riptorn Initiate (73) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Trader

    Duly noted. I'll keep my gap setting as is and will be adding ½ lb. rice hulls to help to overwhelm gumminess.
     
  25. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,450) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    A half pound (or even a whole pound) of flaked oats in a 5 gallon batch shouldn't cause a stuck sparge, unless you are milling crazy fine.
     
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  26. dmtaylor

    dmtaylor Initiate (195) Dec 30, 2003 Wisconsin

    I agree. Add the hulls only if you find it necessary, but try without rice hulls first.
     
  27. riptorn

    riptorn Initiate (73) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Trader

    One lb. rye malt (no oats) in total ~13 lb. bill and pretty sure I'm not milling waaay fine.

    Just to clarify...what is the qualifier for adding (or not adding) the rice hulls? Is it the grain bill, or is it after the fact when a sparge actually gets stuck?
    If the latter.....add the hulls, stir and do whatever else is needed to get my flow-jo back?
     
  28. MrOH

    MrOH Champion (809) Jul 5, 2010 Maryland

    Pretty sure it's an experience thing. I often get stuck lauter, even with 100% barley, so it's a learning experience. Learn your equipment, and add them if necessary.

    On that note, after 10 years, things are getting worse and worse, and I think it's time to build a new mash/lauter tun.
     
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  29. dmtaylor

    dmtaylor Initiate (195) Dec 30, 2003 Wisconsin

    Yup. Add only if you need them, or if you want to guarantee no problems like insurance. However, you'll likely find that you rarely if ever need any. I keep rice hulls on hand but have only used them like 2 or 3 times in ~150 batches, which includes many many beers with plenty of rye and oats, etc. Once in a great while, things could get gummy, while other times it doesn't seem like it's a big deal. If it happens, then just add the hulls then continue as normal. No big deal adding them at the end of the mash if you need to.
     
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  30. minderbender

    minderbender Initiate (181) Jan 18, 2009 New York

    I don't think this is universally true. I recently did a 45-minute mash at 160°F and I got good efficiency, indicating that the enzymes did fine. The grain bill was roughly 60% pils malt, 20% flaked wheat, and 20% rolled oats. (So in other words there wasn't a ton of diastatic power to spare, although there was more than the bare minimum.)

    Now admittedly this is just one data point, and there are some confounding factors. While I am pretty sure the entire mash measured 160°F at the beginning of the mash, by the time it ended 45 minutes later the temperature in the center was still close to 160°F but the temperature at the edge was maybe 3-5 degrees lower. So maybe enough of the wort went below 158°F quickly enough to preserve the enzymes.

    Also I did the same thing a week before and didn't get great efficiency, although I don't know what to attribute that to. (I don't have my records in front of me, but I think I got efficiency in the high 60s the first time and the mid 70s the second time.)

    And finally, just because the starch all gets converted doesn't mean the mash has accomplished your goals. In my case, I'm trying to preserve some unfermentable (by Saccharomyces) carbohydrates for the Brett. and Pedio. to eat. In a clean fermentation I would probably get a very high final gravity with this mash.

    But anyway I would be interested in more data on high temperature mashing. For what it's worth, 160°F isn't even particularly high relative to the temperatures used by the Norwegian farmhouse brewers that Lars Garshol has talked to.
     
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  31. dmtaylor

    dmtaylor Initiate (195) Dec 30, 2003 Wisconsin

    @minderbender, thanks for sharing your experience, that's good stuff. I'll confess, I have not played around a lot with high temperature mashes. I have tons of experience with mashing low in the 140s, but not so much in the 160 F or higher range as I've always feared poor attenuation more than anything else really. Perhaps it is time for some more experiments. Maybe the alpha does its job well enough that efficiency turns out fine but attenuation suffers? That would be my next guess assuming you're right and efficiency isn't affected much.

    Cheers.
     
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  32. minderbender

    minderbender Initiate (181) Jan 18, 2009 New York

    Yes exactly, if you want an attenuable wort there's no reason to play around in the high end of the temperature range. I'm doing this strictly because I want low attenuability by the clean yeast, leaving stuff for the bugs to eat.

    That said, I've read that modern malts are so well modified and have such strong diastatic power that it's actually hard to use mash temperature to control the enzymes. I would like to learn more about that, as it seems important for recipe design.