Oat Beer Experiment?

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As a learning activity & an exercise in experimentation, I was thinking about making an Oat based beer (although I'm not planning on doing it in the short-term, I'll wait until I have more experience with grains). A bit hard to find much information on it, but I have found a few references which indicate that it is possible (and has potential). I know that beers with a large % of oats run the risk of ending up a bit astringent, so I was thinking of using some lactose to help offset this. Below is what I've come up with so far, has anyone done anything similar?

40% Oat Malt (extract?)
20% Golden Naked Oats
10% Rolled Oats (plain)
10% Rolled Oats (oven toasted)
10% Honey Malt (or Melanoidin Malt)
10% Honey
? Lactose

Not sure on hops yet
(Fuggles, Goldings, NB, Columbus)?

Not sure on yeast strain yet:

normal options - (Wyeast 1318 London Ale III, Wyeast 1332 Northwest Ale, WLP023 Burton Ale, WLP051 California Ale V)
different options - (WLP500 Trappist Ale, Wyeast 3638 Bavarian Wheat, Wyeast 3333 German Wheat)
crazy options - (Lambic / sour mix)

To reduce the "gum levels", use a beta-glucanase rest at temperature of about 35-45C. Hold the mash temperature for 30 mins in this range.

Then possibly a protease rest to break down large proteins for 30 mins @ 45-55C.

Heat water and maintain a temperature of ~70C for one hour to convert the starch.

Mash-out at 75C

Begin the sparge, maintaining the sparge water at just below 75C.
I've only ever used the golden naked in an oatmeal stout and some rolled oats in another OS. The following is simply intended to give you some other ideas and somewhere else to look.

Thomas fawcett make a malted oat: http://www.fawcett-maltsters.co.uk/range.htm

So do Bairds: http://www.craftbrewer.com.au/shop/details.asp?PID=3848

Supposedly discussed here (I haven't listened): http://www.fyurl.com/rr.php?c=2&site=w...ive09-16-07.mp3 (click the second link that says proceed to the download destination - it's a brewing network episode).

Normally prefer to talk from experience but hopefully some of that helps and hopefully I'm clear about my non entire oat malt brews experience.

To make it more of a learning experiment, I'd suggest rather than throwing everything at it, make a simple oat beer and build from there. Leave the honey and lactose out, just do a base oat malt (whether extract or the TF stuff if it will self convert) and some golden oats and one or two hops in simple additions.

Otherwise it will be hard to tell what does what.

Have you got radical brewing? The small info in there suggests that the main enzyme will be beta amylase so it will attenuate well. No point mashing too high probably. It really only talks about use as an adjunct for head retention etc but does mention oat ales from 18th and 19th C. Searching for that reference dug up this:


Hope it's useful. Interested to hear back but I reckon overcomplicating it first time around is a no-no. Experiments are great - try and eliminate the variables a bit.
I'm making this oat wine next week. All the ingredients ready to go, but just need the time to do it.

Oaten Regret Mk2 (English Barleywine)

Original Gravity (OG): 1.100 (P): 23.8
Final Gravity (FG): 1.025 (P): 6.3
Alcohol (ABV): 9.83 %
Colour (SRM): 7.5 (EBC): 14.8
Bitterness (IBU): 58.7 (Average - No Chill Adjusted)

46% Oat Malt
46% Pilsner
8% Golden Naked Oats (Simpson)

5.5 g/L East Kent Golding (5.6% Alpha) @ 40 Minutes (Boil)

Single step Infusion at 65C for 90 Minutes. Boil for 180 Minutes

Fermented at 20C with

Recipe Generated with BrewMate

I was considering going 100% oats, but, really, it's going to be chewy enough with 50% I reckon.
The little tidbit about the beta amylase I mentioned above suggests maybe not (chewy that is). Got me interested in doing a small test batch now.

Protein levels of malted oats are much lower than raw oats (according to radical brewing anyway).

If you can make a nice beer from oats, I believe that might be suitable for those with gluten intolerances which is of interest to many (also another place to research because I'm sure it will have been tried)..

Some oats are OK for people with gluten intolerance, some aren't - depends on the process I believe.
Beersmith Podcast

In this podcast a bloke talks about making a 100% Oat beer, said it was boring. Back in the day oat beer was for peasants.
HMm..... all this talk is making me think I might just drop the pale and do a 100% oat and crystal oat. Time to dig out radical brewing as well.

I'll need a small beer to grow up the yeast for the barley/oatwine anway, so may as well just use oats in the first instance.
Well I just ordered 3kg malt oats (bairds) and another 500g of the simpsons GNO myself. Will ferment with 1275 and use ekg and styrians or fuggles and ekg to about 35 IBU.
If it's going to be as thin as that research looks, I'll make up the following:

4.5kg oat malt, 800g golden naked oats, EKG to 30 IBU.

Mash at 68c.

I've got a 1318 London Ale III in the fridge, that should do it.

Looks I have a project for next week!
If the alpha amylase is not really present (and I'm not sure it's not, just got the idea that beta is totally dominant) high mash may not make a huge difference.

Not saying I'm right - just discussing because I now am interested in this all oat malt thingamajig bandwagon and need to design my own recipe for when my oats arrive.

Might be something to keep in mind. If any alpha is in there at all, might be worth a very short low rest (5 mins at 62) then ramping right up to 72 for the remainder.

I guess till we brew once with it, there's no point getting too excited theorising. I should heed my own advice in my first post and just do single infusion for 60 mins at 65 degrees so I eliminate some of the variables.
I've just found a document looking at the different malting methods (without hulls and at different malting PH levels) http://www.waset.org/journals/waset/v67/v67-137.pdf

My take away from the document is:

Peterson [3] showed that
germination of oats leads to the increase of α-amylase activity
up to corresponding level in barley. Kneen [17] demonstrated
the low β-amylase activity of oat disappears during
germination. Therefore, concluded that oat malt is a rich
source of α-amylase.
Also: second hand, unreferenced information, but interesting take on the practicalities:


This is Fawcetts reply to someones email.

"Oat malt laboratory worts are normally slightly hazy rather
than clear. Oats are not normally low in protein and are quite
difficult to modify from a protein viewpoint, which could well
explain this. Our current stock gives values of 11.8 % total protein
with an index of modification of 27.8%.

As far as mash schedules are concerned we would suggest you
ensure temperatures are between 63 degrees C and 68 degrees C during
mashing in with a one hour minimum stand after mashing in a grist
composed of 50% oat malt and 50% lager malt.

You should aim at a liquor/grist ratio of between 2.5:1 and 3:1.

Oat malt needs very close mill settings to achieve an
acceptable grist. For normal malts our standard mill setting is 62
thou top and 58 thou bottom- for oat malt we drastically reduce these
settings to 48 thou top and 42 thou bottom. Certainly a point to
watch to produce an optimal grist for mashing."
hmm ok...

I have also read that a 100% oat beer will be a bit "boring" and astringent. Reading a bit more, I might leave out the honey, just because it appears that it will ferment out reasonably dry already.
Hence why I was thinking about the lactose to counteract the possible astringency slightly, and to help with the dryness. I also wanted to make it a bit sweet.

but at the same time... I have also read contrary info that says it is likely to be quite thick and have a heavy mouthfeel... so not sure.
The little tidbit about the beta amylase I mentioned above suggests maybe not (chewy that is). Got me interested in doing a small test batch now.

Protein levels of malted oats are much lower than raw oats (according to radical brewing anyway).

If you can make a nice beer from oats, I believe that might be suitable for those with gluten intolerances which is of interest to many (also another place to research because I'm sure it will have been tried)..

Some oats are OK for people with gluten intolerance, some aren't - depends on the process I believe.
I think there's 2 issues, oats are lower than wheat, barley and rye in gluten content and I think not all coeliacs react to the proteins in oats so that is why some countries (not ours) say they are ok to consume in small quantities. Other major issue would be cross contamination as grain harvesting/transport/processing is all done through the same channels that handle wheat, oats marketed as gluten free in USA for example would be grown/processed in isolation.

Keen to hear how it turns out.

Cheers, Andrew.
My oats arrived today. Will update the thread with both the brewing process and the final result.
Finishing up the mash of the all-oat extravaganza now. It's not been all wine and roses, and there are things you need to change about your setup to get the right results.

Mash report: smells like a dog that's been sitting on a wet haybale and looks like the runoff from a flooded creek. Mmmmm.
OK, here's the mash report, hopefully this will help others to make an oat beer better than I seem to have.

First and foremost, it's a pain to mill. The long, thin nature of the grain means that it in my mill setup (a Crankandstein 2 roller mill with a coke bottle as a hopper) it aligned the grains to slip through the gap between the rollers very easily. they came out looking like they were pressed, rather than cracked. I ran the grist through the mill twice, but considering I can't change the gap on my mill (without a lot of hard work and time) it was as milled as it was going to get.

Here's a picture of the oats after mash in at 42c. You can see the grains split along the length. Looks good right?


Wrong; the part we want access to the delicious starches in the endosperm, which from the looks of it, slipped through the gap in the roller for the most part undamaged. It's the bit that looks like.. well, an unflattened oat just to the right of my thumb, between the two relatively undamaged husks. Most of the oats had this part quite intact, so I'm expecting my efficiency to go right down.


The second thing to keep in mind when putting your mash regime together is that the oats do not absorb anywhere near as much liquid as barley it seems. Nothing like the 1L/KG I'm used to, but closer to 0.4-0.5L/kg, so I had a few extra litres to boil off at the end.


The mash was still very cloudy after 2 hours at 66c, and I didn't expect it to improve. It's still boiling, and the wort is still very cloudy/milky, but smells a lot better now, actually like oats rather than wet/used hay.

The beginning of the boil was super foamy (after it ramped through about 80dc it foamed up like soap). I was paranoid that I had left a bunch of sodium perc in there or something, but it's not the case. At that point I chucked in some foam control, as I couldn't supervise it directly while it came to a boil.

Entertaining little buggers to crush arent they, we always crush oats separately because they need to be done so fine, not the term crush because they certainly dont crack, just squish.
Anyway if you are thinking of mashing all Oat this might be worth a read - Brewing with 100% Oat Malt View attachment Oat_Malt.pdf
Wow, where were you before I mashed in!

Thanks for the document MHB, a great resource that answers pretty much all the questions that have been asked in this thread.

Wow, that pdf is quite insightful. I think i'll have to start getting organised to get this one going :)
Lucky I checked back on this thread because I'm aiming to mash mine in today and had missed some of this recent info - including that pdf.

I'm aiming to mash 3.5 kg bairds oat malt and 500g toasted simpsons golden naked with a whack of rice hulls (although if I read that pdf right, the rice hulls are probably unnecessary).

Regime will be TEMP: 35/45/55/65/72/78
TIME: 20/20/10/50/10/10

Attempting to hit ~1050 OG and bitter to about 35 IBU with EKG although the exact extract potential of my oats, exact efficiency of mashing them, their liquor absorption etc, the amounts involve some guesswork.

90-120 min boil, no chilled, 1275 yeast.

I can adjust my corona to crack as fine as I want.

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