Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Oatmeal Cream Stout

     I don't think of brewing stouts very often because most people I know don't like them and I'm forced to drink the entire batch myself.  Which is ok... I like stouts but I prefer hoppy ales which is why I tend to brew more beer in that classification.  My favorite stouts are thick creamy rich stouts often sweetened with milk sugar.  The only stout I have made until now was a Java Stout (obviously a stout brewed with coffee).  I debated between brewing a mocha stout with coffee and chocolate or trying my hand at a cream stout.  I finally decided to try brewing a cross between a cream stout and an oatmeal stout (an Oatmeal Cream Stout).

My strike temp was 163.5*F to hit my target mash temp of 153*F and held for 90 mins.  It smelled almost like coffee throughout the house during the mash :).  I accidentally let the strike water cool too much before adding the grains on this batch.  So I had to quickly heat up a quart of boiling water to add to the mash.  That ended up putting my mash a little thicker than I wanted being around 1.44 qts/lb.  

because of rain I ended up starting the boil in the garage.  Started with a very full boil (8.75) because of additional hot water added during the mash to maintain the target temperature.  Ended up boiling for 90 mins and collected 5.5 gals (leaving 0.5gal of trub behind).

During cooling the garage door functioned as a convenient place to place to stick my wired thermometer.  My OG reading came in around 1.064 which puts me at a brew house eff of 80% on this batch.  After cooling the wort down into the lower 70s I whirl-pooled the kettle and drained the wort into the carboy.  Then as normal added oxygen using a diffusion stone and an aquarium pump.

I pitched 2 packs of WYeast - 1084 Irish Ale.  The packs were dated to be about a month old.  Thinking that the yeast should be plenty viable I felt no need for a starter.  After about a few days of fermentation I noticed the air lock had stopped bubbling.  So I took a hydrometer sample and saw evidence of a stuck ferment (hydrometer reading of 1.034).  I quickly took and re-hydrated a package of US-05 dry yeast I had laying around (just for cases such as this) and pitched it in the carboy then gently stirred the yeast cake on the bottom back into solution.  24 hours later I did not see any signs of further fermentation.  So I decided to make a starter out of another package of US-05 and pitch at high krausen.  That seems to have worked.  4 days later I'm at 1.020.  I'll give it another week then bottle carb/condition.
Sanitizing bottles and adding priming sugar solution to bottling bucket
On to bottling... Normally I keg.  So Its been a while since I last bottle conditioned/naturally carbonated a batch.  Since I have a small chest freezer converted into a kegerator, I don't have the space to serve more than 2 kegs at a time.  Unfortunately that leaves me with the task of bottling this entire batch and using priming sugar to carbonate in the bottle.
Transferring beer to bottling bucket and gently stirring to mix in the priming sugar 
Using the Keg and force carbonating is much easier and less time consuming.  So I prefer that method when I can and then bottle off what I need from the keg.  The process for bottling this batch took about 2.5 hours (from sanitation to bottled) as compared to 30 mins. max for a keg setup.
Placed bottling bucket on top of refrigerator to get better gravity flow 
When bottle conditioning/carbonating a priming sugar solution is made with a measured amount of dextrose and water then mixed into solution and bottled.  The yeast will eat the priming sugar and produce C02 which will carbonate the beverage.  So now I will store these bottles at room temp for 2-3 weeks to completely carbonate.

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