Wednesday, May 21, 2014

#22 Oatmeal Pale Ale - Recipe

Recipe     -     Brewday     -     Tasting

Many breweries have oatmeal stouts, but few use oats for anything else.  About two years ago I was at Elysian Brewing in Capitol Hill and saw they had an oat IPA on tap.  Now this shouldn't really be that surprising, Elysian is always cooking up odd recipes, and like everyone else in Seattle, is obsessed with IPA, so this was fairly classic them.  The beer had the hop flavor of an IPA, but with a smooth, creamy mouthfeel that hid the intense bitterness normally associated with the style.  I really enjoyed it, but have never seen it since.

Several months later I was at a grocery store looking for something to enjoy on a sunny Friday afternoon and came across Fort George Sunrise Oatmeal Pale Ale.  I really enjoyed the last few beers I had from them (if you haven't had Vortex IPA or BB Cavatica Stoutyou've made a huge mistake), and remembering the Elysian version I decided to give it a shot.  I was disappointed.  Maybe the cans were old, but instead of smooth and flavorful it was bland and particularly bitter.

Well now it's my turn to see what I can brew with the concept.  Personally I think oats are one of the most boring ingredients you can use; everybody knows how tasteless oatmeal is on its own, but when you mix it in a beer it seems to suck all the flavor out.  That's great in a breakfast stout where it can take the edge off an overdose of coffee, or in the Elysian beer where it tempers the bitterness of the hops, but it's a double edged sword as Fort George showed.  That made this recipe a fun mental exercise at least, hopefully with a fun end product too.

For my recipe, I'm going to start with an oat heavy grist, then hop burst with big doses of Cascade and Columbus hops.  I've gone round and round on the varieties--Chinook to Simcoe to Cascade to Columbus to now a 50/50 split--but I think I've finally found what I'm looking for (unlike U2).  The Columbus has a big, sticky, mouth-filling flavor that should compliment the oats nicely, with just enough roughness to test how well the oats smooth them out, then the Cascade adds a bit of citrus to brighten things up and round out the classic American hop character.

It all sounds so good in my head, but we'll have to wait and see if I actually know what I'm talking about.

Oatmeal Pale
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal
Estimated ABV: 5.1 %
Estimated OG: 1.051 SG
Estimated FG: 1.012 SG
Estimated Color: 5.4 SRM
Estimated IBU: 41.9 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 80.5 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amt           Name                                     %/IBU         
8 lbs         Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)           80.0 %
1 lbs 8.0 oz  Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM)                   15.0 %
8.0 oz        Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM)    5.0 %
1.00 oz       Cascade [7.50 %] - Boil 20 min           14.6 IBU
1.00 oz       Columbus (Tomahawk) [14.00 %] - Boil 20  27.3 IBU
1.00 Tablet   Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15 mins)          -
1.00 oz       Cascade [5.50 %] - Boil 0 min            0.0 IBU
1.00 oz       Columbus (Tomahawk) [14.00 %] - Boil 0   0.0 IBU
1.0 pkg       British Ale Yeast (Wyeast Labs #1098)    -
2.00 oz       Cascade [5.50 %] - Dry Hop 5.0 Days      0.0 IBU
2.00 oz       Columbus (Tomahawk) [14.00 %] - Dry Hop  0.0 IBU

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, 152F, 60min
Total Grain Weight: 10 lbs
Estimated Cost: $26.90

Update 5/31/14:  Looks like I'm not the only one thinking oats these days.  The beer that just won Central's brewing competition was also an oat pale ale.  Check out the article here for more info.


  1. So, how did this beer turned out to be? Curious :-)

    1. Sorry for the slow response, I'm not on here as often any more. Check the tasting notes link at the top.

  2. I'm brewing this tomorrow at the request of a friend. I'm not a big fan of oats either. Thanks for the recipe! Cheers!

    1. Great! Let me know how it turns out!


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