Tag Archives: Pale ale

Vanilla Oatmeal Stout

English: Vanilla: 6 beans
English: Vanilla: 6 beans (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is time to make beer again. I have a request from a fan to make something “tall, dark and handsome”. I thought about that might be in a beer and came across Oatmeal Stout. Several years ago, I made one called Crystal My Oats, but that recipe was lost in BeerSmith when my computer crashed (back when I as running Windows still). I do remember elements of it and that was extract, how to make one via all-grain?

Time for some research

As I learned to homebrew in the mid 90’s, the old archive Cat’s Meow 3 is my first stop, always. Sure, there are more up to date places to find recipes, but I like the simple format of this archive and it feels like home. I am looking for general guidelines more than specific rules that must be followed at all costs, so it also fits my style better.

Searching through the oatmeal stouts lead to many extract recipes. Nuts. I need an all-grain. There’s one. But it uses flaked barley. And another. Nice. Rolled oats. Notes jotted.

A search via Google returns hits at several places, most of them discussions about a particular recipe. Do rolled oats go in the mash tun or on the stove for steeping and fading in? Where is Charlie Papazian’s phone number when I need it??? Answers found.

Start up BeerSmith

I chose the Oatmeal stout guide and start working on ingredients. It doesn’t take long and the SRM and bitterness guidelines are blow. Oh well. I want it DARK! Based on batch size and boil time, the estimated SRM is 46.7. Awesome! The upper limit is 40 for the style, but what’s 6.7 among friends???

The IBUs estimate to 52, ah only 12 over style. No worries. And that makes some assumptions about utilization in the boil. Maybe it will lower or higher. No worries.

Once complete, the parts list looks like this:

  • 14 pounds pale malt
  • 1.5 pounds Roasted Barley
  • 1 pound of Chocolate Malt
  • 1 pound of Caramel/Crystal Malt (80L)
  • 2 ounces of Centennial hops (10%) – 60 min
  • 1 packaged of Irish Ale (Wyeast Labs #1084)

I really do want a beer near 10%. If the efficiencies in conversion and sparging have hit 72%, this one might get to 9. That’s good. The idea is to either put vanilla beans in secondary or use vodka to make an extract. Wait! Why vodka? What about bourbon instead?

Researching Home Made Vanilla Extracts

Back to Google for some searching. The best site on thekitchn.com. Wow. Didn’t know there were various types of vanilla beans. Based on the descriptions, looks like Bourbon or Madagascar beans are in order. Now, make an extract or just put 3 of them in the secondary for 10 days? Hmmm.

The site has great ideas. Perhaps put some in bourbon and some in the secondary? Decisions. Decisions.

Made the Beer

Used a single step mash of 150 degree water for an hour. Mash density was 1.25 quarts per pound. Sparge water at 170 degrees until 6 gallons were collected. As the boil is an hour, about 1 gallon will be lost to evaporation.

Once the wort was chilled and in the fermentor, the hydrometer reads 15 on the Brix scale. Potential here is 8.2% and the Specific Gravity once converted is 1.0611. A bit lower than the target, but not too bad for a fly sparging novice. Now to keep at a good temperature for fermentation without getting esters from the yeast. Updates will follow.

Demonstration Red Rye Ale – 2014

English: Malted Barley, more specifically a &q...
English: Malted Barley, more specifically a “Crystal Malt”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last year, I volunteered for the Cincy Beer Fest, not really knowing what I was going to do. I knew I would no longer be doing photographs, but I figured I could help out with beer, setup, etc. I showed up on Friday night and helped out quite a bit: set out several tables full of tasting cups, checked ids at the door, gave out beer at the Kentucky Ale booth and even snapped off a few photos.

I didn’t like it.

Afterward, I realized how much I had come to like taking pictures at the fest. Being able to walk anywhere and interacting with the people was a great draw for me. Not doing that drained me and I didn’t like it. What now?

Until a few weeks ago, I figured I would not attend. Then I was asked to do a brewing demonstration for the Cincinnati Malt Infusers, the homebrew club I joined last year. Not fully knowing what it would entail, I said yes.

The last several days have been quite hectic coming up with all the equipment required. The convention center requires the use of electrical elements to heat the water and running a 220 volt line is too expensive. Fortunately, a member of CMI has a system we can use. Nice.

Recipe time. To draw people to the table, a high aroma beer was chosen. Starting with a pale ale, a few ounces of black patent malt were added to give the beer a reddish color. Ok, a red ale. What about rye malt? Yes, aroma and spiciness. Cool. A red rye ale. As there isn’t enough time to do a full mash, this is a specialty grain steep with extracts. It is a demonstration recipe too. That makes the name Demonstration Red Rye Ale – 2014. Let’s get to the details.


  • 3 lbs light dry extract
  • 3.33 lbs can of amber liquid extract
  • 2 ounces Ahtanum hop pellets (5.20% alpha)
  • 1 ounce Mt. Hood hop pellets (6.10% alpha)
  • 1 lbs Crystal Malt (10L)
  • 1 lbs Rye Malt
  • 4 ounces Black Patent malt
  • 1 package American Ale II yeast (Wyeast #1272)
  • 1 teaspoon Irish Moss


  • Crack the grains and place into a grain bag large enough to hold them. Remember they will expand when wet.
  • Heat 2.5 gallons of water to 150 degrees. Place the grains in the water and steep for 20 minutes. After time, remove grain bag, allow to drain and discard.
  • Fill kettle to 6 gallons of water and turn heat to full.
  • Once wort starts to boil, place the Mt. Hood hops in. Total boil time is 60 minutes.
  • When 20 minutes to go in the boil, place 1 ounce of Ahtanum into kettle.
  • At 15 minutes to go, place 1 teaspoon of Irish Moss into kettle.
  • After 60 minutes of boil, turn heat off and allow wort to settle. Place the remaining ounce of hops into kettle.
  • Cool wort to 70 degrees and take specific gravity reading. It should be around 1.044. Rack to fermentor, aerate for 10 minutes and pitch years. Cover and place airlock. Ferment for 2 weeks and bottle or keg, as desired.

It is recommended that the boil hops are placed in a bag. Try and enjoy. See you there.

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Time to Bottle

Today has finally arrived. Today I set about bottling my first pale ale containing rye malt

Pale Ale
Pale Ale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

as a specialty grain. Today is the day I get to see if it has survived secondary. Today is the day. And I’m starting late.

On weekends, many times I don’t set my alarm. I wake up at 6am anyway or the dogs get all manner of excited and want to go out by then. Not today. No noise. No barking. Up at 8:15 am. Ugh. So much to do: stretch, clean kitchen, move fermentor, sanitize bottles, prime beer, bottle, label, etc.

Oh yeah, and post about today’s activities.


I have decided to take a more personal turn with my blogs. Yes, I’ll still write about marketing strategies, business practices, interpersonal relationships, changing the lives of others and so on. I have listened to your voices and will make good changes. The topics upon which I have received the most feedback are, in order of responses, most to least: photography, personality types and homebrewing beer. Awesome. More attention to them and today it is beer‘s turn.

Next up? Bill Cosby.

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