Saturday, April 14, 2012

Funky Oatmeal Stout - a mixed culture fermentation

Way back in September 2011 I walked out of my LHBS with the ingredients to make a simple oatmeal stout for the Fall weather that was going to be settling in.  However, as I posted earlier, life got hectic, brewing and blogging was put on hold, and the oatmeal stout never saw the inside of a fermentation bucket.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago.  I had the time and I had already brewed up the batches I wanted to get done between January and March (a Belgian Tripel, an Altbier, a Kolsch, and this year's Empirical Series brew) and I had this bag of grain sitting in my cellar.  Seemed like a waste not to use it.  But it also didn't seem right to brew an oatmeal stout with the warm weather settling in.  So, inspired by Jolly Pumpkin's Madrugada Obscura and a previous successful experiment of mine with souring dark beer (a tale for another day), I decided to try something different and funkify it.

The base grist is similar to the oatmeal stout I brewed in Fall 2010 with a few tweaks (I can't seem to leave well enough alone).  To that I decided to add some molasses and grains of paradise (available at my favorite spice retailer - the Spice House).  The molasses added some additional gravity and will give the beer a little more depth and character.  The grains of paradise should impart a nice peppery tone.  As if that wouldn't be enough (like I said, I can't leave well enough alone), I opted to ferment with a mixed culture that included a Belgian yeast (WLP500, harvested from my Belgian Tripel), an English strain (WLP023, which was the intended yeast for the original oatmeal stout), the dregs of one bottle of Jolly Pumpkin's Madrugada Obscura, and the dregs of one bottle of Russian River Consecration.  All these cultures were put into the same starter, so were pitched into the beer all at the same time.  How this will all play out is anyone's guess.  I'm just going to keep it in a dark corner of my cellar and patiently wait to see how things proceed.

Oh, and as luck would have it, the "Word of the Day" on the day I made my mixed culture starter was "selcouth"

Selcouth Stout
brewed on 3/26/12

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size: 3.75 gal
Estimated Color: 38.4 SRM
Estimated IBU: 30.8 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
OG: 1.062 SG

5.5 lbs Maris Otter - 66.7 %
12.0 oz Oats, Flaked- 9.1 %
8.0 oz Melanoidin Malt - 6.1 %
4.0 oz Chocolate Malt - 3.0 %
4.0 oz Chocolate Wheat - 3.0 %
4.0 oz Crystal (56L) - 3.0 %
4.0 oz Roasted Barley - 3.0 %
8.0 oz Molasses - 6.1 %

26 g EKG [4.50 %] - 60.0 min
10 g EKG [4.50 %] - 20.0 min

1.00 g Seeds of Paradise (Boil 5.0 mins)

Mixed culture
 - Trappist Ale (White Labs #WLP500)
 - Burton Ale (White Labs #WLP023)
 - dregs of Madrugada Obscura
 - dregs of Consecration

Mash Schedule
Single Infusion, 152°F, Batch Sparge

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