War on Christmas Oatmeal Cinnamon Stout

On Twitter I was asked to post this recipe, so here it is. It’s among my favorite beers ever, and it’s only available (so far) on tap at our domestic basement bar.

9 lbs Maris Otter or other 2-row pale malt
1 lb rolled oats
1 lb Breiss Crystal 120 malt
1/2 lb dextrine
1/2 lb chocolate malt
1/2 lb Carafa I malt
1/4 lb roasted barley
1 oz Northern Brewer leaf hops
1/2 c freshly ground true cinnamon
1 flask WLP004 Irish Ale Liquid Yeast

Boil size: 6 gallons
Batch size: ~5 gallons
Mash temperature: 152 F
Measured OG: 1.055

Mash all grains together in a single-step infusion mash process. No mash out. Hop boil for only 45 minutes; use the full 1oz of hops at the start; use no flavoring or bittering hops.

Before cooling, add the cinnamon; pitch yeast at room temperature.

I typically do a 3-day open fermentation, followed by a closed secondary for as long as it takes to finish, followed by kegging. This beer is very foamy and heady thanks to the full pound of dextrine malt. (Clarity? Who cares! It’s a stout!) True to the oatmeal-stout style, it’s creamy, full-bodied, but not terribly sweet. The cinnamon flavor still works well here though. In part that’s because of the shorter hop boil without flavoring or aroma hops. But also I do not use the usual cinnamon, rather the milder and more complex Cinnamomum verum. Ethnic food stores sometimes carry it; I get mine in the Mexican section of a world foods market. I highly recommend this type for brewing, and I do not recommend the ordinary kind. Grinding it yourself in a blender jar is also strongly recommended.

Anyway, if you’ve read this far and can join me over the next month or so, I will be happy to pour you a pint. Or more.

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28 thoughts on “War on Christmas Oatmeal Cinnamon Stout

  1. Dude! This looks singularly awesome. I shall search for any available excuse to travel across the country to drink it. Prospects look bleak, though, so don’t wait — have a pint for me as I’d expect this won’t last very long after you tap it.

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  2. How does this relate the war on Christmas? It seems to be something that would go well with German-type Christmas celebration. You can see burghers in suits enjoying this sort of beer.

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  3. Argh. I was just in DC. Or, more accurately, I was in National Harbor. Which means I was nowhere near DC. For some reason, a DC-based organization decided to host a conference with participants from around the nations and overseas in the DC area and instead of using the easily accessed downtown convention center opted for the Disney Land-esque convention center outside of town that is almost entirely inaccessible.

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    • Kazzy When I lived in DC they moved one of my favorite sculptures The Awakening from Hains Point over to National Harbor I much preferred it in its old location (see link below) did you by chance get to see it while you were there? I thought while they were building National Harbor that it was a piss poor location for conventions unless they addressed how to get people over to DC easily which at the time I thought they probably wouldn’t do. Sorry to hear my suspicions were correct.

      http://www.dcmemorials.com/index_indiv0001120.htm

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      • One of my favorite DC memories (there weren’t many from the time I lived in Bethesda, to be honest) was visiting The Awakening at Hains Point with my wife, climbing all over the statue, and having some random photograph ask if he could shoot me doing so. Not sure what happened to those pictures, but it was a fun day.

        I know they moved it, but didn’t realize it went to NH. The Hains Point location was awesome because when that area flooded, it made for such an amazing visual.

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      • And, yes, NJ is impossible to get to. I had to stay in Alexandria since they somehow built a geographically isolated convention center that didn’t have enough hotel space. Our organization ran shuttle busses, which was very fortunate. Otherwise, you’re stuck there. They have some sort of water taxi but either you are driving (and paying $24/day in parking) or taking cabs.

        And the whole feel of the area is just Disney-world esque. Lots of chains. Lots of pseudo-local places. Everything is overpriced because they know they have people trapped. Blegh. The convention center itself ain’t bad, but of the 5 places I’ve attended this conference (Denver, SD, Philly, Houston, and now NH), this was easily my least favorite. And that is saying something given that I hated Houston.

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      • I used to take everyone who came to visit to Hain’s Point to see it. I have many pictures of it, some sophomoric and inappropriate :) One of my many objections to moving it was the placement at NH it is not obvious to visitors that it is there, http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/1604

        Also the Art Conservator in me cringed at the flooding at Hain’s point but I think the new location might be even worse in that regard

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  4. This looks delicious. I haven’t done all-grain brewing in a while. Time constraints have limited me to extract. This may pull me back in.

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  5. I strongly suspect the richness of flavor in this one comes from the crystal malt. Crys 120 has a very strong flavor (I usually stick with 1/2lb or less, and it’s really noticeable). I’m sure that blends well with your spices.
    I don’t think the chocolate / Carafa is really doing much. I’ve dropped the choc. from my porter recipe, experimenting with brown malt, special roast, & others. I notice no difference without the chocolate (but then, I always use 3/4lb of black malt, or more). I’m thinking you could probably use amber malt, and it would come out pretty much the same.
    With the oats + dextrin, that thing’s got to have a head on it like Duvel.

    No. Brewer used to be my go-to all-purpose hops. I know it’s the only hops used in Anchor Steam, and the hop character seems fairly neutral in that one. A good choice for letting the spice come through, I’d say.
    These days, I’ve taken a liking to British hops (First Gold, Progress, NZ Pacific Gem), and I’ve been experimenting with some of the high-alpha bittering hops (Magnum, Pacific Gem). I’ve also started using some of the newer “noble” American varieties (Mt. Hood, Liberty), though I still like Tettnang. It seems to have a hint of spiciness to it the others of that category don’t.

    Re: extract
    I’ve mashed LME with 1.5lbs of 2-row a couple of times, to see if I could get it to break down any more. I keep forgetting to measure it.
    But the last time I did it, I threw a sour yeast into secondary (a Flag porter culture). Even after the sour yeast, it had a bit of a syrupy mouthfeel to it. Maybe not so much extract next time I give it a go.

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    • Interesting. I’d thought the Carafa was giving it the complex flavor. Maybe some experimentation is in order. And yeah, the head is enormous with every pour.

      I haven’t used malt extracts in years. Not terribly interested in them anymore either.

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  6. No late hop additions, interesting. Is that your whole boil, or do you boil the wort for some time before the hops go in? Do you find there’s a difference to the character of the wort (other than hops-related things) with a shorter boil?

    I tend to boil the main body of the wort, without hops, in a big brew kettle, while the hops boils in a few litres of wort in pots on the stove – I generally make two different beers with the same grain bill and different hops. If I can care less about the timing of the main wort boil, that simplifies my process a bit.

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    • That’s the whole boil. In general I don’t find longer boils or longer mash times all that productive. Once the starch conversion is done, end the mash; once the wort tastes right, end the boil. Of course IPAs and other very hoppy styles need a long boil, but an oatmeal stout shouldn’t be very hoppy, and this one definitely isn’t.

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  7. I’m surprised you aren’t using the oil, rather than the ground spice…
    Is it because it’s hard to find?

    Major props for doing the brewing yourself.
    After hearing about a whole roomfull of rootbeer exploding,
    I’ve been a bit chary about brewing in general.

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    • I’m pretty sure I could find cinnamon oil if I wanted it, but homebrewers tend to prefer whole ingredients over essential oils.

      I’ve only once had a beer explode, and it was a very ill-conceived experimental recipe when I was still fairly a novice brewer.

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