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I have a question for the homebrewers!

I'm making an oatmeal stout for Jaime Paglia, and I'm trying to figure out the best time to put in the oats. This will be a partial mash, using extract for the base and some steeped specialty grains.

I can't find consensus on the usual forums. Some brewers say to put the oats (about 1 pound for a 5 gallon batch) in with the steeping grains. Others say you have to mash the grains with some 2 row, but don't say how much 2 row you should use, and how to scale back the extract if you go that way. I'm not afraid to do that kind of mashing (yay! experience!), but it's easier to use extract, so that's my preference at this point in my evolution as a brewer.

So I was thinking that I'd use the basic stout recipe I have, and I'd toast a pound of quick oats in the oven first, then steep them with the specialty grains when they were all toasty and golden and good.

I'm very interested to hear opinions on this, and I thank you all in advance for sharing whatever experience you've had.
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I wish I knew, I do know I am thirsty now!!
Speaking of experience, why not just go with your gut and see if it works? Jaime will surely appreciate the effort, regardless of the outcome.
I always did it with the steeping grains, but in a separate bag -- the oats will absorb a lot of water and can burst the bag if you put too many grains in.
You don't need to mash with 2-row as you're not using the oats for added fermentability. The only reason for adding 2-row is to get some enzymes working on breaking down the starches into suger. Oats are pretty much strictly for added mouthfeel. Just throw them in with the steeping grains.
I haven't used oats in extract, but when I did the recipe I used had me boil them for 15 minutes and put it in my mash.
No help to you, but if you haven't had a chance to taste it, Boundary Bay's (Bellingham, Wa) Oatmeal Stout is absolutely fantastic. It's the beer that made me love beer!
When I did an oatmeal stout with extract, I steeped the oatmeal with the specialty grains in a grain bag and it turned out pretty well. You should go with your plan.
Mmmm... oatmeal stout... so creamy and tasty... whatever you do, I hope it turns out well!
The scientist in me says make several brews at the same time and add the oatmeal at different times to see which one comes out best.
I dont have any such experience, but I love the term "my evolution as a brewer" - it has a musicality about it and sounds like the title to a good short story. Good luck with the brew, it will be interesting to hear ithe story evolving
Does the scientist in you have multiple carboys? And want to drink 15 gallons of oatmeal stout? Actually that last part sounds good.
Since it is for Jaime Paglia, you should put the oats in with the steeping grains.
If I did a lot of home brewing and wanted to try something new a lot of times, I would make sure to have enough equipment to have at least 3 brews going at once.
Here is an answer from BYO magazine.

Brewing Oatmeal Stouts

Oats have no enzymes useful to mashing. They must be mashed (or partially mashed) with a malted grain for the starches to be converted. Like unmalted barley, the starches inside are hard and not readily usable, encased within the hard cellular structures of the grain. Without further processing they cannot be broken down by the malt enzymes.

For the starches within to be converted to sugar, the oats must be gelatinized prior to use. Gelatinization is basically a cooking process in which the hard kernel coating is broken and the starch granules are ruptured and released.
I would put the oats in with the mash. I am an all-grain brewer and the oats always go in the mash then. The enzymes in the grains are needed to convert the starches in the oats.
I agree with +Kyle Campbell . You're primarily going for flavor and not fermentables. Toss them in early, but use a bag, since they will gel up,, and use the quick oats.
throw some rice hulls in there with the oats, will help keep the mash loose preventing sticking and assisting extraction efficiency.
Go with your plan and write down what you did. Replicating the steps to a great brew or avoiding repeating a crappy one is key to being a consistent homebrewer. If it sucks, oh well. Just relax and have a home brew!
Since your doing extract, put them in with the steeping grains.
If you mash the oats, you will end up with a flavor more like an oat beer, as you will convert the oat's carbs into sugar.

If you instead add it at the end, you will end up with more of an oat flavor, like adding oatmeal to your beer (the carbs will still be there). Also, your end result will have more suspended sediment, much like a wheat beer.
If you were trying to get fermentable sugars out of them, you'd mash them with your malts. Usually, however, you're just using them to add to the mouthfeel, so putting them in with your steeping grains should work just fine.
+1 to Kyle, oats aren't mashed and swell like mad so plan accordingly. Awesome homecoming to brewing a good homebrew
wow i now really feel like a fledgling home brewer
Quick oats in the steeping grains if you're not trying to get sugars. Simple answer.
The problem with oats is that they get gummy, and there are issues with getting proper starch conversion without the right preparations.

Here's a guide to making an oatmeal stout: It explains the problems with using oats, i.e. gumming up etc.. Once you understand the sorts of problems that come with oats, it's easier to figure out what you would prefer to do. it's all a question of how much time you're willing to invest.
I used ordinary oats and added them as soon as possible :) but it was quite experimentary.. :) But final beer was great
I'm looking @ my English Oatmeal Stout extract recipe. It uses Flaked Barley & Roasted Barley but I didn't do the roasting myself. That was added in the steeping along with Black Patent Malt and Chocolate Malt and 1 lb of Steel Cut Oats. I hope that helps.
I have no input as to the brewing, but would be more than happy to assist on the consuming!
I always put the oats in very late. They're for a little extra flavor, but the thing I like about them is adding the cloudiness to the beer, not so big on the actual flavor. In other words, they shouldn't be in very long during the mash, but it all depends on what type of flavor you are going for.
Definitely in with the steeping grains. best of luck.. should turn out fantastic. good forum for brew advice is
just FYI The oats will give the smooth mouth feel that you want in that style. mmmmm
I second +RC . on the oak chips. Works well with an IPA. You can overdo it though (don't ask me how I know)... RDWHAHB
I agree with +Kyle Campbell and +Lucas.

Brewing some IPA this weekend! Who's up for helping me drink it when it's done?! :)
Offhand, I'd say that both approaches are correct, depending upon desired result. Steeping the oats with the specialty grains will add mouth-feel and some flavor, but will add little to the sweetness (i mean, for whatever extra sweetness a pound of oats will give you in a stout -- maybe not much, but there will be some, and it will be noticeable). Mashing with the two-row, however, will add those sugars in, as well as add the flavor/body/mouth-feel constituent.

Honestly? This is one of those personal preference things, and, until you've done it both ways (or consciously taste-tested some one else's representative brews), you can't have an accurate idea of what your preference in this regard will be. I suggest you pick the method you're most comfortable with, since this batch will be a gift, and then experiment later with your own.
Now this is what I like to see:
The advancement of technology to better facilitate a collaborative knowledge exchange FOR BEER.
I would recommend using them in the steeping (which I see has been mentioned above). I typically use the calculator on this website when planning a brewing session. I also use it for the already created recipies.
Since Wil has collected a batch of homebrew fans, I have a question too - my son and I just started a batch of amber ale, but I think the yeast might be dead. How long should it take to show activity?

We put in one of those packets where you pop the inner nutrient bag and wait a couple hours, but apparently I should have been storing it in the fridge till I needed it..

Two days with no sign of fermentation. I'm thinking I should buy a new yeast packet today and toss it in.. Sound reasonable?
+Wil Wheaton you just went up a few notches in my arbitrary point system.

The above aside, I, my father, my grandfather, and my great grandfather [who we all learned from] always put the oats in with the steeping grains. To quote my great grandfather "You gotta put 'em in with the good stuff so it tastes right."

If you do try the other method let me know how it turns out. Thanks in advance.
+Gord Wait yes, get another packet (probably two). You may be too late already, but hopefully not.
+Gord Wait It should be showing some activity at 2 days, especially an ale (as long as it is not too cold). For the Wyeast smack-packs, keep it in the fridge until the day before you're going to pitch it. Smack it the day before and let it expand and pitch the next day. Ambers you probably want to keep on the coolish side (65F). Give it another day and if nothing is going on, get another thing of yeast.
+Gord Wait Yeah, if the lock isn't bubbling within 36 hours, it might be cause for concern. Try some Yeast Energizer.

+Wil Wheaton I use oats pretty often when I brew (Oat Apple Cider? Why not?) and I always steep them with the specialty grains. That being said, I have not specifically made an Oatmeal Stout, so there might be a different way to impart the flavors.
...another vote for including the oats in the mash.
my immediate reaction to your reference to "homebrewers" was, "Hey, maybe I can give Wil some software development advice." But beer, beer is good too.
Secure the cover firmly to keep the cat from falling in. That advice courtesy of my mother-in-law. 
Are you mashing in a cooler or on the stove? I just made a partial mash oatmeal stout (using a cooler) and we mashed all of the specialty grains and the oats and some base malt in the cooler. We let it rest at ≈154° for an hour and a half to get good conversion out of the oats, and it worked fine.

As far as making your recipe, start with an all-grain recipe, determine how much you want to mash, then convert the remaining base malt to extract by figuring. .75 lbs. of malt per pound of grain. I always try to make it a convenient number (say 3 pounds, as you can buy a 3 pound container) and just put the leftover grain in with the mash.

The more you mash, the better it'll be, but the bigger your boil. At some point you will exceed the capacity of your kettle or stove. There is literature on partial mashing, I will find a link and post it later.
+Gord Wait two days after pitching without activity is a long time. It may be time for more yeast, but first you should check your specific gravity to see if you have enough sugars. If you are low, you may need a nutrient.
While steeping oats can be done, it isn't necessarily the best approach. The flavors come from conversion of the starches into sugar, so 1, you'll get very little flavor from them, and 2, you'll be introducing a ton of starch and proteins into your beer that will reduce its shelf life. Steep equal parts of rolled oats and 2-row in 160F water for 30 minutes (aka a mini-mash), and continue your extract brew as usual. You'll be much happier with the results.
Funny. The term homebrewers is used so much across subjects that I forgot it's original meaning. I was ready to offer up a plethora of nerd tips. Forgot about the zymurgical usage. lol
Thanks for the tips! The mix tastes sweet (our second batch from grains) so I'm thinking I'll add more yeast today.
WOW, thanks for all the replies and advice, gang. I'm making notes, and I'll let you know what I end up doing.

I didn't even stop to consider that the way I use the oats should reflect what I want to get out of them, rather than the "right" way, because there is no one right way.

I feel like I've gained some brewing insight from that revelation alone, and I'll use it to determine how I make this beer.

Seriously: Thank you!
It was stated above: If you want to extract sugar for it, then you need to mash with some malt. If you just want it for flavor - and to not affect the alcohol content - then don't worry. But: If you're not using malt in the mash then you're not really mashing. right? :)
I made one a while back but can't remember. I get most of my brewing advice from my dad or Both are excellent resources for me!
Whatever you wind up doing, please let us know how the result turned out. And remember to Relax, Don't Worry, Have a Homebrew.
Also, unless you're worried about someone stealing it, posting the recipe for critique won't hurt. Put it here or in brewit or in HBT and you'll get some great feedback.
Just put them in with the steeping grains, I +1 Kyle Campbell's post above as well
Sorry to disagree, but yes, they need to be mashed. 1lb of 2-row in with the oats will convert them just fine. If you just steep the oats you will end up with a bunch of extra protein and unconverted starch in the finished beer. It's not necessarily that you NEED the sugar contributed by the oats, but more that you don't want that unconverted starch. That said, mashing is easy... just hold the oats and 2-row at 150F for an hour, then remove them and bring your wort up to a boil just as you would with steeping grains. (I'm assuming you don't have a separate vessel for mashing - a "mash tun").

Check out The Brewing Network for tons of great info (forums and podcasts.) They are amazing.
Quite a bit of confusion here about oats. To get any significant amount of mouthfeel or flavor from them, some sort conversion is required.

Mouthfeel comes from medium-sized proteins. Oats consist primarily of large proteins which do not provide the same effect. A protein rest is therefore necessary to get significant mouthfeel from oats.

Flavors comes from sugars. Oats must be mashed to convert the otherwise tasteless starches into sugars. Ever notice when you eat oatmeal, it's sweet? That's because the enzymes in your saliva break down the starches.
It doesn't sound like you are doing a partial mash, but an extract with steeped specialty malts. This isn't the same thing, and much of the above advice is based on the assumption of a partial mash.
+Jeff Karpinski Protein rests while necessary for the reason you said, they are not needed for flaked oats as they have already been through that process during "flaking". Same thing for flaked wheat.
Agree with +Jeff Karpinski. I would add that mouthfeel also comes from long-chained dextrins (sugar) which is not necessarily sweet, and is one of the things created by mashing.
You're confusing starches and proteins +Kyle Campbell. Flaked grains are gelatinized from the heat of the rollers. This makes the subsequent starches "digestible" to beta and alpha amylase. Flaking does not change the protein constituent of oats.
I was briefly excited by the headline, thinking there was some crossover between the wilw and WebOS hacking communities... but now I realize the topic in question is the original homebrew.

C'est la vie.
+Jeff Karpinski You're right, it is for starch conversion, not protein. Course, if we start talking proteinase and peptidase, I think we may scare +Wil Wheaton away from the hobby :)
+Ben Miller Yup. Dextrins and FG in general also play big factors in perceived mouthfeel. Dextrins are also responsible for the infamous beer farts.
Ask five home-brewers a question; receive eight different answers.
Woah. It's been quite a while since I've brewed, but my Oatmeal Stout recipe had me including it in the regular mash. When I was doing extract and partial mashes I also had it in the regular "mash" (i.e. steeping bag).

I must break out the brewing tree again sometime soon and start up the hobby again....
LOL I first thought homebrew as in homebrew channel on Wii, till I saw stout. I am such a geek...
First of all, +1 to baking the oats and steeping them with the specialty grains, but I think a distinction needs to be made here between "partial mash" and "steeping specialty grains." They are sometimes used interchangeably, but I believe they are not the same process.

In general, specialty grains such as Crystal/Caramel malt have had their starches "pre-converted" into sugars through the malting process (the interior of the grain has been kilned while still wet, thereby "crystalized" into complex sugars), whereas darker roasted malts such as Chocolate and Black Patent have been dried and roasted to the point where virtually all of the enzymes involved in normal mashing are dead, what's left are the intense "roasted" or "burnt" flavors we desire from them. When we include these grains in making beer, we aim to extract "flavor" or "mouthfeel" from them (in the case of oats), not convert starches into sugars. Therefore, all that's really needed to be done with these malts is to "steep" them in hot water for a length of time as if we were making tea or coffee, extracting their flavor.

The process of "mashing" means "steeping" grain in hot water for a long enough period of time so that the diastatic enzymes in the grain are activated and have time to convert the starches also present in the grain into sugars (thereby making them accessible to the yeast when we ferment). This is the point of including all that "base malt" such as normal 2-row or Pilsener malt. This grain has been "malted" long enough to stop the germinating process (which unlocks the starches for conversion), but not so long as to kill the enzymes that convert this starch into sugar. It forms the "meat" of the beer, whereas the specialty grains are like spices added on top to create different flavors, colors, etc.

On the other hand, the only difference between "all grain" brewing and "partial mash" brewing is that in partial mash you're substituting "part" of the base malt grain for malt extract (which is basically just "pre-mashed" and concentrated). The main reason you'd do this is if you don't have enough space in your mash tun to fit all of the grain and water needed to do an "all grain" mash. Of course, in both all grain and partial mash, we are also "mashing" the specialty grains, but it's important to note that what the specialty grains contribute to the finished beer while being "mashed" along with a portion of your base grains (partial mash) will be about the same as if we just "steeped" the specialty grains by themselves, and used extract for all of the base malt.

Case in point, if you look at Jamil Zainasheff's Oatmeal Stout recipe in "Brewing Classic Styles", he first recommends "steeping" the oats with the specialty grains (1 lb of oats for a 6 gallon batch), while using all extract for the base malt. He then provides a "partial mash" option where we decrease the extract by 1.4 lbs and add 2 lbs of 2-row base malt in with the specialty grains and oats (thereby making an actual "mash"). He then provides an "all grain" option where you substitute base malt grain for all of the extract, but the mashing process will remain about the same (there will just be more of it).

With reference to this distinction, the question of whether oats need to be "steeped" or "mashed" is somewhat debatable, but if you plan on "steeping" them, I'd definitely recommend baking them in a 300º oven for a while until they give off a nice aroma. This will help bring out more of their flavor.

Hope this helps you figure out what to do. The only time I've actually used oats was in a "Brew In A Bag" (BIAB) all-grain batch, where you add all your water at once, making a very thin mash, which negated the "gummy" oats sparging problem.
+Wil Wheaton I am a BJCP certified judge and brewer. Brewing a "Partial" covers a wide range of brewing. It lies somewhere between simple extract brewing where no grain is used, to all grain where only grains are used. This is why you find such a huge variety of advice. Right now you are pretty much brewing an extract and adding steeping grains and oats to impart some complexity not present in a basic extract. You are not mashing, this is a different process that will be your next step on your way to all grain. And yes you will eventually go there, but also don't be in a rush. Keep it Simple, be able to reproduce what you did, so you can learn and improve. Put your oats in with the steeping grains and see what happens, it will add some nutty notes.
You're using the oats to impart flavor, not fermentable sugars (which is what the 2-row would be for). Put them in with the rest of the grains during your steep. If it's not oat-y enough for you at the end, adjust the recipe and try again.
Sorry +Aaron Ingold, flavors come from sugars. As numerous have mentioned in this thread, it's best to mash oats. Otherwise you're just loading up the beer with unconverted starches that will kill its shelf life.
Put them in with the steeping grains, and either use a grain bag or rice hulls. mmmmmm - oatmeal stout!
Wil and others, what software (if any) do you use for brewing? I'd like to get back into brewing, but would like to try my hand at writing my own recipes. That, and I'm a nerd. Software is required for everything.
Beersmith or Beertools. (Or ProMash if you wanna go old school.)
The last time my friend and I brewed an oatmeal stout we steeped the oats with the specialty grains and it turned out delicious, but the oatmeal flavor was VERY subtle. I'd imagine if you used the partial mash method you'd wind up with a stronger flavor but it would be delicious either way IMO
I use It is very nice for storing your recipes online for easy access from the smartphone or any computer. Plus if you have friends who brew its great for input from them and seeing what they're up to.
Wil, it sounds like the plan you've got is your current best course of action. I tried to dig a little bit and find a rough estimation of how much 2 Row to use, but couldn't come up with anything concrete, so you may want to "Trial and Error" it on batches that can easily be tossed should they fail.

On a side note, glad you came to/enjoyed D*C. Hopefully, next time I'll actually have the time to meet/hang out/talk brewing with you. Volunteering is satisfying, don't get me wrong, but sometimes you miss out on being able to see and do...

Blog/post about how the batch turns out and what you did. I'm curious to know.
Plenty good advice already, so I'm just going to recommend that you keep track of everything in a beer log; ingredients, timing, temp, mood, what music you're listening to, etc.
HEy +Wil Wheaton -- I typically place one pound of oats into the wort during the initial phase (when you have the grains in there). This helps smooth the wort and gives it the silky consistency common in oatmeal stout. I will sparge the oats along with the malts as well.
After one week of fermenting, I transfer the beer into a second fermenter to filter out most of the sediment and I put more (anywhere from half to a full pound) of oats into the secondary fermenter allowing it to steep for another week. This one gives it the actual flavour and finish of an oatmeal stout. It's at this time where I will sometimes add Isenglas if I think the beer is still too cloudy. But typically for clarity, I use Irish Moss during the boil.
I love these threads, they allow me to expand my "Homebrew" Circle.

That said, I haven't started yet. Still collecting equipment. Hopefully your experience and questions will help me when I start. Good luck, and happy brewing!
Like others have suggested, when I made an oatmeal stout with extract, I steeped them in a grain bag with the specialty grains. It turned out well.
I have nothing to add that hasn't already been said. But, I'm sitting here next to 5 empty corney kegs that haven't been filled in 3 years. I think it's time to get back to it.
Brad L.
i asked a friend who is a brewing professional about your question and he replied:

Avoid quick oats as they contain wheat flower which may burn in the oven and leave a cloudy look and taste (unless you filter the beer). Old fashioned oats are best, but watch for burning and toast lightly since they're mainly for body and head retention anyway. 1lb is a lot, I'd go with 0.5lb as in this recipe for Sam smith's oatmeal stout
At 1lb I'd be worried the beer would become too thick and less fun to drink.
Steeping the oats with the adjunct grains in a separate pot should be fine. After about 30 mins at approximately 150F, remove the "tea bag" and filter out any impurities by pouring the wort back over the grains in another pot. Then pour the clarified wort into your stockpot and boil with your extract.
I really wish that Andrew had been able to do his security escort shift with you - he'd brewed a Wheat beer in your honor and had some to give to you - it was the Wil Wheaton Wheat beer. He was really bummed that he had to go handle other security stuff instead of escort you around. I had some of it - it was delish.
I'm sure this joke is very old among brewers but I swear I saw the words "Head Retention" in the comments and now I can't stop giggling. 
We've done the mash with instant oats with success in some experiments at our microbrewery.
God I love G+ -- This kind of feedback is awesome.
I still think we should give up on those new fangled mashes and hops and go back to making mead!
Your resource should be for no BS.
Throw them in with the steep, you don't need to mash oats in this instance
I like your idea of toasting them sounds like it would give it a great taste. as for when to add them I would think later as they are going to suck up all your hard work if not. You think?
I always mash my oats, but I don't see why steeping wouldn't work.
I did a partial mash Oatmeal Stout some time ago and I mashed the oats with the grains.
According to a brewer friend of mine, "During the boil. The proteins add volume and body to the wort."
Read your ...essay? blurb?...anywho, that thing you wrote on 'Rookie' today about HS. Loved it!
I have a question for the brewers. I don't know how to use G+ to ask it except here!

I opened a packet of liquid WYeast two weeks ago, used 1/3 of it and put the other 2/3 in a Pyrex dish with plastic wrap over the top in the 'fridge. There is a pile of trub on the bottom. It's been at 34˚F for those 2 weeks. Can I use the rest of it in a new batch?
+Michael Koppelman Create a simple syrup (sugar and water) and add it to the yeast at room temp. Give it some time. If it starts to eat the sugar, you should be able to use the rest.
"So I was thinking that I'd use the basic stout recipe I have, and I'd toast a pound of quick oats in the oven first, then steep them with the specialty grains when they were all toasty and golden and good."

Seems like a good idea.
Hate to keep hijacking this thread (!) but I have another issue - I checked my new batch and the good news is I see bubbles, the bad news is there are also a few mold spots on the floating foam (argg!). This is from the last few hours, it was just starting to bubble a little earlier today, no mold that I noticed..

I'm guessing it's now a lost cause, but I spooned out the mold spots and added a couple ounces of Vodka to raise the alcohol level..
Should I just dump it and start over, or is there any chance of a rescue?
I like to experiment and do the simplest thing first. That way I can tell if the more complicated methods actually add any benefit.

I just use extract (the normal amount) and add a heaping handful of quaker oats (regular) to a 10gal (double batch) boil. It works great and the beer has a wonderful mouth feel.
I would recommend mashing the oats, not just steeping them. Use 1 pound of base malt for each pound of oats. You might as well add the other grains you were planning on steeping at the same time. Keep them around 152ish for 60 minutes, and you'll be all set!

The grain has a potential of 37 points per pound per gallon. If you have around 60% efficiency (which is reasonable,) you will get around 22 points per gallon.

Liquid malt extract also is around 37 points per pound per gallon, but with no efficiency to worry about. So you're adding 22 PPG, you need to take out 22 PPG extract. 22/37 = around .6.

So reduce your liquid extract by .6 pounds.
Ditto on with the mash grains. All partial mash recipes I've seen have steeping at the same time as the grains.
In all-grain brewing, we mash the oats, as you need the enzyme content of the mash to actually get the starches and proteins out of the oats.

I'm sure you could steep oats and get SOMETHING from it, but I'd go with a mini-mash, as has been suggested.

Advice: use flaked oats. They're pre-gelatinized. I'd stay away from "Instant Oats," as they usually have added stuff besides just oats. I think "Quick Oats" are the same as flaked oats, but I don't quite recall.

Either way, don't use raw/steel-cut oats. You will wind up with some sticky, sticky wort.
You can steep quick oats. Go with that. 
On the last extract kit I used, I toasted the oats for about an hour and then steeped them along with the other specialties for about ~30min @150ish. YMMV but mine seemed to turn out pretty good.
Btw, I just had a great idea on what to call beer you make (unless someone already thought of it and I'm just slow): Wheaton('s) Wheaten.
I rolled them right in with two row when I did my partial stout. I think I used 1 pound of oates and about 4 pounds of 2 row, but honestly I don't think there really is a "rule" on how much you should use. Mess around and see what you like. They did ad significant body and flavor to the stout in a good way.
+annie mcfarlane This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our maker and glory to his bounty by learning about... BEER.

Personal favorite beer quote, though yours is definitely giving it a run for its money :)
Will, where are you getting your supplies from btw. I just finished up a Imperial IPA (I call it the HOP BOMB) and am cleaning and prepping as we speak to start my Mead (Melomel to be exact) but am always looking for good suppliers. Good brewing sir!
If your'e going to use quick oats, I'd recommend just putting them in with the steeping grains. In my experience, leaving them in too long can leave a grittiness from the fiber in the oats that doesn't translate well to the smoothness of a nice stout. Granted, I'm no expert; I've learned a fair amount of what I know through trial and error, so I could be wrong.
Wil, if you have gone through all the comments, by now your brew will already be vintage :)
"I'm making an oatmeal stout for Jaime Paglia"

... What? O.O
I always put mine in with the specialty grains.
I put them in with specialty grains as well, in the end it doesn't matter too much though
umm i think Wil should start a home brewers forum, we home brewers and home brewer wanabe's would be flocking to it!
I think its awesome that Wil is a homebrewer. I never would have known about this where it not for these google+ posts
If you're doing a partial mash, you should go ahead and mash them. Steeping them is just going to give you a bunch of unconverted starch in the beer (not appropriate for this style). I think Nathaniel above hit it on the head in terms of corrections of volume and fermentables.
Yeah they need to be added to the mash in order for everything to break down properly and give you the desired effect.
I did one a while ago. I had them in the speciality grain steep. It turned out well for me.
Specialty Grains time, yes, but I'd keep them in for a while. Since you're not sparging (which is an advanced technique that requires more stuff from the homebrew store...and also having superhot water over your head), I'd leave the oatmeal in there longer than the rest of teh grains.
I just used a pound of flaked oats, and steeped them in with the other specialty grains.
Wil, I have nothing to add being new to homebrewing myself, but I've only done an extract (and was observer on a full grain) so would be interested in your notes. A guy I would recomend to watch on UTubes is Craigtube, I find his videos pretty helpful!
Definitely with the steeping grains.
Steeping the oatmeal with the specialty grains draws out a little bit of "sludge" that can give the beer a slightly creamier, thicker texture. There's no reason you should have to mash the oats if you're getting your fermentable sugars from extract.
I generally like to put the oats in with the Steeping grains. But here is the thing, you can ask 10 homebrewers a question and get 14 different answers back. The best thing to do is experiment. I like to add the oats with the steeping grains because that allows for the easiest clean up for me.
I haven't gotten that far with my homebrewing. I am still trying to figure out when to dry hops.
sounds good. I always add brown sugar/molasses too.
Your plan sounds about right to me. I have only done toasted oats in a stout once, but that was how I did it. Toasted, steeped, then sparged and removed before the full boil.
Hi Wil, the only experience I have is from brewing an oatmeal stout from a local brew store beer kit (one of my first brews). I didn't toast the oats, but some clone recipes call for that step (8 oz. flakes oats in 300°F for 60 min. turning ever 15 min). I steeped it with the specialty grains, no grain bag, but the oatmeal absorbed too much of the steeping water. I'm going to change it to 1.5 gallons up from 1 gallon for the 2.5 lbs. of specialty grains and oats. I don't use grain bags as I feel like there is more flavor letting the grain(s) have greater surface area exposed during the steep. I'd also advise sparging after with 1 gallon to get the extra goodness out of the lot.

The spent grains and oats will make your house smell amazing, but they taste rather nasty so I wouldn't recommend keeping it around for breakfast :-P. 
Dude, all I can add, if it hasn't already been mentioned, is to use a grain bag for the oats, otherwise, don't add them until towards the end, lest you take the risk of inflicting a stuck sparge on yourself. Nasty indeed. Good luck.
Hmm. Someone else may've said this already, I'm too lazy to read through the comments. But is it bad that when I read "homebrewers", my first thought was "people who make house rules or systems with which to roleplay"?
It looks like a lot of people have already suggested this - but I'll confirm the suggestion of steeping the oats in with the specialty grains. And hmm, I'm due to start a new batch... maybe it's time to try something along the lines of Ranger Creek's OPA.
Can we start a 22oz exchange club?
Add the oats to the steeping grains. However, instead of toasting quick oats go to your brew supply shop and get flaked oats.
Steep them.

By mashing them, you create a mess and a lot more work. In exchange, you get a little more alcohol. If you're a commercial brewery making beer in mass and want to save some money, you could mash the oats and cut the grain a little. But for homebrewing, steep the oats, use more grain, spend twenty cents more but save a lot of work. Mashing oats is harder than mashing barley, and won't change the flavor significantly.
Wil: All I can do is tell you what I have done. I have steeped the Oats during the warm up stage (bringing the water slowly to the boil stage) and then pulling it out as the boil starts. For me this has made a rich dark brew that has stood up to the power of a 4 cell Mag Light with fresh batteries. The taste has been complex and has stood up to raising or lowering of Alcohol Content. I have tried mashing it but my limited experience has shown that it gums up the sparging (I may not be doing it right)

Also I use actual Quakers Oats and that seems to work fine. Although I have treid Oatmeal Stouts that have used Pin-Head (Steel Cut0 oats that had been lightly milled and it tasted great.
I wan't to share something the guy who sold me my brew supplies did. He didn't give me the exact recipe but he dried out Habenero peppers and put them in about the same way you're talking about putting in the oats. That was a really interesting beer because the spice was cool while you drank but had a slight burn on the back of your throat at the finish. Most interesting beer I've ever tried.
This whole post is really making me want an oatmeal stout. 
Now, I would have mashed the oatmeal with the 2-row (2:1 or 3:1 malted barley:oatmeal) because I'm not sure the unfermentable oatmeal extract would be nice in the beer. But if other people have made good oatmeal stout without doing this, then you may as well try it that way.
Seems we've all forgotten the most important thing to remember when you're stressing about brewing: "Relax. Don't worry. Have a homebrew!"
The evidence at ClyoTron's sanity hearing was damning.
So, you've already gotten a ton of comments, figured I'd throw my hat in.
"So I was thinking that I'd use the basic stout recipe I have, and I'd toast a pound of quick oats in the oven first, then steep them with the specialty grains when they were all toasty and golden and good."

That's basically what I would do with my old partial mash recipe for an oatmeal stout. If you're using a muslin bag for the grains it's a cakewalk. Put the grains + toasted oats in to your water which I figure would be around 153? Stir them up, and let them steep an hour, add in your extract and to the wort boil. It's really easy.

Where you'll run into a challenge is if you ever make the leap to all grains, then you have to rest the oats before creating a quaker sludge.

Hey Will,

If you are ever in the Detroit area, you have to check out Dragonmead, excellent brewery. They have won many awards. Well worth a visit
Even though Wil's question has been thoroughly answered many times over. It is still beneficial for the other homebrewers to post a comment and let the rest of us know you're out there.

My Beer circle jumped to over 100 in the span of a day. Thanks +Wil Wheaton
Yay! A post on which I am an actual expert! (though I must give some Props +David Mata there, because he's pretty much dead on... the one thing I would add is MAKE SURE you put your oats (2 row is not needed for an extract + whole grain mix) in a VERY LOOSE cheesecloth bag. -Otherwise removing them with a spaghetti strainer or Chinese wok ladle or whatever, will be very labor intensive and you will loose much flavor goodness out of your batch. Think of making 'Wort Tea' with the cheesecloth bag...

The best results I ever had (20+ years backporch experience) is 'lightly toast' your malt. -Do not ever go for 'heavy toast or chocolate malt' in your personal oven (you will never get the smell out. Ever. AND it probably won't give the flavor you want.) when the wort is ready. pull up the cloth and tie so it's out of the wort and let it drain. Instead of turning the burner off, continue to 'simmer' on minimum heat (maybe 120 F, 3-5 secs touch with finger before it's too hot to keep in) the wort for about another 15-20 minutes. While your letting it cool pour the wort over the grains (that are tied off in the cheesecloth to pull as much flavor out as you can.

The simmering reduces the wort a bit, this allows you to add a some boiling water over the grains to pullout the last bits of flavor (yes, it will make a difference, especially in light beers). The water added should equal the water removed by the final simmer. (maybe 2-4 cups). This Maximizes the flavor you will get out of your grains and help make your batch much more unique.

Note: when using whole grains don't be afraid to use extra (or better yet 2 different varieties) of clarifies, whole grain batches tend to be cloudier than regular batches....

Hope this helps! (and when are we going to get a paper DnD game going already.... I need to sling some dice....)
When doing an extract, I always do a small bit of grain in a full on mash - maybe only a pound or two, but I feel that it adds enormously to the end result. The nice thing is you can do it in a saucepan instead of a full on setup. When it's time to sparge the mash, just dump them into a strainer with small holes and lined with cheesecloth (or a screen strainer is even better). And hold it over the kettle and pour the hot water from the kettle over them.

This does dirty a saucepan, but I like this method a little better since I feel I have more control. That said, I truly find nothing wrong with making a cheesecloth bag and suspending that in the kettle.

Either way, be sure the oats go in with the steeped grains. This will give the starches plenty of time to gelatinize and release flavor and add to mouthfeel.
Careful with them thar oats... too much, or too soon in the mash and you'll make glue. :) Best time is when the mash is at peak enzyme activity. Enough of the complex starches will still sail through to give it that oatmeal body. I've had better results with steel cut oats than with rolled oats, but have used both. Cheers, and good brewing!
Oh... I see I need to RTFP before replying! If you're not going all grain, I'd be inclined to say "don't do it", at least not in traditional amounts. Otherwise, not much more than a pinch, and it doesn't matter too much when in the boil it goes in. Later any oatmeal residue will help fine the yeast when it settles out, which is helpful! Take care.
Yup, props to +Scott madison definitely on point with the filtering process. I use a muslin grain bag, which has a flat bottom as opposed to a cheese cloth. The flat bottom makes it a little easier to hold the grains, and reduces chances of the bag tearing or breaking down when you're hanging it with 5+ pounds of weight in it.

I would mention though, when I did partial mashes, I would float the grains in about 3.5-4 gallons of water heated to the holding temp, then I'd removing the grains after dipping them a few times to pull out the extra flavor. I found that worked well, because your kettle is almost full up, and since there is so much water, it's easy to pull more sugars into the solution through agitation. Don't go overboard with the filtering of water through it, as you do run the risk of eventually pulling astringent flavors into the wort if you do it too much. (I never did find out what "too much" was though.)

Also, I'd suggest a hard, rolling boil once all your wort is ready to go. Not so much a simmer. The hops need a hard boil to pull their flavorings, and the wort needs to caramelize and solidify those flavors some.

Last thing: I've also found a small addition of gypsum when using oats helped bring up a bready flavor, but that was using SF Tap water, straight from Hetch Hetchy. Not sure what the water profile is for you, your local brew shop should be able to point you in the right direction on that.
Definitely around the same time as the steeping grains but you may want to separate the oats into their own steeping bag for more control as they will expand. Good luck!
I put them in withthe steeping grains, and have great results with the resulting brew.
What can I say that 204 others haven't? In with the steeping grains is the way I do it with good results. Nope, that was the same. RDWHAHB.
I really am trying to get into homebrewing myself. Any suggestions on whats good? Whats your favorite recipe.I have very little.
Not sure how to post to the other homebrewers out there, but has anyone else heard of the Cicerone program? Its a specialty course on being a beer server and

just wondering if anyone has taken the course and was it worth it?
When doing an Oatmeal Stout from all grain, I put the oats in the mash. Using extract, I would steep them with the other grains you have.
Any time I have done an all grain, run all of my grain through my mill, like a chef passing all his dry ingredients through a sifter. Then I mash the entire grain bill together. It has worked for me so far, but I haven't experimented with stouts yet... I say that you go ahead and toast the oats, but make sure you don't burn them.

Really, this is the best part about homebrewing: Experimenting. Good luck.
Steep with specialty grains. I don't know if there's a scientific reason to do it that way, but it always just seemed easier to mess with all the grains at once when you're doing a partial mash. And it keeps messing with the so-easy-to-spill grains to early in the process, when you probably aren't drunk yet ;)

Frankly, that's my favorite part of the process because it smells the best, so adding more oatiness to the smell is wunderbar!
+Wil Wheaton Darrin is correct, Jamil Oatmeal Stout= best home brew I ever tasted.
+Will Park Way to post in the wrong forum and storm off in a huff, so glad you didn't act like every other crybaby on the planet. While your at it, call him Wesley Crusher and have a pity party. I notice you posted here in the first place, meaning you saw his feed in here at some point. Your new update to your profile, courtesy of me. "I want to publicly insult random actors and will throw a temper tantrum if anyone objects." Double standard much?
Or am I being obtuse.
I've had great success just putting in my oats with the regular grains for your mash but if you do toasted oat you may want to put them in the. Just follow the usual recipe. Or ask your local brew shop they'll be honest (but probably just say it doesn't matter).
You can get a bit of oat character from just steeping the oats with whatever specialty grain you have. There used to be a liquid Malt Extract that had diastatic enzymes in it that would get you much better yield if you put the extract in then steeped the oats, but I haven't seen it in quite some time. Your best bet is to take a malt with some Diastatic power, two row or 6 row or even Munich or Vienna and mash that with. If you get the ratio right, you'll get the best possible yield from your oats - for 6 row, it'd be 60% Barley to 40% oats, with the others being less powerful (more barely, less oats).
Sorry that I cannot read all of the responses so far, but I can assure you that generally speaking one does not want unconverted starches in one's beer. It is true that lots of people make extract based oatmeal stouts without converting the oats via a mash, but doing so is potentially dangerous to the beer since it will make it much more difficult to clear (not so much of an issue in a stout mind you), and the starch could provide food for beer spoiling organisms. You want to do a "mini-mash" with an equal amount of 2 row - or slightly more 2 row (or 6 row for that matter, which has more diastatic power). How much to then reduce your extract really depends on your efficiency but for every pound of grain ( oats plus malt ) take away 1/2 lb of extract. This assumes a fairly low efficiency.
If you have a look at Europe it is also not a nice situation. It is the same here, too. The rich get richer and poor poorer.
I think the main issue is that the government does not represent the people anymore.
I checked with some home brewing friends, their recommendation "I would add the oats with the grain when you are steeping it. "
I'm a mead making man, myself. So, I don't really know how to answer you. If you ever want to start making mead, though, look me up!
Oats need to be mashed with 2row to get the correct enzymes to pull all the sugar out of the oats. Steeping might work but not as well
Ah, nothing beats an Oatmeal Stout, good choice!
The best commercial Oatmeal Stout in the world is Carl Strauss, but they only have it in March. It's like drinking a loaf of the Bread of the Gods.
If you prefer dark beer, come to Texas and try Zeigenbock. Smooth, not too hoppy, just a great drinking experience.
I've never done an Oatmeal Stout. Maybe now is the time.
I do recommend an IPA with plenty of hop.

Edit- Just read your earlier post. I recommend adding some Sauvin to your IPA.
I'd put them in with the steeping grains but that's just me.
You need the two row for enzymatic conversion. 1x or 1.5x (to be safe) should be enough to convert the oats.
Actually I have done both of these suggestions: Steeped, and Mini-Mashed with two row. Both works well, the difference is the mashed will come out with a slightly higher gravity from the conversion and will probably have a crisper finish because of the extra fermentables. The mouthfeel should be similar with regards to the "oily" feel the oatmeal proteins give it.
If you're doing an extract batch, the extract should provide all the fermentables - steeping the oats as a flavor grain should contribute to the flavor and mouthfeel without much process overhead. I'd steep em to keep things simple.
Homebrew is great, but I'm really only commenting on how awesome it is that Brad Fellows' avatar is Capt. Gloval!
This only cements my need to start up some homebrew. Although some friends did try an experiment not long ago that turned out...well...just damned good. You get a container that can be sealed tightly, add vodka, sugar, and the fruit of you choice. I would only go about a cup on the sugar, but as for the fruit...the more, the better. My friend did strawberries. After about a week worth of time in the container (or longer, which may give a slightly stronger flavor), we opened it up, drained the berries out with a strainer, and put the new strawberry vodka into it's own container. It was outstanding. So, if you are into taking unsolicited advice concerning flavoring your alcohol, give it a shot!
I've never done an extract/partial mash with oatmeal, but here are my two cents. (See, also didn't read the 200 some odd other posts. Lazy, that's me.)

It depends on the type of oats you use. In most cases you should be fine using a form of 'quick oats' (Quaker or the like) in with your steeping grains. If you're using steel cut, or the non-quick oat varieties, you can boil the oats on their own, then add them to the steeping grains.

I have made my own beer. It is fun. I will do it again. Please add me.
Please add me to your homebrewing circle. Great posts.
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