Oat Man and The Sea


A happy accident led to what will be my last extract brew. While visiting Mr. MacLeod I noticed an Oberon box on top of his cupboards and asked if we could burn it. It was a holiday weekend. There was a fire. I'm an American. I refuse to elaborate further. Ever the gentleman he acquiesced and pulled down the box to find it much heavier than expected. Inside was a Bell's General Store extract recipe and all the ingredients. No longer brewing extract, he handed it into my loving arms.

3.3 pounds of light/pale LME and 1.5 pounds of light/pale DME were my base. Two pounds of pale malt, a pound of flaked oats, come Caramel, chocolate malt, and black malt rounded it out. If you're wanting to do all grain, just replace the LME and DME with an extra five pounds of pale malt and 1.5 pounds of Munich malt. The full recipe can be found HERE.

It's a solid enough recipe that led to a... not disappointing beer. It's a solid if not slightly underwhelming porter that finished at 4.85% abv. I'm assuming my original gravity was off (1.048 instead of the targeted 1.064) due to the low amount of extract in the recipe. If I were to do this one over again I'd hit it with another pound of DME, or just replace the DME altogether with another 3.3 pounds of LME. The downside of that being that it may finish slightly too boozy, but most certainly too syrupy.

Speaking of syrup, this was the recipe that broke the proverbial camel's back with extract brewing for me. A style I formerly defended for its shorter brew days and consistency has lost out to Brew In A Bag. BIAB not only allows for more control with exact grains, but completely eliminates the syrupy flavor I noticed in both Oat Man and Bunnicula's Brew. After being forced into all grain brewing in Korea due to lack of resources, I've found I actually enjoy it more. This has been especially true after trying extract again. I shied away from all grain in past in an attempt to save time, but BIAB is only about 5-6 hours from start to finish. That's pulling down the brew pot to putting it away again. My average extract time was 4-5 hours... so no real loss there.

More than time, perhaps the biggest reason I'm making the full time switch to BIAB is volume. Five gallons of brew is a bit too much for me and m'lady to get through. Even giving away the occasional six pack I found myself with a lot of backlogged beer. Drinking through five gallons of one style takes stamina, man. I was also using two full cases worth of bottles, which then required a much bigger collection of bottles as well. I was typically running with 5-6 de-labeled and polished cases of bottles... which... is a bit much to maintain and store.

Dropping down to the three gallon BIAB method means less bottles to de-label and sanitize, less of the same flavor to drink through, and most importantly, less money. My average extract brew was running somewhere between $60-$80, while my average BIAB recipe hovers around $30. The lower cost and lower volume has allowed me to brew more often and take quite a few more risks with what I'm brewing. Three gallons of a slightly screwed up habanero pepper porter is much easier to get through than five, so why not? Apricot wit? Don't mind if I do! The freedom to screw up trying something exciting goes a lot further when it's only three gallons and $30 you're pouring down the drain.

If you're still skeptical of BIAB, Oat Man and The Sea would be the perfect batch to give it a go on. It's a method I can't recommend highly enough. Should you have any lingering doubts, feel free to leave a comment below or talk it over at your local homebrew shop.

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Brew Day is a brewers collective with a different obsession every month. Each month the homebrewers involved will tackle a different style of beer by brewing a batch and getting their malt-stained hands on as many pints of the same style as possible. Each brewer will bring their own warped concept to their batch helping to create as many variations as there are brewers involved.

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