The Benefits of Brewing with Oats

Oat , also known as oatmeal beer, is a unique and flavorful brew that has gained popularity among beer enthusiasts. Oats, primarily used for their mouthfeel, add a distinct character to the beer, giving it a fuller body and a silky smooth texture. While oats are commonly used in dark beers such as stouts, they can also be incorporated into other beer styles to enhance the overall taste and mouthfeel.

One of the most well-known oat beers is the oatmeal , a British specialty that has found immense popularity in the United States. Oats are typically added in a proportion of about 10% to the grain bill of the stout, resulting in a sweeter and smoother flavor profile. The addition of oats lends a creamy and velvety texture to the beer, making it a delight to drink.

In terms of appearance, oat beers tend to have a deep brown to black color, often accompanied by a thick and creamy foam head. This visual appeal adds to the overall experience of enjoying an oat beer. The taste of oat beers can vary, but they often exhibit earthy, nutty, and grainy flavors. The sweetness from the malts used in the process may resemble notes of milk chocolate or creamed . Some oat beers may even have a subtle fruity taste, adding another layer of complexity to the flavor profile. It's important to note that oat beers are generally not overly , allowing the other flavors to shine through.

Aside from the sensory aspects, oat beers also offer certain brewing advantages. Beers high in oats tend to ferment slightly less than those brewed solely with barley. As a result, the finishing gravity of oat beers may be slightly higher. However, this can contribute to a smoother and more well-rounded flavor. Additionally, the use of oats in brewing has been found to reduce common off-flavors and improve the overall stability of the beer.

Oat beer is a fascinating and enjoyable style of beer that offers a unique sensory experience. With its fuller body, silky mouthfeel, and complex flavors, oat beers, particularly oatmeal stouts, have become a favorite among beer enthusiasts. Whether you're a fan of dark beers or looking to experiment with different styles, exploring the world of oat beers is sure to be a rewarding journey. Cheers!

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Can You Make Beer Out Of Oats?

It is possible to make beer out of oats. Oats can be used as an adjunct in the brewing process to add certain characteristics to the beer. While barley is the most commonly used grain in brewing beer, oats can be used as an alternative or in addition to barley to create different flavors and textures.

When using oats in beer production, they are typically added in the form of flaked oats. Flaked oats are processed by steaming and rolling the grains, which makes them easier to work with in brewing. The main reason for using oats in beer is to enhance the body and mouthfeel of the final product.

Here are some key points about brewing beer with oats:

1. Body and Mouthfeel: Oats contribute to a fuller body and a silky, smooth mouthfeel in beer. This is especially desirable in styles such as stouts, where a creamy texture is often desired. Oats can make the beer feel richer and more substantial.

2. Flavors: Oats can also impart a subtle sweetness to the beer, which can enhance the overall flavor profile. This sweetness is often more noticeable in stouts and can complement the roasted flavors.

3. Head Retention: Oats can improve the head retention of the beer, meaning that the foam on top of the beer will last longer. This can contribute to a more visually appealing beer and enhance the drinking experience.

4. Usage: Oats are typically used in small amounts, usually around 10% of the total grain bill. This proportion allows for the desired effects without overpowering the beer with oat flavors.

5. Process: When using oats in brewing, they need to be properly prepared to avoid any potential issues. Flaked oats should be cooked or mashed before adding them to the brewing process. This step helps to release the starches and enzymes in the oats, ensuring they can be properly fermented by the .

6. Styles: While oats are commonly used in stouts, they can also be used in other beer styles such as porters, brown ales, and even some Belgian beers. The specific style and desired characteristics will determine the amount of oats to use.

Oats can be used in beer brewing to add body, enhance mouthfeel, and contribute a subtle sweetness to the final product. They are most commonly used in stouts but can be incorporated into other beer styles as well. Proper preparation and usage are important to achieve the desired effects in the beer.

What Does Oat Beer Taste Like?

Oat beer, also known as oatmeal stout, has a distinct taste profile that is characterized by its rich and smooth flavors. Here are some details about the taste of oat beer:

1. Roasty and Malty: Oat beers have a deep, roasty flavor imparted by the roasted malt used in the brewing process. This gives the beer a slightly bitter and nutty taste, reminiscent of dark chocolate or toasted oats.

2. Creamy and Smooth: Oatmeal stouts are known for their velvety texture and creamy mouthfeel. The addition of oats during brewing adds a smoothness to the beer, making it feel almost silky on the palate.

3. Sweetness and Complexity: Oat beers often exhibit a subtle sweetness derived from the caramelized sugars in the malt. This sweetness can range from mild to moderate, adding depth and complexity to the overall flavor profile.

4. Coffee and Chocolate Notes: Oatmeal stouts can offer hints of coffee and chocolate flavors, which further enhance their richness. The roasted malt provides a coffee-like bitterness, while the sweet malts contribute to a milk chocolate or dark chocolate taste.

5. Balanced Bitterness: Oat beers are typically not overly bitter, as the focus is more on the malt flavors. However, they do have a moderate level of hop bitterness to provide a balanced taste. This bitterness helps to offset the sweetness and adds a subtle layer of complexity.

6. Fruity Undertones: Some oat beers may also exhibit fruity undertones, which can vary depending on the specific and yeast strains used in the brewing process. These fruity notes can range from subtle hints of berries or stone fruits to more pronounced citrus or tropical flavors.

Oat beers offer a rich and complex taste experience, combining elements of roasted malt, sweetness, creaminess, and balanced bitterness. The specific flavors can vary depending on the brewing techniques and ingredients used, but they generally provide a satisfying and enjoyable drinking experience.


Oat beer, particularly oatmeal stouts, offer a unique and enjoyable drinking experience. The addition of oats to the brewing process adds a fuller body and a silky mouthfeel, resulting in a beer that is smooth and velvety on the palate. The deep brown to black appearance, accompanied by a thick and creamy foam head, adds to the visual appeal of oat beers.

In terms of taste, oat beers can have earthy, nutty, and grainy flavors, with hints of sweetness from the malts that may resemble milk chocolate or creamed coffee. Some oat beer blends may even have a subtle fruity taste. What sets oat beers apart is their balanced flavor profile, as they tend not to be overly bitter.

Not only do oats contribute to the sensory experience of oat beers, but they also have some practical benefits for brewers. Beers high in oats may ferment slightly less than beers made solely from barley, resulting in slightly higher finishing gravities. This can contribute to a sweeter flavor in the final product. Additionally, the use of oats in brewing has been found to reduce common off flavors and improve beer stability.

Oat beers offer a unique and enjoyable drinking experience, with their smooth mouthfeel, balanced flavors, and potential benefits for brewers. Whether you're a fan of stouts or simply looking to try something new, oat beers are definitely worth exploring.

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Thomas Ashford

Thomas Ashford is a highly educated brewer with years of experience in the industry. He has a Bachelor Degree in Chemistry and a Master Degree in Brewing Science. He is also BJCP Certified Beer Judge. Tom has worked hard to become one of the most experienced brewers in the industry. He has experience monitoring brewhouse and cellaring operations, coordinating brewhouse projects, and optimizing brewery operations for maximum efficiency. He is also familiar mixology and an experienced sommelier. Tom is an expert organizer of beer festivals, wine tastings, and brewery tours.