(Here is the recipe for the Oatmeal Pale Ale)
Putting a twist on styles and getting to grips with different ingredients is what home brewing is all about. You can experiment as much as you desire and the payoff can be great, other times you may miss the mark. At the end of the day it doesn’t make too much difference as long as you enjoy the process and learn with each batch. After all there is no pressure to recoup expenses like a commercial brewery has to do.
This Oatmeal Pale Ale recipe has only a small twist on an otherwise pretty standard hoppy Pale Ale. You know there is a good chance it will be good even with a slightly different ingredient in the grain bill.
The whole idea behind the recipe was to turn the classic hoppy pale ale into something with a bit more texture and mouthfeel. Create a bit more viscosity and body in what can sometimes be a thin beer at lower ABV’s.
For the most part the recipe was a success. The beer is reminiscent of an American Wheat beer. There is only a small quantity of wheat in the recipe but the added body from the oats gives the sense of a refreshing summery wheat beer.
Let’s take a closer look.
Oatmeal Pale Ale Tasting
Look: The colour is straw blonde to golden with a definite haze. I mentioned in the recipe that I was pretty sure there would be a moderate haze. The head is thick and white and lasts the whole way through the beer. The added proteins obviously is enough to stop the fats from the oats destroying the head of the beer.
Smell: The first thing you smell is the citrus and fruit notes from the hops giving way to a graininess. I thought it was just going to be hops dominating but there is a definite balance between the two.
Taste: The taste is fresh and bright. The hops are present but do not dominate like they would in a lot of pale ales. The malt is honeyed and has a cereal or bready note. Hops are citrus and zingy with lemon and floral qualities.
The taste is refreshing and crisp the hops and malt balance each other nicely and don’t overpower each other.
Feel: The body of the beer is good, thicker than a usual pale ale without the high portions of oats or wheat. It’s not entirely what I was aiming for the beer is crisper and doesn’t really coat the mouth like an oatmeal stout would. That is not to say the beer is bad yet, it is just a little different to what I was expecting.
Overall: I like this beer. If I didn’t know there was Oats in it, would I be able to tell? Probably not. It has the body and refreshing qualities of a wheat beer. The hops are subdues slightly by the added body but shine enough to balance the beer towards the hoppy side.
Maybe this is just my perception but using oats in a pale beer doesn’t have quite the same effect as using them in a stout.
A stout is already richer in body and flavour to begin with. Using Oats to add body seems to strengthen the malt character, whilst dimming the hoppy character slightly.