Wednesday 13 June 2012

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1909 Maclay's Oatmalt Stout

For once there's a specific reason why I've chosen to publish this recipe. It's because I've just been learning about this beer and am planning to write about it. Several times.

I've a feeling this is the original oat Stout. Maclay's certainly took out a patent on it. And went to great lengths to advertise it calling it "the beverage of the century". Very modest claim, that. When other breweries started brewing beers called "Oat Malt Stout" they got very upset. Not quite as bad as Bass, but then again, who was as litigious as Bass?

I suspect that's why there where plenty of beers called Oatmeal Stout. Getting around Maclay's patent. I'm now going to repeat something I've said several times before. The London Oatmeal Stouts I've seen in the brewing records only contained token amounts of oats. 1% or even less of the grist. And, as these beers were parti-gyled with other Porters and Stouts, effectively all of them were Oatmeal Stouts. Whitbread's London Stout and Oatmeal Stout were identical, save for the label. And oats made up lass than 0.5% of the grist.

It was a very long-running product for Maclay. The first advert for it I've found is from1897 and they were still brewing it in 1994. A very impressive run.

You'll see that there are some, well, unusual ingredients in this beer. Linseed oil and liquorice. Can't be bad for you. It says on the label "strongly recommended for invalids". Though ity does also say "brewed from oatmalt and hops" which isn't quite the whole truth. There's a whole load of other shit in there as well.

I'll be returning to this later, so for now that's me done and it's Kristen's turn . . . . . .

Kristen’s Version:

Notes: Here we go boys and girls. A definite oddity. This bastard pours like its crude oil. The oat malt is not a typo and, no, you can’t get the same character from plain oats. Find them. This one, really can’t be done by you extract guys, sorry. Its got so much oat malt in it, there is nothing that can compare. Minimash, sure. The linseed was very odd to me. I’ve seen it in a few beers but nothing like this. Very little of it was used too. The licorice, well I like a nice licorice flavor in my stouts. Not the crappy Allsorts-type but proper licorice. The hops were pretty old and there was a good deal of them. The Cluster seem to lend a harshness that can get through all the thickness. Nothing really escapes this beer, especially light. This is one you all should do if able.


Ed said...

Excellent, having seen the grists for oat meal stouts I'd thought it was all a load of bollocks so it's interesting to see it really existed.

zgoda said...

Thomas Fawcett makes oat malt. And Steinbach. These are the only 2 i know of.

zgoda said...

Jus linseed or linseed oil? Recipe calls for seeds, while Ron mentions oil.

Kristen England said...

The Fawcett stuff is the best IMO.

Anonymous said...

The trick with oat malt, is be careful not to mill it to fine. Just crack it and it will work well.

Ron Pattinson said...

Zgoda, my mistake. The recipe says linseed.

Kristen England said...

FYI - for those of you not in the know, linseed is flax seed. The stuff that looks like ticks in every 'healthy' tortilla chip.

As for the oat malt, I've never had a problem with it. I would suggest doing a beta-glucanase rest however most of the data you read online suggests 113F (45C) which puts you at the optimal ferulic acid rest. Something you don't want to do for these beers.

I prefer 104F (40C) for about 20-30min. Works very well in reducing the gumminess of the mash.

zgoda said...

Kristen, did your beer have any head? I'm asking because raw linseed is known to have very high content of fat, something of about 45%. And i am sure i saw in one shop ground linseed with fat content reduced to ~8%.

Jeff Renner said...

I was working with home malted oats in the late 90's, both for a recreation of a medieval ale and later oat malt stout. When Fawcett's became available in the US, I emailed them and got this advice in a 1999 email from James Fawcett:

"Oat malt laboratory worts are normally slightly hazy rather than clear. Oats are not normally low in protein and are quite difficult to modify from a protein viewpoint, which could well explain this. Our current stock gives values of 11.8 % total protein with an index of modification of 27.8%.

"As far as mash schedules are concerned we would suggest you ensure temperatures are between 63 degrees C and 68 degrees C during mashing in with a one hour minimum stand after mashing in a grist composed of 50% oat malt and 50% lager malt.

"You should aim at a liquor/grist ratio of between 2.5:1and 3:1.

"Oat malt needs very close mill settings to achieve an acceptable grist. For normal malts our standard mill setting is 62 thou top and 58 thou bottom- for oat malt we drastically reduce these settings to 48 thou top and 42 thou bottom. Certainly a point to watch to produce an optimal grist for mashing."

That's impressive customer service! I haven't used oat malt in about ten years.

Seb Brink said...

Is the liquorish the root stuff or brewers?
If the recipe is for brewers liquorish is the there a good sub?

Kristen England said...


I've had no head problems. there is so much oatmeal stout the bubbles dancy with 'oil spots'.


Most excellent. I've found the same when it comes to the mill settings and the fineness of the crush.

DG said...

Just a couple of things please, how do you use the linseed? Is it in with the mash or thrown in with the hops and is it crushed at all?

Also, I have in the past just thrown licorice in the fermenter - is the best method here?


Unknown said...

Was the original licorice Spanish juice? I made this with star anise. This beer is outstanding. I think it's the linseed that finishes so long.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say I made this a couple of months ago, bottled some straightaway, and racked 10L to some French oak chips, have bottled that now too. Both taste amazing! This is one helluva beer!

Brendan said...

i am brewing this beer soon, an I too have questions about the linseed: when should I add it? Should I crack it first?

Ron Pattinson said...


no idea when the linseed should be added. I would guess during the boil. It would seem a waste of time unless you crack the seeds first.

Brendan said...

Another question: how are you getting such a high final gravity? I've been running thi recipe through beer smith using the exact percentages, and while the OG is identical, the FG is 1.011. The ABV is coming out at 7%, which is a lot higher than your results.

Ron Pattinson said...


loads of Scottish beers have very high FG's. And no, I don't know how they did it.

Willie said...

Ron, I'm brewing this tomorrow, which is very exciting, and a few people have commented that the beer is plenty dark enough without adding the caramel. Is there anything in the logs to indicate the amount of caramel or a stated EBC/SRM? I'm just going to bung a load in.


Ron Pattinson said...


almost 5% of the grist was caramel.

Willie said...

Thanks Ron, that is a shit load,

Mr. Winberg said...

I put the linseed and licorice in at 15' left in the boil. A tiny bit of the licorice was undissolved so I'd recommend either smashing up the licorice a bit or adding it at 20-25'. No heading issues whatsoever carbonated to 1.7 vol. CO2

Mr. Winberg said...

Also, the calculations for color from the malt are incorrect. It's more in the 30's SRM, not 60 I just added 100 SRM worth of color and called it good.

Anonymous said...

Make this. It's seriously amazing. Unbelievably smooth. Raisins, prunes, pome fruit, licorice, milk chocolate, expresso in the nose. Viscous with dark cherry, coffee, treacle and a hint of burnt toast. Low vinous alcohol. Huge body, but finishes dry with lingering slickness and just a titch of hop bitterness.

Ron Pattinson said...


glad to hear the recipe worked out weel.

Ant said...

Question for Ron & Kristen:

At what point in the boil would you add the licorice root and linseed?

Great blog & recipes btw.

Ron Pattinson said...


I'd go start of boil for the liquoice, towards the end for the linseed.

Mr. Winberg said...

15 min for licorice and linseed. Not necessary to crack the flax seeds. Break the licorice up. Put it in a plastic bag and smash it up a bit. I used the Italian, rock hard stick licorice

Mr. Winberg said...

Also, the beer is a very different animal without the caramel. It’s almost 100mL of BruPaks Caramel in 4 gallons. It really needs the caramel, lads.

Russ said...

Where has everyone got the idea that caramel should be added? It's not in the ingredients list.

Russ said...

Oops. I see it!

Ant said...

I’ve come back to brew this again two years after my original post. My interpretation/changes were as follows:

First batch September 2017
a) Scottish pale malt & American 6 row > golden promise because I have not seen a specific Scottish malt for sale and I can’t buy American 6 row in the UK.
b) continental pale malt > Dingemans Belgian pale ale malt, because it seems the best fit.
c) oat malt > Thomas Fawcetts oat malt
d) amber malt > Thomas Fawcetts amber malt
e) black malt > Crisp black malt, added at the end of the mash because based on previous experience I was concerned the beer could become too acrid with such a high % in the grist.
e) invert no1 & cane sugar > Lyle’s golden syrup, because it’s a readily available partially inverted refiners syrup, the weights were combined.
f) Mashed at 69degC for 60min and used Mangrove Jack’s empire ale yeast to achieve a measured 1.024 FG despite Beersmith’s estimate of 1.019.
g) Raw liquorice root and linseed were shredded in a blender, added at the end of the boil and steeped at 80degC for 30min. This advice was from a gold medal winner.
h) No caramel added. I couldn't find information on what would have been used. Apparently modern caramel additives add colour but no flavour. With the amount of black malt the beer was going to be pitch black anyway.
i) mash ph 5.5, optimal for very dark beers
j) Bru’n Water target profile ‘black malty’. SO4/Cl ratio 0.7.

My tasting notes from the time say:
aroma dark smokey
initial roast
middle indescribably complex
End sweet dark sugar

The beer was kept for special occasions and got better with age, the last bottle finished recently.
The vintage has been remembered and I have been requested to brew it again for a friends birthday.

Second batch August 2018, further changes made
a) Scottish pale malt & American 6 row > Crisp Chevallier Heritage Malt
b) Hops unfortunately substituted because I couldn't obtain Cluster and ran out of EKG on brew day.

Its in the fermenter at time of writing.

I'd be very interested to hear what Kristen thinks of my interpretation...