Homebrewing a Northern Brewer Oatmeal Stout

I’ve been wanting to brew an Oatmeal Stout for a while now and so when the opportunity to do so finally came around I jumped at the opportunity… unfortunately other things may have ruined it for me 🙁

Recipe Source: Northern Brewer

Beer Specifications

Beer Name:Oatmeal Stout
Beer Style:Oatmeal Stout
Recipe Type:All Grain
Pre-Boil Volume:6 gallons / 22.71 litres
Batch Size:5 gallons / 18.93 litres
Estimated SRM:28°
Estimated IBU:22
Estimated OG:1.042
Estimated FG:1.011
Estimated ABV:3.8%

Grain Bill/Fermentables

6.5Maris Otter
1Flaked Oats
0.5English Roasted Barley
0.5English Chocolate Malt
0.5English Dark Crystal


160 minGlacier


1Safale US-04

Fermentation Schedule

21 daysPrimary
14 daysBottle Conditioning


Mash Temperature:153°F / 67.2°C
Mash Time:60 min
Boil Duration:60 min

As you can see above the recipe that I chose came from Northern Brewer and was highly rated so I figured it was a good choice. The only issue I faced was that I wanted to brew this in the dead of winter and in Canada that means snow. Snow means I can’t (easily) run water to/from my immersion chiller outside and so instead I went online looking for a suitable vessel to try out no-chill brewing. I bought a no-chill cube off of Amazon and, once it arrived, went to work on my brew day.

This is a pretty simple recipe and so I had no problems cranking out a successful brew day. Once the boil was complete I transferred the wort into the no-chill cube (pre-sanitized because you can’t be too careful!) and let it sit for about 24 hours before it was cool enough to transfer to my fermenter and pitch the yeast. The Original Gravity (OG) was measured to be 1.048.

Fast forward four weeks and I finally got around to bottling the beer. The Final Gravity (FG) of the beer came out to be 1.012 for an ABV of 4.73%. Add in another two weeks for bottle conditioning at 2.1 CO2 volumes and it was time to test the final result… and boy was I disappointed.

I’m almost positive the no-chill cube ruined my beer. It has a distinct… almost sharp chemical/plastic smell that absolutely kills it for me. I’m not even sure if this beer is truly safe to drink or if it leached plastic but I also don’t think it really matters because I just can’t see myself drinking it and that’s so disappointing! Especially after looking forward to making this beer for so long.

Tasting Notes

SmellStarts off well but then there is a sharp chemical smell that I just can’t escape. I blame the no-chill cube…
AppearanceProperly dark beer with a head that is a nice shade of dark brown. You can see in the picture where I poured vigorously just how large the head can grow.
TasteIt’s really hard to judge this one because it’s so tainted by the smell. I’m pretty sure it has a relatively smooth and creamy mouthfeel with a bit of a roasty taste but honest I don’t think I can give it a fair review as is.
YieldThis brew cost $29.36 in ingredients to make and yielded 48x355ml bottles ($0.61/bottle)

I think I’m going to have to re-brew this without the no-chill cube and see how it’s really meant to taste but for now I just need to figure out what I’m going to do with 4.5G of this stuff. 🙁

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