Notes on Oats

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Notes on Oats

Postby Opdog » Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:29 pm

I’m putting this here as a reminder for the next time I think that this is a good idea.

Grain Bill:
33 lbs rolled oats
15 gallons water

Procedure:
Place oats in fermenter
Boil water to vigorous rolling boil in keg boiler
Dump water into fermenter
Add HTL at 190F
Stir some more until it loosens up (It was still very thick and gooey)
Let mash cool naturally
Add GL at 150F
Stir
Stir some more (It never really thinned out the way a corn or barley mash will)
Let mash cool naturally
Pitch DADY at 90F (I didn't write down how much. I did a starter in a 2-cup measuring cup)
Stir

Despite the enzymes, the mash remained very thick. I did not take an OG on the mash as I wasn’t going to get an accurate reading due to the viscous nature of the mash. I pitched my yeast in the late afternoon. By the next morning, the mash formed a huge cap in the barrel. I did not punch it down, but probably should have as I believe that I lost significant product to this and created an environment that was conducive to other mold and bacteria as the cap dried out. The ferment was not super active in a frothing sense. It did chug along nicely though. I could hear the familiar popping and fizzing sound if I cracked the lid on the fermenter.

It took me a couple of days to get back to it after the popping stopped. I left it in the fermenter with the lid closed. When I opened the fermenter to rack the mash into a carboy to clear, the smell was gut-wrenchingly bad. It was an unholy marriage of a cholera tent and the morning after at a fraternity house. I was wholly unprepared for this as I had to leave town that night for work.

I changed my clothes into some things that I didn’t mind throwing away was done and began the process of scooping out the cap. I didn’t vomit, but came very close. I managed to salvage 10 gallons of snot-like liquid that I racked into 2 5-gallon buckets. I put sealed lids on the buckets and let them sit there for several days in the hope that the nasty would make way for something more pleasant. The smell permeated my clothes and skin. It didn’t come off very well in the shower either.

After about 3 days my garage became bearable again. The smell from the buckets decreased dramatically. I then racked into glass carboys to allow it to clear some more. It still looked like 10 gallons of snot, but was much less viscous. There was a lot of trub in this one.

I had to go out of town for several days for work. The trub compacted nicely while I was gone. I ran the cleared mash this morning. It was a pungent run. A combination of pineapple and something else less pleasant. I can’t put my finger on the other smell. It wasn’t vomit, but it wasn’t a good smell either.

I pulled off about a little over 1.6 liters of product on my flute (including heads & tails but not fores). I didn’t check the ABV before I left, but I ran it low and slow so most of it is probably between 90%-92%. I had one jar where the stream picked up and the temp at the dephlag crept up. I suspect that one is around 75%. If all else fails, I’ll toss this run in with my HBB heads and make vodka out of it. If it’s REALLY bad then I have more lighter fluid.

I'll add more after it has aired out for a day or so. It was hard to get a sense of this run. The smell was weird. I seem to have gotten good heads and tails compression, but the other smells made it hard to really tell how the hearts were coming out. My mashing process has been working pretty well. This one threw me for a loop.
Last edited by Opdog on Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Notes on Oats

Postby greggn » Tue Sep 19, 2017 3:49 pm

> Add HTL at 190F (I didn't write down how much. I did a starter in a 2-cup measuring cup)


What's your theory for creating an enzyme "starter" ?
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Re: Notes on Oats

Postby bilgriss » Tue Sep 19, 2017 3:53 pm

It was an unholy marriage of a cholera tent and the morning after at a fraternity house.

I suspect I could start a whole new thread on things that fit this description.

If you DO decide to more or less go down this route again in the future, I'd strongly suggest figuring out how to fit in a beta-glucan rest, roughly 20 minutes in the 120-104F range. That would really cut down on the sliminess and goo a lot. Not sure this is the best way to get there, but I'd probably start with a relatively low amount of near boiling water, just enough to make a thick mess and give it a few minutes to hydrate. Then add water to bring the temp down to 125. Add about 15% malted barley to the oats. Now your beta-glucan rest. After 20 or so minutes, add hot water to bring up to about 148, and give it an hour or so. You can probably improve greatly on my description with an online mash calculator to get temps and volumes right.

Not all oats, but I think the end product would be more manageable! Sorry for your frustration.
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Re: Notes on Oats

Postby Opdog » Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:03 pm

greggn wrote:> Add HTL at 190F (I didn't write down how much. I did a starter in a 2-cup measuring cup)


What's your theory for creating an enzyme "starter" ?


I pasted that in the wrong place. That was supposed to go on the yeast line.


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Re: Notes on Oats

Postby HDNB » Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:28 pm

SEBflo-TL is a liquid enzyme preparation produced by fermentation of a selected, non-GMO strain of Trichoderma reesei. This enzyme is a food-grade, Kosher certified, non-synthetic and organic certifiable product. SEBflo-TL is an endo-glucanase enzyme, which catalyzes the breakdown of beta-glucans from barley, malt, cereal grains, gummy fruit like olives as well as other plant materials. SEBflo-TL catalyzes the breakdown of beta-glucans (1,4-beta-,1,3-beta-glucans) to simple sugars. It promotes liquefaction, reduces viscosity, and improves solid/liquid separation, lautering and filtration. SEBflo-TL is essentially free of protease activity.

still_stirrin wrote:Beta glucans are the "glue" in rye and to a lessor degree, oats and wheat. You reduce them first in your mash profile. So, I would mash rye initially separately, with temperatures rising up from the bottom. The glucan temperature rest is best between 98*-113*F. If you mash the rye (oats and/or wheat) separately, you can step the temperature within this range and add these enzymes, or let them form by themselves (requires a 20-30 minute rest). Then step up to your beta amylase rest at 140*-148*F and add your barley malt.

i have tried sebflo on the way up, 110-120* with less noticable results.
i have found that Sebflo on the way down, starting at mash temperature and GL addition significantly reduces viscosity, picks up a few points of gravity and finishes drier. FWIW, YMMV.
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Re: Notes on Oats

Postby Opdog » Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:48 pm

Billgriss and HDNB - your points are well taken and appreciated. I think that I approached this from the wrong perspective from the beginning. I should have thought about it more like rye, less like corn. If there is a next time, I will definitely do one or the other of your suggestions.

I gave the distillate a sniff test this evening and a hint of the nasty seems to have carried over. I'm still going to give it another day to air and see if it helps.
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Re: Notes on Oats

Postby Opdog » Wed Sep 20, 2017 6:22 pm

I went back and cut my run tonight. I ended up with a little less than a liter at just under 90% ABV. There was a very clear break for the tails and it smelled very strong. The heads were pretty small relative to my normal COB runs. The hearts were a tasted a little dry (?) and had a touch of the nasty in the finish. There is a mild and pleasant pineapple smell to them as well. I put them in a mason jar with a teflon lid that has three tiny holes in it. I'll let it sit for a few months and see how it ages. My initial plan was to do this as a vodka, but now I'm thinking that if it starts to mellow well, it might be tossing in some oak sticks. I'm out of oak and the place I usually get it from is on the other side of town, so it will have to sit for a while either way.
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Re: Notes on Oats

Postby thecroweater » Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:16 pm

Yep you got an infection as a direct result of it being to thick. Let me have a stab at the smell acrid burning tire put out with piss and vinegar, that's a butyric or other carboxylic compound caused by some nasty bacteria that give off some lovely smells varying from spew, cat shit through to skunk due to similar thiol compounds. Oats and particularly rolled oats are not really a one rest mash, really grist oat berries are far easier to work with and should finish smelling a bit like hay and oatmeal cookies. Punching the cap may have helped as air would have killed off the butyric fermentation but your description sounds almost like it was cap right through and beyond salvation without some modification. In hindsight you could have added water or perhaps sugared water for a sugar bump so as to not get to low of a yield. If you are planning another 100% rolled oat AG again for sure look at gluten rests and or enzymes specific for that, husked oat berries grist the same as you would barley is a dern site easier to deal with though and a lot cheaper.
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Re: Notes on Oats

Postby zapata » Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:32 pm

I've been interested in making an oat batch, for blending if nothing else, but then the puke and pineapple smells caught my attention. Puke being the classic butyric acid smell, and pineapple it's associated ester. I think you are right that the dry cap contributed, but it sparked my doing some research and found this lovely article, a lot of it jives here.
http://scottjanish.com/case-brewing-oats/
Specifically, there was about a 50% reduction in ethyl acetate and 45% less in acetic acid 3-methyl-butyl ester. (Ed:comparing oat beer to barley beer)

Well you said head cut was small, this makes sense.

Because husked and naked oats causes a marked reduction in nitrogenous compounds in mashes which results in higher pH values, making adjustments to your mash may be necessary when using a high percentage of oats.23 Both the Koch and Schnitzenbaumer studies found an increase in mash pH with malted and unmalted oats, which occurred more drastically with +30% oats in the mash.

Higher ph would certainly make the mash more susceptible to unwanted butyric bacteria. Most are inhibited below 5.2, I believe all are stopped dead at 4.0.
This sounds like a strong call for backset or other ph reduction in oat mashes, at least post mash, pre fermentation.

Of course beta glucan rests were also mentioned, as have been here. But then researching glucans lead to some evidence that the glucans themselves serve as butyic acid precursers. Such as this:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17522598
Dietary supplementation with beta-glucan enriched oat bran increases faecal concentration of carboxylic acids in healthy subjects.
The subjects were given 40 g beta-glucan enriched oat bran per day...
Oat bran increased the faecal concentration of carboxylic acids... The concentration of all main acids increased, except for lactic acid, which decreased

This:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1 ... 189.x/full
β-glucan behaves as a substrate, favoring production of SCFAs. Its oligosaccharides have been demonstrated to act as selective factors, favoring growth of some bacterial strains. The favorable effect on colon function is based partly on the enhanced production of microbial mass with good water retention properties, partly by the bulking effect of insoluble components of the fiber (Mälkki and others 2001).


And wikipedia had this to say:
Highly-fermentable fiber residues, such as those from resistant starch, oat bran, pectin, and guar are transformed by colonic bacteria into short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) including butyrate, producing more SCFA than less fermentable fibers such as celluloses.[23] One study found that resistant starch consistently produces more butyrate than other types of dietary fiber.[24] The production of SCFA from fibers in ruminant animals such as cattle is responsible for the butyrate content of milk and butter.[25]

So basically it seems both the fiber in oats, and the beta glucans in particular are a prime feedstock for butyric bacteria to produce butyric acid.

But would a beta glucan rest help prevent this? And the answer for sebflo at least is yes. Glucanase present in malt may or may not, it was not easy for me to find if a glucan rest with malt glucanase will lead all the way to simple sugars or just much smaller polymers. But sebflo CAN result in beta-glucans becoming simple fermentable sugars.

Basically, glucan rest and ph management would help. Heck, you might not have had an infection in the sense of a bug getting that isnt always there, you just might have created the perfect environment for it to thrive and maximize butyric production. Unless you love it. I bet the remaining butyric smell will esterize rather quickly in ageing, I bet a microwave round would do it almost instantly. Might even be a bit rummy. In fact, all this research had me thinking about doing this on purpose for a molasses oat rumskey!
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Re: Notes on Oats

Postby thecroweater » Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:39 am

You want to deliberately make butyric acid and putricene? :sick: pass.
I started doing single malt oat whiskey some 5 years ago now, I gave up using rolled oats gradually using less and less, I ended up deciding I was better off with none and then began to scale back oat adjunct. So I was doing single grain single malt and towards the end pretty much all malt oat whiskey. The difference between single and all malt were pretty subtle, the difference between rolled oats and oat berries even less, maybe the rolled felt a little more creamy but the taste was about the same. I never had a butyric infection but I never fermented it so thick. I did have some mashes start out like blasted porridge and no way could I do an iodine test. I had some malt get a touch lactic while steeping and I wasn't a massive fan
Here is a link to one of my mashing techniques, I only just realized I never fully wrote out my recipe and method here so what I have is in this thread with posts and updates in a dozen others like this.
Guess I will have to sit down some day post it all in one concise thread.
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=30759&hilit=Single+malt&start=30#p7038544
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Re: Notes on Oats

Postby Opdog » Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:01 am

Wow! Thanks for the advice Croweater. I did look at that thread before I started this little adventure, but it clearly didn't sink in the first time. :? Lesson learned. I always appreciate it when the experienced guys chime in with suggestions and their experience. I think I will try this one again in the spring when it will be easier for me to get more precise control of my temps on the down side.

Zapata - that is some great research! I learned a lot from Beta Glucan article and the Pubmed article. That said, I cannot in good concious recommend doing this on purpose anywhere near structures inhabited by humans. We are not exaggerating the awefulness of the smell in the least. This is the closest I have come to a divorce in a long time. Of course it didn't help that I left on a work trip in the middle and she was stuck at home with the smell for several days. The smell is no joke and it clings to everything. If you do decide to attempt an infection like this, make sure you are in a well ventilated space. It is truly horrible.
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Re: Notes on Oats

Postby zapata » Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:17 pm

Alright, perspective gained! Sounds a good bit worse than anybody's butyric dunder pit. If it turns out palatable at least it deserves a good name. Tears of Divorce? From Shit Springs the Flower?

Hey crow, do you check or manage ph at all? Use backset?
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Re: Notes on Oats

Postby thecroweater » Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:20 pm

For piggybacks yes for single malt absolutely not.
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Re: Notes on Oats

Postby Opdog » Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:30 pm

The way this is going, I'm thinking Puke Spring Eternal.
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