I've been putting together the following oatmeal stout recipe, going for a kind of jam-on-nearly-burnt-toast sort of flavor:

  • 8lb Maris Otter
  • 2lb Flaked Oats
  • 1lb Caramel 120L
  • 1lb Special B
  • 1lb Roasted Barley
  • 1oz East Kent Golding @ 60m
  • WLP002 English Ale

My concern is that since I'm including 3 pounds of fairly heavily kilned malts/barley that I might end up with an distracting level of bitterness. Most recipes I've seen close-ish to this use lower lovibond caramel malts and/or less roasted barley. That said, some also use black barley, so I'm kind of at a loss for whether people just love burnt-tasting stouts or if I'm just over-estimating how much ends up in the beer.

Is this recipe liable to end up being overly bitter/burnt-tasting? If so, what would be the best things to tweak to reduce that?

2 Answers 2


I don't really view the C120 or the Special B as being roasted malts that would contribute significant bitterness issues. So one pound of Roasted Barley seems spot on and not an issue as far as bitterness is concerned. I have added more than 2lbs of RB, BP and chocolate in combination and not worried about bitterness.

I would be concerned about using the C120 and special B at 2lbs total. They are basically the same style malt and are pretty strong together. I'd be worried about too much raisin burnt fruit character that the beer would seem oxidized before its really got any age on it. I don't think those two malts play well together. But to each his own. You should try it and comment back to the post.

  • Thanks! That makes a lot of sense. I was originally considering less Special B, possibly with some Munich and/or chocolate malt. I was thinking the two might complement each other but I could see how it might come out kind of stale/oxidized tasting as well. I'll have to think about it some more and figure out what makes the most sense for what I'm going for.
    – thesquaregroot
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 11:37

Your bitter from grains will be mainly from the black barley but wouldn't be noticeable imo because of the residual sweetness from the 120 and SB.

It is a lot of dark grains. Keep in mind the PH plunge in the mash from the roasted grains.

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