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Thread: Oyster Stout

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
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    Oyster Stout

    We're considering doing our first oyster stout for a local fundraiser. Does anyone have advice on how to use the oysters? Ration, shells vs. meat, boil time, etc.? Also, is there a certain style of stout that works better with the oysters? English, American, Sweet (oatmeal) stout?

    Thanks, Mike

  2. #2
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    Contact Yards BC in Philly and ask them. They are the only ones doing this that I know of.
    Brewmaster, Minocqua Brewing Company
    tbriggs@minocquabrewingcompany.com
    "Your results may vary"

  3. #3
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    Thumbs up Yum!

    Quote Originally Posted by baer19d View Post
    We're considering doing our first oyster stout for a local fundraiser. Does anyone have advice on how to use the oysters? Ration, shells vs. meat, boil time, etc.? Also, is there a certain style of stout that works better with the oysters? English, American, Sweet (oatmeal) stout?

    Thanks, Mike
    So I've produced an Oyster Stout before. It was delicious, and once I was able to get customers over being a little squicked out by the fact that there were real oysters in the beer, it did get a devoted fan base.

    My advice is to say away from anything too big or too sweet. The salt from the oysters will add to the brine of the beer, and in my opinion, that goes best with a drier, medium-alcohol stout. I'd also advice you to keep it from getting too tannic from a lot of dark roasted malt. You'll want the flavor, but consider using Debittered/Dehusked CaraFa malt as a replacement for most of your standard Roasted Barley or Black malt. Also: don't use any lactose! Milk and fish isn't a combo, and slimy when it comes to fish is also a no-no. It is going to be hard enough to sell a full pint to your average beer drinker, don't reinforce their worst expectations. And a note on hops: Keep them clean and Euro-centric in character. The spicy, grassy, noble flavors play well with stouts in general, but they are, in my opinion, the best accompaniment and accentuator or the oyster taste. Hallertau M.F. has worked well for me, as has Tettnanger. I have also used Willamette (both as bittering and as flavor) to good effect. You don't want anything that is going to get in the way of the subtle flavors you're trying to bring out.

    As far as the oysters themselves...

    I didn't use a ton of oysters. Looking back at my notes, for 4bbl (brewing twice to fit the fermenter) each batch I added 18 whole oysters (shucked, including meat, shells, and liquor, tied into a muslin bag on a string) to the boil kettle from the start (I do a 90 minute boil). This will leach a lot of the salt and minerals from the shells. I chose West Coast Oysters, as they tend to be saltier. Then, I added a quarter gallon of pre-shucked oyster meat (no shells) into the whirlpool to get the brine on the nose of the beer. That came from experimentation over multiple batches, and I found it to be the right amount of saline and oyster taste, while still leaving a drinkable beer that wasn't in your face with oysters.

    Good luck, and let me know how it turns out. I was just thinking I should try a batch of Oyster Stout at the place I'm at now, and was happy to see this thread.

  4. #4
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    Jun 2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by blonberg View Post
    So I've produced an Oyster Stout before. It was delicious, and once I was able to get customers over being a little squicked out by the fact that there were real oysters in the beer, it did get a devoted fan base.

    My advice is to say away from anything too big or too sweet. The salt from the oysters will add to the brine of the beer, and in my opinion, that goes best with a drier, medium-alcohol stout. I'd also advice you to keep it from getting too tannic from a lot of dark roasted malt. You'll want the flavor, but consider using Debittered/Dehusked CaraFa malt as a replacement for most of your standard Roasted Barley or Black malt. Also: don't use any lactose! Milk and fish isn't a combo, and slimy when it comes to fish is also a no-no. It is going to be hard enough to sell a full pint to your average beer drinker, don't reinforce their worst expectations. And a note on hops: Keep them clean and Euro-centric in character. The spicy, grassy, noble flavors play well with stouts in general, but they are, in my opinion, the best accompaniment and accentuator or the oyster taste. Hallertau M.F. has worked well for me, as has Tettnanger. I have also used Willamette (both as bittering and as flavor) to good effect. You don't want anything that is going to get in the way of the subtle flavors you're trying to bring out.

    As far as the oysters themselves...

    I didn't use a ton of oysters. Looking back at my notes, for 4bbl (brewing twice to fit the fermenter) each batch I added 18 whole oysters (shucked, including meat, shells, and liquor, tied into a muslin bag on a string) to the boil kettle from the start (I do a 90 minute boil). This will leach a lot of the salt and minerals from the shells. I chose West Coast Oysters, as they tend to be saltier. Then, I added a quarter gallon of pre-shucked oyster meat (no shells) into the whirlpool to get the brine on the nose of the beer. That came from experimentation over multiple batches, and I found it to be the right amount of saline and oyster taste, while still leaving a drinkable beer that wasn't in your face with oysters.

    Good luck, and let me know how it turns out. I was just thinking I should try a batch of Oyster Stout at the place I'm at now, and was happy to see this thread.
    Thanks for the advice. I'll post the results of what we end up doing.

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