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Nerdalicous Oatmeal, Coffee, Chocolate, Bacon Stout: The Taste Test!

My quest to make the ultimate nerd beer began on Nerd Approved back in May, and it concludes here on That’s Nerdalicious with the final taste test and recipe reveal. So is our Oatmeal, Coffee, Chocolate, Bacon Stout truly the alcoholic/caffeinated breakfast in a bottle that we all dream of?

It’s close—damn close.

After 4 weeks of conditioning in the bottle, the complex group of flavors blended nicely. On the nose I get a nice roasty coffee aroma with hints of chocolate, figs, raisins, caramel and a little meatyness.

The mouthfeel is as smooth as silk from the oats. It’s highly carbonated (although you wouldn’t know it from the picture above) with a fairly light consistency. My thought was that if you were to drink it in the morning, I didn’t want it to be insanely rich or thick and heavy.

The first thing to kick in is that hint of bacon meatiness. It hangs around throughout, but its most noticeable right off the bat. I get caramel, toffee, and roasted grains with a little bite of roasted coffee bitterness and chocolate on the finish.

All in all, this is definitely a beer I could wash down some pancakes and bacon with on a cold winter day. Unfortunately, it’s hot as balls here right now, so I’m not getting the full effect.

My recipe

Recipe Specifications
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Batch Size: 5.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.052 SG
Estimated FG: 1.013 SG
Estimated Color: 26.6 SRM
Estimated IBU: 36.7 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients:
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Amount Item
7 lbs 8.0 oz Pale Malt (2 Row) UK (3.0 SRM)
1 lbs Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM)
8.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (60.0 SRM)
8.0 oz Chocolate Malt (450.0 SRM)
2.9 oz Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM)
2.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (60 min)
1.00 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 min)
(To Taste) Bacon (Secondary)
20.00 oz Coffee (Bottling)
1 Pkgs Irish Ale (Wyeast Labs #1084 / a starter was used)

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body
Total Grain Weight: 9.68 lb
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60 min Mash In hold at 154.0 F
10 min Mash Out

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Notes:

Bacon was cooked at 350 °F on a cookie sheet for approx 20-25 minutes (or until crispy but not burned). The trick is to get rid of as much fat as humanly possible. Periodically, during the course of cooking, I would soak up the fat with paper towels.

The bacon was dry hopped in the secondary fermenter starting 5 days before bottling. The beer was tasted daily and bacon was added as needed. All in all, I used 3/4 of a pound (weight before cooking) of bacon in the beer.

I used a Colombian and chocolate-flavored coffee mix to (theoretically) bring a rich coffee and chocolate flavor to the brew without overpowering the bacon. Don’t use drip coffee for this—invest in a French press. It’s by far the best way to make coffee at home. And I would also use more grounds that you normally would in a typical brew.

What I would have done differently

When I did my daily bacon tastings, I felt that I had reached a point where the meatiness was substantial enough to be noticed but not so powerful that it would make you vomit. Conditioning mellowed the flavor out a bit, and I probably should have gone balls out with it.

When you make a darker beer with this much flavor, it seems to take an assload of bacon to really get a substantially meaty flavor. What I ended up with was more of a meaty essence, which suits me just fine. But if it’s hardcore bacon you’re after, chances are you will need more than you think.

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