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A Brief History of Oatmeal Stout

After tracing the rise and fall of oatmeal stout, Ron Pattinson provides a recipe for Maclay’s 1966 version, in which oat malt makes up 33 percent of the grist.

Ron Pattinson Jan 31, 2016 - 6 min read

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Although oats were used in British brewing for hundreds of years, most notably in Scotland and Yorkshire, by the nineteenth century they had fallen out of favor—that is, until the 1890s, when oatmeal stout began to pop up in newspaper ads such as this one from the _Aberdeen Journal, _Saturday, January 27, 1894:

“OATMEAL STOUT (Rose’s) most nourishing and strengthening, strongly recommended for Invalids. See medical opinions. Brewed from Oatmeal, Malt, and Hops only.”

Rose and Wilson of Grimsby and Hull appear to have been the only ones to brew an oatmeal stout at this point. Then Maclay, a relatively small and obscure Scottish brewery, brought Oat Stout to a wider audience in 1896. Their innovation was to use oat malt instead of the oatmeal that Rose and Wilson had used. Maclay was certainly very upbeat about its new invention, modestly calling it “The beverage of the Century.” Their health claims were equally enthusiastic:

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