What is an Oyster Stout?
April 11th, 2021
Yes you read it right. It is possible to add oysters to a beer. But why? Let’s start from the beginning. We have to go back as far as the 1800’s. At that time, brewers had already figured out that oyster shells contain a significant amount of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). The impact of CaCO3 on the brewing process is already well documented and is particularly important in dark beer like stout where it can counteract the effect of specialty malt acidity. Oyster also help to clarify the beer. At the beginning of the 1900’s, England’ folks used to eat oyster with their well known dark colored beer. But it was only in 1929 that someone in New-Zealand had the idea to add oyster meat to beer.
The 2015 Beer Judge Contest Program has few details about Oyster stout, but give one example of oyster stout in the sweet stout category (16A). If you don’t like seafoods, do not worry. Oyster shell and meat will not bring oyster flavor to your beer. It gives your beer a sweet taste and a light oceanic flavor like taste. Shells also accentuate some bitter flavor found in beer. Add whole oysters to get a more complex flavor and only the shell for more subtle flavor. You can add them to the mash or during whirlpool (which have the advantage to cook it and prevent early spoilage). You can also add them during second fermentation for a more brighter flavor.
Why not trying it out for your next batch? But be sure not give it to someone with food allergies!
- Oyster Stout (online consultation 2021/03/17)
- https://www.bjcp.org/docs/2015_Guidelines_Beer.pdf (2021/03/17)
- https://beerandbrewing.com/special-ingredient-brewing-with-oysters-oatmeal-oyster-stout-recipe/ (online consultation 2021/03/17)
- https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/how-to-brew/oyster-stout-tricks-brewing-mollusks/ (online consultation 2021/03/17)