Ask Mr. Wizard

Can oats in homebrew lower my cholestrol?


Moses Denny • Roanoke, Virginia asks,

I have for years been breakfasting with oatmeal to lower my LDL cholesterol and to lower my risk of colon cancer by increasing my fiber intake. According to my doctor’s office, one needs 5 to 10 grams of soluble fiber a day to lower cholesterol 5%, and I pretty much get that most days. I like oatmeal and, of course, have tried it in my beer. In fact I use a lot of it — close to three-fifths of the grist in my oatmeal pale and brown ales is Avena sativa (oats). I have been able to avoid stuck mashes by using 6-row pale malt for the base. Also, and more importantly, on the advice of Stephan Galente in his BYO article “Oatmeal Stout” from October 1997, I employ a 110–120 ˚F (43–49 °C) beta-glucanase rest before converting starch at 150–160 °F (66–71 °C).

Since lowering my cholesterol is a good thing to do, can I do it with oat beer? With the mash schedule I described, am I brewing beer that has soluble fiber surviving to the bottle? Is the silky texture of my beer due to soluble fiber? Would I even like a beer that has a maximized amount of soluble fiber in it?

  I’ve been writing this column for 12 years now and am always surprised by the creativity of homebrewers, especially when it comes to redefining the daily role of beer in one’s
Response by Ashton Lewis.