What Happens When Adding Coconut To Beer?
Surprisingly, adding coconut to beer doesn’t spoil the drink at all. Instead, adding toasted or normal coconuts to your beer makes the drink’s flavor more earthy, nutty, and it helps in cutting down the oil needed in the drink (which usually cuts down the taste of beer).
It is important to note that adding coconut to your beer does not impact the final alcohol content. It is fine to simply roast a little coconut in your oven and throw it in with your secondary-fermentation beer.
Probably the most common way that I have seen is to add coconut, toasted, and flakes into your secondary fermenting step. You can also add coconut shavings to the Mash, allowing the coconut flavors to be infused early on in the fermentation process. You could replace the coconut flakes with fresh coconut in your beer, but you would lose a bit of coconut flavors.
If you are adding fresh coconut in your beer, you are going to get quite a bit more oils in your batch, but the flavors will be sweeter and more tropical. You can add coconut to the beer a couple of different ways, a couple of different times in the brewing process, depending on the results you are looking for. The taste in the beer is mild, so you need to use an optimal amount of coconut in order to give a robust coconutty taste in your beer.
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Adding roasted coconut also cuts back on oil, which may result in the lower flavors and mouthfeel of the beer. Coconut extract is likely adulterated with coconut flavorings, which may decrease the quality of flavors and textures in the beer with coconut added.
|When to add coconut to beer?||Amount of coconut used for maximum flavor|
|The best way is to add toasted coconut shreds to beer at the end of fermentation.||Use 14 to 12 pounds per gallon to get a good hint of coconut in the nose and tongue.|
|Or adding coconut shavings to the Mash, allowing the coconut flavors to be infused early on in the fermentation process.||In order to maximize flavor, Prairie Dog add 10-pound blocks of tightly packed crushed coconut in their fermented beer tanks.|
Coconut extracts may be used; they are quite strong and must be used very carefully, since you do not want to overwhelm all of the other flavors and ingredients in the brew. Coconut extracts are not a good choice for beer because they contain no carbohydrates, so cannot give any source of energy for the yeast. Coconut is an ingredient gaining in popularity for beer, especially due to the success of some beers such as Konas Coconut Porter.
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There are few ingredients that we use in our beer making that we have as much love-hate relationship with as coconut. I knew that I wanted to use real coconut in this beer, if at all possible, so the flavorings and the liquor can go right out of the way. I initially brewed with coconut during the boil, but it just killed my head retention, and did not really add any additional coconut flavors into my beer as I had hoped.
Then, one of our friends pointed out that when we were chilling before we packaged, like we do with nearly all our beers, that coconut oil would be solidifying at the top of the beer (since oils are lighter than water) and that what we perceived to be infected beer was simply coconut oil solidified. While some excess oil would be coming off of the coconut, I did find a oily film at the top of the fermenter once the coconut was added. The roasting will volatize out some oil from the coconut, this is important as Prairie Dog wants to keep very little oil around once it goes into this distinctive brown ale (oil kills head retention on the beer, it can get stale, and makes cleaning up more difficult).
Once our coconut is placed into our cleaned tanks, Prairie Dog disinfects exposed surfaces again and seals them, cleans them from oxygen (with CO2), and uses a combination of gravity and CO2 pressure to propel the fermented beer in the tanks with the coconut. While that distinctive brown ale is bubbling, we are making our final-boiling addition, the Cashmere, with big, 10-pound blocks of tightly packed crushed coconut (purchased from our Food Logistics Company) like you see above. Of course, around 8-10 of these big ones will eventually be floating atop that signature brown ale, so Prairie Dog needs to stir both the beer and our coconut together in order to maximize flavor extract and saturation.
If adding in the secondary, do I need to use fresh coconut shavings, or do I have to roast it to remove some oil, which I read could impact head in the NB Honey Brown Ale. In this method, a brewer would roast the coconut flakes in an oven until golden brown, drop into a muslin bag, and soak in the secondary fermentation vessel until the beer tastes as the brewer wants it.
The best way to use coconut in brewing seems to be by adding toasted pieces to the beer near the end of fermentation, or adding the toasted pieces to the beer near the end of fermentation as a dry hops addition. For darker beers, I love the nuttiness the toasted coconut adds, but for lighter beers, I like the non-toasted approach. You may be surprised at this, but there are several varieties to choose from to add coconut-like flavors to your beer, beyond the existing tropical, juicy hops.
While some are using coconut to round out a darker flavor profile in a toasty, chocolaty porter or stout, others are setting out to utilize coconut to showcase versatility in a few of their recipes. The difference is, when using the extract, you are using just alcohol with extract flavors, and not an actual coconut packet. I decided to brew the batch using desiccated coconut, mainly because it was easier to work with, so I did not need to work through the entire bag of fresh coconut (probably one of the trickiest flavors to make beer with). Desiccated coconut is pretty much anywhere you go, and it is inexpensive, so anyone can make this beer.
The desiccated form gives your brew a stronger coconut flavor and aroma, though because of the size of the particles, desiccated can lead to filtering issues, and has been known to become mushy in the kettle, which causes all sorts of problems because of certain oils being released. Coconut water contains lots of sugars and minerals, and if you are using too much of it in the brew, it could make your beer into a sweet mess. We had one period of time when each time we made coconut beers, a batch ended up getting infected, which led to A LOT of beer being dumped, and discarded plastic fermenters. The chips are usually easier to work with & usable throughout the fermentation process, dropping these into the fermenter is an awesome way to get that nice coconut flavor into the beer, however, these are typically more expensive and they have a lower surface to volume ratio than the desiccated varieties.
How much coconut do you add to the beer?
The best way to use coconut appears to be to add toasted shreds to the wort at the end of the boil or to beer at the end of fermentation, similar to adding dry hops. Use 14 to 12 pounds per gallon to get a good hint of coconut in the nose and tongue (0.1 to 0.23 kg per 4 L).
What adds sweetness to beer?
Increase the amount of caramel malt you use because they are great for sweetening beer. Darker caramel malts provide notes of raisins and burned sugar, whilst Caramel 20L and 40L have a malty/caramel/toffee flavor. It’s best to use caramel malts sparingly to prevent the beer from becoming too sweet.
Does more foam mean better beer?
Additionally, foam alters how the beer tastes and feels in our mouths. The beer has a creamy texture and a feeling of fullness on the tongue thanks to the head’s solidity. Particularly with hefeweizens, farmhouse ales, and other wheat beers, you will notice this. Oat and rye-based beers frequently have outstanding foam heads.