I can’t say definitely that any particular beer inspired this homebrew. However, this is one coconut beer in particular is absolutely fantastic: Oskar Blue Brewery “Death By Coconut.” It’s a very sweet, very smooth and all coconut.
For a dark beer, we used dark malt. The details are covered in the recipe section.
For coconut, we used unsweetened coconut flakes. For this particular batch, we selected a premium brand, which advertised the lack of sulfides. (Sulfur is commonly used as a preservative – in both food and beer. Some brewers even opine that sulfur added as a preservative in beer is what causes hangovers.) Whole coconut flakes, as opposed to a more finely minced bits of coconut, may impart less flavor to the ultimate brew because of less surface area.
100% cacao bar was used to impart the chocolate flavor. One disadvantage of this is that much of the cacao was left in the boil pot – never getting into the primary fermenter.
Both add-ins were put in at the end of the boil. Putting the add-ins into the boil gets rid of any contamination issues. An alternative could be putting the add-ins into the primary – but that risks contamination. The add-ins could be sanitized themselves, but is a cumbersome process. For example, I once soaked fresh mint leaves in iodaphor before adding them to the secondary fermenter.
I missed the boat on the OG for this recipe. However, it was a good learning experience. The lesson: pour some of the wort into your device for measuring original gravity first – and then into the fermentation vessel. If you go in the opposite order, you’ll be left with wort full of hops and/or other add-ins. In the case of this recipe, I was left with a batch of chocolate sludge.
The hops are immediately apparent. For a beer that’s centered around coconut and chocolate, the hops seem out of place. Six weeks of fermentation will change the balance of flavors. A lot of the cacao did not make it out of the boiling pot and into the primary. This is a function of using processed cacao and not nibs. Using nibs would be ideal – but are not always available (as was the case w/ this brew).
What happened!? On bottling day, the beer was all coconut. Two weeks, it was a regular chocolate stout. The coconut flavor died over the course of two weeks. What a bummer!
We’ve already created a second recipe. This second attempt will use twice the coconut. Maybe this change will convince the coconut to stick around. As a further alternative, there’s always coconut extract.