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Homebrewed Coconut Porter - Someplace you gotta go

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The Watering Hole near Shinjuku Station in Tokyo, Japan is Ichiri Fujiura and his wife’s dream turned into a reality – It’s one of Tokyo’s best craft beer pubs. It has been many years in the making and offers many beers born from inspiration. American homebrewers who can count their membership years in decades might recall that Ichiri won top honors at the American Homebrewers Association’s 1998 National Homebrewers Competition as Homebrewer of the Year. His 1998 accomplishment is noteworthy because his winning beer was a toasted coconut porter. It wowed the best of show judges and all who were at that year’s Portland, Oregon gathering. Remarkably it was the first time anyone had heard of the idea of combining toasted coconut with beer. Ichiri was a pioneer in 1998 and continues that tradition today.

Going Coco Nuts

If you like chocolate and coconut and haven’t been – you gotta go there. Coconut porter was a bombshell in 1998. The ensuing creativity has infected both American homebrewers and craft brewers. In 2012 the Hawaiian craft brewery Maui Brewery won the Washington Post’s annual March “Beer Madness” taste tournament with their subtly tasting Coconut Porter.

Unusual sounding? Yes. Does it taste great. Simply put, yes indeed. And it’s easy to make. The secrets lie with your own lightly toasted unsweetened coconut flakes and going easy on the hops. Once you’ve been you’ll wanna go back again and again. The roasted malts add a rich and cocoa-like character, balanced with a moderate amount of alcohol and a moderate amount of coconut character. Ramp the coconut amount up or down, depending on your preference. Great drinkability so that when one just won’t do, another follows. Have at it and enjoy your own.

Someplace You Gotta Go Coconut Porter

• Target Original gravity 1.054 (13.3 B)

• Target extraction efficiency: 78%

• Approximate Final gravity 1.016 (4 B)

• IBU's - about 30

• Approximate color:40+ SRM (80+ EBC)

• Alcohol: 5% by volume

All Grain Recipe for 6 gallons (23 l)

  • 7 lbs. (3.2 kg) Marris Otter 2-row English malt
  • 2 lbs. (0.9 kg) Munich type malt
  • 1 lb. (454 g) English crystal (15 Lovibond)
  • ½ lb. (257 g) aromatic type malt
  • ½ lb. (257 g) English chocolate malt
  • ½ lb. (257 g) Gambrinus honey malt
  • ½ lb. (257 g) debittered black malt
  • 3 oz. (84 g) English black malt
  • ½ lb. (227 g) golden colored home-toasted unsweetened dried coconut flakes (300 degrees F (149 C) for 10 to 15 minutes. Add to primary.
  • ¾ oz. (21 g) English Fuggles or Golding hops: 4 HBU (112 MBU) – 60 minute boiling
  • ½ oz. (14 g) English Challenger hops: 3 HBU (84 MBU) – 60 minute boiling
  • 1 oz. (28 g) English Kent Golding hops – 20 minute flavor
  • 1 oz. (28 g) Santiam hops – 5 minute flavor/aroma
  • ½ oz (14 g) Santiam hop pellets – dry hopping aroma
  • ¼ tsp. (1 g) Irish moss powder
  • * White Labs Cry Havoc yeast or Irish Ale Yeast
  • ¾ c. (175 ml) corn sugar (dextrose) or 1¼ c. (300 ml) dried malt extract (for bottling); or 1/3 c. (80 ml) corn sugar (dextrose) for kegging

A step infusion mash is employed to mash the grains. Add 12 quarts (11.5 l) of 143-degree F (61.5 C) water to the crushed grain, stir, stabilize and hold the temperature at 132 degrees F (53 C) for 30 minutes. Add 6 quarts (6 l) of boiling water and add heat to bring temperature up to 155 degrees F (68 C) and hold for about 30 minutes. Then raise temperature to 167 degrees F (75 C), lauter and sparge with 4.5 gallons (13.5 l) of 170 degree F (77 C) water. Collect about 6.5 gallons (25 l) of runoff. Add 60-minute hops and bring to a full and vigorous boil.

The total boil time will be 60 minutes. When 20 minutes remain add the 20-minute hops. When 10 minutes remain add the Irish moss. When 5 minute remains add the 5-minute hops. After a total wort boil of 60 minutes turn off the heat and place the pot (with cover on) in a running cold-water bath for 45 minutes. Continue to chill in the immersion or use other methods to chill your wort. Then strain and sparge the wort into a sanitized fermenter. Bring the total volume to 6 gallons (21 l) with additional cold water if necessary. Aerate the wort very well. Add the toasted coconut flakes

Pitch the yeast when temperature of wort is about 70 degrees F (21 C). Ferment at about 70 degrees F (21 C) for about one week or when fermentation shows signs of calm and stopping. Rack from your primary to a secondary and add the hop pellets for dry hopping. If you have the capability “cellar” the beer at about 55 degrees F (12.5 C) for about one week.

Prime with sugar and bottle or keg when complete.

Malt Extract Recipe for 6 gallons (23 l)

  • 8 lbs. (3.6 kg) amber malt extract syrup or 6.8 lbs (3.1 kg) dried amber malt extract
  • 1 lb. (454 g) English crystal (15 Lovibond)
  • ½ lb. (257 g) English chocolate malt
  • ½ lb. (257 g) debittered black malt
  • 3 oz. (84 g) English black malt
  • ½ lb. (227 g) golden colored home-toasted unsweetened dried coconut flakes (300 degrees F (149 C) for 10 to 15 minutes. Add to primary.
  • 1 ¼ oz. (35 g) English Fuggles or Golding hops 5.4% alpha: 7 HBU (190 MBU) – 60 minute boiling
  • ½ oz. (14 g) English Challenger hops 6% alpha: 3 HBU (84 MBU) – 60 minute boiling
  • 1 oz. (28 g) English Kent Golding hops – 20 minute flavor
  • 1 oz. (28 g) Santiam hops – 5 minute flavor/aroma
  • ½ oz (14 g) Santiam hop pellets – dry hopping aroma
  • ¼ tsp. (1 g) Irish moss powder
  • * White Labs Cry Havoc yeast or Irish Ale Yeast
  • ¾ c. (175 ml) corn sugar (dextrose) or 1¼ c. (300 ml) dried malt extract (for bottling); or 1/3 c. (80 ml) corn sugar (dextrose) for kegging

Place crushed grains in 2 gallons (7.6 l) of 150 degrees F (68 C) water and let steep for 30 minutes. Then strain out (and rinse with 3 quarts (3 l) hot water) and discard the crushed grains reserving the approximately 2.5 gallons (9.5 l) of liquid to which you will now add malt extract and 60 minute hops. Bring to a boil.

The total boil time will be 60 minutes. When 20 minutes remain add the 20-minute hops. When 10 minutes remain add Irish moss. When 5 minute remains add the 5-minute hops. After total wort boil of 60 minutes turn off the heat.

Immerse the covered pot of wort in a cold water bath and let sit for 15-30 minutes or the time it takes to have a couple of homebrews.

Then strain out and sparge hops and direct the hot wort into a sanitized fermenter to which 2.5 gallons (9.5 l) of cold water has been added. If necessary add additional cold water to achieve a 6 gallon (23 l) batch size. Aerate the wort very well. Add the toasted coconut flakes

Pitch the yeast when temperature of wort is about 70 degrees F (21 C). Ferment at about 70 degrees F (21 C) for about one week or when fermentation shows signs of calm and stopping. Rack from your primary to a secondary and add the hop pellets for dry hopping. If you have the capability “cellar” the beer at about 55 degrees F (12.5 C) for about one week.

Prime with sugar and bottle or keg when complete.

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