Friday, May 15, 2009

Let's Do...Organic


I decided to try to add coconut to a beer after tasting a Trader Joe's "Almond in the Coconut" candy--delicious. It made sense to me to add it (coconut, not the candy) to a porter, and since I had a number of odds and ends of malt types lying around it was perfect to make a "kitchen sink" type porter. You know---everything-but-the-kitchen-sink goes into it. In this case it was going to be everything-including-coconut-but-still-not-the-kitchen-sink goes into it.

I'll have to post the porter recipe later, but I split the 15 gallon batch three ways, mainly for variety, but also because I have never added coconut to a beer, and didn't want to risk having 15 gallons of undrinkable "Malibu Rum-Beer".

So it's time to add the coconut. Actually, it's way past time to add the coconut, because it has taken me awhile to find unsweetened preservative-free coconut. I finally discovered some at Whole Foods. I was hoping that they had it bulk, which would tend to be a lot cheaper, but unfortunately they had it pre-packaged, so I paid $2.75 for 8.8 oz. I have seen it online for under two bucks a pound, but since I would be ordering a small amount, the shipping cost wouldn't make this a viable option.

Tomorrow, I will be toasting the coconut! 10 to 15 minutes at 350F should do the trick. Then I'll rack the porter to secondary in a five gallon glass carboy, and add the 8.8 ounces of coconut. I debated whether or not to bag the coconut before I add it, but ultimately decided to just pour it in unbagged. I figure that the potential pain-in-the-ass of straining around coconut shavings come kegging time are outweighed by the potential pain-in-the-ass of fishing a swollen bag of coconut out of the carboy. It will sit in secondary for about two weeks--look for an update about June 1st.

Final note: as you will see from the soon to be posted photo, the coconut is reduced fat. On the back label they say they use a steam process to do this. For my porter, this is a good thing--you don't really want any fat in a beer if you can help it--it could lead to reduced head retention and spoilage.

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