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Birthday Cake Ale Recipe Question

I am new to all grain brewing and was wondering if anyone could give me advise on my amounts and when to add the extras… I am trying to brew a beer that I sampled on a brewing tour that was called birthday cake ale which had honey, blood orange, coconut, and vanilla in it. I am planning on using:

9 lbs Rahr 2-row American Malt
2 lbs flaked oats
1 lb Briess Carapils Malt
0.5 lb lactose
2 lbs Minnesota Clover Honey
1 oz sweet orange peel
4 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
1 lb shredded coconut
1 oz US Liberty Hops
1 oz US Cascade Hops
Wyeast 1056 American Ale Yeast

The biggest question I have is if I need to place the orange peel and shredded coconut in a muslin bag to confine them. Or will they settle out prior to bottling… Don’t want pieces of coconut and orange peel in my beer.

Also is the 0.5 lb of lactose a good idea to add a small amount of sweetness to the beer.

I plan on adding the hops and extras in the last 5 minutes of boil.

Thanks for any suggestions. :cheers:

2 lbs of honey is a lot and will tend to make your beer “hot” unless you have fermentation temperature control and are patient in aging.

Perhaps cut the honey back to 1/2 - 1 lb added at flameout.

Clover honey may not be the best choice here, consider replacing it with orange blossom honey. (If you like the orange aroma/flavor.)

Vanilla can be added during the boil, however it is also common to add it before bottling and/or in a secondary fermentation vessel.

Coconut can also be boiled, but, as with the vanilla, you might get more flavor by adding in the secondary.

The lactose addition seems fine.

So my recommendations:

Add 1lb Orange Blossom Honey at flameout
Add the Vanilla and Coconut to the secondary

If you’re concerned about racking from the secondary, use a fine nylon hops bag to strain into the bottling bucket.

It may be a tough balancing act if you are expecting vanilla, orange and coconut flavors in your beer. Most of the time one overpowers the others and then you have the hops. So consider a citrus type hop if you can’t get the orange flavor.

good advice above. I am curious as to how this will turn out.

I may use Centennial instead of cascade to supplement your orange kick.

I would ask the brewery for specifics on amounts of the various additives. Make it easy for them and don’t ask them to convert it to a 5 gallon batch for you.

+1 to all of the above. I’d put the orange peel in a muslin bag and give it a gentle squeeze to extract some of the orange flavor from the porous rind. Never having worked with coconut, I don’t know what to tell you there - I’d probably throw it in with the orange peel.

With respect to orange peel, the best thing to do is to use a microplane grater and grate the peel ONLY not the pith.

I assumed he was referring to the dried sweet orange peel not fresh. Using a microplane on the bits of dried orange peel would be a PITA.

Right, right.

+1to the orange blossom honey. We used that twice for a honey kolsch…it was superb…but I will use 2x the amount next time to get more of the orange flavor. It’s very subtle.

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