Coconut Flavor

I picked up some coconut flavor at the local beer supply store. I was told that if I add some of the flavoring to the bottling bucket, it would taste just as good as using toasted coconut. Has anyone had experience with this?

No experience with that but I had a buddy that added about 5lbs of toasted coconut to a porter and it was almost indistinguishable. I would likely add both and use the extract to provide the ‘pop’ factor.

Pour 3 or 4 2oz samples. Add a measured amount to each one and scale up from there.

I have not tried the coconut flavoring, but I have had luck with other fruit flavorings in the past. Last summer I brewed a Honey Brown Ale and added 1 bag of toasted shredded coconut to secondary. It turned out great with just the right amount of coconut flavor.

Sounds like your buddy did it wrong. :wink:

I’ve brewed a few batches using coconut. Based on my experience, the best way to add coconut flavor to a beer is to “dry hop” with dried, unsweetened coconut using two bags (I believe they are 7 oz bags) in two stages (one bag per stage). I’ve tried using two bags at one time, and it did not have as much coconut punch as one bag at a time.

IMO toasting is unnecessary and may even mute the flavor a bit, but I have had good results using toasted in the first stage and then untoasted in the second stage.

For those who are into water treatment, a decent amount of sodium (I aim for 60+ ppm) and chloride (>90) will likely improve any porter or stout.

Thanks for all of the feedback. Seems like the common theme is to use real coconut rather than the flavoring. I was concerned that I would have a difficult time getting the coconut out of the glass carboy.

Sorry, I confirmed with him today that it was 5oz, not pounds! That makes a huge difference.

You’re right, getting the coconut out of a glass carboy is a pain, but its worth it IMO. I was really happy with my Coconut Brown Ale that I plan on making it the same way again this spring. The worst part of the process is transferring to the bottling bucket as I would get pieces of coconut stuck in the siphon.

Didn’t you put the coconut into a muslin bag?

I’m always hesitant about adding coconut and other late fruit additions due to concern of introducing infection…have you had any problems or taken any steps to reduce this concern…and is “toasting” it in an oven enough?

wow, my tap water sodium is 69 and my chloride is 103. Too bad I’m not a stout/porter kinda guy.

Yeah, you can toast it in the oven. I’ve never had infections adding coconut after fermentation. Alcohol and pH provides a little protection if your procedures are reasonably sanitary.

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To be honest, I did not. The style of my carboy would’ve made it very difficult to get a full bag in and out, so I followed the recommendation of several experienced brewers and just dropped the coconut right in. It actually wasn’t too difficult in doing it that method, I plan on doing it the same way on my next batch. However, if you are using a bucket and could use a muslin bag, it would probably make things even easier without a doubt.

The final decision was to use a Williamette Golden Ale base and add 7 oz of toasted unsweet coconut during the last 5 min of the boil, and then another 7 oz in the secondary for 3 weeks. I also added 2 rings of fresh pineapple that was soaked in vodka during the last 2 weeks of the secondary. I also added 2 oz of coconut extract into the bottling bucket. Sounds like a lot of coconut, but the flavor is very mild. I wonder if the hops counteracted some of the coconut flavor. The beer almost has a tropical hint to it. Turned out very interesting.

The next batch I plan to use a English Brown Ale as the base and use 2 bags of coconut in the secondary. Hoping to get a little stronger coconut flavor.

I just brewed a batch of English Brown Ale and added 1 lb of unsweetened toasted coconut to the last 15 minutes of the boil. I then poured the whole thing, coconut and all into the primary (I’m using a Big Mouth Bubbler). My main concern was that the dry yeast wouldn’t be able to make it down to the wort through the thick layer of coconut. So far though it appears to be quite active, although there really isn’t any noticeable kreusen, again due to the coconut layer. I’ll most likely scoop out the coconut layer off the top with a slotted sanitized spoon before racking into the secondary this weekend. Hmmmmm, what should I do with the coconut then!? Cookies come to mind!
I was then planning on dry hopping with another 2-3 lbs in a muslin bag while in the secondary.
I’ll keep you posted of the results!