After a couple of weeks in bottles, it was time to see what I had wrought.
Appearance: Pretty much black. The beer is carbonated and there is a head on the pour, but it quickly dissipates due to residual oil in the beer contributed by the coconut. I had read about this happening with those who’ve tried using coconut in beer, so this is no real surprise. Also, some tiny bits of coconut had escaped my paint strainer bag and into the bottled beer. So at least I can point to that as proof that I used real coconut in this. But they are so small, you can see them but you can’t feel them in your mouth.
Aroma: Nice chocolate and coconut undertones coming in with the roastiness of the malt. Very pleasant. The solvent/rubbing alcohol aroma had subsided.
Taste: As with most beers, the taste follows the aroma. Familiar roast malt profile from my base porter recipe, but the chocolate comes through assertively and the coconut was subtle but noticeable in my early tastings. However, the coconut has totally fallen off in a matter of a week. The solvent flavor has retreated but you can still detect a little bit on the back end. But it doesn’t prevent me from enjoying it. The half pound of lactose has also dialed in a nice level of sweetness to it.
Mouthfeel: Nice medium mouthfeel, and luckily there is no oily slickness from the coconut. When I conceptualized this beer, I was thinking of a more velvelty, viscous mouthfeel, which I didn’t attain. But still not bad.
Aside from the residual solvent note which ended up at a lower drinkable level, I’m kind of pleased with how this came out for a first try. I was hyper critical when I had my first bottle. But now as another week has gone by, I’ve had a few more and I’m finding it very drinkable and delicious despite the coconut falling off rather rapidly. I may consider foregoing the real coconut and just add some coconut flavoring next time around. I do find myself looking forward to the next bottle. This is the opposite of the bourbon porter I made last year that I still have a good amount of. That one was not a badly made beer and I know some who really like it, but the taste profile does not click with me and I just don’t enjoy drinking it. But this coconut porter? Yeah.. I dig it.
Yesterday was hectic. I had to bottle my American Rye Ale and then start brewing my next batch, Bourbon Barrel Porter. Yeah, I did it to myself. But my multitasking skills came shining through.
American Rye Ale Bottling:
This brew has been in primary fermentation for 14 days. I decided to go with Dixie Crystals pure cane sugar for bottle priming instead of corn sugar due to my carbonation problems previously. I did use corn sugar in one bottle to see if there is a difference. But first I had to rack the batch to a second sanitized Mr. Beer keg. There was just too much trub to bottle straight from the primary. So I transferred and bottled with little issue. They’ll sit for two weeks and then go into the fridge, ready to drink by Thanksgiving. I did get a final gravity reading of 1.001 which brings my approximate %ABV to 3.9%.
Bourbon Barrel Porter:
The reason I needed to get this going this week was because I wanted to have this ready to drink by Christmas. This is going to be such a great, toasty, winter warming brew for the holidays. Its a porter recipe with toasted oak chips and some bourbon thrown into the secondary fermentation keg. This is another northernbrewer.com recipe and I had purchased the ingredients at my LHBS as I mentioned in my last post.
4.75 lbs Maris Otter
0.5 lbs Light Wheat
0.5 lbs Chocolate Malt
0.25 lbs Briess Black malt
0.25 lbs Crystal 77
0.5 oz Chinook hops (60 min)
0.25 oz East Kent Goldings (15 min)
0.25 oz East Kent Goldings (5 min)
Danstar Windsor Ale Yeast
Brewing went pretty smooth. I started with 4 gallons of spring water. This gave me a qt/lb ratio of 2.56 which is about as low as I want to go with a BIAB and it pretty much maxed out my 5 gallon pot. I mashed at 152F for 75 minutes instead of the prescribed 60 min and mashed out at 170F for 10 minutes. My post boil volume was 3 gallons so I topped it off with spring water to 3.5 gal. The wort was as black as midnight. Cooled and transferred to the fermenter without issue. Ended up with a little more than 2.5 gal. The Danstar dry yeast was not just a sprinkle, sit and stir like I’m used to. As per the instructions, I had to rehydrate in 86-92 F sterile (boiled water), stir and pitch. As of last night, it looked like I did it right because I had a little overflow do to fierce activity. Luckily the fermenter was in a cooler and cleanup was a minor inconvenience. So there it will sit for 14 days. Then it goes into secondary.