Podcast Episode #22 – Coconut Porter

Coconut in Beer?!Beer with Coconut

But why?

Adding coconut to a porter is a great way to complement the chocolate flavors of the porter. If you like the combination of chocolate and coconut, or just want to try something different, try this.

I learned about this from the previous president of the Menomonie Homebrewers Club, and he still makes one of the best coconut porters I’ve tried.

Here is the recipe for my Memorial Porter.

Selecting the coconut

  • You want unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • Not baking coconut – you don’t want the extra sugar and other stabilizers that are added to sweetened coconut .
  • Also don’t go for unsweetened flaked coconut. The pieces are too large for good flavor exchange.
  • Finely shredded, unsweetened coconut will give you lots of surface area.

ToastingCoconut in the oven

  • Toasting coconut will develop even more flavor.
  • You want to get a nice golden-brown color without burning it.
  • Set your oven at about 300 degrees Fahrenheit (I used 325 degrees F on this most recent batch).
  • Spread aluminum foil in the bottom of your flat pan to ease pouring into secondary
  • Check the coconut every 3-5 minutes and stir.
  • Stop when your house smells like delicious coconut, even if the timer hasn’t beeped yet!

Amount to use

  • Varies with personal taste and type of coconut
  • In 5 gallons, I used 8 ounces of the large flakes of coconut, and did not get enough flavor
  • This time, I used 8 ounces of the finely shredded coconut and also toasted to a slightly darker color
  • I usually let the coconut sit in the beer for about a week. Sometimes there is still coconut floating in the beer.
  • Experiment and see what you like.Coconut just out of the oven

Iron Brewer

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Ice Cream

Freezing the beer ice creamReady to enjoyBefore I got interested in homebrewing, I had a life-changing experience with a stout ice cream. The beer was used in a ripple mixed into vanilla ice cream. I had never thought of using beer in ice cream before that point.

A few years ago, my wife decided to take up making ice cream as a hobby. Being an ice cream lover, there is no way I was going to protest. Shortly after she began, she found a wonderful book: The Perfect Scoop. One of the recipes in the book is for Guinness-Milk Chocolate Ice Cream. While the original version is good, we changed a few things to really make this one of my favorite ice creams.

All the yummy-ness to make great ice creamDark Chocolate Porter Ice Cream

7 ounces dark chocolate (we like the Trader Joe’s 72% Bittersweet), chopped fine

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup sugar

Pinch salt

4 large eggs yolk

1 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup homebrewed porter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

  • Warm the milk enough to dissolve the sugar and salt in a pan on the stove.
  • Whisk the egg yolks in a separate bowl and slowly add the warmed milk  mixture while whisking the eggs vigorously. Pour back into the original pan.
  • Stir the mixture, while heating, until thickened.
  • Strain a small amount of the egg mixture into a bowl containing the chocolate. Begin with a small amount and add only enough to melt the chocolate. Once the chocolate is melted, add the mixture in small additions to keep the base smooth.
  • Once smooth, whisk in the heavy cream, then the beer & vanilla.
  • Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.


  1. When melting the chocolate, do not add all the liquid at once. We have had problems with the chocolate forming particles which do not re-integrate and result in a grainy final ice cream.
  2. Same problem as #1 can occur if you add the heavy cream or beer too quickly, although we have had fewer problems with adding the beer & vanilla quickly.

Ready for the freezerTips

  1. Another option for the beer to include is a good Russian imperial stout. If you want to do a stout ice cream, I prefer a stronger stout than Guinness.
  2. For a firmer ice cream, transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container. Push wax paper down against the surface of the ice cream, and place in the freezer for several hours.

Start the toppingTopping

  • 2 ounces dark chocolate
  • 1 Tablespoon butter

Place both chocolate and butter in a small bowl. Microwave in 30-second increments and mix until smooth. Once the butter is melted, use shorter increments. Spoon over ice cream and enjoy.