Coconut IPA Recipe and Brew Day Review
Later this month, Stone Brewing in collaboration with Rip Current Brewing and homebrewers, Robert Masterso and Ryan Reschan will release R&R Coconut IPA. Initial tasting notes have described this IPA as both fruity and tropical. Mitch Steele, Brewmaster at Stone said “… with this one, you feel like you’re drinking a tropical drink on the beach.” I can’t say I’ve ever tasted a beer that could be described that way so I thought why not try and brew one myself. Since I haven’t been able to try this beer before brewing it, I decided to try and make something that fit Mitch Steele’s description. Once the beer is released and mine is ready to drink, I’ll write a side by side comparison.
It may sound crazy to try and clone a beer that I wasn’t even able to taste before brewing but I thought it would be fun to try and create my own version of a “tropical drink.” Even though I haven’t tried this beer, there are a few clues that will help us take an educated guess on what’s in it.
Clue 1 – Mitch Steele
Mitch makes some of the best IPAs at Stone Brewing. One of the hallmarks of his IPAs are the lack of Crystal malt, which tend to add a somewhat sublte sweet flavor at the end of the beer. I’m assuming he stuck to his guns on this one so I’m not adding any to my recipe. We’ll get some of this sweetness from the addition of the Vienna malt but I’m hoping it won’t be as pronounced. To round the rest of this out we’ll go with 2 Row as our base malt and top it off with a hint of Biscuit malt to add some color and a little bready characteristic. I’ve added Biscuit to a few other beers and it has given a little warmth and body to the finished product.
Clue 2 – Tropical
It seems that a majority of the IPAs I’ve tried recently have been going for this tropical flavor. Hops like Citra, Ahtanum, Galaxy, and Nelson Sauvin are very popular and would have fit the bill but I thought they have been stealing the spotlight from lesser known hops lately. With a little help from the folks at my LHBS, we settled on Motueka and Wakatu. Motueka has notes of lemon and lime with a big tropical background. Wakatu is described as floral with hints of vanilla and a subtle tropical background. Plus they both have awesome names. Try saying Wakatu without imagining a warrior wielding a huge sword. We’ll dryhop with those two plus Mosaic which is known for its strong tropical backbone. That should give this the lush tropical flavor we are going for.
Clue 3 – Coconut IPA
This is an obvious one but since there is coconut in the name we will at some point be adding it to this beer. I decided to toast the coconut for 15 minutes to caramelize some of the sugars and hopefully release some of the oils so we can get some aroma out of it. This was repeated for dryhopping as well. IPA tells us that there will be a ton of hops in here but it also lets us know that we’ll most likely be using a very clean yeast that won’t impart many flavors to the beer. This being an IPA from California, it’s a pretty safe bet to go with Wyeast 1056 on this one.
Coconut IPA Recipe
Batch Size – 3 gallons
Target Gravity – 1.055
Efficiency – 68%
2 Row – 5lb 14.4oz (75%)
Vienna – 1lb 9.1oz (20%)
Biscuit – 6.4oz (5%)
Magnum – .5oz @ 60 min
Motueka – .25oz @ 15 min
Wakatu – .25oz @ 15 min
Motueka – .25oz @ 10 min
Wakatu – .25oz @ 10 min
Motueka – .25oz @ 5 min
Wakatu – .25oz @ 5 min
Motueka – .25oz @ knockout
Wakatu – .25oz @ knockout
Motueka – .75oz @ dryhop (4 days)
Wakatu – .75oz @ dryhop (4 days)
Mosaic – .75oz @ dryhop (4 days)
Toasted Coconut – 10oz @ 15 min
Toasted Coconut – 1lb @ dryhop (4 days)
Wyeast 1056 Smack Pack
Warning: Technical brew day analysis lies ahead! Proceed at your own will!
Brew Day Review
Before this brew day I had done about five all grain batches on my system. Some beers turned out great and others, well we’ll just say they were misses. In those first five beers, I was figuring out the process of how an all grain brew day goes but I wasn’t really keeping track of hitting OG or understanding how the mash and sparge were going. That’s not a good way to turn out great beer so I focused on tracking everything and making a plan for this brew day.
- Water to grist ratio 1.5qt per lb (1.5qt x 7.87lb = 11.80qts or roughly 3 gallons )
- Preheated mash tun with 4 cups of 165 water
- Doughed in at 164 to hit target mash temp of 152 (Actual mash temp 153)
- Collected 2.2 gallons at 1.060
- Added 3.4 gallons at 175
- Collected a total of 5.6 gallons at 1.034
- Estimate SG at end of boil (34 * 5.6) / 3.5 = 54.4 (slightly under target gravity but still in line with style guideines)
- Hopped according to schedule
- Toasted coconut for 15 minutes but didn’t get much browning on it. Added at 12 minutes.
- After cooling the wort, I realized I didn’t boil off as much as expected and was left with 4.2 gallons at 1.045 instead of 3.5 at 1.054 as expected.
- Pitched a full packet of Wyeast 1056 at 68
- Fermentation started out at 65 but due to warm weather the temp on the swamp cooler got into the mid to upper 70′s
So what can we take away from this beer. One, ensure that you understand your boil off rate so that you can hit your target gravity and volume correctly. Two, adjust mashing technique to increase efficiency. I used 68% as a baseline and that’s what I got out of my system. I sparged with the valve fully open and I probably didn’t get all the sugars out of the mash tun. Next brew, I’ll sparge slower which will hopefully help in draining the tun evenly and increase efficiency. Finally, I’m pretty sure this one fermented on the high side of the acceptable ferm temps. My plan is to build out a fermentation chamber from an old chest freezer which will allow me to dial in the temperature. Proper ferm temps are essential to making consistently good beer so I’m looking forward to building that out. Overall, this was a successful brew day since I learned more about my brew system and have identified the areas I can improve on. I’m looking forward to my next brew day where I’ll be making a Rye IPA.
Until then, happy brewing.