Coco Loco! Coconut Brown Ale


Pumpkin beer is gross… there, I said it!

There are ingredients that I’m not a fan of in beer: pumpkin, coffee, and peppers. The trend in craft beer is brew something over the top that will separate you from other breweries. This has led to some great new beers. And unfortunately, some less than favorable ones.

In late August, the shelves are littered with 20 different kinds of pumpkin beer. I know some people love this beer style, but it isn’t for me. So here is a recipe for a  great fall and winter beer that is a little different and contains zero gourds.

Going Nuts About Coconuts

When I first set out to make a coconut beer, I did a little research. I wanted the coconut to be present but I didn’t want to use the homebrew extracts that were out there.

After a little forum searching, I found a brewer who did a couple experiments with coconut. It seems that the best technique was a 3 prong approach: Use coconut in the mash, boil, and at bottling.

The biggest issue with coconut is that it is high in oil and it will effect your head retention. To offset that, I serve mine on Nitro….Yum!

The Recipe


OG: 1058

FG: 1008

ABV: 6.5%

IBUs: 12

SRM: 15

Grain Bill

9 # 2-Row

6 oz Crystal 60L 

6 oz Chocolate Malt

7 oz Brown Sugar (Last 10 mins of boil)


0.5 oz Columbus @ 30 mins


Safale 05

Mash @ 156

Ferment  @ 68 degrees

Cold Steeped Dark Grains and Brown Sugar
Cold Steeped Dark Grains and Brown Sugar

Coconut Additions

Depending on how much coconut presence you want, you need to choose between unsweetened and sweetened coconut. Im a big coconut head, so this recipe uses sweetened coconut. If you use the unsweetened version, it will be more of a subtle taste.

What do I need?

  • 2 pounds of Sweetened Coconut Chips
  • Cookie Sheet, Pot, & Strainer

Preparing the coconut for the beer:

  1. Spread 1.5 pounds of coconut chips on cookie sheet and bake @ 325 for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Keep an eye on it…. it can burn fast! 
  3. Bring one gallon of water to a boil.
  4. Add in the last half a pound of untoasted coconut chips in the water and let them steep for 20 minutes. 
  5. Strain out the chips from the liquid and boil down the liquid to about a quart.
  6. Cool the liquid and store in the refrigerator for bottling/kegging.

When do you add the coconut?

 My experience with this beer is that the perfect amount is during the mash, boil, and bottling/kegging.

  • 1 pound of toasted coconut chips in the mash
  • 1/2 pound of toasted coconut chips in last 10 minutes of boil
  • Homemade Coconut Extract (add a little at a time and taste)
Coconut Chips Steeping

Wrap Up

This beer does really well with age. I had some in a bottle for over a year and it was so smooth. The brown ale gets a nuttier taste and the coconut does fade over time. I actually cold steep my dark grains for this recipe to help make it smoother faster. (see the picture above).

Just like pumpkin beers, I’m sure some of you will say that coconut doesn’t belong in beer. However, this is my go to Fall beer and I hope you enjoy it.



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