Toasted Coconut, Vanilla, and Cacao Nib Baltic Porter

coconut-balticGregory and I decided to brew another batch of our Baltic porter (Baltic Tiger) so we’d have a dark brew to drink through the winter.  We were originally just going to brew another regular version, but decided to tailor this batch to our friend and business partner, Chris Richardson’s, tastes by adding coconut, vanilla, and cacao nibs.

For the specialty ingredients additions, Gregory soaked 6 oz. of cacao nibs and 3 vanilla beans in Bullet rye whiskey for a week before toasting 1 pound of coconut flakes in the oven at 350F for 15 minutes.  He added both of these to the beer in a tertiary fermenter, and a week later we bottled it with brown sugar as our priming agent.

We again used California lager yeast, and cold steeped the roasted grains.  It was nearly a two month process from brewday to bottling, but we did no extensive cold maturation this time around.  We also tweaked the grain bill a bit for this version.

Recipe and tasting notes below:

Toasted Coconut, Vanilla, and Cacao Nib Baltic Porter

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 21.01
Anticipated OG: 1.088
Anticipated SRM: 56.0
Anticipated IBU: 27
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes


42.84% — 9.00 Lbs. Munich 6°L
28.56% — 6.00 Lbs. U.S. 2-Row
07.14% — 1.50 Lbs. Melanoidin Malt
04.76% — 1.00 Lbs. Chocolate Malt
04.76% — 1.00 Lbs. Flaked Rye
02.38% — 0.50 Lbs. Crystal 120L
02.38% — 0.50 Lbs. Special B
01.81% — 0.38 Lbs. Roasted Barley
01.81% — 0.38 Lbs. Black Malt
01.19% — 0.25 Lbs. Chocolate Rye
01.19% — 0.25 Lbs. Chocolate Malt
01.19% — 0.25 Lbs. Chocolate Wheat


1.00 oz. Perle (Pellet, 5.5% AA) @ 90 min.
0.45 oz. Fuggle (Pellet, 3.6% AA) @ 90 min.
1.00 oz. Fuggle (Pellet, 3.6% AA) @ 30 min.
0.50 oz. Fuggle (Pellet, 3.6% AA) @ 10 min.
0.50 oz. East Kent Golding (Pellet, 5.0% AA) @ 1 min.
0.50 oz. East Kent Golding (Pellet, 5.0% AA) @ 0 min.


1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.
6.00 oz. Cacao Nibs
3.00 Vanilla beans
1.00 Lbs. Toasted Coconut Flakes


Wyeast 2112 — California Lager

Water Profile

1.00 g Calcium Chloride

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion – 90 min @ 155F


11.28.16 — Made a 1L starter of California Lager yeast

11.29.16 — Cold steeped 1.26 Lbs. of roasted grains in 2.5 quarts of room temperature water for 24 hours.

Brewed on 11.30.16 with Gregory

11.30.16 — Added cold steep addition @ 10 min. to flameout

11.30.16 — Chilled wort to 65F and pitched the starter

12.02.16 — Signs of moderate fermentation activity

12.07.16 — Transferred to secondary

01.10.17 — Soaked 6 oz. of cacao nibs and 3 vanilla beans in Bullet rye whiskey

01.17.17 — Toasted 1 Lbs. coconut flakes @350F for 15 minutes

01.17.17 — Added the coconut, cacao nibs, and vanilla beans to beer in tertiary fermenter

01.24.17 — Bottled 5.5 gallons @ 2.2 volumes CO2 using brown sugar as priming agent

Tasting Notes — 02. 26.17 (bottle pour)

Black in color and opaque with a billowy tan head which laces thin and lingers.  Toasted coconut dominates the nose with a hint of caramel, vanilla, and roasted malts supporting.  Coconut is front and center on the palate, giving way to bittersweet chocolate and a hint of black licorice.  Boozy alcohol notes and flavors of dark roast coffee meet mid palate and dry out the finish.  Bittersweet chocolate and espresso notes linger for some time.

Calculated OG: 1.086
Calculated FG: 1.021
Approx. ABV: 8.5%

The Baltic Tiger – Cold Steeped Rye Baltic Porter

Baltic TigerAccording to the BJCP Baltic porter “often has the malt flavors reminiscent of an English brown porter and the restrained roast of a schwarzbier, but with a higher OG and alcohol content than either.  Very complex, with multi-layered flavors.”  Typically, Baltic porters will utilize debittered black malts (malts with most of the grain husk removed prior to kilning) in order to reduce the bitterness and astringency imparted by tannins found in regular dark roasted malts.

Instead of simply using debittered malts for this recipe, Gregory and I decided we wanted to obtain the color, aroma, and flavor of some of our favorite dark malts without their bitterness.  In order to do so we cold steeped the highly roasted malts of our grain bill in room temperature water for 24 hours prior to brew day.  The American Homebrewers Association notes, “Cold steeping is a process popularized by Mary Anne Gruber at Briess.  The idea was to find a way to extract the favorable flavors from dark specialty grains, but leave behind the harsh characteristics, giving the brewer a greater level of control over the color of the beer.”

On the morning of brew day, I strained the cold steeped portion of the wort from the grain and we added it to the boil @ 10 minutes to flameout.  This should ensure that the cold steeped portion is sanitized without enough contact time for the heat to bring out any of the harsh attributes we hope to avoid by cold steeping in the first place.

Baltic porter is also usually fermented with a lager yeast strain or an ale strain at a lower temperature.  As we don’t currently have the space or equipment for proper lagering, we’ve opted to use California Lager yeast which retains lager characteristics @ warmer fermentation temperatures; it’s currently fermenting away vigorously.

Cold SteepThe Baltic Tiger – Cold Steeped Rye Baltic Porter

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 19.26
Anticipated OG: 1.097
Anticipated SRM: 38.0
Anticipated IBU: 27.0
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes


46% – 9.0 Lbs. Munich 6°L
31% – 6.0 Lbs. Belgian 2-row Pilsner
07% – 1.5 Lbs. Melanoidin Malt
05% – 1.0 Lbs. Flaked Rye
02% – 0.5 Lbs. Special B
01% – 0.38 Lbs. Roasted Barley
01% – 0.38 Lbs. Black Patent
01% – 0.25 Lbs. Roasted Rye
01% – 0.25 Lbs. Chocolate Malt


1.00 oz. Perle (Pellet, 7.8% AA) @ 90 min.
0.75 0z. Fuggle (Pellet, 4.8% AA) @ 30 min.
0.50 0z. Fuggle (Pellet, 4.8% AA) @ 10 min.
0.50 oz. East Kent Golding (Pellet, 5.0% AA) @ 1 min.
0.45 oz. Bramling Cross (Pellet, 6.0% AA) @ 0 min.


1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 min.


Wyeast 2112 California Lager (starter)

Water Profile

1.00 tsp Calcium Chloride
1.00 tsp Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Sacch Rest – 60 min @ 152F
Mashout – 10 min @ 170F


12.01.14 – Made a stir-plate 1.5L starter with 1 Wyeast 2112 smack pack.  Brewtoad suggests 714 billion cells to ferment 5.5 gal.  Cold crashed and decanted morning of brew day.

12.02.14 – Cold steeped 1.26 Lbs. of roasted grains in 2.5 quarts of room temperature water for 24 hours.

Brewed 12.03.14 with Gregory

12.03.14 – Added cold steeped wort @ 10 min.

12.03.14 – Chilled wort to 65F before pitching yeast starter.

12.04.14 –  Vigorous fermentation, temperature holding steady @ 60-65F.

12.18.14 – Transferred to secondary fermentor for conditioning.

01.07.15 – Kegged the porter and brought it into work to cold condition in the walk in at 38F for a month.

Baltic PorterTasting Notes 06.19.15

Wonderful aromatics of bittersweet cocoa and dark fruits (plum and black cherry).  Initial malt sweetness and full mouthfeel on the palate reminiscent of raisins, baking spices, and candied nuts with some faint biscuit notes in the background.  Moves into notes of bittersweet chocolate, burnt sugar, and highly roasted malts which finishes on the dryish side with deep roast, hints of espresso bitterness, rye spiciness, and alcohol warmth.  Lingering pleasant bitterness on the far finish.  Perhaps a bit too dry per style, but an excellent beer through and through.

Calculated OG: 1.097
Calculated FG: 1.026
Approx. ABV: 9.3%