Author Topic: How to Add Vanilla  (Read 2096 times)

Offline thebigbaker

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How to Add Vanilla
« on: March 17, 2012, 12:10:04 PM »
Going to brew my first Vanilla Porter soon and was wondering how everyone adds the vanilla.  I'm going to be using whole vanilla beans.  I've read where some soak the beans in vodka before adding them.  Is soaking them in vodka necessary?  Thanks.
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Offline greatplainsbrewer

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Re: How to Add Vanilla
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2012, 12:22:26 PM »
Split them. Scrape out everything inside and add to secondary.  Chop the pods and add to secondary.

Offline gmac

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Re: How to Add Vanilla
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2012, 01:11:04 PM »
How much do you plan to add?  I've been debating a vanilla milk stout and I have no idea how many beans to put in. 

Online kramerog

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Re: How to Add Vanilla
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2012, 01:51:00 PM »
I've read where some soak the beans in vodka before adding them.  Is soaking them in vodka necessary?  Thanks.

Soaking in vodka is frequently used as a precaution before adding something to beer.  It may also help to extract some vanilla flavor.
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Offline cheshirecat

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Re: How to Add Vanilla
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2012, 02:38:45 PM »
I have done both splitting and adding to the keg or secondary and splitting soaking in vodka and adding. Both have worked very well.

Offline thebigbaker

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Re: How to Add Vanilla
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2012, 02:45:19 PM »
How much do you plan to add?  I've been debating a vanilla milk stout and I have no idea how many beans to put in.

I'm planning on 2-3 beans.
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Offline thebigbaker

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Re: How to Add Vanilla
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2012, 02:46:58 PM »
Split them. Scrape out everything inside and add to secondary.  Chop the pods and add to secondary.

I think I may skip the vodka the first time.  I think I'll scrape and chop as you suggest and add them about a week before I keg.
Jeremy Baker

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Offline cheba420

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Re: How to Add Vanilla
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2012, 02:52:08 PM »
I make a vanilla porter and have always soaked them in vodka. Split, scrape and add the whole thing to secondary. I use 3 for a 5 gallon batch and it turns out great. You keep a lot more aroma with 3 than you do with 2.
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Offline Siamese Moose

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Re: How to Add Vanilla
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2012, 06:27:51 AM »
Vodka at the very minimum. I've had this conversation with two pro brewers (including one from Sam Adams). Raw vanilla beans are absolutely loaded with bacteria. The SA guy said it's the most troublesome ingredient they've ever used. Both pros pasteurize their beans in sealed containers, and then flush the whole thing into a bright tank without ever exposing the beans to air. Keeping it sealed this way they manage to keep most of the aroma, and still avoid infection.
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Re: How to Add Vanilla
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2012, 08:51:50 AM »
Vodka at the very minimum. I've had this conversation with two pro brewers (including one from Sam Adams). Raw vanilla beans are absolutely loaded with bacteria. The SA guy said it's the most troublesome ingredient they've ever used. Both pros pasteurize their beans in sealed containers, and then flush the whole thing into a bright tank without ever exposing the beans to air. Keeping it sealed this way they manage to keep most of the aroma, and still avoid infection.

OTOH, I've never used vodka or anything else to sanitize the beans and it's never caused me any problems.
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Offline corkybstewart

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Re: How to Add Vanilla
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2012, 12:03:43 PM »
I soak mine in Maker's Mark bourbon(about 1/2 cup) for a month, then add the liquid to the keg(or bottling bucket).  It's really a great flavor
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Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: How to Add Vanilla
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2012, 05:44:34 AM »
I used 4 is 5G of stout several years ago and it came out great. I just split and threw them into secondary. I didn't chop thinking they'd be easier to separate that way at racking.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: How to Add Vanilla
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2012, 07:39:53 AM »
I'm going to use vanilla sugar to prime my dunkelweizen when I bottle it in a couple of weeks. I'm shooting for a subtle effect, so I'm hoping that by adding it at bottling that the yeast won't scrub out too much of the vanilla. I'm going to bottle a gallon's worth with plain priming sugar for comparison. Pretty interested to see how it turns out.
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Offline Siamese Moose

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Re: How to Add Vanilla
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2012, 09:57:04 AM »
OTOH, I've never used vodka or anything else to sanitize the beans and it's never caused me any problems.

Oh, I know most people get away with it, most of the time. The pros I know won't chance it anymore. They know other pros who have had to dump batches.
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Re: How to Add Vanilla
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2012, 12:09:03 PM »
OTOH, I've never used vodka or anything else to sanitize the beans and it's never caused me any problems.

Oh, I know most people get away with it, most of the time. The pros I know won't chance it anymore. They know other pros who have had to dump batches.

Yet another advantage to being a homebrewer and not a commercial brewer....
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