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Author Topic: Vanilla priming sugar  (Read 2457 times)

Offline erockrph

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Vanilla priming sugar
« on: April 24, 2012, 10:24:46 pm »
So my vanilla dunkelweizen is finally carbed up and ready to go, so I figured I'd report back on what I found. I brewed the extract + steeping grains version of the Austin Homebrew Supply anniversary dunkelweizen kit. I went with WY3638 for my yeast. I pitched 1 smackpack with no starter (deliberately tried to underpitch a bit) and fermented at 64F. I bottled one gallon with plain table sugar and the remainder with vanilla sugar (1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, in about 2 cups or so of sugar for at least a month or so). I carbed up to a calculated 3 volumes.

And the side-by-side verdict is... virtually no noticeable difference. The nose was the same between the two - big banana, a root beer/cream soda note that also reminds me of sweet cinnamon or cardamom, a hint of clove and a touch of roasted malt notes. Basically reminds me a lot of banana bread. On the palate, the phenolic notes are a bit lower, but they are still there. Banana ester is still predominant and I also pick up a bit of cherry. The only noticeable difference was that the beer primed with the vanilla sugar seemed to carry the sweet spice notes a bit further into the finish. Frankly, I peferred the non-vanilla version because the finish is a bit cleaner.

So, my take-homes from this experiment are:

1) Vanilla sugar is just too subtle to give much of a result in the finished product. At least, it can't hold its own against a flavorful yeast strain. I doubt it would be notable in a beer with big roasted notes like a stout or a porter either.

2) I *LOVE* WY3638. Killer yeast flavor. I will probably brew a dunkelweizen or weizenbock with this strain every year.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Vanilla priming sugar
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2012, 11:15:24 pm »
Yeah, when mixed with other flavors vanilla tends to emphasize them rather than stand out on its own.  Like adding a little vanilla to your chocolate confections, it somehow makes it seem chocolatey-er .

Good to know you liked that strain, I've yet to use it.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline euge

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Re: Vanilla priming sugar
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2012, 12:23:35 am »
My latest Hefeweizen tasted like vanilla and honey after three days in the bottle. It was such a wonderfully luscious combination. Too bad it was ethereal and fugitive. Gone after a couple days... :'(

Bump up the vanilla if you want to taste it. However vanilla is a better enhancer or "back up singer" and can be used to accentuate flavors without announcing itself as "vanilla".

Personally I'm not a big fan of vanilla in the darker beers like a porter or stout but the unexpected appearance in the wheat beer was very stimulating and refreshing. Able to recreate? Possibly...
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Offline denny

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Re: Vanilla priming sugar
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2012, 09:30:16 am »
I'm not surprised at the result.  I've tried flavored priming several times and never found that it added anything.
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