Author Topic: Vanilla priming sugar  (Read 793 times)

Offline erockrph

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Vanilla priming sugar
« on: April 24, 2012, 09:24:46 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, 10:15:24 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 24, 2012, 11:23:35 PM »
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...
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline denny

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Re: Vanilla priming sugar
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2012, 08:30:16 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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