General Category > Wood/Casks

Strong Vanilla Notes

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What is the best way that wood can suppliment your beverage
with vanilla overtones? Is it done using medium toast? Or how
would a person insure the inclusion of this quality?

Edit for clarity: Using wood as the vanilla delivery method.

Joe Sr.:
I think if you're looking for "strong" vanilla notes, you want to add vanilla beans or extract.

For chips, I've used both medium and light, as well as some I toasted at home.

I definitely prefer the darker chips for getting more "oaky" flavor.  I find the light chips get lost in the stronger dark beers that I tend to put on oak.

I meant using the Oak vehicle Not the beans.  I have used beans and like those
but I was just wanting to get come wood character on the board so
folks could refer to it for guidance.

Joe Sr.:
Right.  I thought you might have meant that.

I am not an expert, but in my limited experience medium roast gives much more of the oak flavor, which includes some vanilla tones.  I'm not sure if it increases as you go towards a char.  I doubt it, but it's possible.

Again, I'm using oak in darker beers so the impact of the flavor from the wood is less predominant.

Check this out: That's if you want to roast your own.

You'll get most of the vanilla flavors from heavy toast American oak. Hungarian has like half as much vanillin, and French less than that. French has the least vanilla, and a nice allspice/cinnamon/"spicy" flavor, Hungarian oak trends more towards tobacco/cocoa/light vanilla flavor. 

Yeast will metabolize vanillin during primary ferment, so I'll add oak in the primary if I want all the flavors it brings except vanilla. If you want vanilla, add after fermentation is well over.


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