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Old 09-20-2007, 03:10 AM   #1
GregKelley
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Default Anyone use vanilla or wood chips?

My porter will be done in my primary fermenter Sunday or Monday. I was thinking of adding some wood chips and/or vanilla in the secondary. For those that have done this, I have some questions. Please keep in mind that this is a 5 gallon batch.

1. do you prefer vanilla beans or vanilla extract? How much of either and how long do you let the beans sit?

2. where do you get wood chips and what should I be looking for? Again, how much and how long?

I know I can get vanilla beans or extract anywhere. With wood chips, could I use something like the oak chips that they sell for bbqs and grills?

Thanks!



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Old 09-20-2007, 07:55 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GregKelley
My porter will be done in my primary fermenter Sunday or Monday. I was thinking of adding some wood chips and/or vanilla in the secondary. For those that have done this, I have some questions. Please keep in mind that this is a 5 gallon batch.

1. do you prefer vanilla beans or vanilla extract? How much of either and how long do you let the beans sit?

2. where do you get wood chips and what should I be looking for? Again, how much and how long?

I know I can get vanilla beans or extract anywhere. With wood chips, could I use something like the oak chips that they sell for bbqs and grills?

Thanks!
I have an Oak Aged Bourbon Porter aging in a keg. Brewed 01/01/07 and kegged last July.
1. Beans. Slit down the middle, scrape the innards out then chop up into ¼" pieces. Put all of it in your favorite booze and let sit for 3-10 days. Use vodka if you don't want to add flavor to your beer. The stronger your beer is in flavor, the more beans you'll need. 1-3 each I imagine.
2. Any place will do. Wood chips are wood chips no matter where you get them.

Good luck,
Wild


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On Tap -
  1. 3 year old Oak Aged Bourbon Porter
  2. Irish Red Rye
  3. Robust Porter
  4. Russian Imperial Stout
  5. Mirror Pond Clone dry hopped with Citra
  6. Mirror Pond Clone dry hopped with Centennial
Primary - Nada
Secondary -
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Old 09-20-2007, 12:58 PM   #3
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  1. Like wild said, slit the beans down the middle and soak them in distilled spirits for a week. With a porter, I'd suggest using bourbon; it'll add a nice flavor. You can use about 1/2 cup or so; any more than 1 cup will lend a distinct bourbon flavor. I used 2 cups on my winter warmer and it is VERY bourbony. Also soak the oak chips in the booze. If I were you, though, I'd use extract unless you have a source for cheap vanilla beans. If you really want discernable vanilla flavor, you'll need at LEAST 2 whole beans; that'll run you at least $20. That's more than some of my beers cost total! You can do what I did and use 1 bean, then supplement with (natural) extract. Stay away from the imitation; it's derived from wood.
  2. No, wood is NOT "just wood". If red wine was aged in, say, cedar or birch, it'd have a MUCH different character. What you want are toasted oak chips/cubes from a homebrew supplier. You can usually choose the level of toast on the chips/cubes. Believe me, the last thing you want is cedar or mesquite in your beer! Go with oak chips/cubes, and use about an ounce. You can go with 1.5 oz or even 2oz if you want a lot of oak character, but seeing as how this is your first time, go light (1oz). You can always add more if it's not enough.
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.planned:
•Scottish 80/- •Sweet Stout •Roggenbier
.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
.on tap | kegged:
XX: Moss Hollow Springs Sparkling Water 95: Gott Mit Uns German Pils 91b: Brown Willie's Oaked Abbey Ale 103: Merkin Stout
98: Yorkshire Special 100: Maple Porter 89: Cidre Saison 101: Steffiweizen '09 (#3)
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Old 09-20-2007, 01:03 PM   #4
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Next time I oak a beer, I'm going to use these:



French medium-toast cubes generally seem to be the most popular. I've used the chips, too, but they kinda got lost in the fairly hoppy beer I made. Probably my best beer, though!

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Old 09-20-2007, 01:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan!
No, wood is NOT "just wood". If red wine was aged in, say, cedar or birch, it'd have a MUCH different character.
What was meant was wood chips are wood chips. Oak is still oak whether you get it from your back yard or from the BBQ place down the street and was the only wood mentioned in this thread.
I've used both chips and cubes and found that the cubes seemed to be permeated to a lesser extent over the course of a week.

Wild
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On Tap -
  1. 3 year old Oak Aged Bourbon Porter
  2. Irish Red Rye
  3. Robust Porter
  4. Russian Imperial Stout
  5. Mirror Pond Clone dry hopped with Citra
  6. Mirror Pond Clone dry hopped with Centennial
Primary - Nada
Secondary -
From man's sweat and God's love, beer came into the world. -- Saint Arnoldus
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Old 09-20-2007, 01:30 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone for the responses. If I use vanilla extract, how much do I use? I'm assuming I don't need to soak the extract in bourbon, right?

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Old 09-20-2007, 01:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wild
What was meant was wood chips are wood chips. Oak is still oak whether you get it from your back yard or from the BBQ place down the street and was the only wood mentioned in this thread.
I've used both chips and cubes and found that the cubes seemed to be permeated to a lesser extent over the course of a week.

Wild
Again, I have to respectfully disagree. The oak chips/cubes, or the barrels used by winemakers for that matter, are "toasted" using fire in a very exacting process. This brings out specific characteristics that would be much, much different if the wood was unfired and raw. Try it out for yourself. Go out in your backyard and find an oak tree. Cut off a limb and cut it up into small cubes. Then get a bag of toasted oak cubes from a homebrew supply show. Make a 5 gallon batch of beer, then split it in half into two carboys. Age one with the toasted oak, and the other with the raw oak, and see how different they are.

There's even considerable attention paid, in the wine world, to where the oak comes from and what species it is.
__________________
MOSS HOLLOW BREWING CO.
Aristocratic Ales, Lascivious Lagers


.planned:
•Scottish 80/- •Sweet Stout •Roggenbier
.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
.on tap | kegged:
XX: Moss Hollow Springs Sparkling Water 95: Gott Mit Uns German Pils 91b: Brown Willie's Oaked Abbey Ale 103: Merkin Stout
98: Yorkshire Special 100: Maple Porter 89: Cidre Saison 101: Steffiweizen '09 (#3)
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Old 09-20-2007, 01:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GregKelley
Thanks everyone for the responses. If I use vanilla extract, how much do I use? I'm assuming I don't need to soak the extract in bourbon, right?
You can just add it at bottling time, to taste.
__________________
MOSS HOLLOW BREWING CO.
Aristocratic Ales, Lascivious Lagers


.planned:
•Scottish 80/- •Sweet Stout •Roggenbier
.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
.on tap | kegged:
XX: Moss Hollow Springs Sparkling Water 95: Gott Mit Uns German Pils 91b: Brown Willie's Oaked Abbey Ale 103: Merkin Stout
98: Yorkshire Special 100: Maple Porter 89: Cidre Saison 101: Steffiweizen '09 (#3)
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Old 09-20-2007, 01:42 PM   #9
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If you use vanilla extract, make sure to use real extract. And know that lots of the fancy "real" Mexican extracts ain't real.

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Old 09-20-2007, 02:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan!
Again, I have to respectfully disagree. The oak chips/cubes, or the barrels used by winemakers for that matter, are "toasted" using fire in a very exacting process. This brings out specific characteristics that would be much, much different if the wood was unfired and raw. Try it out for yourself. Go out in your backyard and find an oak tree. Cut off a limb and cut it up into small cubes. Then get a bag of toasted oak cubes from a homebrew supply show. Make a 5 gallon batch of beer, then split it in half into two carboys. Age one with the toasted oak, and the other with the raw oak, and see how different they are.

There's even considerable attention paid, in the wine world, to where the oak comes from and what species it is.
So there's a difference between the oak chips in my backyard and the oak chips from BBQ Galore.

My Oak Aged Bourbon Porter used 2 oz. medium toasted French oak chips and 4 oz. medium American oak chips. I do understand the differences of tasted chips. I was speaking of local oak.

Wild


__________________
On Tap -
  1. 3 year old Oak Aged Bourbon Porter
  2. Irish Red Rye
  3. Robust Porter
  4. Russian Imperial Stout
  5. Mirror Pond Clone dry hopped with Citra
  6. Mirror Pond Clone dry hopped with Centennial
Primary - Nada
Secondary -
From man's sweat and God's love, beer came into the world. -- Saint Arnoldus
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