I've almost finished my 5 gallons of mead and I'd like to go back to a grain-based drink (BEER!). Don't get me wrong, I will be making mead for the rest of my life. Its just so good.
This is my previous success with oatmeal stout (came from a kit, my first experience!):
6 lbs. Dark liquid malt extract,
8 oz. Rolled Oats,
4 oz. Chocolate Malt,
4 oz. Roasted Barley specialty grains,
1 oz. Fuggle pellet hops,
yeast, priming sugar and a grain bag
Heres where my questions come in. My neighbor has some of her own hops (she doesn't use them, nobody knows why she grows them, she's an odd one) so I lucked out and got some for free. I have no idea what they are, but I have well over an ounce.
1. Is anyone opposed to simply throwing these mystery hops in? They aren't incredibly pungent, but do smell of hops.
2. I don't remember the yeast I used. It was one of the following:
White labs irish ale yeast
Irish ale yeast - Wyeast
Munton and fison ale yeast
Anyone have a preference, or a recommendation?
3. I would like to add some vanilla flavoring, something that is obvious but not over-powering. How would one do this? The normal grocery store extract, added after secondary? Beans to the primary?