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Old 09-30-2012, 08:28 AM   #21
AnthonyCB
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Update & a question.


First, I hit the vanilla beans with vodka despite the pending war over it (I crack me up). I also drank the vodka afterward (wow!).

Second, two weeks in the fermenter has given me a SG of 1.020 from 1.062. I'm not seeing any activity but the recipe I used called for another week in the primary and two more in a secondary. Does that make sense or will I hover around 1.020 forever? Will racking it into the secondary get it moving again? Do I hit it with more yeast? Should I sacrifice a small mammal to the brew gods? If so, what kind of mammal?

In other news, it tasted good. Here's the recipe below. I welcome any advice or criticism of it.

Thanks for all the help so far.


Mocha Porter (not mine, can't give me credit or blame... Shamefully, lost the creator's name)


9# Amber LME
12 oz. Flaked Oats
1# Chocolate Malt
8 oz. Black Patent Malt
12 oz Crystal 60

1.5 oz Bullion (60 min)
.5 oz Williamette (30 min)
.5 oz Williamette (5 min)

1.5 cup cocoa powder (10 min)
2 vanilla beans in primary

Or 1 Pkgs American Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056) Yeast-Ale


OG: 1.062

Soaked vanilla beans in vodka to sanitize.

Muslin bag broke because I went too big. Use strainer twice with a fermenter bucket. After the final drop into the fermenter I strained again but lost some of the cocoa.

Initial plan is three weeks in primary. Look up racking to second. 4 weeks in bottle.
With 9# of Amber LME plus oats plus crystal, I think 1.020 is all the fermentation you are going to get unless you toss some Brett or Beano in there (don't do it). Amber Extract usually has very poor fermentablity. I wouldn't worry about it. In a porter like this I don't think it will be a problem. Was this originally an all-grain recipe that you converted? In my experience it's pretty rare to add flaked grain without at least doing a mini-mash using another grain with some diastatic power like 2-row.

Also, put me in the camp that says Vanilla beans work well scraped and soaked in Vodka for a week or so before going into the fermenter (vodka or bourbon included). I don't doubt that Denny didn't have any infection issues, but I bet the utilization of the beans would have been better had he made an extract first. The vodka taste/smell is completely hidden in the beer, but the vanilla comes through well once it is carbonated. Don't be worried if it is very hard to detect in the Vanilla in the flat beer.
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Old 09-30-2012, 06:09 PM   #22
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I bet the utilization of the beans would have been better had he made an extract first. The vodka taste/smell is completely hidden in the beer, but the vanilla comes through well once it is carbonated. Don't be worried if it is very hard to detect in the Vanilla in the flat beer.
You'd lose that bet. Ya know, it isn't like I haven't tried soaking them in vodka. I've done it both ways and made my decision based on a comparison, which is something that it doesn't sound like anyone here has done. I could detect the heat of the vodka in the beer and I just didn't care for it. In addition, it did nothing to intensify the vanilla flavor.
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Old 09-30-2012, 06:21 PM   #23
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You'd lose that bet. Ya know, it isn't like I haven't tried soaking them in vodka. I've done it both ways and made my decision based on a comparison, which is something that it doesn't sound like anyone here has done. I could detect the heat of the vodka in the beer and I just didn't care for it. In addition, it did nothing to intensify the vanilla flavor.
I'll do the comparison Denny. I doubt it will make a difference, but since I've got 2 fermenters of your elixer almost finished fermenting, I'll do the side-by-side.

BTW, I made it exactly per spec, brown malt, EKG, etc. Only diff is that I used S-05 for the yeast.

I've got a jar of plump beans from Beanilla. I'll soak 2 of them in vodka for 3 days for fermentor #1, and pitch 2 un-extracted beans in fermentor #2.

I'm excited to be making this beer. Thanks.
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Old 09-30-2012, 07:10 PM   #24
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Thanks for taking the challenge! I look forward to hearing your results. remember, do a blind triangle tasting.

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Old 09-30-2012, 08:11 PM   #25
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Thanks for taking the challenge! I look forward to hearing your results. remember, do a blind triangle tasting.
You got it. I'll solicit my crazy neighbor and my brewpub owner friend.

I had a taste today from the hydro. Mmmm. 1.073 to 1.024 @ 60F. I've raised the temp to 70F and I think I can get another 4 or 6 points out of it during the next week.

I'm going to soak the bean in bourbon since I'll be buying bourbon . So, I'll just be comparing the vanilla extraction with, and without, prior ethanol extraction.
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:59 PM   #26
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Blend the bean or beans with vodka to make a slurry and throw it into the boil for the last few minutes...

bosco

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Old 09-30-2012, 10:29 PM   #27
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Blend the bean or beans with vodka to make a slurry and throw it into the boil for the last few minutes...

bosco
Slurry, maybe

Boil, no way IMO.
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Old 09-30-2012, 10:45 PM   #28
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Blend the bean or beans with vodka to make a slurry and throw it into the boil for the last few minutes...

bosco
That doesn't sound like a good idea.
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:07 AM   #29
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You'd lose that bet. Ya know, it isn't like I haven't tried soaking them in vodka. I've done it both ways and made my decision based on a comparison, which is something that it doesn't sound like anyone here has done. I could detect the heat of the vodka in the beer and I just didn't care for it. In addition, it did nothing to intensify the vanilla flavor.
Hey Denny,

If you've already done the experiment, then I take it back. I would have expected the lower ABV of the beer to have less efficient extraction of flavor compounds than the high ABV vodka. Furthermore, it's far easier to periodically agitate the vodka/bean mixture than it is the entire fermenter without ill effects. I would have imagined that the beans would be quickly covered by yeast in suspension or sink to the bottom and end up buried in the yeast cake reducing their contact with the beer. Mosher and Strong also advocate the vodka extraction method, but given that your name deserves mention along with theirs this carries quite a bit less weight than it might for someone else.

Did you try full scale or just drops in a sample? I could definitely detect the vodka in the sample (and certainly in the jar full of vodka and beans), but not in the carbed beer after adding the mixture to a week or so before bottling and kegging. Did you add the vodka mix to directly to the keg? If so is it possible that in the fermenter any hot alcohols can gas off, but in the keg they remain trapped? The vodka isn't even enough to move the dial on ABV. I used probably about 60 ml (about two shots) of vodka for 22 liters of beer which is only adding 24 ml of alcohol to a container that already has 1.32 liters of alcohol in it, essentially a rounding error.

-Anthony
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Old 10-01-2012, 05:03 PM   #30
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Hey Denny,

If you've already done the experiment, then I take it back. I would have expected the lower ABV of the beer to have less efficient extraction of flavor compounds than the high ABV vodka. Furthermore, it's far easier to periodically agitate the vodka/bean mixture than it is the entire fermenter without ill effects. I would have imagined that the beans would be quickly covered by yeast in suspension or sink to the bottom and end up buried in the yeast cake reducing their contact with the beer. Mosher and Strong also advocate the vodka extraction method, but given that your name deserves mention along with theirs this carries quite a bit less weight than it might for someone else.

Did you try full scale or just drops in a sample? I could definitely detect the vodka in the sample (and certainly in the jar full of vodka and beans), but not in the carbed beer after adding the mixture to a week or so before bottling and kegging. Did you add the vodka mix to directly to the keg? If so is it possible that in the fermenter any hot alcohols can gas off, but in the keg they remain trapped? The vodka isn't even enough to move the dial on ABV. I used probably about 60 ml (about two shots) of vodka for 22 liters of beer which is only adding 24 ml of alcohol to a container that already has 1.32 liters of alcohol in it, essentially a rounding error.

-Anthony
I added the vodka/vanilla bean mixture to a secondary fermenter and racked the beer onto it. I'd have to check my notes to see how much vodka I used, assuming I even wrote it down! But I know that there was no more vanilla flavor and aroma than when I didn't use vodka and I could definitely detect it in the beer.
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