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Old 12-24-2008, 02:10 PM   #1
305guy
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Default Vanilla Brown Sugar Ale

2.5-gal test batch

3# british mild
0.5# crystal 10L
0.5# biscuit
0.5# american wheat
0.5# brown sugar

0.5 oz fuggle 60-min
0.5 oz kent golding 10-min

london ale yeast

what form of vanilla flavor should i add, in what quantity, and when in the process? i'm looking for a noticable but smooth subtle vanilla flavor.

after reading some other threads, i was planning to add the brown sugar at the last 10 minutes of the boil.

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Old 12-24-2008, 02:38 PM   #2
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I know someone who has had good results adding brown sugar to the primary. It will have no problem dissolving.

Different people have different opinions on vanilla, and I personally will use vanilla extract. People tend to agree that it's worthwhile to spring for the "real" vanilla extract.

As far as the name of this beer goes, I don't particularly like the ring of "...sugar ale". You might consider calling it a Vanilla Molasses Ale maybe, since molasses is predominantly what brown sugar brings to the flavors.

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Old 12-24-2008, 03:01 PM   #3
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I like using beans in the secondary...cut them open, scrape the guts and chuck it all in, rack your beer on top of it.

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Old 12-24-2008, 03:05 PM   #4
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...then taste as time goes buy to get the desired flavor. Although I have not used vanilla in beer, the times I have used real vanilla beans vs. extract ("real" or not) I much prefer the real stuff to extract...much better flavor

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Old 12-24-2008, 06:53 PM   #5
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thanks for the help.

brewt00l: "cut them open, scrape the guts and chuck it all in"

does that mean to chuck in both the shells and the guts?

i got a few vanilla beans. how much should i use? remember, this is a 2.5 gal batch. i also got a some hazelnuts, and am considering adding a few of those as well. how much would you suggest of those, and should i add them during secondary as well?

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Old 12-24-2008, 07:01 PM   #6
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I think using the beans is like using oak chips. If you use a lot, you'll want to leave them on it for less time. If you use a little, you'll leave the beer on it for longer. Taste to determine when it is done.

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Old 12-24-2008, 08:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 305guy View Post
thanks for the help.

brewt00l: "cut them open, scrape the guts and chuck it all in"

does that mean to chuck in both the shells and the guts?

i got a few vanilla beans. how much should i use? remember, this is a 2.5 gal batch. i also got a some hazelnuts, and am considering adding a few of those as well. how much would you suggest of those, and should i add them during secondary as well?
It depends on your beans but a couple go a long way. As mentioned, taking a periodic sample while the beer is on the beans is the way to go..let it hang out until you get the flavors you want.

Yes, I make an incision lengthwise down the bean and then use the knife to open it up and scrape the specks out, toss it all in to the secondary and rack the beer in. IIRC someone on the northern brewer forum did a visual tutorial of using the beans in beer that you could search for if you want.
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Old 12-25-2008, 02:20 AM   #8
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I don't think there is any advantage to vanilla beans over a very good extract (nielsen-massey or better).

The advantage to extract is that you have the ability to titrate and repeat.

I had an oak aged smoked porter from O'Fallon recently that I swear heavily recalled the batch of Denny Conn's bourbon vanilla imperial porter I made a few years ago so I guess a bourbon barrel is capable of getting you vanilla flavor as well

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Old 12-25-2008, 03:34 AM   #9
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I'm very interested to see how this turns out! Keep us posted!

Also... I'm glad to see someone else not afraid to add sugar to their beer.

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Old 12-25-2008, 05:52 AM   #10
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Alright, got it all brewed this afternoon, and decided to change a few things. Here's the final recipe:

2.5 gal batch
4# British Mild
0.5# Crystal 40L
0.5# American Wheat
0.5# Biscuit
0.5 oz Fuggle (60 min)
0.5 oz Progress (10 min)
0.33# Light Brown Sugar (10 min)
1/2 pkg Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale
1 whole vanilla bean (to be added in secondary)


Stats according to Suds6 software:
OG- 1.058; FG- 1.015; %Alc/wgt- 5.7%; IBU- 23.6; Color- 21.4

Recorded OG- 1.055.

Pitched yeast about 8 hours ago, airlock started bubbling a little almost immediately. I'll post an update in a few days. Unfortunately, my schedule requires me to bottle on or before Jan 6 (12 days after brew day). My current plan is to just leave it in primary, add the vanilla on day 5, and just skip secondary, going straight to bottling. Any suggestions?

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