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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > Vanilla Poll - Extract vs Bean (bits or liquid only)




View Poll Results: How do you like your vanilla
Commercial Extract 2 18.18%
Whole Bean - after sanitizing/infusing in high proof spirit, add whole thing to secondary. 8 72.73%
Whole Bean - after infusing in high proof spirit, add infusion only to keg/secondary (no bean bits). 1 9.09%
Voters: 11. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-20-2013, 01:27 AM   #1
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Default Vanilla Poll - Extract vs Bean (bits or liquid only)

Curious to know, from those who add vanilla to their brews, what's the consensus on extract vs. whole/scraped beans?

As a sub-category, for those who use whole beans, after soaking the beans in some high proof spirit for a few days, do you add the whole thing to secondary, or just the liquid you infused (in which case, it can go into the keg at that point).

Thanks!



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Old 11-20-2013, 01:58 AM   #2
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I use whole beans sliced and scraped, soaked in vodka. Then at bottling/kegging will filter out the bean and just add the flavored vodka. Always had good results this way.



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Old 11-20-2013, 02:44 AM   #3
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I just added vanilla to my porter the other day. It's my first time. But I split the beans, cut them into pieces about an inch long, soaked in vodka for 4 or 5 days, dumped the whole thing into the secondary (liquid and the bean bits), and transferred the beer on top of it.

(yes, secondary was necessary. I was harvesting the yeast for another batch. )

I did it that way, because that's what I remembered reading most other people had done. Although, I hadn't actually read anything about it in a while, so my memory may be faulty.

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Old 11-20-2013, 02:56 PM   #4
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I've used beans twice now. Both times I added whole/scraped beans to the secondary after soaking in bourbon (the cheapest I could find) and soaking for several days in the fridge. I didn't even bother to chop up the beans into smaller pieces, I just split the beans and put 'em in a glass jar and poured bourbon on top.

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Old 11-20-2013, 06:58 PM   #5
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I can't help but thinking of it like tea. You can use a tea bag to make tea, drink it down after it infuses, and then add more hot water to the cup. The resulting liquid (depending on the tea you use of course), is often a pale, barely tinted water with little flavor, because you extracted most of the goodness the first time through.

Does anyone have any practical, or scientific information on vanilla/alcohol infusions? Once you've soaked the vanilla bean pieces/scrapings in vodka, rum, bourbon, or whatever, for a week, is there really more to get out of the "bits" by racking your beer on top of it? Or is the vanilla-y goodness all (or significantly all) in the liquid infusion already?

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Old 11-20-2013, 08:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pfgonzo View Post
I can't help but thinking of it like tea. You can use a tea bag to make tea, drink it down after it infuses, and then add more hot water to the cup. The resulting liquid (depending on the tea you use of course), is often a pale, barely tinted water with little flavor, because you extracted most of the goodness the first time through.

Does anyone have any practical, or scientific information on vanilla/alcohol infusions? Once you've soaked the vanilla bean pieces/scrapings in vodka, rum, bourbon, or whatever, for a week, is there really more to get out of the "bits" by racking your beer on top of it? Or is the vanilla-y goodness all (or significantly all) in the liquid infusion already?
Who knows, but does it hurt anything to put the beans in the secondary??? I certainly don't see any problem with that!
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Old 11-21-2013, 02:56 AM   #7
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As I said before, I read about this process here on HBT a whole bunch, but it was a while back.

However, I do remember somebody that said they were a chef and made their own vanilla extract for cooking. That person claimed that it kept getting better and better, even over the course of several years. And that was with the beans still immersed in the liquor. (or so my memory tells me)

If that is to be believed, I think it is reasonable to think there is plenty more vanilla flavor to be extracted from the beans after a week or so steeping in liquor.

From my experience, vanilla beans are pretty tough and hard. Most tea bags I've seen are neither tough nor hard. I think it is safe to say it takes longer to deplete a vanilla bean of its goodness than for a tea bag.

Having said all of that, if you achieve the degree of vanilla flavor you are going for without adding the beans to the fermenter, then there is obviously no reason to bother with adding something more you will need to eventually clean out of the fermenter.

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Old 11-21-2013, 07:21 PM   #8
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Another thing I just thought of...

My understanding is that the main reason for steeping the vanilla beans in liquor isn't to extract the vanilla flavor, but rather to sanitize the beans and kill off any nasty bugs before dumping them in the beer. Otherwise, you may introduce some bacteria or other bugs that could ruin your beer.

So, although it is possible to essentially make homemade extract and use that to flavor the beer, the technique most people have voted for so far is basically a technique of sanitizing the vanilla beans so they can be added directly to the beer.



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