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-   -   Best use of Vanilla beans (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/best-use-vanilla-beans-163669/)

Shaggyt 02-18-2010 11:40 AM

Best use of Vanilla beans
I have porter on tap for my next brew session and I just picked up two vanilla beans to add. My problem now is when to add them to the wort/beer.

Whereas most of the posts here discuss vanilla beans added to the secondary, my LBHS advised me to add them towards the end of the boil, around 5-10 minutes. The guy also stated to split the beans open and scrape out the innards, adding them to the boil.

So now I have two questions:

1. When to add the beans? Boil or sceondary?
2. Do I add them whole or split & scrape?

Bru 02-18-2010 12:16 PM

Im currently drinking a kegged vanilla porter. Its one of the nicest beers Ive made. The vanilla has come through nicely without being too strong. Even SWMBO and her mates like it.
I used 3 vanilla beans which I sliced in half (lengthways) and then cut into 1" sections which I soaked in vodka for 24hrs (just enough vodka to cover the vanilla). I then poured the entire lot into the secondary for about two weeks before kegging.

TheRabidKumquat 02-18-2010 01:32 PM

I, too, do the scrape split and chop. The flavor really comes from the seeds inside the pod.

I add beans to secondary. Pretty sure that the flavors are best extracted by alcohol

riverfrontbrewer 02-18-2010 02:07 PM

For a 5 gal batch I split one bean, cut into quarters, into carboy for 1 week of secondary. I am trying to keep a few bottles for aging to see what the vanilla is like @ 6 / 12 / 18 months.

Shaggyt 02-18-2010 03:13 PM


Originally Posted by TheRabidKumquat (Post 1891175)
I add beans to secondary. Pretty sure that the flavors are best extracted by alcohol

This was my understanding as well. Looks like the secondary is where it's at.

schristian619 02-18-2010 09:06 PM

+1 to secondary. I slice it the long way, scrape out the insides and cut into quarters. In my experience, one been is enough for a pretty big beer with a 5 gallon batch. I secondary for a week with the vanilla bean, then keg.

riverfrontbrewer 02-18-2010 09:11 PM

Hey 619, whats with the scrapping? Is that bad stuff in there?

JayInJersey 02-18-2010 09:40 PM

I have to ask...where are you all sourcing your beans?

My LHBS doesn't have them...and neither does my regular online shop.

riverfrontbrewer 02-18-2010 09:53 PM


Grocery store, look in the area with the the spices...about $14 for 2 beans

schristian619 02-18-2010 09:53 PM

Nah, nothing bad. I just scrape to get it all out so everything gets exposed to the beer. Forget where i heard about that, probably somewhere on here though.

Jay, most supermarkets will have them. I buy mine at Henry's, and get the Madagascar ones. Kinda pricey at about $10 for 2 beens, but worth it IMO.

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