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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Bourbon, Oak, and Vanilla Beans?
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Old 10-15-2011, 10:50 PM   #1
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Default Bourbon, Oak, and Vanilla Beans?

So I am doing a 5 gal batch of what I hope will turn out to be a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale clone.... Or close to that! So I want your guys help with this Boubon, oak, and vanilla bean deal for secondary. I know people say that the oak an whiskey will give you a subtle vanilla flavor but I am wanting that to be more pronounced so I got 2 beans. I have read a few ways to prep them one that includes splitting the bean down the middle and scrape out the paste. My question is do you discard the paste and just soak the bean husk, or what? Second I am planning on using 2oz of med toast french oak chips, and 6oz of makers mark. Does this sound like a good ratio? Finally do I add the bourbon I soaked the oak and vanilla with into my carboy for secondary or just the chips and beans? I do like bourbon so keep that in mind, but I don't want it to be too overwhelming of a flavor. Any input would be awesome.

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Old 10-15-2011, 11:42 PM   #2
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I don't know what the right ratios are. You will learn with practice.

But ....... you add everything to the beer, and you add all the bean (including the paste) to the Burbon. Splitting the bean just makes it easier for the flavor to come out.

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Old 10-15-2011, 11:53 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by moorerm04 View Post
So I am doing a 5 gal batch of what I hope will turn out to be a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale clone.... Or close to that! So I want your guys help with this Boubon, oak, and vanilla bean deal for secondary. I know people say that the oak an whiskey will give you a subtle vanilla flavor but I am wanting that to be more pronounced so I got 2 beans. I have read a few ways to prep them one that includes splitting the bean down the middle and scrape out the paste. My question is do you discard the paste and just soak the bean husk, or what? Second I am planning on using 2oz of med toast french oak chips, and 6oz of makers mark. Does this sound like a good ratio? Finally do I add the bourbon I soaked the oak and vanilla with into my carboy for secondary or just the chips and beans? I do like bourbon so keep that in mind, but I don't want it to be too overwhelming of a flavor. Any input would be awesome.
As Calder said, you do indeed put everything in vanilla bean-wise. 2 beans should be fine, however, if you don't want the bourbon to be too overwhelming, I think you might want to consider cutting back on your other additions. With the oak, a lot of it depends on how long you leave it in the beer, but I've gradually gotten down to 1 oz of chips, and still easily get a good oak presence (anything more than that it tended to be way too oakey...) Also, if you soak the chips in bourbon while you're doing the initial fermentation, you may not even need to add any additional bourbon. I found that I got plenty of bourbon flavor from just soaking the chips. You can always incrementally add a little more bourbon at packaging (to taste), but you can't take it out if it ends up being too much (and I really do think 6 oz could cause the bourbon to overwhelmingly dominate the beer.)
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Old 10-16-2011, 12:09 AM   #4
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I was going to secondary for 21 days.... So maybe 1oz of oak, and ad bourbon to taste before I bottle if need be?

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Old 10-16-2011, 01:19 AM   #5
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What about sanitizing the vanilla beans?

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Old 10-16-2011, 02:21 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by moorerm04 View Post
So I am doing a 5 gal batch of what I hope will turn out to be a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale clone.... Or close to that! So I want your guys help with this Boubon, oak, and vanilla bean deal for secondary. I know people say that the oak an whiskey will give you a subtle vanilla flavor but I am wanting that to be more pronounced so I got 2 beans. I have read a few ways to prep them one that includes splitting the bean down the middle and scrape out the paste. My question is do you discard the paste and just soak the bean husk, or what? Second I am planning on using 2oz of med toast french oak chips, and 6oz of makers mark. Does this sound like a good ratio? Finally do I add the bourbon I soaked the oak and vanilla with into my carboy for secondary or just the chips and beans? I do like bourbon so keep that in mind, but I don't want it to be too overwhelming of a flavor. Any input would be awesome.
In the culinary world, one would use the paste and the bean pod..
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Old 10-16-2011, 04:34 PM   #7
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I was hoping for a little more help! BUMP!

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Old 10-16-2011, 04:59 PM   #8
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Put the spliced bean and the oak in a small container and cover with Burbon, and leave until ready to use. Then add all of it (Oak, bean, & burbon) to your secondary.

Do some research on other recipes for how much Burbon is typical. If it were mine, I'd probably be using somewhere around 12 ozs in a 5 gallon batch, maybe more.

If I remember correctly, Denny's Chocolate Burbon Porter had 10 ml per bottle, which equates to half a liter in 5 gallons.

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Old 10-16-2011, 10:32 PM   #9
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So are these Oak chips different from what I use in the BBQ?

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Old 10-16-2011, 10:59 PM   #10
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Wow! We are attempting almost the same brew.... I am using a oak spiral instead of cubes that I soaked in about 6 oz of Makers for two weeks. Then I added it to my primary. Been oaking for about 3 weeks. Monday I will add the 2 beans for the last two weeks then I'm racking, bottling, and giving it about 6 months to mature.

According to the website spirals are fully depleted after 6 weeks. Also what is your base beer? I used a malty scottish ale recipe with some smoked malt. You?

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