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Old 03-09-2011, 11:37 PM   #21
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I can't find any vanilla powder in my local area, only vanillin powder. Would this be an alright substitute? I feel like getting this started as soon as possible.

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Old 03-09-2011, 11:42 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by oldmate View Post
I can't find any vanilla powder in my local area, only vanillin powder. Would this be an alright substitute? I feel like getting this started as soon as possible.
Just use actual vanilla beans... You can get them damned cheap on amazon (~$6-$7 for 7 high quality beans)...
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:00 AM   #23
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I can get vanilla beans for around $5 AUS here. I'm just unsure on how to translate the amount of taste I would get from the powder into the amount I would get from beans..

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Old 03-10-2011, 12:05 AM   #24
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Are there no online sources for you?? I know that the beans are much more expensive in grocery stores and such, which is why I get mine online... Even with shipping, I don't think it cost me $2/bean when I ordered my package of 7...

There are sites that show conversion factors for whole beans to extract. Not sure about the powdered form though...

I'm more inclined to use the whole bean since you have better control over how much flavor you'll get from it. With powder and extract, once it's in, you cannot stop the flavor contribution. So, if it's too much, you're screwed (or you have to let it age long enough to mellow)...

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On Tap: Caramel Ale, Mocha Porter II, MO SMaSH IPA
Waiting/Carbonating: 12.5% Wee Honey II, 8.9% Old Ale, English Brown Ale, Lickah ESB, Mocha Porter II
Fermenting
K1:
K2: Epic mead
K3: TripSix
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Mead [bottled]:Oaked Wildflower Traditional, Mocha Madness, Blackberry Melomel, maple wine
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:15 AM   #25
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I could order from Amazon, but it would take a good 3/4 weeks to get here and they'd probably be fiddled with in customs. Would you be able to link me to a good site, ie, one that you've used before that is reliable?

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Old 03-10-2011, 12:33 AM   #26
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I ordered from Amazon... The place that sold them was actually just a few towns over from me... Even using USPS they arrived within two days...

If you can only get either fake vanilla or expensive beans, I'd get the beans.

Most of the time I see a replacement ratio of 2-3 tsp of extract for one actual vanilla bean.

For vanilla powder, I was able to find this info:
Vanilla powder is a suitable substitution for custards and other desserts because it lacks the alcohol contained in vanilla extract. Substitute two teaspoons of vanilla powder for one vanilla bean.

But, without knowing how much 2 tsp of powder actually weighs, it will be difficult to formulate exactly how you should replace. If someone has the powder on hand, maybe they can weigh 1-2 tsp of it so we have a baseline... If the powder is dense enough, you could be looking at 2 beans...

As I already mentioned, I'm more of the mind set to use the original flavor element over extracts or powders. Especially when brewing/fermenting.

If you add this post fermentation, you should get more flavors into the batch. Or shift the balance so that you use less during fermentation and more post.

I actually have a 1 gallon batch of my mocha madness mead sitting on a single split vanilla bean (didn't scrape it)... I dropped that in on 2/18/11... I'm going to let it go another week or two before I check on it... I am looking for a more pronounced addition from the bean, which is why I'm leaving it so long. I'm also considering adding some oak chips to the batch for a month or two.

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On Tap: Caramel Ale, Mocha Porter II, MO SMaSH IPA
Waiting/Carbonating: 12.5% Wee Honey II, 8.9% Old Ale, English Brown Ale, Lickah ESB, Mocha Porter II
Fermenting
K1:
K2: Epic mead
K3: TripSix
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Mead [bottled]:Oaked Wildflower Traditional, Mocha Madness, Blackberry Melomel, maple wine
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Old 03-10-2011, 01:05 AM   #27
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Yeah, but everything I order from Amazon has to cross the Pacific . I'll use two in the primary then. I see everyone saying how vanilla has the potential to overpower the other tastes, but in my opinion that can't be a bad thing, as I like my brews very sweet with a powerful taste of whatever it is that I am adding to it. I think that the two in the primary will be fine as I am also using cocao powder which has a pretty potent taste as well, and like you said, I can always give it a taste mid-fermentation.

Thank you so much for your help! I am actually using a single vanilla bean in a spiced banana mead along with some nutmeg and cinnamon. It has been sitting on it for around 5 days now, I might give it a taste to see how much flavour has been imparted to get a good idea of how much to use in this brew.

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Old 03-10-2011, 01:11 AM   #28
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So THAT'S what they really mean by "the land down under"...

I would actually use them post fermentation. Or use 1/2 of a bean in primary and save the rest for post fermentation. That way you'll get more layers of contribution...

From what I've read, and experienced so far, vanilla (most often) will actually just enhace the other flavors in something. Until you get to crazy levels of it that is. So, I would do the 1/2 bean in primary, to get that contribution, but then use the rest later as needed. Especially since they're costing as much as they are.

You could also use some oak chips/cubes to get a similar effect in the batch...

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On Tap: Caramel Ale, Mocha Porter II, MO SMaSH IPA
Waiting/Carbonating: 12.5% Wee Honey II, 8.9% Old Ale, English Brown Ale, Lickah ESB, Mocha Porter II
Fermenting
K1:
K2: Epic mead
K3: TripSix
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Mead [bottled]:Oaked Wildflower Traditional, Mocha Madness, Blackberry Melomel, maple wine
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Old 03-10-2011, 01:20 AM   #29
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I know, it sucks. It sucks even more when this is the only decent forum on brewing, all of the Australian forums I have found are either dead or strictly for beer brewing (for some reason, everyone I talk to over here looks down on wine/mead/cider brewers).

Sounds good, you seem much more experienced than me at using stuff like this! What do the oak chips do? What type of flavour is it? As an end-of-the-world mead, I would want this tasting pretty damn good.

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Old 03-10-2011, 01:41 AM   #30
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I was using the Got Mead? site for learning about making mead when I started (back in late November of last year)... Great info on this stuff over there. They do have a beer section too, but the focus is mainly on mead, cider and wines... GREAT people there, tons of knowledge. I highly recommend visiting for such info...

Personally, I started with beer, but then tried someone's mead... I was hooked right from the start. So, I picked up 40# of honey and started my first batches (still in process)... I decided to go more basic at first. Two traditional batches and a melomel (blackberries)... Learned from making both types. I then decided to step it up a level with my mocha madness batch (1 gallon, more POR for now, if it comes out really good, I'll do a 3 gallon batch next).

I do research things a little, to make sure I'm not going down a dangerous path, then dive in with both feet. A lot of the people at the other site prefer the actual ingredient over extracts. Mostly for the reasons I've already stated (control of flavor contribution).

For what oak will bring to the table... It depends on the toast level of the oak, as well as which oak it is. Most places that offer it also include descriptions of the different types. I'm using medium toast right now, since that has more of what I'm looking for. I do plan on getting some medium plus toast level at some point. I don't think I'll be using either light or heavy anytime soon (if at all)... Not sure what house toast really is. It looks close to medium when I've seen it. I've seen American, French, and Hungarian oak listed... Look at what they describe what they offer, and then pick which you like the sound of most.

Some people tell you to soak the oak in vodka (for days) to sanitize it. Others will tell you to steam it (for 15 minutes I think). Way I see it, you're extracting flavor from the oak by doing this. Unless you're going to include that medium (vodka, or water from the steam) you're throwing away at least part of what the oak would give you (no pun intended, but accepted)... So far, I've simply boiled some water in my tea pot, and poured it into a jar containing the oak chips. I then covered the jar and let them cool to room temp. I then pitched the entire thing into the brew. Wood and tea (essentially) included. Zero infections, contaminations, etc resulted. Just got good tasting brew out of it. For mead, if it's already fermented fully, I would probably just toss the oak into it and not even blink. Of course, my batches are running 14-18% ABV... Chances of anything hitching a ride, and surviving once in the mead is pretty damn slim...

Feel free to shoot me a PM if you have any questions about things... I can send you an email addy too, to make things easy...

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跟猴子比丟屎 ・ Gun HOE-tze bee DIO-se

On Tap: Caramel Ale, Mocha Porter II, MO SMaSH IPA
Waiting/Carbonating: 12.5% Wee Honey II, 8.9% Old Ale, English Brown Ale, Lickah ESB, Mocha Porter II
Fermenting
K1:
K2: Epic mead
K3: TripSix
On Deck: Caramel Ale
Aging:mead
Mead [bottled]:Oaked Wildflower Traditional, Mocha Madness, Blackberry Melomel, maple wine
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