I am in the process of making a vanilla bourbon barrel stout. I have oak chips soaking in 16oz of makers mark bourbon. I intend to add the bourbon and chips to the secondary. My questions is how many vanilla beans should I add so as not to over power things. Do you cut the bean up or just toss in the secondary whole? How long do you keep the beer on the vanilla and chips?
2 beans, yes scrape the insides and I cut them up into 3 or 4 pieces. I leave them for 3 weeks along with a few ounces of med toast chips. Your amount and time is up to you. Take samples, your tastes may not be the same as mine.