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Old 03-08-2009, 05:40 PM   #1
absolutbmc
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Has anyone brewed a vanilla stout? I just bottle a vanilla stout and it did not have much vanilla taste. Is this something that will change with time? Here is my recipe:

6.6 lbs of Dark Mal Syrup
12 oz Crystal 20L
10 oz roasted Barley
4 oz Chocolate Malt
6 oz oatmeal
1 oz Simcoe Hops
.5 lb lactose
Safale Yeast.

put all the grains in a muslin bag and the oats in another bag. Steeped the grains and oats at 150-170 for 30 mins in gallons of water. Then added the extract and stirred it up. Brought the Wort to a boil. Once boiling, added the hops and boiled for an hour. Added Lactose in last 30 minutes. Added to fermentor and pitched yeast.

Fermented in primary for 1 week and 1 week in secondary. I added Vanilla beans and insides during secondary. I just bottled today.

Also, how long should I let it condition?
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Old 03-09-2009, 03:46 AM   #2
nallanrex
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How many beans did you use? Most recipes i seen call for two for a 5 gal batch.

I would say to get more vanilla flavor, you would have to leave it in the secondary longer. The recipe I looked at said to leave it in secondary for 3 weeks.

I wouldn't think the vanilla will come out more the longer you let it sit in the bottles, but i could be wrong.

The other thing i seen is people will cut the beans lengthwise, scrape out the inside and let it soak in just enough vodka to cover the beans and let them sit for a day.

Let your bottles condition for at least 4 weeks(if you can stand it). If it still seems flat after that try moving them to a warmer area. I let my bottles carb at 75f for 2 weeks. Then I take a bottle put it in the fridge, wait a day then taste it. If its carbed I move them down stairs to store.(68f-70f). The longer you let it sit the better. Ive seen noticeable improvement after 6 months.



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Old 03-09-2009, 09:57 AM   #3
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I've brewed several different versions of Vanilla stouts and porters (also a pale ale that turned out absolutely horrific...but let's not talk about that one) and have always used vanilla beans...the one most common mistake that I made was either not giving the beans enough time to "steep" during secondary, not using enough beans at all, or using too much "roasty/acidic" malts that overpowered the delicate vanilla aroma.

If anything the vanilla notes tend to be stronger at bottling and they mellow out over time (depending on the grain bill). So my solution would be to add more vanilla beans to your secondary next time and bottle it when you have the flavor where you want it to be. I've got a one year old vanilla porter that kicked you in the mouth with it's vanilla aroma in the beginning and now over a year later the roasty/robust part of the porter is beginning to take over.

Some people soak their beans in bourbon because of the natural vanilla-esque qualities of certain toasted oak bourbon barrels...others will use vanilla extract. I guess the advantage of using vanilla beans is that it is a gradual addition of vanilla flavor..whereas an extract would be hitting you square in the face all at once.

So I guess the answer to your question is, use the amount of vanilla beans that make your beer taste the way you want it to. Patience is key and I totally understand the concept of wanting to enjoy the beer like ASAP...but if it isn't ready...then don't bottle it. When you taste it after one week in the secondary and it needs more vanilla...then add more...taste it every day if you need to..until you get the profile down right.

The other way you can approach this beer next time would be to re-assess your grain bill with relation to the style. What features of this stout do you want to accentuate? Looks like based on your recipe that you're trying to shoot for something with a smooth and thick mouthfeel, a light caramel sweetness, pine/citrus, and a robust roasty character all at once! That's a lot of different bold characteristics trying to fight for your taste-buds' attention....not to mention the vanilla.

I can easily see why the vanilla's presence is very faint...and it could become quite a chore deciding how much to add.

I bet this stout you made is going to be very interesting...I can tell that it's going to be lighter in color (if you're brewing 5 gallons) and will most likely have a sweet/thicker mouthfeel based on your unfermentables.

And by the way, my favorite Vanilla Porter had two whole vanilla beans split down the middle, scraped, diced, and soaked in 1/4 cup of 4-year old Kentucky Bourbon (for 2 weeks)....and then sat in tertiary for 2 weeks...PER GALLON.

I know it sounds obscene...but i just kept testing and adding and testing and adding until it tasted 'just right'.

I wish you all the best.
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Old 03-09-2009, 02:32 PM   #4
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Thank you for the responses. I am brewing a 5 Gallon batch. I added 2 vanilla beans. I cut them down the middle and scrapped the insides and diced the bean shell. I soaked all of it in Jameson Irish whiskey for 5 days. The beer is very dark, almost a full black. The aroma of the vanilla was very strong. I tasted the beer after taking a hydrometer test. I plan on letting this beer sit at least a month in the bottles.
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Old 03-11-2009, 10:05 PM   #5
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So after soaking the beans in the whisky/bourbon/vodka/etc. do you add the alcohol + beans to the secondary or just the beans?
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Old 03-12-2009, 02:20 AM   #6
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I added everything: Alcohol, bean shell, and the inside scrapings
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Old 03-13-2009, 06:33 AM   #7
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I tried to add everything...but you know....having a nice glass of aged bourbon that has a heavy vanilla aroma...whaddya think happened?
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Old 03-13-2009, 03:12 PM   #8
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hahaha Can't blame you on that. It did smell tasty

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Originally Posted by 22415 Brewery View Post
I tried to add everything...but you know....having a nice glass of aged bourbon that has a heavy vanilla aroma...whaddya think happened?
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