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Old 08-09-2011, 01:37 AM   #1
Knoxgoalie
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Jun 2011
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I want to add cinnamon and vanilla flavor to my Smashing Pumpkin Ale...I've read in various places that people soak cinnamon sticks or vanilla beans in vodka or spiced rum. I'd like to know people's experiences with this and maybe get some suggestions about how/when to add this and how much to add as well. Thanks so much!



 
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Old 08-09-2011, 04:24 PM   #2
CTownBrewer
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I haven't used either of these yet, but will be when I brew my Christmas Ale later this year. The process I've seen most often is to cut the vanilla bean open, scrape out the insides, chop up, & add everything to a small amount of vodka for 24-48 hrs. If you're using a cinnamon stick, you could crush it & add it to the vodka & vanilla bean. If using cinnamon spice, you could make a spice tea in warm water & add it that way.

The other option is to add the cinnamon directly in the boil at flame-out. If you don't get the flavor you want by the time you rack to secondary, you could add more in one of the ways I mentioned above.


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Old 08-09-2011, 05:23 PM   #3
inthebackwoods
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For me, I have added cinnamon and vanilla to a couple brews. I have had better success with cinnamon stick rather than ground cinnamon and have only used vanilla beans. What I do is cut the vanilla bean in half and then slice it down the middle, not all the way though, to expose the inside. Then I steam the cinnamon stick(s) and vanilla bean(s) for approx 15 mins to kill any nasties. Then, I add to the secondary and rack beer on top of it. I have not had any issues with this process as of yet. I've heard of soaking in alcohol too, but have not tried it with cinnamon or vanilla myself. I did it with oak cubes, but I first steamed the oak cubes, then I added them to brandy. Tossed to the used brandy after a couple days and added new brandy to soak in the brandy flavor and ensure all germs were dead.

 
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Old 08-09-2011, 06:37 PM   #4
CTownBrewer
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The alcohol in the liquor will kill off anything that may be detrimental to the beer, so you probably don't need to steam it.

If using liquor, make sure to use vodka because it won't impact the flavor of the beer. Rum, whiskey, bourbon, etc could add that liquor flavor to the beer.
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Old 08-16-2011, 03:31 AM   #5
WarrantedFED
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How many vanilla beans do you typically add to any given batch to bring out a moderate vanilla flavor? 1 - 2 beans? Or more?

 
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Old 08-16-2011, 04:01 PM   #6
CTownBrewer
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When I brewed a Vanilla Porter at a Brew-On-Premise place, we used about 5 for a 10 gallon batch. For a subtle vanilla flavor in a 5 gallon batch, I'd use 1. If you want more, use more. It's really up to you...that's the joy of homebrewing. I love vanilla, so I'd use 2 to make sure the flavor stands out.

One note...I found the vanilla flavor in the porter to fade over time. If you think you'll drink this beer quickly, use less. If you plan on aging it, use more so the vanilla will last.
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Old 09-03-2011, 04:44 PM   #7
WarrantedFED
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CTownBrewer
When I brewed a Vanilla Porter at a Brew-On-Premise place, we used about 5 for a 10 gallon batch. For a subtle vanilla flavor in a 5 gallon batch, I'd use 1. If you want more, use more. It's really up to you...that's the joy of homebrewing. I love vanilla, so I'd use 2 to make sure the flavor stands out.

One note...I found the vanilla flavor in the porter to fade over time. If you think you'll drink this beer quickly, use less. If you plan on aging it, use more so the vanilla will last.
Thanks for the advice!

I ended up placing 2 cinnamon sticks and 2 halved, scraped, and chopped vanilla beans into a narrow glass vial. I then poured cheap vodka to cover everything.

I plan to add this to the secondary. This is for a pumpkin spiced oatmeal ale.



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Old 11-11-2011, 03:42 PM   #8
CTownBrewer
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Just curious...How did everything turn out with the vodka method?
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Old 11-11-2011, 07:04 PM   #9
WarrantedFED
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It came through quite strong. This proved to be a good addition that takes a few weeks to mellow.

 
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Old 11-12-2011, 05:41 AM   #10
falconnuke
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Oct 2011
Knoxville, TN
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I soaked vanilla beans in sanitizer and dry hopped them straight (didn't even cut them) in the secondary. Gave more of a hint of vanilla than a distinct flavor, which was what i was going for.



 
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