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Old 08-14-2011, 01:47 PM   #1
wworker
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Aug 2008
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I want to make a vanilla mead. I have plenty of local honey, and a bag full of fresh Madagascar beans. I read a thread about vanilla mead but that guy added a crap ton of beans and extract to the primary. I always heard adding to primary killed taste so I assume thats why he had to add so much. I think I would rather add to secondary and remove after a time.

Any advice as to how many beans to add to get a nice vanilla taste but not overpowering?

Also, this will be my second mead and I was considering using about 12# of honey with D47....and the beans of course. Does this sound like a good mix?

Thanks



 
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Old 08-14-2011, 02:47 PM   #2
corkybstewart
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i can't help you with the honey part but I think 2 or 3 beans is plenty, depending on the freshness. Last year I used old beans in my vanilla porter and I needed 3 to get the flavor I wanted, but with the last batch 2 fresh ones was plenty. I soak mine in 1/4 cup of bourbon for a month and add the liquid directly to the keg. You might be able to use vodka and get good results.



 
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Old 08-14-2011, 03:59 PM   #3
winstonofbeer
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ya if you have the time,
Soaking the vanilla beans in vodka or bourbon for a month and preferably 6 months with give you a lot more flavor.

Just remember, choose a good vodka/bourbon...If its bottom shelf product...Might have a bottom shelf vanilla bean if ya know what i mean
Just make sure you cover the entire bean with the liquid.

Also, i would cut a big ol slit down the side of the bean to release all that flavor....

If it was me, i would do like 1 or 2 beans in primary and see what it comes out like...
If need be and you want more vanilla flavor,put a couple more beans when you rack off the lees

You can always add flavors easy....Getting rid of to much of one flavor can be hard.

 
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Old 08-14-2011, 08:58 PM   #4
wworker
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Thanks yall, I have 12 beans cut up and soaking in a little over 1/2c of vodka. That should be more than enough for several batches.

 
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Old 08-15-2011, 12:15 PM   #5
huesmann
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Winston, are you sure about that? When you steep vanilla beans in alcohol, the alcohol draws the flavors from the bean. Unless you're adding the vodka to the mead, all you're doing is removing flavor from the bean. I would think it better to add the vanilla bean after racking to secondary (or later) and let the alcohol in the mead draw the flavor from the bean.

 
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Old 08-15-2011, 03:32 PM   #6
winstonofbeer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huesmann View Post
Winston, are you sure about that? When you steep vanilla beans in alcohol, the alcohol draws the flavors from the bean. Unless you're adding the vodka to the mead, all you're doing is removing flavor from the bean. I would think it better to add the vanilla bean after racking to secondary (or later) and let the alcohol in the mead draw the flavor from the bean.
Here is where i have gotten the idea.
http://www.barefootcontessa.com/reci...cipeID=611&S=0
what your making is basically a extract vanilla.
The pods are going to still release the color tannins of vanilla, The beans inside the pods...are still going to have some flavor.

When it comes to secondary, IF you want more vanilla flavor..add a little liquid in from the container till you have enough vanilla taste to your preference.


I like to have control over flavor as much as i possibly can. You can always add more flavors to something..hiding the flavors when you add to much is a lot harder!

I am not trying to say your method or idea is wrong huesmann, Just offering a suggestion is all.

Live and learn!

 
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Old 08-15-2011, 04:40 PM   #7
Matrix4b
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I did a vanilla almond that turned out great. I did about 15 pounds of honey, Lavin D47 and 6 beans (about 6-8 inches long) split and opened the beans. I also did 1 pound of almond slices,not roasted both in the secondary. I came up with a good flavor. I would actually put in 6-8 next time in the secondary and let it go for 2 months or so. Then take out and rack. What you are actually doing with the beans is making extract. I make extract for my wife too.

I use clear rum but same alcohol content of 35%ABV. I slice and scrape 6 beans into a jar with 1 cup of rum. Then seal and shack 1 time a day for a week, let sit for 2 months. Then filter out the beans. The beans are potent enough to mix in 1 more cup of rum/vodka out of it. Then just use the liquid. But that ends up being like 1 1/2 cups of extract. Way too much for mead. I much prefer to use the 6 beans directly in the secondary for 2 months. Get a better flavor. But when I make the extract it makes for the best vanilla cakes that my wife makes. And she get's braging rights for home made extract and an ALL home made cake.

So it sounds like you should be fine if you are ok with putting the extract you are making into the must. I would stablize and back sweeten it with about 3-6 pounds of honey if it is a 5 gal batch because only 12 pounds of honey for a 5 gal is only a medium sweet mead. It may be a little dry tasting. I personally like sweet and would put in the 6 pounds in the secondary.

Cheers,
Matrix

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Old 08-15-2011, 04:56 PM   #8
huesmann
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As I said before, if you create a liquor infusion, you are drawing the flavors out of the bean. If your purpose is to create a "denatured" (i.e. less strong) vanilla bean, that's fine, but if you're finding your vanilla bean too strong, there are other ways of cutting its strength--just use a fraction of a bean or steep it in your mead for a shorter period.

If you are creating the infusion to further draw the flavor from the bean AND adding the liquor to your mead, you're basically making a fortified mead.

 
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Old 08-22-2011, 02:33 PM   #9
BrentR
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Hi Guys,

Here is a discount code for buying vanilla beans from Beanilla Trading Company, a company that specializes in vanilla products. Coupon code: homebrew

This coupon code will give 10% off any order.

PS, when making homemade vanilla extract, use at least 5 beans per 8 ounces. Barefoot Contessa's recipe does not give this ratio.... but this is a conversion based on the FDA requirement for a single-fold vanilla extract.

 
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Old 08-22-2011, 03:27 PM   #10
Matrix4b
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrentR View Post
Hi Guys,

Here is a discount code for buying vanilla beans from Beanilla Trading Company, a company that specializes in vanilla products. Coupon code: homebrew

This coupon code will give 10% off any order.

PS, when making homemade vanilla extract, use at least 5 beans per 8 ounces. Barefoot Contessa's recipe does not give this ratio.... but this is a conversion based on the FDA requirement for a single-fold vanilla extract.
I make it all the time, I use 6 beans per cup for a nice potency. Also, remember the beans are potent enough to stran out and put in another cup of 35%ABV alcohol and use again. You should get about 3/4 cup out of that cup. Steap for 2 months, shaking once a day for the first week. This has produced some excelent extract. I remember reading some instructions on how to make vanilla extract and that used the beans over 4 times, for 4 cups. I personally can't handle vodka so I use a cheap white rum. Less expensive. The vanilla beans are about 7-8 inches long to. Just slice down the middle and scrape and cut up the pod, put it all in. Then you will have some quality vanilla extract. about 1 1/2 cups total for 2 batches using 6 beans.

My wife loves to make her home made vanilla cakes with this and will wait 2 months on her baking for a new batch if she is out.

Also, most extracts can be made the same way. I have made Lemon Extract from zest that turned out great. You can also make any type of herbal extract in about 4-6 weeks by just putting it in the alcohol for that time and straining it out. I also read that someone has made a wonderful hazelnut extract that way. Extracts are great to make, especially if you have use for it in brewing or baking or cooking. Cheaper to.

Matrix



 
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