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Old 01-05-2012, 05:24 AM   #1
srl135
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Jan 2011
Pittsburgh, PA
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I cant seem to find a right (or wrong) time to add vanilla extract... This is going in a cream ale which i thought might benefit from a hint of vanilla so im planning on using 1oz of extract, and would like to add during the secondary, but have heard to add it on kegging day.. that just doesnt seem wise as once i keg it will be chilled and the vanilla may not mix as well, but this is uncharted territory for me.

Anyone got some advice?
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Somewhat of a newbie..
-Amber Wheat: 4.2%
-Honey Amber: 7.1%
-American Cream ale: 5%
-IPA: 7.5%
-Shiner Bock Clone: 4.5%
-Pumpkin Porter: 5.9%
-Holiday Ale: 7.7%
-AHS Cream Ale: 6.0%
-Long Peaks Raspberry Wheat - 4.8%
-Pumpkin ale - Jurys out but not looking good


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Old 01-05-2012, 05:40 AM   #2
barrooze
 
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I'd fully carb the beer, then add drops of extract to a small sample to make sure you don't overdo the vanilla addition. Once you figure out how many drops work well for a 2 oz sample of beer (for example) you can scale it up to the full keg. I wouldn't worry about the mixing. When I've done this method, I just sealed the keg back up and shook it a bit after pressurizing it again, getting (from what I can tell) a thorough mixture.

Just a note, to be to style, Cream ales don't actually have a vanilla flavor. I'm sure it'll be good in it though! Good luck!
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Old 01-05-2012, 05:45 AM   #3
oo7cable
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Jun 2010
San Diego, California
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I would advise against vanilla in any beer. Im no expert, so its just my experience that vanilla is a powerful flavor and can easily ruin a good beer. I've tried it a few times and have never been happy with it. I've added before flame out, when pitching, racking to secondary, ect... Its never turned out well for me. I've always gotten an overpowering flavor from it. Experiment if you want. Just thought I'd share my adventures.

 
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Old 01-05-2012, 06:03 AM   #4
OHIOSTEVE
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Sep 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oo7cable View Post
I would advise against vanilla in any beer. Im no expert, so its just my experience that vanilla is a powerful flavor and can easily ruin a good beer. I've tried it a few times and have never been happy with it. I've added before flame out, when pitching, racking to secondary, ect... Its never turned out well for me. I've always gotten an overpowering flavor from it. Experiment if you want. Just thought I'd share my adventures.
I have to agree..used it 2 times and was not overjoyed with the outcome. IF I were gonna do it again I would add a VERY small amount o the beer about a week before I planned to bottle..let it set a day or 2 and taste. If it was good I would stop. If not I would add a little more and let it set a couple of days then taste.. repeat until you are happy then bottle it.
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Old 01-05-2012, 06:20 AM   #5
barrooze
 
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Like I said, it's easy to overdo. You really need to add it to the carbed beer. The addition of the carbonation make a huge difference to aroma and flavors. Adding it pre-fermentation would cause the CO2 to scrub the flavor and aromas out of the beer.

If you do the drops into a sample method, once you get the ratio you want and scale it up and add to the keg, just add half the amount of vanilla. It's a lot easier to add the vanilla to the beer than to take it out.

BTW, Breckenridge makes a nice Vanilla Porter. Though not my favorite beer, it's far from bad!
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Old 01-05-2012, 01:51 PM   #6
OHIOSTEVE
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wow I completely missed that he was kegging...nevermind
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I started brewing 69 days ago, 35 gal so far. SWMBO hasnt complained yet! Better than the hookers, gambling, and crack I used to do, I guess.
BALDGUT BREWS

 
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Old 01-05-2012, 02:57 PM   #7
srl135
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Jan 2011
Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 88

I have had the breckenridge vanilla porter.. in fact I've had several vanilla beers and I like them all. I have made a cream ale twice before which is why I was contemplating tweaking it a little this time with the vanilla. It sounds like the safe route is to go with the drops in a glass of fully carbed beer... the cream ale is always a winner and I am really looking forward to it again so it would be a shame to ruin it with too much vanilla. Again, I dont want much vanilla at all... just a nice aroma and perhaps a verrrrrrry slight taste as I thought it might compliment the smooth taste of that beer.


On a side note.. i have an interesting problem... after buying a beer gun, my father in law opening a liquor store and getting a kegerator for christmas (in addition to my keezer), I have more beer than I know what to do with now!
__________________
Somewhat of a newbie..
-Amber Wheat: 4.2%
-Honey Amber: 7.1%
-American Cream ale: 5%
-IPA: 7.5%
-Shiner Bock Clone: 4.5%
-Pumpkin Porter: 5.9%
-Holiday Ale: 7.7%
-AHS Cream Ale: 6.0%
-Long Peaks Raspberry Wheat - 4.8%
-Pumpkin ale - Jurys out but not looking good


Whats next!?

 
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Old 01-05-2012, 04:58 PM   #8
BrentR
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Oct 2010
Grand Rapids, MI
Posts: 13

Hey Guys,

Fantastic input so far. I am in the vanilla industry and work with brewers quite often on this topic. It seems the best way to add vanilla is to add vanilla beans to the conditioning tank. It is important to add the vanilla after the primary fermentation because the alcohol that is present will help extract the flavor from the vanilla beans. Also, we find that using whole vanilla beans will give a much smoother, more full flavor than using vanilla extract. This is just my experience. I hope this helps.

Thanks a lot,

Brent

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Old 01-05-2012, 05:11 PM   #9
oo7cable
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Jun 2010
San Diego, California
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Ive added a whole bean to the secondary once, in fact it was the first attempt at adding vanilla - I must have done something wrong. That vanilla bean destroyed that batch! Nothing even remotely close to tasting like beer with a hint of vanilla came out of that keg. The vanilla was just way to strong.

BrentR - Can you get some more details on the brew process and type of beer from your guys? I'd love to figure out vanilla. Its such a great undertone when done right.

 
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Old 01-05-2012, 05:32 PM   #10
william_shakes_beer
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Oct 2010
Maryland
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I have a vanilla stout in primary now. Recipie called for 3 OZ extract primary, 3 oz in bottling bucket. I'll taste before bottling and see if the 2nd 3 OZ is warranted.

 
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