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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > Vanilla bean question
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Old 09-16-2012, 04:30 PM   #1
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Default Vanilla bean question

I'm trying a mocha porter recipe today. It calls for two vanilla beans in the primary. Is there something I need to do or do I just throw a bean in there? Seems unsanitary to just toss it in, so should I be slicing and gutting it instead?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 09-16-2012, 04:35 PM   #2
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Split and scape the bean insides and toss it all into the brew. Some will tell you to soak in vodka, or other alcohol, but it's not critical to do that.
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Old 09-16-2012, 04:39 PM   #3
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If you are putting it in the primary, you should wait until the gravity is at it's target FG. Soaking it in burbonfor a week helps to bring out it"s flavor.
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Old 09-16-2012, 04:45 PM   #4
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the burbon will also kill any bacteria that may be on the beans
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Old 09-16-2012, 04:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by By-Tor View Post
If you are putting it in the primary, you should wait until the gravity is at it's target FG. Soaking it in burbonfor a week helps to bring out it"s flavor.
Ethanol (ethyl alcohol) is used to extract the vanilla bean oils. That's the main component of the vanilla extract in your kitchen cupboard. Your beer also contains ethanol, so I'd say there's no need to extract it before you add the bean.

However, if you add anything that has not been sanitized to your beer, you are rolling the dice. Go ahead and roll, it's your beer. But I would sanitize the outside of the bean, then splay it, then add it to the beer. The inside of the bean, assuming the case was intact, is probably sterile.

To sanitize, you could use star san or high-ABV ethyl alcohol. Vodka is common, and bourbon would work too. So, I guess I agree with By-Tor.
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Old 09-16-2012, 05:00 PM   #6
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I try to dryhop everything after the vigorous fermentation, so I don't blow out any flavor, or gum up the works.
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Old 09-16-2012, 06:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golddiggie View Post
split and scape the bean insides and toss it all into the brew. Some will tell you to soak in vodka, or other alcohol, but it's not critical to do that.
this^^^^!
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:12 PM   #8
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Thanks.
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Old 09-16-2012, 09:19 PM   #9
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this^^^^!
Would you put a uncleaned stick in your beer Denny? How is a vanilla bean different? You are solid wrong here.

I don't understand the lack of care when it comes to these things. I'm not over-zealous, it's just common sense here.
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Old 09-17-2012, 03:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by passedpawn
...But I would sanitize the outside of the bean, then splay it, then add it to the beer.
this advice seems unsound for a couple reasons. First, there's no reason to add the hulls since the flavor is inside, so you're just increasing your risk of infection. Second, by not scraping out the guts, you'll be getting poor utilization, which will require more beans and hence greater risk of infection.

Scraping out and adding just those scrapings, whether "sanitized" or not, seems wiser.
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