Best use of Vanilla beans

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pilafdm

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I noticed a lot of the recipes people are using vanilla in are dark beers like porter and stout. Does anyone have any ideas for a lighter color beer?
There's a brewery in San Francisco that makes a _delicious_ vanilla cream ale. I've only got about six beers under my brewing belt, and my attempt at a vanilla cream ale is one of them. I used light oak spirals and vanilla beans, and soaked them in Velvet Falernum rather than vodka. (Unfortunately I think it fermented at too high a temp as it came out slightly odd -- but still totally tasty!)

For my Christmas gifts this year I'm making three beers, and two of them will be using vanilla beans (a spiced ale and a vanilla wheat).
 

jetmech_63

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I'm currently making a vanilla cream stout with 6 oz lactose. I'll boil the cream stout in the normal fashion, add 8 oz of cocoa powder and 2 beans (scraped, split) and all added with 15 minutes to go. That will spend about 10 days in primary and on transfer to secondary ill add 2 more beans, split and scraped, to secondary for usually 3 weeks. I also add an oak spiral, medium toast(soaked in bourbon to sterilize) to secondary as well. The end result will blow your mind! Do I taste cocoa, or is it vanilla, or is it oak... Very complex and über tasty! Never lasts long enough to see what extended aging will do :)
 

FATC1TY

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Vanilla gets used in my porters and browns if I feel froggy.

Stouts that need vanilla will get aged on oak for more complex flavors.

Easiest way to use it, is to cut it in 1/2 inch slivers after you have split the bean down the middle. Scrape the caviar from the bean, and put it all in vodka. Sometimes I'll use bourbon to really bring it all out if bourbon will work in my recipe.

Dump it all in the secondary after about a week or 4. ;)

Gets a nice subtle, clean vanilla flavor that you know is not extract.
 

boisebrew

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FATC1TY said:
Vanilla gets used in my porters and browns if I feel froggy.

Stouts that need vanilla will get aged on oak for more complex flavors.

Easiest way to use it, is to cut it in 1/2 inch slivers after you have split the bean down the middle. Scrape the caviar from the bean, and put it all in vodka. Sometimes I'll use bourbon to really bring it all out if bourbon will work in my recipe.

Dump it all in the secondary after about a week or 4. ;)

Gets a nice subtle, clean vanilla flavor that you know is not extract.
How much bourbon will you use?
 

hopmomma

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JayInJersey said:
I have to ask...where are you all sourcing your beans?

My LHBS doesn't have them...and neither does my regular online shop.
Natural food stores have them, you should also be able to find them in your common grocery store in the spices section. Little more costly this way though. (2 for $15)
 

boisebrew

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hopmomma said:
Natural food stores have them, you should also be able to find them in your common grocery store in the spices section. Little more costly this way though. (2 for $15)
I found them at an organic food store 2 for $10. I later saw them at a local home brew shop for 1.99. Per bean. The ones at the homebrew shop were much smaller and looked pretty dried out though...
 

Slainte-brew

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I am going to go along with secondary and scraped. I've done vanilla beans three times, always in liquor. Has worked really well for me. I am usually spending around 2 dollars a bean.
 

lunshbox

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I used 1/4 of a bean in my Irish red. It makes the creamyness really stand out.
 

bassdokes

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Vanilla beans. Natural food, herbal and nutritional stores will usually carry them in bulk. Here is another online source. http://www.chefdepot.net/spices.htm. I just bought half pound. The more you buy the cheaper the bean. I will also use them in root beer, cream soda, and I plan to do a few bottles of homemade vanilla extract for me and for gifts.
 

Laurel

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I have a history in food prep. Vanilla bean flavor is best extracted either via spirits or by heat. Vanilla extract is basically just split and scraped vanilla beans soaked in cheap flavorless grain alcohol. When vanilla beans are used in something like ice cream or creme brulee, they are generally split and scraped and steeped in HOT milk or cream to transfer the flavor. If I were to add vanilla to a recipe, I'd get a small (pint?) jar and throw a few (several?)whole vanilla beans in there with something like bourbon (more flavor than vodka and compliments many beers) After several weeks, pull the beans out, snip the end off, and squeeze out caviar like a toothpaste tube into the secondary. Then toss in the empty beans and your booze. Rack on top of the vanilla mixture.
 

hopmomma

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Laurel said:
I have a history in food prep. Vanilla bean flavor is best extracted either via spirits or by heat. Vanilla extract is basically just split and scraped vanilla beans soaked in cheap flavorless grain alcohol. When vanilla beans are used in something like ice cream or creme brulee, they are generally split and scraped and steeped in HOT milk or cream to transfer the flavor. If I were to add vanilla to a recipe, I'd get a small (pint?) jar and throw a few (several?)whole vanilla beans in there with something like bourbon (more flavor than vodka and compliments many beers) After several weeks, pull the beans out, snip the end off, and squeeze out caviar like a toothpaste tube into the secondary. Then toss in the empty beans and your booze. Rack on top of the vanilla mixture.
Thanks so much for the ideas!
 

Montanaandy

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I have a history in food prep. Vanilla bean flavor is best extracted either via spirits or by heat. Vanilla extract is basically just split and scraped vanilla beans soaked in cheap flavorless grain alcohol. When vanilla beans are used in something like ice cream or creme brulee, they are generally split and scraped and steeped in HOT milk or cream to transfer the flavor. If I were to add vanilla to a recipe, I'd get a small (pint?) jar and throw a few (several?)whole vanilla beans in there with something like bourbon (more flavor than vodka and compliments many beers) After several weeks, pull the beans out, snip the end off, and squeeze out caviar like a toothpaste tube into the secondary. Then toss in the empty beans and your booze. Rack on top of the vanilla mixture.
Wonderful advice.
 

a_hard

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riverfrontbrewer said:
Jay-

Grocery store, look in the area with the the spices...about $14 for 2 beans
Should be six at most. Sprouts sells em three each. Try ethnic markets for cheap spices
 

NateLTB

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I recently discovered that Costco is the place to go for buying vanilla beans. I can usually pick up 2 tubes that are sealed together for about $12. Each tube has five or six whole Madagascar vanilla beans in them.
 

OldWorld

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Slice the vanilla diagonally and soak in vodka. It will sanitize it but also allow some of the vanilla to secrete it's natural flavors.

Sassafras is also very good for porters.
 

pilafdm

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CRAP! I forgot to soak my vanilla beans, and I was planning to add them in secondary tomorrow. I assume overnight won't be enough time to get ze flavorz. What should I do?! Should I:
  • Not transfer to secondary for another week?
  • Boil the vanilla beans with some sugar or something to try and make a syrup?
  • Just plop sliced vanilla beans into secondary without soaking?
  • Soak the beans now and just add at bottling?
  • Bone out and just buy ready extract? (But I already bought all these nice beans?)
  • Give up and cry?

Help a brewer out! :)
 

FATC1TY

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You can add them without soaking, but you can run the risk of possibly, but an unlikely infection, and it might take a bit longer to get the flavor out.

So, I'd suggest, splitting them length wise, scraping it, splashing a tiny bit of vodka to wash the caviar out and off your knife and putting it all in your beer. Let it sit and you'll be fine.
 

sccreech

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My LHBS has brewer's best vanilla beans. 10 for $11. Great Deal. You should let your LHBS know so they can stock them.
 

cbehr

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eBay has them pretty cheap as well. I actually got 1 oz(about 8 nice 6'+beans) at my LHBS for $7.50.
 

AdamHasser

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I'm cheap so I'm considering using vanilla extract in a 1 gallon secondary from my Irish Stout to experiment. Any recommendations on the amount I should use?
 
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I'm cheap so I'm considering using vanilla extract in a 1 gallon secondary from my Irish Stout to experiment. Any recommendations on the amount I should use?
2 teaspoons per bean. That assumes single-fold extract, which is predominantly what you'll find at the grocery store. At least use real and not imitation.
 

AdamHasser

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2 teaspoons per bean. That assumes single-fold extract, which is predominantly what you'll find at the grocery store. At least use real and not imitation.
After reading up a bit it sounds like most people don't like the flavor of extract.

For 1 gallon I'd only need 1/2 of a bean? Maybe my local grocery store will have them.
 

jlcsomiss

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I simply split and scraped three vanilla beans into a jar with a lid and added enough light rum to cover the beans, I let it set for two weeks and strained it into my bottling bucket. It imparted a nice vanilla flavor to my 6.8 abv sweet potato porter.
 

hoppynewyear

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Man I wish I had done proper research and saw the beanilla link before buying my single $8 bean at Publix. Sheesh. But I was in a hurry to get it soaking. I have a porter fermenting, have been soaking oak chips in Buffalo Trace for about a week. After reading advice here, cut up the bean and scraped it into a little bourbon, will soak about 24 hours before dumping into secondary with the oak chips tomorrow. Wish me a tasty brew!
 

sleepystevenson

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My oatmeal stout is already kegged so I was going to do the vodka/bourbon bean extract method for a week or two and then just strain out the bean pcs and add the liquid to the keg. Anybody see a problem w that? Btw great thread!
 

Brewrifle

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I bought these Madagascar vanilla beans - 5 vacuum sealed beans for $5 - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000O5YDF4/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

Split open 2 and chopped up in 4 pieces per bean and then soaked everything for 2 weeks in 6 ounces Pendleton's 1910 Rye Whiskey and then dumped in my Balcones whiskey barrel (including the whiskey). I let that sit for a weeks and then transferred to my keg (Porter) and it has an amazing aroma and vanilla taste with a hint of oak and whiskey.
 
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haerbob3

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I use an easier method. I add a tablespoon of vanilla bean paste thinned with a bit of bourbon
:ban::ban::ban::ban:
 

springtime

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Teromous, I recently put the AHS double chocolate stout in the primary. Was considering either adding vanilla beans or cocoa nibs or both to secondary. I have not brewed this AHS kit before and would like to hear your thoughts and recommendations on this?
Thanks
 

unionrdr

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Beginning of November I'm going to brew a robust porter. I'm thinking of soaking two South African vanilla beans,scraped & cut up in a little vodka while the beer ferments. Then strain into the priming solution at bottling time.
I thought that way would give better flavor to the PM brew.
 

m3n00b

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I add 2-3 scraped beans to bourbon or vodka and add that at bottling. Seems to work best. Added them to primary once and got nothing from them.
 

MadGus

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+1 for making a tincture with vodka. Just bottled a really nice gingerbread stout with 1 cup of vodka, 8 cinnamon sticks (crushed), 3 madagascar vanilla beans and 3 oz. of diced fresh ginger. This was for 10 gallons.

Split, scrape and chop the vanilla beans... add tincture to bottling bucket or keg.
 

n2652t

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How times change! $8-9/bean now. :-( I have a nice $40 bottle of pure vanilla extract but was thinking I might do the bean thing.... Not so sure now. May have to try the 1 tsp=1 bean ratio before kegging.
 

BeerFst

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How times change! $8-9/bean now. :-( I have a nice $40 bottle of pure vanilla extract but was thinking I might do the bean thing.... Not so sure now. May have to try the 1 tsp=1 bean ratio before kegging.
10 Vanilla Beans - Whole Extract Grade B Pods for Baking, Homemade Extract, Brewing, Coffee, Cooking - (Tahitian) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07TBBS51M/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_jwcsEbCEN92ZF

Reddit poster said these worked well, 1000 reviews can’t be that wrong either
 
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