First Time Vanilla Use, What Happened?

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Hello,

I finally decided to try some adjuncts with my last brew (a Nut Brown).

I chopped and scraped 2 vanilla beans, soaked them in vodka for a week, added all of it to primary, and let is it for another week. At bottling it smelled strongly of vanilla and tasted medium to medium-high on the vanilla scale. It was perfect at bottling, exactly what I wanted.

Cut to last night, a week and a half after bottling. I cracked a bottle, knowing it would not be carbed but I wanted to see how it was going, and found that all vanilla aroma and taste was totally gone. It's still a great English brown, but I really wanted (and loved) the vanilla.

Being my first time working with vanilla I have no clue why it has completely disappeared. Any ideas?
 

stz

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Delicate flavours like vanilla don't need much oxygen exposure on packaging to vanish.
 
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blacklabel8829
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Delicate flavours like vanilla don't need much oxygen exposure on packaging to vanish.
I feel like this would be a problem whether adding to primary or in the bottling bucket. Any suggestions for the future? Would one just overdose the vanilla?
 

stz

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Yes many ways to crack this nut. Over dose with anticipation of loss after bottle conditioning or improve bottling process. I would add at bottling. You could always steep your vanilla and add the solids to primary like before, but add the liquid it was steeped in to the bottling bucket. Less than optimal process will however negate the benefit. I made a banana wheat milkshake (lactose, vanilla, large amount of dextrines, freeze dried banana and on bottling it was way too much vanilla (18 pods in 25L). After a couple of months in bottle it isn't really there any more.

I have switched to kegging and pressurised transfers under co2 for these beers after many exciting ideas have failed in execution due to an incorrect packaging choice. They don't play to the strength of the dispense method. Traditional hand crafted ales with secondary fermentation in bottle for bottle conditioning is an excellent choice for filling off a wand with a bucket in the kitchen, but maybe a poor choice for some of the more extreme keg beer I want to produce. Having the benefit of an oxygen meter means I can now be realistic as to what to expect. Package a beer with 1-2ppm? Forget about that flavour sticking around a couple of weeks. 300ppb? Less than 6 months. You can easily introduce 2ppm by siphoning into a sanitised bucket for bottling.
 

thehaze

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I usually use 6-8 vanilla pods/beans for 5 gallons of stout and at both bottling and 14 days after being in the bottle, the vanilla is there. 60 days from bottling and the vanilla is gone...
 
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blacklabel8829
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I usually use 6-8 vanilla pods/beans for 5 gallons of stout and at both bottling and 14 days after being in the bottle, the vanilla is there. 60 days from bottling and the vanilla is gone...
Geez! Is there any hope with vanilla and bottling?
 

thehaze

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You could try to vanilla extract. I never have, but it is potent stuff.

I guess you can try to use a bit more vanilla and brew a medium gravity beer ( 5-7% ) and try to drink most of it no later than 2 months from bottling and then age some bottles.

I only had success with vanilla beans once. I brewed a 7.5% Stout. Sat 3 weeks in primary, I crushed 4 oz cocoa beans and along with 5 vanilla pods ( scraped and cut into small bits - for better extraction ) went into 4 oz whiskey, which sat in the fridge for 3 days. I poured the whole thing in the fermenter and let it sit for 7 days.

I kegged the beer with some friends and bottled 2 gallons. 6 months later I still had some bottles left and some friends got to taste them. They could taste both the cocoa ( more like dark bitter chocolate ) and vanilla. They were not strong, but there.

I guess it has something to do with the kegging and the almost closed transfer to the bottles.
 

Kent88

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If you want to go crazy and really get the vanilla to come through, you could probably use 4 or 5 vanilla beans for a 5 gallon batch.

Edit: After reading the thread better, others are suggesting more vanilla beans, and that vanilla flavor drops off quick.

Earlier this year I made a sweet stout and after primary fermentation I siphoned a gallon onto a vanilla bean and let it hang out for a month or so. Several months later I still get plenty of vanilla in the stout.

Hopefully this little example was a little helpful.
 
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blacklabel8829
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Sounds like I need more beans and let it sit on even longer.

I'll keep trying and see if I can get the sweet spot.
 

gwapogorilla

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Yeah, this is a pain in the ass. What I have been doing is using about 1 oz. of vanilla beans(roughly 10 beans)and grind them in a electric coffee mill. I then put the ground beans in about 1 cup of boiling water, boil for roughly 3 minutes, remove from heat and chill the mixture.
I then transfer the beer to a secondary and add the mixture to it...water and all. In 3 days I bottle.
 
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