Thoughts on using vanilla extract for cream ale?

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Luke Fisher

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Hi all,

I am trying to brew a vanilla orange cream ale, and found that adding vanilla beans (3 total) at flameout with a (30 minute steep) resulted in virtually no flavor, aroma, or even notes. Next time I am planning on using vanilla extract but wasn’t sure how much to add. Obviously this depends on individual taste, but I wanted to ask if anyone has experience adding vanilla to a similar style beer to give me a ballpark of how much to add to a ~5 gallon batch.

Thanks!
 

Jag75

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I made tinctures with orange peels and vanilla beans . I've also added pure store bought vanilla extract . Orange vanilla aka 50 50 is my favorite flavor. I want to say I added about 6 to 8 oz if i remember right.
 
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Luke Fisher

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Thanks for the input. Would you recommend adding this to primary or secondary fermentation?
 

CodeSection

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Hi all,

I am trying to brew a vanilla orange cream ale, and found that adding vanilla beans (3 total) at flameout with a (30 minute steep) resulted in virtually no flavor, aroma, or even notes. Next time I am planning on using vanilla extract but wasn’t sure how much to add. Obviously this depends on individual taste, but I wanted to ask if anyone has experience adding vanilla to a similar style beer to give me a ballpark of how much to add to a ~5 gallon batch.

Thanks!
I brew a holiday brew where I use cinnamon sticks, fresh ginger, sweet orange peel and vanilla beans. I would boil a cup of water and then turn off the heat and add the ingredients. Depending upon the ingredient, it was either crushed, grated or scraped. Stirred in the pot and then transferred to a French Press and kept there for 20 minutes. Then I would transfer the solution to the beer before bottling. Even though I used 2.5 large vanilla beans for a 10 gallon batch, I really never tasted a hint of vanilla. Now I use pure REAL vanilla extract.

You might try adding the flavor to the beer before bottling or raking to a keg. With pure real extract, at least you will have better control and can adjust the flavor to your liking much easier.

Good luck.
 

Cavpilot2000

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I haven't used extract, but I made a tincture with 3 vanilla beans and about 4 oz vodka, soaked for a week and added to the fermenter toward the end of fermentation in a vanilla milkshake IPA, and got tons of vanilla flavor. They were quality vanilla beans, not the usual dried up junk you often get from grocery stores, but I think the tincture method is vastly superior to adding the beans by themselves at any point in the process. Extract is possibly cheaper and more consistently reliable, but may have a different flavor than the real deal.
 

Jag75

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Thanks for the input. Would you recommend adding this to primary or secondary fermentation?
If I were you I'd stay away from secondaries. I add my tincture in as I'm kegging. I would add it to your primary before you package .

On my stouts , orange cream ales and orange cream milkshake IPA I've bumped it up to 4 beans because 2 wasnt cutting it . Even in my last one 4 was noticeable but wasnt where I wanted it . They were kinda dried out in spots though.
 
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Cavpilot2000

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Agree on avoiding secondaries. When I say I add mine at the tail end of fermentation, I personally spund my beers, so that's when I add it. I think Jag75 spunds too, IIRC.
But even without that, after high kreusen is a fine time to add.
 

mistertinkle

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I've found that using high quality real vanilla extract is less expensive and provides better consistency than using real vanilla beans or making my own vanilla tinctures. But you need to find a quality vanilla extract. I purchase mine from a local spice shop. It is MUCH better than the typical grocery store extracts. I use 1 or 1.5 tablespoons is a 5 gallon batch of cream ale, and it gives a good vanilla aroma and flavor. Use less for a more subtle effect, or more for more for vanilla to be dominant (vanilla soda).
 

Jag75

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I dont know how much you pay for a bottle of pure vanilla extract, but the last bottle I got was 20+ dollars for a tiny bottle . It's way better then imitation extract though.
 

Boleslaus

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I would stick to real vanilla. I make an irish stout with coffee and vanilla beans. I basically dry hop with whole beans and split and scraped vanilla beans. Amazing flavor.
 

Wayne1

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I used Vanilla Bean Paste to make Milk Shake IPAs and "Sherbert" IPAs at the last Pro Brewery I worked for. I had to make all of those "Instagram" Millennial type beverages :(

You get better flavor than extract or pure beans and it does not fade away.

I would add it after fermentation and pulling the yeast. I would pull out some beer and mix the paste in with an immersion blender. I would then put the beer in a keg, purge all the air out and push it back into the fermenter, I would follow it with blasts of CO2 to mix it all up.

This was with 500 gallon batches.

Good luck with experimentation.
 

Wayne1

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You could also mix it up with a small amount of beer and add it into a keg or bright tank before you transfer the full amount to assure a good mixture through out.
 
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CodeSection

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Ditto !

Hows the aroma and flavor of that extract ? Good price for that big of a bottle.
I guess it is ok but to be honest I don't have anything to compare it to. I never tasted the vanilla when using beans and I have not used any other extract. I guess my process was flawed scraping out the beans and then dicing them up and putting everything in a French Press was not the best. Maybe I didn't use enough beans, maybe I didn't allow enough time in the press, maybe it was competing with the other items or maybe I should have made a tincture.

When I use the pure extract, I can taste the vanilla and it taste great. I plan on making a vanilla porter sometime this year.

On another note, The SunUp Brewing Company in Phoeniz, AZ makes a great White Russian Imperial Stout. I haven't been able to find a clone so I was thinking of using this recipe and then add some vanilla....https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/...-2011-hbt-competition-category-winner.238807/
 

bleme

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If you are going to use extract, definitely use it just before packaging. Otherwise, fermentation will blow off that delicate aroma (as you learned). My very first beer was a NB Speckled Heifer Extract kit. At bottling, I bottled half 'plain' then added an ounce of a bourbon vanilla extract that I got from my mom, who was a commercial candy maker. At first the vanilla bottles had a very harsh flavor but after a couple of months it finally melded together to make a good beer.
 

Rob2010SS

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Anyone use the extract or paste from Beanilla?

I'm looking at this extract or this paste but can't decide. They state that you need to let the beans sit for 8 weeks to get a good potent extract. I thought that 2-3 weeks was good enough, but maybe not...?

Is paste really better flavor or would I be fine using the extract from beanilla? Don't need an overly pronounced vanilla flavor, doing a smoothie style sour.
 
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