Vanilla Bean Addition

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fretman124

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Gentle people,

I am going to brew a vanilla cream ale. I've got all the ingredients and have a question about the bean.

The recipe says add a 1/4 bean in the secondary. Having never done this before (my third brew...ever) I just though I'd make sure what I am about to do with the bean.

The bean is about 4 inches long. I picked the biggest bean I could find, but its a waaaay smaller bean than what I see on the cooking shows.

Do I split the bean prior to putting it in the brew? Do I split and gut the bean? Or do I just take a quarter of the bean and toss that in with no modification to the bean?

Actually, being that the bean is so small....I'm thinking of putting in half the bean. No?

Thanks for all your knowledge about the bean...............
 

EmptyH

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If I remember right, vanilla is not water soluable and needs alcohol to extract the flavoring, since beer has relatively low alcohol content I wouldn't think just putting the bean in the secondary would give a very pronounced flavor. If you soaked the bean in 3 or 4 oz of Vodka or Bourbon for a week and then added it to the sencondary I think you would get a stronger vanilla flavor.

I am not really sure on the preceeding statements as I have only used vanilla extract before. Hopefully some one with more experience will chime in.
 

WOP31

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A friend used half a bean (3-4in) in a porter and it gave a very pronounced flavor. He just tossed it in there (the secondary) with out spliting it or any thing. hope this helps.

Cheers
 

aekdbbop

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i have a cream ale already in the secondary.. do you think i could add it to my keg without any problems and let it sit for a while before tapping it? Or should i just toss it in the secondary now?
 

AleHole

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Slit the bean down the middle and scrape out all the goodies. Chop everything up (the goodies and the bean) pretty fine and add it to your secondary fermenter. If you are afraid of to much vanilla flavor just add half then taste it after a week and add more if you like. Some vanilla flavor will die down after a few weeks in the bottle. I have had a vanilla porter that used 2 beans like this and it was a perfect vanilla flavor. Not to much, not to little. Hope this helps.
 

feedthebear

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I cut mine in half long ways. Scrape the insides out with the knife. Put it all in.
 

davidr2340

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I just brewed a Vanilla Weizen...
I spit the bean in half, length wise, and rolled it flat with a rolling pin.

:mug:
 

skou

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As an OLD cook, let me tell you the way a baker-candymaker would use the whole bean, if they were going to filter out the used chunks. (Like racking.)

Split the bean open, lengthwise. If you are going to put the whole bean in, you don't even need to scrape out the tiny seeds. Just split it open, and toss it in.

Now, if you want to make some Vanilla Sugar, scrape the seeds out of a larger piece, toss them in your secondary, and put the bean shell in a pound or 2 of regular white sugar, and leave it for a few months, sealed in a zip-lock bag. Absolutely great in coffee or hot chocolate!

steve
 

veggiess

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2 beans split and scraped into a liter of decent quality vodka. Keep in the dark, shake well everyday, and after about a month you have a great homemade pure vanilla extract. Keep a small amount in the cabinet for cooking (I use a airline size liqour bottle) and put the rest of the vanilla away in the dark. Shake it every week or two and as the amount decreases, you can add more vodka and wait for the vanilla to build up its flavor again.
 

Rubarbpie

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I've read vodka and or bourbon are acceptable for letting the vanilla bean soak in as a sort of tincture prior to adding it all into secondary fermentation.

Is there a main reason it has to be vodka? Im sure the vodka flavor wont come out in the beer however Im just curious if I could use a 3-4 oz of whiskey?

I'm brewing a strong ale today and might use some vanilla bean/oaked chips tincture for secondary fermentation.

Thanks in advance!
 

musick

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As stated previously, I split, scrape and chop the bean to maximize contact (hence flavor extraction) in 60 mls of vodka. Alcohol is needed for maximum flavor extraction. It also will sanitize your bean to ensure no nasties get into your wort or beer.

Add to the 2ndary as the primary fermentation will scrub out a lot of the aroma from the bean.

Whiskey works as well but adds its own (minimal) flavor to the finished product.
 

Brewed_Dude

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For my Farmhouse Ale's, I usually add fresh Madagascar vanilla beans in the secondary right after racking. A little goes a long way; usually two strips about three inches long is perfect for 5 gallons. Cut them in 1/2" pieces and pitch them into the carboy.
 

toast

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Would adding the vanilla bean to the boil do anything for flavor extraction as well?
 

Ultrazord

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Would adding the vanilla bean to the boil do anything for flavor extraction as well?
I'm curious about this too. I think vanilla would be an amazing flavor into beer. This thread seems very helpful.

I imagine if you need alcohol to extract the flavor, adding at boil would be worthless. Though it could break up the bean for easier extraction in the fermenter....
 
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