Vanilla in a stout

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gERgMan

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So, I attempted my first minimash using a 5 gal. Igloo cooler rig (thanks to all who posted the parts and pics of a setup). I was making a Chocolate oatmeal stout (kinda an original recipe) using 2lbs of american 2-row pale ale malt, 1lb crystal malt (60L), 1lb of caramunich malt and then some adjuncts. Seemed to go well for the mash and sparge, though attempting to boil outside in the largest blizzard to hit our area in 15 years was a bit difficult, so I had to move inside.
My first question is, for a mash followed by a sparge, do you drain all of the original mash water before you start sparging? Do you sparge when the water level above the grains can no longer be seen? Or do you drain the mash water, then add the sparge water and restir and allow to settle again? I have seen a variety of different ways of doing this?
My second question is during the last 15 minutes of the boil, I say I had some pure vanilla extract in my cupboard. I decided to add about a 3/4 tsp to the last 15 minute boil. Should I have used vanilla bean (very expensive at the grocery store)? Should the vanilla been added during the steep?

Either way, the OG was about 1.050 and it was fermenting like crazy in 12-14 hours. I am sure it will come out tasty, but I am still refining my homebrew skills. The more info I can gather, the better the following brews will come out.
 

Evan!

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My first question is, for a mash followed by a sparge, do you drain all of the original mash water before you start sparging?
Yep. You're rinsing the grains, so it's more efficient rinsing this way.

Or do you drain the mash water, then add the sparge water and restir and allow to settle again? I have seen a variety of different ways of doing this?
I drain the first runnings, add the sparge water, stir thoroughly, then I wait about 10 minutes...stirring every few mins. Then I drain those runnings.

My second question is during the last 15 minutes of the boil, I say I had some pure vanilla extract in my cupboard. I decided to add about a 3/4 tsp to the last 15 minute boil. Should I have used vanilla bean (very expensive at the grocery store)? Should the vanilla been added during the steep?
Bad news and good news: bad news is that, 3/4 tsp of vanilla extract most certainly got boiled out if you added it at 15 mins. Good news is, all is not lost. In fact, I find that the best time for adding adjuncts like this is in the secondary. You can add a vanilla bean or some extract once you've racked from primary.

If you do use extract, make sure it's not IMITATION extract. That stuff is awful. It's derived from the vanillin in oak, and there's no actual vanilla bean involved. Bad news. Make sure it's pure vanilla extract---and yeah, the beans are NOT cheap.

Either way, the OG was about 1.050 and it was fermenting like crazy in 12-14 hours. I am sure it will come out tasty, but I am still refining my homebrew skills. The more info I can gather, the better the following brews will come out.
Yep, that's how it goes. Congrats on what is sure to be a good brew :mug:
 

skifast1

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gERgMan said:
My second question is during the last 15 minutes of the boil, I say I had some pure vanilla extract in my cupboard. I decided to add about a 3/4 tsp to the last 15 minute boil. Should I have used vanilla bean (very expensive at the grocery store)? Should the vanilla been added during the steep?
FWIW, I did my first mini-mash a couple of weeks ago for a Vanilla Cream Ale (per the oft-quoted BYO article on partial mashing). After doing lots of forum searches I decided to go with a single bean (in the secondary, scored but not scraped) instead of extract. I had done one other vanilla ale using real extract (5 oz total) and it came out too strong for my taste. That said, I think it would've come out great with just less extract - the first couple of seconds of a taste were really good, but then "whoooaaa".
 

onecolumbyte

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Just got two vanilla beans at Trader Joe's for ~$4. Every where else was $10 for one.
 
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gERgMan

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$4 for 2 vanilla beans, that sounds like a hell of a deal from what I've seen and heard. Thanks for the feedback everybody. I will try adding some vanilla extract (yes, it is pure and not imitation, I saw a couple of posts on this) to the secondary. Any suggestions on how much vanilla extract for a 5 gallon batch? I really don't want a huge vanilla taste, but thought a small amount my complement the chocolate oatmeal stout nicely.
 
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