What's your favorite variety of vanilla bean?

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fimpster

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I am getting ready to buy a couple of good quality beans and wondering what everybody's favorite variety is. Madagascar, Indonesian, Indian, Tongan, Tahitian, Mexican, Ugandan, etc. Mine will be for a cream ale, but I'd be interested in hearing what you prefer in other styles like stout or porter also.

Also interested to hear if you prefer bourbon, vodka or rum to soak the beans in.
 

daksin

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I am getting ready to buy a couple of good quality beans and wondering what everybody's favorite variety is. Madagascar, Indonesian, Indian, Tongan, Tahitian, Mexican, Ugandan, etc. Mine will be for a cream ale, but I'd be interested in hearing what you prefer in other styles like stout or porter also.

Also interested to hear if you prefer bourbon, vodka or rum to soak the beans in.
I use Madagascar because they are such a bold flavor and stand out over the chocolate in my chocolate stout, but I actually prefer Mexican vanilla in general. You really can't go wrong- I say go wild and try a bunch of different ones every time you brew!

Just FMI- are you making a vanilla cream ale, or are you equating cream ale with cream soda? Mother Earth's vanilla cream ale is really great but annoying because now everybody who orders my cream ale thinks there's going to be vanilla in it.
 

sfish

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Excellent:
Wow learn something new here on HBT. Just never thought about it myself.

Vanilla beans come in different varities. Just like coffee and everything else. I will remember this for when I need it.
 
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fimpster

fimpster

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Just FMI- are you making a vanilla cream ale, or are you equating cream ale with cream soda? Mother Earth's vanilla cream ale is really great but annoying because now everybody who orders my cream ale thinks there's going to be vanilla in it.
No, not equating it with cream soda. Actually it'll be 10 gallons of lawnmower type cream ale, but I'm going to split the batch and add the vanilla beans to one of the carboys. I've never done a vanilla cream ale, but thought it'd be an interesting experiment. I've actually never even had a vanilla cream ale, but did get the idea from hearing about some commercially made ones.

As for the beans, I am also thinking Madagascar for the bold flavor, and they seem to be one of the cheaper varieties of high quality beans.
 

drainbamage

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No, not equating it with cream soda. Actually it'll be 10 gallons of lawnmower type cream ale, but I'm going to split the batch and add the vanilla beans to one of the carboys. I've never done a vanilla cream ale, but thought it'd be an interesting experiment. I've actually never even had a vanilla cream ale, but did get the idea from hearing about some commercially made ones.
Do you keg? That sounds like it could be excellent on nitro.
 
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fimpster

fimpster

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Do you keg? That sounds like it could be excellent on nitro.
I'll be kegging soon! My neighbor just traded me an old fridge for some homebrews, and my wife bought me a couple of the AIH $69 new ball-locks on Black Friday.
 

Hello

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Madagascar is usually my go to for the bold flavor that makes it best for my beers where I use vanilla beans.
 

Watto_Brew

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I've used Fijian beans (I believe they're of the Tahitian strain) with good results for Porter's and making extract. They're plump moist beans, larger than the Madagascar beans with a slight dark cherry addition to the traditional vanilla flavor. I find these to be ~50% more potent than the Madagascar's.

I normally soak them in vodka prior to secondary but used bourbon once with no appreciable difference. However, making vanilla extract with rum or bourbon rather than the conventional vodka method can produce interesting results.

Looking forward to trying these in a vanilla cream ale!

BTW, I also jumped on the AIH $69 new keg BF deal.
 

PaintedRat

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My experience is only from making extract, not brew additions. I preferred the Indonesian bourbon beans, mixed with a smaller ratio of tahitian. Didn't try Fijian, Ugondan, or Tongan. For various alcohols to soak them in, my circle preferred unspiced rum for pastries, and vodka (next time I'll use neutral alcohol) for everything else, bourbon being least favorite. The non-foodies could tell that each bean and liquor used created different aromas and flavors, but it all still smelled/tasted like vanilla.
 
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