Vanilla Extract

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by goschman, Nov 2, 2018.

  1. Iliff Avenue Brewhouse

    Iliff Avenue Brewhouse Well-Known Member

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    The consensus seems to be to use vanilla beans over vanilla extract. Has anyone had good outcomes with extract? I realize the biggest keg would not be getting imitation vanilla extract.

    I'm using vanilla for the first time along with cocoa nibs, and almonds roasted with cinnamon. I just want a hint of vanilla in a big beer so hoping I could just pop in a couple of tsp after fermentation is complete. Any thoughts?
     
  2. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    if you get a good extract, you shouldn't have problems.
    but yeah, you could either put them in the fermenter like that or when you go to package
    have you thought of making a tincture?
     
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  3. Iliff Avenue Brewhouse

    Iliff Avenue Brewhouse Well-Known Member

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    The almonds and cocoa nibs are going to go in a bag in the fermenter for a couple of weeks. I was thinking of adding the extract at the same time and make a determination if more is needed at my final hydrometer check before bottling.

    Are you recommending a tincture using vanilla bean and alcohol?
     
  4. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    i definitely agree to go easy whenever you decide to add them. Like you said, you can always add more later

    Yeah, a tincture is any spices or flavorings in alcohol (usually cheap vodka) to extract the flavors. Strain and add use the liquid. It'll give you a little more control over adding to the beer, rather than the beer taking it from the vanilla or whatever directly. if that makes any sense
     
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  5. Hogarthe

    Hogarthe Well-Known Member

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    Nothing wrong with using vanilla extract. Just make sure it's real vanilla extract and not imitation. There is a difference. If you make a tincture with a bean and vodka, you are basically making real vanilla extract. Either way add it little by little so you can taste how much is right. Or get a cup of the beer and add by milliliter until you find what tastes good and then scale up mathematically.
     
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  6. Iliff Avenue Brewhouse

    Iliff Avenue Brewhouse Well-Known Member

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    Thanks dudes. Wasn’t sure if someone might have a good recommended starting point like 1 tsp. I will tinker around with it I suppose.
     
  7. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    i dig around a little bit for what seems to be a general consensus on an amount, then reduce that by half if i'm really unsure or if it's a new ingredient. It might not get the flavor i want on the first try, but at least it'll still be drinkable
     
  8. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I am not a member of that consensus. Get a good quality vanilla extract that meets your flavor requirements - they differ by region of origin - and skip the fuss of making your own. All you're doing by soaking a vanilla bean of unknown origin in vodka is making vanilla extract. You can add it to your beer at packaging to taste where if you steep a bean, what you get is what you get. But I guess there's a thought out there that soaking a bean of unknown origin or age in a 50% ethanol solution is somehow better so if that's what you want to do, enjoy. Recommendation still holds: Add the resultant vanilla extract to your beer at packaging to taste.
     
  9. Iliff Avenue Brewhouse

    Iliff Avenue Brewhouse Well-Known Member

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    Thanks gents. Found a cooking site that equates 1 tsp of extract to one bean. Going to go with 2 tsp to start and add more at bottling if necessary. A lot going on in this beer so no need to overdo it.
     
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  10. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    That's handy to know, I usually use 3 beans per 5 gallon batch in the porter I make. Going to extract would definitely simplify things.
     
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