View Full Version : Adding Vanilla beans

07-14-2006, 07:10 AM
I have found a large source of Organic vanilla beans and wish to add Ten or so to secondary fermentation. Is there any special preparation steps that I should take before splitting them and tossing them in the secondary,( wash, boil, sanitize)?

07-14-2006, 08:16 AM
Hey Gnome,
What are you planning to add the beans to? What is the ABV of the mead?

Most likely you should be OK to split the beans and toss them in if the ABV is high enough. The wiser sages in the board might have a different suggestion...

07-14-2006, 08:50 AM
considering that you're adding it to the secondary, I'd guess that the ABV is indeed high. All I did for my vanilla mead was to split 10 beans and throw them into the secondary. You can check out my brewlog on that. Got a great vanilla flavor after that!

07-14-2006, 05:48 PM
I have a Sweet Vanilla Mead in secondary right now. I added 10 Tahitian Beans split in half during primary, and then racked onto 10 new Tahitian Beans split in half in the secondary. No problems to speak of and I DID NOT sanitize the beans.

By the way, I got these Twenty 6-7" Tahitian Vanilla Beans off eBay for 99 cents + 2.49 S&H ;D

07-14-2006, 08:24 PM
20 beans in one 5 gallon batch.. wow, is there any honey character left. I get good results with 1/gallon.

07-14-2006, 08:34 PM
Sorry, Have three threads going about first go at a five gallon batch of Vanilla Mead. Originally pasteurized two split beans in with Honey and transfer from first into secondary. Started with 1.10 S.G. added 2lbs.Honey after a week in Primary and Yeast worked it down to .990 S.G. Tasted hot at racking. Plan to toss in some beans and let bulk age till Christmas. So five is the recommended total?

07-14-2006, 08:53 PM
Well I was responding to grantlee and his 20 beans. I have a batch right now with 5 old beans that were really nice when I bought them and I was doubtful to use them after I bought some new beans but it has a really nice character with 5, almost overwhelming.
Generally I have had luck with 1/gallon. At most I could see myself adding 7 total but that would only be if I don't like what I get from 1/gallon. I really like vanilla but personally I would like the vanilla flavor to compliment the honey flavor.

It is a personal choice, how much vanilla character do you want? I would start with 1/gallon and in a month or two taste,decide on if you should add more. I wouldn't even rack just add some and taste again in a few weeks.

07-14-2006, 09:40 PM
I don't know if 20 is too much or not ... my original plan was 20 beans PLUS 16 ounces or Mexican Vanilla extract! Oskaar talked me out of using the extract AND the vanilla beans, so I elected to do the 10+10. Time will tell whether or not it will be too much of a good thing ! ;) Also, my recipe is for a SIX GALLON batch and not a 5 gallon batch.

I took a little taste when I racked it into the secondary and the vanilla taste DID NOT seem overpowering to me, but then again, I LOVE vanilla ....

Here is the recipe / procedure I followed from my own brew log (I never posted it here):

(9) 06/10/2006 Basic Vanilla Mead

This will be my final batch - for awhile anyway (no more carboys!). Here is the recipe:

18 lbs Clover Honey
1 Teaspoon Fermaid
Water to 6 gallons
5 Packs D-47 Yeast Rehydrated with GoFerm

Procedure as follows:

1. Filled my bucket fermenter to the 6 gallon mark with honey, water, and 1 teaspoon of Fermaid. Mixed hot and cold water together to approximate a good pitching temperature.
2. Aerated / stirred the mixture using my lees stirrer for about 5 minutes.
3. Rehydrated 5 packs of D-47 with 1 teaspoon on GoFerm.
4. Pitched yeast into must which measured 88 degrees.
5. Aerated / stirred again for a couple minutes.
6. Installed lid with airlock.


06/11/2006 Fermentation about 40 BPM - Aerated must with my lees stirrer both in the AM and PM.

06/12/2006 Aerated must in the AM and PM.

06/13/2006 Aerated must in the AM. In the PM, I added 1 teaspoon of Fermaid and aerated again in the plastic fermenter. Transferred to a 6 gallon carboy to which an additional 3 pounds of honey was added. Stirred like hell with my lees stirrer in the carboy. Added 10 Tahitian Vanilla Beans split in half and topped off carboy with must. Took a Brix reading with my new refractometer and got a reading of 22 or 1.090 SG.

06/14/2006 Fermentation is approximately 70 bubbles per minute and SMELLING VERY GOOD!

07/08/2006 Fermentation dropped to about 2 bubbles per minute, so I racked into another 6 gallon carboy in which I added another 10 split in half fresh vanilla beans. I used my Enolmatic to do the transfer. Took a Brix = 11 or 1.043 SG. Far from being done, but tasting pretty good with nice vanilla flavor.

07-15-2006, 12:13 AM
Geez, grantlee you are hardcore about all your additons.
5 packs of d47..wow
1 would have done it, 2 for a sure thing, 5 for.. I don't know..lol

My last round with d47 fermented very clear, actually just tasted it tonight. I like d47 mostly for its flocculation. I am also starting to notice the mouthfeel it give my mead.

07-15-2006, 07:42 AM
Yeah kace069, you're not the first one to comment on the amount of yeast I use ;)

With that being said, I've made TEN 5 or 6 gallon batches of various meads since Feb. 18 of this year, and I've used 25 grams of yeast for each one. And although most of these meads are in various stages of secondary fermentation, bulk, or bottle aging, and are FAR from being 'finished', I've not had a single problem with any of my fermentations.

Guess I like to start off my fermentations with a swift kick in the must butt ! (at least that's what MY feeble mind likes to think !) ;D