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Golddiggie
12-03-2010, 04:03 AM
So, I ordered, and now have, 7 'premium' Madagascar-Bourbon vanilla beans... I plan to use some in my Mocha Madness mead, but I'm wondering what else I could use them in... Has anyone tried to add them to a cream ale (so a vanilla cream ale)?? Or any other concoction that made you step back (in a good way)?? I know that you can get vanilla characteristics from aging over/with oak, but what do you get from the real thing?

darthbooger
12-03-2010, 08:41 AM
My very first batch i made a cinnamon vanilla dessert mead, it is VERY smooth, and delicious, from what I hear, vanilla helps bring out the other flavors in your mead, im still very new to all of this, but your "mocha madness" recipe, I am actually going to do a three gallon batch of, and I already had some vanilla beans I planned to use, I usually use about one pod per gallon, im going to have more in the way of coa oa nibs, but nonetheless, I have had good experiences with using vanilla thus far, I also put two vanilla beans split open face in some vodka for a few months and had my own vanilla extract...

akueck
12-03-2010, 10:40 AM
There are many recipes that include vanilla; I've used it in at least 2 meads. Try the search tool, limit yourself to the brewlog and recipe sections and you should find lots of folks using vanilla beans.

Golddiggie
12-03-2010, 11:26 AM
darthbooger, How much cacao nibs are you planning to use? Ground or whole? I was thinking of using just 1/2 of a pod in my madness, at least at first, so that I wouldn't need to rack off of it in a rush. I'd rather add more to it then try to catch it at the perfect moment (not always easy to do)... I am thinking about soaking either some oak cubes, or maybe some of the other wood I'll be using in another batch of mead, in some bourbon to get a little something extra...

akueck, *smacking my own head* I should have done more searching already... Looking to see if anyone has used vanilla beans in beers, not just mead...

Going to the LHBS today (need to get another opinion on my current beers before I prime and bottle them) so I'll ask them too...

I don't have vodka here, since I don't drink it and don't really have any recipe's that call for it...

YogiBearMead726
12-03-2010, 12:42 PM
I'm of the school of thought that darthbooger brings up; that vanilla enhances other flavors. That being said, it's hard to think of a mead that hasn't gotten at least some vanilla. My wet-hopped mead has a pod split into it, my
Mayan chocolate has about 5-6 split in it, I've even thrown some into a cyser. Really, the flavor combinations are endless.

Golddiggie
12-03-2010, 12:47 PM
Yogi, Do you add them during aging or fermentation???

YogiBearMead726
12-03-2010, 12:56 PM
Yogi, Do you add them during aging or fermentation???

Both for the Mayan chocolate, since I wanted some vanilla flavor present in the palate. Just in secondary for the other two I mentioned to allow the vanilla to help round out the taste. It worked beautifully in the hopped mead. :)

AToE
12-03-2010, 01:12 PM
I've been thinking a simple vanilla meth would be excellent. Ferment dry, lots of tannin and oak, then as many beans as necessary to give the whole thing a rounder feel, not punch you with vanilla, but clearly be vanilla.

I'm also thinking of trying to incorperate vanilla beans into some of my dry big-red-meads to just fill it out a little and enhance flavours/aromas subtly.

Golddiggie
12-03-2010, 01:15 PM
Hmmmmm... interesting... What do you think about me adding some (maybe 1/2 a pod) to my madness now, or once it passes the 1/3 break? I'm also tempted to add a few ounces of crushed/cracked coffee beans now that things are moving along... As of last night it's had a gravity drop of .026...

AToE
12-03-2010, 01:23 PM
I wouldn't do any part-way through primary additions, for the simple reason that they might be difficult to replicate later on. I really don't think you'll get much extra complexity from these early additions, they'll probably just be the same flavours and aromas you'd get with secondary additions, just instead of getting a high percentage out of each bean/whatever you'll get a lower.

I could be wrong, but I think differences in flavour "type" (not flavour "quantity") between primary and secondary additions is limited to things that ferment, like fruit, honey, maple syrup, etc.

Could be wrong though.

darthbooger
12-03-2010, 01:46 PM
I know this is directed at Yogi, but I wanna be in on this conversation! =P
I personally added pods during primary AND secondary, for a total of about 6 months of vanilla exposure, little by little, I havent dried just dropping a vanilla bomb in a batch yet though im curious how that would turn out....

Golddiggie
12-03-2010, 02:23 PM
Just got the books I ordered (The Compleat Meadmaker and Designing Great Beers)... I'm definitely going to add vanilla to my blackberry melomel... I'm planning to rack it onto more blackberries when it goes to secondary/aging... I think I'll rack to a whole bean after that (split and scraped) since the book mentions what vanilla (beans) do in more depth... Sounds good to me... I can always start with one bean/pod and add more as needed... Think I'll do that all during aging though...

YogiBearMead726
12-03-2010, 04:15 PM
I know this is directed at Yogi, but I wanna be in on this conversation! =P
I personally added pods during primary AND secondary, for a total of about 6 months of vanilla exposure, little by little, I havent dried just dropping a vanilla bomb in a batch yet though im curious how that would turn out....

The "vanilla bomb" worked beautifully. It reduces the bitterness from the cacao nibs and it complements the sweet heat of the habaneros. I personally like habanero for this very reason. Heat aside, it's a tasty, sweet fruit. And the vanilla really helped push it that way.

I will say, if anyone is looking for a REAL kick of vanilla, Tahitian is the way to go, not Bourbon. But I think this thread is more about the latter flavor profile; one that compliments without overwhelming.

Hassan Ben Sober
12-05-2010, 04:31 PM
I started a 1 gallon batch last week.

3 lbs honey
3+ qts Honeycrisp Apple Cider
1 split vanilla bean
2 cinnamon sticks.
Rhone 4600 yeast

It's been 11 days, and the gas trap is still bubbling away.

:)