I added a whole vanilla bean to a gallon batch I'm bulk aging on 4-13-12. And subsequently have learned that some people split them and scrape them, I assume to get as much flavor from them as possible.
Do you think I should fish the bean out of the carboy (which shouldn't be too hard, its floating) and split it?
Or should I remove/discard that one and split a new bean in half and add it?
And while I'm asking, is there a particular length of time I should leave the bean in? I was planning to bulk age this gallon for quite a while longer before bottling (and was planning to leave the bean in it until I'm ready to bottle) at least a few more months.
I want to get as much vanilla flavor as I can.
And btw, I didn't have any vanilla bean in it during primary fermentation.
Cheers and thanks in advance for your input.
The scraping thing comes from cheffing/professional cooking. If you just fished it out and split it and return it to the batch, then that should do the job.
After all, the vanilla flavour is extracted by the alcohol which will reach inside the pod all the quicker .......
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What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away! Tom Waits.....
Yeah I'd fish it out and split it. Scraping optional. If you want to leave the bean in there for a long time, I'd not scrape it to slow down the extraction just that little extra bit.
How long is not a straightforward question to answer. I always recommend the "taste it and see" approach. Periodically taste the mead, and when it seems like the vanilla is about right--it's done. The vanilla flavor will continue to evolve over time, so you might decide in future batches to leave it past the "just right" point, or pull it out before then.
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Thanks akueck and fatbloke. I was going to sample it in a couple weeks so will decide if I will remove and split it then.
Honestly, I don't know that you'd be able to do that all at this point. If you can fish it out, just mash it and toss all the gunk back in.
Yep, in thinking about it, you just want the must to come into contact with the inside of the pod. So, all you would really need to do, by my logic, is cut the bean into pieces and drop it in.
Went ahead and fished it out and split it lengthwise on the 10th. No problem. I'd never cut open a vanilla bean before, the gunk that oozed out looked like black tar.
Yup, wonderful little seeds. Those are the black spots in real vanilla ice cream.
Bees stole my signature file!
It looks much nicer when it hasn't been soaking in mead