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For beer and especially stouts, the use of vanilla beans is becoming common practice for those looking to expand the taste profile of traditional brews. Home brewers and commercial brewers alike are constantly looking for creative flavor applications to differentiate their brews from others. The subtile and soft sweetness of high quality vanilla beans is a perfect medium to fuse bitter, bold and sweet tastes that are inherent in most brews.
The price of vanilla beans has made their use cost prohibitive over the past several year, but through order bundling with other brewers and our large global base of customers, we are able to provide the lowest price possible of various types of vanilla beans.
Currently, we offer the following vanilla beans at discounted prices to our brewers with lead times of 4 weeks or less: (Click on any bean type to see pricing or see the entire collection by clicking here.)
- Madagascar: Traditional, creamy, buttery and bold vanilla taste.
- Tahiti: Bold vanilla with hints of cherry and licorice.
- Mexican: A spicy bold vanilla with soft notes of chocolate and caramel.
- Indonesian: A dark chocolate, smokey and earthy bold vanilla.
- Ugandan: An earthy vanilla with hints of dried fruits, figs and raisins.
Our vanilla beans are packaged in our USDA/FDA NSF certified facility near Salt Lake City, UT, and we never compromise quality. We have a 100%, no questions asked money-back guarantee on every order. Our vanilla beans are water killed (bourbon style) and grade-A. This makes them easy to cut, easy to use and full of vanillin (the oil that makes vanilla taste and smell sweet).
While there are countless ways to utilize vanilla beans in brewing, we typically hear of three.
The first method is similar to the method used for adding any spice to beer. Simply boil in the vanilla bean in the last ten minutes of the boil. This is the simplest method and it will certainly provide a vanilla sweetness to your final brew. However, this method is hard on the vanilla bean and it will typically destroy many of the 300+ favor compounds inherent in a nice vanilla bean.
The second method is to use the vanilla bean to make an extract. This is especially useful in spiced beers and holiday ales, and it will help to ensure consistency of all spices (included vanilla) in your finished brew. You make a vanilla extract by simply submerging 1oz of vanilla beans into 8oz of a highly distilled, tasteless vodka...and wait for 90 days+. (Some people will wait for a year!) The longer you wait, the more concentrated the vanilla will be.
The third method is a "dry hopping" method where all spices (including vanilla beans) are added to a secondary fermentation. This slow extraction method ensures that all the flavor compounds of a vanilla bean remain intact and the full benefit of the bean is tasted in the final brew. The steps to this process are as follows:
- Sanitize your secondary fermentation vessel once the primary fermentation of your beer is complete.
- If you would like to use a full vanilla bean, skip ahead to step three. We recommend using the full bean because it is full of flavor. Others like to slice their beans open. If you choose to slice your beans open, you will simply need a sharp knife. With your knife cut your vanilla beans long ways, split the bean open and, with the knife's blade edge, scrape out all of the inside of the bean. The small seeds inside the bean pod are known as the vanilla bean caviar, and you typically don't want caviar in your final product. (They are the same white specs you see in vanilla bean ice cream.)
- Place the whole bean or the sliced-open empty pod at the bottom of the secondary fermenter.
- Rack the beer on the vanilla beans before applying the lid and the airlock on the secondary fermenter.
- Now, simply wait. Typically 2-4 weeks is required to extract the vanilla into the beer. You can sample as often as you choose, but the longer you wait the more vanilla will come through. In our experience a split vanilla bean will reach maximum extraction faster (2 weeks) but will not be as strong. A whole bean that has not been split will reach maximum extraction slower (4 weeks) but will have a richer flavor profile.
Of course, the use of vanilla (or any spice) is an art form for many brewers. There are innumerable approaches that certainly have not been considered here. Be creative in your application and please share with us anything that was successful for you.
Our brewers are important to us and we want to make sure that your experience with VanillaPura is always positive. Call us at any time with questions at 844-999-7872 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.