Denny, Vanilla Stout?

The Home Brew Digest's Brews & Views BBS: Brews and Views Archive 2004: February 11, 2004: Denny, Vanilla Stout?

By Vance Barnes ( on Wednesday, January 28, 2004 - 7:33 pm:

Think I've seen a recipe that you have for a Vanilla Stout here before but didn't come up with it in the archives. Do you have a link to it or could you post it? Thought I'd do something a little different for this years St. Patty's brew.

BTW, your Rye IPA rocks. Folks around here like Terapins RyePA (won at GABF 2 years ago) until they have some of yours!

By Denny Conn ( on Wednesday, January 28, 2004 - 7:42 pm:

Vance, that's high praise for the Rye IPA...glad everybody likes it! I have a recipe for a bourbon vanilla imperial porter...if you'd like, I'll post it.

By Vance Barnes ( on Wednesday, January 28, 2004 - 8:07 pm:

Guess that's what I'm thinking of. Guess I'll be doing a porter instead of the stout. Don't want to stir up any controversy by changing the recipe the first time out ;>)

I knew I'd seen something on it recently cause I remember you talking about the poor quality of the vanilla beans lately. Mainly wanted to brew something dark as I prefer them this time of year vs. when it's hot. Does it requires long aging since it's an Imperial? Maybe do it now for next winter and a dry stout for March.

Have friend in SC who tried the Rye IPA and he's planning on brewing it soon.

By Denny Conn ( on Wednesday, January 28, 2004 - 8:15 pm:

OK, here ya go...actually doesn't require all that much aging. I find it drinkable easily within a month of bottling.

Recipe : Bourbon Vanilla Imperial Porter

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (GAL): 5.00 Wort Size (GAL): 5.00
Total Grain (LBS): 17.00
Anticipated OG: 1.087 Plato: 20.9
Anticipated SRM: 33.4
Anticipated IBU: 34.4
Brewhouse Efficiency: 73 %
Wort Boil Time: 75 Minutes


% Amount Name Origin Potential SRM
64.7 11.00 lbs. Pale Malt(2-row) America 1.036 2
8.8 1.50 lbs. Brown Malt Great Britain 1.032 70
14.7 2.50 lbs. Munich Malt(2-row) America 1.035 10
5.9 1.00 lbs. Crystal 120L America 1.034 120
2.9 0.50 lbs. Crystal 40L America 1.034 40
2.9 0.50 lbs. Chocolate Malt America 1.029 350

Potential represented as SG per pound per gallon.


Amount Name Form Alpha IBU Boil Time
0.80 oz. Magnum Whole 14.60 32.0 60 min.
0.50 oz. Goldings - E.K. Whole 4.75 2.4 10 min.


Amount Name Type Time
1.00 Tsp Irish Moss Fining 15 Min.(boil)


WYeast 1056 Amercan Ale/Chico

Mash Schedule

Mash Name :
WYeast 1056 Amercan Ale/Chico

Total Grain LBS : 17.00
Grain Temp : 63.00 F
Total Water QTS : 23.00 - Before Additional Infusions
Total Water GAL : 5.75
Tun Thermal Mass : 0.00

Step Rest Start Stop Direct/ Infuse Infuse Infuse
Step Name Time Time Temp Temp Infuse Temp Amount Ratio
sacc 0 60 154 154 Infuse 167 23.00 1.35

Total Water QTS : 23.00 - After Additional Infusions
Total Water GAL : 5.75 - After Additional Infusions

All temperature measurements are degrees Fahrenheit.
All infusion amounts are in quarts.


Make sure you have fresh vanilla beans. If they seem old and crunchy, use more than 2. After primary, slit 2 vanilla beans open lengthwise. Scrape the "goop" out of the insides, chop the pods into quarters, add goop and pods to secondary fermenter, rack beer onto vanilla. Taste periodically for the correct balance. I left the beer in secondary for 11 days. Rack to bottling bucket and add 10 ml. per pint of Jim Beam Black Bourbon (or to your taste). Bottle, enjoy!

By Vance Barnes ( on Wednesday, January 28, 2004 - 9:58 pm:

Have you ever thought about soaking the beans in the bourbon and then adding that to the secondary? There I go changing it the first time. We'll stick to the recipe!

So there are 40 pints in 5 gal times 10 ml = 400ml = .4L = 13.5 fl. oz. which is a litle less than a pint per 5 gal. Does that match what you usually use? Not trying to make boilermakers here.

By Doug J ( on Thursday, January 29, 2004 - 12:06 am:

Hmmmmmm, I just read something on the use of small amounts of vanilla to mask ethanol flavors or perception or something like that. Maybe that's why you find it drinkable so quickly.

I'll have to look around at work and see if I can find it.

By Denny Conn ( on Thursday, January 29, 2004 - 8:41 pm:

Vance, I thought about it, but couldn't see any advantage. Besides that, I'd have to decide in advance how much bourbon to put in, and I didn't know. To decide at bottling time, I poured 4 4 oz. tasters without bourbon, then dosed each one with differeing amounts, a tsp. in one, 2 tsp. in the next, etc. I picked the one that tasted best and scaled up from there, adding the bourbon to the bottling bucket. I don't have my notes on hand, but I think it was in the 375 ml. range. I might have had slightly less than 5 gal., though. You might want to do the samples like I did and decide for yourself.

By Vance Barnes ( on Thursday, January 29, 2004 - 8:55 pm:

I thought you must have taste tested it on a small scale due to the ml/pint ratio. 375 ml. converts to 13.2 fl. oz. so looks like I'm in the ballpark. Looks like you bottled. I'll be kegging so I was thinking I could add a cup to start and see how that does. Can always open the keg and add more if necessary.

Was talking to a chef friend last night about vanilla beans. He said that he was going to buy a pound recently but when he got the price he decided otherwise.

By Denny Conn ( on Thursday, January 29, 2004 - 9:01 pm:

Yeah, vanilla prices have skyrocketd and the quality seems to be in the dumper. Still, though, it's worth the trouble and expense to try and get really good beans. I tried a couple brands of extracts, and they just weren't the same. Of course, there are probably better extracts around than those I tried, but they just didn't seem to have the "up front" quality that the beans did.

By Bill Pierce ( on Thursday, January 29, 2004 - 9:29 pm:

It's just a thought and I'm a little reluctant to tamper with Denny's recipe (though I know he's not as sensitive about it as are some people). But I know that vanilla oils are much more soluble in ethanol than in water. I might place two scraped vanilla beans in 375 ml of bourbon and let them soak from brew day until bottling/kegging, when I would strain and add the vanilla bourbon to the beer. I would think that would do a good job of extracting vanilla flavor. For that matter, some people might like vanilla bourbon itself, though I admit I prefer my bourbon straight or with one ice cube.

By Vance Barnes ( on Thursday, January 29, 2004 - 9:56 pm:

Bill, that's why I asked Denny if he'd tried that. Guess it could go either way. Vanilla more soluable in the bourbon but less volume of bourbon so it might become saturated with vanilla before it's all extracted. Or less soluable in beer but more volume of it therefore less concentrated with the vanilla which might extract more over time. Sounds like more experiments ;>) And these would be drinkable experiments! Think I'll stay with the recipe this first time but may lengthen the time the beer is on the vanilla. Yea, bourbon and branch for me.

Denny, I agree about the extracts. I used to make Kaluha and tried it with beans and extract. The beans were always better IMO. Hmm, coffee roasting, vanilla beans, Kaluha. More experiments on the horizon. Anybody ever tried to make Kaluha with fresh roasted and ground beans? Might have to dig up that old recipe.

By Bill Pierce ( on Thursday, January 29, 2004 - 10:50 pm:

I have made coffee liqueur with vodka, sugar and fresh roast espresso. It's not bad if you're into that sort of thing.

By Denny Conn ( on Friday, January 30, 2004 - 9:57 pm:

Hey, if you do the soaking thing, let me now how it works. I don't care for bourbon (or scotch or most hard liqour) so I never really considered it. From a theoretical standpoint, it seems like it ought to work. The only time I've done anything like that was when I made a chantrelle old ale, soaking the chantrelles in vodka. It did work really well for that.

By Chris Smedley ( on Friday, January 30, 2004 - 10:20 pm:

CHANTERELLE MUSHROOMS?! Man. That's wacky. How did that turn out? I imagine it to be something like the old, musty, woodsy flavors/aromas that people sometimes call "corky."

By JOHN K. LEE ( on Friday, January 30, 2004 - 10:47 pm:

That's almost as strange as the Oyster Stout that is discussed in the final pages of the latest BYO.

By Chris Smedley ( on Friday, January 30, 2004 - 10:59 pm:

John K. Lee: You might want to read M. Jackson on the history of Oyster Stout. The brewer in BYO is not as much of a mad scientist as you might think.

By Tim Egan ( on Friday, January 30, 2004 - 11:12 pm:

I haven't seen the new BYO yet, but Yards Brewing in Philly makes an oyster stout that is delicious. They call it Love Stout.

By Denny Conn ( on Saturday, January 31, 2004 - 5:29 pm:

Actually, the apricotty aroma of chantrelles worked really well in an old ale. We had a good crop in the woods behind my house that year, so I decided to give it a about it in Mosher's book. If I had had to pay $16/lb. to buy them, I might have reconsidered.

By Vance Barnes ( on Monday, February 02, 2004 - 8:10 pm:

Think I'll stick to making soup with my chanterelles. We had a good crop last year behing the house. Hope for another good one this year. Especially as they are $19.99 a lb. at Whole Foods.

Got the Imperial Porter part brewed yesterday before the superbowl. Only had to change one thing. Couldn't get any 120 Crystal so I had to use Special B. It was that or Crystal 90. Guess I could have used a 1/2 lb. of each instead of all Special B.

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