My wife just kicked a bottle of vanilla extract. She bakes a lot and buys the good stuff that comes with a bean in it. I think i want to add the bean to my double-chocolate stout that's in the secondary. Right now I have the carboy in the fridge trying to get the yeast to settle out.
If I throw the bean in now, will it have any impact, or will the low temps make it a waste of a bean? Should I throw the bean in whole, or should I chop it up, maybe scrape the caviar out and add the skin and caviar separately? Should I do anything to sanitize the bean before I add it? Soak it in vodka then add the bean & vodka?
The oils in the bean are soluble in alcohol.
- Temperature probably won't affect the process much
- The more surface area the additive has, the faster & more complete the process will be (chop it up or leave it longer for more vanilla flavor)
- Can't say about the question of caviar v. skin. Maybe taste each part to get an idea of what they will impart to your stout.
- Vanilla extract is already an alcoholic solution. If the bean hasn't been sitting out, it should be pretty clean.
- Check that your stout has produced alcohol. It should be fully attenuated (dropped to its predicted final gravity). The booze in the beer ought to take care of any nasties. If you are paranoid, soak it in vodka for an hour or so.