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Denny's BVIP is Dangerous

Just kegged my first batch, have not yet even added the beans or bourbon, but man, I’m already in love.

Now that I say that, I guess I should ask, since the version of the recipe I used ( Site Not Found ) suggests adding the vanilla before kegging…I was planning on doing it in the keg just as I usually do with dry hops (in a hop bag that I’ll remove when I’m satisfied).

Any reason I should be concerned about doing it that way? Maybe do it at higher than serving temp?

Personally (this is typically a twice per year brew for me, one of my absolute favorites for fall/winter) I use two vanilla beans, scrape and quarter them per the instructions on the wiki, but then I put them in a small mason jar with vodka to make a tincture. Then when that’s where I want it flavor-wise, I dump the tincture in the keg after transferring the beer onto the bourbon. I got a free handle of Maker’s Mark as a prize at a charity golf outing last year so I’ve been using it almost exclusively for this beer as I’m not a huge Bourbon drinker.


Sure, if you want to put the beans in the keg, go ahead. What you might run into, though, is too much vanilla flavor. By adding them to secondary you can xfer the beer when it has enough vanilla for you. Although if yer gonna bag 'em I guess it/s the same thing.

Personally, I hate vodka tinctures…I can always taste the vodka, to the detriment of the beer IMO. Also, since there’s bourbon going in, if you want to make a tincture why not do it with the bourbon?

Great, thanks. I’ll be able to pull the vanilla out when I feel like the flavor is right, but if you didn’t have that option I definitely see the advantage.

I don’t think I’d be able to tell when a tincture has the right amount of flavor when added to the keg, but I’ll probably pseudo-sanitize the bag of split and scraped beans in a small amount of bourbon (I know, negligible risk of infection at this stage, but it’s a freebie in my mind) before adding. Thanks all!

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Well now I’ll just have to use Maker’s Mark for the tincture on my next batch! :innocent:


FYI…you might want to save the Maker’s Mark for something where you can appreciate it better. You don’t want to use rotgut for the beer, but there’s little benefit to top shelf liquor, either. If you can tell the brand of bourbon you put in, you’ve used too much. It should be an integrated background flavor.

I used Woodford Reserve. The best reason to use good bourbon is that you now have an excuse to buy more good bourbon :slight_smile:

Well, there’s that! Not being a bourbon drinker, that’s not a consideration for me.

Just reading through some of the older posts in this thread…Denny, you don’t think one could do a reasonable approximation of this brew subbing extract for the pale/munich, assuming 40-50% extraction for the specialty grains? I’ll hang up and listen :slight_smile:

If you can find Munich extract, sure. But what about the brown malt?

Hmm, guess I was assuming brown malt was essentially a caramel, but maybe not.

I see crisp is 60-70L, but from what I hear this is one where different maltsters have very different versions. Also, I honestly don’t know what, beyond color, indicates how “steepable” a malt is. Obviously temp and duration of roast come into play, but I’m not sure if or how that shows up in the malt analysis.

Not claiming to be an expert at all, just curious.

Nope, not a cara malt. But you might be able to get away with steeping it. Never tried.

Fair enough, I guess whether one can get away with it doesn’t necessarily tell you whether it’s good practice or not either. So obviously any malt that is likely to leave starch behind is not a good candidate for steeping, but beyond the general rules of thumb, how do you tell? Seems like brown may be one of those questionable malts that is tough to tell.

With that said, it’s not so hard to throw some diastatic malt in the mash and do a reasonable partial mash. Guess maybe the smartest way to approach it is if you’re on the fence,probably don’t want to risk a steep.

Based on color alone I’d guess it won’t self convert but I haven’t researched it.

Brown malt is not diastatic. You’ll need to mash it with some base malt.

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My confusion has always been that cara-malts are not diastatic either, but I think I’ve got it now. Not sure how I failed to digest the difference after all this time brewing, but it’s been a long time since I did an extract/steep beer, so I’ll give myself a pass :).

What’s even worse is that brown malt USED to be diastatic, so all those old victorian London porter recipes were made with 100% brown malt. Nowadays, not so much… :confused:

Do you suspect they didn’t… MALT them first? Then kiln/brown them? It sure seems all the browns and darker are done for flavor… Fascinating! Take the pale malt and toast them yourself to recreate the old victorian style? Sneezles61

No, it was certainly malted. But there was also a lot of variation in brown malt, and the fuel used by different malting houses probably had a big influence. It was almost certainly not as dark, either. Pale malt started getting more and more common, and even though it was more expensive it had such a better yield than brown and amber malt that it became a larger portion of the grist. Therefore the brown malt had to be kilned darker to keep the same final color in the wort. With the darker kilning, the enzymes were destroyed.

Chances are that the lower yield was due to the higher kilning temperature breaking down some enzymes. It would be a fun project to figure out how long to toast some pale malt to the point where it will convert, but still provide appropriate color and flavor for a porter. I’ve made brown malt from toasting maris otter in the oven, and the aroma from it is fantastic! Might be a good project for this winter… toast the malt to a lighter color, use it for 100% of the grist, and if it doesn’t convert toss in some base malt to get the party going.


Cara malts are in effect “mashed” in the husk so they don’t need to be further converted.

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