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Packlab Adding vanilla flavour to kit

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ou8amaus

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I have a couple of the low end Paklab kits in primaries and I am pulling together a few tweaks on one of them just to see what the potential of tweaks are. For the cab I have added dextrose and blackberry jam to the primary, and will be adding Zanth currents and oak to the secondary. I would also like to add a hint of vanilla and would like to know general opinion on how to go about it... I have read Joeswines (et al.) ideas on creating an extract with alcohol and vanilla beans, but I was wondering if anyone has tried just adding small amounts of pure vanilla extract? I appreciate your comments immensely!
 

chrisjw

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I am surprised that no one has responded to this one. I am sure that people have tried it. A google search brings up suggestions for testing it but no suggestions as to how much and what the results were. Basically all the suggestions were about bench trials, adding a very small amount at a time, and using real extract, not the imitation stuff.

But why use a vanilla extract anyways? The only reason that I could fathom is that you want an early drinking wine. However, you indicated that you are adding oak and oaking usually takes time to extract the flavor and integrate into the wine (unless you are using powder). So if you are going to add oak and you want more vanilla flavor then use French oak spirals or cubes, or staves, or whatever and you will get the hint of vanilla in your wine anyway. French oak has more vanilla characteristics than American oak. I know that it is not "thinking outside the box" but it has worked for many winos (including me) for a very long time.

If you do decide to use the extract, please report back your findings.
 

ou8amaus

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Thanks for the reply Chrisjw... I just racked to the carboy tonight and added currants and heavy french oak chips. I am still relatively new to the tweaking concept at this point, so experimentation is the name of the game. As this is a low end kit my expectations were not to age the wine past a few months, and as such would not have time for the natural vanillas to be expressed from the oak... hence adding vanilla. But now you have made me curious, could/should a tweaked wine be bulk aged, even if the base wine is low end? If anyone has input this could change my plans for this kit... Otherwise I will take your advice and perform some bench trials. I am really curious to compare the tweaked version to the control one.
 

cmason1957

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One thing you might consider doing is adding a vanilla bean directly to the wine as it ages. I have done that, be careful it does give LOTS of vanilla to the wine. There is a winery near here that are one per full size barrel and leaves it in for a year.
 

Thig

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One thing you might consider doing is adding a vanilla bean directly to the wine as it ages. I have done that, be careful it does give LOTS of vanilla to the wine. There is a winery near here that are one per full size barrel and leaves it in for a year.
Interesting to hear you mention that, I have a coffee port I am bottling soon and plan to put a small piece of vanilla bean in a few bottles. I was thinking maybe a 1 inch piece, what do you think?
 

cimbaliw

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Our LHBS has a probably a dozen or so different vanilla beans all with wine label like descriptions of this or that flavoring. The clerk suggested that while the descriptions are nice there really isn't that much difference between bean varieties.

On the other hand, my wife found a good quality "Madascar Burbon" vanilla extract at the grocery store for less than the price of a bean. In my limited apple vanilla/ginger experience the vanilla extract can really up the perception of sweetness without changing the SG.
 

ou8amaus

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One thing you might consider doing is adding a vanilla bean directly to the wine as it ages. I have done that, be careful it does give LOTS of vanilla to the wine. There is a winery near here that are one per full size barrel and leaves it in for a year.
Thanks for the suggestion, I am going to pickup up a vanilla bean tomorrow and give it a try! Throw it in whole and then check every week or so on the level of infusion ?
 

joeswine

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extracts

GOOD to see your THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX, however that profile doesn't match up with the base wine the vanilla will not make it better, if fact the flavor should take over the profile ,the oak and currents will work.....................THIG a little goes a long way:try, Also add a coffee bean it will continue to maintain the flavor in the bottle as you age it.:wy
 

Thig

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THIG a little goes a long way:try, Also add a coffee bean it will continue to maintain the flavor in the bottle as you age it.:wy
Good idea, why limit it to just adding the vanilla bean.
 

cmason1957

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And Joeswine is right on the mark (of course he is, been doing this a number of years), if the flavor profile before the vanilla isn't what it should be, the vanilla isn't going to make it perfect. I try to use it as a subtle afterthought or hint, so that someone might say, oh, what is that little thing at the finish.

And a whole coffee bean does sound really good. I will have to sneak that into something, since my wife doesn't like coffee. Another thought, I may add to my Chambourcin or Norton this year is a hint of chocolate, either through an extract or some very high cocoa chocolate. Again, for a short period of time tasting often. More is generally not better.
 

ou8amaus

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Getting a lot of really great feedback here, it is much appreciated! I am confused by something, and please excuse my newb-ishness, but I have tasted vanilla notes within Cabernets in the past (specifically on some of the heavily oaked Australian Cabernets). I am obviously not connecting the dots here, why would I not wish to bring forward a little vanilla, along with oak, currant, and pepper undertones? Apart from the Dextrose I cannot do a lot with the body on such a low end kit, so my thinking was to bring forward individual flavours from the cabarnet profile... Am I being too ambitious with these tweaks?
 

WI_Wino

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That vanilla taste (and other flavor notes) could have been from the oak the wine was aged in. You can add charred oak cubes/spirals/staves to replicate that rather than adding vanilla directly.
 

joeswine

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The body of the wine

If you're looking to build the body of the Cabernet I want to run something by you off the wall ,I want you to go to a fruit stand or local produce market where ever you can buy some fresh produce pick up about it dozen really fresh eatable- at - this moment plums really juicy, squashed them by hand or press them in any fashion you want and put them in the wine just as they are the plums will add body to the wine and will give you a beautiful taste, try it ,I think you like it just trick we do .:HB
 

ou8amaus

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Thanks for the suggestion Joe! Picked up some plums today and will add them tonight to the carboy. While I have you... Would you recommend adding tannin powder to such a heavily "enhanced" wine (optimistic perhaps, but sounds better than tweaked... :)
 

Downwards

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I would only like to add all these things sound great, but definitely wait till you can taste your wine before you do these. I sometimes get an idea in my head of what a wine tastes like, what would go great with it, prepare myself to add it, but then as I'm doing so I taste the wine and it is not like I "remember".. taste first- just before you add something and don't go off memory and imagination. Your mind can sometimes play tricks on you. ;)
 

geek

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If you're looking to build the body of the Cabernet I want to run something by you off the wall ,I want you to go to a fruit stand or local produce market where ever you can buy some fresh produce pick up about it dozen really fresh eatable- at - this moment plums really juicy, squashed them by hand or press them in any fashion you want and put them in the wine just as they are the plums will add body to the wine and will give you a beautiful taste, try it ,I think you like it just trick we do .:HB
joe,

at what stage of the wine you put the plums? You do this wile fermentation is going and not after the wine goes dry, right? If you added it after it will back sweeten the wine.
Also, do you put the plums whole or throw away the seed before you put them into the wine?
 

ou8amaus

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I would only like to add all these things sound great, but definitely wait till you can taste your wine before you do these. I sometimes get an idea in my head of what a wine tastes like, what would go great with it, prepare myself to add it, but then as I'm doing so I taste the wine and it is not like I "remember".. taste first- just before you add something and don't go off memory and imagination. Your mind can sometimes play tricks on you. ;)
I totally agree with you! I usually take that approach with the mid level kits. In this case this is a low end kit I have done a few times in the past so I had an idea of what I felt the kit was lacking (mostly everything) :). I tried a few tweaks individually in the past with limited success, so this was an experiment to see what hitting it with multiple overlaying tweaks would produce. Realy enthusiastic about this one!
 

joeswine

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Adding the plums

It all depends how far along your are ,you can add them in the secondary just like you would do two reasons remember were creating a sauce were layers of flavor and the oak tannin powder can be added at any stage usually it's in the secondary for me and sometimes even put it in a month before going to bottle depending on the textures I,M trying to achieve with the wine I'm developing.
Now here's what I think the plums will give you great texture and a nice background note , in conjunction with that the oak tan powder will add to the viscosity of the body . :uThese are just suggestions not set in concrete:ft to each his or her own.:u
 

geek

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I just got a WE selection international with grape skins pack that I am starting tomorrow....it came with 2 packages of hungarian oak chips for primary and 1 pack of oak cubes for secondary.
 

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