I'm going to brew a cream stout this weekend, and want to make it a little different by adding some vanilla bean and sweet orange peal to the recipe. I've never worked with either ingredient, so I don't have any idea what constitutes a reasonable amount for a 5 gallon batch. Does anyone with experience using either of these additions have any recommendations?

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I have used lemon zest before and would consider using orange zest for sure. I would definitely try fresh orange zest if you have a "zester". Probably 3-4 oranges would give you enough zest 1-2 oz. that may be enough to overcome the strong malt flavors without being overbearing. I also just used a package of orange bitters from my LHBS in a Belgian wit that ended up with a decent orange flavor. You can add zest at the end of the boil to reduce boil off of the flavorful essential oils and if it's not strong enough you can add more in secondary. I have never used vanilla bean before but you could find some answers on homebrewtalk.com. I probably wouldn't use vanilla beans until secondary and let the stout condition on it. Hope this helps! Happy brewing!

Joe

RDWHAHB

I've added Orange to a wheat beer in the past to add a bit of extra flavour.  Really nice in the summer on the deck.  What I used was one large orange per gallon.  I put in whole orange slices with peel, but know that generally they recommend zest and maybe the juice depending on the recipe.

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