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Old 02-14-2014, 01:43 PM   #1
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Default Odd reaction of Everclear with water

This isn't a brewing issue per se, but a cursory google search didn't yield much information.

Back in December, I decided I wanted to make homemade vanilla, let it age for a number of months, then give out as gifts for Christmas 2014.
I bought a large bottle of Everclear (1.75 liter I believe), and added around 25 split vanilla beans. After further research, Manthing suggested that we dilute the Everclear, as the alcohol volume was high enough that we should be able to get two large batches of vanilla out of that volume of Everclear.
So we split the batch and added half of the solution to an empty bottle, then topped off both with purified water.

The mixture instantly clouded up, is completely opaque, and has turned an odd golden/orangish/beige color.
What in the world happened?
I assume it's some type of chemical reaction to the oils that leached from the beans but man, is it ever bright and unappetizing looking.

Has anything like this ever happened to anyone here? Should I just leave it be and see if it settles itself out?

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Old 02-14-2014, 01:49 PM   #2
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Sounds like the reaction to oils that takes place with Absinthe and Ouzo. Maybe there is a correlation.

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Old 02-14-2014, 01:56 PM   #3
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My guess is that the oils from the vanilla beans don't mix well with water. While, the alcohol is able to dissolve them.

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Old 02-14-2014, 02:11 PM   #4
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So...in the future, probably mix the water/alcohol first, then add the vanilla beans?
Or would that not make any difference?

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Old 02-14-2014, 02:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Sounds like the reaction to oils that takes place with Absinthe and Ouzo. Maybe there is a correlation.
Now my interest is piqued. I've been interested in finding an absinthe recipe for quite a while now.

Also Ouzo...I feel queasy just reading that.
Last time I had it I was completely shoved under the table by a greek grandmother at a restaurant in Colorado Springs. That was not a pretty hangover.
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Old 02-14-2014, 02:34 PM   #6
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Oil and alcohol make a solution, when you start with alcohol you fully saturate the alcohol with oil, when water is added it becomes oversaturated and the oils pop out of the solution because there is no longer enough alcohol to dissolve into.
if you mix the water and alcohol first then it will extract only as much oil as the alcohol will hold in that solution. It wont oversaturate because there is nit enough alcohol for the oil to dissolve into.

Personally, I use the higher proof alcohol to extract, then evaporate 30-50 percent of the alcohol in front of a fan. That way I extract much more oil and I dont dilute my product. Use common sense

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Old 02-15-2014, 02:19 AM   #7
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^ That is probably what happened. Another thing would be if your water contained a good amount of dissolved gasses, those would also come out of solution when mixed with strong alcohol and cause a hazy/cloudy appearance, but in that case the effect would be temporary. It's likely that you reduced the solubility of oils with the water addition.

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Old 02-15-2014, 05:17 PM   #8
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btw, it doesnt make the vanilla extract bad. The oversaturation wont have much of an effect on taste, only clarity. If you concerned over appearance, you can slowly dissolve a little more alcohol and shake and let settle, repeat until it's clarified. Either that or you can fully dissolve the extract, then add back to a smaller amount of alcohol to create a very potent extraction.

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Old 02-18-2014, 03:19 PM   #9
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Purified water, or distilled/RO water? Another issue is if the water you are adding is high in dissolved salts, those can be precipitated if the alcohol concentration get too high

I was introduced to this with some 100 proof Scotch turning cloudy when poured on the rocks, with said "rocks" being made from a high mineral content water. Used distilled water to make some ice and had no issues

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