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Old 11-19-2012, 03:10 AM   #1
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Default making your own vanilla extract

Started my second batch of vanilla extract yesterday. Both the first, and new, batches are with Premium Bourbon-Madagascar vanilla beans (not expensive when you buy them right). I used about 2oz of beans in a pint mason jar, which I then filled with Skyy vodka. I left that one in the mason jar for about 8 months before pouring through a couple of layers of cheese cloth, held in a metal strainer over a quart measuring cup. Bottled it up and have given some away already. Getting really great comments about aroma and flavors being above and beyond what you normally buy (no surprise there ).

For the new batch, I decided to try and use most of the beans I had left. So, I went with 4oz of beans, split, scraped, and then cut into segments (cut the bean into thirds, basically). I realize (now) that the beans had probably dried out some since they arrived, since the weight doesn't add up to what I bought (1/2#, but only have maybe an ounce left). I put the beans into a 24oz mason jar this time, and (again) filled it with Skyy vodka. I plan on letting this batch go about 5-6 months before bottling it up.

According to the information I found online (when making my first batch), you shake the jar a few times a day for the first few weeks, or month (not sure if you're supposed to do it longer, will need to check). Then you let it sit and get better and better.

IMO, if you're planning on using vanilla extract in your beers, mead, etc. make your own. It's worth the time it takes, and costs rather little compared with what you buy. Plus, you know EXACTLY what's inside the extract. No surprises involved.

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Old 11-19-2012, 03:35 AM   #2
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Last time I made some, I used about an oz of vodka with 2 beans that I had cut into pieces. Let sit a few months and added to a milk stout. Delicious.

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Old 11-19-2012, 11:45 AM   #3
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Great stuff. I have watched my mom make vanilla extract similar to this.

Money saving tip: Get a Britta water pitcher and use the cheapest vodka you can find. Run it through the filter and it will taste as clean and good as the premium stuff.

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Old 11-19-2012, 12:05 PM   #4
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I use rum instead of vodka in mine but it doesn't make a big difference.

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Old 11-19-2012, 01:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zamial View Post
Great stuff. I have watched my mom make vanilla extract similar to this.

Money saving tip: Get a Britta water pitcher and use the cheapest vodka you can find. Run it through the filter and it will taste as clean and good as the premium stuff.
Right now, Skyy vodka is on sale. $21.99 for a 1.75L bottle. Has plenty of distillation and filter steps in it (checked and it had more of those than any other vodka in the same price range when I was initially looking). It actually has more of both steps than higher priced vodka, which is why I picked it.

BTW, I think that was on an episode of Myth Busters, where it was busted...

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I use rum instead of vodka in mine but it doesn't make a big difference.
I can't see the base alcohol NOT making a difference in the flavor. If you make it super strong, it's probably masked by the vanilla, but why use good rum? I'd rather use the rum where you actually taste it. IMO, using it here would be a waste. Besides, I want pure vanilla extract, not vanilla extract rum mix.
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Old 11-19-2012, 03:27 PM   #6
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BTW, Skyy vodka uses a four-column distillation and a three step filtration process. The other vodkas I was looking at (in the same price range of under $15/750ml) had less of either one, or both, of those aspects. This is a case where more is better, since you want a very clean vodka for making extract. Basically, you don't want ANY flavor from the alcohol, since all the flavors from the vanilla should be coming through.

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Old 11-19-2012, 03:33 PM   #7
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edit, didn't read all the thread, whoopsie

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Old 11-19-2012, 05:01 PM   #8
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Id say that the base alcohol does make a considerable difference and would depend on your end use application to which you would use. Ive had some made with bourbon, and it was fantastic...especially for cooking. Might be fun to try a couple batches in different solvent solutions to find the best blend

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Old 11-19-2012, 05:07 PM   #9
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Most of what I'm making will be given to family members (and friends) for use in baking. I'll reserve some for use in brewing.

I did get the 1.75L bottle of vodka on Sunday, since I didn't have enough in the other bottle. So, I now have plenty to use for other things too. Chances of me drinking it is virtually nil.

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On Tap: Caramel Ale, Mocha Porter II, MO SMaSH IPA
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K1:
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Old 11-19-2012, 05:44 PM   #10
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Thank you, Golddiggie! I am going to try this ASAP.

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