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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Soda Making > Home made extracts and tinctures
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Old 01-24-2012, 08:00 PM   #1
VeeEight292
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Default Home made extracts and tinctures

Working on improving our root beer recipe but I don't want to spend a lot of money on the extracts. Any advise on making my own? I know that vodka is best for making them but which one (I don't drink alcohol so I don't know the differences) I should get. What about storage on them and such.


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Old 01-24-2012, 09:37 PM   #2
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Since we're immensely diluting the extract, I'm planning to try using cheap vodka, or even everclear and water. (Hey, it works for lemoncello.) I've used good vodka before, and it's just easier to drink the infused vodka or use it in a mixed drink.

I'm thinking of letting the herb/spice/etc soak in the alcohol and then filter it out (I'd prefer having a glass percolator assembly, but I'll probably soak in a jar, and go through a coffee filter.

Still trying to see which herbs etc I want to do this with.


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Old 01-29-2012, 04:50 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinM View Post
Since we're immensely diluting the extract, I'm planning to try using cheap vodka, or even everclear and water. (Hey, it works for lemoncello.) I've used good vodka before, and it's just easier to drink the infused vodka or use it in a mixed drink.

I'm thinking of letting the herb/spice/etc soak in the alcohol and then filter it out (I'd prefer having a glass percolator assembly, but I'll probably soak in a jar, and go through a coffee filter.

Still trying to see which herbs etc I want to do this with.
Extracts rarely, or never, have as much alcohol as ever-clear in them. Vodka is %40 by law, which is very close to what extractions are required to have, by law. Go with a vodka for extractions. when it comes to a vodka, don't worry about it, buy a cheap vodka. You're not drinking it, you just need the ethanol to take care of the chemistry. Don't buy anything more expensive then Smirnoff.

Of course for really doing true extractions; licensed companies use distillers, but that's illegal so we wont go into it.
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Old 01-30-2012, 05:08 AM   #4
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Do you boil the essences or wait 2-3 months for better flavor? I have heard of it done both ways, but haven't heard of either one being better than the other.
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Old 01-30-2012, 05:35 AM   #5
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Actually Roach, the motive behind everclear is the cost basis of diluting everclear down from lets say, 75.5% abv down to 40% vs a bottom shelf vodka @ 40% that sells at the same price. At that point, I'd have nearly twice the diluted alcohol equal to the vodka for the same price. Of course, the question is taste. Since I don't use a lot of extract to flavor anything, it's a questionable area of if the quality of alcohol does anything. Especially since as you said, we're not drinking it.

It's questionable depending on area. For me, everclear is cheaper than the cheapest vodka I can find.

Also, for other true extractions, there are completely legal distillations of plant material which does not involve alcohol, just plant material and water. I just won't get into it because it has a chance of branching to nonlegal use.

The infusion time will depend on the material being extracted. Green plant material will be quicker, and you won't want to leave it for a significant time, otherwise you extract unwanted flavors. Barks and other solid material will have a longer extraction time. And some materials actually extract better in water than alcohol. Alcohol is just added after for preservatives.
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Old 02-01-2012, 11:40 PM   #6
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So is it better to boil or infuse with age? Which ones are which? This is the problem I am coming across in my research, and I want someone who has made their own vanilla extract, or cinnamon extract to advise in better prep.
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:16 AM   #7
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Good call Kevin! I didn't even think about diluting it... maybe I'll take a crack at it! It's pretty close as far as the alcohol content to $ ratio goes.

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So is it better to boil or infuse with age? Which ones are which? This is the problem I am coming across in my research, and I want someone who has made their own vanilla extract, or cinnamon extract to advise in better prep.
That depends on what your ingredient is. When it comes to vanilla the tradition is to stick it in some liquor and forget about it. That's what my two batches are doing right now.

The flavor in cinnamon (or Cassia) comes from an oil, which is steam distilled from the plant. This means that you could boil it if you're okay with a significantly lower concentration. There's always the option to purchase cinnamon oil as well, but be careful, this is an anti foaming agent, and will kill your head (If you want any).

Say I'm making a spice soda, an easy and tasty way to get into doing your own flavors, I would boil my ground/crushed clove, grated nutmeg, and crushed cinnamon. In doing this you could over boil and get rid of your aromatics, but you also want to want to get a more full bodied flavor out of your ingredients. From my experience a 20 minute simmer would work for all these fine ingredients.

If you're boiling birch bark, you'll need longer. If you're boiling orange zest, it'll be shorter. You get the idea?
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:20 AM   #8
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Do you boil in the alcohol or water?
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Old 02-07-2012, 05:02 PM   #9
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I'm sure he's talking about boiling in water. The alcohol would boil off too fast, and I've never heard of anyone even heating alcohol solutions. Alcohol extracts flavors so well, heat isn't really necessary.
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Old 02-08-2012, 01:05 AM   #10
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I once made my own extract of pecans using vodka in a mason jar.........let it set for several months and then used a double boiler to boil off the alcohol to render the extract then filtered it through a coffee filter. I added it to syrup to make home made pecan syrup for pancakes..........it worked great.........Don't know how well it will work on soda applications.


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