Making homemade vanilla extract

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Rob2010SS

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I've used vanilla quite a few times, as I'm sure a lot of you have as well. I'm always disappointed with my vanilla though. It never came through very potent. It was noticeable, but I want more than noticeable, I want nice, in your face, vanilla (at least, for the brew I got coming up anyway).

My typically process has been to buy good, high quality beans (always from Beanilla). I slice them and scrape out all the caviar, cut the pod into roughly 1/2" pieces, and put a little bit of vodka in a jar. The guideline that I've always heard was "...use enough vodka to cover the bean/caviar." This was probably 2-3 oz total, regardless of how many beans there were. I would let this sit for 2-3 weeks or so.

I'm wanting to make a vanilla bomb imperial stout, so I started doing some "research" on making vanilla extract. And by research, I really just mean reading through Beanilla's website. They're a huge vanilla supplier so hopefully they know what they're talking about. They discuss the ratio of alcohol/bean as being a critical part of making extract. They say 8oz of alcohol per 5 beans, which is about 1.6oz of alcohol per bean. They also state to let that go for 8 weeks.

So I'm giving it a go. I'm making extract with 8 madagascar beans and 4 tahitian beans. I'm at about a week so far and I have high hopes. This stuff is pretty potent so far and it's darker than I have ever gotten it. Think I might have figured out my problem with vanilla!

Anyway, the point of this post is nothing more than information for future newbies looking to make homemade vanilla extract for beers. We'll see how the final product comes through but I think I'll be sticking to the 1.6oz/vodka per bean in the future!

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SkyrosBrews

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Hello there! I have been putting a lot of effort waiting for my vanilla extract to be ready! I have purchased grade A vanilla from Madagascar and I putted about 14 pcs of 12-14 cm vanillias in 500 ml 40 abv Vodka! The vanilla extract has been sitting from 22/10/20 since today almost 6 months and I have to say that almost every published article I read say that in a common room temperature of 20 C° and with that ratio it can age to its potential in 12 months and I have to say that it changes a lot but not quite there yet! I just try to be patient and schedule an Imperial Stout brew on October to drink on Christmas! I attach a photo of its current color
 

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deuc224

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I do the 5 sliced beans in 8 oz vodka and unfortunately its true, the longer you let it sit, the better it comes out. I have different batches going cuz i love to use it in a chocolate stout, do the same with cacao nibs and vodka to make chocolate extract.
 

Jag75

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Yes the longer the better. My mom makes it and hands it out for Christmas. I believe she does it 6 months to a yr in advance.
 

OG-wan Kenobi

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90 days minimum and I leave it on top of my refrigerator so every time the door is open and closed it moves things around a little. I just eyeball the vodka so the beans are plenty covered
 

cmac62

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I recently saw a Good Eats episode where Alton Brown (AB) uses a sous vide to do the extract in an hour at 140* F. I'm not 100% sure of the temp, but the whole process can be done a lot quicker with the judicious use of heat was my takeaway. I have a Anvil Foundry that can hold temps within a degree or two, and I was thinking of using this to make some tincture/extracts. Any thoughts? Thanks :mug:
 

Jag75

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The last ones I purchased from Amazon were really fresh and not too bad price wise.
 
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