Cookaholics Bulletin Board

Vanilla Phenomena
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Author:  beccaporter [ Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Vanilla Phenomena

Hopefully this falls under Preserving. I started making my own vanilla extract in September. The first batch I did I sliced the beans in half and put them in room temp vodka using the one fold ratio I found online. Then I did 3 jars using the same ratio but using hot vodka. I sliced those beans in half as well.

About a month into this, I ran out of vanilla. I opened the jars and smelled them. The cold vodka batch smelled sweet and vanilla-y. The hot jars smelled like straight alcohol. I thought perhaps they just needed more time. I began to use the cold batch.

It started getting low, so I made another large cold batch. It was at least a month and a half newer than the hot batches. Oddly enough, it also smells good and sweet. The hot batches STILL smell like alcohol.

I know vanilla gets better for up to 2 years, but I still think it's odd that the cold batches seem good almost immediately. CI recommends the hot method. You would think they might even be lower in alcohol because you are heating the vodka.


Author:  beccaporter [ Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Vanilla Phenomena

I just thought of one other difference. the cold jars were both done in Smirnoff Vodka bottles, while the hot was done in canning jars. (Not sealed, just screwed closed) Those jars are likely more airtight. Maybe that has something to do with it?

Author:  jim262 [ Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Vanilla Phenomena

The wider jar opening of a canning jar vs. the vodka bottle may have something to do with it. Depending on how full the bottles are, there could be many more vodka fumes accumulated in the top of the canning jar.

I would dilute some vanilla in a small amount of milk to see if the difference carry over to a taste test. I use ΒΌ tsp of extract to a tablespoon of warm milk for taste tests.

I have been using the USDA requirement of 100 grams [more or less] of beans per liter of vodka. I mostly used warmed vodka, but I do not think I ever put a thermometer in it to know how warm.

The most beans I have ever used was 50 grams to 400 ml of vodka. It is almost thirteen months old and nearly ready for a throw down competition in sugar cookies against some imitation extract.

Author:  Tim [ Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Vanilla Phenomena


The alcohol percentage does not change during heating, or even during boiling.


Author:  jeanf [ Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Vanilla Phenomena

Hi Becca, I noticed the same thing with mine. I had a full bottle w/ beans and a 1/3 full mason jar, which was basically the displaced vodka from the other bottle plus a small 200 ml bottle I had. I combined the mason jar vanilla with most of vodka bottle in a large mason jar and added more vodka to the bottle now with more beans (using Jim's 100 greams to 1 litre ratio but since I didn't take the old beans out I'm guessing this will be even stronger), and based on your note I didn't bother to heat it.

The 1000 ml jar of vanilla should get me through the next few months. :lol: I threw some whole beans in the jar too and will fish them out when I need a bean for anything.

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