The humble vanilla bean. I love it dammit.

Treatment and handling of your distillate.

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SuburbanStiller
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The humble vanilla bean. I love it dammit.

Post by SuburbanStiller » Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:44 pm

I have a nearly empty pint of 65% hooch of unknown provenance from back when I was figuring how to run my boka sitting in pantry with about 1 inch of vanilla bean in it for a couple of months. I've been nipping at it here and there and by crumb I love it. I will not be ashamed, it's frikken excellent. No complex flavors, no hints of this or that, no rambling eloquent words about the finish and the pallette and whatnot. It tastes like vanilla, no sugar added. Not a sweet cloying candy bar vanilla. Not vanilla ice cream or those ridiculous vanilla plug in air freshners and candles that the Mrs. like to sprinkle around the house. Just a nice, light vanilla and not a damn thing else. Two fingers, heavily iced, sip, just enough to wet the tongue. Oh yes, that's the stuff.

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Re: The humble vanilla bean. I love it dammit.

Post by plaztikjezuz » Wed Nov 24, 2010 3:25 pm

I have been trying to basically make vanilla extract.
i took 2 beans and 4.5 oz of 80% neutrals.
cut the beans up into little pieces.
some pictures.
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it looks dark until there is light, which is why i took the picture on the light.
i have not tasted it yet.

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Re: The humble vanilla bean. I love it dammit.

Post by Caprimulgus » Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:21 pm

+1

No words needed.
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Re: The humble vanilla bean. I love it dammit.

Post by treka » Wed Nov 24, 2010 7:55 pm

mmmm vanilla

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Re: The humble vanilla bean. I love it dammit.

Post by emptyglass » Thu Nov 25, 2010 1:30 am

Hmmm, I'd been thinking of trying that.

Whislt perusing the shelfs in the supermarket, looking for coconut essence for the wifes "bailies" (made with some UJSM, none of that scotch stuff) I chanced upon a lonley vanilla bean, in a packet all by itself. No friends. No mother or father.
I considered adopting this bean as my own. If it wasn't for the princly sum of $5 for a single bean I would have.

I will now endevor to secure a bean for my own self indulgent reasons.

Has anyone tried one in some burbon?
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Re: The humble vanilla bean. I love it dammit.

Post by scarecrow » Thu Nov 25, 2010 3:21 am

I make a whiskey that has a 2" stick of vanilla bean, a teaspoon of pure maple syrup and a handfull of raisins per 4 litres of 65%.
Must admit, it's expensive but sooooo much better than vanilla essence.
It is nice to drink straight and the vanilla really comes out when mixed with coke.
It was an attempt to get a JD type sweet whiskey. It's now my "special occasion" sippin whiskey. :D
As for Bourbon - I don't flavour that with anything except charred oak.

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Re: The humble vanilla bean. I love it dammit.

Post by emptyglass » Thu Nov 25, 2010 4:28 am

My experience buying stuff from brew shops that claim to taste like something has been like a shower in a raincoat.

Crap.

Perish the thought of essence, unless home made for the purpose. Real vanilla essence from real beans has potential, in my opinion, but that stuff from the supermarket is to be used for cakes and slices only.

What about a vanilla bean with some oak?
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Re: The humble vanilla bean. I love it dammit.

Post by surrey_still » Mon Dec 06, 2010 7:23 pm

i must say i never thought any one would be doing this but this is the very first thing i used and it is still to this day my fave
like sbd said it is not over powering and it has a nice calm tast to it
the longest i have been able to let it sit so far is 3 weeks :D

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Re: The humble vanilla bean. I love it dammit.

Post by UNRECONSTRUCTED » Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:49 pm

How much do you use surrey?

Beans are about as hard to come by at stores around here as 40 year old virgins. I got a chef looking for me now though.

From my research... Vannilins (sp) in oak come out at higher proofs. I wonder if ageing at higher proofs with beans would mean more of that flovor would come out?

Sippin' some white dog and thinkin' about brown dog.

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Re: The humble vanilla bean. I love it dammit.

Post by surrey_still » Tue Dec 07, 2010 8:13 pm

i use two beans most times. i tryed splitting them down the center but then you get floatys and need to strain again
i get my from a brew store downtown and they are $2.80 for three of them big food stores sell them to but they are way more money for some stupid reason
i trayed the extract but it wasnt the same tast and it was still a bit bitter i age at 65 to 70 and like i said it only takes a week or 2

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Re: The humble vanilla bean. I love it dammit.

Post by Bushman » Wed Dec 08, 2010 3:57 am

Everytime we vacationed in Mexico we would bring vanilla beans back as they are much cheaper there. I found them at Costco for $1 each. My wife likes Kahalua so we use them in the Kahalua recipe we have.

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Re: The humble vanilla bean. I love it dammit.

Post by Bushman » Wed Dec 08, 2010 7:30 am

Just a thought, has anyone done any research on re-using vanilla beans? I am thinking that I put the vanilla beans (3 of them) in a triple batch of Kahlua for 3 weeks. How used up is the vanilla bean if I don't cut it up? Can I freeze them and re-use say for aging whiskey? Just brainstorming, I sound cheap but I also hate throwing anything away that might still be usable!

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Re: The humble vanilla bean. I love it dammit.

Post by surrey_still » Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:08 pm

i just keep mine in the botles now and add one new one each batch. i start with two or three

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Re: The humble vanilla bean. I love it dammit.

Post by Risen » Thu Dec 09, 2010 7:03 pm

Look on ebay vanilla beans are much cheaper there. I got around a 1/2 lb of beans for like 20 bucks including shipping. 1/2lb is like 200+ beans


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Re: The humble vanilla bean. I love it dammit.

Post by Bushman » Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:50 pm

OK, I have some Whisky that has only aged about 4 months. Took 500 ml out and through in 2 used vanilla beans from some Kahlua I made, left it for 2 weeks and tried a comparison taste test. Wow could not believe in only two weeks how much smoother it tastes!

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Re: The humble vanilla bean. I love it dammit.

Post by snowboybrown7 » Fri Dec 17, 2010 3:55 pm

Just bought a pound of tahitian extract grade beans on ebay for $13 US + Shipping. Roughly 160-170 beans, according to the auction. You folks have me excited.

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Re: The humble vanilla bean. I love it dammit.

Post by SuburbanStiller » Fri Dec 17, 2010 7:32 pm

Shop around for those vanilla beans. I was impatient and naive and bought 1 (one) bean at Safeway for $12.99. :cry: The Mrs. went to Costco and bought 10 beans for the same money.

I'm all out of my vanilla hooch, so I'm making more. Tossed in some charred oak this time too. I'm expecting very good things. :ebiggrin:
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Re: The humble vanilla bean. I love it dammit.

Post by blind drunk » Fri Dec 17, 2010 7:37 pm

Throw in some orange zest - vanilla, charred oak and some zest is the bomb. After some time, it blends perfectly.
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Re: The humble vanilla bean. I love it dammit.

Post by Bushman » Sat Dec 18, 2010 7:41 am

I have never had a vanilla bean go bad but you guys that are buying large quantities on ebay got me thinking about the shelf life of a vanilla bean. The following is a cut and past from an internet search on the life of a vanilla bean.

Vanilla Storage:
Beans should be kept in a tightly-closed container in a refrigerated area where they should last up to six months. Pure vanilla extract has an indefinite shelf-life, and actually improves with age. Vanilla powder is also available, which should also be kept tightly-sealed, in a cool, dry place away from sun and heat. Whole beans that have been used in sauces or other liquids can be rinsed, thoroughly dried, and stored for reuse.

Hope this information is helpful!

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Re: The humble vanilla bean. I love it dammit.

Post by pistachio_nut » Tue Dec 21, 2010 2:05 am

I made some vanilla vodka back when. The best recipe I have come up with is:

1. Go to http://www.culinarydistrict.com/Product ... as-4-Count" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow and pick up a couple of those Tahitian beans. Look at them, feel them, smell them, slit one from end to end and strip the vanilla out of the middle. It's a dark brown paste, a little thinner than canned tomato paste. Thicker than spaghetti sauce, though. They're kind of expensive, but you can use them as the standard by which to judge the quality of your vanilla beans you buy from elsewhere. The Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans are dry and crusty by comparison. The ones at Safeway are just horrible, I wouldn't bother. You won't either, once you know the standard by which to judge.

2. Get out your vacuum sealer and Ball jar attachment. Pour your distillate into a ball jar, slice your beans from end to end to facilitate the transfer of material from the inside of the bean to your distillate, cap, and suck 28 pounds of vacuum on the bottle. Watch the bubbles form on the surface of the bean, and watch the vanilla disperse from inside the bean and infuse the distillate. Allow the pressure to stay on that infusion for a week or two. Once the liquid is an opaque and dark brown, you can unseal the cap and enjoy.

3. I toss the beans at that point. I want the most fragrant and tasty part of the bean infused into my distillate, not the taste of the fibrous husk.

I have not made vanilla vodka for a couple years, but it's definitely in my plans for the near future. It was absolutely delicious.

Another one that was very good was to take a bag of Trader Joe's flash frozen peach slices and a bag of Trader Joe's flash frozen black cherries, and pack a couple Ball jars with fruit. Add distillate, give an inch of headspace. For this recipe I would use the strongest distillate I had available, because the fruit juice will dilute your distillate quite a bit. Pump 28 pounds of vacuum, let 'er sit a week, strain, and store.

Other infusions I had a lot of luck with were black pepper, sliced ginseng root, sliced ginger root, juniper berries (a little goes a long way), cinnamon sticks (a little goes a long way), orange zest, lemon zest, coriander, anything else that goes in/with gin, pears, peaches, apples, etc. I stay away from strawberries because the woody taste of the seeds makes its way into the distillate and dominates. I haven't done marion berries... wonder how they'd work out. Blueberries tend to carry the woody taste of the woody parts of the berries.

I found a lot of success with using separate Ball jars for each kind of fruit or spice, and combining them into whatever kind of thing I cared to make later. You never know what's going to tickle your palate.
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Re: The humble vanilla bean. I love it dammit.

Post by Bushman » Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:53 am

I've never tried the vacuum technique, I usually put the berries in a cheese cloth and then soak them in the vodka for three weeks to a month then filter!

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Re: The humble vanilla bean. I love it dammit.

Post by MuleKicker » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:19 pm

I have to say. I didnt give this thread much thought when i first saw it. Now..... I like a vanilla tone to my bourbon.. .so what the hell. I bought a bag of madagascar bourbon beans off ebay. 12.99 shipped to the house. I threw 1 6" bean into my 1.75l jug of UJSM that has been aging for about 6-7mo. I have never quite been happy with it.. Now, 1 day later that stuff has the nicest subtle hint of vanilla. Great stuff. Great stuff.
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Re: The humble vanilla bean. I love it dammit.

Post by Bushman » Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:12 am

Glad it worked for you Mule Kicker I found the same results!

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Re: The humble vanilla bean. I love it dammit.

Post by ArkyJ » Tue Jan 11, 2011 10:43 am

For what it is worth.
The vanila beans arrived and they smelled like: Gee! I am shocked. Vanilla.
Took one bean and put into a quart jar of 57% Sweetfeed and extra blackstrap malasses hearts, oaked, and left it there for a week.
Ran a blackstrap dark rum with 2 vanilla beans in the tower. Kept just a little of the heads and the first of the hearts in a quart jar, at 54% and aired for 4 days.

The sweetfeed has a great nose to it and tastes absolutly great.
The dark rum smells somewhere between bad to ok and tastes great.

Yeah, their not the same, but close. I'll let the dark rum age for a couple of months to see if the smell gets better, but until then no more beans in the tower.
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Re: The humble vanilla bean. I love it dammit.

Post by MuleKicker » Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:35 pm

Bushman wrote:Glad it worked for you Mule Kicker I found the same results!
I found it quite amazing that in 1 day that little bean wiped out the last little bit of bite. The stuff is damn smooth....damn smooth. 8)
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Re: The humble vanilla bean. I love it dammit.

Post by kronikbud » Sat May 07, 2011 2:26 pm

Ive got some neutral lying around and some neutral thats been oaking for a month or so, i also have some fresh vanilla beans. How much should i add to the neutral and how much to the oaking neutral and for how long would you recommend? I have thought of making vanilla vodka before but wasnt sure how long to age it and weather to cut the beans up or leave them whole... Any ideas? :D

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Re: The humble vanilla bean. I love it dammit.

Post by rtalbigr » Sun May 08, 2011 1:31 pm

kronikbud - Time is going to depend on your taste, I leave one bean/qt for about a month and the flavor comes thru nicely, but usually I just leave it in until I drink it. Ya don't have to cut them up but you do have to split them so the inside is exposed, that's the only way the flavor will come out.

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Re: The humble vanilla bean. I love it dammit.

Post by kronikbud » Sun May 08, 2011 2:57 pm

Hey thanks mate, i put a whole vanilla bean in a bottle of neutral yesterday but didnt split it so ill pull it out and split it... Cheers! :D

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Re: The humble vanilla bean. I love it dammit.

Post by Bushman » Mon May 09, 2011 12:21 pm

rtalbigr wrote:kronikbud - Time is going to depend on your taste, I leave one bean/qt for about a month and the flavor comes thru nicely, but usually I just leave it in until I drink it. Ya don't have to cut them up but you do have to split them so the inside is exposed, that's the only way the flavor will come out.

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rtalbigr, if you cut it I am sure you will get more flavor however I have never cut a vanilla bean and the flavor comes through!

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Re: The humble vanilla bean. I love it dammit.

Post by rtalbigr » Mon May 09, 2011 2:38 pm

rtalbigr, if you cut it I am sure you will get more flavor however I have never cut a vanilla bean and the flavor comes through!
Interesting! Place I get my beans said split 'em, so I always do. 'Course they were talkin' 'bout makin' extract w/ vodka, not flavorin' homemade hooch. Think I'll just keep splitin' 'em. It work pretty good for me. :D

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