I know this isn’t exactly a cocktail question, but I think you cocktail makers and rum dealers may be more likely to know the answer to this.
So here goes!
I have been making my own vanilla extract for probably 8 years. I have never had a problem until last year. I made a big batch of vanilla with about ten or 12 pods with dark rum as my base, and then a couple weeks later, went on holiday for three months.
When I came back, there were blotches of yellow stuff floating on the top and at the sides of the top. (The blotches looked just like how pollen forms if left on water, and is the same color as pollen.) I wasn’t about to touch it jus then, so I left it to sit for a to see what it did. Kind of forgot about it and found it a few days ago (about a year later), and there is no more of this yellow stuff on top than there was after I came back from the first holiday.
I decided yesterday to wipe the scummy bits off the sides and off the top to see if it comes back in a month. I am an idiot and didn’t take a picture, which would have definitely helped this post. I did take a picture after the fact of some flecks I couldn’t quite wipe off, which can at least give you an indication of color.
Does anyone know of a fungus or bacteria that can survive on the surface of alcohol for a year? I don’t know exactly what brand of rum I used (I always go cheap for vanilla though because it doesn’t matter) but it’s going to at least be 35-40% ABV. Smells absolutely DIVINE and other than the yellows flecks on the side and blobs on the top, looks normal.
Could it actually be yeast? Or vanillin (unlikely to be yellow I would think though). Or could it actually be pollen? Orchids do have to be hand pollinated, so maybe there is a bunch of pollen floating about in the grow process?
I’ve scoured the internet, message boards and haven’t seen anything remotely like it on any vanilla. I found like one moldy vanilla extract pic and it didn’t look anything like that.
Anyway, just curious if anyone has seen anything like this in their infusions/extracts. I hate to throw it away because it’s great quality vanilla that’s been brewing for a year, and darn it, it smells incredible. Also, if I were to try to buy that much vanilla from the store it would be like a hundred bucks and would never be as good!!
Thanks and if anyone has a suggestion of another place to post this that may be more suitable, let me know!
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