I bought a natural vanilla extract (vanilla beans, alcohol, and water) to add to my beer at bottling time. I mixed it along with my carbing sugar and bottled. When I tried the beer for the first time, there was a heavy "medicinal" taste to it. (It didn't come from the base beer because I bottled some without the vanilla and it tastes fine).

Is there a way to remove the alcohol from an extract prior adding to beer?

Would it have been better to add the extract to the boil? (I was hoping to get some vanilla aroma by adding it at bottling)

Does anyone have any experience with this?

1 Answer 1


More likely than not, your issue is with Phenolic and not Vanilla Extract (although, I would just use beans for brewing). Brad Smith has an excellent write up on that: Phenolics and Tannins in Home Brewed Beer.


This can be caused by Chloromines in your water (toss a campden tablet in your strike water), wild yeasts (sanitation issues) or mashing at too high of a temperature.

  • I am not sure the issue in the article applies to my situation. I used RO water and as I said, there is no off flavors in the beer I bottled without the extract.
    – RAReed
    Commented May 26, 2015 at 16:19
  • 1
    You need some minerals in your water to brew. Remember, your beer is 90-95% water and if the water doesn't taste good (or doesn't have any taste) then your beer won't taste good. That said, try tossing some beans into secondary next time, rather than using extract. Or, put the extract in secondary. It gives it time to mellow out a bit. Commented May 26, 2015 at 18:25

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