Sunday, August 2, 2009

Vanilla Cream Soda Review

Ive been a bit lazy lately, I was planning on reviewing this a few days after I made it. At any rate here's my experiences with my first from scratch soda recipe

Appearance - A dark opaque brown, much darker than I anticipated, I didn't think my homemade vanilla extract would add that much color. Moderate tan head that dissipates after a few minutes leaving a thin layer around the edges.

Aroma - Vanilla and a bit of honey, has a bit of a bite to it when you inhale from the glass, kind of like when you get your nose too close to a freshly poured coke

Taste - Lots of vanilla. Honey is very apparent, albeit a bit strong. The honey flavor really accentuates the creamy flavor, but I think in the future I would use about half as much as I did, or a less powerfully flavored honey. Molasses flavor isn't very apparent, and is definitely hidden by the vanilla and honey.

Mouthfeel - Surprisingly creamy. I really didn't expect this to have as lustrous a mouthfeel as it has. I'm sure the thickness of the honey really was an important factor in this one, and I'm glad I used it

Drinkability - A good first attempt. It tends to be a tad sweet for what I like, so sometimes I add a bit of water to the glass, others disagree with me. If your a big soda drinker it would be easy for you to put back 3 or 4 without thinking anything of it. Overall its a pretty easy drinker, and I like having one after being outside in the oven that is phoenix.

Notes/Thoughts - This one ended up a tad sweet for me, I think in future versions I will cut back the sweetness a bit, maybe ~0.5# of some type of sugar. The honey is a bit powerful in the flavor as well; while it really adds to the creaminess and is a great compliment to the vanilla, I think cutting the honey back by ~1# would make this a much better drink.

The color was much darker than I had anticipated as well. I expected more of a light brown color than I got. When making my vanilla extract I normally make two kinds, one only using everclear, and the other with vodka. The everclear only version always ends up a very pale yellow color, but the vanilla smell/flavor is extremely potent. While the vodka version is just as potent the color is more in line with what you would expect of vanilla extract, dark brown. It seems that the coloring compounds in the beans are not very alcohol soluble, and need water to be extracted. It may be beneficial for this type of soda, if you are using homemade vanilla extract, to explore using the everclear type. In my experiences with the extracts the everclear version also seems to be ready much sooner than the other.

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