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Failing miserably at DIY and smoking instead. E cig too harsh.

Discussion in 'DIY E-Liquid' started by vapesmooth123, Mar 4, 2018.

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  1. DavidOck

    DavidOck ECF Guru ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Only if you breath. :)
    • Funny Funny x 2
  2. vapesmooth123

    vapesmooth123 Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 23, 2016
    maybe someone else cares, so,
    I sent an email to nature's flavors asking if there's any way I can get their alcohol based flavors somehow with less alcohol or a method to mute the alcohol (they're basically just flavor compound powders in an alcohol base, but when I asked previously if they could custom make it as a VG-only base it was like a $600 minimum fee for custom creation).

    They have a few lines which are just diacetyl-free flavor compounds and ethyl alcohol (safe to vape), and some have a bit of VG added. The actual flavor compounds are the same throughout those lines. Some lines have less flavor ratio in it hence the cheaper price like the heat stable flavors without diacetyl have more alcohol than the other similar lines, so obviously not what I want for this application.
    Some lines have citric acid, gum acaia etc which is not to be used for vaping NF has told me and I read this elsewhere too.

    What's interesting though is how I found out earlier that citric acid can make juice/nic salt smoother. But they don't have citric acid in the organic diacetyl free flavor lines.

    I think it's quite obvious ECB uses NF since they copy pasted this from NF's site:

    "These water-soluble recipe flavorings are Certified Organic, All-Natural, Kosher, Vegan, Gluten Free, and contain No Allergens.
    These flavors have no nutritional value as used in this application are calorie, carb, and sugar free. There is no fat. Enjoy.
    Flavoring Ingredients: Organic and Natural Flavors, Vegetable Glycerin, and Natural & Organic Ethyl Alcohol* (Ethyl Alcohol is a base in the flavoring, it is not an additive by ECB*) There is no sugar in these e-liquids."

    And ECB sells the following e juice organic natural diacetyl-free flavors, and the only source I could find for these flavors anywhere online are from NF (or Best Flavor or SelectTea which are NF sister sites):
    Organic diacetly-free alcohol-based gooseberry, cantaloupe, pomegranate, japanese plum = could not find anywhere besides Nature's Flavors. can't even find most of those as PG based.

    So It's quite obvious ECB uses NF.

    what I think is ECB knows of a good way to mute the alcohol flavor by steeping or other method without adding anything to it like 'smooth agent' (which is an acid similar to nic salt) or water. ECB says they don't add anything like that.

    I simply have to do more research and tests on trying to mute the harsh alcohol flavor. I've already tried the following main methods though with no positive result:
    leaving cap off flavor bottle for a few days/week(s) to evaporate alcohol but it made no difference.
    Submerged glass flavor bottles in warm water bath with and without cap on to mellow out the alcohol but it didn't change.
    Also it seems far-fetched that ECB would go through the trouble of something like this in case they ran out and needed to keep inventory in stock.

    What I'm not sure of though if I tried it yet is steep the complete mixed juice with nicotine for over a few weeks or longer. That might be what ECB does. It's strange that ECB has never sold their Strawberry in this line as 0mg unlike all other flavors can be had in 0mg, and 3mg, 6mg, 12mg, 18mg. Minimum for strawberry is 3mg for some reason. Maybe the people there who figured out a method to mute the alcohol flavor had a preference for strawberry and vaped it regularly and decided to for some reason not pre-steep it as 0mg (maybe they thought it just tasted too off without nicotine for some reason).

    In other words, maybe with an alcohol based flavor, if you steep it for a long time using regular cheap freebase nicotine (which I'm sure ECB uses just regular cheap freebase), it actually makes the nic (and alcohol) get smoother as it steeps and oxidizes vs using more common PG flavors, the nicotine eventually gets too peppery/harsh.

    I'm going to try Real Flavors VG-based, and maybe that's all I ever needed to do. Plus the nude nicotine salt should be basically throat hit-less and solve that part of it (or I should just steep my juice using regular freebase which I almost never did for longer than a couple weeks). I have to experiment with different methods.

    Seems strange that with the millions of vapors, there aren't more PG-free flavors been figured out.
    Alcohol is known to be a harsh base (more than PG perhaps) but I'm telling you, the ECB is sooo smooth even though it's an alcohol base and even with a decent mg level (like 8-12) in a cloud tank.

    Ultimately I'm aiming to make something BETTER than ECBs. Not only am I not going to buy juice for ~$10 30ml if I can make it for ~30 cents, and also I've been DIY'ing for like 4 years and not giving up.

    I just have to hope if I give up on the alcohol based flavors (NF) because I can't figure a way to mute them, that I can find a similar or hopefully better VG-based banana flavor because the flavor compounds in the ECB banana is probably my favorite banana I've tried (all the others were PG based I'm not too crazy about all but 1, and 1 is CO2-extracted medicine flower but I'm not crazy about the Medicine Flower one [although I haven't steeped it]).

    Another method might be to steep just the alcohol based flavors in VG, like a %50/%50 ratio might be what eventually mutes the alcohol. But that makes it complicated on ECB's part because they DO have an option to add Extra Flavor, so that would mean they'd have to have separate jugs of this pre mixed VG + Flavor in different ratios for example 50/50 VG/Flavor when someone asks for extra flavor and 30%flavor %70 VG if someone asks for without extra flavor. Seems like a lot of jugs to have lying around just for a small non-popular e juice line though.

    But I do think ECB is some how pre-steeping these flavors in VG, or somehow evaporating the alcohol because they don't offer these flavors with PG at all because it's probably too harsh with PG.

    So next is just wait for my nic salt to arrive, that should solve that, and then read up on more methods of using alcohol based flavors and steeping methods, but the Real Flavor VG-based might be the most preferred also (waiting on those too). Then I'll be back to having juice I actually enjoy vaping, and I'll be down to 1 cig a month or less.
    Have a bunch of MTL and DTL tanks coming too to replicate as mentioned I really enjoyed simply small MTL puffs with a protank 2 (just received another)with ECB, but I also like cloud tanks.
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
  3. vapesmooth123

    vapesmooth123 Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 23, 2016
    Well it turns out that steeping likely really is the key to making good, smooth juice. I've tried steeping and didn't think I noticed much difference but I might have not steeped long enough or in the right temperature etc, or I simply need to maybe add a bit of a creamy flavor to the banana because I do sort of taste a slight coconut or cream (smooth) or something with ECBlends banana flavor when used in a DTL cloud tank.

    It's not going to be quick and easy to prefect DIY for how I want smooth flavor and big vapor but luckily I do think my favorite flavor from ECBlend (banana) has room for improvement anyway, so much that I'm not too crazy about it in an DTL tank vs it tastes much better in a MTL tank which is to be expected but nonetheless not an amazing vape in a DTL, IMO I think I will end up making something I like better, sort of like a like banana runts or banana Italian ice I'm aiming for.

    The ECB is the best banana I've tried in an MTL vs about 7 other PG-based banana flavors but I still have to try a few other alcohol or VG-based banana flavors along with adding hints of cream/smooth flavor, and one of the PG-based ones tasted very promising and I don't think I even steeped it. There are plenty of DIY steeping and mixing methods I need to try. Label each method and not get confused and do side-by-side comparisons.

    I'm not gonna try tricking ECB into finding their flavor source or mixing method anymore. They pretty much won't even reply to my messages anymore lol even though I think I'm entitled to my last question if citric acid is used in the line I was asking about.

    I don't think ECB or anyone else removes caps from alcohol-based flavors to 'breathe' them to evaporate alcohol (or similar affect with PG flavors) before it's sold. (I've tried that for weeks with the cap off of the flavor concentrate and didn't notice much difference anyway).
    I don't think they'd be allowed to store open bottles of juice for long unless they had a dedicated large dust-free environment which is possible but I just don't think they do that. The whole mixing lab is supposed to be low-air-particulate environment but I just don't think they leave caps off for extended periods. I will still try some cap-off methods though. EDIT, below video as noted he says they are allowed to have open juice in dust-free zone but doesn't mean small companies are leaving caps off to evaporate alcohol based flavors. FWIW, Real Flavors told me their VG-based flavors actually have a tiny bit of alcohol as per the Spec Sheet links but that they use heat to try and remove most of it.

    So basically, from the videos below (and there are tons more) I've never seen these types of videos, but e juice companies are showing a lot of 'secrets' IMO.

    First obvious one is most dilute their flavors in VG right away and store in those big jugs. Some add the nic at that point, some may not. So cutting alcohol (or PG) based flavors with VG right away and steeping that for a while should add smoothness and/or round off flavors.

    Some videos they specifically say or at least hint that they don't do anything else except shaking and then steeping with the cap on - (no added heat, or cap-off, or chemical additives etc). That one video though from Pbusrado at the giant manufacturing facility which makes juice for tons of different brands, the guy says he puts a lot into proprietary R&D with chemists to perfect steeping and flavoring - who know what they do though could be adding sketchy unnecessary chemicals etc.

    It does make it a bit complicated for a small unpopular company like ECBlend to pre mix anything vs simply mixing the 3 or 4 ingredients (flavor, nic, VG/PG) to-order like using a regular e juice calculator.

    I doubt ECB have premixed big jugs of ALL available nicotine levels (pre-steeped WITH nicotine instead of just with VG-diluted flavor base).
    They offer 0mg, 3mg, 6mg, 12, 18, 24 and 36. Multiplied by about 65 flavors in their organic line, that's 455 big premixed jugs to store away just for that VG-based line - extremely unlikely. Even though strawberry is the only flavor out of 65 in that line that they don't offer in 0mg, I don't think they pre mix and store 455 jugs. But maybe the do presteep with nic the more popular flavors and mg levels.

    They probably just add the nic when ordered and have the flavor pre diluted in VG but still in a very concentrated flavor to VG ratio used for mixing.

    In simple: if you order 0mg, they just add VG to the pre-diluted (somewhat steeped) VG+alcohol based flavor mix.
    If you order 0mg 'Extra flavor', they just add a bit less straight VG to the pre diluted flavor

    If you order 36mg, about 1/3 of the bottle would be 100mg nicotine, and they might still add the diluted (in VG) flavor base at a slightly higher ratio than a 0mg order just to help mask the 36mg taste, even if extra flavor isn't asked for which would mean even more flavor mix is added.

    Most juice has a born-on date but I don't know if that simply means when it was packaged into a 30ml for you. It may be pre-steeped with (or without) nicotine at the initial diluting (flavor + VG) stage, and therefore technically already born before the born-on date.

    I'm probably over thinking this. Just gotta steep different methods. And try heat and whatever tricks I find others DIY'ers are using. I'm going to enjoy the process.


    I just received nic salt from Nude nicotine, and it's not as smooth as I expected. I previously bought nicotine river salt which says it's Benzoic-free unlike the others, which is sort or a sketchy additive but is what helps smooth out the harshness along with other acids that nicotine river and the others do add to reduce pH. I wasn't blown away by either brand's salt in terms of smoothness, but to be honest I just dumped the nude nicotine salt in a 30ml and eyeballed it about 20mg in a single fused Clapton RDA is a ton of nicotine delivery (harsh), and I didn't steep it whatsoever. I just wanted to see if the harshness is extremely muted with nic salt hence I mixed about 20mg.

    Only 6mg in a MTL (not a lot of vapor) with mostly pre-bought juice had me down to 1 cigarette a month and honestly preferring vaping anyway. A smoker asked me about it and was trying to convince me 'nothing like the real thing (cigarettes)" but I was just thinking the whole time he just doesn't get it that vaping is much more satisfying and preferred anyway. That was a sort of in between stage when I was just vaping 10mg flavorless in a tiny 1.8 ohm pin-hole airflow RDA and was still down just 1 cig a month. But I missed the flavors and started mixing again but failed at it.
    Now I use cloud tanks/RDAs (waiting for kayfun RTA though I'm excited for), so I should lower mg with cloud attys anyway to around 1-3mg considering the delivery of that vs a 6mg MTL I was happy with.

    Anyway, yea as per these videos, it's quite obvious most if not all premix at least the flavor with VG. It's not what I though that they just do it like a DIY person by receiving and order and then mixing everything (flavor straight from the bottle from the manufacturer, and then the VG/PG and then the nic and then send it out).
    • Informative Informative x 1
  4. vapesmooth123

    vapesmooth123 Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 23, 2016
    18 minute mark shows premixed/steeped WITH nicotine:

    Actually, edit, they might be allowed to leave caps off bottles to evaporate alcohol etc as he says around 18:25 in the dust-free zone. I will try cap-off in conjunction with other steeping methods (temperature, heat, patience, etc) but I don't think ECB or anyone really leaves the caps off, and this guy doesn't say it as though they are leaving juice out in the open to evaporate anything. This is the major manufacturer which I don't think even has their own brand label, they just produce for many other major brand

    • Like Like x 1
  5. vapesmooth123

    vapesmooth123 Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 23, 2016
    this brand looks like it mixes (nothing pre-steeped or diluted, flavors look to be unaltered straight from the flavor company) and then puts final bottles in a 27C/80F bath for 30mins (or maybe two or more cycles), which isn't a high temperature, but maybe is done for good reason.

    Here around 6:12 can see on the back shelf what looks like Capella's flavor labels, and previously around 4:48 says glass jugs on tables are "mixed flavors 0mg", so I think they at least presteep the flavor in VG (the glass jugs aren't un VG-diluted flavors straight from the flavor manufacturer).

    • Useful Useful x 1
  6. vapesmooth123

    vapesmooth123 Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 23, 2016
    pre steeped WITH nic before you order

    just thought I'd mention this since it's strange why anyone would ADD alcohol to juice except maybe to alcohol-extract DIY flavors, you can see around 1:46 on the bottom shelf near the one blue gallon jug are a bunch of jugs of Everclear 190 proof %95 grain alcohol (from liquor store):

    There are tons more of videos like these and most have a few hints and tricks here and there
    • Useful Useful x 1
  7. vapesmooth123

    vapesmooth123 Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 23, 2016
    Basically what threw me off from the start about steeping DIY was I always thought when I ordered juice from ECBlend (or Virgin Vapor or johnson creek I tried once or twice but those are the only pre-made juices I ever bought), I always though they just mixed it about a week before I receive my mail, but it was smooth.

    There was talk years ago about buying/finding "pre-steeped juice", but it seems most juice IS already pre-steeped. And/or pre heated or other methods of smoothening it, especially alcohol-based.

    I just have to steep for longer, I don't think I've done 3-weeks or even 2. I was always afraid the nicotine would start getting more and more harsh as it steeped. I immediately put my 100mg in the freezer and barely have the cap open when taking some to mix with.
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
  8. stols001

    stols001 Mistress of the Dark Nicotinic Arts Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    May 30, 2017
    Tucson, AZ
    I don't think nicotine is going to get harsher during the steeping period, it should "blend" with everything else and get smoother.

    Nicotine harshness, you really have to work for, like using elderly nicotine 2 years old left in a warm environment, etc.

    Not steeping enough is pretty similar to steeping too long, but for many juices, that might run you into over a year. I think you are slightly too concerned about your nicotine being harsh. Juices are designed to be steeped, and for many months (sometimes longer even) they're fine after that.

    If you don't steep the nicotine may be MORE harsh (and certainly, more tasteable, as it hasn't had time to blend with the flavors and other ingredients.

    Aim for something more "middle ground" I'd say....

  9. mcclintock

    mcclintock Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Oct 28, 2014
    Could be for cleaning. Wouldn't want any isopropyl getting in ejuice, for sure!
    • Like Like x 1
  10. vapesmooth123

    vapesmooth123 Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 23, 2016
    ^it's grain alcohol, for drinking, not rubbing alcohol. I doubt they'd pay liquor price for cleaning supplies but who knows. That stuff (everclear) is illegal in many US states. It's basically moonshine. It's not for drinking straight. People usually make jungle juice with it.

    anyway, I just wanted to note that I think I might actually now despise this ECBlend banana %100 VG natural organic! Which is a good thing because I was so persistent trying to find the flavor source for this, now I couldn't care less. I taste so weird to me now, like chemically and not at all like banana.

    But it IS strangely smooth, especially for an alcohol based flavor and at 6mg in a DTL tank, and seems to produce as much vapor as vaping straight VG. Albeit the flavor is not added at a high % I could tell (as many reviewers also mentioned). All the flavors of that organic alcohol based 100VG line I've tried are smooth.

    It's strange though that I could swear this $8-per-30ml juice (rather cheap) seems smoother than when I DIY with pricier 'smooth' nic salt at 6mg, or with any of the many brands of regular freebase nic. (tried basically all freebases except for Carolina extract which might be the cleanest but there's a bunch of other brands making the same type of freebase which never touches oxygen etc I'll get).

    The 6mg (and up to 24mg I bought premixed) are also noticeably darker than the perfectly clear 0mg banana. but still not very harsh except 24mg is of course going to be harsh especially in a DTL cloud tank.

    I tried all different tanks, rda, MTL, DTL, and I even bought a protank 2 MTL which was how I got hooked on the ECBLend originally, and I just don't like this banana flavor anymore, but it seems smoother than any juice I DIY even flavorless %100VG 6mg.

    It does say on the bottle the batch it's from was mixed april 2018 and I received it around April 5th but they might cut the nic months prior, but some say the nic should taste smoothest fresh VS being steeped, but I DIY with fresh nic straight from the mailing box and it seems harsher. I Have tons of DIY bottles steeping and will try that too but 3 weeks steeped with smooth salt and they seem harsher than the ECB.
    It could be ECBlend adds citric acid or other acids to basically make nic salt and reduce the ph of the blend, adding stuff like that at high dosage to smoothen the juice.

    I'm just gonna shut up about the ECBLend for now on asking about it and trying to get ECB to tell me their source because I don't even like it anymore (my opinion could change but I doubt it), but the smoothness I want to figure out. I don't know if ECB changed flavor sources from when I originally liked this juice so much or what.

    I previously bought like 10 different PG based banana flavors (could only find them as PG except for nature flavor which I'm not crazy about [harsh at even 0mg]), and 1 of them, I think ecig express 'Ripe Banana' PG based was my fav and better than ECB banana, so I just need to experiment with different brands and others' recipes.
    Still need to try VG based flavor (Real Flavor wouldn't answer email if which flavors are vegan or not but I'll call them every ten minutes if I have to to get to the bottom of that lol).

    The trick to vaping instead of smoking is to just vape high mg in a mtl tank so it's not huge unbearable clouds DTL tank. All you want is the nicotine of a cigarette anyway. Maybe they add addictive additives to cigarettes but I only smoked zero-additive cigs. Then cigarettes usually taste disgusting vs vaping when you get used to it.
    But I'm also a flavor junkie sometimes and want to just vape low mg or 0mg and blow clouds but it doesn't satisfy nic cravings. Would be nice if there was a tank you can put 2 different juices in and click from one flavor to the other but there's probably no room in a tank for all that without making it gigantic and/or not hold enough juice. Can use an RDA and switch juice but the higher mg will linger in the wick and the 0mg will taste harsh too, and constantly re dripping just sucks.

    can carry two tanks, instead of 2 bottles of juice and just change tanks from high mg to low/0mg though.

    Maybe soon the smooth nic salts will actually be smooth.

    anyway, happy mixing! good luck. hope you all find or found what works for you.
    • Useful Useful x 1
  11. Opinionated

    Opinionated Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Aug 19, 2015
    Look into how PH balance can effect the harshness of ejuice.. it may be that the place you were buying the ejuice from also made sure their liquids were nicely balanced.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. DeloresRose

    DeloresRose Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Apr 25, 2014
    toledo ohio
    Hopefully you’ve had better luck since steeping longer. I learned juice making from a small company, and was given a tour of their lab.

    Steeping was the secret to their flavors. It’s like food. You can chop, mix, add all the right ingredients but if you don’t cook it properly it’s going to taste bad. I’m a terrible cook, so I ought to know lol.

    They did a low heat, which they told me I could skip if I didn’t have means to do, but give it an extra couple weeks.

    They did not leave the bottles open, but there was a lot of head room in the mixing bottles, they were not putting it directly into 30 mls. Can’t recall now, but it might have been quart sized jars.

    So unless I’m doing a 10ml test, I use 120 ml Boston bottles- more room to shake, more air.

    And they did sell fresh juice if they ran out of something, but they’d always tell you if it wasn’t fully ready. Most of their juices were a month old or more before sale.

    I don’t always make a great tasting juice, I experiment often, and fail frequently, but it’s never harsh. But then, it sits in the cupboard for weeks or months before I use it
    • Like Like x 1
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  13. vapesmooth123

    vapesmooth123 Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 23, 2016
    well to be fair, once the coil 'broke in' after two tank refills, the ECB banana taste better, but still muted (low % flavor used probably explains the smoothness) and it just doesn't taste great or anything like banana. I don't care for it anymore to be honest:)

    I messaged ECB asking if the recipe changed and they said it did but only for a few months around 2016 and then they changed it back to the original, which for some reason I liked much better in 2013 with a protank 2. I re-bought protank 2 and used this banana in a variety of tanks (MTL, DTL, RDA) and I just don't care for it anymore. Could be I used to buy it with sweetener added but I'll make another order with sweetener and I don't think it'll change my mind much. I still think I'll DIY a better banana flavor eventually. The e cig express Ripe banana is already better IMO (unless I got my notes mixed up with one of the other ~10 banana flavors I bought but I'll rebuy that one and see. I have the empty bottle but not sure if it's repackaged or what).

    ECB said try letting it steep 2 weeks or a hot water bath could speed it up, but I doubt they hot water bath their juice back to my original question of secrete steeping methods. (That one video I posted with P busardo touring that huge facility, they owner acts like secret steeping methods are his main priority, and say most of his R&D goes into steeping methods, but I think he's a bit of a BS artist, and only got into e juice manufacturing for the money [he said he already was running a chemical mixing company there and then switched over to e juice after asking around confirming he could produce millions of bottles a year for 3rd party brands, I'm just saying he doesn't seem too passionate about vaping, and that's great and all that they make millions of bottles a year but I just think the guy purposely tried to make it sound like he can make juice like no one else because of his secret steeping methods]). I dunno I just mean that I don't think you can take shjtty juice and then do some top secret steep method to turn it into amazing juice. You need good flavors to begin with.

    A lot of companies have complex steeping methods possibly voodoo placebo affect, I just don't think it'll make a night and day difference. I think the biggest factor would be eliminating alcohol burn to avoid using PG based flavors to give the juice a different flavor carrier and thus taste and hit vs PG, and not many manufacturers even use alcohol based flavors to be concerned with that.

    People say MTL is best for flavor but I dunno, I think RDA might have it beat on flavor but MTL is a different type of mellow'er pull.

    I put ~3 week steeped natures flavor banana %10 7mg smooth nic salt in the same MTL tank that I didn't like the ECB banana in and it wasn't too harsh because of the MTL tank (have max restrictor insert installed in it), but also just doesn't taste that much like banana vs if I just smell the bottle of flavor concentrate it smells amazing (but I tried making a slush with it once [it's 'flavor for coffee and tea'] added sugar and blended with ice and it was un-drinkable!

    I about to just go back to flavorless for the time being!:)
  14. Snicks

    Snicks Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    May 7, 2013
    Riverside, CA
    This thread gave me a headache. Sorry; carry on people!
    • Funny Funny x 2
  15. Road_House

    Road_House Senior Member ECF Veteran

    May 12, 2013
    SE PA
    Try lowering your coils. A little bit can make a big difference. I set mine high because I read you get better flavor that way but couldn't vape without coughing. Lowered the coils maybe 1/8" and much much better. I use a malic acid solution to balance the ph. Citric acid degrades the nicotine more than Malic or Benzoic acid and also is much less effective at reducing the harshness.
    • Useful Useful x 1
  16. DaveP

    DaveP PV Master & Musician ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    May 22, 2010
    Central GA
    The flavors I use generally don't create a problem. I steep with the caps on after using a frother to create thousands of tiny bubbles in the mix. If there's alcohol in the flavors it rises to the top as the bubbles rise and break. I leave the cap off for a while until the bubbles are gone.

    If I taste a flavor with a drop on my fingertip and it burns my tongue, I assume there's alcohol in the mix. I have a few flavors that are suspect although I haven't researched them to find out. Steeping with the cap off is a good way to allow alcohol to escape.
    • Like Like x 1
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