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Den of inanity
Culinaricon  (Topics: 84 - Posts: 568)
Page  1
Making vinegar?
Posted by Igelkotten Aug 30, 2009, 12:05
A while ago, Carduus and I cleaned out the kitchen and all the cupboards. In one dark corner, we found a almost-empty bottle of organic white wine vinegar, in wich a sizeable "vinegar mother", a colony of yeast cells I believe, had formed.

Of course we couldn't bear throwing it out, so we fed it with a splash of rosé wine we had handy. The contents of the bottle now have a definitive vinegar smell, although a bit sharper than that of the old un-adultered vinegar.

Now, dear Pandapenners: Does anyone of you have any experience in making vinegar from scratch? Solomon, didn't you have a cask of real balsamico in the basement? What should one look for in the vinegar, and what should one look out for? Can the vinegar mother survive on wine alone, or does it want some sugar or honey from time to time? Does it want light or darkness, cold or warm conditions?

Any tips are welcome!

Posted by Solomon Aug 30, 2009, 17:10
I do have a "battery" of barrels for Balsamico (the technique requires a set of progressively smaller barrels). However, Balsamico is a different beast from vinegar - indeed, it's not even vinegar strictly speaking, because it's made from reduced most (grape juice), not from wine. The juice does ferment after reduction, but it's still not wine.

Balsamico yeasts thrive in darkness, but they are left at ambient temperature throughout the seasonal cycle (so from close to C° 0 in winter to over C° 30 in summer). They feed only on the sugar and alcohol in the most, but that's higher concentration than common wine. My gut feeling is that no sugar addition should be necessary for vinegar making.

I do have farmer friends who make wine vinegar, I'll ask them.

Posted by Monika Sep 7, 2009, 20:32
ha! we were just discussing this issue with some friends recently! and quoting your balsamico Solomon as something fantastically good that can be drunk just like liqueur, and thus not vinegar even though - so I thought - it goes through a similar fermentation process.

Posted by Igelkotten Sep 9, 2009, 05:24
Thanks for the comments!

So far, the vinegar is coming along nicely -I think!. The bottle has a very nice aroma of the rosé wine we have filled it up with. The vinegar itself does taste a bit harsh right now, but it does have a pronounced vinegar character. I hope that it will become more mellow and rounded in flavour after a few weeks of aging. [:)]

Posted by Sunjumper Sep 10, 2009, 01:03
I only had one half full bottle of mediocre red wine turn into a spectacular vinegar by accident years ago. And I never thought of using it as a 'stock' to make more.

Some things you might want to keep in mind anyway.
Keep in mind that your self made vinegar might be either innoculated with a micro organsim that is slightly wrong or contaminated with one that should not be there, thus turning what appears to be a neat little self made vinegar into a slightly insdious brew. So try a bit first before you decide to make you monster salad, just to feel very sorry for your self later one.

And the other point I can spontanously think of which is also potentially more amusing is that you will quite probably have a certain amount of alcohol left in the vinegar after it is 'done'. So don'T be surprised when your salad makes you happier than expected. :-P

Posted by Carduus Sep 11, 2009, 14:20
As I gather it, just simply adding new wine to a dash of old vinegar won't work, you need a vinegar mother to start the process. I don't know much about it so I've been reading up on it.

A vinegar mother is a gathering of Acetic acid bacteria (Acetobacter Xylinium) and cellulose it starts like threads or stands and grows into something that is best described as a jellyfish like clot.
Sometimes when they bottle the vinegar a tiny tiny bit of vinegar mother slips though the filtration and in to the bottles. If the vinegar then stands long enough in your pantry the vinegar mother will start to grow.

Wine can turn sour and vinegar like for many reasons, however it seems like when a vinegar mother is added Acetic acid bacteria will takeover the wine or cider completely, and quickly establish it self as dominating bacterial culture, leaving no room for other (potentially harmful) bacteria.

So as the white wine vinegar that contained the vinegar mother tasted and smelled fine and we are even using the original bottle which has never contained anything but vinegar I think we are safe. But thank you for the reminder Sunjumper. [:)]

I've tried to take a photo of our experiment see attachments.

Posted by Sunjumper Sep 15, 2009, 12:58
That's not vinegar.

That is clearly the main detonator of a thermo nuclear Warhead!

(Damn... Timothy Dalton was the good guy all along!)

Posted by Carduus Sep 15, 2009, 18:54
Didn't I tell you so? [lol]

Right now I want a microscope very badly...
I want to take a closer look at that thingy!

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