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Karoline
05-13-2010, 11:13 AM
Hi,
does anyone have a recipe or method on how to make vinegar out of honey, please?
Thanks very much in advance,
Karoline

wayneb
05-13-2010, 02:10 PM
Hi, Karoline - although we don't usually try to turn our meads into vinegar (at least not on purpose), the process is pretty simple. Any fermented beverage, including mead, contains ethanol which acetobacter bacteria can turn into acetic acid. So all you have to do is to get some mead (You can find plenty of recipes for making your own mead here!) ;) and inoculate it with an acetobacter bacterial culture. That culture is usually called "mother of vinegar" or "vinegar mother" and you can buy it from folks who sell it online, or you can try to start your own. Acetobacter spores circulate easily in the air, so leaving some mead open to the air for a day or so in a relatively warm place will often start growing acetobacter on its own.

Medsen Fey
05-13-2010, 02:40 PM
Welcome to GotMead! or should that be GotVinegar?

I'm ignorant when it comes to making "good" vinegar, but I know there is some art to it.

A lot of wild acetic acid bacteria will produce off odors that may stink of nail polish or sulfur and you may get better results with a commercial strain that will give better results.

I have been led to believe that residual sugar in a wine that is being turned to vinegar may lead to off odors, and that it may be preferable to use dry mead. Can someone confirm (or refute) this?

I am curious about what level of ABV is best for making a vinegar. Does anyone know?

Medsen

AToE
05-13-2010, 02:56 PM
I have been led to believe that residual sugar in a wine that is being turned to vinegar may lead to off odors, and that it may be preferable to use dry mead. Can someone confirm (or refute) this?


That surprises me to hear, as Balsamic is made from a desert style wine (I think, it's hard to find info, and some of the info seems to suggest that the grape juice is subjected to acetobacter directly, with no alcohol fermentation in between... I am unsure). Then again, I guess balsamic gets plenty of time to age out a few off-odors and tastes.

Medsen Fey
05-13-2010, 03:13 PM
So here's my ignorance speaking again. I thought they backsweetened balsamic vinegar after the bacteria are done with it, using unfermented grape juice/concentrate.

We need a vinegar expert! ;D

akueck
05-13-2010, 03:42 PM
The way it was explained to me was that the vinegar simply evaporates with time, leaving more and more sugar behind. Older balsamic is sweeter than young balsamic due to the loss of water.

I was also under the impression that the change to vinegar is usually concurrent with the alcoholic fermentation, not an inoculation of finished wine with acetobacter. The bacteria can only survive so much alcohol, so simultaneous production and consumption of the alcohol (the mother contains both yeast and bacteria) keeps the ABV low enough. That said, I'm sure there are many ways to make wine/mead/beer go to vinegar.

Medsen Fey
05-13-2010, 03:53 PM
According to the grape and granary (http://www.grapeandgranary.com/vinegar.html), 6% ABV is ideal. Other sources quote 5-10%.

Edit
This article from publicbookshelf.com (http://www.publicbookshelf.com/public_html/The_Household_Cyclopedia_of_General_Information/howtomak_bjc.html) has lots of interesting info on the process.

wayneb
05-13-2010, 04:13 PM
Karoline, I hope we haven't scared you off with the flurry of responses. As you can tell, when we don't know exactly how to answer a question (and none of us here, at least as far as I know, is an expert vinegar maker), we are tenacious about finding authoritative answers! ;D

Medsen Fey
05-13-2010, 04:25 PM
and none of us here, at least as far as I know, is an expert vinegar maker

And I hope to God never to become one! LOL :)
(that would mean my meadmaking has gone horribly wrong)

akueck
05-13-2010, 09:17 PM
And I hope to God never to become one! LOL :)
(that would mean my meadmaking has gone horribly wrong)

It's all a question of intent. ;) When I get my fantasy house, there will be space for vinegar making. Mmmm, vinegar!

Chevette Girl
05-13-2010, 09:26 PM
I left a bottle of my diesel wine open in the hopes that the smell would air out of it, and even stabilized, it is starting to go to vinegar.

Smarrikåka
05-14-2010, 06:09 AM
I was also under the impression that the change to vinegar is usually concurrent with the alcoholic fermentation, not an inoculation of finished wine with acetobacter. The bacteria can only survive so much alcohol, so simultaneous production and consumption of the alcohol (the mother contains both yeast and bacteria) keeps the ABV low enough. That said, I'm sure there are many ways to make wine/mead/beer go to vinegar.

Interesting. This is completely in line with all cases meads ending in -egar that I'm familiar with. It's always been low ABV meads, and they tended to have ended up that way right away, not after overexposure to oxygen.

BBBF
05-14-2010, 08:49 AM
I'd be interested in making viniger, but my fear is doing it on purpose will lead to me doing it on accident.

Smarrikåka
05-14-2010, 09:33 AM
I'd be interested in making viniger, but my fear is doing it on purpose will lead to me doing it on accident.

I think your reasoning is off. Doing it on purpose, will probably teach you valuable lessons about how to avoid doing it on accident. Which should be a bigger factor in avoiding it, than the slight increase of acetic acid bacteria population that your surroundings may suffer from while processing vinegar on purpose.

Chevette Girl
05-14-2010, 11:41 AM
Interesting. This is completely in line with all cases meads ending in -egar that I'm familiar with. It's always been low ABV meads, and they tended to have ended up that way right away, not after overexposure to oxygen.

It's possible in my case of redcurrant diesel wine :P that by leaving it open to air, enough of the alcohol that was keeping the acetobacter at bay has evaporated...

Medsen Fey
05-14-2010, 03:18 PM
Probably not.

How high was the alcohol level? There are some acetic acid bacteria that can survive at nearly 17% ABV, so unless you maded a real batch of rocket fuel, the ABV probably wasn't high enough to discourage acetic acid bacteria.

What encourages them most is exposure to air. They simply have minimal activity unless they have access to oxygen. A sealed, topped-up container won't turn into vinegar, even if you have plenty of bacteria in there. It really has to have air. This is one reason we encourage people to eliminate the headspace. They also like it nice and warm.

PitBull
05-18-2010, 09:43 PM
I'd be interested in making viniger, but my fear is doing it on purpose will lead to me doing it on accident.
Then here's a little blurb (http://www.thebeveragepeople.com/pdf/webvinegarpdf/vinegar.pdf) that may be of some help.

These guys may be able to help you make some cheese too. Mmmm... mead, cheese and vinegar!