View Full Version : unwanted friends?

08-21-2008, 03:51 PM
Hey all.
I had a question.
I was talking with a buddy of mine, and he said something that has concerned me a bit. The place i reside at now, the previous owner used to make his own vinegar here. Well he left two of his barrels around with vinegar and the "mother" in them for about a year, smelled VERY strong of it for months. when I told my buddy about this he said that he wouldn't brew anywhere near that, let alone in the house for all the very strong vinegar yeast/bacteria floating around the house. I do not want to ruin batches because of my little invisible vinegar floaties. Does anyone know much about this? is the vinegar strains really that strong and plentiful? (side question: would this help for open fermentation, such as with a Lambic?) Is there any way to get rid of them, or clear them out of the house?
hope to hear from you soon

08-21-2008, 04:17 PM
Acetobacter occurs in abundance in nature. In fact, it is present in pretty much any soil that has green plants growing in it, since it is one of the strains of "nitrogen fixing" bacteria that convert gaseous nitrogen from the atmosphere to a form that plants can use. The production of acetic acid from alcohol is just a "side benefit" of these bacteria. ;) So I wouldn't think that you're at any greater risk than the rest of us just because the place had been used for vinegar production in the past.

I'd clean the exact location you plan to brew in (all the surfaces and materials) very thoroughly, and of course get rid of any containers that held vinegar or vinegar mother in the past (trash the barrels - unless you have the skills and materials needed to fully sanitize a wood vessel), then I'd expect you would be fine.

08-24-2008, 09:47 AM
Using a solution of water and baking soda will also help. Make sure to hit all the cracks and such.