The Homemade Vinegar

Do you have any questions about homemade vinegar and making vinegar? Everything in this forum revolves around how to make homemade vinegar. Please observe our forum rules (see Helpful tips on use).

June 2018:

It has now been an unbelievable 16 years (!) since the last major change to the website and forums. When you think that two to three years are an eternity for the Internet sector, that is really something. In any case, there has been so much going on in terms of technology that it has become urgently necessary to completely redesign not only the forums, but also the entire website, from scratch and bring the programming up to date. Naturally, along with this we also introduced various new features; for example it was high time we allowed pictures to be uploaded with a forum post too or enabled users to subscribe to the forums via RSS feeds. And of course we have subsequently included pictures that are saved on external websites and were then integrated here using an img tag, so that no valuable information is lost. In any case, we hope you continue to have fun swapping experiences and trying things out.

Juni 2002:

At this point, we would first like to extend a big thank-you to all the users of our specialist questions for their lively involvement. Without you, we could never have developed such an informative and high-quality reference guide in such a short time (the first post dates from April 8, 1999). The large number of posts and high numbers of visitors made it necessary for us to develop the specialist questions ourselves using PHP and MySQL (at last no more annoying advertising banners!). During the course of this, we have hopefully introduced several improvements.


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Helpful tips on use:

Below are a few rules so we can maintain the high quality in the future as well.
  • This is a moderated forum. This means that anyone can write whatever they want, and the post will also be saved, but the content will only be published once it has been reviewed by our editorial staff, or deleted if necessary. Therefore, there is no point in posting the same contribution multiple times simply because it doesn’t appear immediately.
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  • The forum is very comprehensive, and many topics have already been dealt with extensively. Therefore we recommend using the search function or alternatively the advanced search function before you add a new post in order to avoid having posts with the same content.
  • After you add or answer a post, you then have a chance to change the text you have written. So read through your text again carefully after saving it and click on “Change post” if necessary.
  • If you ask a question, then also expect an answer. Think about this as well when you are wording your question. Hardly anyone will answer vague questions such as “How do I distil schnapps?”, “No oil comes out; what am I doing wrong?” or “The vinegar isn’t fermenting, why?”.
  • The three topic areas, i.e. distilling spirits, distilling essential oils/hydrosols and making vinegar, are divided into three different websites. Each website contains the two forums “Recipes” for all the topics concerning fruit and recipes, and “Discussion” for all the other topics related to distilling spirits, essential oils/hydrosols or making vinegar. If we find posts that are unintentionally in the wrong forum, we will move them to the right forum. These posts have not been deleted, just moved.
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So, that’s it. We hope you have a lot of fun swapping experiences, reading, posting and naturally also trying things out afterwards. Dr Malle & Dr Schmickl Dr. Malle & Dr. Schmickl
There are currently 16 entries in the forum.
  • Question 8

    Alex | SEATTLE, 04.04.2021 21:54:16

    Hello, I have your book and the ebooks, I am a home cook putting my ingredients in Mason jar. I want to make an intense orange vinegar using blood orange, or perhaps mandarins. I don't think infusing the oranges in the vinegar for two weeks will give me the intense flavor I want. Is it possible to put the oranges in the jar at the beginning of the fermentation process?

    I do not have a white wine mother. So I thought I would combine in a large jar 1)a warmed, live, nonfiltered white Vinegar 2)a bottle of white wine adjusted for sulfites/ABV and 3) the peels of the oranges. I would check in about 3 to 4 weeks. Is this a good plan? How long could this all sit in the jar to get the best flavor? Or should I remove the mother at first sign of vinegar and let the peels/vinegar sit on their own before bottling? What do you think?


    Yes, putting the oranges in the jar at the beginning of the fermentation is possible, but this is not really a different to infusing the oranges. It will be more intense, if you only use the peel (incl. white parts) or the zest (without white parts) of the orange. Take care to use only fruit with untreated peels, like organic cultivated oranges.

    You do not need a white-wine-mother-of-vinegar, the type doesn't matter, it's just important to add living vinegar bacteria. Yes, if the bacteria in the nonfiltered white vinegar are still alive, you can use it. How to test activity of the bacteria: just add a small amount of distilled alcohol to a sample of the white vinegar (alohol content of the mixture: roughly estimated about 2 % ABV). Cover the glass (jar) with a sheet of kitchen paper and place it in a warm environment. If after about five days to a week a mother-of-vinegar has developed, you can use the vinegar to start your fermentation.

    >> How long could this all sit in the jar
    not longer than fermentation takes, to avoid musty smell. The flavor depends on the amount of peels / zests you have added.

    >> remove the mother at first sign of vinegar and let the peels/vinegar sit on their own before bottling?
    No. How intense the taste will be, depends on acidity, the higher, the better. Thus:

    I would suggest to do it in two steps: at first perform the fermentation until finished, thereafter start the infusion. Infusion time depends on amount of peels and your personal taste, can take several weeks. Thus, test regularly, and if you're satisfied, remove the peels to avoid excessive bitter taste.

    We wish much success!

  • Question 7

    Huda | Saudi Arabia , 18.01.2021 10:29:10

    Thanks for giving a chance to question

    Is cutting apples in small pieces and submerging them in water, stirring every day, to prevent mold?

    Is the stirring limited to the alcoholic fermentation period, approximately two weeks, only?

    How much sugar should I add? And how much the appropriate BRICS scale


    ad 1) no, this is to guarantee that the yeast also decomposes the solid parts which are floating on the top of the mash.
    ad 2) yes, stir only while it's fermenting. The alcoholic fermentation time depends on the available amount of sugar. Yes, if you don't add sugar, the fermentation will be finished after a few weeks, depending on the ambient temperature. On the other hand, if preparing a high-grade mash (thus, using the proper yeast and adding sugar), alcoholic fermentation takes about 8 weeks.

    ad 3) The maximal amount of sugar you can add depends on the type of yeast, or rather the alcohol tolerance of the yeast you have added. The supplier of your yeast should know this value. This topic is explained thoroughly in our books "The Artisanal Vinegar Marker’s Handbook" or "The Artisan’s Guide to Crafting Distilled Spirits".

  • Question 6

    Sen | India, 07.08.2020 08:36:25

    For starting culture, apple mesh should be with 15 brix ? yeast to be added or not.


    Yes, 15 Brix is a good value. Add yeast to this mash. Wait until the alcoholic fermentation is finished. Add the starting culture with vinegar bacteria only to a finished fermented alcoholic mash. If you have apple juice (not a mash with solid parts), it’s easier to produce vinegar. In this case you don’t have to add water, just add the yeast. If you have a mash with solid parts, filter first before adding the starter culture for vinegar fermentation.

  • Question 5

    Pam | UK, 28.06.2020 09:31:41

    I just had another one of my 55 gallon drums start leaking.  (I have lost 80 litres at one time from my taps or barrel rings breaking.)

    I use all new rings each year but I am still having problems.  Do you know of a better system which would work better than these crazy 55 gallon plastic drums?

    Yes, the vapor of the acetic acid is quite aggressive. Every iron part in the fermenting room will rust after a while. This is why the iron rings of your drums are such unsafe, even if you don’t see they are rusty.

    You should use a flat polyethylene tank, a kind of trough. Equipped with a drain cock if possible. Cover these containers for example with bed linen and fix it with a cord. Such a construction doesn’t contain any iron parts.

    I know this construction sounds strange, but this is the same as Pasteur already suggested about 200 years ago: fermenting containers for vinegar should be flat, so there’s a large contact surface of the liquid to the air. We’ve noticed the same (but at a small scale): the lower the filling level of the container, the faster and more stable the vinegar fermentation and therefore the less susceptible against infections.

    So if thinking about a new type of vinegar fermenting container: search for something made of e.g. polyethylene that is flat, the upside should be completely open. Cover the upside with a kind of bed sheet or fine network made of plastic.

  • Question 4

    Brian | Europe, 23.05.2020 14:56:44

    Hi, Ive started making vinegar. I have an apple cider unfiltered vinegar as starter. And i added red wine to it. I checked it yesterday and there is a perfumey smell from the mixture. What caused this and can it be saved?

    Thanks Brian


    This could be a sign of the fermentation start. "Glue-like smell" is difficult to describe, it's quite pleasant, yes, it's a kind of perfumey smell. Anyway, wait for another 2 or 3 days, thereafter a thin layer of mother-of-vinegar (or the lack of it) will show for sure if fermentation has started or not.

  • Question 3

    Senthil | India, 30.04.2020 18:06:14

    I started 2 liter mash  with 3.5 PH and 15 brix ( added sugar as per your tables in book)Fermentation completely stopped 13th day,On 15 th day I checked brix was at 4 but no more sign of further fermentation.Now I am ready for second stage of

    fermentation,Can you Please help me out for the nutrients to be added in this stage.
    Is your mash an apple mash? If yes, it’s not necessary to add any nutrients, apples have enough of them. You have to add nutrients if you want to ferment pure, distilled (and diluted) alcohol.
    The easiest way to add nutrients is to add apple juice. Not a fresh one, but from the supermarket, pay attention that the juice doesn’t contain any preservatives. I don’t know which brand mark of apple juice is available in India, but a “common” apple juice from supermarket is perfect. We add 1 liter of juice to approx. 10 liters of fermentation medium.
  • Question 2

    brian | USA, 27.02.2020 11:26:03
    Our concentrated juice is depectinated. The pectin improove the sugar-alcohol content or the taste ?
    Pectins are the "walls" of the fruitcells. These walls prevent the extraktion of sugar and aromatic substances. Yeast destroys these wall with pectinase otherwise the yeast has nothing to eat. But sometimes the amount of pectinase is to low to survive, so it makes sence to add pectinase, this is the "Verflüssiger".

    Another advantage: if more fruitcells are liquified, more sugar is set free and simultaneosly more aromatic substances are set free and soluted now. Finally only the liquid is used, so it's important to get as much as possible aromatic substances in solution.

  • Question 1

    Greg | USA, 19.01.2020 17:53:48

    When describing ways to test the vinegar for both alcohol and acidic acid - there is no mention of ph. I am comfortable with titration. But I also have a small handheld ph meter. Could I use the ph meter to track the progress of the vinegar or is it too innacurate? How best to convert the PH to acidic percent ?

    pH is a logarithmic scale. Thus, pH 1 is the same as 10-1, pH 7 = 10-7, and pH 14 = 10-14 mol H3O+ per liter.
    The acidity of vinegar is the unit percent acetic acid, thus grams acetic acid per 100 grams solution.
    The acidity of vinegar changes from 4 to 5 percent. How much is this change in mol per liter? For easier calculation, we assume 100 grams is equal to 100 ml.
    So 4 percent is equal to 4 g / 100 ml. This is the same as 40 g / liter. Molar mass of acetic acid is 60.05 g / mol. Thus we have 40/60.05 = 0,66611 mol / l = 10-0,17645 mol / l.
    The same calculation for 5 percent: 50/60.05 = 0,83264 mol / l = 10-0,07954 mol / l.
    Thus the simplified “pAcidity” changes from 0,18 to 0,08. BUT: acetic acid is a so called soft acid, which means the CH3COOH is not completely split in CH3COO- and H+. The ratio of the split to unsplit portion depends on the specific pKs value of acetic acid (which is 4,76, see wikipedia).
    So far the theory. I wanted to verify this with my brand-new handheld pH-meter which I’ve never used up to now. But unfortunately the instructions for use says “soak in KCl for 24 hours”. T
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