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.


The latest entries in all the forums can be conveniently received via RSS feeds. You have the option of subscribing to RSS feeds in your browser, accessing a special feed reader, or displaying the feed on a website. By subscribing to or integrating an RSS feed,you receive short information blocks with the last 10 entries of the forum you have subscribed to. To find an RSS reader, simply google “RSS reader”. Here are two examples of add-ons to the Chrome browser: Feedbro, offered by Nodetics This reader does not require registration. Or RSS Feed Reader, offered by Available for Chrome, Safari, iOS and Android, registration required. To receive the feed, click on the RSS icon on the right, above the forum, under “Enter search term...”.

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.
  • If you would like to see the most recent posts (irrespective of the topic), click Show the latest posts.
  • 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.
  • ANY TYPE OF ADVERTISING WILL BE DELETED WITHOUT EXCEPTION! This also means seemingly “innocent” posts such as “I have a question about...” or alternatively “Does anyone have experience with...” followed by links or pictures to any external shops.
  • The same applies to bizarre posts which most likely come from drunks or don’t have the remotest thing to do with the topic area, e.g. football or “Where can you burn CDs here?” They will be deleted without exception.
  • All forums are STRICTLY ANONYMOUS; so never give any real names or addresses.
  • Any attempt to make personal contact will be deleted immediately.  There are now numerous social networks for this purpose.
  • The authors’ IP addresses are NOT saved!
  • E-mail addresses are not passed on to third parties or used by us in any other way.  You enter your email completely voluntarily and it functions more or less as your ID. In contrast to most other forums, we don’t require any registration or any type of login to be able to participate. Therefore it might happen that a pseudonym is unintentionally used by two people, so there has not been a mix-up in the entries.
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 26 entries in the forum.
  • Question 13

    LS | USA, 18.12.2023 04:19:50

    Hi! I have your book and love it!

    Im in the process of fermenting some satsuma juice and have noticed a bit of a yeasty smell and off flavor. im wondering if the yeast is stressed and what i can do to fix it.

    i started by juicing satsuma and grapefeuit, adding the juice and pulp to a sanitized glass jar. i added honey, about a 1/3 to the amount of juice, and then hydrated some red star wine yeast to mix in.

    fermentation was great for first few days but now im on day 5 and it seems fermentation has slowed way down. i know honey is microbial so this could contribute to slower fermentation times, but the smell and taste make me think its a yeast problem.

    would you recommend that i add more fruit juice, potentially more yeast, or just wait and continue to stir to release CO2 and hope for the best?

    I did not take a hydrometer measure at the beginning of fermentation. I appreciate your help!

    Thank you!

    If after yeast addition the fermentation has strongly started after 24 hours at latest, everything should be in order. Your desired yeast type has taken over and killed other (unwanted) strains. It's normal behavior if fermentation speed decreases over time. Having said that, to notice this effect after 5 days already, is usually too early. But this behavior also depends on the volume of the fermenting batch. With not more than about 4 liters (1 gallon), it should nevertheless be in order, whereas with the tenfold of this volume, there shouldn't be a noticable difference yet.

    After a successful fermentation start, yeasty smell and off flavor is caused by the active yeast strain. Unfortunately, even some cultivated yeast strains have this issue. I hope this is not the case here, I've never heard anything like that with Red Star brand products, but who knows. In any case, it cannot be lack of nutrients, satsuma juice contains more than sufficient of that.

    BTW, fermenting honey by adding yeast to a honey-water-solution (or honey-juice-mixture) is normally trouble-free, especially, if the fermentation has already successfully started.

  • Question 12

    Tickled pickler | USA , 24.06.2023 16:13:22

    Can you send English instructions on how to use the pectinase?

    I can't speak for products of other brands, here are the instructions for product "Verflüssiger Spezial" (company: Oestreich GmbH, Germany):

    drupes & berries: 5 - 10 ml / hl (hl = 100 liters)
    pome: 10 - 15 ml / hl
    jerusalem artichoke: 20 - 50 ml / hl

  • Question 11

    rodrigo | spain, 28.02.2023 11:25:23

    the total alcohol was too high at around 7%ABV so the bacteria stopped working once they got close to 6.5% acidity?

    seems odd since generators say they can go to 12%). I have successfully made vinegar to 6% before but never tried higher.

    No. Even for non-specialized vinegar bacteria (the "good" ones) is 7 %ABV not too high. BUT: It's also important to consider the so-called "total concentration". This is the sum of acidity (in %) and alcohol concentration (% ABV). If this value

    is too high, even a lower alcohol content may cause troubles. To be save, take care the total concentration is not higher than

    something about 10 to 12.

  • Question 10

    Wanderer Wondering | Portugal, 24.03.2022 20:30:20

    First time i attempted to make vinegar.

    I cut fresh oranges into 8 pieces and filled a 4litre jar 75%. Then added 3litre of water and 1 cup sugar.

    Stopped bubbling after 4 weeks. Removed fruit and strained most of it. Seems to have a mother.

    pH is 3.7 but earlier in the process while still bubbling is went down to 3.2.

    Not a strong vinegar taste. Leaves a bitter aftertaste.

    Can i correct this? What did i do wrong?


    Thank you for your photo, it obviously shows, there is no mother-of-vinegar (MOV) at all. Since orange juice is very rich in trace vitamins, minerals, and sugar, the MOV will become considerable thick after fermenting for only about a week, i.e., between 0.5 and 1 cm (about 0.2 to 0.4 inches). Besides this, for the same reason the MOV will be quite stable (can only be torn up with both hands and a bit of force) and gelatinous like a jellyfish.

    To learn properly how a vinegar fermentation works, I would suggest to mix vodka, water, and orange juice, don't forget to add cultivated mother-of-vinegar, available at winery or vinegar producing suppliers. A detailed description of the recipe you'll find in the mentioned books (see or in our online seminar of course.

  • Question 9

    Des Pirkhoffer | Scotland, 20.02.2022 11:44:55

    Thank you for your book, "The Artisanal Vinegar Maker's Handbook", I have been reading it in detail but have 2 related technical questions:

    1. I understand that during the conversion phase of alcoholic substance to vinegar the process should not be allowed to convert 100% of the alcohol to vinegar. On page 77 (of the English version) you state the alcohol content will sink to about 0.3%

    Is this the only measurable value that should be used to determine that conversion should be stopped? I know that you mention smells and so on, but I’m interested in a measurable value.

    2. If the above measurement is in fact the only true technical way to determine when to stop conversion, then how should I measure this value?

    I have read your process for measuring ABV via distillation, starting on page 109 (again the English version) but it seems to require the measurement of the distillate via a refractometer to values of less than 1% Is this realistic?

    Using your suggested volumes and formula on page 113, and wishing to observe a sample ABV of 0.3% I see the following calculations:

    Volume of distillate 0.4ml

    Alcohol content of distillate 0.375%

    Volume of sample 0.5ml

    Alcohol content of sample 0.3%

    You will notice that this requires me to use a handheld refractometer to 3 places of decimal accuracy. This is not realistic. Even an accuracy of 1 decimal place is highly questionable.

    So, in summary, how should I determine the point at which to conclude alcohol conversion?

    Many thanks,


    Thank you, we appreciate that you enjoyed reading our book! :-)

    ad 1) Yes, this is true, no other measurable value indicates if the acidic fermentation is very close to its end or not. Of course, you could also observe acidity, but even the most accurate method (titration) will not show the difference between for example 0.5 and 0.0 % of residual alcohol. It's not guaranteed that every "piece" of alcohol will turn into acetic acid, you can't accurate enough take into consideration the amount of evaporated alcohol, effects from over-oxidation, losses caused by the formation of mother-of-vinegar, etc.

    ad 2) Of course, it would be ideal if hand-held Ethanol-refractometers with 0.1-%-tick-marks would be available. But they aren't for a reasonable price. So we intentionally use "standard" Ethanol refractometers for our equipment (the one's with a scale from 0 to 80 %ABV Ethanol). With the proper instruction (see book, online course, or video) and a little bit of experience it's quite easy to estimate the read off value with an accuracy of 0.1 %ABV. Will say, the value between for example the tick mark 1 %ABV and the tick mark 2 %ABV. Surprisingly enough, this estimation can be done without any effort by completely inexperienced, non-scientific people visiting our vinegar hands-on workshop. Up to now, every attendee were able to "find" the correct 0.1-%-value after my five-minutes explanation. We're hosting vinegar seminars since 2008 already. Of course, to be sure, it's advisable to perform a so-called error calculation: you're not sure if it's 0.6 or 0.7 %ABV? Just calculate the result by using both values and hereby determine the margin after the calculation. It's not necessary (and not possible) to be more accurate with the read off than +/- 0.1 %ABV.

  • 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.

There are currently 13 entries in the forum.

Copy link

Zum kopieren alles markieren und CMD+C (Strg+C) drücken.