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How do I make Apple Cider Vinegar?

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Pogo

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Hey...I know, I know...but this Cider Forum is the only place that seems even halfway suitable for this question!

I've got several members of my family, plus extended family - aunts, cousins, nieces, etc., that take doses of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) daily.

Regular ACV from the supermarket, at $1.39US @ quart, is unacceptable it seems, as it is pasteurized.

They believe that only the unpastuerized version from the health food store, at $7+US @ quart, plus the fuel to drive 25 miles one way, offers the health benefits that they say that ACV offers.

Even without figuring the cost of the fuel, this is getting near to the cost of bottled wine!

I've read somewhere that ACV can be made with the leftovers from the makings of apple cider.

I realize that there are NO leftovers from making Apfelwein (other than plastic jugs), but as cheap as apple juice is, home made ACV from 100% apple cider/juice is still gonna be way cheaper than the health food store source.

Plus, I can see a nice little cottage industry being generated here, just suppling my own family!

Can anyone provide, or point me to, a recipe?

Pogo

BTW - Would fermenting ACV in the same room with my other carboys cause problems?
 

zoebisch01

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Just leave fermented Cider exposed to the air in a cool (55-60's) area. Mine was started in October '07 and still working. One word of caution though, it supposedly gets a very low pH so you'll have to dilute it with water. It is probably time for me to do another taste test and report back.
 

z987k

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Make some apple cider like normal, then oxygenate it and add acetobacter. Instant vinegar.

I would keep it as far from anything you brew as possible though.... unless you want malt vinegar to.
 
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Pogo

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Hey zoe and z987k -

Thanks for the input!

Acetobacter = instant vinegar, wow, great!

Hmm...'07 and still working.

Does this mean that if I let five gallons of apple cider turn to vinegar, when I remove a quart to use, that I can simply replace what I removed with a quart of fresh apple juice, and it will then keep regenerating itself, month after month after...

Pogo
 

BrewBob

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The unpasteurized ACV in the health food store has the culture you need floating inside it ( I have some right here and you can definitely see it in there.)
 

z987k

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Hey zoe and z987k -

Thanks for the input!

Acetobacter = instant vinegar, wow, great!

Hmm...'07 and still working.

Does this mean that if I let five gallons of apple cider turn to vinegar, when I remove a quart to use, that I can simply replace what I removed with a quart of fresh apple juice, and it will then keep regenerating itself, month after month after...

Pogo
don't forget to add O2. Acetobacer needs O2 to do it's stuff.
 

McSwiggin'

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Hey zoe and z987k -

Thanks for the input!

Acetobacter = instant vinegar, wow, great!

Hmm...'07 and still working.

Does this mean that if I let five gallons of apple cider turn to vinegar, when I remove a quart to use, that I can simply replace what I removed with a quart of fresh apple juice, and it will then keep regenerating itself, month after month after...

Pogo
I wouldn't suggest using fresh apple juice to top off with, use cider instead. The bacteria is going to convert the alcohol into acetic acid. I have tried using juice before and the end result is somewhat un-palatable. If you are letting your vinegar age to convert, you don't need to add O2. Just be sure to leave an airhole for air to get in. If I am using a carboy to make vinegar, I usually take some cheesecloth and secure it with a rubber band (over the top) to keep nasties out but let air in. If you are using the instant method, just go buy vinegar from the store because it will have no body and no "character" so you might as well go buy heinz. I make lots of vinegar and after many tries of "speeding" up the process, I gave in and accepted that good vinegar takes time. If I am using a carboy to make vinegar, I usually take some cheesecloth and secure it with a rubber band to keep nasties out.

Once you have mother, store it in glass (mason jars, growlers etc... I use grolsch bottles with good success. You can pitch this mother in other vinegars you want to try. You can feed it every so often with a small amount of wine or cider, just don't use anything with sulfites in it.

I learned to make vinegar from a family friend (who is now deceased) brought the art over from Italy. He made wine and vinegar from zinfandel grapes he had shipped in by train from California. He had 2 barrels for wine and a smaller barrel for vinegar. This barrel was never emptied completely, just topped off. The bung was left open and after a few months, the mother would form a slime-like seal that would still allow air flow but keep flies out. This was with out a doubt the best red wine vinegar I have ever had in my life. I still have a half gallon I save for special occasions. I have tried to duplicate it many times. I have made some fantastic vinegar, but nothing compared to his.

Since this is HBT, here's a quick note....
next time you have a few spare pounds of 2-row or malt extract, make a 2.5 gallon batch of beer (I usually shoot for an sg of around 1.05-1.06, USE NO HOPS, pitch yeast and ferment for 7 days. rack to a glass secondary (5 gallon) and be sure to leave the yeast cake behind. Stick it in a cool dark corner, pitch the bugs, cover with cheesecloth and don't touch it for at least 6-9 months. This malt vinegar will kick the crap out of anything you can buy in a store. Most store bought malt vinegars are artificially flavored and colored distilled vinegar.
 

zoebisch01

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I wouldn't suggest using fresh apple juice to top off with, use cider instead. The bacteria is going to convert the alcohol into acetic acid. I have tried using juice before and the end result is somewhat un-palatable. If you are letting your vinegar age to convert, you don't need to add O2. Just be sure to leave an airhole for air to get in. If I am using a carboy to make vinegar, I usually take some cheesecloth and secure it with a rubber band (over the top) to keep nasties out but let air in. If you are using the instant method, just go buy vinegar from the store because it will have no body and no "character" so you might as well go buy heinz. I make lots of vinegar and after many tries of "speeding" up the process, I gave in and accepted that good vinegar takes time. If I am using a carboy to make vinegar, I usually take some cheesecloth and secure it with a rubber band to keep nasties out.

Once you have mother, store it in glass (mason jars, growlers etc... I use grolsch bottles with good success. You can pitch this mother in other vinegars you want to try. You can feed it every so often with a small amount of wine or cider, just don't use anything with sulfites in it.

I learned to make vinegar from a family friend (who is now deceased) brought the art over from Italy. He made wine and vinegar from zinfandel grapes he had shipped in by train from California. He had 2 barrels for wine and a smaller barrel for vinegar. This barrel was never emptied completely, just topped off. The bung was left open and after a few months, the mother would form a slime-like seal that would still allow air flow but keep flies out. This was with out a doubt the best red wine vinegar I have ever had in my life. I still have a half gallon I save for special occasions. I have tried to duplicate it many times. I have made some fantastic vinegar, but nothing compared to his.

Since this is HBT, here's a quick note....
next time you have a few spare pounds of 2-row or malt extract, make a 2.5 gallon batch of beer (I usually shoot for an sg of around 1.05-1.06, USE NO HOPS, pitch yeast and ferment for 7 days. rack to a glass secondary (5 gallon) and be sure to leave the yeast cake behind. Stick it in a cool dark corner, pitch the bugs, cover with cheesecloth and don't touch it for at least 6-9 months. This malt vinegar will kick the crap out of anything you can buy in a store. Most store bought malt vinegars are artificially flavored and colored distilled vinegar.
Sweet. Good stuff McSwiggin. Brings up a good point, which I should have mentioned. I have mine in an O2 permeable container so that it can do it's thing and just have some plastic wrap and a band on it. I am certain I picked up the inoculant at the Cider press (which I am fortunate to have a small local press). I just left 5 gallons of Cider to ferment out naturally and then go to vinegar. I really can't wait until it is ready.
 

McSwiggin'

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great link, I haven't been able to find anybody selling mothers and cultures in a while.

I would still suggest not using wine with sulfites as I have had some not-so-great results with them. So I don't use leftover wine from the store. I have also found that full body, drier wines tend to produce better results.
 
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Pogo

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Thanks all for the help.

I can see that making vinegar is very much like making wine, while it is not that difficult to accomplish, a simple mis-step could be costly, in time especially.

You guys have cleared a lot of fog away for me.

I now see that just as sugar is the key active ingredient in the must that generates the alcohol for wine, it is the alcohol in the wine that is the key ingredient that the bacteria use to generate the acid for the vinegar.

I'm thinking that the more a winemaker knows about vinegar, the better s/he will be at making wine.

I'm going to do a little more studying before I take the plunge though.

Thanks again,

Pogo
 

EvilTOJ

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You want vinegar? You have fruit flies, you have vinegar. Acetobacter live on the asses of fruitflies, so all you need is for them to contaminate a batch of fermented cider, and you're good to go.
 
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Pogo

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I've taken an old antique 2 gallon churn and cleaned it up to use as my Vinegar Crock.

I've started 2 one gallon mini-batches of Apfelwein to use as the base for this vinegar.

I'm not going to attempt to supply my extended family with their ACV, as it would take at least a coupl'a gallons a month to fill the need.

Given the need to age/condition this vinegar for months at a time, I'm thinking that I'd need at least a 55 gallon drum dedicated to cranking out ACV just to be able to reliably provide a few gallons of a stable, quality, vinegar for the demand of others.

Pogo

BTW - McSwiggin'...after much reading, I'm thinking that temperature control and the use of a small air pump, like those used in a fish tank, to provide aeration in the vinegar appears to speed the aging process up. But, also, too much aeration can cause problems.

It's going to take a lot of tweaking, and good record keeping (just like making wine, huh?) to optimize this process.
 
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