Recipes to make your own malt vinegar

Reginald SmithMaking Vinegar, Malt Vinegar6 Comments

Malt Vinegar (using liquid or dry malt extract)

Dry or liquid malt extract (type can be personal preference though barley based ale extracts approximate traditional recipes)


Brewing yeast (ale or lager)

Live mother of vinegar

Mix quantity of extract with water to adjust the specific gravity for 6% alcohol by volume (roughly 1.05). For liquid yeast, pitch in directly. For dry yeast, soak in lukewarm water for 15 minutes and then pitch in. Do not add hops. Keep in a warm place and allow alcoholic fermentation to proceed to completion (when bubbling stops and specific gravity is 1.0). Add mother of vinegar of 1/5 of the volume of the ale. Cover tightly with cheesecloth or another covering to allow air in but to prevent fruit flies from entering the fermenting vinegar. Place in a warm (25 – 30 C; 75 – 80 F) place away from sunlight for one to three months. A thick mother should form on the surface and an increasingly acidic smell should develop over time. Testing with a pH meter can guarantee safety once pH is below 3.5 but acidity can only be measured by sodium hydroxide titration. The vinegar should be at least 4% acidity before use. Once the vinegar reaches 4.5% acidity, you can stop and it is important to measure acidity frequently after this point since allowing fermentation too long can cause bacteria to metabolize the vinegar and begin lowering acidity. Make sure the vinegar reaches 5% before using in canning.

Titration can often be done at a wine lab if unfamiliar with the process. Once done, put the mother with enough vinegar to submerge it completely in an airtight, twist top container for preservation and future use. For the finished vinegar, you may bottle and use at will. If pasteurization is desired to prevent future fermentation pasteurize it on a stove in a stainless steel pot at 65  C (150 F) for 15 minutes.

For added flavor and color similar to Sarson’s malt vinegar, add liquid malt extract to the final vinegar to adjust specific gravity to 1.015.

Malt Vinegar (All grain recipe)

Obtain milled malted barley grains and heat and sparge/mash as with regular wort preparation in order to reach a specific gravity of 1.06. Then follow the instructions past pitching the yeast in the previous recipe.

6 Comments on “Recipes to make your own malt vinegar”

  1. hello, first i would like to say what a wonderful website! BIG thumbs up. i just received my 1st order of mothet of vinigar (malt)

    i have a few questions about the process:

    im a homebrewer and all the procedures for the wort ia understood But after fermintation is done (SG of 1.010 or lower?) you suggest to test the acidity frequently, is there an easy way to do it that dose not involve wine lab? at home

    also how do i keep the mother for future batches? simply put it in 5% commercial viniger in airthight vessal in cool & dark place?

    1. Testing the vinegar can be done with a wine titration kit that is used to measure wine acidity if you have access to those where you live. Just know you will use up a lot of the kit faster since the vinegar acidity is 10x that of wine and the solution in the kit will be used up more rapidly. You only need to test every 10 days or so though, not every day.

      To preserve the mother, please see this article. Good luck!

    1. You can use hops but then it would in vinegar terms be “beer vinegar”. The lack of hops is historical and all malt vinegar manufacturers use unhopped ale to make malt vinegar.

  2. Hi, I want to make 20 litres of malt vinegar. I don’t have a mother. I read I could add 5litre of Bragg’s cider vinegar with mother. Is this correct? Or can you offer some advise. Thanks

    1. Yes, the ratio suggested will work to make malt vinegar. Or you could start with 1 liter Bragg and 4 liters malt solution to make 5 liters of malt vinegar and then use this to seed the rest. This will take longer though. Whether the Bragg’s will dominate the taste depends on the profile of the beer but I think there will be at least a slight apple taste.

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