Recipes to make your own malt vinegar

Reginald SmithMaking Vinegar, Malt Vinegar0 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) Water 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. … Read More

The History of Blacks in Vinegar Making

Reginald SmithVinegar History0 Comments

Vinegar has been made for millenia—surely as long as wine and beer. Vinegar is a dilute solution of acetic acid made by special bacteria that transform the alcohol into this new compound using oxygen. The first records are from ancient Babylon but later vinegar is recorded in almost every part of the world. Africa was no exception. Given that brewed … Read More

Sherry vinegar makers consider their own balsamic competitor

Reginald SmithUncategorized0 Comments

As reported in this article from Diario de Jerez (Google translation here) the sherry vinegar makers and the certification bodies of Spain are planning on introducing a thick, sweet sherry vinegar that would be a competitor with balsamic vinegar. Made from sherry vinegar and grape must from grapes like Pedro Ximénez or Moscatel, the new vinegar cannot be called ‘balsamic’ … Read More

Vinegar Aging and Value

Reginald SmithAll About Vinegar, Balsamic Vinegar, Chinese Vinegars, Making Vinegar, Sherry Vinegar, Vinegar Industry0 Comments

Besides raw material, one of the big differentiators between premium and regular vinegars is the aging process. This can range from 2 months for Balsamic of Modena IGP to 6 months for basic sherry vinegar to 12 years for Gran Reserva Sherry or 25 years for Extra Aged (“extravecchio”) balsamic. Price varies accordingly. Below is a quick chart that gives … Read More

The ambivalent status of French Vinegar

Reginald SmithAll About Vinegar, Regional Vinegars, Vinegar Industry0 Comments

French vinegar is good, but can it stand out? If there would be a country responsible for the development and refinement of vinegar in modern Europe, it would be France. Through the pre-Revolution corporations in many cities, especially the vinegar “capital” of Orléans, the Western traditional method of vinegar making matured from the 14th to 18th centuries. Though France was … Read More

Vinegar enters the trade wars

Reginald SmithAll About Vinegar, Vinegar Industry0 Comments

Vinegar, that titan of international commerce…. (only $500 million traded per year globally) True or not, vinegar has found its way into the crosshairs of the growing trade war between the US and China. In the most recent round of tariff proposals, which were originally set at 10% but are now 25%, the US added HTS code 2209 – which … Read More

My vinegar smells like acetone (nail polish remover)!

Reginald SmithAll About Vinegar, Making Vinegar2 Comments

If you make vinegar long enough you have to tackle almost every problem. I sometimes get emails and questions about an “acetone” smell from vinegar, very similar to nail polish remover. What does this mean? First, you must understand the process by which acetic acid bacteria turn alcohol into vinegar. The short chemical pathway is: Alcohol (Ethanol) + Oxygen -> … Read More

4th of July: The Quartering Act and vinegar

Reginald SmithUncategorized0 Comments

The Quartering Act of 1765 was made to make the American colonists pay for local British garrisons after the debt incurred by Great Britain from the French and Indian (Seven Years’) War. As one of the intolerable acts that led to the Revolution, it imposed direct costs on colonists without their consent. In Clause VI (and some others) vinegar is … Read More

The deal on light and vinegar (and kombucha) fermentation

Reginald SmithMaking Vinegar, Microbiology, Mother of Vinegar0 Comments

Many vinegar makers have asked me about the question of the effect of light on vinegar production. The temperature effects on vinegar production are well known but the effects of light are more subtle. First things first: the typical ambient light in your house does not seriously impair vinegar production. Therefore, there is no need to religiously keep vinegar production … Read More

Will 2018 or 2019 see a sherry vinegar shortage?

Reginald SmithAll About Vinegar, Sherry Vinegar0 Comments

Sherry vinegar (Vinagre de Jerez) has increasingly become well-known and a hot commodity. The trade industry association of sherry vinegar vinagreros (vinegar makers) in Andalusia, Asevijerez, has indicated a widespread concern in the industry due to a shortage of sherry wine used as raw material to make sherry vinegar. As is well-known, the traditional sherry vinegar process can take time … Read More