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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, here's a couple of new toys that just arrived. A couple of casks I just bought for aging the vinegar you see in process under cheesecloth. Each cask holds 2 liters. They aren't necessary to make vinegar but I recently got a raise so I decided to treat myself.
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In the crock on the left is red wine vinegar, on the right in the mason jar is cider vinegar. I'll be starting some white wine vinegar tomorrow. The vinegar is easy to start. Some unpasteurized vinegar mother with red wine and water added. Covering with cheesecloth or linen keeps the vinegar flies away. After a few weeks, you have vinegar. A couple of bottles of Cabernet started the red wine vinegar. Left over fresh cider for the other. You can use a glass container or crock. One with a spigot is better but I haven't bought one yet. Probably tomorrow.
The casks are to help the vinegar age and deepen in flavor once it's done becoming vinegar. They are sitting in the tray because they need to be filled with hot water when you first buy them and they may leak a bit. After about 5 days they are ready for the vinegar. After several weeks/a couple of months, the vinegar is aged and ready to be bottled.
I'm not sure the vinegar will be ready for the casks yet when the casks are ready but it's my first time so I got excited and rushed things a bit. I may have to buy a third cask just in case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You can buy online or so I'm told. I haven't tried that. A local cooperative here has it in bulk and the clerk scooped out some mother for me. Of course, you can open a bottle of wine and let it sour. Unsulfited wine is supposed to work best. Much like sourdough bread, the bacteria are in the air. You need to keep the top open but covered against flies, which show up out of nowhere. If you locate a bottle of vinegar and there is a cloudy mass inside, that's mother of vinegar. so you can simply remove some and add it to the wine. The wine may need some water added to cut down on the alcohol content. 12% is too high so you want it below ten percent.
Of course, much of this is based on reading, not experience. So far I managed to make the red wine vinegar. The cider is in process. I'm sure that once you get one started, you can use the mother to start the others although next time I'd start the cider or white first, then the red wine, for color reasons. I'll post more as I figure things out but the basic process is easy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
This morning I went out and bought two glass jars with spigots, some more vinegar mother and more wine.
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As you can see, the jars have no tops, just cheesecloth held on by a rubber band. I haven't added the wine. Inside the glass jars is the mother. On the left is cider vinegar, red wine on right. I'm using the cider vinegar mother for white wine vinegar.
So the next step is to add the wine and perhaps some water to cut the alcohol content. I may or may not do that. Darkness is supposed to be better so I may hang a curtain in front or wrap the glass in dark cloth or paper.
That's it. I will let it sit until it's vinegary enough for me. Then drain it off through the spigot and put it in the casks. Because the mother will float on top, I can use a plastic tube with funnel to add more wine, putting the end of the tube below the surface of the vinegar so as not to disturb the mother too much. So you really can have an endless supply of vinegar as long as you leave a little behind and add more wine.
When I fill the glass jars with wine, I'll take another photo. Probably tomorrow.
Sorry for the large photos. I don't know how to make them smaller.
 

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Thanks all.
I have to start looking which wine vinegar here is unpasteurised. That's most likely going to be a mission :(
Most of the wines contain sulfites, which isn't going to be helpful either....
But, where there is a will....
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
According to an informational pamphlet handed out by the store, household hydrogen peroxide is completely harmless and will remove some of the sulfites. Each mL you add removes 10ppm of sulfites. A half teaspoon per bottle is about enough.
I will be doing this later after work.
I'll let the vinegar sit in the casks for about a month or so, tasting it along the way to see what changes happen.
More information when I get it.
 

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I have a bottle of balsemic vinegar that's quite old and the last bit in it is quite thick.
Would that be the mother?

I also remembered that I have a glass jar with a tap at the bottom, just like the ones on chefwriter's picture.
So, I might be in action o_O
Is there a certain ratio of mother and wine to start with? Or does it just depend on time?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The thick bit would most likely be mother. If you pass it through a fine strainer and the mass seems jelly like, that's mother.
There's no specific ratio I've found. Put the mother in the jar, add the wine. Then it depends on time. More wine would take more time, naturally but I haven't found a specific ratio.
I've found that some directions say to add water if the alcohol content is 12% but not all directions say that.
You can use the mother for any of the vinegars as far as I know. I used cider to get my white wine vinegar going.
My red wine has a fine white mold on top, the white wine does not. but they sit next to each other so I'm waiting to see what happens with the white. I'll post another picture as soon as I can.
 

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According to an informational pamphlet handed out by the store, household hydrogen peroxide is completely harmless and will remove some of the sulfites. Each mL you add removes 10ppm of sulfites. A half teaspoon per bottle is about enough.
I will be doing this later after work.
I'll let the vinegar sit in the casks for about a month or so, tasting it along the way to see what changes happen.
More information when I get it.
How is the hydrogen peroxide administered... just added to the wine/water? Does it cause any precipitation that needs to be filtered out?
 
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