In 2011 the hubs and I started down a path of interest in wild yeast and open fermentation. We have started several activities that are directly interconnected to these things. We have been brewing our own beer, which you can read about here, if you have not already. I also started some cider vinegar in October with unpasteurized cider from the farm. I also tried starting sourdough, three times, from wild yeast. All three ultimately failed, but I believe this was due to the cold temperatures in my house during the cold fall that we had. In November I started some cranberry vinegar with leftover cranberries from this amazing stuffing.
At the end of 2011, even more smitten with wild yeast and open fermentation I added some goals to my bucket list for 2012. One of these goals was to continue my vinegar project, but to make sure I blog about it so that everyone can get as motivated about yeast and bacteria as I am! Weird, right!
In any case, we wasted no time. On January 1 we started our first malt vinegar. This is a trial run and we hope to someday use our own beer to make this product. For this batch we used Guinness. We used the “mother” from the cider vinegar that has been fermenting since October. In one of the jars, the vinegar is almost completely evaporated at this point and the mother is quite large and in the other jar, there is still a significant amount of vinegar and another large mother. Our goal is to use this throughout the next several months to start more batches of vinegar, that we are actually going to use. This first batch really just turned into a mother growing endeavor, which is a great money saver as I have seen the stuff for quite a bit on the internet. Now we can use it to grow any vinegar we want. You can read about vinegar mother, here.
16 ounces of Guinness draught
1 large spoonful of cider vinegar “mother”
Open beer and leave it to sit on the counter for 24 hours. This takes the carbonation out of it. The next day pour it into your container of choice, make sure it has a wide mouth and is not metal. I use a glass jar. Add the “mother” and affix cheese cloth over the top of the container to keep the fruit flies out of it (This is a true reality of making vinegar, the fruit flies love it. I have found that 2 tablespoons of store bought cider vinegar with 3 drops of dish soap in it will catch all of the flies you can find. Just set it near the fermenting vinegar). Do not seal this, it needs oxygen and access to wild yeast and bacteria that will be in the air.
Place the container in a warm, dark place, like the pantry and allow it to sit for 6-8 weeks.
Stay tuned. I will be back with updates as this ages.