About Mother of Vinegar

vinegar with garlic

Mother of Vinegar

Acetobacter bacteria consume alcohol from wine, cider or beer and produce the acid we call vinegar. The bacteria in all of the cultures listed are the same. The difference between them is the liquid in which they are stored in. If this is your first time making vinegar we highly recommend that you consider purchasing one of our complete vinegar making kits.

All vinegar mothers consist of acetobacter. There are four different vinegar mothers available to make vinegar. They are red wine, white wine, apple cider and malt vinegars. The only difference between these is the liquid in which the acetobacter is stored. Theoretically, you could use any of these to make any type of vinegar, however, for the best flavor and appearance, use the same variety of mother as the type of vinegar being produced. If making a large amount of vinegar (over 2 gals.) then this will not be as much of a factor.

The jar of vinegar mother may or may not contain a visible, gelatinous material. Either way the liquid contains the acetobacter needed to make vinegar. If the mother contains a large enough piece that it wants to sink to the bottom of the container, consider placing it on a raft to make sure it gets plenty of oxygen. Leeners has sections of oak wine barrel staves available for this purpose. (Included in kit) Boil the oak for one minute before placing it in the vinegar vat. This will keep the mother afloat and add traditional oak flavoring to the vinegar.

How to Start a Vinegar Mother

Sanitize a container or vat that you will be using to make your vinegar. The ideal container should keep light out and have a large opening at the top in order to allow plenty of oxygen in but not so big as to allow excessive evaporation. Oak barrels provide the best conditions for making vinegar.

Place the contents of the mother of vinegar in the container. Add water and vinegar stock (vinegar stock is the alcohol base prior to the conversion to vinegar) as indicated in the table below. Please note that wine will require the addition of water to decrease alcohol; thus decreasing final acidity. Hard cider and beer are used without the addition of water since they are lower in alcohol.

Cover the opening of the vat with cheesecloth and secure in place using a rubber band or string, this keeps bugs out and allows oxygen.

Store your vat in a warm, dark location. The fastest conversion is at 80 – 90 F. Try to keep as close to this temperature as possible and avoid temperature fluctuations. It’s better to keep the vinegar at a steady room temperature than to alternate between low and high temperatures.

Dilution Rates for Vinegar Making Stock Potential

Stock Water Culture ABV Acid

Red Wine ~13% abv 2 1 1 8-9% 7-7.5%

White Wine ~11% abv 2 1 1 8-9% 7-7.5%

Hard Cider ~5% abv 3 0 1 5-7% 4-5%

Malt Beer ~5% abv 3 0 1 5-7% 4-5%

Given in equal parts

Frequently Asked Questions about vinegar mother

Q. How much mother is needed per gallon of red and for white wine vinegar?

A. When making vinegar, start by adding 1 part mother (8 oz. jar) to 2 parts wine and 1 part water if alcohol of wine is greater than 9%.When the alcohol begins to convert to acetic acid, you may continue to add more wine/water to get to the volume you want as this is a dynamic process.