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New to Alcohol/Vinegar Fermentation Need Seasoned Mentoring

 
gardener
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Location: Ohio, USA
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I'm working on my first ever season of ferments of the alcoholic and vinegar variety. Like most newbs I'm poking at things suspiciously.  I've done liqueur steeps for years.  Lactobacillus fermentation for about a year, so I sorta have some concept of what fermentation is all about,  but this stuff hits me a little sideways because- especially the vinegar making- it is a lot like the stuff you find in your kids lunch box 3 days later.  

So,  I'm looking for seasoned advice. I already threw iout one "project because I didn't think it had enough sugar to ferment properly.

1. What should one expect from vinegar and when is it rotten enough to be safe to consume? The recipesin line sound so pleasant,  but really?? Is it so gentle it won't stink up your house and look like your trying to breed the next super virus?
 
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My preferred method of making vinegar, is to first make wine, and then convert the wine to vinegar. Both steps may look like you are trying to breed the next super virus.

I know that my vinegar is done, when I taste it, and it tastes fully of vinegar! LOL!

If I stop the fermentation too early, then it's a mix of alcohol and vinegar.  Yup, safe to consume.

If I let the fermentation go too long, the vinegar turns to water. Tasting it has never made me sick. It's already been disinfected by alcohol, and by vinegar.

Vinegar production might stink up your house, or at least the room, closet, or cupboard where it is fermenting. Karma must be balanced, since making the wine smells so good. Hee hee.

 
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i ferment a lot of things and i think the vinegar is probably the least rank of all of them!!
Given, the first few days, when I`m making fruit vinegar, the container is outside since it attracts all the fruitflies in the world, but then it goes in a cabinet in the dark for a while and it`s great. This is a recipe I tried that was pretty accurate and honest. http://hipgirls.squarespace.com/blog/2013/5/4/home-fermented-strawberry-vinegar.html
(as for how long it takes- I tried it at the 1 month mark and it wasn`t strong enough. just tried it again recently at about 6 months and muuuuuuuch better).

Beer is a good starting point- you learn making beer that leaving something to sit for another month is often the cure (and you`re more likely to do so than throw it away after all the time and effort you expend making that brew). And that sometimes contamination is okay anyway (I had no idea how much I liked sour beers til one of mine went sour, for example).
 
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