The vinegar is now ready! I pasteurized it by heating it to 170 degrees and holding it there for 10 minutes. This will stop the vinegar process so it won't go past the point we want it.
Pasteurizing the vinegar will also allow us to age it. I made my first batch of vinegar this summer, so I have yet to experience this firsthand, but I've read that aging vinegar really improves it's flavor.
According to Vinegar Connoisseurs International, "Fresh vinegar has a very sharp and biting taste. Its true quality is best revealed by aging. During aging, it becomes more mellow. The esters and ethers of the vinegars are allowed to mature, and many of the finer qualities emerge."
|The vinegar mother|
I couldn't fit all the vinegar-bound beer into the vinegar crock in one go, so I'll go ahead and start the next batch of vinegar now too. I saved out the vinegar mother from this batch to kick-start the next batch.
This is going to make SO MUCH vinegar! But if we're not going to drink the beer, I feel like making vinegar with it is better than just pouring it down the drain.
I think our neighbors may be getting 'gifts' of malt vinegar in the near future. :-)
Interested in vinegar? See the article about Malt Vinegar, and making Strawberry Vinegar.