I was going to post this yesterday, but since is was April 1, I figured you’d all think I was pranking your or something. I mean, seriously, beer vinegar? Yes, beer vinegar!
I suppose I have been on this make-everything-at-home hobby for a few years now. I’ve made mustard and crème fraiche from scratch, so it was only a matter of time before we at the Schneiderbach household would start dabbling in home brewing. To be fair, Eric has brewed before and even applied to several big-name breweries straight out of undergrad. When he didn’t land the dream job, though, he went to grad school for what we all affectionately refer to as poop engineering. So far, this has turned out to be rather lucrative since no one else wants to engineer poop, quickly making him the only rising star in his industry. I kid, I kid.
Anyway, our first single-gallon batch of honey lager turned out tasting pretty great, but we messed up the bottling and it came out rather flat. If you’re ever faced with the problem of having an undrinkable gallon of beer hanging around, I say convert that alcohol to acetic acid, which is exactly what I did. The process is super easy and we’ve been splashing our honey lager vinegar on our salads all week long.
There are no exact measurements here. You could use any kind of beer – preferably one that tastes good to you. This also works for wine. You’ll notice a thin layer of sludge growing at the bottom of your homemade vinegar, but don’t worry, this is just the bacteria that is doing all the work for you. You can use this to seed your next batch of vinegar, or just toss it out when your vinegar is ready.
1) Find a clean jar or other glass vessel (you could also use any other non-reactive container) and clean and sanitize it.
2) Pour a small amount of a raw, unfiltered vinegar (like Bragg’s apple cider vinegar) and swirl it around to coat the surfaces of the container.
3) Fill the container with your beer and top it off with a bit more raw, unfiltered vinegar.
4) If using a jar, put the lid on and shake lightly to combine everything. Or you could use a sterilized spoon to stir it all around.
5) Cover with cheese cloth or a towel and let it sit for about a month and a half. If you have a vessel with a narrow opening at the top, you might want to periodically lightly stir the contents to allow proper airflow. A warmer environment and lots of air flow will produce vinegar faster than something cool and stagnant.
6) After a month and a half, check it. If it smells like vinegar, take a sip. If it tastes good, use it! If it isn’t acidic enough, let it sit a bit longer. Mine seemed to be perfect after about two months.