Saliva-like consistency - apple scraps vinegar

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Saliva-like consistency - apple scraps vinegar

Postby PeimanKH on Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:14 am

Hello,

I am new to making vinegar so appologies in advance if I'm missing something obvious.

Recently I made my first batch of vinegar using sugared tap water and apple scraps. I followed the textbook instructions of stirring it everyday and straining it after the bubbling subsided. At first it turned into a ciderlike concoction (it was delicious but I restrained myself!) and a few weeks later it was acidified and tasted like vinegar. Following this success I tried making another batch, replacing the apple with used coffee grinds. After a few days there were still no signs of bubbling or yeasty smell and overnight the liquid turned to a syrupy saliva-like consistency. It was almost impossible to spoon as it would pull away and slip off the spoon. But there were no signs of mold and it tasted and smelt like clean sugared water. My initial instinct was that the used coffee grinds, having been 'cooked', did not host any live yeasts which made the fermentation more difficult to kick start and in the mean time an undesirable bacteria got to work. But why no smell or discoloration?

So a few days ago I started another batch of sugared water and apple scraps. Today it has turned into saliva again. The only conditions that were different between the successful batch and the two unsuccessful ones is that:

(1) The first batch started in the cellar which has a humidity of 74-87% and was later transferred to a cool cupboard. But the two unsuccessful bathches were started in the cupboard to begin with. Too little humidity preventing the yeast growth? But surely the water itself provides enough humidity?

(2) The later batches had more sugar although I can't say how much more as sugar was added to taste. Is that causing the syrupiness? Although this is more slimy than syrupy. Not anything like the thick blood-like brine of fermented beets.

Do you think any of the above could have caused this? Or perhaps this is a normal phase in the process?

Many thanks
Peiman
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Re: Saliva-like consistency - apple scraps vinegar

Postby PeimanKH on Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:41 am

Hello,

I've done a little research which confirms the suspicion that I'm putting too much sugar in there which acts as a preservative and inhibits the yeast from growing. So I need to measure the sugar carefully next time!

Thanks
P
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Re: Saliva-like consistency - apple scraps vinegar

Postby PeimanKH on Wed Mar 21, 2018 8:45 am

Hello,

I tried a small batch with less sugar which led to the same slimy water. (Too little sugar?!) I’m now trying a new batch with 1:4 sugar to water ratio + used coffee grinds. After a few days there is still no sign of fermentation. The temprature is maintained at around 12C with a humidity of 65-71% with little or no light (this is in an actual cave in our basement that is built on the side of the mountain). I am stirring it rigorously every day but it doesn’t seem to want to ferment. On the other hand, my honey water is fermenting perfectly in the same room. I fear that given a few more days it will turn into slime. Any suggestions would be most welcome!

Thanks
Peiman
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Re: Saliva-like consistency - apple scraps vinegar

Postby Christopher Weeks on Wed Mar 21, 2018 2:38 pm

I've never made vinegar of my own, but that seems pretty cool. Is that temp a normal part of the process or might your fermentation be inhibited by the cold?
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Re: Saliva-like consistency - apple scraps vinegar

Postby PeimanKH on Thu Mar 22, 2018 9:53 am

Hello,

That’s a good point. I didn’t think of it as the previous batch fermented just fine at that temp. Must have been beginners luck! I tried the last batch at room temp (15-17c here as we have no central heating) and that produced a slimy result so I left this one in the cooler cellar. It didn’t occur to me to increase the temp. I just transferred it to a makeshift incubator set to 20C: electric radiator, a blanket and a thermostat. Let’s see hown it goes.

Thanks
Peiman
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Re: Saliva-like consistency - apple scraps vinegar

Postby PeimanKH on Wed Mar 28, 2018 8:45 am

Hello,

I tried the incubator method but the mixture turned into the same seliva consistency again. I must be missing something obvious. How much sugar is too much sugar in alcohol making? I’d really appreciate it if someone could point me to a recipe for making alcohol out of sugared water. I don’t have this problem with honey! Could it be the sugar I use? doubtful...

Thanks again
P
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Re: Saliva-like consistency - apple scraps vinegar

Postby Christopher Weeks on Thu Mar 29, 2018 7:01 am

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Re: Saliva-like consistency - apple scraps vinegar

Postby PeimanKH on Sat Mar 31, 2018 7:57 am

Thanks very much. After reading that page and rereading a chapter in the art of fermentation I think the problem is a combination of too much sugar and a lack of air circulation: since there is no yeast in sugar and cooked coffee and even washed apples I’m relying on the yeast in the atmosphere to find its way in. Trying a new bach now. Will report back!

Thanks
P
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Re: Saliva-like consistency - apple scraps vinegar

Postby bjdmytro on Sun Apr 01, 2018 10:12 pm

I've had good results with making vinegar, but I take a very different approach from yours. I start the ferment in the fall, with fresh pressed apple juice. I find that juice that has been cooked or frozen doesn't yield a good tasting vinegar. I pour my juice into a large sanitized vessel and add about 5% volume of last years vinegar to it (you can also buy a raw apple cider vinegar from the store). I cover with a fine weave cloth, to keep the dust and pests out, while allowing air flow. I put this in the warm part of my basement (about 60F) for about 3 months. At this point, there will be a thick scoby on top with some very sour vinegar underneath. At this point, I remove the scoby and bottle the vinegar in sanitized bottles.

I have not had good results with wild fermentation of vinegar. First of all, it is important that your brew start off with a lower ph (definitely less than 6, I think mine often starts off about 5.5), otherwise you will get some unwanted things growing in there. I've also found that wild yeast and bacteria yield some rather unpleasant flavors and textures (unless you are lucky). That is why I seed mine with some culture that I know will give me the texture and flavor I desire. I've had some batches taste foul or have a slimy texture, and I discarded them.

BTW, why coffee grounds? I've never used them in brewing and not sure how they affect the process. I know apples are conducive for vinegar, being somewhat acidic and sugary. I've also had good results with grape based vinegar, but this is again, a sugary, acidic fruit.
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