How to make the BEST apple cider vinegar – using science.

Juicer in this video (affiliate link, I gain small commission, but am not sponsored):


Most of the apple cider vinegar videos on the internet make vinegar that has a hint of apple flavor. Here is how we can make a very small adjustment and crank the flavor up tremendously. Lets do this RIGHT.

A typical apple cider vinegar recipe is quite simple:

Cut/mash apples, stick in a bucket, fill with water, add sugar, cover with a towel or something, let it sit for a few weeks to a month. Bam, vinegar.

And while that’s technically a way to make vinegar, it’s not actually making apple CIDER vinegar, because apple cider is never created. Okay so why is that important? I will get technical here…

What is happening in that process is that wild strains of yeast found on the apple skin are going to start a reaction to convert sugars into alcohol, CO2 and some byproducts. The main byproducts we care about are esters and phenol groups. The reason for this is that when we drink the final product, these are what register on our taste buds. The more esters and phenols we create, the more flavor we have.

Okay, so why is the simple recipe above bad?

Since it’s not kept anaerobic, what happens is that the yeast culture can’t really build up. Not only that, but the wild yeasts will only be able to get the alcohol content up to about 1.5%. As the alcohol is being made, it’s immediately being consumed by acetobacter and converted into acetic acid. The acetic acid then kills the yeast that is making all our flavor! This is a bad thing.

So a PROPER recipe needs to have 2 phases:

1) Anaerobic step.

2) Aerobic step.

In doing so, we allow the yeast to really take off and go crazy. When then also next-level this by using specific kinds of yeast which can crank the alcohol volume WAY up. Wine or Champaign yeast will crank this up to 10-20% alcohol. And remember, the more alcohol production we get, the more esters and phenols we make (actual chemical formulas are in the video). The more esters and phenols we make, the more flavor we get.

ONLY NOW, once the CO2 production slows, we know that most of the sugars have been converted to alcohol, and now we uncover the batch. We add in some culture from a previous batch (and if you don’t have a previous batch, you can do what I show in this video) to inoculate the culture. We are now adding not only the acetobacter (which makes the acetic acid), but also the “mother” which is a mix of various bacteria and yeast which will produce a cellulose layer called a pellicle, which allows gas exchange, but does not allow contamination. This pellicle protects the batch.

Now we are firmly in the aerobic step, so we don’t lock the lid airtight with an airlock, but rather NOW we allow air exchange in an aerobic lid such as a towel. Now the acetobacter converts alcohol into vinegar, and this acetic acid will kill off much of the yeast and stop the flavor production (but all that nice flavor remains in there).

This 2 step process makes a tremendous difference. I can’t understate the difference.

TLDR recipe:

1) Crush, smush, or ideally masticate apples.
2) Add wine or champaign yeast. Cover air tight, for about 1 week.
3) Vent as gasses are produced. Once gassing stops, start aerobic phase:
4) Add culture from previous batch. Cover with cloth.

Last step takes about 1 month. You are now done.

This is almost as simple, but produces an infinitely better product. All done using science principles.

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