What is the molarity of vinegar


The title of this article is ambiguous. Further meanings are listed under vinegar (disambiguation).

vinegar (lat. Acetum) is a sour-tasting seasoning and preservative that is produced by fermentation alcohol-containing liquids with acetic acid bacteria (mother vinegar).

Vinegar processing is one of the oldest food production processes known to man. In Germany, vinegar can be used according to the Regulation on traffic in vinegar and vinegar essence from 1972 [1] contain between 5% and 15.5% acetic acid; Commercial vinegar usually has an acetic acid concentration of 5% to 6%. Acetic acid or vinegar essence diluted with water is also often referred to as vinegar, but in Germany table vinegar must not contain any chemically produced acetic acid. This means that in Germany the vinegar must have been obtained through microbial fermentation. Vinegar contains only a small amount of alcohol.


Many ancient civilizations - Egyptians, Persians, Romans, Greeks and Babylonians - were already producing vinegar. There are traditions from Mesopotamia that speak of “sour beer”. This product, called "Hequa" by the Egyptians, was brewed from barley and soured from the vinegar. Roman legionaries had a mixture of water and vinegar in their canteens, which they called "Posca", often the drinking water was not drinkable until then.

The medicinal use of vinegar for respiratory diseases and digestive complaints has already been handed down by Hippocrates. L. J. M. Columella, the most important agricultural writer of the first century AD, reports in great detail in his work "De re rustica" about the possibilities of making vinegar. Its starting materials were wine, figs and barley.

In the Middle Ages, herb vinegar in particular was considered a remedy. Hildegard von Bingen, Nostradamus and Florenz von Venningen report in their writings on the mode of action and use of the im acetum sanum extracted medicinal plants. At that time the human body was subjected to various rubs with vinegar, mainly for disinfection. Even in the 18th century, attempts were made to get rid of the plague with plague vinegar. Containers and devices used in medicine were cleaned with vinegar. From the 16th century, the first taxes were levied on products made with or made from vinegar. Pickling vegetables in vinegar and making marinades for salads were particularly popular in France at the time.

In beauty care, vinegar was used because of its cleansing and disinfecting properties up to the treatment of stubborn skin diseases. Empress Sisi's violet blossom vinegar is still famous today. Today vinegar is mainly used as a preservative, condiment and luxury food.

Vinegar types

One differentiates between vinegars, on the one hand, according to the type of production and, on the other hand, according to the raw materials used. With regard to production, a basic distinction is made between two different types of production. On the one hand, vinegar can be produced by fermentation using vinegar bacteria, and on the other hand by diluting vinegar essence. Vinegar essence is characterized by an acid content of 25% and is produced on the basis of acetic acid (acid vinegar), which is either obtained naturally by processing wood waste (wood vinegar), especially beech wood, or synthetically. Industrial vinegars are synthetically produced vinegars.

Fermented vinegars

Fermented vinegars are differentiated according to the raw material that is used as the starting material for the alcoholic and subsequent acetic acid fermentation.

Vinegar type Vinegar variety Raw material Remarks
Brandy vinegar Brandy vinegar or spirit vinegar, Austria: Spirit vinegar Diluted brandy, brandy mash (sugar beet etc.) only sour and without its own aroma, is considered a universal vinegar, colorless, mostly produced in Germany, 5% acid content (fuel up to 14% acid)
Brandy vinegar Potato cider vinegar Fermented potatoes, potato brandy 5% acid
Brandy vinegar Vodka vinegar vodka 5% acid, common in Russia
Brandy vinegar Sugar cane vinegar Sugar cane common in Asia and Central America
Brandy vinegar Whiskey vinegar whiskey 5% acid
Wine vinegar Red wine vinegar Red grape wine Min. 6% acid content, can contain up to 0.5% by volume of residual alcohol, the starting product wine is defined according to the Wine Act
Wine vinegar White wine vinegar White grape wine Min. 6% acid content, can contain up to 0.5% by volume of residual alcohol, the starting product wine is defined according to the Wine Act
Wine vinegar Sherry vinegar sherry Specialty from Spain, at least 7% acidity
Wine vinegar Champagne vinegar champagne Specialty from France (Champagne), 6% to 8% acid, also contains alcohol
Wine vinegar Vinegar Quality wine Cider vinegar
Balsamic vinegar Aceto balsamic vinegar Boiled down grape juice Specialty from Northern Italy (Modena and Reggio Emilia)
Fruit or fruit vinegar Apple cider vinegar, cider vinegar Apples, apple juice, cider, cider 5% acidity, mildly sour and fruity
Fruit or fruit vinegar Pear vinegar Cider pears, pear juice Min. 5% acidity, fruity taste
Fruit or fruit vinegar raspberry vinegar Fermented raspberries Min. 5% acid
Fruit or fruit vinegar Strawberry vinegar Fermented strawberries Min. 5% acid
Fruit or fruit vinegar Currant vinegar Fermented currants Min. 5% acid
Fruit or fruit vinegar Plum vinegar Plums Min. 5% acid
Fruit or fruit vinegar Cherry vinegar Cherries Min. 5% acid
Fruit or fruit vinegar Grape vinegar
(Raisin vinegar, date vinegar, fig vinegar)
Raisins, dates, figs Especially in Muslim areas
Fruit or fruit vinegar Coconut vinegar Coconut milk Used especially in Southeast Asian cuisine
Fruit or fruit vinegar Banana vinegar Plantains Especially in South America and Southeast Asia
Grain vinegar Malt vinegar Malt, barley mash Popular in Scandinavia and England, especially with fish and chips, often used as pickling vinegar
Grain vinegar Beer vinegar Beer, beer mash Contains vitamin B2 and protein, smells and tastes like beer
Vegetable vinegar Tomato vinegar tomatoes 5% acid
Vegetable vinegar Cucumber vinegar Thickened cucumber juice 5% acid
Vegetable vinegar Carrot vinegar Carrots 5% acid
Vegetable vinegar Beetroot vinegar Beetroot 5% acid
Vegetable vinegar Asparagus vinegar asparagus 5% acid
Rice vinegar White and dark rice vinegar Rice, rice wine 2% to 4% acidity, mild in taste, is used to season Asian dishes, especially for sushi rice
Whey vinegar Whey vinegar (milk serum vinegar) whey Swiss specialty, is also made in France and Austria, contains lactic acid in addition to acetic acid
Honey vinegar Honey vinegar Fermented honey, mead French specialty, 5% acidity, golden color

Flavored vinegars or make-up vinegars

After production, vinegar is often mixed with spices, herbs or fruits to refine its taste. Sage, tarragon, garlic, blackberries or raspberries are often used. Mixtures are also common. Brandy vinegar, wine and fruit vinegars are suitable as basic vinegars for these so-called batch vinegars or flavored vinegars. Herbal and spice vinegars belong to these batch vinegars, as well as vinegars with an aromatic mixture of different types of fruit and vegetables.

There are clear differences in taste and price between fermented vinegars and batch vinegars, and the production time is also different. It takes a few months to produce your own flavored vinegar, but several years for real fermentation vinegar. For example, the Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena has a storage time of 12 to 48 years in wooden barrels.[2]

production method

Industrial vinegar production: three large wooden barrels hold the fermentation liquid.
Beer vinegar from the Leikeim brewery

Many alcoholic liquids can serve as a basis, depending on the culture, for example wine, apple cider, beer, even malt stock and also sugary liquids such as grape juice, for example for the Aceto balsamico di Modena. Mainly vinegar is made from pure distilled alcohol after dilution or from the processing wine to "white vinegar". If you start with rice wine, you get rice vinegar. Brandy vinegar is obtained from pure agricultural alcohol.

For the production of malt vinegar, a grain mash, preferably from malted barley, is first crushed and mixed with hot water. During this mashing process, enzymatic processes convert amylose into malt sugar, maltose and grape sugar (glucose). This also creates other types of sugar. The sugar-rich liquid is separated and collected via a perforated base. This malt extract becomes unhopped [7] cooled and mixed with yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), which ferments the sugar to alcohol and carbon dioxide. The resulting liquid forms the substrate for alcoholisation. The ratio of fermentable sugars and non-fermentable sugars is decisive for the quality of the malt vinegar. The non-fermentable sugars form the flavor components typical of malt vinegar.

The process is often referred to as acetic acid fermentation, but is a partial respiration, since - in contrast to alcoholic fermentation - oxygen from the air is required. Therefore vinegar cannot be produced in closed, unventilated containers. There are several methods of manufacture.[8]

Orléans process (surface process)

The Orléans procedure is the name for the open production method in which the starting liquid is inoculated with vinegar bacteria. The fermentation process is left to itself in open vessels. Production is carried out in warm rooms for an accelerated reaction. After a while, the alcohol-utilizing bacteria forms a layer of scum on the surface of the liquid. The initial alcoholic product is slowly transformed into the oxidation product vinegar. When the alcohol is completely converted into acetic acid, the vinegar is carefully drained under the skin. Some of the vinegar is then stored in barrels, which further improves its aroma through aging processes. This process is more time-consuming than the rapid vinegar process, harbors the risk of “bad fermentation” and is not suitable for large quantities.

This original process was probably discovered by accident, as wine that is left open can sooner or later turn into vinegar on its own. The cause was only discovered in the 19th century when Louis Pasteur provided evidence that small creatures that cannot be seen with the naked eye undergo this transformation process. In his work published in 1868 Etudes sur le vinaigre he wrote that "acetic acid fermentation" is a biological process that occurs by certain bacteria, Acetobacter or called Gluconobacter. These “wild” vinegar bacteria, which are present everywhere, can usually be found themselves when stored in the open; the vinegar fly can also be the carrier of the bacteria.

Fast vinegar and chip forming process (generator process)

One of the people who tried to improve the production of vinegar - above all to accelerate it - is Johann Sebastian Schützenbach. He introduced the rapid vinegar process: Since vinegar bacteria work aerobically, they are helped by a floating carrier material, usually wood chips, but also plastic pellets on which the bacteria settle and adhere firmly. Since the vinegar mother is "tied up" on the carrier material, the process is also called Bondage procedure. The chips increase the surface on which the vinegar bacteria can settle, and the larger amount of bacteria accelerates the conversion.

In which Round pump or Circulation process the chips are placed in a cylindrical container (Vinegar generator or Large room designer), the so-called chip former[9], constantly sprinkled with the starting liquid (mash). The fresh air required by the bacteria is blown in from below. This process is suitable for large-scale production; the fermentation can be completed within a few days to weeks. The disadvantage is the high expenditure, since the temperature and ventilation have to be constantly regulated. If there is too much air entering, the aroma can be washed out.

Current processes: submerged process (acetator process), solera process

Modern submerging processes like that of Otto Hromatka[10] work without a carrier material, the bacteria are directly suspended in the liquid (so to speak, submerged, hence the name of the process). Depending on the technology, production takes two to three days in the Venturi process or 24 hours in turbine systems. Turbine systems bring the best results in industrial alcohol vinegar production, venturi processes preserve the color and the fruit character better. The short production time is very economical, which is why most vinegar producers around the world are switching to the turbine process. The air supply is controlled, as the excessive air entrainment in early systems led to aroma washouts. In the submerged process, the purity of the vinegar cultures used leads to very pure vinegars, which cannot be achieved in the bondage process through mixing with other bacteria.

The latest restraint process replaces the chips with ceramic shards. This makes production cheaper, as the ceramic can be used for practically unlimited periods and does not have to be replaced after around 20 years. The process is currently protected by a patent.

The Solera system, also known as the Solera method, is a classic approach. Here, the starting essence of wine vinegar, which was produced, for example, according to the Orléans process, is further refined by using so-called Criaderas (rows of barrels lying on top of one another) each uses the already aged young vinegar with a certain percentage of fresh grape must from the new harvest. This process usually works in such a way that the amount freshly added is only added to the top row of kegs that was previously removed for the next row below. This system continues into the lowest row of kegs, with fresh liquid only being added to the top row for inoculation. The partially aged essence is placed in the barrels underneath. The finished product is always in the barrels in the bottom row. Of course, in the course of enlarging or renewing such barrel storage facilities, it is not always possible to maintain the process according to the classic system, which is why the essences are pumped around more often or the barrel rows of the first vintages are placed opposite those of the subsequent vintages.


The areas of application of vinegar are very diverse. Among other things, it is used as

  • Seasonings, mainly for salads and pickled vegetables and fruits, mixed pickles,
  • important ingredient in the production of table mustard,
  • Pure aperitif or digestif,
  • soft drink diluted with water or juices,
  • Preservatives,
  • Natural remedies (apple cider vinegar).

Simple types of vinegar and commercial vinegar concentrates up to 30% are not only suitable for preparing food, but also for decalcifying saucepans and electric pressure cookers. The effect is accelerated by warming up to boiling. If more concentrated vinegars such as vinegar essence are used, greater caution is required.


  • Anne Iburg: DuMont's little lexicon of vinegar & oil. Origin - taste - use - recipes. DuMont monte Verlag, Cologne 2002, ISBN 3-8320-8795-8.
  • Julie Townsend: Now it's vinegar!. The iconic universal helper for household and kitchen. Premio, Münster 2007 (original title: Vinegar: A Guide to the Many Types and Their Uses Around the Home. Arcurus, London 2007, translated by Nora Boot, Wiebke Krabbe), ISBN 978-3-86706-046-2 (history, types of vinegar, production and use of vinegar).

Web links

 Commons: vinegar - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Template: Commonscat / WikiData / Difference
 Wiktionary: vinegar - Explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Laws on the Internet: Ordinance on the use of vinegar and vinegar essence, April 25, 1972, accessed on May 8, 2011
  2. 2,02,1 Anne Iburg: DuMonts small lexicon vinegar & oil - origin - taste - use - recipes, DuMont monte Verlag, Cologne, ISBN 3-8320-8795-8Reference error: Invalid tag. The name “lexicon” has been defined several times with different content.
  3. ↑ Fischerauer - everything about vinegar: Essig-Lexikon, accessed on May 8, 2011
  4. ↑ H.Rautenberg & R.Köppen: Lexicon of kitchen herbs and spices, accessed on May 7, 2011
  5. ^ Kocha: Types of vinegar, accessed on May 8, 2011
  6. ↑ Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz: Essig, in: Herbs, Spices & Essences: The Handbook for the Kitchen, p.230-231, Dorling Kindersley Verlag, 2011, ISBN 978-3-8310-9099-0
  7. ↑ Article Essig in: Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon 6th edition 1905–1909, p. 119
  8. ^ Vinegar Forum
  9. ↑ Vom Fass Wien: How is vinegar made ?, accessed on May 8, 2011
  10. ↑ San Chiang Tan: Vinegar Fermentation. Master's thesis. Louisiana State University 2005 (PDF)