FAQ

  • How is vinegar made?
    • Vinegar is made through a secondary fermentation that occurs after an initial alcoholic fermentation.  You begin with a finished alcoholic beverage (i.e. red wine, hard apple cider, beer) and introduce a bacterial culture to it.  The bacteria, called acetobacter converts alcohol and oxygen into acetic acid (vinegar).
  • What is a vinegar mother?
    • The vinegar "mother" is a layer of cellulose formed on the surface of the brewing vinegar, identical to what forms on kombucha as it brews.  Sometimes, in unpasteurized vinegar, a mother can form in bottles as they sit on the shelf.  It is completely harmless, and can be filtered out or ignored.  It is also worth noting that not all "raw" vinegars will have visible mothers floating in them.
  • Why do some vinegars say "with the mother"?
    • unpasteurized vinegar has a great many probiotic benefits, and many people will mix a bit of vinegar with water to drink.  Pasteurized vinegar does not have these benefits, and if you cook with your vinegar it will also lose these benefits. 
  • Are your vinegars sold raw, with the mother?
    • Our June Apple Cider vinegar is sold raw, with the mother.  All of our other vinegars are not.
  • How do you brew your vinegars?
    • All of our vinegars are slow-brewed to preserve the character of the wines, ciders, and beers they come from.  Most vinegar bought in the store is quick-brewed in an industrial process that, while being very efficient, leaves the vinegar a bit sharp and flavorless.  In addition to this, we also brew our Ida Red Wine Vinegar and June Apple Cider Vinegar in oak barrels using a combination of two traditional techniques: the Orleans Process and the Solera Process.
  • Tell me more about your barrel-brewing process.
    • In the Orleans Method (named for the famed vinegar-making town in France), vinegar is brewed in oak barrels, laid on their side.  You fill the barrel up halfway and allow for good airflow, and this create the greatest surface area for the bacteria to get at the oxygen.  Once the wine or cider has been converted completely to vinegar, we then transfer it into another barrel, in which it ages to perfection.  This is the finishing barrel, and it also ensures that the vinegar is consistent, because only a few gallons at a time are added to or taken out of the finishing barrel.  This is the Solera Method.  Between beginning fermentation, filling the barrels, and finishing the vinegar, it takes about a year.
  • Why are your beer vinegars not brewed in barrels?
    • We here in Northern Colorado refer to our region as "the Napa of Beer", and we have more world-class breweries than you can shake a stick at.  It just seemed like blasphemy to adulterate the flavor of these amazing beers in any way (other than by turning them into vinegar, that is...)
  • Which of your products are gluten-free?
    • Our Ida Red Wine Vinegar, June Apple Cider Vinegar, and Liberty!  Gluten-Free Beer Vinegar are all gluten-free.  HOWEVER you must understand that not only do we brew other, non-gluten-free vinegars, we also produce our product in a commissary kitchen inhabited by other businesses.  I strive to use separate equipment for GF and non-GF products, and am very diligent in keeping separation, but if you have a major reaction or have celiac's disease, proceed with caution.
  • I'm not used to using vinegar, how can I cook with it?
    • Vinegar is an ingredient in a vast number of dishes.  It may be the oldest condiment in the world, being at least as old as the production of alcoholic beverages (there's been vinegar residues found in Eqyptian pyramids...it's prehistoric!)  As such, there are even a number of uses as is...try our vinegars on a nice salad, perhaps mixed with a good oil, and you've got a tasty, light dressing.  Try each of our beer vinegars as a sprinkle on anything fried....super tasty!  Then you get into the real nitty gritty....try deglazing a pan with our Ida Red Wine Vinegar, or making a reduction to go over your favorite meat dish.  Add a dash of vinegar to a sauce for some zip.  Then there's pickling!  See our recipe for Wee Heavily Pickled Eggs!  The sky and your imagination are the limit.  Also, keep an eye on our recipe page for new ideas.