Mold on Vinegar Batch


About 2-3 months ago I decided to start my own batch of vinegar. I started with some Braggs apple cider vinegar which contains the mother, and I added some old wine and some fruit juice to the mix. I kept it in a dark and warm place, as per instructions online. A few layers of cheesecloth were placed on top to allow it to air, without letting anything else get into it.

When I recently opened it, I found a layer of what appears to be a yellow-orange mold on top. There are also some small worms or maggots living on the top, but that doesn't seem as problematic to me.

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As you can (sort of) see in this picture above, there is definitely a mother at the bottom. The mother has grown since I last saw it. I am not sure what to think about that top layer though. Is the vinegar batch completely spoiled?

Picture #2 (a closer look at the top)

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Best Answer

Great question.

First off, the mold. This is nothing to worry about, you should be skimming it off but as far as Vinegar creation it's normal and to be expected.

These "worms" have a name :-) Turbatrix Aceti (a.k.a Vinegar Worm) you can read more about them here -> wiki/Turbatrix_aceti

Why is that mold there? Well if you think about the fermentation process. It's just thousands of bacteria 'eating' your 'mother' now they have to produce something as a byproduct which is the mold you see on the top. Get rid of it and leave it to carry on.

If you see a scum forming on top, don’t disturb it; this is the mother. Eventually the mother will sink toward the bottom and continue its work. However if you see mold forming on top, by all means skim that off. Mother isn’t moldy; it’s scummy.

Source: <- Well worth a read since you're making vinegar :-)

Mold = Bad (Clean it off) Froth = Good (Leave it alone til' it turns to mold.

Question: Is the vinegar batch completely spoiled? Answer: No.