Most traditionally, in England, vinegar is made by malting barley, in which diastaisic enzymes make the starch in the grain turn to maltose, then using yeast to convert the maltose to ethyl alcohol. The resulting ale is then exposed to acetobacter bacteria which convert the alcohol into sharp-tasting ethanoic (acetic) acid in the presence of air. An accompaniment to chips, fish, fried foods, and an ingredient in many traditional dishes.
The leading makers, Sarsons, established in 1794, still ferment the ale in oak vats and now produce the equivalent of 22 million bottles a year and, the company estimate, provide the necessary vinegar for 9 out of every 10 portions of chips.
Vinegar vats at Sarsons
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