Originally Posted by Consul
Yeah, I know but I wanted a certain amount of reliability for my first time trying this. I've already had a batch of cider go bad on me.
Sanitization, the first step in making beer, cider and mead. Good Sanitization can make your mazing and cider making more fun. With proper sanitization, it very rare that a batch will go bad, this not always the case though.
Of the 90+ gallons of mead I made last year, one 6 gallon batch got infected with flowers of wine while it was aging, caught it just as it was starting, and stopped the batch from going bad with sorbate.
Your vinegar, should take off without a hitch. I use a 3.5 gallon wide mouth crock for mead vinegar and a 2 gallon wide mouth crock for black braggot vinegar. One thing to remember, the mother will continue to grow, every time you add mead to the vinegar jar, crock whatever, the old mother will sink and a new layer will form.
From time to time you might want to remove some of this. Just cleaned out the crock a week ago, the mother was 4" thick, there was more mother then vinegar.
Another thing I've noticed, vinegar does evapoate. Once a batch has reached the acidity and flavor I want, I remove the towel wich covers the crock and replace it with a tight fitting lid. This slows (but won't stop) the rate at which the alcohol is converted to acid, and even covered the mother will continue to grow.
Best of luck in your mead and vinegar making, most of all have fun.