This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
Into a hogshead with a large bung-hole put 1,500 parts, by weight, of honey, 125 parts of carob-pods, cut into pieces, 50 parts of powdered red or white potassium bitartrate, 125 parts of powdered tartaric acid, 2,000 parts of raisin stems, 400 parts of the best brewers' yeast, or 500 of leaven rubbed up in water; add 16,000 parts of triple vinegar and 34,000 parts of 40 per cent spirit, containing no fusel oil. Stir all vigorously together; fill up the hogshead with hot water (100° F.), close the bunghole with gauze to keep out insects, and let the contents of the cask stand for from 4 to 6 weeks or until they have turned to vinegar. The temperature of the room should be from 77° to_88° F.
Draw off half the vinegar, and fill the hogshead up again with 15 parts of soft water and 1 part of spirit (40 per cent). Do this 4 times, then draw off all the vinegar and begin the first process over again. This method of making vinegar is suitable for households and small dealers, but would not suffice for wholesale manufacturers, since it would take too long to produce any large amount.
Put into an upright wine cask open at the top, 14,000 parts, by weight, of lukewarm water, 2,333 parts of 60 per cent alcohol, 500 parts of brown sugar, 125 parts of powdered red or white potassium bitartrate, 250 parts of good brewers' yeast, or 125 parts of leaven, 1,125 parts of triple vinegar, and stir until the substances are dissolved. Lay a cloth and a perforated cover over the cask and let it stand in a temperature of 72° to 77° F. from 4 to 6 weeks; then draw off the vinegar. The thick deposit at the bottom, the "mother of vinegar," so called, can be used in making more vinegar. Pour over it the same quantities of water and alcohol used at first; but after the vinegar has been drawn off twice, half the first quantity of sugar and potassium bitartrate, and the whole quantity of yeast, must be added. This makes excellent vinegar.
A good strong vinegar for household use may be made from apple or pear peelings. Put the peelings in a stone jar (not glazed with lead) or in a cask, and pour over them water and a little vinegar, fermented beer, soured wine, or beet juice. Stir well, cover with a linen cloth and leave in a warm room. The vinegar will be ready in 2 or 3 weeks.
Two wooden casks of any desired size, with light covers, are provided. They may be called A and B. A is filled with vinegar, a tenth part of this is poured off into B, and an equal amount of fermented beer, wine, or any other sweet or vinous liquid, or a mixture of 1,125 parts, by weight, of alcohol, 11,500 to 14,000 parts of water, and 1,125 parts of beet juice, put into A.
When vinegar is needed, it is drawn out of B, an equal quantity is poured from A into B and the same quantity of vinegar-making liquids put into A. In this way vinegar is constantly being made and the process may go on for years, provided that the casks are large enough so that not more than a tenth of the contents of A is used in a week. If too much is used, so that the vinegar in the first cask becomes weak, the course of the vinegar making is disturbed for a long time, and this fact, whose importance has not been understood, prevents this method—in its essential principles the best—from being employed on a large scale. The surplus in A acts as a fermentative.