I recently noticed that a partially full carboy of apple cider wine had developed mother of vinegar proteins. What is the likelihood that I will be able to use that carboy again for wine making? I am currently using a sodium metabisulfite solution in an attempt to sanitize it. Will this be sufficient?
Hello Robin M.
Sorry to hear about your apple cider going rogue vinegar on you.
The good news is that acetobacter – the bacteria the produces vinegar – is easy to destroy with a normal dose of sodium metabisulfite. Getting any glass carboys that have been exposed back into a sanitized condition will be no issue at all.
There are a couple of thing I would like to point out for your consideration. The first is that acetobacter can be a little sneaky, so you need to look beyond your glass carboys. You need to consider things like rubber stoppers, air-locks… any wine making materials that might have come into contact with the acetobacter. These bacteria like to hide in crevices, cracks and dark corners. Because of this, rough surfaces need extra-special attention.
The second issue is that acetobacter can become air-born. It can float onto counter-tops, the floor, floor-joists, etc. I’m not saying this to scare you but to make you aware of the potential that acetobacter has. With that being said, you should do a quick wipe-down the immediate area. You can use a solution of bleach and water, 1/4 cup to each gallon.
Happy Wine Making,
Customer Service at E. C. Kraus
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.