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The Malt Vinegar taste test.

PostPosted: December 27th, 2008, 2:52 pm
by Liv

So one of Shannon's Christmas gifts was imported and brewed Malt Vingear from Britain. The real deal. She had recently fell in love with a Heinz version here in the states (after getting it at TugBoat), and Food Lion carries a "London Pub" version which we bought after flying back from London. Today we went and got some fries (ahem chips) to try out the new "fancy" malt vinegar, and I came up with the idea to do a blind taste test.

So I took 3 plastic cups and wrote on the bottom 1, 2, & 3. This corresponded to randomly chosen vinegars which Shannon wasn't aware of which was which. Surprisingly the "authentic" malt vinegar (Sarson's) came in at #1, the Heinz #2. It was Sarson's which won the competition, and while I couldn't do the test but I agreed with the results.

James Thomas Sarson was a vinegar maker living at Brunswick Place, Shoreditch in 1841. Sales rocketed when his son Henry James Sarson took over. It was renamed "Sarson's Virgin Vinegar" in 1884, referencing a Biblical story of the wise virgins

Interestingly enough Sarsons, according to the Premier Foods website boasts that 9 out of 10 chip orders are served with Sarsons in the UK, making it clearly apparent this is the "real deal".

The taste is interestingly different from the other two vinegars because of the taste. In regular malt vinegar there appears to be a single solid vinegar taste. With Sarson's it's tiered, much like wine... the initial flamboyance of the vinegar followed by a subtle after-taste which is almost sweet. Shannon describes it as honeycomb...

Re: The Malt Vinegar taste test.

PostPosted: December 27th, 2008, 5:45 pm
by A Person
I think the Heinz 'malt' vinegar is a solution of 5% acetic acid with 2% citric acid and colored with caramel. In other words, further away from malt vinegar than Bud is to Ale.

Sarson's is the real deal and is made from ale brewed from malted barley. It has a depth of flavour and smoothness similar to a Balsamic vinegar, which I confess I usually substitute in my chips since it is more widely available outside the UK.

Re: The Malt Vinegar taste test.

PostPosted: December 27th, 2008, 7:50 pm
by Liv
It's funny, they list the ingredients on the Sarson's vinegar, but on the other two they don't.... there is just a mention of some sort of 5% acidity or something another... so you're probably right....

Re: The Malt Vinegar taste test.

PostPosted: December 28th, 2008, 1:03 am
by A Person
Hmm according to Heinz's site Heinz malt vinegar is brewed.

Malt Vinegar (Barley, corn malt), diluted with water to 5% acidity.

Heinz® North America, a division of H.J. Heinz Company, L.P., is one of the few companies in the United States that produces Malt Vinegar. This English favorite is manufactured from malt syrup that has been fermented to a malt “beer.” Its pungent, full-bodied flavor makes it particularly popular for seafood dishes, like fish and chips, or on meat, macaroni and bean salads.

But that wasn't the bottle I saw when I last tried it a few years ago. It was in a plastic one and wasn't labelled 'gourmet' so they must have changed it or else I was lying.

Re: The Malt Vinegar taste test.

PostPosted: December 28th, 2008, 10:38 am
by Liv
The Heinz is definitely good.... but it doesn't seem to layer the flavors as the Sarsons does. I mean just from a purest stand point there is something to be said about using the authenticity of water and flavorings from Britain.... and the other two are bottled in America (atleast I think... they say distributed in NJ and TX)....