A bottle of malt vinegar
What Is Malt Vinegar?
Malt vinegar, a staple in fish and chip shops, has a sweet, nutty flavor. It’s mild enough to pour on those fried foods that benefit from its ability to counter greasiness.
Its key ingredient, malt, is made by prematurely halting the germination process of grains such as barley, rye or wheat, by applying heat and then drying the part-germinated seeds.
Like all vinegars, malt vinegar is made from fermented alcohol. It’s crafted by fermenting an ale brewed with malted grain until its alcohol content converts to acetic acid.
Malt vinegar has uses beyond its traditional role balancing the oiliness of fish and chips. For example, it's the base of gastrique-like sauces that pair well with grilled meat.
Less sharp than the wine vinegars used in salad dressings, malt vinegar is a standalone condiment. Dark varieties offer a deeper, more intense taste, while lighter ones are milder.
Only mildly acidic, malt vinegar’s flavor profile includes hints of citrus or caramel, along with a touch of sweetness. Aged malt vinegars have a mellower taste.