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Difference Between Balsamic And Malt Vinegar

Vinegar is a solution that contains certain concentrations of acetic acid

The process of producing vinegar is carried out by acetic acid bacteria which converts the ethanol in dilute alcoholic products to acetic acid.

There are several forms of vinegar produced from different natural products.

In some vinegar, grains or fruits such as grapes are used, and their sugars are first fermented to produce alcohol which is then converted to acetic acid.

Malt vinegar and balsamic vinegar are among the commercially popular types of vinegar.

They are both brown-colored vinegar used to enhance the flavor of a lot of dishes.

The difference between malt and balsamic vinegar is that malt vinegar is produced from malted barley while balsamic vinegar is made from the must of white grape juice and left to age.

In this post, we discuss the differences between malt and balsamic vinegar.

What is malt vinegar?

Malt vinegar is made from malted barley.

The malted barley is first fermented to produce ale and then to vinegar.

This vinegar could also be aged in oak barrels for months to acquire a stronger flavor.

Malt vinegar was first produced in Britain hundreds of years ago. Beers that had gone sour were earlier used to make malt vinegar.

This type of vinegar is a popular condiment in British and Canadian cuisine where it is used on fish and chips.

What is balsamic vinegar?

Balsamic vinegar is native to Italy.

It is brown and syrupy vinegar that has a rich flavor.

Traditional balsamic vinegar is produced from specific types of grapes and left to age for a minimum of 12 years up to 25 years in kegs.

They are used as a salad dressing for drizzling over salads, in marinades and they are sometimes taken as a drink

Malt vinegar vs. balsamic vinegar

How they are produced

Malt vinegar is made from malted barley. The malted Barley is first made into beer and then vinegar.

For barley to malt, it is soaked in water and allowed to germinate. The process of germination leads to the release of some enzymes which converts the starch in barley to a sugar known as maltose.

After drying the malted grains, the next process involves the fermentation of the grains which leads to the formation of alcohol and then vinegar.

Yeast and acetic acid bacteria are used for the conversion to alcohol and vinegar respectively.

Balsamic vinegar is produced from the must of white grapes.

The must is transferred to wooden barrels where it undergoes fermentation to produce alcohol and then acetic acid.

Balsamic vinegar becomes more concentrated as it ages and acquires a unique flavor.


Malt vinegar is brown in color, however, it could range from a dark brown to a light brown color.

Caramel is often added to give malt vinegar a darker color.

A type of Malt vinegar known as distilled malt vinegar lacks the brown color that other types of malt vinegar have but has a clear color instead.

Balsamic vinegar is a thick syrup that is brown in color and viscous.

It acquires a darker color the more it is aged.


There are three types of malt vinegar, light malt vinegar, dark malt vinegar, and distilled malt vinegar

Dark vinegar has a stronger flavor than light and distilled malt vinegar

The darker color of dark vinegar is often a result of caramel or added barley.

There are three types of balsamic vinegar; traditional, balsamic vinegar of Modena and condiment grade balsamic vinegar.

Traditional balsamic vinegar is the vinegar that is produced in the regions of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy, and it is aged for a minimum of 12 years and can reach up to 25 years.

It is more expensive compared to the others, and it is made using only specific types of white grapes(Trebbiano and Lambrusco) that are grown in the regions they are produced.

Traditional balsamic vinegar is labeled “Aceto balsamico tradizionale di Modena” for those produced in Modena, and “Aceto balsamico tradizionale di Reggio Emilia” for those produced in Reggio Emilia.

Another type of balsamic vinegar that is produced commercially in the city of Modena but which is not made under the strict conditions as traditional balsamic vinegar is balsamic vinegar of Modena.

Condimento balsamic vinegar is balsamic vinegar that does not meet the same criteria as the other two groups.

It includes balsamic vinegar produced outside of the regions of Modena and Reggio Emilia even if they are produced with the same processes used to make traditional balsamic vinegar.


Malt vinegar has a strong flavor. It is nutty and has a similar taste as malted ale.

The flavor of balsamic vinegar is a mixture of sweetness and acidity. It could also have hints of the woods the cask where it is aged is made from within its flavor.

Culinary uses

Malt vinegar has a strong flavor that is used to enhance other foods when used.

It has a variety of uses. It is popularly used as a condiment for fish and chips, it can also be added to pickling mixtures.

Malt vinegar could also be used for salad dressings, sauces, and marinades

Balsamic vinegar could be drizzled on salad as a dressing for salad, it could also be used for marinades.

Since malt vinegar is made from barley, it is not gluten-free as some traces of barley may be found in the vinegar solution.

In conclusion

Food ingredients containing alcohol can be made into vinegar by fermentation.

Fermentation is carried out by bacteria which breaks down alcohol to acetic acid.

Malt vinegar is made from barley through a double fermentation process.