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Q: Balsamic vinegar ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Balsamic vinegar
Category: Family and Home > Food and Cooking
Asked by: ermintrude_uk-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 16 Apr 2006 12:28 PDT
Expires: 16 May 2006 12:28 PDT
Question ID: 719494
Does balsamic vinegar contain alcohol?
Subject: Re: Balsamic vinegar
Answered By: boquinha-ga on 16 Apr 2006 17:00 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hello ermintrude_uk-ga!

I really like dipping bread in a mix of balsamic vinegar and olive oil
a lot, so your question caught my eye. I must admit, though, that I?ve
never given much thought to how it is made and whether or not it
contains alcohol. I've found some interesting information.

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While most vinegars are traditionally made from wine, balsamic vinegar
is derived from cooked Trebbiano grape must (unfermented grape juice).
The must is aged over a number of years (up to 25 years in some cases)
in a series of wooden casks. Woods such as oak, chestnut, mulberry,
cherry, ash, and juniper are used, each giving the vinegar its own
distinctive aroma and taste. According to,
distributors of authentic Italian foods, the finished product is
described as ?a fluid and syrup-like consistency?
( They go on to say:

?The commercial type balsamic vinegar which you see on the supermarket
shelves is made from a wine vinegar into which aged balsamic vinegar
must has been added. The addition and amount of must added to the red
wine vinegar determines the quality of the commercial type balsamic

For a detailed description of producing balsamic vinegar, read further
on this interesting website:

The Vinegar Institute also has interesting information on the
production and quality of balsamic vinegar, as well as information
about vinegar in general.

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There are no set criteria for alcohol content in vinegars and there
are a variety of balsamic vinegars available, both with and without
alcohol. Although, according to an Italian culinary site located at (English language site:, ?the process of maturation lasts for
at least 10 years; the product has an alcohol content of at least 6%.?

Here is a listing that contains a number of aged balsamic vinegars for
sale, at least one of which is labeled as ?alcohol free.?

Here are links to two specific balsamic vinegars available online with
alcohol contents of 3%. One is a Spanish product and one is organic.

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Balsamic vinegar is definitely a delicious addition to many dishes,
originally served in the families of royalty. It can be an expensive
product, especially when purchasing the authentic ?tradizionale? (aged
for 12 years) or ?tradizionale extra vecchio? (aged for 25 years)

?A bottle of generic balsamic vinegar is readily available in grocery
stores or supermarkets [inexpensively]. But be warned: The less
expensive varieties are sometimes just regular vinegar with caramel
coloring added. We recommend that you investigate the age of the
balsamic you are purchasing in order to determine its quality and

I hope that this information is what you are looking for. Thank you
again for your interesting question. If you should need any further
clarification please let me know. Bon appetit!


Search terms used:
balsamic vinegar ingredients
balsamic vinegar "alcohol content" 
balsamic vinegar contains alcohol
ermintrude_uk-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: Balsamic vinegar
From: myoarin-ga on 16 Apr 2006 18:22 PDT
Yes, the numbers are all over the place.  6% strikes me as being very
high, requiring something to keep the alcohol from converting.

This gives alcohol contents for normal vinegar, suggesting that almost
all the alcohol disappears:

These articles don?t  say, but seem to discount a bit the mystique of
balsamico, maybe a bit of inverted snobism oon the subject:

This one is interesting: Legislative regulation:  Max. 1.5% by volume ??

Maybe the Italians just ignore the regulation.
Subject: Re: Balsamic vinegar
From: boquinha-ga on 18 Apr 2006 15:19 PDT
Thank you for taking the time to rate my answer!


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