Honey Vinegar seems pretty simple to make . . .
1 QT Filtered Honey
8 QT Warm Water
Keep in a warm place 2 months. Should be clear, test for acid strength, strain and seal in containers.
Am I missing something?
What type of container should it stand in? Is 5G Pail OK or Glass Jug?
Any better methods/recipes?
Well this recipe seems to be relying on both natural ("wild") yeast to start the mead, and then on natural acetobacter to make it into vinegar. This also assumes (but doesn't tell you) that the mead has access to oxygen, which the acetobacter need to convert ETOH to acetic acid.
The container doesn't matter; as long as the (eventually fermented) mead somehow gets inoculated with a vinegar mother after fermentation, and then typically some cheesecloth over the top so it can "breathe".
How will you know when all of the alcohol that formed during fermentation has been converted into vinegar?
pH is probably the easiest way. Most folks don't let it totally convert or it's just too strong. Taste works too :). Between 4 and 7% acidity or I think 2 to 2.4 pH is the ballpark.
What if you want to make sure there is 0% alcohol in the final product? In that case wouldn't you have to let it convert completely? Can you figure out anything by looking at the "mother of vinegar", weather it floats or sinks in the container? I heard somewhere that in the early stages, the mother of vinegar will float, then after the vinegar is complete, the mother of vinegar will sink to the bottom.
Well if you're using natural yeast to ferment it won't have that much alcohol to begin with. Yes technically you'd need to let it ferment to completion, but the amount of alcohol in vinegar would be pretty small anyways. Add to that the small amounts of vinegar that are used in a typical "serving" and it's negligible.
As far as when it's "finished", I don't know how accurate the floatie-sinkie lore is. If you're concerned about trace amounts of alcohol I wouldn't rely on momilies but get a lab test. But I suspect some searching online for home made vinegar (and not just printing the first result out as gospel) would provide some reliable info.
I too have read the "float-to-sink" method for vinegar. That's basically what I use. Just remember that, if you don't pasturize, it will continue acetobactor will continue converting it to vinegar. That's not a problem to me, but some people don't like to see mother forming in their nice clean vinegar. After pasturizing, you could then dilute to the proper acidity, though I'm still trying to figure that out without a tytration device and the brains of a 17 year old.