A chicken marinade recipe calls for both 1/2 cup sour cream and 1/4 cup white wine vinegar. I was wondering if I can swap the vinegar with a light beer, and if so, would proportions remain same as if when using vinegar?

If not, can unfiltered apple cider vinegar work as a substitute for white wine vinegar?

  • 4
    White wine is to white wine vinegar what beer is to malt vinegar.
    – AdamO
    Mar 9, 2021 at 15:46
  • 4
    This is how new recipes are made (discovered?) but be ready for it to possibly taste unpleasant. Or it could be fantastic. Do let us know how it turns out should you try it.
    – Criggie
    Mar 9, 2021 at 18:59
  • Give it a try. It is not a substitution but it may be a replacement...
    – gnicko
    Mar 11, 2021 at 14:43

1 Answer 1


The answer to this is: No, beer won't substitute, but another vinegar could.

The main reason here is flavour - beer tastes completely different to vinegar, and would change the flavour profile of your marinade substantially. This may work out, but it may not, and the only ways to tell would be to test it and/or look for recipes with the same ingredients as your marinade but beer instead of vinegar.

Another reason beer might not work work is that beer is not generally acidic, whereas vinegar has a substantial amount of acid (acetic acid in the case of vinegar from grapes) in it. The acid will help macerate/soften the tissue so that it is easier to eat. Having said that, beer will contain enzymes that break down protein, that might do the equivalent of the acid, but these may not work in the presence of other substances in your marinade recipe.

Interestingly, if you are going to marinade with beer, use a canned pasteurized beer or a fresh brew of unpasteurized beer as the proteolytic enzymes in the beer are broken down in unpasteurized beers (warning: PDF, possible paywall).

  • 7
    A marinade with beer flavor sounds amazing, but you're right in that OP will need a recipe designed around this, instead of just plucking it in
    – Hobbamok
    Mar 9, 2021 at 9:59
  • 5
    A sour beer like a lambic or gose could work (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sour_beer). They’d be harder to find and more expensive than a normal vinegar though. Mar 9, 2021 at 11:55
  • 4
    In many cases, any acidic liquid may work. If you don't have any vinegar, lemon or lime juice might be a good substitute in a pinch, though the flavor will be somewhat different (though certainly closer than beer). Mar 9, 2021 at 18:52
  • 1
    @DarrelHoffman: One hydrochloric acid marinade coming up! ;-P
    – Vikki
    Mar 9, 2021 at 23:33
  • 1
    @Vikki-formerlySean You know? Maybe if extremely diluted? I don't know, don't try this at home, kids. Mar 10, 2021 at 13:59

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