Of course, not all vinegars are the same. Some of them can show more or less pronounced sensorial flaws. This is obviously true for all foods; this is the reason why it is important to taste products in order to find sensorial defects out.
The sensorial defects or the unpleasant flavors we can find in vinegar are the very same of wine. For instance, they are considered as indicators of low quality the lack of equilibrium, the short persistence of olfactory and gustatory notes, the weakness of texture and the poor flavor; moreover, they are considered as extremely bad features the notes of crude, fusty and rotten.
The most frequent contaminations derive from some species of acetobacters, which produce a weakening of the taste of vinegar, and from vinegar eels. These parasites are small nematodes that swim in the vinegar. They are normally destroyed by pasteurization during the production processes.
Sometimes vinegars are clarified with jellies and bentonites, or even decolorized by coal. In any case, before marketing, vinegars are filtered to clear the liquid from any suspension. This can be done in the traditional way, by employing specific strainers, or by forced distillation, which clearly damages vinegar by removing most of the components that make vinegar a precious and healthy food.