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2020 Redemption Cab

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Runruh130

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Hi WMT,

In an effort to make better wine this year(and not repeat mistakes from 2019), I am looking for some advice. I have two frozen pails of 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon I am thawing out in my basement from Wine Grapes Direct. The must temps are currently 50-52F and I decided to measure Brix, pH and TA. I put some must into a wine glass, let the temperature raise to 62F, and got these measurements:

Pail #1- 22brix, 4.08pH, 7.2TA
Pail #2- 23brix, 4.06pH, 6.5TA

I was hoping for the pH to be a bit closer to the 3.7pH range as stated on their website and adjusting down to the 3.4pH range. Should I add tartaric acid now with the temperature being in the low 50s and retest in the morning? Or wait until the must is closer to 65F to make adjustments? I think I read frozen must can be difficult to get accurate measurement.

And a quick second question: Will a 15gal Stainless kettle have enough space for the cap if I combined the two 5gal must pails?
 

cmason1957

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Is there some reason you don't believe the numbers that WineGrapesDirect provides for the Brix, ph, and TA. You don't say where the grapes came from, but I see three choices for 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon from WGD,
  1. 2019 Sonoma - Brix: 29.1, pH: 3.93, TA: .52
  2. 2019 Rattlesnake Hills - Brix: 24.25, pH: 3.51, TA: .7
  3. 2019 Livermore - Brix 25.7, pH 3.7, TA .59
Or is it something else?? No matter what, I would let it warm up to closer to 68F and retest.
For all three of these, I would add some acidilated water to bring the starting brix down to maybe 24 or so. 2 and 3 I'd probably leave the PH alone, 1 I would try to lower closer to 3.6.
 

Runruh130

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Sorry, the grapes are from Oak Knoll, Napa. I have no reason to question their measurements. I am questioning mine lol! I believe the measurements on WGD’s page was 22-26brix, 3.7pH and .7 TA. I will try and recalibrate my pH meter while the must gets closer to 68F.

 
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cmason1957

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I must have missed that one in my scan for cabs. I certainly would leave that ph alone. Might water back some depending on what you get for a reading of starting brix, but even 26 can make a good powerful full bodied wine.

Oh and yes, a 15 gallon fermenter should do you just fine.
 

Runruh130

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Great. Thank you for the input. I will let the must warm up a bit more and retest. I will may adjust the musts separately before combining them in my SS kettle.

I will try and keep this updated as I progress!
 

NoQuarter

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Maybe juice has settled out from the storage and freezing. Each bucket needs to be thawed, temperature raised, then stirred to mix it all back up.
Then run your tests again.
 

Runruh130

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I think that could be the case as well. I tried to stir the must as best as I could. I’ll bump the temps up, retest and report back.
 

jgmann67

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Maybe juice has settled out from the storage and freezing. Each bucket needs to be thawed, temperature raised, then stirred to mix it all back up.
Then run your tests again.
Agreed. It sounds like you’re testing each bucket of the same must. If you’re going to be fermenting these buckets together, you might consider pouring them into the same fermenter and doing a single, blended pH.
 

Runruh130

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it’s about time for an update:

I kept my two 5 gal pails of frozen must separate through most of fermentation. One was fermented in an 8gal stainless steel kettle and another in a 7.9gal bucket. The must in the kettle completed fermentation before the bucket did but I went ahead and pressed them both last night. The SS kettle ran a few degrees warmer than the bucket, as expected. I ramped up the cap temperature to 86F for a couple days and then cooled the must down to the 72-75F range for the remainder of fermentation. The SS kettle was at .995 and the bucket was at 1.002. I combined the two and netted 7 gallons that is currently settling out the gross lees. I added VP41 at the tail end of fermentation. Ph is currently at 3.56 before MLB.

My plan moving forward is to rack off the gross lees tomorrow, add the French oak cubes that came with the must and wait for MLF to finish.

Hopefully I am on a better track than last year!
 

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