A couple novice Q's regarding ph

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wildhair

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I've been reading here (and elsewhere) on the importance of ph ~ balancing your must pre-ferment and checking the ph at the various stages. I want to get this right and make sure I have the basic understanding of the proper sequence. If I understand correctly - the goal is to get the must around 3.6 +/- for a red and 3.2 +/- for a white before pitching yeast?

1. Testing the must - should I add all the liquid (juice or water), the Campden and sugar, adjust the SG, then wait 12 hours before the initial ph check, or check right away? Should I add nutrient before testing?
After 12 hrs - then add nutrient, pectic enzyme, tannin - check ph - THEN and acid blend (if ph is over 3.9 to bring ph down) or calcium carbonate (if ph is under 3.0 to bring ph up)?
And then check ph again in another 12 hrs before adding the yeast? Should I check the ph every time I check the SG?

2. Since I was not aware of ph testing before I started several batches, I now have some post-ferment adjustment issues.

Honeydew - ph is 4.02 which explains the kind of flat taste, I guess. Is adding acid blend the best way to drop the ph now?

Cranberry - ph is 2.8 - some places said to add sodium carbonate post-ferment to reduce acidity & raise ph. Is that better than calcium carbonate at this stage? It has a tart taste - I'm guessing that must be citric acid?

Blackberry - is 3.27 - tweak same as the Cranberry, but with less?

Rhubarb - ph is 3.02 - acceptable for a white wine?

3. I'm starting a strawberry rhubarb wine now based on the following recipe. However - I only have 5# of strawberries and 5# rhubarb. I don't want to use commercial white grape juice conc. Can or should I substitute raisins and/or some home canned juice from my pink grapes and reduce the water?
My alterations and adjustments are in red -
Input & suggestions both appreciated and requested.


[FONT=Arial Narrow, sans-serif]Strawberry Rhubarb Wine

8 lbs. Freshly picked (or frozen) ripe strawberries (5#)
4 lbs. fresh or frozen rhubarb stalks (5#)
2 cups Welches 100% White Grape Juice Frozen Concentrate - omit
[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial Narrow, sans-serif](sub. - 4 pints. Pink Candice grape juice)[/FONT]​
[FONT=Arial Narrow, sans-serif]12 pints water (8 pints or 1gal water)
[/FONT][FONT=Arial Narrow, sans-serif] 2 1/2 pounds sugar (or as needed to acheive SG -1.090)[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial Narrow, sans-serif] 2 tsp. citric acid (test first?)
1 1/2 tsp. pectic enzyme
1/4 tsp. powdered tannin
2 crushed Campden tablets
2 tsp. yeast nutrient
1 sachet Red Star Cote Des Blancs wine yeast ([/FONT][FONT=Arial Narrow, sans-serif][/FONT]Vintner's Harvest SN9)


[FONT=Arial Narrow, sans-serif] Lay rhubarb in bottom of primary, sprinkle with sugar, cover and allow to sit 24 hours. Scoop the rhubarb into a nylon straining bag containing the strawberries. Stir in all ingredients except for pectic enzyme and yeast. ( check ph & SG - adjust)
[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial Narrow, sans-serif]Cover for 12 hours, then add pectic enzyme and stir. Cover and allow to sit another 12 hours. Check ph & SG adjust if needed
[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial Narrow, sans-serif]Stir and add yeast. Punch down cap twice daily for 5-7 days. Remove bag, allow to drip (do not squeeze), for at least 30 minutes. Combine dripping with liquid in primary and transfer to secondary. Rack again every 6 weeks until wine is clear. Stabilize and sweeten to taste. If no renewed fermentation in 30 days, bottle the wine. Age 3-6 months, but no longer than one year. [/FONT]​
 

salcoco

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some rules : ph measurement should be after addition of water and adjustment of sg. ph adjustment can be accomplished with tartaric acid for grapes, malic acid for apple wine and citric acid for berry wines. it is best to make a acid measurement first and correlate with ph. acid adjustment is what is required. some wine makers just use ph.

there is no need once fermentation has started to check ph. the next ph measurements should be made once fermentation is complete and wine is clear possibly almost 3 months after end of fermentation.

once wine is clear taste tests are best although numbers are nice for record purposes but no the best gauge. should you need acid adjustment or ph adjustment, bench trials are the best method.
first start a acid solution using 10 grams of acid and 100ml of water. in 100ml samples of wine add 1ml to first, 2ml to second etc. due a taste test to determine best wine. Each ml is equal to one gram/liter of acid in main batch.this is for wine greater than 3.6 in ph or based on taste require acid.you can correlate against ph but taste should be paramount.
for wine with the ph below 3.4 than potassium carbonate should be used to adjust the acid and ph. dosage is on the label of the chemical again bench trials. I usually use a liter as the quantities of carbonate are quite small for smaller wine samples.an alternate is sugar syrup to provide the balance against the acid. again bench trials to find the best dosage.
Honey dew wine needs acid, cranberry I would adjust with sugar syrup, same with Blackberry and rhubarb. be aware that adding sugar syrup does not necessarily make wine sweeter, but it balances the acid in the wine. bench trials again cannot emphasize enough.

for your new wine measure first than add.
 

NorCal

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Check pH a lot, as it does change and it is basically free to do. I've learned to be aggressive with adds pre ferment and very cautious post ferment. You can add 5 grams per liter tartaric pre ferment to get the pH where you want, but I've done trials where .5 grams per liter post ferment makes the wine undrinkable.

Post ferment, I would adjust to taste, not to a measurement; pH or TA.
 

Scooter68

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(Not neccesarily in your order)

1) Use Calcium Carbonate. Sodium is salt and salt in a wine is not considered a good thing. (I'll leave it to chemists and whomever to list the bads aspects of sodium and wines)
2) Your wine adjustment thought are pretty close.

Honeydew - ph is 4.02 - YES add acid ASAP that will help flavor and better protect against spoiling.

Cranberry - ph is 2.8 - Calcium carbonate to adjust - bust depending on how early on in aging... you might monitor it for one more month and see if the rises on its own to above 3.00. Most likely adjustment will be needed. Citric acidic levels drop with aging. How much.....?

Blackberry - is 3.27 - Leave as is unless: It's too tart for you and you aren't going to back-sweeten.

Rhubarb - ph is 3.02 - Pretty close to calling it good. Again what does your tongue tell you and age it for about 2-3 months and check


Adjusting pH before pitching yeast? Well I know it takes a little time for all the acids to free up in a new batch but how long...? In part it depends on the fruit. Blueberries for example - count on the acid level kicking in during fermentation in my case dropping it from 3.4x to 2.8x (Don't have my notes here) Other fruit will have other tendencies. As long as the fruit is above 3.2 and below 3.6 I'd probably leave it be but. HOW BOUT SOME OTHERS COMMENTS - I've only been doing this for 18 months so my depth of experience is a little deeper than a wading pool but not any where near the deep lakes of knowledge some folks here have. (Not trying to shout as folks)

I bought a book on wine making that's fairly deep and I'm going to do my deep diving into it starting this week. Acidity is one of the toughest things to keep straight in my mind - TA vs pH. I have the chem to do TA with my pH meter - so I can do both easily but the TA takes more time and I am mostly letting my tongue guide me once I'm close on the pH numbers. Since you now have that pH meter you can do both for a while and see how the results vary. Again different acidic impact your tongue differently and some actually can convert or dissipate with time. That's the 'fun' part of the chemistry - knowing which acid predominate in your batch and what they will do over the course of fermentation and aging. I just haven't gotten that deep into the pool yet. Figure I'm about in the 3-4 foot end right now and looking to head into the deep end gradually. (And for another pool analogy - This site is like your life preserver/water wings.)

I have not had success with strawberry wine sigh so I'm going to duck that topic.
 
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wildhair

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Thanks for helping to clarify the ph thing and with the ideas on adjusting what I already have. None of these are aged yet, most were made late last year, most just recently cleared where I can start to prep for bottling. I haven't even stabilized the cranberry or rhubarb yet - they were just made in Dec.

And Scooter68 - if you're in the wading pool - then I just stuck my toe in. But, I learned to swim by jumping into the deep end - so here I go.
 

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