Another high PH

Discussion in 'Wine Making from Grapes' started by zadvocate, Oct 20, 2019.

Wine Making Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk by donating:

  1. Oct 20, 2019 #1

    zadvocate

    zadvocate

    zadvocate

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2015
    Messages:
    379
    Likes Received:
    60
    My TA is six in my pH is 4.1, would you add tartaric acid? I’m at the must stage and haven’t started fermentation yet. I do plan on doing an MLF. I have seen some messages on here where people have added enough to take it up to 7 g/L just wondering how that worked out in the end?
     
  2. Oct 20, 2019 #2

    ibglowin

    ibglowin

    ibglowin

    Moderator Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2009
    Messages:
    20,417
    Likes Received:
    9,966
    Location:
    Northern Nuevo Mexico
    I guess I would suspect something is not right. Usually a pH of over 4.0 does not have a TA that high. Are you using fresh chems? Is your pH meter properly calibrated?
     
  3. Oct 20, 2019 #3

    Ajmassa

    Ajmassa

    Ajmassa

    Just a Guy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2016
    Messages:
    3,247
    Likes Received:
    2,553
    I read that as 4.0ph and asking if 7.0g/L TA should be the ‘target’. But no current TA level given.

    And the answer depends on where your ph would end up after acid added to target 7.0– or mainly- what’s the current TA level?

    *edit- I missed the spelled out “six” TA level given when posting
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
  4. Oct 20, 2019 #4

    ibglowin

    ibglowin

    ibglowin

    Moderator Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2009
    Messages:
    20,417
    Likes Received:
    9,966
    Location:
    Northern Nuevo Mexico
    Usually a pH over 4.0 has a TA of way less than 6. That's why I think some measurement is off kilter. Every must is sorta unique and if that is the case and the numbers are both spot on you just have to usually roll with what Mother Nature dealt you. If the TA is correct and you add acid to drop it into the 3.6 range your TA may end up too high and then you have a wine that is bitter. Better to have a high pH wine and correct range TA. You can always protect it with more Sulfites.
     
  5. Oct 20, 2019 #5

    zadvocate

    zadvocate

    zadvocate

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2015
    Messages:
    379
    Likes Received:
    60
    The TA is 6. I’m confident in the measurements, I measured it twice. I believe I do just have to roll with it and see how it goes.
     
  6. Oct 21, 2019 #6

    jgmillr1

    jgmillr1

    jgmillr1

    owner, winemaker

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2017
    Messages:
    403
    Likes Received:
    178
    As the fermentation breaks down the fleshy centers of the grapes and releases the juice, the chemistry may fall back closer inline with your expectations for pH. Good to check it again after pressing.
     
  7. Oct 21, 2019 #7

    Obbnw

    Obbnw

    Obbnw

    Junior

    Joined:
    May 14, 2019
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Salt Lake City Utah
    I had similar numbers last year, PH over 4, TA around 5 and this years grapes are even closer to yours*. I left it alone since last years turned out fine and I didn't have any problems with color. Plus I'm not planning on storing any of them for very long. Last years batch was consumed from 7 months to 11 months. From what I could tell from the internet is the main problems with high PH are maintaining color and long term storage. High PH is more susceptible to spoilage.

    What I don't know is - Would the finished product have tasted noticeable better if I tried to adjust the PH? or did the higher Ph make it better earlier (accelerated aging)?

    Since I liked what I got last year and I'm lazy I'm just going with it...

    * don't know how you are doing PH. I am using wine PH strips with 0.2 increments. I bought a meter but it did not work, took it back to the "beer supply store" and they said they haven't found a good meter and weren't surprised at the return. I kept the meter calibration fluids and tested the 4.0 solution with a strip and was surprised when the strip read 4.2. I checked the strip because after running 2 TA tests I had a TA of 7. A TA of 7 and PH over 4 seemed weird as implied above and I was more confident in the TA than the PH.
    Final readings of my 4 batches before ferment.
    SG 1.086 TA 7.0 PH 3.7 (strip read 3.9-4.0 all PH's below are 0.2 less than the strip measured)
    SG 1.080 TA 6.3 PH 3.9
    SG 1.082 TA 5.7 PH 4.0
    SG 1.090 TA 6.1 PH 4.1
     
  8. Oct 21, 2019 #8

    cmason1957

    cmason1957

    cmason1957

    CRS Sufferer WMT Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,092
    Likes Received:
    2,103
    You are correct that the PH Strips just aren't accurate at all. Although, if you had 4.0 test liquid and it read 4.2, you are within the accuracy of the test strips, so they have that going for them.

    Might I suggest you spring for a PH meter similar to this one, there are others that are a bit less expensive, but I have had this one for two years, keep storage liquid on the probe at all times and it just works, calibration is always spot on. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001DTNDME

    There are less expensive ones and I have bought them in the past, but they generally are good for a few months, at best. If you do get a reliable PH meter, then when you do the TA tests titrate to a ph of 8.2 rather than trying to guess at the color change, once you reach about 7.8 start going slowly. I am a firm believer that determining a good starting PH is far more important than a good TA, as in, I don't even bother with TA pre-ferment. I try to get the PH to between 3.5 and 3.7 for reds, a bit lower for whites and go with it. Taste later drives the do I add a small amount of acid post-ferment.
     
  9. Oct 21, 2019 #9

    Obbnw

    Obbnw

    Obbnw

    Junior

    Joined:
    May 14, 2019
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Salt Lake City Utah
    Thanks for the ph meter recommendation. I looked online after the one I returned didn't work and didn't have any confidence that they would work any better than the one I bought.

    Have you made any without adjusting the PH? Are you aging yours?

    I've been going with the minimal intervention philosophy (except yeast - still scared of a natural ferment) so I haven't been using the testing to adjust. But I do want to know what it was in case I ever decide to adjust. Yes the TA can be tough when going by color change and lacking patience. I had a college level chem lab so I understand the concepts, accuracy limitations and user limitations. My TA's are probably +/-0.3 of actual.

    My "free" wine keeps getting more expensive ;)
     
  10. Oct 21, 2019 #10

    cmason1957

    cmason1957

    cmason1957

    CRS Sufferer WMT Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,092
    Likes Received:
    2,103
    Yes, I often do nothing adjust the PH. If I measure it and it is somewhat close 3.3-3.8, I generally let it go as is. I go with minimal intervention as well, adding sulphites doesn't count, since they are naturally produced by the yeast as a byproduct. Oak to reds, since it just tastes better with oak in it. Acid to taste, sometimes after fermentation. I have twice added chemicals to get the PH closer to my desired range, I had some whites at 2.8 and a red one time at 3.3 and just felt they needed some help. I doubt your TA's are as close as you think they are, it is far to subjective. I took several college level chem classes and color work pretty good in the white wines, but not at all in the red, even when I tried to dilute them. PH is the way to go for endpoint.
     
  11. Oct 21, 2019 #11

    stickman

    stickman

    stickman

    Veteran Winemaker

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2014
    Messages:
    1,276
    Likes Received:
    992
    Unfortunately the TA and pH are not enough information to determine what effect an adjustment will have on the finished wine. I'm not sure what type or where these grapes are from, my experience is with California grapes, but I wouldn't ferment at a pH of 4.1, I would drop the pH to 3.6, again that's just what I've done here. There is risk no matter what you do, most of the time in California the problem of high TA and high pH is high potassium, so the acid you add ends up falling out during fermentation. There are cases with unexpected results, the climate and particular grapes or harvest conditions can affect the chemistry, which is why people are often cautious about making adjustments without all of the information required. If the grapes are not from California that's a different discussion.
     
  12. Oct 22, 2019 #12

    Obbnw

    Obbnw

    Obbnw

    Junior

    Joined:
    May 14, 2019
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Salt Lake City Utah
    I diluted the sample and thought the color change matched what the directions described. The color change on last years test didn't seem as obvious as this years. The only way to truly know how accurate you are is to test a sample where you know the answer. I agree the PH endpoint would make it easier to get an accurate measurement.

    I was thinking about adjusting one of my batches to see if it made a difference but as stickman said/implied, if the ph is really that high then the response isn't straightforward (or at least that is what I gathered from internet searches). Given how much I liked last years batch, my lack of confidence in the readings and desire to not adjust I just let it go. I probably wouldn't be so cavalier if I wasn't using my own grapes (Malbec), doing small batches (hope to get 60 bottles total this year) and was planning to age it for more than a year.
     
  13. Oct 23, 2019 #13

    zadvocate

    zadvocate

    zadvocate

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2015
    Messages:
    379
    Likes Received:
    60
    My grapes came from California. Lanza Syrah, Grenache, Mouvèdre blend. I asked I added 2 g/L and based on 126 pounds I added about 70 g. I shot a little low. The next day I measured the pH and it came down to 3.75. The TA however shot up to 10 g/l. I’m hopeful that a lot of this will shake out to a more manageable level. My pH before was 4.14 and I just didn’t feel comfortable leaving it at that. I use the Vinmetrica 300 to measure everything. I also added MLB yesterday and I am doing a co-inoculation. I will let you know what happens.
     
  14. Oct 24, 2019 #14

    jburtner

    jburtner

    jburtner

    Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2016
    Messages:
    506
    Likes Received:
    303
    I had some similar measurements with pH and TA and my titrant was old and giving inaccurate TA results. How old is your titrant?

    I order 0.133N NaOH from Vinemetrica for the SC300 and calibrate and confirm pH with a 7.0 and 4.01 standards. I also use a vinemetrica procedure that uses a cream of tartar solution to obtain and confirm a pH measurement of 3.56(?) - which is right in the range we want to measure.

    Cheers,
    Johann
     
  15. Oct 24, 2019 #15

    Ajmassa

    Ajmassa

    Ajmassa

    Just a Guy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2016
    Messages:
    3,247
    Likes Received:
    2,553
    I did the same exact thing last year. Paso Cab grapes came in late with a high ph 4.1. Adjusted the must down to 3.8 not wanting TA crazy high (forget exact levels). Coinnoculed MLB. Still ended up at 3.98ph. I rolled with it as is. Taste buds telling me it def doesn’t want more acid. Plus me & post ferm acid adjustments don’t have a great history. I’m avoiding whenever possible at this point.
     
    zadvocate likes this.
  16. Oct 24, 2019 #16

    zadvocate

    zadvocate

    zadvocate

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2015
    Messages:
    379
    Likes Received:
    60
    I just bought the entire Vinmetrica set up this summer in May. So it’s almost 6 months old. I just bought new titrant but only because I’m almost out.
     
    Ajmassa likes this.
  17. Oct 24, 2019 #17

    Ajmassa

    Ajmassa

    Ajmassa

    Just a Guy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2016
    Messages:
    3,247
    Likes Received:
    2,553
    Me too! Last May. With all the bells and whistles. Got a great deal too. I now have way too much NaOh titrant. But I rarely measure TA anyway so it will surely go to waste. I need to start getting the smaller bottles.
     
    cmason1957 likes this.
  18. Oct 31, 2019 #18

    zadvocate

    zadvocate

    zadvocate

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2015
    Messages:
    379
    Likes Received:
    60
    So I measured again after pressing and the numbers came way down. 6.4 TA and 3.91 PH. Go figure
     
  19. Oct 31, 2019 #19

    stickman

    stickman

    stickman

    Veteran Winemaker

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2014
    Messages:
    1,276
    Likes Received:
    992
    Because you didn't initially get down to a pH near 3.6, the TA dropped and the pH went back up as expected, you may think that nothing happened, but that's not true as a lot of potassium has dropped out, you were just short of the target. It's a bit of a dice game. The next event is the ML which should drop the TA and increase pH a little further, but how much the TA will drop is another guess because we usually don't know how much malic acid is present.
     

Share This Page