Beet wine pH

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ChuckD

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I started a 4-gallon batch of beet wine on 10/20 based on a recipe by Keller.

13 lbs beets, peeled sliced and boiled
5 lemons juiced
10 oranges juiced
7 lbs sugar
7 t acid blend
3/8 t tannin
3 t yeast nutrient
amalayse and pectic enzymes
Lavlin 71B

I originally used 3 lemons and 4 t of acid blend, but the pH was still at 5.1 so I upped those amounts as shown in the recipe. I should note that I had a cheap pH meter and had trouble with the readings stabilizing and it didn't seem to hold a calibration, so I purchased a good one after this. I racked to a carboy on 10/28 and the pH was 3.9 with the good meter with an SG of 0.990. I have read that you want the wine at pH 3.5 or lower so I added 6 more tsp of tartaric acid but that only got it down to 3.65. I racked it again on 11/10 and its now sitting in the cellar.

Do I have to worry about the pH? Can/should I still adjust it? I have read that aging may take a long time (years) and I wan't it to be stable. I should add that right now it looks wonderful but still tastes like beets... I like beets but not in a glass. Hoping it "grows" out of it.

Also, should I continue with bulk aging, or should I bottle it when it has finished clearing?

Chuck
 

Rembee

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I would not add anymore acid. A ph between 3.4 and 3.8 for a country wine is acceptable.
You do not want to get on a ph roller coaster so to speak. You may find that as the wine bulk ages that your ph may drop a little more. Acid additions are not an immediate ph action. Sometimes it could take a week before the wine will level out at its true ph reading.

You did not mention any additions of potassium metabisulfite.
Potassium Metabisulfite (S02) will help stabilize your wine. At a rate of 1/4 tsp per 5 to 6 gallons of wine. If you have not added potassium metabisulfite yet, you should add it now and then again once every 3 months after that. You can bulk age your beet wine for 3 to 6 months before bottling. This will help to clear the wine so that you have minimal chance of sediment in your bottles.
A few days before bottling, add another dose of potassium metabisulfite and if you plan on backsweetening, add the recommended amount of sorbate. The sorbate will insure that you don’t restart a fermentation after backsweetening.
 

ChuckD

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Thanks Rembee. I did add K-Meta (just learned what that stood for today) at 0.2 g/gallon 24 hours before adding the yeast. I have been adding it again at bottling but I'm learning that I should add it when I rack the wine as well. I plan on racking it again in a week or so. I will add more at that time and bottle in 6 months or so.
 

Rembee

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It appears from what you have already said, you racked the wine twice already, correct?
Unless there is a lot of sediment (like 1/2" or more) I would not rack again so soon. If you are only experiencing a fine dusting of lees on the bottom of your carboy, I would not rack again until Feb.
You can stiil (and should) add the k meta now without having to rack. You can add it straight in and swril the wine or stir it to incorporate it.
Then keep the wine under an airlock and forget about it until February.
 
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ChuckD

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Yes. from the Primary to the carboy on 10/28 and to a clean carboy two weeks later when it stopped bubbling. It didn't have much for lees then and it doesn't have much now. I'll take your advice and add some K-Meta now then wait a few months.
 

ChuckD

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How did your beet wine turn out? I'm looking at making some next...
I tasted it a few weeks ago (it’s still in bulk) and it is really shaping up to be a great wine. It was full bodied, I think many would describe as a “big red”. It still has a little beet aftertaste but much improved from when I tasted it in late March. I still think it would benefit from tannin so I ordered some medium toast French oak spirals. I’ll add one to the three gallon carboy and give it another three months. I also have a one gallon carboy which will not get oak. The color is still ruby red.
 

ChuckD

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Sounds wonderful...! Thank you for the follow up~ is there anything you would change if you were to make it again?
I have an acquaintance who makes beet wine. She boils the beets then cans the beets and makes wine out of the beet water. Her wine loses the beet taste rather quickly…. Like four months, but I think it’s rather thin. I boiled the beets then chopped them and put them in a mesh bag in the fermenter with the beet water. My wine has more body but is holding onto the beet taste longer. If you peeled the beets before boiling it may make a difference but the color may suffer as well.

I guess I would just add more tannin up front and get that acid adjusted right away.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
 

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