Frozen grapes, now thawed waiting for tartaric acid

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Khristyjeff

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This is my first wine from frozen grape must--cabernet sauvignon grapes . I think I need to increase the acid (started with pH over 4.0 and now after adding all of my tartaric acid, have lowered my 2 batches to 3.65 and 3.81. I've read that I should target under 3.7 at least and maybe more. I've ordered more tartaric acid to arrive by Thursday. I also have acid blend but have read here not to use it on red wines.

More details: 1) arrived Thursday partially frozen and were basically thawed by Saturday afternoon.
2) Brix was 23.5 and 25 in the 2nd batch.
3) Acid was .4% in one and .3% in the other.
4) Must has maintained a temperature of around 58*F since Saturday and likely will remain as that is my basement temp.
5) I added K-Meta to both buckets.

So, questions are:
Will this be ok until Thursday to adjust the acid in the one bucket?
What target pH range do you suggest I shoot for?
I've got some Noblesse and Lallzyme EX coming Thursday as well. Go ahead and add them?
Any other thoughts you have are welcomed!

Thanks for your help. This Forum has been such a great resource!
 

BigDaveK

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I can only offer an opinion on one of your questions. I've been canning fruits and vegetables for 15 years and waiting till Thursday at that temp would be a concern for me. The lower pH should help. I hope you get your delivery soon so you can start working on it.
 

Rice_Guy

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* by Thursday/ fI’ve days at above 50F you will have some wild fermentation going, positive,, might taste better than adding your target strain. Negative Buckets in the club that are active when picked up basically never stop no matter how much meta.
* if you have it was the TA 0.40% and 0.30%? ,or 0.35% 0.45% ,, both numbers are below what the books suggest as 0.50% to 0.70% being the range for red wine. That said some folks in the vinters club take the Chilean buckets and run them as is without acid.
If you keep the TA low you have an advantage in that you can produce a balanced flavor and have a bone dry wine. As one growing northern hybrid grapes I would like those numbers and never think about running MLF.
* pH 3.65 is reasonable. pH 3.81 is high but I have seen it work. Three points of view 1) higher pH makes meta less effective 2) high pH let’s one produce higher TA wine which is balanced ,,, or TA 0.30% which is flabby, 3) I have seen folks in the club do it, infection risk is higher at higher pH so clean everything.
* a few examples of Chilean cab. the club has had; 2021—pH 3.40/ TA 0.36%; 2020—3.83/0.49%; 2020–3.56/0.40%; 2018–3.90/?
* tartaric versus acid blend? we have an advantage on tartaric in that if we want to pull it out after we put too much in we can chill and make bitartrate, tartaric is native in grape,, disadvantage it costs a bit more. Advantage on blend, we can effectively drop the pH, the flavor is good, the three acids are natural in grape but at different ratios. Disadvantage, if you want to pull it out after you added too much you can’t get the citric acid out, we don’t really have good info on what percent is what, citric acid can be involved in cycles producing VA so watch the head space.
For me blend versus tartaric are kinda a wash, ,,, if you had a strong acid as 85% phosphoric I like that one.
So, questions are:
Will this be ok until Thursday to adjust the acid in the one bucket?
What target pH range do you suggest I shoot for?
I've got some Noblesse and Lallzyme EX coming Thursday as well. Go ahead and add them?
 

Khristyjeff

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I read on More Wine website that the Acid blend has an equal percentage of the three acids. I may just use the blend on the higher pH bucket to get it under pH 3.7. I don't think there's a fear of using too much since my goal is still a pretty high number.

Thanks everyone for your comments.
 

tmcfadden932

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Taking pH or acid reading after fermentation has started, native or otherwise, is going to be incorrect as the CO2 dissolves in the must and creates carbonic acid. Only after fermentation is complete and the wine is degassed will you get an accurate reading. This why you should test and make all necessary adjustments before fermentation starts.
 

Khristyjeff

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Taking pH or acid reading after fermentation has started, native or otherwise, is going to be incorrect as the CO2 dissolves in the must and creates carbonic acid. Only after fermentation is complete and the wine is degassed will you get an accurate reading. This why you should test and make all necessary adjustments before fermentation starts.
That's good to know. Plus it gives me a good excuse to avoid testing acid again at this point (I don't like to do it anyway 🤣).
 

CDrew

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I read on More Wine website that the Acid blend has an equal percentage of the three acids. I may just use the blend on the higher pH bucket to get it under pH 3.7. I don't think there's a fear of using too much since my goal is still a pretty high number.

Thanks everyone for your comments.

I would not use acid blend with real grapes. It kind of defeats the purpose. It is OK to wait for your tartaric acid as TA can be corrected at any point in the fermentation or afterward. It is supposed to integrate better (whatever that means) when added early, but I've added months later to correct what I felt was a flaw and it turned out just fine.

You will not be able to use pH as a guide, as once fermentation starts the CO2 will change the pH.

I'd let your "batch" with an adjusted pH of 3.65 go as is. The other one, I'd add another 1g of tartaric acid per liter and call it good. That should take your theoretical starting pH to the 3.7 range which should be fine.

I'd also warm it up a bit and get your fermentation yeast in there. 58 is pretty cold for a red wine fermentation. Maybe some plant heat pads to get the temp to 70-75F. Don't give any spoilage organisms a chance especially if this is your first time from real grapes. And don't neglect MLF.

Good luck-sounds like you're in for a good time.

Regarding your enzymes-I always use them and the earlier the better, but if you start fermentation now, adding in a few days will be ok. Next time though have them on hand at the start.
 

Khristyjeff

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I would not use acid blend with real grapes. It kind of defeats the purpose. It is OK to wait for your tartaric acid as TA can be corrected at any point in the fermentation or afterward. It is supposed to integrate better (whatever that means) when added early, but I've added months later to correct what I felt was a flaw and it turned out just fine.

You will not be able to use pH as a guide, as once fermentation starts the CO2 will change the pH.

I'd let your "batch" with an adjusted pH of 3.65 go as is. The other one, I'd add another 1g of tartaric acid per liter and call it good. That should take your theoretical starting pH to the 3.7 range which should be fine.

I'd also warm it up a bit and get your fermentation yeast in there. 58 is pretty cold for a red wine fermentation. Maybe some plant heat pads to get the temp to 70-75F. Don't give any spoilage organisms a chance especially if this is your first time from real grapes. And don't neglect MLF.

Good luck-sounds like you're in for a good time.

Regarding your enzymes-I always use them and the earlier the better, but if you start fermentation now, adding in a few days will be ok. Next time though have them on hand at the start.
Thanks @CDrew for the tips. Read this a little too late. I just came up from the basement after adding acid blend to the one with the high pH. Hopefully it will work ok. I also believe some natural fermentation had begun because pH didn't move much. This fits with your point and tmcfadden932 on the effect of CO2. So at this point I'll just wait until after fermentation, check the numbers and go from there.

I have a heat belt on both now to keep the temperature in the 70-75F you suggest.

I also made 2 yeast starters-- 1 with RC212 and 1 with BM 4x4. I've had smell issues with these in the past so I'm really trying to follow nutrient additions of Go-Ferm in the starter, and FermAid O and or K soon. The yeast starters I added this evening.

When the enzymes arrive on Thursday, I'll add them. I've only tried MLF once and let's say I have more to learn 🤪. I have time to study up on that, though. Thanks again for your thoughts. Great stuff.
 

crushday

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@Khristyjeff - sounds like you're well on your way! Good luck.

I'm glad that you're using a heat belt to get the temperature up. 58 degrees ambient is likely too low for your fermentation purposes to kick off successfully and spoilage is a great possibility at that temp. You can always lower the temerpature once everything gets rolling, which won't take long. Which leads me to a recommendation...

You mention enzymes arriving on Thursday. Your fermentation will have started and by then enzymes essentially ineffective, IMO. Save them for your next round... Here's a great article I think is worth the read on the subject.
 

CDrew

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I also made 2 yeast starters-- 1 with RC212 and 1 with BM 4x4. I've had smell issues with these in the past so I'm really trying to follow nutrient additions of Go-Ferm in the starter, and FermAid O and or K soon. The yeast starters I added this evening.

When the enzymes arrive on Thursday, I'll add them. I've only tried MLF once and let's say I have more to learn 🤪. I have time to study up on that, though. Thanks again for your thoughts. Great stuff.

I've never used either of those yeasts, so no advice there, other than I have read they are prone to H2S formation and need very adequate nutrition for best results. It sounds like you have that covered. I make starters too and feel it's extra insurance for a quick start.

Look into the Renaissance yeast strains for next time. No possibility of H2S and lots of other desirable characteristics too. Avante and Bravo are great for home red wine making. I've also used Allegro and Fresco for white wine making. There has been lots of previous discussion on the board so check it out.

For MLF, it is best to control this, as it will likely happen at some point anyway. If you've already bottled and it occurs, you end up with fizzy wine or potentially a bottle bomb.. I can recommend CH16 as my go-to bacteria strain as I've not once had a failure. Just remember that the bacterial cultures do not work well at lower temperatures, so continue your gentle heat routine after you add the bacterial culture.
 

Rice_Guy

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MLF thoughts
? ,,, IF you have a low acid wine and the test numbers say you need to added acid, wouldn’t the process be less risky,,, simply not adding said acid, and then not conducting MLF to remove this acid. , , ? humm ?
I've only tried MLF once and let's say I have more to learn 🤪. I have time to study up on that, though. Thanks again for your thoughts. Great stuff.
there is artistry in making wine, the artistry is understanding how pushing one direction and then pulling the opposite direction or pulling another direction will impact the finished wine
 

Khristyjeff

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@Khristyjeff - sounds like you're well on your way! Good luck.

I'm glad that you're using a heat belt to get the temperature up. 58 degrees ambient is likely too low for your fermentation purposes to kick off successfully and spoilage is a great possibility at that temp. You can always lower the temerpature once everything gets rolling, which won't take long. Which leads me to a recommendation...

You mention enzymes arriving on Thursday. Your fermentation will have started and by then enzymes essentially ineffective, IMO. Save them for your next round... Here's a great article I think is worth the read on the subject.
Very interesting article. Thanks for posting the link.
 

Khristyjeff

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I've never used either of those yeasts, so no advice there, other than I have read they are prone to H2S formation and need very adequate nutrition for best results. It sounds like you have that covered. I make starters too and feel it's extra insurance for a quick start.

Look into the Renaissance yeast strains for next time. No possibility of H2S and lots of other desirable characteristics too. Avante and Bravo are great for home red wine making. I've also used Allegro and Fresco for white wine making. There has been lots of previous discussion on the board so check it out.

For MLF, it is best to control this, as it will likely happen at some point anyway. If you've already bottled and it occurs, you end up with fizzy wine or potentially a bottle bomb.. I can recommend CH16 as my go-to bacteria strain as I've not once had a failure. Just remember that the bacterial cultures do not work well at lower temperatures, so continue your gentle heat routine after you add the bacterial culture.
I'll definitely look into the Renaissance yeast strains you mention. I don't really stress much over winemaking but when it comes to H2S, that's the exception. I also made a note regarding the CH16. I know every wine is different, but approximately how many weeks from now should I expect to be ready for MLF?
 

CDrew

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I know every wine is different, but approximately how many weeks from now should I expect to be ready for MLF?

The right question to ask! The answer is anytime. Many of us co-inoculate. Meaning the MLB is added shortly after the yeast.



Again the timing is not super critical, but I like to add as soon as the yeast takes off, so usually within the first 48 hours. I have added at the same time. Then the MLF is generally done at 2 weeks. As a home wine maker to me the biggest advantage is that it allows you to finish fermentation and add KMBS sooner, thus limiting the chance for spoilage.

And I don't mean to imply that CH16 is necessarily what you should use, I'm just reporting my 100% satisfaction and success. Many other winemakers on this forum like VP41 which I have never used.
 

Khristyjeff

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Wondered if any of you have answers/opinions to @Rice_Guy question. His question was:

"? ,,, IF you have a low acid wine and the test numbers say you need to added acid, wouldn’t the process be less risky,,, simply not adding said acid, and then not conducting MLF to remove this acid. , , ?"
 
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Wondered if any of you have answers/opinions to @Rice_Guy question. His question was:

"? ,,, IF you have a low acid wine and the test numbers say you need to added acid, wouldn’t the process be less risky,,, simply not adding said acid, and then not conducting MLF to remove this acid. , , ?"

My answer would be that if I had a low acid wine and needed to add acid, I probably would not do MLF on it. It's a little bit hard for me to say, since I deal mostly with hybrid grapes and often have the opposite problem, as in high acid and need to remove acid, but low malic acid.
 

CDrew

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I would still do it for the stability issue. You’re adding tartaric which is stable, it’s the malic acid that isn’t. Which is why I’d never use acid blend.

it’s perfectly ok to taste when complete and still add tartaric if it’s on the flabby side. You know you won’t need much. Just maybe a gram per liter.

But my experience with not doing mlf on a Mourvèdre Rose, is that several months after primary, it had a spontaneous MLF. So now I either assure it happens with appropriate bacteria, or make sure it doesn’t with lysozyme. But wine is forgiving and I’ll bet you are fine.
 
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