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High pH and high TA in Syrah

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I just recently crushed 300# of Syrah with a 25.5 Brix but an unusually high pH (4.00) and a TA of 9.0.
These readings are not logical but are accurate (measured by me and another winemaker). Not sure what's going on but I'm concerned about Malolactic conversion working with the high pH. Any ideas?
 

Johnd

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I just recently crushed 300# of Syrah with a 25.5 Brix but an unusually high pH (4.00) and a TA of 9.0.
These readings are not logical but are accurate (measured by me and another winemaker). Not sure what's going on but I'm concerned about Malolactic conversion working with the high pH. Any ideas?
Those numbers are very suspect, consider sending a sample off for testing, worth the knowledge you’ll get. You’ll have no issues with MLF, low pH is a detractor, not high, but it well most likely drive your pH higher, but a drop the TA.
 

Ajmassa

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Unless you do send for lab testing- I wouldn’t wanna mess with it.
Go through MLf- keep your eye for any surface growth (regardless of TA the ph still shows the strength of the acid to be a 4.0) and hope it finishes soon to dose so2 and re-test.
And who knows- maybe ... just maybe.... everything defies logic again and comes full circle- leaving you with ideal levels.
 

Ajmassa

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Looking at it from basic chemistry logic (and that’s all I got) you’ve got a lot of acid in there— but a lot of weak acid.
You’ll remove the stronger malic converting to lactic- decreasing tirtatable acid level- but making it less strong than it already is.
High ph wines are perfectly cool to drink. Lots of really good commercial wines are actually around that 4.0 level too.
The cons— will require a bunch more so2 to protect — no biggie.
—- and a chance it won’t age well after a bunch of years. At least in theory. But if ya polish it off before 4 or 5 years might be perfectly good.

*disclaimer* - I think.
 
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Thanks, I've made a lot of Syrah from this grower (in Prosser, WA) but never seen this data before. I needed the encouragement
 

sdelli

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I would not measure acid at the crush. Ph is very important though. Get your ph down before you start fermentation then let it roll. Brix and Ph is all you want to balance before you ferment. Don’t fall in the rabbit hole of over analysis of everything.
 

sdelli

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Sounds like you have about 30 gallons of must. I suggest you add 75 grams of Tartaric Acid then test again.
 

Johnd

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Sounds like you have about 30 gallons of must. I suggest you add 75 grams of Tartaric Acid then test again.
I disagree, I wouldn’t add tartaric to a wine with a TA of 9. I’d proceed with fermentation while awaiting lab results or getting fresh chems and rechecking all of the numbers.
 

sdelli

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I disagree, I wouldn’t add tartaric to a wine with a TA of 9. I’d proceed with fermentation while awaiting lab results or getting fresh chems and rechecking all of the numbers.
I always get high TA readings at the crush. That is why I stopped taking them. False readings. PH tells the truth!
 
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Ajmassa

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This is still something I struggle with. The pre ferm adjusting.
Because I’ve also had similar experiences with misleading TA numbers at crush.
And I’ve heard other professional winemakers with this same sentiment: disregarding TA and focus only on ph at crush. This was my plan leading up to crush too. But when push came to shove I didn’t have the stones to follow through. At 3.8 I wanted to bring down to 3.6. But TA was at 7.5 and I feared adding enough to ph3.6 would jack it all up. Did a minor adjustment instead. Results still TBD.
Good luck Larry in however you choose to proceed. This is that wild part of the game where art and science meet!
 

Johnd

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Taking the time to get a representative sample by scooping must, blending (with a blender), settling, and pouring through a strainer is the proper way to sample must at crush. If you do that, you’ll not have crazy numbers, and won’t be afraid to respond to both numbers with your adjustments. We must be wary of TA, drive it too high and you have a tart, sour, acidic wine. That’s why I can’t, in good conscience, tell the OP to ignore TA and add acid to his 9.0 wine. What if his TA really is 9.0?? We can only assume at this point that the numbers are right, unless he gets new tests.
 

ibglowin

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Didn't see any mention of what equipment you are using to test TA and pH. Assuming its a decent pH meter, properly calibrated and you are using the same meter to test TA as well. Your NaOH could be suspect (old) by chance? I have had plenty of amazing Syrah's out of WA State with pH's in the 3.8-3.9 range. Don't panic. As already mentioned MLF likes higher pH's rather than lower pH. You can tweak with some tartaric once you get a better idea of your TA

Any ideas?
 

celladwella

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This is all interesting information I’m just wondering if a taste test would resolve some of this at this point?
 

sdelli

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In my past I have done both...
If you don’t get your hands around your ph before fermentation you will be fighting it down for months after with crystals and spikes. Adjust it before hand and you will never need to touch it again! I have 10 fermentations going right now. They all crushed between 3.8 and 4.0...... I adjusted before fermentation. Tonight with 1 Brix left the ph was between 3.6 and 3.65 on every bin. Yes I had to add acid to achieve this. But coming out of mlf at 3.85 is a fight I rather not have.
 

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