low acid in aronia

Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

Huba Huba

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Mar 30, 2022
Reaction score
SE Missouri
Started a 3 gallon batch of aronia berry yesterday. I mixed all of the ingredients and let is set overnight . This morning I checked the pH, 4.4, then checked TA 1.1 g/l. I wasn't really surprised about the ph, I had read that it was often to high, but no other wine I have attempted was this low in TA. As a matter of fact most have been to high. I added all the lemon juice that I had, (38 oz Reallemon, the recipe called for 6 oz), then added 2 oz of acid blend (LD Carlson) and a tablespoon of tartaric acid. (All of these additions were incremental with testing after each addition, waiting 30-60 minutes before testing again). That got the TA to 5.4 g/l and pH down to 2.9. Do you think this is adequate or should I continue to try to increase TA then add something to increase pH.
Currently cold soaking, plan on pitching tomorrow afternoon.
Was the initial 1/8 tsp K Meta enough considering the low acid content of the must? Should I add again now that the ph is lower?
This is the recipe I ended up with, it was not the recipe I started with
15.4 lbs aronia berries
8oz golden raisins
1 banana frozen very ripe
38 oz lemon juice
2 oz Acid Blend
1 tbsp tartaric acid
3.75 lbs sugar
46 oz honey
⅛ tsp K Meta
1 ½ tsp pectinase
3.0 gm Booster Rouge
0.3 gm Lallzyme EX
3.0 gm Noblesse

Currently; pH 2.9. TA 5.4 g/l SG 1.096. Plan on rechecking everything tomorrow morning and pitch in afternoon, or as soon as warms to room temp.
As Roseanne Roseannadanna would say, " Never mind".
I found out I was using an old test kit (5+ years) and the instructions for my current test kit with different strength sodium hydroxide. So instead of TA of 5.4 gm/l it is 11.4 gm/l. What can I say, I'm old and obviously not very bright. I should have suspected something was wrong but continued chasing it down a rabbit hole and didn't look back.
I have an empty 5 gallon carboy, a few more aronia berries, and lots of sugar so.....
Dilution will be linear? Right? If I dilute 3 gallons of 11.4 TA to 5 gallons the TA will decrease to 6.8? And I guess, since pH is logarithmic it will change but not as much as the TA.
As it is. I don't know if I could even get it to ferment and I don't think it would be very good if it did
If anybody has suggestions, I obviously need help.
I am a beginner just starting to feel confident, but adjusting and "flying by the seat of my pants" is not something that I feel positive about.

I think I may have salvaged the above fiasco, I diluted the original must and added more fruit to achieve a pH of 3.1 and TA of 6.7 gm/l. I pitched Avante yeast and it is progressing, maybe a little slower than expected, but SG is down 8 points in 36 hours. The problem is that I am already tasting a significant astringency. Aronia berry by itself has a lot of astringency. From what I read the tannin extraction will increase as the alcohol levels increase. Since I can already taste it with the high sugar concentration, I am wondering if I should remove the fruit. I did cold soak the fruit for 3 days prior to pitching, but didn't think much tannin was removed at cold temps and only water. At that point I could not taste any astringency.

I have several questions.

Is the astringency from tannins, or are there other compounds that can cause this?

Would you remove the fruit, (three days cold soak and 36+ hours of fermentation)?

Am I correct that tannin extraction will increase as ABV increases?

There seems to be a lot of color left in the fruit (21 lbs), would a second run wine from the fruit be advisable, or would the remaining tannins just overpower the fruit in the second wine?

Would a skeeter pee/dragon blood wine from the fruit be a viable choice, or would you just add water/sugar and ferment?
* I would have stopped when the pH is between 3.5 and 3.2. Yeast aren’t happy with the pH below 2.8 and already show stress at 3.0. I would let the TA “float” wherever it wants till after the yeast have done their work.
* astringent (tannic) flavor along with acid will balance against sugar and alcohol (both are sweet). You can rebalance the finished wine by back sweetening.
polyphenols are very reactive they go from flavorless/ small > bitter/ larger complexes > astringent/ even larger complexes > flavorless/ big enough that they can’t bind on saliva proteins. This leads to another potential fix, wait the flavor change out and a third fix add a protein as gelatin etc fine out the polyphenols.
* I describe my aronia as bitter but this might mean yours was riper
* you are referring to polyphenol pigment extraction with grape. Best guess is that polyphenol(s) extraction will be similar but I have never seen articles about aronia. (or bitter sharp apples which I have access to). ,,,, Note this change of flavor is a sequence!
* second wine, Opinion I wouldn’t, flavor is always less. My aronia gets used at 5 to 10% of the fruit. I try to keep the tannic notes in control. You have other fruit in so it might work. I like the color of aronia and use it more for the long lasting color than the astringent flavor. In my mode of building a wine, I toss the aronia when about five days/ ready to rack.
Thank you.
I had planned on 1+ year aging and now think it might take more, will wait and see. If nothing else it will be interesting to see how the astringency changes. Currently it does not resemble what I perceive as tannin in a red wine.
After the cold soak, the must tasted great, very little if any astringency. It didn't start becoming astringent until after fermentation started, of course by this time I had jacked with the TA/pH and it had more time in general.
At 5-10% of the fruit, do you taste the aronia, or is the color the only thing it adds.
At 5% the tannin/ bitter notes come through. I am not impressed with fruity aromaticseven fresh off the plant, that may say I need to be patient and let it ripen longer.

Aronia is used as a color in some 100% fruit juices without bitter notes. I have not played with it enough to find a level for that. One of the vinters club members has done 55% banana/45% aronia with a nice flavor balance (unknown how much fruit per gallon) and a blueberry/ aronia.

I really like polyphenols for the shelf life as well as the stable color they build into a wine.