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Ph- How low is too low?

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Ajmassa

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Chilean Cab and Cab/merlot are finished MLF, racked and stable. I will most likely be blending these later. 6 gal of Cab/merlot juice and 3 gal of Cab grape.

3 gal Grapes levels
Ph- 3.3
TA- .70%
6 gal juice levels
Ph- 3.1
TA- .80%
Tough to tell by taste. Grape batch has much much more fruit coming through on nose and taste. Which I think would blend well. After blending ph will likely be 3.2. Should I mess with the ph at all or just let it be?
 

Julie

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Ph for reds should be between 3.4 and 3.65. You should never depend on taste to know what your ph is, do that with acid but not your ph.
 

Ajmassa

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Funky timing forced me to inoculate during the primary of the grapes. And a week later used those skins on the juice with the malo and yeast going off together.
Grapes were at 3.4 before primary. With a low TA at .50% (adjusted from .40%)
Juice was 3.5 ph and even lower TA at .325% (I checked twice). Adjusted up to .40%.
FWIW I checked with the ph strips and they read around 3.5 ish.
My meter is newer but I've calibrated every time and frequently use new buffer solution and its read these numbers consistently since primary.
The acid is about where it should be I think. But the ph has me scratching my head. Unless there's just something up with my meet. Milwaukee ph56 pen style
 

Ajmassa

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2 different paper chromatography tests. About 2 weeks apart. ImageUploadedByWine Making1497745773.253685.jpg. The bottom one is from May 30th

The far right was a blended jug for topping up. I have 1 full bottle of that left.
 
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Ajmassa

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I highly doubt these batches are anomalies. Gonna go with human error here (or ph meter error). I'm gonna just have to do what I figured on as a last resort. I have a LHBS which is attatched to a winery that does testing on samples in their lab. Not sure what they charge yet tho. But I know I'll get legitimate numbers and hopefully from that point I can figure out where I'm going wrong.
 

ibglowin

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OK so the fact that you have evidence from the chrome test that it finished means pH is more than likely higher than 3.2. MLB doesn't like low pH. I would take a sample and have pH and TA done and then compare to your results. Start to put together the pieces of this little puzzle.
 

Ajmassa

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I'm gonna be taking some samples up early this week. Hope to figure this out.
My TA readings before primary were done by color change. The new readings were done to 8.2 with the meter. If this does end up being the meter, then the shop I'm taking the samples to for tests is the same place I bought it at. Maybe they can work with me.
I started getting some odd displays of "WRNG" on my meter recently, so I researched and handled accordingly. Soaked in white distilled vinegar overnight and recalibrated with new buffer and it seemed to work fine. I've been storing in the 4.01, not storage solution--maybe that has something to do with it. Also I'm not sure if this is normal or not, but I could never get it calibrate 'perfectly'. I would end up with something like 4.1 and 6.9. Or 3.9 and 7.2. Over and over. Always slightly off. Very frustrating. Figured I was at least getting readings pretty close to actual. But maybe not.
I'm not gonna do another TA test by color though. My hydroxide solution is .2, and requires 15 ml of the wine to do a test; which doesn't sound like a lot but it is. I'm all topped up in 2 carboys and a bottle and don't want to keep wasting wine on tests.
When I get the results I'll be sure to post and seek advice as to where I've been going wrong.
 

Ajmassa

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Color change and the red wine (at least for me, when I have tried it) means it was probably wrong. That not being able to calibrate sounds like an issue to me. Hopefully the place you bought it from will make it right.

Agreed. I can't win. Color change test for TA has a lot of room for error on reds but Other option was Test to 8.2 with a suspect meter. Ph strips on reds can be off as well. But were they better than a this meter?
How about making pre- ferment adjustments based on possible faulty readings? Yep. Can you see the Smoke coming out of my ears? Eh. I'm confident all will work out in the end. The wine is coming along very well in spite of this little snag.
Like I've said before, most of my knowledge has come from troubleshooting problems. Main goal here is to figure out what I was doing wrong, not just make sure levels are within range. And if does end up being the meter, was it me or Milwaukee causing the issue? Fun stuff. Like a detective calling in forensics.
 

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You might want to pick up some 0.1N NaOH and follow this procedure that only uses 5ml of wine. Using a strong titrant leaves little room for error especially if your just starting out. The weaker titrant allows to to creep up on the endpoint and not go past with one drop.

Is your pH Meter a one or two decimal unit?


My hydroxide solution is .2, and requires 15 ml of the wine to do a test; which doesn't sound like a lot but it is.
 
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Ajmassa

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You maight want to pick up some 0.1N NaOH and follow this procedure that only uses 5ml of tycoon wine. Using a strong titrant leaves little room for error especially if your just starting out. The weaker titrant allows to to creep up on the endpoint and not go past with one drop.



Is your pH Meter a one or two decimal unit?

Oddly enough my more expensive meter is only one decimal. I have a cheaper one from Amazon that is 2 decimal. But that one is more of a pain. I've taken proper care of it. But I have to calibrate with 6.86, 9.18 (both are in powder form) and 4.01 buffer, and I had issues with it never stabilizing. Right now soaking in vinegar and we'll see how it goes.
When you say "strong Titrant" do you mean just a smaller sample with .1 sodium hydroxide ?
 

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0.2N NaOH is 2X as strong as 0.1N NaOH. One drop at the wrong time and you can easily go over the endpoint of pH 8.2 for a TA analysis. That is why 0.1N NaOH is much easier to use, allows you to easily come up to the endpoint and then creep up drop by drop without going over. The link I added shows the formula and sample size (5ML) wine for this strength of NaOH.

When you say "strong Titrant" do you mean just a smaller sample with .1 sodium hydroxide ?
 

Ajmassa

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LAB RESULTS ARE IN! (my previous incorrect readings are in parentheses)
$60 and one lost afternoon well spent.

Cab Grapes
Ph: 3.56 (3.3)
TA: 8.208 g/L (7.000 g/L)

Cab/Merlot juice w/skins
Ph: 3.43 (3.1)
TA: 8.422 g/L (8.000 g/L)

At this point I cannot compare any other numbers from any point in these batches. They're all suspect. In the meantime:
- My actual levels are good and I do not
need to make any adjustments any
time soon.
-Will be checking TA with .1 NaOH by
color change until this ph mystery is
solved.

So now I need to deal with this brand new meter. I consistently read the same incorrect ph levels multiple times since after primary. Grapes 3.0-3.1. Juice 3.2-3.3. Every time. I'm pretty frustrated that it's now costing me $ and all this damn legwork. "Time" is not something I have much of lately.
I figure I just gotta go through the process. Re-soak in vinegar overnight and calibrate and check just in case. Then attempt the shop I bought it at. If they give me the run-around then I guess I'll contact Milwaukee and go from there.
I'm glad my wine's levels correspond to how they are tasting. But I'm irked that I'm wasting all this time and now $ on an $85 meter (purchased after issues with $20 meter from Amazon). I'm really starting to resent just "ph" in general.
 

Johnd

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LAB RESULTS ARE IN! (my previous incorrect readings are in parentheses)
$60 and one lost afternoon well spent.

Cab Grapes
Ph: 3.56 (3.3)
TA: 8.208 g/L (7.000 g/L)

Cab/Merlot juice w/skins
Ph: 3.43 (3.1)
TA: 8.422 g/L (8.000 g/L)

At this point I cannot compare any other numbers from any point in these batches. They're all suspect. In the meantime:
- My actual levels are good and I do not
need to make any adjustments any
time soon.
-Will be checking TA with .1 NaOH by
color change until this ph mystery is
solved.

So now I need to deal with this brand new meter. I consistently read the same incorrect ph levels multiple times since after primary. Grapes 3.0-3.1. Juice 3.2-3.3. Every time. I'm pretty frustrated that it's now costing me $ and all this damn legwork. "Time" is not something I have much of lately.
I figure I just gotta go through the process. Re-soak in vinegar overnight and calibrate and check just in case. Then attempt the shop I bought it at. If they give me the run-around then I guess I'll contact Milwaukee and go from there.
I'm glad my wine's levels correspond to how they are tasting. But I'm irked that I'm wasting all this time and now $ on an $85 meter (purchased after issues with $20 meter from Amazon). I'm really starting to resent just "ph" in general.
Don't resent pH, pH is your friend!! Resent the problem products if you must resent. I've had my Vinmetrica meter for years, clean and store it as recommended with nary a problem.
 

Ajmassa

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Don't resent pH, pH is your friend!! Resent the problem products if you must resent. I've had my Vinmetrica meter for years, clean and store it as recommended with nary a problem.

I don't. Just had myself a moment is all.
I'm hard pressed to think that I was just unlucky with my meters. I probably did something wrong somewhere along the line to negatively affect it.
I would assume most probes are similar in how to care. I've been storing in 4.01, rinsing in distilled water, deep cleaned in white vinegar, never letting dry out, re-calibrating at every use (roughly 1-2x every 2 weeks) , easily the most needy tool I own (out of ALL tools. lasers, transit levels and all)
Anything else I should know of or I'm doing wrong please don't hesitate to drop some knowledge.
 

Johnd

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I don't. Just had myself a moment is all.
I'm hard pressed to think that I was just unlucky with my meters. I probably did something wrong somewhere along the line to negatively affect it.
I would assume most probes are similar in how to care. I've been storing in 4.01, rinsing in distilled water, deep cleaned in white vinegar, never letting dry out, re-calibrating at every use (roughly 1-2x every 2 weeks) , easily the most needy tool I own (out of ALL tools. lasers, transit levels and all)
Anything else I should know of or I'm doing wrong please don't hesitate to drop some knowledge.
Try using storage solution for storage. I spent several hours racking in and out of barrels and carboys today and took a quick reading on my Pinot Gris. Plugged the probe in, took it out of the solution, rinsed in DI water, checked it in 4.01, it was off .02. Took my reading, rinsed with DI water, back in storage solution. Didn't take 2 minutes.
 
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